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He DOES love you, well as much as he knows how


Seraphim

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I have heard this all my life from my mother in regards to my father. My father has several severe mental illnesses and always and still is abusive to people. He has no regard for himself in an capacity. It has always led me to wonder if he really does. She has always told me I was his most favourite person in his life. I guess it does not really matter if he does or does not love me as I will always love him and want him to be well. I think I just wonder if he is capable of love if he has such deep disgust for himself. Do you think anyone with very severe mental illness can love? My mom just says he shows it the only way he can and it is not always good or consistent, but he does.

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My answer would depend on what your definition of love is. I honestly believe that there are a lot of people that are not capable of loving others. For example, my dad only 'loves' others because he wants to be loved back. He is incapable of selfless love.

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My answer would depend on what your definition of love is. I honestly believe that there are a lot of people that are not capable of loving others. For example, my dad only 'loves' others because he wants to be loved back. He is incapable of selfless love.

 

He does not want love for himself, he does not really care if you do or not. He does however want you to do things for him. He is always looking for some patsy to save him. Now that he is in his 60's he has run out of "patsies". I just can not see if he has such deep self loathing how he can be capable of the love my mom tells me he is, ya know?

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I tend to agree with your mum. I think people are capable of love, some just have a very little capacity for it. That must be really hard on your family.

 

For many years now(18 years) I have been mostly estranged from my dad but for a few times a year. My mother is completely estranged from him and remarried 15 years ago and my brother basically has no use for him. He left a lot of damage in his wake. It IS hard though, yes. I really want for him to be happy as my mother does, my brother expresses his pain by saying he does not care if his dad lives or dies.

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I've observed that SOME people with severe mental health problems actually have a capacity to love and care about others. Not all, though, and the way it's expressed will not always be healthy or probably won't be experienced as loving by the recipient.

 

Strangely, people with personality disorders cause a lot more damage to others than people who are frankly psychotic, and the people who have both diagnoses are very, very difficult.

 

I'd guess that your mother's right. Also, you don't say whether your father's abuse is targetted at individuals, or whether he is abusive, say, in response to unseen stimuli and happens to be looking at others whilst swearing back at a voice in his head. The latter will be experienced as abusive by the recipient, but actually isn't anything personal at all.

 

It must have been very damaging to you and your siblings, growing up with a parent like this.

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My father was physically and emotionally, and mentally abusive to almost everyone he has come in contact with. He was far more so with his family though. He used to make far more sense when he was younger but as his mental illness gets worse he has taken on a paranoid element. He will phone and scream at me for things that never happened. He calls the police about stuff people never did to him. He writes members of Parliament etc stating they have personal vendettas against him and that is why his disability cheque is not bigger. When he was younger he was more physically abusive,to my mother, not to me and my brother so much, now he is too frail for this. I mean I really do not think he has the capacity for love but my mother knows him best in the enitre world. They met when they were 15. So do I take her word for it? I mean it would be nice if he was capable of love and even loved me but it is not the end of the world for me if he doesn't.

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I often think that mental patients give us a little taste of what it's like to be them. For example, the screaming and attacking is probably a reflection of what's going on for him inside his own head.

 

Yes, I think so. He had a rough childhood too and his mother had severe bouts of depression where she would not utter a word to him for months at a time. He was the eldest of 4 and from the time he was 8 he was the family "servant". His father was a military man who was away a lot and when he was home he was screaming at my dad or beating on him and even knocked him out a few times. My dad left home at 15.There is also severe mental illness in his father's family. I think mental illness combined with abuse did him in so to speak from a young age. As an adult he went on and off medication. When he is off his medications is when he calls me to scream at me for things that never even happened. It is so hard I mostly stay out of his way because otherwise he draws you into the horrendous drama of his life. I lived that enough as a kid and young adult.While I do love him and want only the best for him I can not let him drag me and MY family into the toilet with him. It is SO exhausting. I am just not sure my mom has an accurate perception or if she wants me to think he does love me, so I feel better.

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I mean I really do not think he has the capacity for love but my mother knows him best in the enitre world. They met when they were 15. So do I take her word for it? I mean it would be nice if he was capable of love and even loved me but it is not the end of the world for me if he doesn't.

