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  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

    Also visit the online treatment locator.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

The service is open 24/7, 365 days a year.

English and Spanish are available if you select the option to speak with a national representative. Currently, the 435748 (HELP4U) text messaging service is only available in English.

In 2020, the Helpline received 833,598 calls. This is a 27 percent increase from 2019, when the Helpline received a total of 656,953 calls for the year.

The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.

The service is confidential. We will not ask you for any personal information. We may ask for your zip code or other pertinent geographic information in order to track calls being routed to other offices or to accurately identify the local resources appropriate to your needs.

No, we do not provide counseling. Trained information specialists answer calls, transfer callers to state services or other appropriate intake centers in their states, and connect them with local assistance and support.

  • Suggested Resources

    What Is Substance Abuse Treatment? A Booklet for Families
    Created for family members of people with alcohol abuse or drug abuse problems. Answers questions about substance abuse, its symptoms, different types of treatment, and recovery. Addresses concerns of children of parents with substance use/abuse problems.

    It's Not Your Fault (NACoA) (PDF | 12 KB)
    Assures teens with parents who abuse alcohol or drugs that, "It's not your fault!" and that they are not alone. Encourages teens to seek emotional support from other adults, school counselors, and youth support groups such as Alateen, and provides a resource list.

    After an Attempt: A Guide for Taking Care of Your Family Member After Treatment in the Emergency Department
    Aids family members in coping with the aftermath of a relative's suicide attempt. Describes the emergency department treatment process, lists questions to ask about follow-up treatment, and describes how to reduce risk and ensure safety at home.

    Family Therapy Can Help: For People in Recovery From Mental Illness or Addiction
    Explores the role of family therapy in recovery from mental illness or substance abuse. Explains how family therapy sessions are run and who conducts them, describes a typical session, and provides information on its effectiveness in recovery.

    For additional resources, please visit the SAMHSA Store.

Last Updated: 08/30/2022

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What are the types of personality and how to interact with them

It is a matter of life experience to understand what kind of person you are in front of you. But learning from our mistakes, as we know, is not always useful, which is why we often resort to psychology. You can understand the characteristics of your interlocutor right now and build relationships with him correctly, guided by simple knowledge about 10 basic personality types. Get ready - below is a very practical and useful guide from Tatyana Vladimirovna Mizinova, Ph.D., President of the European Association for the Development of Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy (EARPP), Vice President of ECPP (Vienna, Austria) and Director of the Persona psychological center. nine0004

For centuries people have sought to create classifications that could predict or explain the behavior of others.

Astrology offered signs of the zodiac, the Chinese horoscope determined the features of a person depending on the year of birth. As science developed, more precise and specific personality typologies appeared. One of the first belongs to Hippocrates, who singled out four types of temperament and, on the basis of the views that existed in science at that time, associated them with the influence of the internal fluids of the body:

Phlegmatic is a calm and unflappable person who rarely shows his true emotions and feelings. In study and work, he will be thorough and unhurried, paying attention to detail and quality.


Choleric is an impulsive, impetuous and passionate person with a sharply changing mood. He also quickly loses interest in the things he has started, especially if they do not bring immediate results. Showing exorbitant activity, choleric people are quickly exhausted emotionally and physically. nine0005

Sanguine is a mobile person with a quick reaction to events taking place around him, but at the same time able to maintain interest in work, even if it is not very interesting. Can easily experience failure.

Melancholic - an impressionable person, often in despondency and thoughts, easily vulnerable, prone to constant experience of his internal processes. Prefers to avoid noisy communication and work alone.

With the development of scientific knowledge and the growing interest in human psychology, dozens of other classifications have appeared based on completely different criteria, and sometimes repeating and complementing each other. nine0005

Thus, Jung singled out two main psychotypes of personality based on the reaction to external stimuli. An extrovert is a person who enjoys communicating with others, open to the world and willingly making contact. Introvert - is distinguished by restraint and prefers solitude to social contacts.


German psychiatrist Ernst Kretschmer and American psychologist William Sheldon proposed a theory about the relationship of temperament type with bodily manifestations and described three types of physique and their corresponding psychological types. nine0005

Asthenik — a man with narrow bones, underdeveloped muscles, thin. He tries not to take active actions and prefers reflection. Often these are closed people who avoid active communication.

Athletic - the owner of a developed skeleton and muscles. Purposeful, persistent, energetic, prone to risk. This type of people is prone to impulsive actions without much thought.

