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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My proble mis that I think my mother has a mental disorder,

Resolved Question:

HEy! My proble mis that I think my mother has a mental disorder, yet I do not know how to "diagnose" it and she completely refuses to see a doctor. My mother has always been a VERY coleric person. She gets very angry and shouts horribly at people when something is not done exactly the way she wants. however, despite having these outbreaks sometimes even several times a day, she seems not to remember them. Whenever I try to make her see that she has made a horrible fight for nothing (like leaving the bread on the table instead of putting it in the drawer it belongs) she looks at me as if I were imagining things and insists that she did not shout at all and that she just explained we should not put it there.
I am not sur eif it is really a disorder or just a personality trait but I really hope there is a way to treat that because it makes the family go nuts. She never acts like this in public, just with the family.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like your mother may have a personality disorder. These disorders cause a person to have trouble relating to others. So instead of reacting in a normal way to something, they try to either twist it around or lash out.

Personality disorders is a group of disorder that can include many different symptoms. Here is a link to help you find the symptoms your mother may have:

Unfortunately, as you have discovered, people who have personality disorders do not have insight into their own behavior. They either claim they are not doing what others tell them they are doing, or they twist it around to blame someone else. Therefore, they usually are not open to seeking treatment. If nothing is wrong, why see a counselor?

That leaves it up to the family to find a way to cope. Coping with someone who has a personality disorder can be draining and stressful. There is no way to relate to them normally so you either are on the defensive or you become frustrated and angry.

What you can do is learn more about personality disorders and how to respond to your mother. In addition to the link above, here are some other resources to help you:

Difficult Personalities: A Practical Guide to Managing the Hurtful Behavior of Others (and Maybe Your Own) by Helen McGrath PhD and Hazel Edwards MEd

The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Workbook for Personality Disorders: A Step-by-Step Program (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook) by Jeffrey C. Wood

You can find these books on or your local library may have them for you.

You can also consider family therapy. Your mother may or may not go, but talking to a therapist about how you can address your mother's behavior can help you cope.

When you deal with your mother, try keeping your tone and responses as neutral as possible. If she does have a personality disorder, this will help keep the yelling and screaming down because she has less to respond to.

Try to see if your mother will see her doctor. Along with a checkup to be sure this is not physical in cause, you can call ahead to the doctor and let him/her know about your mother's outbursts. They may be able to get her to listen and get help. It often has more impact coming from a doctor than family.

I hope this has helped you,

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