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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My mother is 70 and I am almost 50. As she has aged, her personality

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My mother is 70 and I am almost 50. As she has aged, her personality has become more pronounced... judgemental, selfish, caddy, selfinvolved, disregarding, and a little confused, not to mentionconstantly repeating herself. I am an only child, she is driving me crazy, and I want to have a better relationship with her before it's too late. I cannot discuss this with her because she will DENY! How can I change MY attitude toward her?
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It can be very difficult to have a relationship with someone who has the symptoms you describe. If your mother has been like this for all or most of your life, then it may be safe to say that she has a personality disorder.

Personality disorders are typically ingrained behaviors that someone develops, usually in response to being raised in a dysfunctional home. The person could not get their needs met (for unconditional love and attention) so they developed other ways to get what they needed which usually involved dysfunctional behaviors. When they grew up, they continued these behaviors even when they were no longer needed.

Therapy is an excellent option for someone with symptoms like your mother. However, treating someone with a personality disorder can be difficult. For one, they have to recognize they have a problem and be willing to get help and someone who has a personality disorder rarely understand that they have a problem. Also, personality disorders are hard to treat because they are ingrained in the personality of the person. So treating them is altering the person's perceptions and some basic personality traits. That does not mean they cannot be treated, but the effort it takes on the part of the person is more intense.

However, therapy can help you cope with the stress of dealing with your mother. The therapist can provide support and guidance for navigating the difficulty of having a relationship with your mother.

If your mother is beginning to get worse and has started repeating things, you may want to see if she is willing to see her doctor. Sometimes people who refuse to see a therapist are willing to see their doctor. Along with an overall checkup, your mother's doctor may want to evaluate her for possible signs of dementia. That would explain the increase in symptoms and the confusion she experiences. In that case, the doctor may recommend treatment that your mother is willing to follow, making it easier for you to develop a better relationship. If you can, contact the doctor before your mother's appointment to let him/her know what symptoms you are seeing with your mother.

In the meanwhile, you can learn more about personality disorders to see if they fit your mother's behavior and to learn more about how to relate better to your mother. If you know what to expect with her behavior, you may be able to work around some of the triggers and find a better way to relate to her:

I hope this has helped you,
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