Picnic — overweight, good-natured, open person, prone to seeking comfort and enjoying food. nine0005

Very common and often used today is the classification according to the leading type of perception in humans.

Visual psychotype . These people need to see. Best of all, they assimilate information when reading, and they always evaluate externally, since images, colors, visualization, and gestures play a big role for them.

Auditory psychotype. Such people pay attention to the interlocutor's speech, voice timbre, tone. The information that they perceive by ear is more understandable for them and is better remembered. nine0005

Kinesthetic Psychotype . People of this psychotype are used to feeling. Tactile contacts are important to them, they perceive information through smell, touch and with the help of movements.

Discrete - a person whose perception of information occurs through logical comprehension with the help of numbers, signs, arguments. This psychotype develops as a person grows up, since it is based on well-formed logical thinking.


These are just a few of the most well-known classifications that make it possible to conditionally group people into groups based on related characteristics.

A more interesting and profound classification, on the basis of which psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists work, is the classification proposed by Nancy McWilliams in the book "Psychoanalytic Diagnosis". It describes ten basic personality types.

Schizoid personality type

How to recognize? Most often this type of personality occurs in men. They appear self-absorbed and often avoid contact, preferring computer games instead. Outwardly, they look like loners with "frozen" feelings and strangers in the company detached from the whole world. However, this erroneous impression disappears if you get to know them better. These are very subtly and sharply feeling people, capable of love and care, but they cannot stand the noise and pressure on them. nine0005


How to interact? They live at their own pace and are grateful if their partners understand them and don't put too much pressure on them. Meetings and joint affairs with them must be agreed in advance, since spontaneous actions frighten them rather than attract them. In any IT company, you can always find many employees with this type of personality.

Antisocial personality type

How to recognize? Most often these are people whose childhood was spent in difficult conditions. Not receiving enough love and care, they perceive the world as a threat and react with aggression, even when no one attacks them. People with an antisocial personality type are not capable of empathy and cannot understand the feelings of others, so they rarely establish strong relationships and often change partners without trusting anyone. When they meet, they give the impression of bright, courageous people and attract with their extraordinary and sometimes risky actions. nine0005

How to interact? They generously make promises that will never come true, engage in failed projects for their own benefit, and never feel remorse for hurting loved ones. Oddly enough, antisocial individuals, going over their heads, are successful in business - their unscrupulousness helps them in this. What you never hear from people of this type are words of tenderness. Any manifestation of feelings they perceive as weakness.


Depressive personality type

How to recognize? These are people whose attitude is based on low self-esteem and the feeling that they will always be not good enough. In childhood, they were rejected by their parents: for example, they were left to live with their grandmother. This experience in adulthood is transformed into their unconscious belief that they are worthy of rejection. The whole life of people with a depressive personality type is aimed at earning the love and recognition of others. nine0005

How to interact? These are very kind, gentle people, often sacrificing themselves without any benefit. They try to do as much good as possible in all areas that are available to them. They rarely get angry and express dissatisfaction with others, directing negative feelings towards themselves. People of the depressive type are prone to anhedonia and respond with great gratitude to any manifestations of attention and love for them.

Manic personality type

How to recognize? nine0012 A person with a manic personality type is always cheerful and cheerful, tends to idealize others, often flirts and attracts attention with noisy behavior, which is sometimes excessive.


Almost in any company there is a person who speaks loudly, actively gesticulates, gushing with jokes and ideas, thereby greatly tiring others. It is quite difficult and tiring to be with such a person for a long time - this is the basis of his problems. nine0005

How to interact? Manic people cannot stand loneliness, immediately falling into anxiety, but their activity gives the impression of superficial communication and unwillingness to enter into close relationships. People with this type of character can be excellent organizers and crisis managers. They are successful in any business that requires quick turn-on and action.

