More threads by cycel



I've posted my first message in the introductions forum and I guess this is the one I should post now.

My concern is mainly with my father; I am convinced that my mother has a narcissist personality disorder, probably since early youth, and there is no hope of her becoming better or making any effort to stop hurting others, specially my father. He is not an angel either but I believe he could be helped somehow.

I have to try to clean my mind of my mother's words to attempt to describe my father as objectively as possible. The way he behaves is pretty unadapted (socially), the most remarkably trait I've seen develop with age is that he tries to capture other's attention by causing them a shock with inadequate comments, even offensive remarks and rude expressions out of place. He seems to enjoy very much the impact he produces but then suffers and complains because people won't talk to him again. Also he's always had an irresponsible attitude particularly with money affairs.

After having gone through all kind of situations with my parents (some very painful in fact), I do not see them anymore; I just can't endure it, I've been through tough depression periods and had to search for professional help a number of times. Only after realizing my mother's personality disorder and how it explained so much I couldn't until now understand, I've tried to help my father.

I've read that schizophrenia and related disorders have a metabolic component and also that one should avoid expressing too much emotion when talking to them. Actually I talk to him on the phone, I listen mainly and try to be honest and make some cheerful comments. I also write him in a light manner about trivialities he may enjoy and send him a sort of living allowance once a month as he depends pretty much for pocket money on my mother's 'good will'.

What I would like to know is how to find out what is wrong with my father, I've read about a skin test for essential fatty acid metabolism that could detect whether he has schizophrenia. None of my parents would allow any medical advice, testing or counselling regarding their mental health.

Can anybody comment on this? if it makes any sense what I've said, that is.

I will appreciate any reflection that may come to your minds.


David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
You don't indicate how long your father's behavior has been of concern, Cycel, or how old he is now, but I must say that what you have described doesn't sound like schizophrenia. Indeed, there isn't sufficient information about what symptoms you are seeing in your father to even make much of a guess about other diagnoses -- it could be many things.

I'm not aware of any definitive skin test or other medical test for schizophrenia. The illness is diagnosed by someone trained to recognize the signs and symptoms, some of which are more pathognomic (i.e., definitive or critical) than others.


I don't know wheter I am using this reply feature correctly, hmm, let's see.

Thanks for your quick comment. My father is 88, my mother 89, but both have a reasonable good physical health and mentally they are more or less as always, basically their 'peculiarities' have reinforced.

My father's behaviour has been of concern (to my mother only) for as long as I can remember (about 45 years), this concern has been hidden within the family (my sister and me).

After we left our parent's house, things got worse. They seem to devote all energy to make each other miserable. My father may be said to have paranoid behaviour but I believe there is some true in his worries; the center of his anguish is 90% my mother, 10% others. He is scared to be thrown out of his house, of plots against him (with some reason I would say), thinks my mother has lovers, with no reason I believe but the shows she puts up; she has tremendous energy.

In the last (10?) years he has developed a tendency to become suspicious after holding a normal relationship for a while (months); that is one of the reasons why I've switched to phone contact only, seems to trust me better.

How can one help to ease all this? I believe I have realized things too late.

Well, a lot of the suspiciousness, coupled with the advanced age of you father, could point to some sort of dementia. I know suspicion seems to often be present in sufferers of this condition.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Good points, Steve, except that Cycel indicates that her father has been that way for as long as she can remember...

I still doubt that it is schizophrenia per se, cycel - there may be some sort of personality disorder with paranoid elements, but even there your parenthetical comment "with some reason I would say" makes me wonder if this isn't simply an adaptation to the dynamics of a dysfunctional relationship.

Given that he does better with telephone contact than in person, I would also wonder about an anxiety disorder...

But it is foolish to try to diagnose anyone at a distance. If your parents have been this way for years, and given your father's age, I expect it would be difficult to get him to agree to see a psychiatrist or psychologist. However, assuming he has regular or semi-regular visits to the family doctor, that might be one person you could relay your concerns to. Confidentiality means that your doctor may not be able to give you much information about your father without his express consent but that doesn't prevent the doctor from listening to information you wish to provide to him.


I see what you say.

Steve, you mention some kind of dementia, could you recommend some reading about old age dementias? I don't know much about the subject.

There certainly is an anxiety component, as you David mention. I suspect much about "adaptation to the dynamics of a dysfunctional relationship", where being impossible to come to 'terms' with it one gets out of ballance.

I believe that two people like my parents don't get together and stay together just by sheer chance, there is some sort of weird inteaction between them that both preserve (somehow).

My father has never been sent to specialist care by his family care practitioner; and I am worried about 'making noise' putting attention on him as there have been attempts in the family to decide on his destiny by force.

At this stage of things I am mostly thinking of finding out
- ways to behave with him to help ease his suffering and
- dietetic recommendations or dietary supplements that may be adequate and without risk for him (vitamin B6?, primrose oil?, fish oil?, gingkgo?..)

he likes taking supplements and probably would try something I can recommend or buy for him.

Any general guidelines will be welcome.

Thanks a lot for your answers.


David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Ginkgo doesn't really do anything, according to the latest research.

Vitamin supplements may help - it depends on his medical condition, diet, alcohol consumption, etc.

Dietary supplements that contain omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) -- fish, whole grains, nuts, or in the form of salmon oil -- would probably be helpful, to his general health if not to the other issues.
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