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Mental Disorders

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

Dysfunctional Family

Wed, Feb 5th 2003

Dr Dombeck I grew up in a dysfunctional family. My mother and father took turns being admitted to a local mental hospital where they both received shock therapy. My father was a severe alcoholic who attempted suicide. My mother was constantly in a state of either depression, anger, or what I'd call just acting out like some lunatic and then going into a catatonic like state. My younger sister and two younger brothers and myself were often woken in the middle of the night and told we needed to go here or there to attempt to talk our mother out of killing herself. She usually wanted to stab herself and would be holding a hugh butcher knife to her stomach or be trying to jump off the top of something. It seemed our household was always a very emotional mess of a place. My father would come in the middle of the night and start shooting his gun. One time he shot up a basket of clothes in the middle of the kitchen floor. I think it some miracle none of us were actually shot. I even remember him holding my mother down and sticking the gun in her mouth. The police coming to our house with neighbors gathering all around was a common occurance. There are other countless occurances of horrible memories that i do not care to share here. Needless to say none of us have grown up into very well-rounded individuals. I feel like I am still carrying around a big suitcase of anger toward my mother. I at times find I have little control over my emotions and act a little lunatic myself and it worries me. My mother was never diagnosed with any particular mental disorder. But I am just wondering if she possibly did have one. She still to this day has her spells where she just loses it and throws a temper tantrum. It can be very embarressing if it is in public. It is like she just wants all the attention no matter what she has to do to get it. Could she possibly have anything that might be inherited?

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