Personality change: Although mum has changed... - PSP Association

PSP Association
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Personality change


Although mum has changed dramatically in the last 7 to 8 years personality wise, lately she has become really nasty. She has 1:1 carers and she regularly tries to abuse them by bending fingers back and trying to attack them. She has also attacked me and my sister even though she is less than 7 stone and 5 foot 2 inches she has great strength when she is in a rage. Either she has lost all inhibitions or she really hates us. It is very sad as visits result in either verbal abuse, nasty comments or bending fingers I cannot work it out. I used to think it was Dr Jeykll and Mr Hyde but it is just Mr Hyde I think he was the bad one!!!

17 Replies

You could have been describing my mum but she didn't have PSP, she had Altzheimers . The brain is a very complicated machine and when different parts of it are affected, symptoms vary. Some folk with PSP do become aggressive but most I have heard of don't. My mum told me she hated me and was going to kill me. She was under 5ft but one day she came up behind me, I felt a thump in my back and she said," There, I've stabbed you". I really thought she had as I'd heard stab victims say it felt like a punch not a stabbing pain. She hadn't. Within the next few days I got her assessed by a psyciastrist. He asked her what children she had and she mentioned my brothers not me. When he asked about her daughter, she said, " Oh, she's dead". She then told him I was her cousin. From that moment she was lovely to me but she told everyone who visited that her daughter was dead, "I killed her". She was still aggressive with my dad and the carers though for a long time after this incident.

I know with my husband, every symptom that he has I think it is another symptom of PSP but after investigation they have shown to be separate illnesses/conditions.

What I've said won't help as there is no cure for Altheimers either but if it is, her violence can be explained and the violent stage does eventually pass. I hope it soon does.


monkeylaura in reply to NannaB

Thank you for taking the time to reply, yes she probably does have dementia too but it is so strange and funny sometimes too.


easterncedar in reply to NannaB

Oh, NannaB, that is one of the most nightmarish and heartbreaking things I have ever heard. I am so sorry you had to go through that. It's good, I suppose, that she liked you as a cousin! love, EC

NannaB in reply to easterncedar

Yes it was a weird few years. The cousin was over 20 years younger than her. We have met her over the years at family celebrations, funerals etc. Last year my brothers and I and our spouses, were invited to her diamond wedding anniversary. A young man who we had never met, came up to me and said, " You must be family, you look like a younger version of my nan". I can see why mum was confused as she was living in the past and I was a familiar face. x


I tried to imagine the frustration and forcibly repressed (by an inability to communicate) anger that must have invaded my Roisin's always sharp mind - when very occasionally I had the distinct impression she was trying to hurt me, for example by using the unusual strength in her grip to squeeze my hand against a hard object or, once, to tread deliberately on a poisoned big toe! More than once I remarked to her that I had heard PSP can cause a change in personality and, as far as I was concerned, it couldn't come too soon. That always made her laugh and I would hug her.

It's a strange surreal world PSP sufferers and carers share. I still wish I were in it which is very egotistical and stupid, I know.

All good wishes, Christopher

monkeylaura in reply to Hidden

Thanks for your reply I know it must be terrible for the Psp person I have to laugh sometimes when she goes right out of her way to kick me or the carers!


My husband has psp and frontemporal dementia and we have days when he is very aggressive It's hard to deal with I know it's not his true self. On these days I can truly say they are my worst and I feel low and depressed. I usually go upstairs and have. A weep to myself . Just try to think it's. Not the person they were or want to be.

Hello thanks for taking the time to reply. It is true she would hate being like this and probably does.


hui i have PSP but so far i do not think i have become aggressive( my partner may say differently however) . i am 69 and have no dementia (i think) again and my brain races ahead of me in every thing i do so i tend to fall over too many times a day and my incontinence is getting worse too.

but i a m so sorry that your mum is treating you so badly what can be done i do not know i am afraid - some med f or alzheimers may help??

lol Jill

PSP person in t he uK

hugs and xxx to you all

Thank you for replying, and all psp people are different wishing you well and keep fighting it xx

Your experience is not unique. However, I have to say that my dear wife Sharyn stayed the same from beginning of PSP to her passing. Same sweet person. If the entire process of the advancement of PSP isn't explained up front the person may wonder "What's happening to me?". We must remember that it is more difficult for the PSP patient than it could ever possibly be for us family members. I have a pet phrase that I use for patients and caregivers working with any disease. "Don't let PSP redefine who you are". If allowed PSP with transform a person into someone they never were in life. It's a struggle but we must all not give in and allow the disease to change our inner being, who we really are. Jimbo

Thank you Jim I love my mum I just don't recognise her it's been rapid xx

My wife says I was aggressive for a few months at first and she was terrified at first as it was early on in the disease. But, that passed. Doc says there are anti depressants and other meds that help, just don't get over medicated.

monkeylaura in reply to Tz2388

Thank you for replying and I wish you well take care xx

My husband has CBD and can get very aggressive. he often hates me and squashes my fingers or wrists, or scratches me, I try to make sure his nails are kept short now! And then he swears and calls me anything that he can think of, then he screams like a wild animal.All these things can happen in half an hour, at least twice a day after that he cries and tells me how much he loves me.

He has gotten worse with all of this and the one thing that I hate the most is the screaming! I get so embarrassed because I know that the neighbours can hear and they don't know that he can't help it!


monkeylaura in reply to DenB

Hi DenB thanks for replying. It really is awful to watch someone going through this. We don't get the love part of it but she does laugh uncontrollably at sometimes inappropriate things. Good luck and take care. xx

DenB in reply to monkeylaura

You too xx

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