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Mark
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The topic of personality disorders is quite popular on mental help net despite the fact that our core information is in need of a refresh. Topics like Narcissism, and Borderline Personality Disorder are search frequently. I think the reasons why this is so are easy enough to understand. People who go through life with one or another personality disorder have a very hard time of it; their lives are not fun. Life is also not fun for the people who share a life with people who have a personality disorder. Dramatic and extreme sorts of behavior like suicide attempts and cutting and food restriction are more common in this population, as is perhaps the most common and in some ways the most painful consequence of personality disorders, which is relationship problems. People with personality disorders either can't form relationships, or can't let go of them when it is time to do so, or end up alienating their partners again and again and losing relationships they depended upon. Everyone suffers, and everyone wants to know why this is happening, and what can be done about it.

What is happening in cases of personality disorder is that a person develops a sort of developmental delay in terms of their social-emotional development and maturity. It's more complicated that that simple assertion, but that does capture the spirit of it. There is a developmental deficit at work; something is missing. Personality disorders are not diseases like Bipolar disorder which get superimposed on an otherwise wholely developed individual.

What is missing is flexibility of coping. People with personality disorders see the world in a limited way; they are stuck in their limited perspective and cannot easily relate to other people who see the world in a more expansive manner. Because they see things in the relatively limited way that they do, they can't think as flexibily about how to solve the problems they encounter in life, and consequently, they can't easily cope with life problems that don't fit their categories. For example, people diagnosed with Narcissistic personality disorder can be counted on to act in a very entitled manner towards other people, becuase they see other people in a limited way, as objects who are there to fulfill their needs. This is kind of crazy thinking from most people's perspectives, but Narcisistic people, for one reason or another, can't see that. They frequently get trapped in their limited perspective and don't even realize that their perspective is limited. Especially becuase they don't realize that their behavior is causing their problems, they are likely to blame others, who may naively take on this blame and feel terrible even though there is no good reason for them to feel that way.

It's difficult to treat many personality disorders becuase the nature of the disorder is such that people who have them don't realize it and thus don't or more properly can't accept responsibility for their actions. Also, treatment is difficult sometimes because some people who have personality disorders are emotionally fragile and prone to act out in various ways that create more and more chaos and drama in their lives, all of which interferes with their ability to work on themselves.

Since personality disorders are not diseases there is no medication that can be given to fix them. Medicines are given sometimes to help suffering people with emotional regulation and sleep, but this is just symptom management. The only sort of actual treatment that can be said to exist for personality disorders is psychotherapy, of which there are several kinds. Marsha Linehan's Dialectial Behavior Therapy is good for working with suicidal and self-harming people, among which may be counted people with Borderline Personality Disorder. Mindfullness interventions that teach people to become more present in the moment tend to be helpful. More traditional psychodynamic object relational psychotherapy is also available and useful for helping people with Narcissistic concerns among others - if they can decide to stay in therapy long enough. Such psychotherapy is in essence aimed at increasing suffering people's awareness of how they are limited and how that is causing them to treat others in negative ways, and to alert them to the alternative ways that others tend to solve problems. With many repetitions over time, awareness starts to dawn that there is indeed a problem and a maturational process sets in. I've seen it happen, but it is long term work and unfortunately quite expensive in both money and time.

Terms like Narcissism and Borderline and Schizotypal and Hystrionic are all formal technical terms for varieties of stuck personality, by the way. People who are not therapists use different terms to refer to such people, "Jerk" or "Asshole" being rather common names that Narcissists get called behind their backs. Other varieties of personality disorder might be labeled: "Spooky", "Overly Dramatic", "Manipulative" "Aloof", "Scary", "Prickly", "Milquetoast", and "Spineless" to name but a few.

What sort of personality issues are you dealing with? Are they your issues or someone else's issues? Was it hard to make that distinction? Please post your personality issue stories here. If you have questions I'll be happy to try to answer them, and if you just want to share, that is great too.

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Silly question perhaps -- Don't these terms describe a continuum/spectrum? These conditions may vary in intensity, and with different levels of severity in problems in living?

At what point do these matters become clinical? Are there markers that most therapists regard as indicating a serious matter?

is there a point where an otherwise cooperative and active client says, in essense, "I am not going there?"

