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Does my GD have Borderline Personality Disorder ?

(36 Posts)
OldGrandad Mon 15-Feb-21 20:26:40

My wife and I have just finished a long (2 months) visit to our daughter and grandchildren. My daughter's daughter (10 years) is often sulky, and daydreams, is disobedient, cheeky, bossy, and hates her brother (7) somewhat and her father definitely. When she was younger, I thought she had ODD. She is very intelligent and wise far beyond her years.

Unfortunately, it's obvious her father doesn't like her, and seems to have given up on her. He is an OK guy, but old fashioned in his outlook and doesn't compromise. Not very loving. Spends a lot of time in his workshop/garage. Does his duty, but that's all. Doesn't play with the kids or cuddle them. While we were visiting, the kids would come to me rather than him for a quick cuddle.

I was in their house the other day and GD put out her tongue to him. There was little response from him, a slight threat which I am sure will never happen. She tells me there are frequent violent quarrels between her mother and father. These two "kinda" get on with one another, but apparently he has threatened to leave them all and my daughter wouldn't mind if he did. They haven't slept together for 2-3 years.

It's all got worse over the years. I hate to see it disintegrating because I had parents that rowed with one another, with crockery being thrown about. I am most concerned about my GD. My wife also is concerned about the sItuation, but she doesn't want to burden our daughter any more than she is already, and is a "hope for the best" type of person.

My daughter is "over good" with the two kids, spoils them in fact. He is a home Dad, very rich. Our daughter has a very high paying job, which leaves her exhausted at the end of every day.

Unfortunately, my wife and I live a 6 hour flight away from them, so we physically only get to see them once or twice a year. We occasionally Facetime.

What can we, or I, do to help ? I feel so helpless.

geekesse Mon 15-Feb-21 21:27:54

I can see a whole load of issues in the family from your post, but I don’t think anyone can diagnose a psychiatric disorder without (a) qualifications and experience in psychiatry, and (b) a face-to-face consultation with the subject.

What can you do? Offer love, concern and moral support, and bite your tongue if you get the urge to disparage any member of this complicated family. It may look monstrously dysfunctional to you, but they are still together and parenting their children in their own ways. A smart, stroppy, sulky ten-year-old is pretty normal, I’m afraid.

MissAdventure Mon 15-Feb-21 21:34:07

I always understood that a professional would never put a label onto a child, for just that reason.

M0nica Mon 15-Feb-21 21:58:10

OldGrandad, with the home background you had I can understand that the problems in your daughter's home must be upsetting and touch you on a raw spot.

Nevertheless, I would avoid attributing psychiatric disorders to any member of the family. Your DGD behaviour is completely in keeping with the behaviour of children growing up in stressful families like the one you describe.

There is very little you can do, just make sure that both your grandchildren feel safe and loved by you, with both being treated absolutely equally, and feeling loved equally. Gentle loving non-judgmental grandparents are so especially important to children growing up in a household like you describe.

Hithere Mon 15-Feb-21 21:58:58

So your daughters marriage is non existant and toxic, her husband ignores his 10 year old daughter and you jump to diagnose your gd as borderline?

That poor child... who is on her corner?

paddyanne Mon 15-Feb-21 22:25:29

If you're only going on what a ten year old tells you maybe speak to her mother for facts.10 yera old girls are hormonal and great at making up tales.
Apart from that its your daughters marriage and you need to step back from it.
I have friends who are the type to throw things at walls and yell but they say it gets rid of tension and they are happy in all other ways .We ARE all different ,what you think is toxic may well be their idea of fun!!

BlueBelle Mon 15-Feb-21 22:28:35

You can’t diagnose a 10 year old !! And not once but twice you diagnosed her as a younger child too with a different diagnosis
I m sure you mean well but she sounds a perfectly normal 10 year old
The adults must sort their own marriage (or divorce) out
All you can do is offer support if it’s ever asked for and stop trying to psychoanalyse the kids

freedomfromthepast Mon 15-Feb-21 23:02:57

She sounds like a perfectly normal 10 year old living in a house that you describe as dysfunctional. She is well aware that her father holds no loving feelings towards her and her mother, it seems, works long hours and is to exhausted.

I was watching a Red Table Talk with Will Smith and the psychologist said "most children's wounds are that they werent listened to".

I believe that children's behavior is thier voice. The less they are listened to, the worse thier behavior may get.

As frustrating as it is, there is nothing you can do except offer your grandchildren love and stop trying to blame her behavior on something other than it is.

V3ra Mon 15-Feb-21 23:17:45

I'd suggest you keep in touch with the grandchildren.
Take an interest in their schooling, their hobbies, whatever. Talk to them by whatever means: text, WhatsApp, Facetime, whatever suits.
It sounds as if their parents have plenty of money but no time for them. Could you provide that time and a listening ear? Make them feel valued, be their emotional safe haven.

OldGrandad Mon 15-Feb-21 23:44:24

Thanks so far. I agree, it's disturbing, but we must leave the two parents to work out their own destinations. I just hope D or GD doesn't get hurt. D's husband has shown signs of violence in the past. e.g. he beat a door down with his fists, and once smacked his son too hard.