Narcissistic personality type

How to recognize? This personality type has been often demonized lately, and the words "narcissist" and "abuser" have become almost synonymous. But it is not so. Most often, people of this type grow up in families where love had to be earned, they were constantly compared with other children, emphasizing other people's achievements and devaluing his own. The feeling that he was good and loved arose only if he was praised for grades or other merits. People with a narcissistic personality type are in two polar states: grandiosity and insignificance. They need to constantly achieve the highest results in order to feel good. The slightest failure is perceived as a total failure, which is accompanied by a sense of destructive shame. nine0005


How to interact? They cannot stand the slightest criticism, they are constantly preoccupied with their appearance and social status, they suffer from perfectionism, which does not make them feel the joy of achievements. This psychotype is equally found among both men and women. At the beginning of a relationship, a bright and unforgettable period of passion and adventure awaits them, which is always replaced by disappointment and the problem of getting out of this relationship, as the partners are held by memories and the hope of returning all the good things. nine0005

Paranoid personality type

How to recognize? One could say about the paranoid personality type that these are people with a “bad character”. Suspicion, incredulity, lack of a sense of humor, criticality are their characteristic features, which often lead to a lack of friends and family relationships.

How to interact? Often they are consumed by pathological jealousy - they can constantly check their partner, because they are afraid of betrayal and see him everywhere. The feeling of constant tension and the inability to relax, the need to be in constant struggle, greatly complicate their life. At the same time, these are people with a high level of intelligence: they can reach high positions in areas where their character traits are applicable. nine0005

Masochistic personality type

How to recognize? Often these are people who are defiantly in the position of a victim, forcing others to show sympathy and support for them. There are three main topics that these people complain about: Even if they seek the help of a specialist, they still do not follow the recommendations. nine0018

  • Marriage - often choosing partners who are abusers and alcoholics, they do not at all want to part with them, but are inspired by the idea of ​​saving or re-educating them.
  • Children — a life sacrificed for the sake of children becomes the central idea, even if children do not need it and over-care rather burdens them.
  • How to interact? Most often, women belong to this type of personality. Before we allow ourselves to be drawn into a discussion of their suffering, we need to consider whether we are becoming an object of manipulation. nine0005

    Obsessive-compulsive personality type

    How to recognize? The obsessive personality type tends to get stuck on thinking about ideas and intentions, for them the transition to action is problematic.


    Any purchase, not to mention changing jobs or choosing an apartment, causes a lot of problems and doubts. They can plan trips for years, but not take concrete steps, as they are not sure of the correctness of their choice. nine0005

    In contrast, people of the compulsive type are prone to rash impulsive actions and decisions that they later regret.

    How to interact? Parents of people with this personality type are overly strict and demand absolute obedience from their children. As a result, they either accept these settings, constantly doubting the correctness of the choice, or they rebel, trying to do everything quickly, until the conditional "parent" stops them. People of this type are kind, take responsibility, are attuned to family life and love to equip life. nine0005

    Hysterical personality type (theatrical personality)

    How to recognize? Bright, demonstrative, in need of attention and demanding love. Most often, it is women who are representatives of the hysterical type of personality.

    They tend to get into stories connected with love dramas, they can drag them out for years, falling into dependence on these experiences. Therefore, they often move from one love crisis to another.

    How to interact? nine0012 The hysterical personality type implies high emotionality, but at the same time the ability to create strong, warm and stable relationships. In them, the partner will be comfortable, provided that he is generous with compliments and manifestations of love. In their hearts, women of a hysterical personality type always remain little girls in dire need of a partner's care. They are always ready to play their little performance both for a large hall and for one spectator.


    How to Know if Your Parents Have a Mental Illness (And What to Do Now) - Knife

    In our society, a “good mother” is the default setting. And if a woman does not fulfill her duties, then something is definitely wrong with her, perhaps she is mentally ill. Terrible fathers are much less likely to be suspected of insanity.

    But this idea of ​​parenthood is far from reality. There can be no innate instinctive knowledge that a child needs personal space, that a teenager's opinion must be reckoned with, or that constant criticism and repression harms his development no less than beatings. nine0005

    The experience of parenthood does not make anyone a saint: mothers and fathers, like any other people, can be cruel, selfish, immoral people. Not to mention the fact that ideas about a good upbringing change quickly, and what was the norm for our grandmothers seems to us savagery (for example, to intimidate a child with a policeman and force them to finish eating porridge).

    It's hard to wrap your head around, but in most cases of child abuse, quite healthy people are guilty, who are fully responsible for their actions. nine0304

    Only in some cases, the reason for the bad behavior of parents is a mental disorder. We will not talk about specific diagnoses, since most people suffering from mental problems in their 40s and 60s have never been to a psychiatrist. We will talk about common symptoms, how they affect the children of such parents, and what you can do to improve your life.