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To address your question about the standards by which personality disorders are measured. All of the definitions of these things in the DSM contain a line which is part of the criteria that must be met to the effect of " the pattern leads to clinically significant disress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning". This is by no means an objective standard, but it is better than nothing at all. So - clinically significant means that whatever is happening has been consequential enough to have resulted in a person being seen by a doctor/therapist. Not all personality disordered people will themselves experience distress or impairment; many will think that others around them are impaired, and the others around them will talk about being distressed. So, it is not always the case that the diagnosis can be made with reference only to the person's own experience. rather, the diagnosis is often made socially, as a judgement call based on input from multiple sources and how the person interacts with the diagnosing clinician as well.

The model of disorders in DSM is always binary on/off. You have it or you don't. This simplifies things which is good but also makes them dishonest in a way becuase as you point out, personality sorts of stuff are rightly more continuous sorts of things. You have them on a spectrum and there is lots of gray inbetween the white and the black. I know that for the revision of DSM due out in a couple years they are talking about moving to a dimensional model of personality disorders, but who can say if they will actually do that.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

So many of your descriptions of people with personality disorders sound like my husband. Paranoid, delusional, depressed, narcissistic. I have been struggling for years to try to hold this relationship together. I'm beginning to wonder if it is really possible to have a meaningful, emotionally trustworthy relationship with a person like this.

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hi, I am not quite understanding what exactly describes a "personalitiy disorder". I do believe I read it else where in a post here, and you mentioned that many people who cut or have food issues, tend to sway towards this. I know with myself, I have trouble connecting with people and I just chalk it up to my shyness(which I believe is considered a disorder now too). I have trouble with feelings, and tend to feel numb all the time. Even with my kids, and that hurts. Is this the cause of stuffing the feelings down for so long that it creates a disorder? Or was it there all along? I know with addicts, they are told that their maturity and emotional level is usually where they started their addiction. And it makes sense to me in that way, but is therapy the only way to get out of it or is it a gradual process with alot of soul searching? I look at my family, especially my mom, and she could never hold a relationship, and I alway's said it was because of her drinking habits, but she does not drink like she use to, but she still is impossible to be around at times. Is it hereitary or the product of being raised around that? I would like to know.

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Thank you for this information, which is very helpful. I am curious to know how one would recognize someone with a personality disorder before becoming involved with them?

Obviously, my question arises out of personal experience. I married the guy I had dated thorugh college. Looking back, there were several "warning signs" which I chalked up to immaturity and the fact he had never been in a long-term relationship before.

The marriage, however, was marred by constant lying, destructive behaviors, always putting his needs before those of my children and I, and addictive behaviors.

While I was in therapy, my psychiatrist asked to meet with both of us together and, afterwards, told me he felt that my then-husband had a personality disorder, specifically sociopathy.

I have read the symtpoms of sociopathy and agree he meets the definition 100%.

So, now I wonder how could I have recognized this and avoided it? Is it typical that these people can "mask" their symptoms so well as to fool others?

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I know with myself, I have trouble connecting with people and I just chalk it up to my shyness(which I believe is considered a disorder now too). I have trouble with feelings, and tend to feel numb all the time. Even with my kids, and that hurts. Is this the cause of stuffing the feelings down for so long that it creates a disorder?

Hi Jennifer,

I don't know much about your specific situation and I'm not a mental health professional, but I do know that trouble connecting with people, combined with numbness, is usually more of a symptom of an emotional disorder like depression or anxiety, rather than a personality disorder. My sense is that people with personality disorders frequently don't feel that there is anything wrong with them, whereas you seem to be pretty troubled by these feelings.

By the way, typical introvertedness or shyness isn't really considered a disorder. It's only when someone is shy or withdrawn to the point that it interferes with their daily life and happiness that it's considered anything other than a normal part of their personality. For example, I'm an introverted person, in that I tend to need quiet time by myself to recharge, I like to process things in my head rather than out loud, and I prefer to interact in smaller groups. I'm also pretty unlikely to strike up a conversation with a stranger, and it takes me a while to open up to new acquaintances and form friendships. Those are all pretty normal personality traits -- I bet you know a lot of people like this.

