Help!! My dad is going crazy!

by Stephanie and Krista

The Questions


I honestly did not believe in the midlife crisis until my dad changed drastically over 3 or 4 yrs ago. I secretly nicknamed him Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde because of his ridiculous mood swings. My poor mom is always dealing with his constant highs and lows and it's driving me insane. I am currently in college and have considered moving out because it's so bad.

I feel bad for my mom though. He just bought a new ski boat. And previously bought and sold an old motorcycle. He is going out to these... not necessarily bars, but not the family friendly restaurants either which is totally unlike him. He is listening to crazy music he used to listen to when he was a teenager. Half the jokes he makes are like a teenager's joke which I never find funny.

I really just want my old dad back. I wish he would spend more time with me and stop being so self-centered and into himself. All he talks about is the next cool thing he can buy or how awesome he is when doing something at work. I also want him to spend more time with my mom and less time on the phone talking to his friends.

So my question is if there is some kind of cure or something to snap him out of it? He has been doing this for four yrs and whenever we tell him he is going through a change he thinks we are crazy.

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I'm 23 years old, I just graduated college and I'm living with my parents until I find a job. Growing up, my dad and I were always close until I went to college. As expected, the relationship sort of faded as I was not home much at all.

Since earlier this year, his behavior has been crazy. One day he is perfectly fine and then the next, the silliest thing can set him off. At first I thought it was stress at work, but the longer it goes on, I'm not so sure anymore. He seems depressed all the time and can hardly speak of anything positive.

I don't know if this information points one way or the other. For all I know, he could just be in a really bad mood. lol. But, I do worry and want to support him if a midlife crisis happens to be the case.

I appreciate your time!

Noel's response

I am not sure what to suggest here. It can be painful for the whole family when a man is going through a midlife transition, and refuses to see it.

It sounds as though the dad in the first submission is trying hard to fend off aging. He will eventually see the folly of trying to do so, but in the meantime it is a drag for his family to be around him. I will be publishing a book later this month, and maybe giving it to him as a gift will be a gift for the whole family! The title is "A Harley or my Wife? A guide for midlife men and the women who love them".

The second dad sounds as though he too is in a midlife transition, but is in a depression. The symptoms of depression in men is the opposite of those in women, and in men depression often appears as irritability. Jed Diamond's books "The Irritable Male Syndrome" and "Mr. Mean: Saving Your Relationship from the Irritable Male Syndrome" might be helpful to the write and her mom (maybe her dad too). These books are available through Jed's website Men Alive as well as Amazon and your local book store.

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