Yes, we'll up the communication keeping in touch occasions. Maybe once a week would be fine.

Problem is that we contrast this family with our son's family, where he is an excellent loving father and his daughter is as sweet as pie and they all have a loving partnership !

Hetty58 Tue 16-Feb-21 00:18:13

'What can we, or I, do to help ?' - just don't! You have no idea how they all get along when you're not visiting - do you?

Hetty58 Tue 16-Feb-21 00:20:26

(By way of explanation, my parents always thought my husband was very quiet and aloof. He wasn't. He just didn't like them.)

paddyanne Tue 16-Feb-21 00:33:02

You should never compare ,families like everything else come in all varieties ,whose judgement was it that he smacked his son too hard?
My cup throwing friends had an arguement that resulted in adoor having ahole punched in it ...her answer was its a door ,he would never punch her or her kids.They've been married nearly 40 years ...happily .Give or take the odd cup

BlueBelle Tue 16-Feb-21 07:19:32

Oh dear massive mistake to compare families everyone’s happiness is different
Comparing a ‘sweet as a pie granddaughter’ to a ‘sulky disobedient, bossy, cheeky, daydreamer’ makes me feel VERY uncomfortable and wanting to give the second one a big old cuddle

M0nica Tue 16-Feb-21 07:26:41

Yes, we'll up the communication keeping in touch occasions. Maybe once a week would be fine.

I find this comment interesting. You seem to be approaching keeping contact your grandchildren in a very impersonal way. Get emotionally involved with your grandchildren, respond to their need, they might want to email you or whatsapp you several times a day, one day, only, once another time constantly, then not for several days. Send them links to funny things, to subjects that interest them. Find out what their need is, and then respond to it emotionally and physically.

V3ra Tue 16-Feb-21 08:30:05

I agree. Once a week sounds quite formal and that could be counterproductive.
Think of it as being a bit more spontaneous, along the lines of an "I saw this and thought of you" moment.
Build your own relationship with your grandchildren rather than just through their parents. You say they would come to you for a cuddle while you were there, so they're obviously fond of you.
You are lovely grandparents to care about these two and want to help them.

sodapop Tue 16-Feb-21 08:39:33

A forum like this is not the place to be asking for medical diagnoses OldGrandad as others have said children should not be given labels especially by unqualified people.
Your post is very critical of the family in comparison to your son's family. Look to yourself first before criticising others.

aggie Tue 16-Feb-21 08:39:59

If my parents visited me for 2 months I would have been throwing things !
Where is this ? Here I can’t visit my son in the next street ?

M0nica Tue 16-Feb-21 09:02:23

I think it US aggie. I do agree that to stay for 2 months is a long time, but do understand the problems when there is a long airflight and it is expensive.

Next time, why not make the stay shorter but start Zooming the family every week, or even just the grandchildren, then you could read to them and do some of the things you do when you stay. You may not be able to cuddle them, but you can use any special names you have for them, talk to them as you do when you are there, read books to them, even play board games. There is so much you can do, just to make them feel loved and missed.

eazybee Tue 16-Feb-21 09:08:33

Has it not occurred to you that the presence of grandparents for two months will impact on family dynamics? What you are commenting on so freely is based purely on your observations, flavoured by a dislike for your son-in-law, and to try and label your granddaughter with a 'condition' is dangerous.
Be prepared to offer help if asked, and keep in touch informally, but comparisons with your son's family are not helpful.

Galaxy Tue 16-Feb-21 09:09:15

Poor poor child. I find people talking about children like this just so unpleasant.

Luckygirl Tue 16-Feb-21 09:16:20

This poor child! - BPD at the age of 10!!

She is just a child who is living in the midst of a broken family and trying to make sense of it all and plough her way through it all as best she can. She is in survival mode, but does not have the emotional tools to deal with it all.

She needs her grandparents to be a stable and loving rock for her to cling to.

BlueBelle Tue 16-Feb-21 09:20:51

Crikey I do a 31 hour flight to visit my son but have never stayed longer than 3 /4 weeks I m sure I d drive them mad if I stayed for 2 months (and them me)
Stop comparing your two children’s lives, love the little stubborn moody one as much or more that the sweet as apple pie one Stop being critical or comparing the in-laws and stop analysing and diagnosing
You shouldn’t even be knowing they haven’t shared a bed for 2/3 years NOT your business at all

Hithere Tue 16-Feb-21 12:05:08

So now, also the husband is physically abusive - I hope your daughter decides to leave him

A visit of 2 months.... way too long - having guests for that long and such an unhealthy attitude, it doesnt help the situation
Even here, in the US, it is a major no no.
Pandemic is here too

Summerlove Tue 16-Feb-21 15:24:50


Oh dear massive mistake to compare families everyone’s happiness is different
Comparing a ‘sweet as a pie granddaughter’ to a ‘sulky disobedient, bossy, cheeky, daydreamer’ makes me feel VERY uncomfortable and wanting to give the second one a big old cuddle

You and me both.
Poor child, no one here seems to like her for who she is vs who they expect her to be.