    Totality of violation and harm to oneself: how to distinguish pathology

    How to distinguish healthy behavior of parents from unhealthy? The difficulty is that even specialists cannot draw a clear line between the norm and pathology. There is a whole range of options between a character trait (which psychologists call accentuation) to a disease, which can also be expressed to varying degrees. There are borderline disorders - conditions on the verge between health and illness, when, under stress, a person is "carried out" inappropriately. nine0005

    For example, every person experiences anxiety from time to time. Mom is worried that a small child will hit, and in order to prevent this, she closes the sharp corners in the apartment.

    Anxiety can be increased: the mother is afraid that the child will hit, and forbids him to ride roller skates and bicycles.

    Anxiety can be pathological: the child has grown up a long time ago, but the mother continues to worry that he might break. When he goes on a trip, she calls and reads the safety instructions or just throws a tantrum. If this happens, but in some unusual situations for the mother, this is most likely also within the normal range. If it is regular, perhaps it is about anxiety disorder .

    There are some general signs that may suggest pathology.

    First of all, it is the totality of the violation : a mental disorder affects all areas of a person's life, manifests itself in many situations and accompanies him throughout his life.

    Most often, the disorder develops in youth, before 20-30 years of age. With age, it can increase or, on the contrary, be compensated under favorable living conditions and developed self-control. nine0005

    Women around the age of 50 are at risk: against the background of age-related hormonal changes, anxiety and depression may increase, and in rare cases, a more serious mental illness may begin.

    Men and women with certain somatic diseases are at risk: these are circulatory disorders of the brain, sleep disorders, some hormonal disorders, long-term severe diseases that deplete the body. All this can physically affect the functioning of the brain and cause malfunctions. nine0005

    Secondly, no matter how unpleasant the “difficult parent” may be, he himself suffers most from his insanity. Every day he experiences a lot of unpleasant emotions and experiences, for years he lives with feelings of fear, irritation, pain, depression.

    If healthy people worry about problems, for an unhealthy person, everyday life itself is a problem. "Narcissists" and "sociopaths" also suffer: the former from the strongest shame for their imperfection, the latter from inner emptiness. In old age, the condition of such people, as a rule, worsens: depression, anxiety or paranoia come to the fore, because of these qualities they are most often alone and not realized. nine0005

    If a relative mocks you, but at the same time shines with cheerfulness and complacency, the problem is not in illness, but in his personality.

    Thirdly, a mentally ill person treats his behavior uncritically.

    Most often, he does not understand why he is so unbearable for you, and can even sincerely consider himself a victim (a victim of "ungrateful" children, "stupid" colleagues, "envious" friends, or even a whole conspiracy against his person).

    Fourthly, a person is not able to get rid of these "shortcomings" of his own free will. Even if he really wants to, he is unable to stop being suspicious, suspicious, gloomy, manipulative. Over the years, many people successfully learn to hide their oddities, but this does not mean that they stop thinking and feeling inadequately. nine0005

    Why dig into the mental disorders of parents

    Perhaps you are wondering why to dig into the causes of inappropriate behavior at all? Isn't it better to just run as fast as you can from such a person?

    The point is that understanding a problem is the way to solve it. First of all, the patient's condition can be improved with the help of medications, psychotherapy and a healthy lifestyle.

    There are many cases when domestic scandals and tantrums stopped after a course of well-chosen pills. Anxiety, irritability, chronically depressed mood, outbursts of aggression, insomnia - all these are symptoms that you can really get rid of. nine0304

    Even if it is impossible to convince your parents to get medical treatment, you can change your attitude towards their antics: perceive them not as evil tyrants or unfortunate martyrs, but as unhealthy people from whom it is useless to expect adequacy.

    The most sensible strategy in dealing with mentally ill parents is not forgiveness (which many psychologists like to advise), but acceptance.

    See also:

    What is the difference between forgiveness and acceptance - and why it is possible not to forgive parents

    Acceptance of the fact that this person is not able to give you the love and understanding that you dreamed about as a child and maybe still dream about. It is unlikely that he/she will ever get better or repent of past mistakes. It is also unlikely that he/she will be a better grandparent to grandchildren than he/she was a parent.

