Teen with Narcissistic Tendencies. Help.
September 5, 2014 3:31 AM Subscribe
I'm Dean of Students/Special Ed teacher at a therapeutic high school and I really need some help about how to work with a teen who has narcissistic tendencies.
posted by kinetic to Education (24 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
We're a smaller highschool of about 80 kids; most of the kids have histories of trauma, abuse, depression, anxiety and many hany have diagnoses of emotional disabilities.
We have a new teen, Libby. Libby's behaviors are causing everyone to pull out their hair because we've never had a kid like this before. She has NOT been diagnosed with anything; her history involves years of school refusal, her parents sending her to wilderness, boarding, Waldorf and other private programs; she went to all for a few weeks and she left. She's now with us and our goal is to get her to come to school and eventually graduate. She's 17 and has one year of high school credit.
She has received no formal diagnosis and she does not have any form of autism, but presents with behaviors typical of narcissists. And we have little idea how to support her.
After speaking with staff and clinicians, everyone reports these behaviors:
* She very rarely stops talking. Mostly about herself, but when not doing that she will otherwise make large, non-related leaps about her strongly held (and always inaccurate) opinions. She has said to staff that she likes to argue and that's all she really wants to do.
* Here's a recent example. In history, the teacher was having the kids brainstorm the differences between humans and our earliest ancestors. Students said humans share language, ideas, create art, have government, religion, etc. and Libby continually poked holes in everything, asserting that some chimps can speak, create art, have religion. I may not be getting this across strongly enough but all she wanted to do was disprove everyone, using arguments that were completely inaccurate.
* She does this in every class and during lunch as well.
* When she's not disproving everyone, she's incredibly nasty about others. She refers to others disparagingly by their appearance (I'm the Miley Cyrus Wannabe, there's the douchebag with the hats...).
* So here's the thing. I want to help this kid. And I need to help staff with tools to deal with her. We've already learned that if we ask her to say more about her idea and share, she ramps into scary hostility quickly and goes off on nonsensical tangents. If we ignore her, she gets louder. If we send her our of the room to speak with admins, she's back at it immediately.
She seems to only find value in tearing people down. None of us have ever worked with a kid so unable to read social cues, unable to stop herself, so clearly unhappy, and right now, unable to do school.
As a therapeutic school, we get that she's got things going on, and she's trying to express her unhappiness. We want to work with her, not punish her. We get there are issues. What we can't figure out is to help her learn where the line is and how to reign herself in.
She has been spoken to 1:1, we've modeled how to express herself in a more appropriate manner, and she appears during those times to understand, but then she's right back at it. Teachers have tried putting down sticky notes of warning, nothing changes.
To be clear, this isn't Asperger's. It's just the talking, no other signs.
How do we help a kid with overwhelming negativity and hostility? And one who can't seemingly stop talking and alienating everyone around her?