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I think my DD is a psychopath. (TRIGGER, sensitive)

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#1 Caribou

Posted 24 July 2019 - 10:50 AM

Please don't quote.

I think 7yo DD might be a psychopath.

She's been really sweet, if not a little quirky with suspected ADHD (diagnosis held off until next year under paediatricians suggestion, as its not adversely impacting school)

However, recently something has changed. I don't know what, but there was one event i couldn't take her to as DH and my schedules clashed and it wasn't possible to take her.

So, that night while I was putting her brother to bed, i thought I left her in my bed reading a book, but instead, she cut off half of her hair, slashed the curtains, my office chair, cut up her little brothers clothes, cut (least attempted, as it was harder than she thought) my handbag which was destroyed, her brother's backpack (also destroyed) his gumboots, (still usable but cut at the top, her brother's plastic animal figurines got their arms and legs cut off and just well, so many other things.

She admitted she's been putting dettol soap on the family toothbrushes too.  and everything snowballed from there so badly.

She also told a lie so big, it nearly caused someone else to lose their job if it wasn't for CCTV evidence. (I'm not going to go into detail here as it's sensitive and privacy.)

and last night, she comes forth and tells us she's having really bad thoughts, they tell her to do bad things, and she has to do them to stop the thoughts. She says she doesn't like the thoughts and wants them to go away. But at the same time, she enjoys lying and getting away with it. she enjoys the thrill that comes with it. at the moment none of these thoughts involve self harm.

Then she told us a story about a nightmare she had, so frightening, I'm honestly terrified that came out of her mind. It was graphic and violent. she didnt like it and it scared her. but she also said she can't stop being 'bad' even though she knows its wrong and doesn't want to do it, she has to do it.

I've booked to see the GP ASAP for a referral to a psych for her now.

I know it's not going to happen right away, We've told her we're glad she told us, and she said she wants to see someone to make it 'go away' I feel we handled it well, and then once she was in bed completely freaked out.

The poor kid shouldn't be having these kinds of thoughts. It's not fair or right for a 7yo to feel and think like this.

I don't know what to do in the meantime.

#2 Gonzy

Posted 24 July 2019 - 10:59 AM

Caribou, wow that's really intense for you guys, so sorry for all you of, as parents, and a family that you are dealing with what is surely a worrying issue for you all.

I was just going to suggest that in addition to the appointment with your GP, do you have a community or gov organisation you can touch base with for some support also.

In my state we have CAMHS - Children, Adolescent,Mental Health Service which is a 'wrap-around' service of multiple clinical practitioners (nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, dietitians etc), who work as a team to support the young person and their family.  The waiting list for this kind of service can vary depending on need but I am just wondering if some calls to services along these lines in your State would also help get the ball rolling and point you in the direction of the best support.  In my State you do not need a GP referral for this service.

Hope you get the support you all need, and soon.

#3 CallMeFeral

Posted 24 July 2019 - 11:00 AM

I'm so sorry OP. I have no advice, but all sympathy, that sounds horrible for everyone.

Do you have a psych in mind? Can you book her in now? Normally they only require the referral at first appointment, and it can help to know who has availability so you can have the referral written out to them. Perhaps that's something you could do to speed it up?

#4 robhat

Posted 24 July 2019 - 11:04 AM

There's a range of possibilities, but all of them are going to require a psych to help you diagnose. You may also need a paediatrician. It might be worth ringing yours for a chat and seeing what they suggest. This change in behaviour isn't small, so the paed should be willing to assist you immediately.

In the meantime, keep life as consistent and routine based as possible. Try to make sure your child eats regularly and healthy, gets a good night's sleep every night and also plenty of outdoor exercise.

You may like to look up relaxation techniques for kids, mindfulness or a range of books that might help her manage her thoughts. We have a fun picture book called "Don't Think About Purple Elephants". Tell her that nightmares are reasonably normal, even if scary, but that there are ways to deal with them, it might just take some time.

It's also worth considering if there's a chance she's experienced some trauma somewhere. Maybe at school? Book in an appointment with her teacher to see if they have any further information. They may also be able to suggest local services to help.