    Instead of endlessly waiting for the impossible, you should direct your efforts to help yourself: create a comfortable distance for you in communication with your parents and look for support where it can be given. nine0005

    Pathologically Anxious Parents

    “My mother knew that I would have a difficult and long drive with two small children. I asked her not to distract me without a good reason. But while I was on the road, she cut off the phone: 20 calls and 40 messages! And this is to inform me that the wind has increased by several meters per second and she is afraid that something will fall on my car. If I answered her calls every time, I would definitely bump into something, ”is a very typical story from the life of an adult daughter of pathologically anxious parents. nine0005

    Anxious parents are constantly worried: that something will happen to their children, that their personal life or career will not work out, that it will work out, but somehow it’s not right ...

    There is neither measure nor logic in these worries. They control: they demand detailed reports about the lives of adult children and at the same time they can find fault with every little thing. They are horrified when something unexpected and unusual happens to them.

    But even when nothing happens, they are still worried, because "it can't be so calm, my heart feels, something terrible will happen. " nine0005

    Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorder in the world, and among middle-aged and older Russian women it is especially common. And although these disorders are very common, they are diagnosed and treated in Russia many times less than in Western countries.

    Mom (rarely dad) does not mock you on purpose and does not pretend: anxiety can be so strong that an ordinary person is not able to withstand it.

    “I can’t eat or even breathe because of my worries”, “my heart hurts for you” are not metaphors, but the real feelings of an anxious person. nine0005

    How to help anxious parents . Increased anxiety is quite well relieved with the help of medications - antidepressants, anxiolytics or antipsychotics.

    It is not necessary to take the mother to a “terrible” psychiatrist, some drugs can be prescribed by a neurologist at the district clinic. A nice bonus of treatment is that “insoluble” physical health problems often disappear, which parents constantly complained about (headaches, pain in the heart, insomnia).

    How to communicate with parents and how to help yourself . If the need for treatment is denied, it remains only to isolate yourself from the uncontrolled discharge of unhealthy emotions.

    The principle “knows less - sleeps better” works quite well: stop the practice of daily reports, or reduce it to a minimum - for example, one message per day with the standard text “everything is fine”.

    Tell as few details as possible about your life, transferring conversations to the affairs of the parents themselves. Think of the stream of disturbing consciousness as hindrances, between which important information sometimes slips, and do not react to it emotionally: “Yes, Mom. I can hear you mom. By the way, about the garden / weather / birthday. In fact, what an anxious person wants most is to hear reassurance that all is well. Your real life situation is not very interesting to him. nine0005

    Accept that your parents are not the right people to turn to in a difficult situation. Perhaps they will help physically or financially, but the discussion of any problems will be accompanied by panic / hysteria / bouts of pressure (underline as necessary).

    Anxiety is a contagious thing, especially if you grew up talking about “no matter what happens.” Many children of anxious parents also develop anxiety disorders of various kinds, from obsessive-compulsive disorder to panic attacks. With this problem, in addition to a psychiatrist, it is worth contacting a cognitive-behavioral psychotherapist. And for starters, learn basic self-help techniques (for example, how to breathe properly to stop a panic attack). For example, good self-help books: Robert Leahy, Freedom from Anxiety, Lynn Clark, Curb Your Emotions. How to deal with anxiety, anger and depression. nine0005

    Depressed parents

    “My mother seems to be a kind and sincere person, but she sees her whole life in a black light. As a result, 90% of our conversations come down to her whining about the terrible weather, terrible health, terrible news on TV and how she suffers from the fact that we so rarely see each other. But how to communicate more often if, after an hour of talking with her, I find such despondency that at least go and drown yourself?

    Depressive disorders are also a very common occurrence both among the young and outwardly prosperous and among the old and sick. Of course, difficult living conditions, serious illnesses (for example, oncology), loss of loved ones increase the likelihood of their development. nine0005

    It is important to distinguish between chronic depression ( depressive disorder ) and depression caused by certain sad events ( reactive depression ). In the second case, a person will eventually return to normal, and in the first case, episodes of longing and melancholy will accompany him throughout his life.

    Depressed parents are not only gloomy and sad. They are cold and distant, which is especially unbearable for children. Often they are passive, helpless and dependent, they constantly need to be rescued, because they can hardly cope with ordinary tasks. Sometimes they are irritable and suspicious. nine0304

    Depressed people often talk about illnesses and imminent death, even if a person is only 40, they can have a specific "graveyard" humor.

    Depression differs from the “usual melancholy” in that a person is in it for a long time (months, sometimes even years), and a pessimistic view spreads to everything around.

