“There are better people in the world, do not let the worst do the worst to you, you deserve the best in life.” ~ Michael Bassey Johnson
I have previously written about narcissists and the effect they have on relationships, on life within a household, and on the psyche and mental health of everyone in the household. Until the narcissists behavior becomes obviously and overtly noticeable, they are able to slowly and insidiously weave their psychopathic way into every aspect of what goes on inside a home.
This time, rather than a spouse, it was a child — a teenager. A teen who hadn’t been born into the family but taken in from the state and accepted into the family and treated as such. The first three months were the “honeymoon period.” She was able to integrate into the family, along with her brother, following rules, attending school, trying out for sports.
Slowly and gradually, things began to happen. Items would come up missing to be found in her room. My daughters clothing (size 4-6) was spotted on this child (size 10-12) with the excuse that she “found it in her laundry basket.” Rules were ignored, correction was not accepted, innocence was feigned, “misunderstandings” abounded. Per the usual narcissistic routine, there was never any ownership for any part of the misunderstandings or lack of following rules, let alone the lying and stealing. SHE was the victim and we were all just picking on her, ganging up on her for whatever reason.
Quickly things escalated to running away, truancy, theft, more lies and manipulation, attempts to gaslight, drug use, and outright denial of wrong doing (even when caught on video). It reached a crescendo when she chose to assault me by forcefully kicking me in the chest and arm, which she of course denied, although she did agree that she “used her feet to move (me) out of her way.” By this point, she already had a juvenile probation officer and an ankle monitor — that was traded for handcuffs, ankle shackles and a orange jumpsuit for a weekend in the juvenile detention center. After appearing before the judge, she was sentenced to a group home for however long it takes her to complete the program — the shortest term being 4 months, the longest being a year or more. She was sternly reprimanded that if she attempts to run or does run away from the facility, she will return to the juvenile detention center until she is 19 years old (the age of majority in Alabama).
This is the same child who was purposely breaking things in the house – I hesitated to make any repairs or improvements to the house as she would just break them or tear them up. There was never any remorse or consideration for the effect her actions had on others in the household.
The past few weeks have been refreshingly non-toxic. We can all breathe a little easier now. My confidence level is coming back up, work has started in the house and in my shop. Just the general atmosphere in the home is now more relaxed, less tense and we are actually living, not just existing in the space. Laughter is now commonplace again.