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My egotistical dad!

Allypally52

Registered User
Mar 11, 2014
78
I regularly read this forum and have been encouraged and inspired by people's stories as well as tearful for some of the sadness that is inevitably expressed on TP.
My dad at 96 has dementia but has only recently succumbed to it making his life tricky. His short term memory is very very poor (but not non existent) and he becomes extremely muddled and confused over both mental processes (eg bank accounts) and practical things (eg doing things in the right order) But he is still absolutely in the real world regarding relationships, current affairs and so on, although often at the mercy of getting muddled or confused. So he never thinks I'm his wife and not his daughter, but he does remember things from the past, like houses he lived in when he was young, and thinks I've lived there too. So it does feel a bit as though we're in an in-between place where he can't manage his life except when he can, if you see what I mean! The decline is very slow, for which I am thankful.
The one thing which does upset me more than anything is that he's changing from being a humble, self effacing man who always put others first, into someone who is full of his own importance and a bit grandiose. For example, over the years he has written his life memoirs, including his WW2 experiences. They're not badly written and are a lovely thing to have as a family and to hand on to our children. They would also be of interest perhaps to local history groups (for his childhood account as a young boy growing up between the wars) and maybe similarly for his war memories, where he does have a tale to tell, but no more than many many others. So I've tracked down some places where we could perhaps send various accounts, some might even publish them on a website. BUT Dad wants a book published and dismisses anything less quite rudely! Of course, his writings just aren't good enough or 'different' enough as I did send them to a publisher just to say I'd done something really, and they were very sweet but said 'no thanks'.
Also he makes comments about other people's lives comparing them unfavourably to his in terms of what they've achieved, so on hearing that some WW2 Colonel had died, all Dad could say was that said Colonel had only been in 2 campaigns, whereas he had been in 3.
I don't know why it upsets me so much, but it does! I know there's no point in telling him how egotistical he sounds as it's not really dad. Just wondered if this scenario rings any bells?
I also know there may come a day when dad has no capacity to be like this because the dementia has advanced and that may be a million times worse.
 

Witzend

Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
4,291
SW London
Becoming self centred does often go with dementia, I think. People do sometimes (or often) become quite unable to appreciate anyone's needs or wishes, or troubles or feelings, but their own.

If your dad really does insist on a 'proper book' there are, or used to be, so called 'vanity publishers' who will publish anything, however 'unpublishable' for a fee, usually quite fat. Not sure I've seen any for a while, but used to see ads on the lines of, 'Authors! We will publish your book - any subject considered.'
They used to catch the sadly naive, often people who had been turned down by several bona fide publishers (i.e. the ones who pay the author, rather than the other way around)
Maybe these have died the death now that anyone can put their e-book out there for all to see.
 

florabunda

Registered User
Nov 13, 2014
24
It sounds like your father is at a very similar stage to my mum. She too likes to boast of achievements that she never really achieved. She has also become quite vain, and it upsets her to see "an ugly old woman" in the mirror. Recently she has had a photo of herself aged 21 framed, so that she can look at that instead! She says that is how she wants to be remembered.
I think this behaviour has a lot to do with fear of death, and a need to prove that one's life has made a mark on this earth. I have noticed that other people, not with dementia, who are close to dying, want to get their papers in order or re-write their will (for example).
Having dementia is scary. Your dad needs reassurance that he is still competent (even if he isn't!), and that he was an important person (even if he was not all that important, I'm sure he is as far as you are concerned). Try taking his memoirs to a printer? They might be able to produce a bound copy that looks acceptable.
 

RedLou

Registered User
Jul 30, 2014
1,162
Is this vascular dementia? Mirrors my father to a tee. Self-centred, thinks museums want his father's (bog standard) world war one medals. etc. Thinks his own regimental museum wants him to present his recollections and will organise a big formal ceremony to express their thanks. Also, my father's ability to appear in the real world but also be incapable is absolutely similar and driving me, and his doctors, to distraction. Stay strong - you're not alone. x
 

Allypally52

Registered User
Mar 11, 2014
78
Becoming self centred does often go with dementia, I think. People do sometimes (or often) become quite unable to appreciate anyone's needs or wishes, or troubles or feelings, but their own.