    If parents become sick and unhappy only when they need something from you, they are most likely manipulators (which also does not guarantee their health, see Psychopathic Parents). nine0304

    Depressed people cannot believe in change for the better, which makes it very difficult to motivate them to get treatment. Some drown depression with alcohol, which is especially typical for men. Depression is often accompanied by anxiety. In addition, it can manifest itself at the level of physical sensations: inexplicable pain in the heart, in the abdomen, a feeling of weakness, heaviness.

    How to help depressed parents . In many cases, antidepressants can work wonders: the eternal “whiner” turns into a completely cheerful person who suddenly has interests and plans for the future. In addition to a certain number of pills, depressive people need a lot of support - both moral and practical. nine0005

    It is important to understand that love and understanding alone cannot cure them. Such people have a black hole in their soul that cannot be plugged, no matter how hard you try.

    How to help yourself . To save your own mind, you will have to dose the support provided. Decide how many hours of complaints per week you are willing to endure without fatal damage and how many practical requests to fulfill (their flow will never dry up). Recognize that you are doing this for yourself, and not for the sake of winning your mother's love: until depression is cured, the flow of complaints about life, as well as about your callousness and inattention, will not stop. nine0005

    Psychopathic parents

    Personality disorders, or, as they used to be called, psychopathy , are expressed in character pathologies. In fact, this is the “unbearable character” in its extreme manifestations.

    Personality disorders do not affect the intellect and the ability to perform work or household chores. "Abnormality" manifests itself primarily in relationships, and most of all - in relation to relationships with the most significant people. nine0304

    Many people are confused by this paradox. For example, the father of the family has an excellent reputation at work. He jokes with colleagues and deftly fawns on his superiors. No one can believe that at home he is an unpredictable tyrant who kicks his wife out into the street and beats the children when they make too much noise. The reason is that superficial relationships with colleagues do not affect the painful emotions of such a person. In addition, for many "psychopaths" a beautiful external picture, the image of a good family, is important. Maintaining the image requires a lot of effort from them. And at home, they behave "naturally" and splash out the accumulated tension, which does not bode well for loved ones. nine0005

    There are European and American classifications of personality disorders. Personality disorders can be different (borderline, narcissistic, hysterical, dependent and many others).

    But most of their carriers are characterized by such unpleasant traits for loved ones as the predominance of emotions over reason (because actions can be unpredictable and illogical), manipulativeness, lack of empathy, obsession with oneself and one's experiences.

    Psychoanalysis explains the destructive behavior of "psychopaths" by inflexible psychological defenses. You probably managed to experience them on your own experience. For example, idealization of and devaluation of : when the daughter was a “princess”, and after an objectionable act to her father, she became a “monster”. Or projection : your parents bullied you for many years, but they claim that they are the victims, and you are a heartless tormentor. Typically denial of even the most obvious facts.

    Do not try to break through psychological defenses (unless, of course, you dream of driving the parent completely crazy). They perform an important function: they protect a vulnerable person from unbearable experiences. To admit that someone was a sadistic father or an envious mother is really unbearable. Any self-deception would be better. nine0005

    Evgenia Bogdanova , psychologist, project manager " Toxic Parents " :

    “Psychopathic parents are disharmonious people who constantly need self-affirmation. Unfortunately, most often they do this at the expense of the child, because he is always available. Even if the child is well done, does everything, studies well, they will find a reason for criticism and depreciation. Children trust their parents and grow up extremely unsure of themselves and their abilities. nine0005

    Parent's behavior is illogical and unpredictable. Because of this, the child has to literally become a psychic. He can tell by the sound of footsteps in what mood dad came home from work. With age, this guarantees not only sensitive intuition, but anxiety, fears.

    It is typical for a psychopathic parent to blame the child for their misdeeds and bouts of aggression. A person acquires an oppressive sense of guilt, and it is this that continues to keep him close to his parents in adulthood. nine0005

    How to help parents . With the help of pills, you can remove individual symptoms characteristic of disturbed personalities: all the same depression, anxiety, irritability.

    But that doesn't make them "normal". To curb unhealthy emotions, a restructuring of the entire personality is necessary, which will require many years of psychotherapy.

    So the main strategy is to love (or dislike, as you feel more comfortable) such parents at a safe distance. If they really need regular help (they are seriously ill, low-income), explore the possibility of outsourcing it: for example, inviting a social worker, a “master for an hour” or a nurse. It will cost much less than years of psychotherapy or "self-treatment" after personal visits. nine0005

    How to communicate and help yourself . First of all, accept the fact that this person is who they are. It won't change itself, and you won't change it.

