Inappropriate behaviour?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Marguerite, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I was reading someone's thread on concerns about their very young son being hypersexual because of his fascination for photos of naked women and it made me think.

    My best friend's father was odd, to say the least. He was a very clever man but very eccentric. Also, a bully. He seemed very childish in his interactions and his wife enabled him, would either cover for him or soothe people down (including her own daughters).

    My friend described how he would cut out pictures of naked women (or provocative pictures of women) and glue them into other books. It didn't seem to matter WHICH book, if he happened to come across a picture he liked in a girlie magazine he would cut it out, reach for the glue pot, reach for a book off his shelves, open it at random and glue in the picture.

    My friend gave her father a lovely (and very expensive) coffee table book, glossy pages, that dealt with the Mediterranean island where he was born. There was even a detailed chapter on his home village and my friend hadn't realised until she sat with her father after she gave him the book, but there were people in those photos who he knew. He really enjoyed that book, was very pleased with it.

    And yet when she was cleaning out his things after he died, she opened up that book and found a few of his naked lady pictures, glued into that book on top of some beautiful scenery.

    It wasn't that he didn't value the book - he clearly did - but something seemed to drive him to do this. His wife claimed to not know about it, or would make light of it if she stumbled on a book which had acquired one of these 'treasures'.

    For my friend, it felt like the ultimate betrayal. She had spent hundreds of dollars on that book and it seemed to her to be utter disregard. She was able to remove the glued-in picture because the book was good quality glossy pages; the glue was poor quality and it simply cracked off.

    He did a lot of other weird, inappropriate things too, including publicly poking fun at his "funny, fat little girl." He seemed to think it would help her resolve to lose weight. He invited visitors into the bathroom to look at his daughter naked when she was about ten years old - he thought it would be funny. He would also regularly walk through his daughters' bedroom without knocking. He wasn't being a perve, he just didn't consider that they were entitled to privacy or any feelings at all.

    She found other things which brought back painful memories - a photo of her and her sister. Their father had written her sister's name on the photo in large decorative letters with adjectives like "beautiful, darling, treasured" but in smaller, plain print just wrote the other girl's name.

    I remember him from many meetings. He was a volatile man, very difficult at times, very childish. He took a liking to easy child 2/difficult child 2 because she was cute and fair-haired. I didn't think he would have done anything inappropriate to her; besides, he never had a chance to. But his behaviour in general was - a problem.

    Interestingly, his granddaughter is similarly a problem and inappropriate. Narcissistic, tempestuous, can argue her way into or out of anything. Whenever I drop in on my friend and her daughter happens to be there, I don't even bother trying to have any conversation because daughter HAS to monopolise everything. I really do love the girl but I've been concerned for her.

    Amazingly, the mother who had such ordeal from her father can't see the similarity and difficult nature in her daughter.

    None of them lack intelligence. Extremely bright. But something is wrong. Or was wrong, with the father.

    He always seemed to be a spoilt brat whose wife pandered to his whims in order to keep him happy. That seemed to be the creed of the house - "Don't upset your father." If ever he got angry with my friend, he would scream abuse at her and could get physically violent. He could go from apparently happy, to raging, in seconds.

    It's all academic now, but would what I describe fit into bipolar?

    Marg
     
  2. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Sounds more like a personality disorder to me.
     
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Also sounds like a personality disorder to me. Obviously some rather compulsive behavior going on, but many personality disorders have that.
     
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I've wondered if the daughter could have narcissistic personality disorder. Except that her opinions of herself and her talent are NOT exaggerated, the girl is brilliant. But she sabotages herself almost deliberately; gets very disdainful about a job she might have lost ("I didn't want to work for them any more anyway, it was a dead-end job") or a change in career path. As soon as she begins to be noticed and successful, she backs away and makes excuses. I've noticed she hates competing unless she can be certain of winning by a mile. Otherwise she will be disparaging about the competition as an excuse to not even try. She expects the world to beat a path to her door - and it would, if only she would do just a little to let herself be known for what she can do, and to take a few risks. She is beautiful, she is talented and she can sing like an angel. She has a knack for knowing exactly what an audience wants. But she can be impossible to work with if there is any crisis or uncertainty.
    She reminds me of a cat walking across a slippery floor - always trying to be graceful, but a slight slip and the cat tries to pretend that it meant to do that, it wanted to change direction anyway to go look at something over THERE. Although in her case, she would be avoiding walking across the slippery floor and would be very disdainful about people who polish floors!

    But her grandfather - perhaps he seemed worse because nobody ever called him on it. Or perhaps his wife tried to early on, but he was such a forceful personality she learned it was easier to bend rather than risk breaking.

    Very sad, really.

    Marg
     
  5. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Sounds like a personality type disorder from the description.
    Stories like that make me wonder why anyone would remain living in such a terrible environment.
     
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    "Stories like that make me wonder why anyone would remain living in such a terrible environment."

    With my friend, she got married fairly young. Her sister got engaged soon after, so both girls got out of the house while very young.