I also have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and suffer from depression, which sometimes inflates my natural shyness and introversion to ridiculous levels: when I'm having a bad time of it, I tend to withdraw to my room and feel there's a mental barrier to seeing or talking to people, I avoid social situations beyond one or two people I know well, and I feel certain that new acquaintances find me boring and annoying. I also obsess over whether I've embarrassed myself in conversation, and generally feel like I just don't fit in and never will. That's pretty much the difference, right there. Commercials for drugs that talk about "social anxiety disorder" make it seem like anyone who is shy is suffering from a disorder, but it's not really the case.

crowy

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Hi Mark,

I know obviously no one can diagnose someone based on anecdotes, but your post made me think of a friendship I had in highschool and for a time during college that in retrospect strikes me as really bizarre. I had a friend (who I dated for a time, and who later dated my best friend), who I'll call Andrew. Andrew actually wasn't a particularly attractive person, but when one was talking to him, one tended to forget that. He also had a habit of telling outrageous lies; some that I can remember in particular were stories about owning land in New Mexico, about joining the Navy but having to leave due to "discovering a conspiracy," stories about barfights or other altercations for which there wasn't any physical evidence, tales of knowing famous people on a first-name basis... You get the idea. What was odd was that when one was talking to him, the stories seemed believable, or almost believable -- it was only until later, when I would start comparing notes with others, that we'd realize that his stories were outrageous and the chronology didn't match up, etc.

My friend and I started referring to him as "the hypnotist of ladies" (a reference to a They Might Be Giants song) because he had such a weirdly magnetic effect on people, especially women. He was very charming to date at first, because he treated you like you were the most glorious person on the planet and that your relationship was one for the ages, but gradually he would either become too obviously weird, or he would meet ANOTHER women who was CLEARLY his soulmate.

Are these traits of a personality disorder? I've sometimes wondered about that, although I occasionally have speculated that he may have been bipolar or something, instead.

crowy

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crowyhead,

Thank-you very much for the description that tells the difference, and it makes me feel better, because I know that I don't go out of my way to hurt others and I wouldn't describe myself as "spineless" or an "a-hole"! I sound exactly what you sound like and I agree when it comes to people trying to prescribe medication for being this way. Sometimes I think something is wrong with me and other times I accept it,for that is the way I have been my whole life and other people in my life have to accept that. So, it is nice to hear of someone pretty much like me!

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Looks like there are a lot of questions for me. I'll run down the list as I can:

MrKanista - There are tests of personality disorder, but none that are worth taking and also online that I know of. The major test in common use is the MCMI (Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory), which is a large paper and pencil personality test, not unlike the MMPI or the Myers Briggs, except the MCMI measures personality psychopathology (mind-illnesses) rather than normal personality. It's an odd test, I think. It's invalid if you just give it to a person who isn't presenting with a problem in your psychologist's office or in the hospital - becuase it presupposes that there is already a problem and is just trying to help you figure out which one. If you give it to a "normal" person, it will exagerate the problems that person has.

ljnett - you ask if it is possible to have a meaningful relationship with someone who has a personality disorder, and I think the answer depends on which personality disorder, and how firmly entrenched a person is within it. Let's just say that it is very hard indeed to be a partner to a narcissist or a sociopath if you care about having your own self-esteem and worth. Some people love drama (or find it very normal anyway) and that sort of person could be happy living with a hystrionic or borderline sort of individual (at least one who wasn't chronically suicidal). There is a spectrum of what different people like and no single statement that can be made.

People are people no matter what their diagnoses - always important to keep that in mind. All a personality disorder really means is that the person who has it can't respond flexibly to a wide variety of situations but instead always handles themselves in more or less the same, usually dysfunctional, manner. This can work brilliantly in some contexts, and horribly in others. For instance a narcissist may be a brilliant leader and strategist at work, but an absolutely horrible parent and spouse. think about some of the MDs you've met and you'll know that to be the case :)

Jennifer - what crowy said (in response to your post). Good post Crowy!

Lifeless - you want to know if it is possible to recognize someone with a personality disorder which will be toxic for you to be in a relationship with before you get into a Long Term Relationship with that person. Tricky question. In my experience, other people who care about you recognzie that there is a problem with your partner selection early on but either won't tell you (figuring that you won't listen), or will tell you and then you get mad at them and tell them they don't know anything and you and your partner will be the happiest - couple - ever ! .... and then you get into the LTR and things go south. At least that is what I've seen in my life. You can look for charming - charming is usually a sign of sociopathy in my experience, but then - charming is exciting and that is what many youngsters want in a partner so they overlook (or don't notice) the hints and clues that appear from time to time as to what things will settle out to be. In other words, you can tell a horse that the water is poisoned, but that will only make the horse thirstier.

