|Basic InformationMore InformationLatest NewsQuestions and Answers|Personality Disorder or Just a Horrible PersonHusband Jealous of my Friends and FamilyIs it Just a Name?!She's Lied About EverythingMy Family is Ruining my Relationship With my Boyfriend What Is Wrong With Me ?My Boyfriend's Children Won't Accept Me....Does my Boyfriend Have Feelings For His Ex Wife?I Have BulimiaArranged MarriageWhen is Enough, Enough?Breaking UpSoon to be 15 Year Old Step Daughter Who is Physically Abusive to Family MembersI Have Everything I Ever Wanted. Why am I so Miserable?Should I Stay or Should I Go?Wife's BehaviorStep-Daughter is Deliberately AbusiveIs my Sister a Pathological Liar?Lost in Limbo19 Year Old DaughterNeed Help in Building the BridgesLack of Affection and IntimacyIs He Seeing Someone?Marriage QuestionRespect + Anger ManagmentMy Husband With Daughter...... Resentment-Controlling Wife/Passive-Agressive HusbandGetting Married, Stepsons With Awful TempersAdult Son Interferes with Our RelationshipCo-Dependent MotherCan My Marriage Be Saved?On and Off Relationship For Almost 10yrsI Am Tired of MarriageI'm His 2nd Wife. Am I Destined to Play Second Fiddle to His daughter Forever?How do I Get my Husband to the Psychiatrist?Is it Inappropriate to Call my Daughter...Trying to Save 37 Years of Marriage With My Bipolar HusbandAlcoholism and FamilyBipolar Obsessive Thoughts and False Memories Crazy Mother In Law Ruining Our Mental Health and RelationshipCaught In The Middle Caring For Elderly ParentI am a Newlywed and Need HelpHusband's Relationship With His ChildrenSubstance AbuseChronically Ill Non-Compliant 19 Year OldChild With Possible Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)Obsession or ExcuseThe Marriage Corner: How Can I Move Past This?The Marriage Corner: Do You Think my Marriage Can be Repaired?I am Only 26 Years OldMy Boyfriend Saved a Picture of a Girl he Slept With in Case we Split up?Adoptive Mother of 3 Children - SunFlowerHow to Handle my Mothers State of Mind?JoylessShould I Fight For My Marriage?Homesick and Feeling Stuck.Why Does My Wife's Old Boyfriend Bother Me?How do We Get Her to Accept Us as Part of The Family?Another WomanBoyfriends DaughterHow do I Cope With a Parent Who is Trying to Ruin me?Worried About 4-year-old with DepressionSame Views On So Much, but Can't Get Along As A CoupleIt's Me or It's My Mother?Considering Divorce After Several Deaths in The FamilySchizophreniaSchizophrenic Relapse !Please Help Me..My 19 Year Old Daughter is Out of ControlMy 19 Year Old SonI Desperately Want to Make This WorkHelp!!!Marraige Life of my Parents Is This Abuse and What Should I Do?My Girlfriend's Family Is Ruining Our RelationshipI Feel Like I Have Failed - - May 20th 2010Relationship With My Bipolar and ADHD GirlfriendHuge Disapointment With My HusbandI Don't Really Care About Anything. What Should I Do?What Should I do?My Father, The Sociopath...What is Wrong? What Should I do With my 19 Year-Old Daughter's Anger Issue?Dominating Mother How to Help Our College Age Son with Depression and AddictionCan My Marriage be Saved?Personal HygieneHelp Me Please. What is Going On With Me?Parenting a Bipolar Child, Not Quite a Child, Not Quite an AdultAm I Being Used?Is This Jealous Behaviour Normal In a Child?Grandson BehaviorHusband's AddictionHelp or Do Nothing?Pregnant AgainConcernedAre my past sexual fantasies dangerous and unusual?It is finally an emergency. We need help. Please.Trauma and Drama: Why are friends and family rejecting me? Why is my mom following me around to take over my life?Does my husband have bipolar although the doctors said he doesn't?Fear of death and dyinghow to ask if the pics are her?Unhappy MarriageDid I push them too much?How do you turn your back on your 19 year old daughter?What To Do With a Dysfunctional Past SHOULD GRANDPARENTS INSIST ON SEEING A GRANDCHILD My husband wants to leave me My husband no longer believesMy Son's ProblemWhy do I beat myself up over what they think?Bipolar sister, Narcissist boyfriendUnderstanding my sonWorried about my sonChild jealous of moms relationship with her new husbandThis guy I bullyIs There Help Out There? Lonely Mother of ThreeAm I Depressed?Should I Give Up On This Marriage?dealing with demanding mothercan you give me some advice please?17 year old running the houseOut of control 24 year old sisterMy needy son hates my boyfriend. How can I avoid choosing one over the other?voice in my headtwo intelligent adults who feel they don\'t have friends19 Year Old Daugter--Out of control17 yr old refuses help with bi-polar disorderTeen in Full Retreatout of control 16 year old nephewDepression? Bi-Polar? Personality Disorder?i need help with my sisterGet SupportedForgotten or just ignored?Dealing with a family member's complete personality changeMother showering & sleeping in same bed with 5 year oldDisbeliefZoloft - good or badmy little sisterUnattractive regardless, why bother?Coping with Narcissistic BehaviorHow to Deal with the Loss of Familyhusband\'s angerDid I Love my husband and still abuse him emotionallyI have a hard time making friends with other guysHow to communicate to a \'feeler\'homesickhow can i control morbid jealousyHow can I open up and become my old self again?Advice for my unhappily married friendHow can I tell the difference?Cannot support old friend in her affairIs Something Wrong With Her?Need to find a reason for the abuseMom's Unlisted NumberHow to help a Womanizing friend?'Extremely controling' wife and passive husbandA Habitual Liar's Lamentthe way out is through the doorDrug Addict SonAngry At Ex-BoyfriendViolent SisterWhen Will My Boyfriend Grow Up?A