 

Yes, I think you do. If she says she knows he loved then I'd say she is right. She would know, feel it, sense it. You know? His acting out is a manifestation of his inner demons, but I still think it's possible deep down to know love. Even with self loathing and/or self hatred. Years of covering it up and hiding it doesn't mean love isn't there somewhere. Sometimes for people like your dad it's easier to not love (or show love). Love requires being vulnerable and some folks will never let themselves be that vulnerable. So they show the world only hatred.

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Hi, Victoria. I'm sorry to hear this about your dad. You're asking if a person with a personality disorder can love one of their children? I think it's possible but in my personal experience it hasn't happened. My mother has Borderline Personality Disorder and she has no maternal instincts. She's so preoccupied with thinking about what people are doing or have done to her (real or imagined) that she doesn't stop for a moment to wonder "how are my kids?" or "are they okay?".

 

She also suffers paranoia, like your dad. She thinks people talk about her and mock her. She thinks people are "out to get" her. With a life like this and thoughts like this constantly going through her mind, she seems totally incapable of love because she purely doesn't have time for it in her... (ahem) busy schedule.

 

If you look at this from your moms point of view, could you really tell your daughter her father is incapable of loving her? I couldn't! Even if it were true because dad is suffering from a personality disorder...I think that's one of those little white lies I'd have to tell. I couldn't hurt my daughters feelings. Know what I mean? And if it's a little white lie your mom is telling, it's because she cares about you so much and doesn't want to see you hurt.

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Yes, I think you do. If she says she knows he loved then I'd say she is right. She would know, feel it, sense it. You know? His acting out is a manifestation of his inner demons, but I still think it's possible deep down to know love. Even with self loathing and/or self hatred. Years of covering it up and hiding it doesn't mean love isn't there somewhere. Sometimes for people like your dad it's easier to not love (or show love). Love requires being vulnerable and some folks will never let themselves be that vulnerable. So they show the world only hatred.

 

Maybe so. I really do want him to be able to love for his OWN sake. The best senerio would be for him to learn to love himself.

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Yes, I can see that. Yeah my father has Borderline Personality Disorder and Bi polar ( I am not sure which type as they did not really talk about "types" years ago). She seems pretty earnest that he loves me though. She could be saving my feelings though.

 

I am sorry you shared the same experience.

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Yes, I can see that. Yeah my father has Borderline Personality Disorder and Bi polar ( I am not sure which type as they did not really talk about "types" years ago). She seems pretty earnest that he loves me though. She could be saving my feelings though.

 

I am sorry you shared the same experience.

It would be hard to conceive of a more difficult combination than this! At least with bipolar, the condition will respond to medication - though it may take MH professionals a while to find the most effective one. With BPD there wouldn't even be any real respite during the better periods, either - and it isn't treatable.

 

I still think your mother's right, though. If she's saying that you were his favourite person, I'd believe that. One of the features of BPD is that the sufferer will 'turn' on their loved ones, but it doesn't change the fact that the person they're damning to hell IS a loved one. Doesn't make it any easier to live with. I often feel as concerned for the families and partners of patients as I do for the patients themselves.

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It would be hard to conceive of a more difficult combination than this! At least with bipolar, the condition will respond to medication - though it may take MH professionals a while to find the most effective one. With BPD there wouldn't even be any real respite during the better periods, either - and it isn't treatable.

 

I still think your mother's right, though. If she's saying that you were his favourite person, I'd believe that. One of the features of BPD is that the sufferer will 'turn' on their loved ones, but it doesn't change the fact that the person they're damning to hell IS a loved one. Doesn't make it any easier to live with. I often feel as concerned for the families and partners of patients as I do for the patients themselves.

 

Yes, it is so hard and was so hard to live with. My mother said he was so delighted when I was born even though he had even almost caused me to not be born. I was the person he treated the best and even that was pretty abysmal. I knew very young that he was not right in his mind. I remember sitting on some steps when I was 4 years old and saying in my mind, "he is crazy" and REALLY understanding what that meant. As I understood more as I got older it was more painful. I remember him trying to kill mother with me as a witness and I remember screaming and screaming. I think I was 6 or so. And all he did was turn and said " shut up you effing idiot".

 

I think you are right though my mom would know more than I do if he is capable of love. I want him more to love himself though.

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