Crowy - regarding your hypnotist of ladies - that fellow could have been many things, but he was at least charismatic and energetic and charming. Like I said: Charming is generally a bad sign for LTR success, but people fall for it every time (until they've been burned enough).

Hope this helps!

Mark

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The topic of personality disorders is quite popular on mental help net despite the fact that our core information is in need of a refresh. Topics like Narcissism, and Borderline Personality Disorder are search frequently. I think the reasons why this is so are easy enough to understand. People who go through life with one or another personality disorder have a very hard time of it; their lives are not fun. Life is also not fun for the people who share a life with people who have a personality disorder. Dramatic and extreme sorts of behavior like suicide attempts and cutting and food restriction are more common in this population, as is perhaps the most common and in some ways the most painful consequence of personality disorders, which is relationship problems. People with personality disorders either can't form relationships, or can't let go of them when it is time to do so, or end up alienating their partners again and again and losing relationships they depended upon. Everyone suffers, and everyone wants to know why this is happening, and what can be done about it.

What is happening in cases of personality disorder is that a person develops a sort of developmental delay in terms of their social-emotional development and maturity. It's more complicated that that simple assertion, but that does capture the spirit of it. There is a developmental deficit at work; something is missing. Personality disorders are not diseases like Bipolar disorder which get superimposed on an otherwise wholely developed individual.

What is missing is flexibility of coping. People with personality disorders see the world in a limited way; they are stuck in their limited perspective and cannot easily relate to other people who see the world in a more expansive manner. Because they see things in the relatively limited way that they do, they can't think as flexibily about how to solve the problems they encounter in life, and consequently, they can't easily cope with life problems that don't fit their categories. For example, people diagnosed with Narcissistic personality disorder can be counted on to act in a very entitled manner towards other people, becuase they see other people in a limited way, as objects who are there to fulfill their needs. This is kind of crazy thinking from most people's perspectives, but Narcisistic people, for one reason or another, can't see that. They frequently get trapped in their limited perspective and don't even realize that their perspective is limited. Especially becuase they don't realize that their behavior is causing their problems, they are likely to blame others, who may naively take on this blame and feel terrible even though there is no good reason for them to feel that way.

It's difficult to treat many personality disorders becuase the nature of the disorder is such that people who have them don't realize it and thus don't or more properly can't accept responsibility for their actions. Also, treatment is difficult sometimes because some people who have personality disorders are emotionally fragile and prone to act out in various ways that create more and more chaos and drama in their lives, all of which interferes with their ability to work on themselves.

Since personality disorders are not diseases there is no medication that can be given to fix them. Medicines are given sometimes to help suffering people with emotional regulation and sleep, but this is just symptom management. The only sort of actual treatment that can be said to exist for personality disorders is psychotherapy, of which there are several kinds. Marsha Linehan's Dialectial Behavior Therapy is good for working with suicidal and self-harming people, among which may be counted people with Borderline Personality Disorder. Mindfullness interventions that teach people to become more present in the moment tend to be helpful. More traditional psychodynamic object relational psychotherapy is also available and useful for helping people with Narcissistic concerns among others - if they can decide to stay in therapy long enough. Such psychotherapy is in essence aimed at increasing suffering people's awareness of how they are limited and how that is causing them to treat others in negative ways, and to alert them to the alternative ways that others tend to solve problems. With many repetitions over time, awareness starts to dawn that there is indeed a problem and a maturational process sets in. I've seen it happen, but it is long term work and unfortunately quite expensive in both money and time.

Terms like Narcissism and Borderline and Schizotypal and Hystrionic are all formal technical terms for varieties of stuck personality, by the way. People who are not therapists use different terms to refer to such people, "Jerk" or "Asshole" being rather common names that Narcissists get called behind their backs. Other varieties of personality disorder might be labeled: "Spooky", "Overly Dramatic", "Manipulative" "Aloof", "Scary", "Prickly", "Milquetoast", and "Spineless" to name but a few.

What sort of personality issues are you dealing with? Are they your issues or someone else's issues? Was it hard to make that distinction? Please post your personality issue stories here. If you have questions I'll be happy to try to answer them, and if you just want to share, that is great too.

