I'm dealing w/ a delusional person pls. help me!

Postby freudianslip71 » Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:56 am

Thank you for taking the time to read this. As I have no where else to turn. The situation is this: I do not know the exact dx of my father. He has alluded to being schizotypal, and from what I know of it I agree. He does not fit neatly into any dx, as I can see. Presenting symptoms are:
grandiose thinking-examples....he "is the only one who understands what is wrong with the world, peoples health, his job, etc
he is argumentative and never communicates other than on topics he prefers which is almost always about philosophy HIS- or health problems, politics.
Everyone else is wrong and he is the only one who has figured things out...example: I take Adderrall, I have been dx'ed by 4 different psychiatrists. He believes that you can "talk to the mind" and not experience ADD and or ANY mental illness. Universally.

He has conspiracy theories.

He is unemotional in the fact that others ideals and opinions are always wrong, unless you agree with him and then he elaborates for almost an hour. Therefore, it is a one way conversation and never easy going conversation.

He does not have close friends, his family has stopped contact-minimal at best, and he hoards things.
Hoarding-his house is filled-to where you can not walk easily, with things he has bought "to sell" and magazines and papers from years and years ago.

If I challenge him on a belief he has that IMO is non-bizzare delsuions-okay it is POSSIBLE-he becomes aggressive and withdrawn. Example: he told me not to use a dry cleaner anymore for my clothing because the chemicals cause cancer. He said he knew it for yrs. now and then he read about it in one of his MANY health magazines. I challenged him and said "so this is a fact and is in medical journals?" He said I don't know-they don't want ppl finding out because they will lose money i.e, Dr,'s and dry cleaning companies.

He will not seek help, believes he is right on all issues, is eccentric and argumentative.

Interestingly enough, he has had the same job for 35 yrs. He is probably above average intelligence and can be at times very giving-but it is usually financially not emotionally. He is not verbally abusive (anymore-my childhood was a nightmare) and we have a history of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder on our family. He has been this way since I can remember-about 30 yrs. He is 58.

What does this sound like and how do you effectively communicate with someone like this. In that, I mean, how not to engage him in these topics and not upset him w/out hurting myself emotionally.

Thank you to all who respond.

Please help me
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Postby Sluagh » Fri Nov 07, 2008 9:55 am

What does this sound like and how do you effectively communicate with someone like this. In that, I mean, how not to engage him in these topics and not upset him w/out hurting myself emotionally.

So you are trying to find a diagnosis for your father so you will know how to handle him better that he wont get upset and upset you?
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Postby freudianslip71 » Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:46 pm

To answer your question Slaugh, although I am very interested in knowing his true dx, I know he would have to see a professional. Although, I am open to anyones opinions on what it might be, I am more concerned and interested in knowing how to deal with the symptom-delusion.

I am at the point where I feel emotionally drained when talking to him and I walk on egg shells with my own (normal-easy flowing type) thoughts and just every day topics. I fear telling him anything, I mean anything, about my life or day etc., because it almost always turns into one of his grandiose lectures. So, I want to know how a family member can deject themselves during a conversation with a person who is unreasonable. It is really starting to get to me.
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Postby Sluagh » Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:08 am

I hear how emottionally draining dealing with your father is for you. And it sounds like you really want to change that. But I think it is important to relaise that we can not change others. Even with a diagnosis. People have to want to change and from what I can read, yourfather is too wrapped up in himself to even consider changing himself.

Perhaps it could be more beneficial to YOU to change something YOU can change. You cannot change yorufather and the way he relates to his enviroemnt, but you can change yourself, how you interact with him, your self esteem etc etc etc
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Postby jurplesman » Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:50 am

I have discussed this kind of personality in:

I am Right Position

and in:

"I am Right Position" in Getting ff the Hook

This is very difficult personality indeed because they have very little insight. To understand this personality is to see it as a defence mechanism against a possible negative self-image. We find this personality among for instance alcoholics who are in denial about their alcoholism. Many of these people can be found in positions of power or management in companies - ie.,the workaholics, or the devoted worker loyal to his company. They may be very intelligent yet have little insight and have problems expression their feelings. They may be attracted to very submissive people or even feel pity for the underdog in some situations, provided they remain top-dogs themselves. They may even become "philanthropists" "doing good to the under-dog. They appear to be stuck in their PARENT ego state. In a crisis situation - as when the their wife walks out of their marriage or when he commit a serious (and on impulsive) criminal offence - they may gain some insight and come to realize as "This is not me!", "There is something wrong with me!". (in sexual offences it is always the woman who is in the wrong!)

It is possible to befriend them sometimes provided they are given enough strokes and admiration. They may even own up to some frailties. But it best to avoid these personalities as much as possible. They get their strokes by putting other people down (ie., putting themselves up). They can be extremely critical so you must have a good self-image yourself to be able to put up with them.
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Postby kapitokrug » Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:12 am

Your father sounds a lot like my grandpa, and I feel it's important that you stay focused on communication rather than diagnosis. This should help you identify and get past what's interfering in your relationship rather than attempting to fix his problem since ultimately he's the one that refuses to budge and he's the one that has to decide to loosen up.

When I talk with my grandpa, I remember that relationships depend upon long-term progress and even though he has a fading memory and health issues, he has a strong moral compass that helps him get back in the moment. At first, I offended him a lot because I pointed out a his hypocrisies such as how he believes in hard work but wasn't willing to focus on having conversations as much as he wanted to lecture me and how he is a goodwilling person but he wasn't willing to listen as well as talk. We would eat dinner or sit together in front of the TV, and I would ask him what's on his mind until he opened his mouth about whatever his feelings were. Eventually, the conversations would build up momentum since he became interested in whether I approved or disapproved of his patterns since I brought in alternative points of view in a non-critical fashion. This lead to him talking about the garden he tends to and the Italian-American club he joined and the restaurants in town he either loves or hates, etc.

My grandpa likes to talk about politics too since he reads the newspaper everyday and listens to the radio regularly, and because his positions are very stringent and elaborate I show him that I appreciate what he says by applying his opinions in contemporary context so he feels he's becoming more and more connected with the real world. I've also talked with other seniors who become closed off from this approach because they feel embarrassed and isolated, so I usually tell them to not worry about it and ask them if they want to play cards or look at a photo album instead. A lot of seniors are stonefaced in this regard because they feel their experience inherently carries wisdom along with it, but when they realize that their mind is missing something, they shut up. Some do it out of shame, others from confusion, others from sadness or fear or even relief since they're happy someone gets what they believe in even though they can't consciously explain that good faith to themselves.

If this happens, I think it would help if you bring up some of the old junk your dad has stashed around the house and ask him to look at it with you. He most likely doesn't remember or hasn't read through all the material, so take it as a joint reading experience; and if he backs away at first, don't despair right away. Try different publications and go easy since you might anger him if you press too hard.

I would also avoid the long-term goal of getting rid of all the clutter for now, but once your father opens up, you should tell him how there is a direct health hazard of the papers becoming moldy if they aren't packaged properly in order to protect them from humidity, how the abundance of junk is holding him back from enjoying himself in the community since he frets so much about arbitrary resources he hardly uses, and how his clinging to stuff dehumanizes himself from being social. If he's really worried about all the knowledge going to waste, tell him that he can donate all the publications to the local library which will gladly take them in order grow their reference stacks, and remind him that he can visit the library to read the material whenever he wants (which will give him the added bonuses of getting out of the house, getting some fresh air, and meeting new people, all of which should be principles he's an advocate of one way or another).

Good luck with your father. Just remember he isn't perfect and even though he might get emotional one day, that doesn't mean you don't have a shot and getting through to him later on.
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