Our expert says:
You're describing a rather curious pattern. If I understand your message - she has these episodes lasting some 3 months, at the same time each year, and for over 7 years. SO much of various sorts must have changed in her life over this time. What, one wonders, might recur in a similar pattern in her life, over this period ? Internal chemical rhythms don't tend to follow this sort of pattern.
It may have originatged in a reaction to the divorce, separation, etc, and have become more of a habit, even though the precuse originating situation has altered - but the timing still sounds odd.
Is there a pattern in the timing and duration of her visits to her father and step-mother ? Are them, deliberately or accidentally playing any role in this pattern ? When it gets to the point of her asking whether you are afraid of her, one wonders what she is thinking about.
This does indeed sound like a situation that has been allowed to go on for far too long, and she should be seen and assessed by a child shrink.
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