I have BPD with a history of trauma. I have been trying to get help but never being put in the right direction. I am now to the point where my husband wants to leave me and my kids because he can't and won't cope with me anymore. He does not understand what living like this is like for me. I am more understanding of what he is going through because i suffered through my mother having depression. I am in a strang country and stuck here with no one. I don't know how to move forward with my life anymore. I can't work and can barely take care of myself let alone take care of 2 kids and suffer like this. I am so scared and alone. That is what it is like for me to be the way I am. I can not see the lines of life in front of me. I am an outsider looking in. Just kind of floating. I didn't realize that I have had this problem most of my life now. I was always diagnosed with depression. And given pills and sent on my way. Now I have been married for almost 8 years and have just gotten worse and worse. There is no hope for me now but maybe by the time my kids are of age there will be some proper help. I have prayer to die day in and day out for years and years. I cut myslef frequently and just recently stabed myself in the stomach. I actually want to 'kill ' myself - not suicidally - it is more like homicidally.

It is probably terrible for my husband and I understand that. But I am who I am and don't know how to fix me. For the most part I feel utterly alone, empty and scared. I don't have much hope of ever feeling normal--I don't know what it means. I have always had hatred towards myself. I felt as though I had the overwhelming power to hurt others and felt incredibly awful if I perceived that I did hurt someone else. All I ever wanted was to be loved and taken care of. Because I couldn't get that, I didn't think I deserved it.

Thanks for listening.

Brandie

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Brandie,

Yes, we are listening out here and wanting to respond. I read your post as well as the most recent posting asking if anyone is here and why hasn't Mark answered?

It is interesting that you point out that you have Borderline Personality Disorder. Perhaps you, I really cannot say but you have exhibited one symptom that can perhaps be interpreted as BPD and here it is:

I read your post with great interest as you describe the pain you are in and have suffered for many years. However, I do not believe I saw or read you asking a question or indicating in some way that you wanted a response.

I am not apologizing for Mark and I am not accusing you. What I am asking is if this might be a tiny sample of behavior of which you are unaware and which leaves you feeling angry and depressed??

You did comment that no one has ever pointed you in the right direction, except for anti depressant medication. I want to try to point you now. First, the problem with anti depressant medication for Personality Disorders is that it does help relieve the terrible mood but it cannot and does not help a client learn better coping skills.

Essentially, all of the Personality Disorders have a lot to do with never having learned healthy coping skills in relationships and in the many difficult life situations that arise. Of course, this is true of Borderline Personality Disorder as well. BPD often is accompanied by a history of severe trauma and deprivation all during childhood and adolescence.

Here is what you should do:

BPD and all of the other Personality Disorders require long and intensive psychotherapy to achieve full recovery, meaning healthy functioning. I want to recommend a type of psychotherapy that is very helpful for those with BPD and that is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). This type of therapy uses techniques that help the patient learn how to reduce the level of their anger and suicidal thinking. It also helps patients pin point their exact behaviors that get them into problems with other people and it helps them learn and practice healthier behaviors.

You need to find a Clinical Psychologist who is trained and skilled at DBT. In fact, such psychologists often run DBT groups and those are extremely helpful.

I want very much for you to feel responded to and I hope this helps. Please ask any questions or make any comments you wish and I will respond as quickly as is realistically possible.

Allan:)

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Hi Mark,

Andrew actually wasn't a particularly attractive person, but when one was talking to him, one tended to forget that. .... tales of knowing famous people on a first-name basis... when one was talking to him, the stories seemed believable, or almost believable...

.... he had such a weirdly magnetic effect on people, especially women. He was very charming to date at first, because he treated you like you were the most glorious person on the planet and that your relationship was one for the ages, but gradually he would either become too obviously weird, or he would meet ANOTHER women who was CLEARLY his soulmate.

Are these traits of a personality disorder? I've sometimes wondered about that, although I occasionally have speculated that he may have been bipolar or something, instead.

crowy

Not qualified to make dx, but he sure sounds like a pathological narcissist to me!

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Hi, Brandie!

My mom had borderine personality disorder and I feel for you, if that's what you have. I recognize the black and white thinking, and "emotional dysregulation" in myself, though I have a dissociative disorder, not BPD. Both are associated with early and continued trauma.

Congress has declared May National BPD Awareness Month. BPD is getting more attention all the time, and I hope you can find a DBT-trained therapist. There is a website www.bpdcentral.com with lots of info. There used to be an excerpt from a book by a woman who recovered.

Get Me Out of Here:

My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder

by Rachel Reiland

447 pgs., softcover

1592850995

The confusion and despair can be overwhelming, I know. But DBT is an effective treatment, and I have also heard TFP can be used - Transference Focused Psychotherapy. But I think Marsha Linehan's DBT is the gold standard. Don't give up, for your kids' sake if for nothing else! You are not alone in this.