If your dad really does insist on a 'proper book' there are, or used to be, so called 'vanity publishers' who will publish anything, however 'unpublishable' for a fee, usually quite fat. Not sure I've seen any for a while, but used to see ads on the lines of, 'Authors! We will publish your book - any subject considered.'
They used to catch the sadly naive, often people who had been turned down by several bona fide publishers (i.e. the ones who pay the author, rather than the other way around)
Maybe these have died the death now that anyone can put their e-book out there for all to see.
Hi witzend - dad did send away a while ago, to a firm he saw advertised in the Sunday papers who I suspect are similar to the people you describe, although having checked them out they did seem quite creditable. Mind you, nowhere did they quote any potential cost so I'm sure it would be A LOT! Also they said you would have to meet up to discuss lay-out, cover style and so on. Dad wouldn't have a clue! Now we try to prevent him seeing their regular mailings. I do find myself feeling guilty for thwarting any progress but have decided our sanity is as important as his vanity (that rhymes!!!) The irony is he often hints that I could do more to help but I can't for the simple reason my time is spent on caring for him, which he doesn't seem to realise!
 

Allypally52

Registered User
Mar 11, 2014
78
Ever since I can remember, my mum has always been a snob, and thought she was better than others. I suspect this came about whilst living in Africa with my dad when I was a baby. My dad was in the colonial police force, and, in 'colonial' days, they always had servants - we had a cook/house-boy, a gardener and a nanny for me. I think this gave her an inflated sense of her own importance, which has become much more pronounced since dementia reared it's ugly head. She now cannot think of anybody apart from herself and her 'stories' of the old days have become more and more grandiose as time goes on. I hate to hear the 'confabulations' she comes out with, knowing that they are all untrue. She has alienated several of her friends with her high and mighty attitude and I can't see anything changing now - it's just another aspect of this vile disease.
I'm sorry about your mum, piph, but it does make me feel slightly better that it's not just my dad! He was regional bank manager in his working life and the other day tried to ring their head office PR department about something because they would know who he was. He retired over 30 years ago! Luckily the office was closed due to snow preventing staff getting in and I was so relieved, mainly as I hate seeing him make a bit of a fool of himself (although he wouldn't realise).
 

Allypally52

Registered User
Mar 11, 2014
78
Is this vascular dementia? Mirrors my father to a tee. Self-centred, thinks museums want his father's (bog standard) world war one medals. etc. Thinks his own regimental museum wants him to present his recollections and will organise a big formal ceremony to express their thanks. Also, my father's ability to appear in the real world but also be incapable is absolutely similar and driving me, and his doctors, to distraction. Stay strong - you're not alone. x
Hi Redlou - because this only began fairly recently and dad is 96 and has lots of physical things wrong with him, we've not had a formal diagnosis as there didn't seem any point, although Dad's GP is aware - but having read up about dementia I've always wondered if it's vascular dementia as dad had a stroke about 10 years ago and several TIA's since then. He also seems to plateau and not get worse for a while, then suddenly take a dip. Gosh, yes - your description of your father could almost be my Dad!!
This afternoon he's been showing me (for the umpteenth time) his own obituary for the papers which he's written himself, apart from where you put 'date of death'. It doesn't blow his own trumpet too much, like saying anything emotive about bravery or suchlike, but it is a list of his accomplishments and I've been instructed not to leave anything out!
It's so comforting to know I'm not alone. Neither are you!!!
 
Last edited:

fredsnail

Registered User
Dec 21, 2008
649
We self published Grandad's war time memories as a book.

Obviously I can't advertise here but we've done hard back copies and paper back copies and didn't cost too much - I did the work in Word and uploaded it to a website and then you pay for your book - paperback was about £6 + postage for 400 pages, hardback was about £18.

