Is Your Parent Driving You Crazy?

Posted on

Mar 11, 2020

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I believe the reason humans face so many struggles and dilemmas in life, love, and loss is so we will have many opportunities to learn from living and grow from learning.Viewing struggles as opportunities helps us grow stronger and wiser. My job is to help adults grow, using psychological concepts, insights, and skills.


A case in point. I arrived in Dallas in 1982 as the citys first fellowship-trained clinical gero-psychologist, and soon found my practice taking me into every corner of the local senior care network. Most older adults are, of course, fine people - capable, connected, content, and congenial and most of my clients were fine people who had simply hit a rough patch in life. But many of the elderly individuals referred for my services were described quite explicitly as very difficult. They treated their own children rudely, with cruel sarcasm, irrational and selfish demands, constant criticism, and undeserved anger. Most of the adult children of these elders were fine people who struggled valiantly to love their parents.
In 2015, after working with hundreds of such cases, I coined the acronym CODOP, for Children Of Difficult Older Parents, to describe these adult children. My book, Loving Hard-to-Love Parents: A Handbook for Adult Children of Difficult Older Parents, was published in 2017.
Difficult older parents are either long-difficult, typically due to a personality disorder, or newly-difficult, typically due to dementia. The adult children of these two categories share a need for tools for:

Protecting their heart
Effectively loving their hard to love older relatives, and
Creating a healthy legacy for their own children.

In my book and in my office practice, I provide these tools.
Everybodys life has challenge, struggle, and pain. Our life story may not be pretty, but our journey is necessary and meaningful. In my practice, I have the honor of helping real people transform real pain into real strengths and skills that will last them a lifetime. If this sounds helpful to you, if you are ready to grow, if you have a difficult older relative, I hope youll give me a call.
Editors Note: This article was written by Paul K. Chafetz, PhD, Clinical Psychologist. He may be reached at PKChafetz@gmail.com or 469-233-5566.

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