#5 Nobodyelse

Posted 24 July 2019 - 11:19 AM


Violence and anger often feel like physical relief in ADHD. Even now, when my 'wound spring' is tightest from failed expectations, disappointment or frustration, it is violence that I feel like doing. As an adult, it ends up manifesting as verbal violence like screaming - like REALLY screaming, right from deep inside - while pulling on things or hitting things. Like if I am in the bathroom, I might pull on the towels with every inch of my strength or bang on tables. I've also broken things through impulsive kicking or slamming of doors. As a teen, I put a whopping big hole in my wall. Not from kicking but from pushing so hard to relieve that internal feeling of pressure.

And it can be kicked off by really trivial things. The potatoes not cooking quickly enough to be ready at the same time as the chicken. Traffic. Tripping over something for the third time...

My mum, also ADHD, would be physically violent. She would hit me with things she found in my room that I wasn't supposed to have. Or she would rip my posters from my room. Grab me by the pony tail. It was always impulsive violence rather than considered (not that it mattered in the trauma scheme of things) so I can now view it as part of her 'wound spring' ADHD response.

It might not be as intense as your DD but it isn't unusual with ADHD kids. Especially girls.

If you recall the early days of ADHD diagnosis, there used to be those A Current Affair adn Dr Phil style news stories showing poor kids terrorising their families with intense violence and fear where they were being locked in bedrooms at night.

So it may not be psychopathic traits, just some really intense ADHD control and anger issues.

Unlike mum and me, your daughter has you. And despite it all, you have got a wonderful little girl who feels so safe and loved that she came and shared some enormously difficult and disturbing parts of her personality. You have someone struggling with some heavy stuff who still has enough self awareness to know that she needed to ask for help.

I don't have any practical advise and I'm sure your medical professionals will have some ways to channel that anger and violence. I'd also bring her ADHD assesment and diagnosis foward.

#6 amdirel

Posted 24 July 2019 - 11:23 AM

Oh my goodness, that is so full on. I'm so sorry that you guys are going through this. I have no advice but couldn't read and not comment. I hope she gets the help she needs, asap.

#7 purplekitty

Posted 24 July 2019 - 11:24 AM

When you see the GP ask them to get on the phone and see if they can get a quick appt with a psych/paed.
I hope you can get the help you need in a timely fashion and ease your mind.

Try not to jump to conclusions and fear the worst.

I feel for you and your family.

#8 mayahlb

Posted 24 July 2019 - 12:20 PM

If you have a psych in mind you don’t need a GP referral except if you are using the mental health plan for rebate. Ids be ringing them up and seeing about getting in sooner rather then later. I’d likely also look at getting a pead on board with regular appointments to touch base on what’s going on.

If you have a CAMHs in your area they can also be helpful, if not providing a service then recommending one. My oldest had support from them with self harming behaviour and when it started again (anxiety trigger) they recommend another professional outside their group because they didn’t have anyone available at that time.

And yes adhd can contribute to these thought patterns. It is really good that she has communicated with you though about what is going on. My oldest says there are times where the anger monster just takes control and he needs the physical release of destroying something. We’ve always termed it an emotional meltdown that triggers a need for sensory input that is gained by wrecking something. It lets the brain chemicals spike and give that feeling of enjoyment which can be addictive. Ripping up paper and a punching bag were alternatives we redirected these moments towards. They gave the same release without harm occurring and therapy towards dealing with destructive thought patterns. (And honestly, adhd and anxiety meds...)

Edited by mayahlb, 24 July 2019 - 12:22 PM.

#9 Bethlehem Babe

Posted 24 July 2019 - 12:28 PM

It can also be a sign of asd, when things don’t fit with her plan, and she can’t cope well with the change, so she lashes out at anything and everything.

#10 mayahlb

Posted 24 July 2019 - 12:33 PM

View PostBethlehem Babe, on 24 July 2019 - 12:28 PM, said:

It can also be a sign of asd, when things don’t fit with her plan, and she can’t cope well with the change, so she lashes out at anything and everything.

Yes I did think this too. I think you have said previously they didn’t think she had asd? Maybe that needs to be reviewed. Girls can present differently and it isn’t necessarily “obvious” unless a clinician is experienced at recognising it in girls.

#11 Caribou

Posted 24 July 2019 - 12:51 PM

Thank you EB, you’ve given me a bit to think about.

And yes, you’re right, the professionals were on fence about her ADHD, and we didn’t push it because it only really was apparent at home, and not affecting her school work. If she ever struggled with something at school, the school was very good and managing it and giving her tools to improve. So it never really got pushed from there because her grades are all above average. Which is why we were told to wait until it became an issue, they said most issues with ADHD didn’t present until yr 3 and beyond.

