I have a 21-year-old daughter who has almost every symptom of a personality disorder. She has been difficult to deal with her entire life to the point where I had to put her out of my home when she reached 18. She was verbally abusive not only to me and my husband but to her brothers as well. She has lied to me and had me arrested in the past. She would talk about how she would be rich and buy an expensive car at the age of 18 yet has never liked to work and has been fired from almost every job she has ever had.
We allowed her back home when she found out she was pregnant. She did well during the pregnancy — got a job and an apartment and went back to school. By the time my grandchild reached a year she had been evicted from 2 apartments, fired from a couple of jobs, was pregnant again, and her former Ob/Gyn barred her from the office. She has cussed me out again, called me every obscene name in the book and walked up on me, pressing her body against me trying to make me fight her and threatened me. This happened right after I had re-hired her for the second time to work in my office and took her and my grandson back in. She refused to clean up after her and the baby. And when I would get her to clean she would only clean what was hers because according to her, it’s not her house so she shouldn’t have to clean it.
She has now chosen to live in an abandoned house with her boyfriend and leave my grandchild with us. What caused the episode this time was because she was arguing with her 10-year-old brother and he called her a name. She assaulted him to the point where he threw up in the sink and I had to put her in a head-lock to get her off of him. I told her to just leave. But of course that couldn’t happen. I had to call the police to have her removed. She turned around and calmly said that she would see me at work the following day. I was completely confused and the whole event seemed surreal. I told her not to come to the office because she was fired. She has contacted my mother, who acts exactly as she does, and they are completely repulsed and upset that I would fire her. As I mentioned this was my second time hiring her. She called our former receptionist a b**** because I wasn’t accepting phone calls from her. I only brought her in because that person is no longer employed here. I had no idea how she was going to act this time around because her episodes are getting more and more frequent.
I’m at a loss as to what to do now. She is 6 months pregnant, living in an abandoned house with no heat, and there is no way I can allow her back in the house. My husband and other children (not to mention me) have gone through hell in dealing with her. Against our will, she has allowed her friends in our home when we weren’t there, and they stole from us. She has wrecked my van and had the car I bought her impounded because she wouldn’t pay to have insurance once I dropped her off my policy. The car has no tags, so she left it at a hotel she had stayed at. She left the car there for about two weeks without any tags. She tried to cash stolen checks and lied and manipulated me out of $1,000 to get her out of jail. She made up some story about not knowing the checks were stolen and when she was angry she threw it in my face that she used me for the money and she did know. And with all of this, and it’s not even scratching the surface, she feels I’m wrong and mistreating her. And in case you are wondering, she’s not on drugs. I would go with her to her Ob appointments and all of that was checked because I really wondered.
My question is, how do I handle something like this? In March, my granddaughter will be here and in the meantime she is living as a vagabond. She has even made the comment that she doesn’t mind living like that if it wasn’t for the baby. I need some insight — some help. Thank you.
Your daughter is exhibiting the characteristics of an Antisocial Personality. When you read my introduction to personality disorders, you’ll find that Antisocial Personalities are completely selfish, demanding, self-serving, highly manipulative, criminal, and dishonest in their behavior. They have absolutely no concern for the feelings, situations or rights of others. They have a tremendous sense of entitlement and feel justified to con, manipulate, steal from, and abuse those around them. Many APs also have a high tolerance for substandard hygiene and living conditions.
As you also noted, when caught or confronted, Antisocial Personalities never accept responsibility for their behavior and in fact, present themselves as a victim in the situation. Highly manipulative and operating as con-artists, they are social chameleons who can play a variety of theatrical roles to escape responsibility. If needed, she can present herself as a “lost soul” on the streets to gain money, then waste the funding. As you also report, it’s not uncommon to have another Antisocial Personality in the family, mentioning that her grandmother operates the same way. You’ll notice that while Grandmother may call and harass you about your daughter, she will not take her in.
To deal with an Antisocial Personality in the family, you must develop a business approach. Some guidelines:
- Establish solid boundaries in terms of financial, social, and other support. As a parent, you’re only willing to provide $50.00 per week or buy groceries. You will no longer bail her out with hundreds of dollars to prevent her from facing criminal charges.
- Recognize that your daughter has no concern for your personal, family, financial, or emotional issues. Antisocial Personalities have no difficulty placing their family members into bankruptcy. They just don’t care what they do to others. Recognizing this fact of life, secure your valuables and finances. Change the locks on your home and install a security system if possible. Offer cab fare but don’t allow her to borrow an automobile. Secure all your medications and firearms — something they often steal for trading on the streets. In extreme cases, a restraining order may be needed.
- For an Antisocial Personality, if you don’t meet their immediate selfish demands — they actually feel entitled to punish you for it. If she comes to your home for a yelling and screaming match — or physically assaults anyone — have her arrested. Antisocial Personalities are never afraid of their families but they are afraid of the police and court system. The police/courts can’t be manipulated and have worked with Antisocial Personalities for thousands of years at this point.
- Helping an Antisocial Personality is extremely difficult. As a concerned family we are often placed in the role of rescuing their victims — typically their children. Antisocials are too selfish to be solid parents and after using the children to manipulate others, gain funding or support, gain sympathy, etc., they typically abandon their children to continue their life on the streets. Once the child has been abandoned, if you elect to protect or assume custody of the child, seek immediate and permanent custody though the court system. If you don’t take this uncomfortable step, the daughter will return, rip the child from the home, demand money or support for the child’s return — and then reabandon the child. I’ve seen this cycle repeated frequently until legal steps are taken to protect the grandparents and the child.
- When you have a shark in the family swimming pool, don’t worry about what the neighbors think of your backyard. As a family, you’ll be making some very hard, difficult, and uncomfortable decisions regarding your daughter. In retaliation, she will play victim to grandparents, the courts, relatives, friends, etc. She will try to manipulate them into making you feel miserable. You will receive calls from well-meaning others encouraging you to give her another chance. Stand your ground! She may try to ruin your reputation or create theatrical scenes to punish you. One female Antisocial Personality, when her parents refused to allow her in the house, called the emergency squad to the house and faked a seizure on the front steps for the neighbors’ entertainment. Be prepared for anything.
- I’d also recommend seeking counseling support. Antisocial Personalities don’t attack or manipulate from only one direction. She is likely to threaten, hold her child hostage, use severe guilt, and do whatever it takes to get her way. Support during this time would be helpful. I’d also recommend reading questions from others in your situation by selecting the “personality disorders” link from the sidebar of this page.
With the healthy members of the family, you may want to focus on the welfare of the children involved, even if that means contacting child protective services. Assure your daughter that your actions are strictly business, thus allowing her to predict your response. If she uses stolen checks, she will be going to jail…it’s that simple. She can predict that now.
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All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more clinical psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals. Originally published by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on .on and last reviewed or updated by