PSP Association
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PSP and personality changes

This disease seems to heighten either the best or the worst in us? I have found it particularly hard to accept the very derogatory language my husband uses to describe me when he does not get what he wants. In the past he would never have tolerated such behaviour from anyone. Instead, now he expects me to just take it as a 'norm' and part of his 'new' personality. I also find it difficult as he does not appear to be rude or aggressive to anyone else - if anything he comes across as 'saint-like' in his demeanour towards others. Has anyone been placed in a similar situation and how do you cope?

8 Replies

I'm just guessing here, but perhaps he's taking his aggression out on you because you are the 'safest' person to do it to; he know you won't abandon him. Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not condoning it at all, and can only imagine how hurt your feelings might be particularly since he reserves it for you, and not others.

This symptom of PSP, aggression and/or negative behavior changes is the one that scares me the most. As I understand it, it's pretty common after the early stages, and I don't want to be that way with the ones I love or people in general.

Perhaps if this behavior is now showing itself toward you, it's progressed far enough he's on the brink in which he will not be able to contain it just toward you, but will no longer be able to control it with others as well.

Don't know that this has been helpful in anyway, and I certainly haven't given you pragmatic advice. Do know that I have a sense of what a hard job as a caretaker of a PSP person must be if not almost unendurable some days. Try not to take his behavior personally tho I don't think I could avoid that myself, at least some of the time.

Is it possible for one of his Doc's to prescribe him something to help manage his mood/aggressive behavior? It may take meds at this point to settle his behavior vs. cognitive therapy or more self-adjusting on your part. You are one person. The key person. But how much more self-adjusting can possible be expected of you? You matter ever bit as much.

Please keep us posted as to what direction you will take, if meds are added that work or don't, etc.

Hoping for the best for you and your husband,



My husband was diagnosed as PSP last year when he could still talk a little he was really horrible with me particularly if I had a carer and I went out for a short time, he would swear and say really awful things to me and it used to upset me a lot. He would never had done this with before PSP in fact he never swore at all and was very particular about the use of bad language. This phase went on for two months or more and I was really stressed out and unhappy about it. He also started self-harming and was cutting himself it was dreadful to say the least. His consultant prescribed Trazodone for him and after two weeks he stopped doing these things. I find that one behaviour stops and then another begins and we have had lots of strange behaviours that have been quite hard to live with. Jim has had these illness for at least five years but was only diagnosed in 2012. He cannot talk at all, walks with the aid of furniture, is really restless all the time, doesn't watch tv, read or engage with any activities. He as lots lots of weight and finds it difficult to swallow , the list could go on but we just get through each day the best we can. This site has been really helpful to me especially from the people who post who have PSP it has helped me to see it from the sufferers perspective and I think it has helped me to understand from my husbands point of view. I do hope that in time your husband will stop swearing at you and you will feel better I know how hard it was for me and also my husband behaved really well around other people.


Mum said the odd derogatory thing to me but usually when she wanted to do things she couldn't do any longer and was fighting the idea of help.It was usually just a short 'shirty' sort of rude comment but I did feel hurt a few times even though I knew she didn't mean anything by it and would be contrite afterwards. Mum had the same from Dad when she was caring for him and I had to try and tell her it was his condition talking and that's what I had to tell myself too. It does go in the end but to be honest that's when you know the fight has gone out of them so it's actually quite sad when they stop doing it. As Daparose said they are angelic around other people! It wouldn't be right if they couldn't let off steam with their loved ones.We always hurt the ones we love as it's safe to do so.

Take care,

Dianne x


Hi Sharon, your probably at the same place as we are with your hubby, lucky for me mine doesn't speak and i think that may be a Good thing? mine has grabbed me by my hair a few times and only let go when i shouted for our son, so he new he was doing something wrong! After i got over that i had a quick serious word with him about it and that if he did it again we would have to look into care homes for him. It wasn't a spiteful response to his aggression but a common sense approach as i am on my own pretty much and suffer with bad arthritis so i am not willing to be hurt in any way by his mental conditions? Which come and go, years ago i suffered his verbal assaults and they hurt as he still new what to pick on. I tend to forget these days how to get out of these situations, but distraction is the key, try something wild and silly like singing a song or dance around, tell a joke or say the Alphabet whatever you can think of, see if it defuses the situation or just walk away until he stops. Do what you fancy for a few minutes it's your life too. good luck Mummybear


I've not seen any change in my wife at all. She is the same now, sweet, as she was before PSP. It may come later but for now she is fine toward me. They say personality changes can occur in PSP at the early stages but my wife has had NO changes, not one. I'm thankful for that being the case.




Hi Daparose and Mummybear

Thank you for telling how it really is. My husband was verbally and - in the past - physically abusive to me - so he tries to carry on much the same now even with his PSP. Just walking awy does seem to work but it is so difficult and hurtful and we can all only do our best, hopefully with help.

keep on smiling.


hi everyone

im going through the same with my dad not so much verbally more physical he will grab your arms and dig his nails in till you bleed or squeeze your wrists til they bruise . he also started doing the same with my sister who looks after him to give me a day off. he knows hes doing it because next day he"ll ask hows your arms but he never says sorry.He too doesnt speak much now he just sits snoozing all day in a world of his own so we just put it down to being frustrated and bored, we too have threatened him if it doesnt stop he"ll have to go into care but he knows we wont do it , hopefully its just a phase he"s going through and he stops soon . We now just walk away and dont let him see he"s hurting us or he will do it all the more .Im pleased to hear its not just our family going through this its just part of this horrible condition hopefully this helps you x


Same same same :( omgosh glad im not alone


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