Give your husband "Stop Walking on Eggshells" by Randi Kreger. There is a workbook, too with DBT techniques for him to practice. There is another really good book called "Understanding the Borderline Mother" by Christine Lawson.

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  • 3 months later...

I have been Diagnosed as Borderline Personality Disorder several times in my life. Starting as a teenager. I also struggle with Clinical Depression. Life can be rough .

However, I am not keen on labeling. Doctors and Therapists have to Diagnose in order to treat their patients.

I have at times, done well with myself, throughout the years. AND then have not. It is a struggle, and I try to focus on my teenaged son more then what is going on with me. He also has lables too. He is on the autistic spectrum and has cognitive delays.

Right now, for me, the last three years have been exceedingly chalenging. I went back to old self injury behaviors which became severe. That led to more issues to have to deal with. Such as being in the Burn unit and Surgeries. Loss of mobility , infection, and hospitalizations.

Of course the self injury is not the only issue. Black and white thinking, and my moods going from one extreme to the other .... NOT FUN :) MAjor trust issues, and fear of being abandoned.. are terrible triggers for me. ANGER and getting disconnected from myself, and what is all around me when I become stressed out , also is extremley difficult to deal with.

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Hi Mscat-

You really have your plate full, both with coping with your own issues, as well as helping your son successfully navigate through life.

I wonder if you have ever been involved in psychotherapy? We keep mentioning the "gold standard" treatment DBT by Marsha Linehan when other people comment about personality disorders. What's your experience?

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I have heard of DBT many times, but not the "Gold standard" . I talk to a therapist and I do not know what method he uses. Interesting enough, because, I have talked to many psych. docotors and therapsits, or social workers.

At 16, I was in 3 different mental Hospitals for two years. Then in and out of them. AND back into treatment for a severe Eating Disorder in my 20's. It was not until I became 4-5 months pregnant and nearly losing a baby , that I started to straighten up. I managed to do so, and supported myself and baby . He was my focus, and working full time, barely making ends meet. However, I was doing it. I gained over 100 LBS too, But did not worry. My child had some mayor developmental problems, and at the age of 3 1/2 recieved the Dianoses as having an Autistic Spectrum Disorder. I did not have the time to worry about me, or my issues at that time.

I taught preschool, even though was fired at every job I'd worked. I could work with little children very well, just not adults.

I lost anther job that I loved and was there nearly 5 yrs. A record for me. I then moved out of the city to a very small town. Then, things went to hell. I became clinically depressed, and after that, due to circumstances I went from bad to worse, emotionally.

The self injury got totally out of control, and i severely hurt myself a few times along with other burns all over my arms. NOW, I struggle to not have stress , and try to keep quiet, because stress is what starts me losing myself, and losing control.

I am now on Full Disability and try to deal with myself everyday trying not to hurt myself, and dealing with my teenaged son. He is 15 now.

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I forgot to mention that the worse part of it for me other then the Self injury is the all or nothing thinking. I can' t seem to get away from that. ANd also from being so dam emotional, or moody. I can feel extreme anger and blow up quickly, then it is over and all bounce back to anther strong emtion for a bit.

I wish I could just be , and not so all over the place. It is often a struggle not to self injure as well. I rather do that to myself then act out onto anther person. Then I am sometimes, even surprised by my violence towards myself.

But, If Anyone new just how bad I get disconnected then it is understandable. I see myself in pieces at times. Much like body parts disconnected. The SI I do has a primary focus on a particular body part. Then all the energy goes towards it, and destroys it. That is what happens when I severely Self injure. Example. I 've used chemicals and sprayed the lower portion of my leg with it.. The skin turned black . Anther time, i used the same chemicals, and sprayed it alll over my right hand, wrist, and forearm, fingers too. Again. the skin went black, and even my finger nails. That is the time where I was told I could lose my hand. But, i did not, just mobility. So now i have severe burn scars , and second degree ones on my other arm. Again that is where the focus was.

I do not mind freely discussing self injury, and i will never advocate the behavior either. I am afraid that I'll end up killing myself from it.

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DBT is an excellent useful psychotherapy, but it is not one-size-fits-all. Instead, it is specifically designed to help people who self-injure and attempt suicide as a dysfunctional means of coping, and who generally have chaotic, dramatic inner emotional lives to learn how to cope in safer ways, and to learn how to calm themselves down. The original target group this therapy was designed for was very severely borderline personality disordered people, but over time the therapy has been adapted for use with people who are less severe but still in the general spectrum of having a chaotic black and white inner life.