    Try not to take devaluation and manipulation from your parents personally. In fact, they are not talking to you, but to their personal demons.

    Do not let them into your personal life and do not let them into your experiences. At the first quarrel, they use everything that you entrusted to them against you. nine0005

    If you need to agree on something, two tricks can work. The first is praise and even flattery , "psychopaths" are very sensitive to them. The second is to treat from the position of the weak and incompetent, who asks for help from the strong. Psychopathic parents often see competitors in their own children, and the weakness of a competitor reduces their aggression.

    Schizophrenic parents

    “Father was always a cold and distant person, he seemed to live in his own world and was not very interested in me. He never asked how I was doing, didn't even look me in the eyes. But at the same time, sometimes he began to suspect me of some strange things and arranged real interrogations. It was impossible to convince him that I did nothing of the sort. If I cried - it confirmed that I was lying, if I remained unperturbed - even more so. nine0005

    Scientists talk about the existence of a whole spectrum of schizophrenic disorders, which include not only the classic schizophrenia with psychotic attacks and "voices in the head", but also less severe disorders, for example, schizoid and paranoid disorders . According to the medical classification, these are personality disorders, but their manifestations are in many ways similar to those of schizophrenia, although much less pronounced.

    They manifest themselves in a specific character and disorders of thinking. nine0005

    Such people are reserved and focused on their experiences. They are not capable of close warm relationships and empathy with others. Thinking is disturbed to varying degrees, their statements often lack logic and meaning.

    Many of these people are suspicious and suspicious up to bouts of paranoia - they are sure that someone wants to harm them, and this must be saved at all costs. In such cases, they either “save” their children, or they themselves are accused of malicious intent. Paranoia is far from always obvious to others: these are not necessarily ideas about persecution by aliens or the CIA, but, for example, very detailed (and completely fictitious) stories to neighbors that the daughter stole jewelry from her mother or survives her from the apartment. nine0005

    Evgenia Bogdanova:

    “It is especially bad for children that parents with schizophrenic disorders communicate with double messages. For example, mom says: “Get out of here!” And with her whole appearance she shows that you can’t go anywhere. Or after a minute: “Stop, did I tell you to leave?” For a child, this conflict is insoluble, he does not know what to do and what to believe.

    To survive in the family, he has to be obedient and quiet. This is a convenient child who is very afraid of doing something wrong. Growing up, he becomes a closed loner. nine0304

    This is a typical "white crow", it is difficult for him in society. Often these are bright, interesting people, but completely closed, emotionally inaccessible. In relationships, it is difficult for them to open up, they repeat the illogical behavior of their mother: they either attract or repel, they cannot believe that they are really loved.

    How to help schizophrenic parents . Schizophrenia is a severe progressive disease, over the years it often leads to personality degradation: passivity, depression, and indifference to the environment increase. Such a person needs regular monitoring by a psychiatrist and constant medication. Carefully selected modern drugs can avoid severe side effects. By old age, many patients lose the ability to serve themselves, and then the help of a social worker or a nurse will be needed. nine0005

    Unfortunately, it is often impossible to convince an elderly and very suspicious person to seek treatment. In this case, it is better to abandon attempts to save your parents and focus on helping yourself.

    See also:

    What to do if there is a mentally ill person in the family - and he denies treatment

    How to help yourself . You will need a competent and patient psychotherapist who will help you overcome codependency with a parent in the first place. Schizoids try to bind the child to themselves and limit his communication with the outside world, because most often this is their only close person. They use any means for this, up to blackmail by suicide. They instill the idea that the world is hostile, only mother/father can be trusted. It will take a lot of effort and a lot of support to believe that in fact everything is exactly the opposite: the hardest thing happened in the family. nine0005

    Your parents did not choose to live with a mental disorder. But you did not choose it either, and therefore you should not bear their burden. If parents are ready for treatment and are ready for some work on themselves, it is definitely worth supporting them on this difficult path.

    If categorically not, at some point you will have to admit that you cannot save them, but destroying your own life is quite likely.

    It is not necessary to completely cut off communication and run to the ends of the earth. Although in some cases this is the only way out. nine0304

    There is a chance to keep balance by observing certain rules of communication with unhealthy and not fully responsible people.

    1. Accept the reality of as it is: the parents are mentally ill.

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