Mental Disorders

Ask Dr. Dombeck
Ask Dr. Dombeck
Psychotherapy and Mental Health Questions

Avoiding Her Parents

After the most recent visit with my parents, my husband and I decided to distance ourselves from them due to their (especially my father's) obvious mental health problems. They are in denial and would never dream of seeking therapy (while they do buy self-help books), and they think that the problems lie with everyone else. From what I've been able to learn about different disorders, it seems my father probably has narcissistic, paranoid, and/or obsessive-compulsive disorder(s). I can't figure out my mother, but her problems don't seem as serious; I'd say my father's behavior is probably her biggest problem.

Growing up in that environment was tough and has had lasting effects. After trying my best for years to have happy visits, with only limited success, I believe that to have a healthy adult life and marriage we must stay away from my parents. Does this seem like the right thing to do? And what about their rights as grandparents if we do have children? (Though we do live fairly far away geographically.) It also may help to know that I have ADHD which was never diagnosed (I was a high-achiever in school). Thank you for any advice you can offer.

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