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  • 5 months later...

Hi, this is my first post here... I hope I'm doing it right! ^^;;

I was diagnosed with Avoidant Personality Disorder about 10 or 15 years ago, by a clinical psychologist.

Knowing that what is 'wrong' with me has a name really helps, I find, as it means I can do research and there is information that can help me.

How this condition impacts me is that I'm terrified of responsibility and success. I have never felt much self-confidence, and I'm always afraid. I'm a reasonably intelligent person and I have always read everything I could get my hands on, yet I never finished school (college). I cannot see myself 'in the world' on my own, doing something real and serious like other people do... I've just never been able to!

I've always felt insubstantial, as though I don't really exist. When I was a teenager I remember describing myself in a journal as "smoke in a wire cage". I think it really means I cannot maintain barriers well.

In any case, I'm a woman in my early forties now, and have been living with a man for the last 9 years and we have an 8-year-old son. My partner is very 'antisocial' in many ways, and his hostility and high thrill-threshold are particularly painful and difficult for me to live with. The fact that he controls and isolates me (or once did, he no longer needs to, it's automatic for me now) really dovetails nicely with my Avoidant PD. <<wry humour.

So I'm here to figure out how to be a better person, in spite of my handicap. I'm not especially good at explaining myself, so I hope you guys can bear with me. This site has so far been of great help and succor.

Jane

Edited by JaneE
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  • 1 month later...

HI mark, well since you've mentioned that you might be able to answer some questions, I will ask.

I was in therapy a few years ago, for about a year, and my therapy focused on anxiety and depression [i think] at the time, as the therapist didn't give me a clear image of what was going on with me [it's probably better not to pigeon hole, or maybe she didn't want to freak me out, but anyway]. But now, even thought I do feel depressed and anxious a bit, I don't think it is the root of my problems.

I have been doing some research on my own, and found that the "obsessive love disorder", as well as the "dependent personality disorder" describes a lot how I behave or how I feel inside. It may not be apparent to my friends and family even, as I have tried to hide that from myself for so long, but now I am ready to face the facts, tired of not being able to move forward.

I am really concerned about what is being said in the literature, mainly, that this time of disorder is extremely difficult to treat!

Since my teens, I have struggled with a tremendous difficulty of not being able to assess my on abilities, hoping others wold tell me what they were... Is that even important, that is the question [how care if you are 'good' at something if you don't enjoy it!]. I have always, always, as far as I can remember found motivation in the encouragement or appreciation of others. The only way I get myself moving towards a goal, is to find someone I want to impress. This is the modus operandi of my life.

It seems everything is orientated towards others: I look to others to evaluate what qualities I am looking for in myself, and start acting like them sometimes :eek: . I need somebody around in order to accomplish something. For example, the only way I can get myself to clean my apartment is if I know a friend is coming over! I feel bored most of the time. I feel like I have no drive. I feel like I am a child sometimes, not responsible, always putting of being bills, etc. I feel I always lack energy. I get really frustrated at work if I don't get 'recognition'. Making decisions is also a problem, takes soooo long for me! I always fear I will not be able to handle situations. Interminable procrastination, with task I find not exciting. Difficulty making any sorts of plans, getting organized.

In relationships, I often feel really fearful of saying what's on my mind, letting the other know what I truly want, for fear of a break up. It seems it's the only thing that matters: being in a relation, as opposed to feeling fulfilled. I get attached too quickly and idealize my partners, constantly waiting for them to call, 'driving by', trying to figure out what they want, as opposed to what I want. Constantly want them to touch me... argh.

All in all, what I find the most difficult is defining what is reasonable in term of behavior, expectations towards others' attention. I don't know what 'independence' means on a behavioral basis. I don't know what self fulfillment means. Being myself is feeling dependent and looking to others for appreciation, and I know this is not only a deterrent for others around me, but it prevents me from feeling comfortable. I wan to know also, what is reasonable in terms of discomfort, when you try to go for a goal, what is 'determination', 'persistence'... How do you find a balance in order to feel fulfill, but also know when to stop.

Anyway, I am asking what sort of concrete things I can do to help myself. I want to get over this.

thank you in advance.

s

Edited by tourdelove
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