Marriage Outside The CasteAngry MomSeeing A Married ManDisordered Family Member BehaviorMy RoommateA Mean, Verbally Abusive WomanStepson With Personality DisorderMom's ProtectorBusted By A 5-Year-OldGetting Along With Narcissistic RelativesPossibly Molested DaughterDirty NieceHelping My SisterCongenital LazinessBlossoming Paranoia?Is Anxiety A Hereditary Factor?Enmeshed With MumHypochondriac DaughterAbusive FatherGoing CrazySelf-Abusive Step-Daughter(Wo)man In The MiddleParanoid DepressionWithdrawn BrotherDysfunctional FamilyParanoiaMy Mother Is Ruining My LifeCowardly StepdadDaughter's Violent MarriageMy Father Dislikes HimHistrionic Sister-in-LawLong-Distance SupportPersonality Disordered GrandmotherDo I Tell My Children I'm Depressed?Father In RomaniaMom's VentingUnhappy In An Arranged MarriageToxic ParentsA Situation For Tough Love?Avoiding Her ParentsBoarding School BluesDepression Affects The Entire FamilyInternet RelationshipI Want To Leave, But For The Children ...Public MenaceSomatization and HypochondriasSelf-Injuring SisterFamily BoundariesDealing with DivorceTrashed HouseRelationship TriangulationWhat To Treat First?Love TriangleProblematic ParentsHis Mother is Ruining Our RelationshipManaging PrioritiesTime to Cut the Apron StringsMommy's New BoyfriendBusy and WantingOver-Protective MotherHe's Not HimselfJealous of My Fiance's FamilyYoung LoveDifferent ReligionsMy Husband's Daughter...My Dad the DictatorMy Children Aren't Speaking..Dogs Instead of Children?My Wife is DepressedFalling ApartProblems with My DaughterLinksBook Reviews
Dealing with a family member's complete personality change
I am a 30-year-old with two older siblings; we were all raised in a loving home with our parents. We have moved to various parts of the country but have stayed close with our parents, who were due to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary this year. My father has always had clinical depression but was on medication and, except for a few instances where his medication needed to be adjusted, he was living a happy and content life. Last spring he started acting somewhat manic and, as in the past, my mother suggested he should go in for a med check. This time, however, instead of going to his doctor he refused, moved out, and started a strange new life (living in a building with no roof, seeing other women, and other behavior that is completely out of character.) My mother tried to encourage him to go to therapy, but he refused that as well, blaming all of his problems on her. He turned against her, claiming that he has been unhappy for 40 years. That is just not true. His personality seems to have completely changed - we children each expressed concern and he has now stopped talking to all of us. He is very narcissistic and cuts anyone out of his "new life" (his term) who expresses any concern that he is not acting normally. He's using the classic lines like "I want to feel the highs," and is telling everyone who will listen how euphoric he is. He has completely stopped taking his medication. He filed for divorce, is bitterly pursing all of my mother's assets and will be leaving her with nothing, and will not listen to anyone who advises him to be more reasonable. He has sent us letters explaining how horrible our mother is and how she caused him to have a miserable life - this is all so patently untrue that it is very disturbing to everyone (he has even sent them, for no reason, to distant relatives!) Since he will no longer speak to his immediate family, I am really worried that the new people he has surrounded himself with will be unable to recognize the symptoms of his mental illness - or unwilling to deal with it or help him if they do see what's wrong. I know that people often turn angry or bitter when getting divorced, but this is much more than a mid-life crisis or a decision to leave his wife. It is pretty clear to everyone who knows them that he is experiencing some type of mental problems which are causing him to act erratically, to be extremely self-centered, and to behave in ways that are completely out of character for a man who had been very good-natured and laid-back for the previous 60 years of his life. This has been very difficult for us all, obviously, because it is as if our father has been replaced by a total stranger who will not let us help him. In addition to dealing with divorce, we are trying to cope with the complete personality change that initiated the whole situation. Is there anything we can do? Is there any way to approach a person like this that can result in any kind of positive change? We all feel very helpless and hurt by the situation, and for now we are focusing on helping my mom get through it. However, in the future we will want to try again to re-establish contact with my father, and we don't know if or how it will ever be possible. Any suggestions you can offer will be gratefully appreciated.
THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION WILL NOT BE DISPLAYED UNTIL YOU HAVE INDICATED YOUR AGREEMENT WITH THE DISCLAIMER PRINTED JUST BELOW. CLICK THE 'I AGREE' BUTTON TO AGREE TO THESE TERMS AND SEE THE RESPONSE.
- Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
- Dr. Dombeck intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
- Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
- No correspondence takes place.
- No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Dombeck to people submitting questions.
- Dr. Dombeck, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Dombeck and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
- Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.