    Their mother - complex problem but the logic makes sense, in a warped kind of way. She "had to get married" but kept it all very secret, her eldest daughter was just a bit premature, that was all. A two month premature ten pound baby... yeah, right. But she had married someone her parents didn't approve of. And for him - he had no life to go back to. It was wartime Britain. They only had each other, and their new family.

    I think the man's wife spent her life feeling that she had to justify her decision to get married to whom and when she did, and needed to find another reason other than the shameful one (which she never admitted to) and so 'invented' the myth of undying love. All through their marriage when his behaviour was so bad, the woman dealt with it by telling herself it wasn't that bad; the girls didn't mind; "he's only joking" (which he used to say often, especially if challenged by someone he was tormenting); and always the fiction that Daddy is right, he is the head of the household, his will was law.

    As they both got older and more infirm, he resisted all efforts to bring in outside help. His wife was in constant pain from degenerative spine and osteoartritis and was going blind, but he wouldn't allow her to use a walking stick so SHE loudly insisted that she didn't need one. She kept telling everyone, more and more, that they had been in love for sixty years and would die in each other's arms.
    He got worse as dementia added to the problems. It was very sad to watch them both deteriorate, to see that they needed help but to know they would never get it. She was drinking heavily in order to deal with the increasing pain as well as to numb herself to his moods. There was at least one incident where my friend dropped in to check on them and found her father in bed asleep, he had been there like that for three days. His wife had over-medicated him (we think deliberately) and had not called the doctor when he failed to rouse. But to call an ambulance would have put one or other of them in hospital and neither would have ever been allowed to go back home. They knew it and because HE would have made such a fuss (and she was both afraid of that, and also needing to continue the fiction of her life which by now was deeply ingrained) she refused to allow him to be taken to hospital.

    Then he fell. Long story, but some sort of accident was inevitable. He broke his hip. And because it happened out in public, they couldn't just pretend nothing had happened as they had with previous falls (they found she had broken ribs and a cracked pelvis from old injuries that had been unreported). They had no choice but the hospital. And even there, she STILL insisted he was OK and they could both be sent home, she tried to refuse to allow him to be admitted.

    My friend had to step in and get her mother committed as an involuntary patient, so she could get her father admitted for treatment. From that point on, the wife refused to see her husband. It was as if he didn't exist. Meanwhile he was asking for her.
    His wife was too weak to be allowed to go see him. They discovered she was badly malnourished and her spine was a mess. She had been drunk on admission. She went into DTs during her time in the psychiatric ward.

    My friend had been waiting for the chance/need to step in and make arrangements. The house was cleaned up (and cleaned out) then put on the market. A nursing home was found for her father, attached to a retirement hostel for the mother. On discharge, the mother went straight to the retirement hostel. She was still refusing to see her husband and wouldn't even ask after him.

    Then he was ready to be moved. He would never walk again, his dementia was too bad for him to learn. He also was failing to recover from the injury and subsequent surgery - he too had been malnourished. But as he was dying, when he had a few hours left, they took her to sit with him. My friend said she seemed bewildered, very self-absorbed. But she stayed there while he died.

    I remember her at the funeral. She was playing the grieving widow to the hilt and most people were totally hooked in by it, giving her all the sympathy she was milking. I remember her leaning over to me telling me how her darling husband had died in her arms, just as they had always wanted. I believe technically that was true. But only technically. Of course I didn't say anything - no point. She had already rewritten the story, as she had done all the girls' lives. In her mind, what she chose to believe/remember was truth. Very sad.

    She had another few years during which time she gained back a lot of her strength and energy, but she was very self-absorbed most of the time, behaving like a spoilt child. 'What did you bring me?"
    I remember joking with my friend that her mother was now 'channelling' her late husband. But at least the girls were happy to make sure their mother was cared for and kept as pain-free as possible, in her last years.

    Very sad. And also very sad to see it perpetuate.

    People choose their own truths according to what they can handle and will often put up with abuse if they feel the alternative (shame? Being shown to have made a sad mistake?) is far worse. How often do we hear people say, "I'd rather die than admit to being wrong."?

    For some people that is true.

    Marg
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2008
  7. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    "I've wondered if the daughter could have narcissistic personality disorder. Except that her opinions of herself and her talent are NOT exaggerated, the girl is brilliant. But she sabotages herself almost deliberately; gets very disdainful about a job she might have lost ("I didn't want to work for them any more anyway, it was a dead-end job") or a change in career path. As soon as she begins to be noticed and successful, she backs away and makes excuses. I've noticed she hates competing unless she can be certain of winning by a mile. Otherwise she will be disparaging about the competition as an excuse to not even try. She expects the world to beat a path to her door"

    You describe difficult children' father. And NPD has been suggested by many of the psyche's that worked with difficult child 1 when I really started looking for answers with him. Their father, obvously, would not go to a psyche or be treated, so he's never been evaluated, but that's the best guess.

    Whatever the diagnosis, that man is twisted. difficult children' father was twisted, but he was good at it. At 40 and around 350 pounds, he can pick up 20-something women all day long. He has a knack. It took me a while to see thru it, and when I did, I refused to walk out on difficult child 1 and leave him with no one.
     
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