Cluster B’ (the most serious and most damaging types – borderline, histrionic, narcissistic, antisocial/sociopathic/psychopathic)

From what you say, I’m pretty certain that she has a personality disorder (but I hope I’m wrong) – from what’s know as ‘Cluster B’ (the most serious and most damaging types – borderline, histrionic, narcissistic, antisocial/sociopathic/psychopathic), and although these generally develop during the teenage years due to dysfunctional parenting, abuse or traumas, the signs usually appear during childhood. (Childhood ‘conduct disorders’ tend to be PD’s in the making unless addressed). These disorders are partly genetic in that certain people are more predisposed towards them than others, and childhood traumas can set them off. The children of parents who are alcoholics or drug takers are more susceptible to having PDs in later life – even if those children are adopted as babies – although a stable, caring upbringing reduces this.

As adults many don’t accept that there’s anything wrong with them. They are always right, but everyone else is wrong. If they don’t seek treatment, throughout their lives they’ll leave a trail of destruction in their wake – lots of suffering people (I’m one). They also tend to prey upon vulnerable people, and have an uncanny ability at seeking them out. They traditionally choose work where they can control others – such as in the police force, social services, schools, slaughterhouses, even hospitals; their ruthlessness enables many to become wealthy business leaders or politicians; many live a life of crime. Their main characteristic traits are lack of empathy, superficial charm and manipulative behaviour – which is how you described your daughter. Impulsiveness is another key trait. Lying comes from impulsiveness and lack of empathy.

I’m glad that you’re no longer prepared to play her games, for those with HPD, NPD & ASPD thrive off attention, and need regular ‘fixes’ to reaffirm their power over others. You say she’s had counselling, and manipulates her counsellor. Counselling rarely works with people who have these PDs. More intensive therapy has a limited but worthwhile effect for most. The trouble is that, as she’s an adult, she must recognise her problem and actively seek help herself, but a characteristic of these conditions is denial that they have a problem. It usually requires a serious crisis before treatment can happen, and even then many are simply locked up to protect others.

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