But now, seems like it’s coming to a head now. I googled about ADHD and anger and a lot resonated there. I’m hoping now we’re getting a psych involved will help her immensely.

I’m just devastated for her. It’s only been 3 months since the change in her. She’s gotten withdrawn, angry and sad. And I thought we were going ok, we presented her with a dairy to write feelings in, we kept open line of communication, but even then it wasn’t enough. All the intentional destroying and lying she tried to hide it from us. She I noticed the hair right away, but the other things I found over the course of 3 weeks. And each and every time by both myself and her father we gave her an opportunity to tell the truth when we found a destroyed item without being in trouble and each time she lied and said there wasn’t anything else.

I feel like we let her down badly too, like I should have seen this coming too, you know?

#12 mayahlb

Posted 24 July 2019 - 01:03 PM

You haven’t let her down, you are supporting her and she knows she can come to you. She was ready to come to you and that is a really good thing. You have a line of communication and she knows she can trust you.

I really hate when professionals tell you “wait until it becomes an issue”. I can tell you know many adults I have talked to that have adhd or are neurodiverse are quiet clear that support given before it becomes an issue is what helps. It’s why we are so on top of giving my kids the tools when “people” say they don’t seem to be struggling or have “issues”. That’s because we give them the tools and support to be proactive rather then reactive. And for bright children who also have adhd, the “issues” sometimes don’t become obvious for a long time. (I’m not saying this is you).

Also I don’t know if this is relevant, but I found a lot of friends and parents with children who do have diagnosis found 7 was a turning point where things became harder or more complicated. I know it was for my oldest (youngest seems to be hitting it around 9). :hugs:

Edited by mayahlb, 24 July 2019 - 01:04 PM.

#13 Ktonic

Posted 24 July 2019 - 01:24 PM

What mayahlb said is spot on - you have not let your DD down, she trusts you and knows you will help her.  You’re taking this head on and being strong and courageous.

#14 Tbird24

Posted 24 July 2019 - 01:29 PM

Can you try to get an emergency appointment with a paediatrician? Might be time to consider medication for the ADHD. My son has it and has a lot of trouble owning up to things. Around that age he became hugely frustrated at school too, as he started noticing that he couldn’t function as well as the other kids.
We struggled for a long time with leaving him alone while we put the other kids to bed - he would get up to all sorts of mischief and then deny it all. I would see the scissors thing as just enjoying the activity and not thinking through consequences. Same with the serious lie you mentioned - we had a similar thing where I still don’t know if he was telling the truth. There was a phase there where he made up some crazy stories and it took us a little while to twig.
Another thought - any chance she’s been seeing scary stuff on YouTube or watching inappropriate content elsewhere?
Take heart - things can get better and there’s plenty of therapy options out there to help. Sometimes it can be pretty confronting raising kids with developmental conditions but with support, things can move in a positive direction.

#15 SelceLisbeth

Posted 24 July 2019 - 01:32 PM

OP Im so sorry you are dealing with this. With a child so young behaving like that and sharing such graphic and frightening thoughts I would be beside myself. I would be concerned about her comment about  thoughts in her head telling her to do bad things. It may be that she is having auditory hallucinations.

Often with kids who have sensory or processing issues, angry outbursts and acts of violence are a response to feeling out of control or afraid. Does she have a lot of structure? Its a fine line between too much structure and not enough (obviously structure can be very reassuring, but also a lot of structure can make a break in routine very difficult to handle).

She is not a psychopath and viewing it that way may be impacting how you deal with her. She is a child that is acting out and having some really worrying thoughts. She may very well have a personality or mood disorder or both, but psychopathy is very unlikely (and doesnt really fit what you describe anyway even if she were of an age for a diagnosis).

Please dont be hard on yourself that you may have missed something. Stuff just happens. Even if you did miss something (doubtful), you cant change that and are wasting your energy in that direction. Reassure yourself that you are doing what you can (and have sought advice before, so you you havent had your head in the sand about it).

While CAMHS can be helpful in identifying some issues, they are often staffed by registrars, have long wait lists and dont provide follow-up care. If you can afford it, a paed psychiatrist would be my recommendation.

Edited to remove inaccurate comment

Edited by SelceLisbeth, 24 July 2019 - 02:22 PM.