If anyone wants any further details please pm me.
 

Allypally52

Registered User
Mar 11, 2014
78
We self published Grandad's war time memories as a book.

Obviously I can't advertise here but we've done hard back copies and paper back copies and didn't cost too much - I did the work in Word and uploaded it to a website and then you pay for your book - paperback was about £6 + postage for 400 pages, hardback was about £18.

If anyone wants any further details please pm me.
fredsnail - that sounds tempting! despite my grumbles I would love to make dad happy, so will pm you at some point (and hope next thing isn't wanting me to contact Steven Speilberg about a film!)
 

Lawson58

Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
2,145
Victoria, Australia
If there is anyone in your family who is computer savvy, they could cobble together something using desktop publishing. There are lots of programs around and most PCs these days have some form or other of one already installed. I have a friend who makes the most beautiful Christmas cards one hers.

Coudl be an inexpensive solution.
 

Allypally52

Registered User
Mar 11, 2014
78
If there is anyone in your family who is computer savvy, they could cobble together something using desktop publishing. There are lots of programs around and most PCs these days have some form or other of one already installed. I have a friend who makes the most beautiful Christmas cards one hers.

Coudl be an inexpensive solution.
Another good idea....... I have spent many hours with the pages and pages Dad has written scanning them onto my computer and then 'editing' them as he repeats himself a lot, then printing onto A4 and I bought a display book with plastic wallets thinking I'd present it to Dad eventually and it would look like a book, but something more 'pro' would be much better so thanks for the idea!!
 

Allypally52

Registered User
Mar 11, 2014
78
Hope you have some luck sorting out the 'book' for your Dad. Let us know how you get on.[/QUO

Yes, will let you know how things are going. Just had tricky couple of days with Dad removing my edit from the folder and cramming in all his original writings (again!) and complaining there wasn't enough room. So when he went to bed I returned it all to how it should be and 'hid' it under some other books thinking 'out of sight, out of mind' and three guesses? Yes, he found it and did it all again yesterday. I feel like that Greek mythical character who rolls a boulder up a hill and the next day has to do it all over again daily for the rest of his life :)
Also constantly explaining why the bit about his years as a JP haven't been included in the chapter about his boyhood is wearing a bit thin. Ah well, as I've said already, there may come a time when this version of Dad is a fond memory and I would love to have it back compared to what I'm having to deal with ........
 

Owly

Registered User
Jun 6, 2011
538
So don't roll that boulder uphill again, leave it as it is because it looks "right" to Dad, that way. It's often best to enter into their imperfect world and live there with them...:)

I think you can also self-publish on Amazon, so a kindle book could be created?
 

Allypally52

Registered User
Mar 11, 2014
78
So don't roll that boulder uphill again, leave it as it is because it looks "right" to Dad, that way. It's often best to enter into their imperfect world and live there with them...:)

I think you can also self-publish on Amazon, so a kindle book could be created?
That's what I'm going to do, makes perfect sense - I can always do 2 'books', one that's legible and one for dad to do whatever he likes with. Problem is that although he wants to cram his stuff in one day, he then grumbles about it the next because 'all these papers' are preventing him from reading it, as if I've done it! Par for the dementia course!!!
 

RedLou

Registered User
Jul 30, 2014
1,162
That's what I'm going to do, makes perfect sense - I can always do 2 'books', one that's legible and one for dad to do whatever he likes with. Problem is that although he wants to cram his stuff in one day, he then grumbles about it the next because 'all these papers' are preventing him from reading it, as if I've done it! Par for the dementia course!!!
Ally, think you may just have to accept that there's nothing you can do to make him happy. No matter what I do for my father there's always something wrong/something to moan about. My poor brother flew over (from the US!) and took him out on Xmas day - Dad's first outing from the hospital in 7 months. Did he look around him? Did he say thank you? Oh no. Just a moan about the cobbles and the wheelchair...