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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Can Parental Neglect Cause Personality Disorder to an Adult?


 marcia smith - Wed Aug 25, 2010 6:20 am

Hello.. You might remember me contacting you 3 weeks ago.

My boyfriend (whom I suspect of camouflaging a personality disorder) had mentioned bitterly that he was neglected as a child. He remembers his parents always hugging each other and kissing in front of him, and never wanting to spend time with him! They always instructed him to 'go to your room and play with your quitar, because we need to talk here'. They seemed 'deeply in love' for the duration of their marriage, i.e. 30 years, they always wanted to be alone, hugging and kissing, until the mother (and wife) got cancer and sadly died 2 years ago...

So I think that might explain my bofriend developing a 'clinging personality', depression, and wishing to find someone to cling onto and get love from, and trying to get this love, even by pressure. Because he only wanted to have a deep relationship/marriage after his mother died. Before that, he said he was living in a totally different style, just girlfiends, casually, no promises, no comitments.

Thank God, I had a wonderful upbringing, and consider myself a balanced person. However, probably my boyfriend wasn't as lucky. Could the negligence his parents showed to him, be the reason for him getting depressed, violent, irritable and ocasionally paranoid? Or can this be another 'carefully planned' excuse, people with personality disorder frequently use? From what I read in forums, this might be also the case. Or could this parental behaviour be the 'model of relationship' he had learnt to expect, when he would be an adult himself? And then he expects me to be like his mother was to his father.

That might explain his persistence to put me into such a relationship, at all costs i.e. checking my phone, not allowing me to go out alone, to speak to men co-workers etc for more that 3 minutes, to batter me verbally when my phone didn't work etc...

I would be grateful to have your opinion... Thank you so much!
 Faye Lang, RN, MSW - Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:03 am

Hello again,

Yes, I recall your previous post, and my concerns about the seriousness of your boyfriend's conduct and for your safety.

Certainly we are affected by our relationship with our parents as we grow up. However, there are fewer conditions that are "caused" by such relationships than you might expect. Some people grow up in terrible conditions but find the resilience to have good relationships with others, while other people grow up with every advantage but have terrible relationships with others. Genetic factors and environment both play a part, as does personal choice. Even persons with severe psychosis have some control of their behavior.

A personality disorder that includes intense control, verbal abuse and threats of violence is not likely to change. Modifications can be made, if the person is willing, committed to making changes, and is willing to accept treatment. Obviously, I cannot suggest a diagnosis for your boyfriend, since I cannot see him or evaluate him. I am still concerned that you seem willing to accept and excuse the inappropriate behavior that you report. Once again, I urge you both to speak with your doctors about these issues, and consider speaking with a mental health professional to help you sort out what is happening and why.

Good luck to both of you.

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