#16 Caribou

Posted 24 July 2019 - 02:14 PM

Hi SL -

I just checked previous posts regarding my DD and where I called DD a psychopath according to you. You are incorrect. It’s possible you mixed me up with someone else.  And for the record, it’s a pretty sh*tty time to be righteous? Save that for later, thanks.

#17 SelceLisbeth

Posted 24 July 2019 - 02:20 PM

I wasnt being righteous. I am sorry it felt that way. Sorry for the mix up about previous posts.

#18 28 Barbary Lane

Posted 24 July 2019 - 02:23 PM

I’m sorry OP that you were made to feel patronised at such a stressful time. I can’t imagine how stressed out your whole family must feel. You’ve had some great advice from PPs. I hope you get some help soon and feel able to keep posting for support here until you get more professional help x

#19 Pooks Combusted

Posted 24 July 2019 - 02:24 PM

It’s so hard. Call the paed’s office, ask for an urgent call back from the paed. They have emergency time slots built into their weeks. They will probably have a fuller sense of what steps can be taken and what services are available  than a GP might. Be gentle with yourself as you find a way forward.

#20 QuirkyMum

Posted 24 July 2019 - 02:27 PM

Caribou, just saying that you could ( and I would) ring your local mental health care unit that has kids specialists and tell them all of the above ( that it is a sudden change in her behaviour).
I did that a couple of years ago for far less worrisome reasons and my then 7 year old was seen within days and it wasn't even that bad. For us they saw us at a local public hospital. They had a team of psychologists (I think) ready after initial consult, all on the same day, in the same room.
Worth a try.
Good luck.

#21 Ferelsmegz

Posted 24 July 2019 - 02:53 PM

Hi Caribou, sorry you are going through all of this. My DS has a ADHD dx (as well as ASD) and he went through alot of these feelings and anger before we medicated him for it.

Even to the extent of when he was super stressed and angry (he was being bullied as well) he would threaten to kill people and not remember... we took him to many psych's and he had an appt with CAMHS as well... but once he was settled on the right ADHD meds and removed him from that bullying environment he has vastly improved.

#22 purplekitty

Posted 24 July 2019 - 03:00 PM

Be kind to yourself and don't anticipate the worst,as hard as that is.

Do push for a rapid response from HCPs.
No matter what eventuates a diagnosis,plan and professional support will make things easier and eliminate some of the scenarios going through your mind.

#23 BusbyWilkes

Posted 24 July 2019 - 03:23 PM

Sorry you are going through this. It must be frightening for you and your DD. I'm another recommending contacting your paed asap and updating them on the changes you're seeing. They should be able to fit you in for an urgent apt, and then determine what next eg referral to psychiatrist, psychologist, medication etc.

I think the point PP was making was that by referring to your DD as a psychopath (or potential one) may subconsciously change your feelings and interactions with her. She's still your gorgeous DD, just with some additional challenges at present.

I've also thought from your previous topics that ASD is a possibility. Perhaps this can also be revisited with the paed? Social interactions mature and change significantly around grade 2-3, and she may be finding this transition difficult.

#24 Paddlepop

Posted 24 July 2019 - 05:39 PM

Sounds like a tough situation.

I really doubt if your DD is a psychopath. It sounds like severe anxiety, depression and/or poor impulse control to me. A boy at DD's school was similar last year, down to talking about voices telling him bad things. For him it was severe anxiety. He's now on medication for it and is a different child. He's happy now, and his mum is far less worried about him. He's gone from causing classrooms to go into lockdowns due to his violence and multiple suspension to behaving well and no suspensions so far this year. He's also having regular appointments with a child psychologist. He was diagnosed with ASD last year.

I would really be getting a new paediatrician. Leaving things until there's a problem is a crap approach. ADHD causes issues way before year 3. It causes issues from birth. What can come to a head in year 3 can be social difficulties due to ASD, especially for girls. Are the girls in DD's class a b**chy group? Does she have any close friends?

#25 Just Jack

Posted 24 July 2019 - 08:26 PM

View Postmayahlb, on 24 July 2019 - 12:20 PM, said:

If you have a psych in mind you don’t need a GP referral except if you are using the mental health plan for rebate. Ids be ringing them up and seeing about getting in sooner rather then later.

As i understand it, you do need a referral to see a psychiatrist, just like any other specialist, and having a referral entitles you to the Medicare rebate.

You're correct about a psychologist though - you can just see them on a full fee basis without referral/ mental health plan, but the MH plan entitles you to a particular amount of discounted sessions.

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