Thanks for listening to me. I have a 20 yr old adopted son whom from age 4 has been diagnosed as ADD, OCD, bipolar, impulsive, angry, paranoid, mood disorder, etc., and recently diagnosed as border line personality, soon to be called emotional regulation. He gets into raging cycles that he can't get out of. He has probably been to ten therapists and had fifteen different medications over the years and he is still not under control. When he does take his medications, he takes them sporadically. He cancels doctors' appointments frequently.
Dear Dr. Gottlieb,I read your column regularly in the Philadelphia Inquirer and often the topic involves depression as it did today.(I also suffer from S.A.D. by the way but in Febrtuary) As often as depression is discussed in the media, I rarely hear anyone talk about how men can have extremely different symptoms of depression than women. My husband had become impossible to live with and I was to the point of filing for divorce. He was constantly angry, irritable and verbally abusive. While trying to enlist the aide of a friend of his to see if he could talk some sense into my husband, he asked if It was possible my husband was just depressed. Though he had been out of work for nearly a year with no prospects and, had been turned down several times for jobs he was well qualified for, the thought had never crossed my mind. The typical symptoms of depression; sadness, helplessness etc weren't there but I did a little research and was STUNNED to see that men often show depression in a different way with aggression, nit-picking, argumentativeness etc. I printed out this information and after yet another after-fight apology from him, gave him the list. Reading it, he cried. He took the information to his doctor and began taking an antidepressant. I got my husband back! I feel very lucky that my friend suggested depression because I would have never suspected it and it saddens me to think of how many relationships end because the males are being difficult due to depression and not just being a**holes as it appears on the surface. It would be very helpful if you would touch on the anger/irritability/abusiveness symptoms of depression in a future column. It was life-changing information for us and with the current economic situations that people are facing, I'm sure more and more families would find this insight useful. .
Hi Dr. Dan:
How does one be in a relationship with a narcissistic parent?
I am an only child and my parents were divorced when I was 8. My mother passed away from illness when I was 21 so my father is all I have. He has some health issues but none that would keep him from working. He chooses not to work, and live off the government on social security.
I can go on and talk about the false suicidal threats he pulled, the number of times I gave him money, a place to live, etc…
And it's not just financial. I have also been in a parental role emotionally. My father has never had much interest in my life.
Recently I was telling my father about a treatment I was going to start to treat for a skin condition. He interrupted me in mid-sentence to tell me about his friend's child. I realized that his self-absorption was even more severe than I realized.
Yesterday was my birthday and he did not bother to call me or see me. This was a first but no surprise. I'm wondering how I should proceed. Do I not call him on this? Do I ignore him on his birthday?
I think the bigger issue is how much I give to a parent who gives so little back? I invite him over for dinners, take him out to eat, get him presents on father’s day, etc... I guess I do this out of my own guilt and fear of losing a connection with him. Deep down I have a fear of him dying. I realized this a few years ago when he used suicidal threats to manipulate me.
I’d appreciate any thoughts on how to handle this. Tired daughter
Dear tired daughter:
Although your father may be depressed, he shows many signs of a narcissistic personality disorder. Those with this disorder believe they are “special.” They require excessive admiration, display an unreasonable sense of entitlement and lack empathy.
Personality disorders are notoriously difficult to treat because like your father, these people with these disorders don’t think they have a problem. So they rarely seek treatment. When they do, they usually lack the commitment required to begin modifying one's personality
.I understand that you are angry at his manipulation and that he cares more about himself than his only child. And I understand the terrible imbalance in this relationship.
Someone I know quite well was telling me that a few weeks ago he began waking up around three in the morning and had difficulty getting back to sleep. I know he has a history of Seasonal Affective Disorder and suspected this was the first sign. For many people with the disorder, the onset comes sometime in August just as the days begin to get shorter. Anyway, he said that the sleep disturbance didn't bother him that much because he was relieved that he wasn't feeling depressed. I know he has a history of clinical depression and I also know how devastating it can be, so I certainly understand his relief.
But then he went on to say that just last week the depressive symptoms began. Although mood still wasn't depressed (only one of many symptoms of depression) he was having some of the cognitive symptoms that go with depression. He was feeling less secure about his thoughts and judgments, more tentative in some social interactions, and an increase in his baseline anxiety. And he said his mind sometimes feels like chipmunks on steroids!
Dan’s guest Tuesday on his noon web chat will be psychologist Tamara Chansky, author of Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking: Powerful, Practical Strategies to Build a Lifetime of Resilience, Flexibility, and Happiness.
Hi Dr. Gottlieb,
My young daughter is having a difficult year. She has been doing various sports and playing music for several years with much success. But this year, her first in high school, things are not going well.
She has been getting low scores in her athletics compared to her friends. She also did not make the high school band while her friends were accepted.
Divorce article - 9/14/09
As a child of divorce in 1961 I read with great interest the article from the grandmother looking for support.
My brother and I also did not want to sleep at our father's, but would gladly sleep at our grandparents. Our grandparents offered security and unconditional love that we did not find with our father.
For a father to have the attitude that his 8 year old should 'learn to cope' is a horrible way to deal with the trauma of divorce. This poor kid is dealing with enough right now.
I was wondering why you didn't suggest the father get counseling or an attitude adjustment. And why hasn't anyone asked this child why he doesn't want to sleep at his dads?
For the statistics I fall into the 75% and my brother falls into the 25%.