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#235765 - 07/04/08 01:06 PM Survivors and Borderline traits/Communicating!
evanescentjoy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 46
Thinking about my interactions with CSA survivors and my own "borderline traits" (recently diagnosed), I've begun to see typical survivor behaviors in a different light.

Those who are diagnosed with Borderline personality traits or disorder tend to be FEMALES who were sexually abused as children; however, I wonder if the MALE population who has experienced CSA are not being underdiagnosed or underrepresented?

As many of you probably already know, the precursors for Borderline diagnosis are childhood abandonment abuse/neglect, and the diagnostic criteria for borderline are:

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

1) frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment

2) a pattern of unstable & intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation

3) identity disturbance: markedly and persistent unstable self-image or sense of self

4) impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g. spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)

5) recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures or threats, or self-mutilating behavior

6) affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)

7) chronic feelings of emptiness

8) inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)

9) transient, stress related paranoia or severe dissociative symptoms


I just wanted to say that, reflecting on my own interactions with my survivor brother and lost love, as well as reading many of the experiences posted here on this forum, it seems like it might be very helpful for some of you (CSA survivors and partners, alike) to look into information and therapy specific to Borderlines, as well as CSA, such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and the following books:

Walking on Eggshells
Sometimes I Act Crazy
I Hate You, Don't Leave Me
Lost in the Mirror
The Four Agreements (not Borderline-specific, but very helpful!)


I now recognize my own Borderline traits and have been attending a DBT therapy group and I have to say that it definitely has been helpful. It is a very slow process, but recognition of the negative communication traits and twisted ways of thinking, brought about by abuse/abandonment, has been very enlightening.

Best to all of you - Happy 4th!

EJ




Edited by evanescentjoy (07/04/08 01:08 PM)
_________________________
"Become who you are." -Nietzsche

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#235813 - 07/04/08 04:34 PM Re: Survivors and Borderline traits/Communicating! [Re: evanescentjoy]
NY Daisy Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/29/08
Posts: 183
Evanescentjoy,

My H was abused by his brother for years. We have been married for 19yrs. Over the years he has diagnosed me with many personality disorders,and has deemed me mentally incompentent many times over.I always research any new disorder, just to see if any of it rings true, plus I love to learn. His latest mental conditions for me are narcissistic and borderline. I went on line,I almost fell off the chair. Borderline was my H to a tee. Now what? I can't tell him that, he would never see it,if our T saw something he would quit and call him a quack.
I would love to help him, but my hands are tied. I have been looking into the books and talk about it with my t. I am trying my best to help without "HELPING". I would never diagnose him myself, One, I know how much that hurts, and Two, Like him I am not qualified to make one since I am not in that field.

Anyone have any suggestions? Our marriage is hanging by a thread, and I am in a no win situation. If I even bring anything up I am emotionally & mentally abusing him......Anyone..HELP? NYDAISY


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#236826 - 07/08/08 05:53 PM Re: Survivors and Borderline traits/Communicating! [Re: NY Daisy]
evanescentjoy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 46
Daisy,

I also see a lot of personality disorder traits in the survivors in my life. I do not, however, believe that a person is a personality disorder, although he might have traits, and I see the danger in making a diagnosis/label. Perhaps a diagnosis is only useful in the context of proper treatment - Nothing more, nothing less. At least, that's my view.

One thing I am very curious about is why women are overrepresented in the Borderline disorder, whereas the same is true of men with the Narcissistic disorder. They seem like two sides of the same coin.

You may recognize these traits in him but, due to the walking-on-eggshells/no-win situation he creates, you may not be able to label them. Could you present some of the cogitive behavioral therapy/Dialectical behavioral therapy covertly, as something that will help BOTH of you communicate better? Perhaps he would be willing to admit that BOTH of you have a problem, rather than just him (regardless of whether or not this is true)?

It's worth a try, right?

Here's a good, comprehensive site I found on DBT today:

http://www.dbtselfhelp.com

I've met a few people who have improved greatly from DBT. Most were sexually abused. Honestly, I think most people would benefit from learning better communication and emotional regulation skills, which is what this form of therapy is all about. It's about unlearning and undoing the unhealthy communication and thinking patterns we've developed due to abuse, neglect, or other factors. It's about change and progress... Not labeling and wallowing in self-pity...



Edited by evanescentjoy (07/08/08 06:03 PM)
_________________________
"Become who you are." -Nietzsche

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#236828 - 07/08/08 05:56 PM Re: Survivors and Borderline traits/Communicating! [Re: NY Daisy]
evanescentjoy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 46
Another thing I want to add is the need for a survivor to remove himself from his victim mentality and from his sense of learned helplessness.

Self pity is no place to stay.

What initially attracted me to cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy was that they are not so focused on the past, which can't be changed, but rather, on teaching survivors new skills and more effective ways of thinking and communicating.

It seems to be much more tangible and goal-oriented than talk therapy. And this is coming from a true therapy-hater.



Edited by evanescentjoy (07/08/08 06:04 PM)
_________________________
"Become who you are." -Nietzsche

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#236900 - 07/08/08 11:58 PM Re: Survivors and Borderline traits/Communicating! [Re: evanescentjoy]
coaster fan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/17/07
Posts: 11

"Self pity is no place to stay."
Great quote!
Thanks,
CF


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#236928 - 07/09/08 07:56 AM Re: Survivors and Borderline traits/Communicating! [Re: coaster fan]
Junefriday Offline


Registered: 06/05/08
Posts: 113
Loc: Canada
I've done a lot of reading on borderline personality disorder too and what I've read frightens me.

Fear is the driving force for someone with borderline; they fear abandonment, they fear never having enough of something, they fear being wrong, etc. It sounds like low self-esteem but it is different because they truly believe that the way they see things is right. So when they put you down, it isn't because they have insecurities but simply because whatever you once did for them isn't enough anymore and they see you that way. It doesn't make it right, but that is what they do.

The scary part is that someone with this personality disorder (and also narcissistic personality) believe that they are right. Because of that, they don't believe they have a problem. YOU have the problem. So while counseling can definitely help someone who wants to be helped, these people don't believe that they need help. While there may be periods where they return to their previous "contented" selves, the periods are short lived. They rarely get better. In fact, the mood swings, etc. only increase with age.

I talked to a professional about my H's behaviour of late. Her advice to me was to get out soon if I wanted a "normal" life. She said that as much as I love him, he will never return to the person that I fell in love with. This is who he is now and he doesn't see the problem with it. My needs will only be important if they are of relevance to him. I will never come first.

_________________________
"Love comes to those who still hope even though they've been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they've been betrayed, to those who still love even though they've been hurt before.

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#237066 - 07/09/08 06:17 PM Re: Survivors and Borderline traits/Communicating! [Re: Junefriday]
LittleMiss Offline


Registered: 07/02/08
Posts: 66
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Junefriday
I talked to a professional about my H's behaviour of late. Her advice to me was to get out soon if I wanted a "normal" life. She said that as much as I love him, he will never return to the person that I fell in love with. This is who he is now and he doesn't see the problem with it. My needs will only be important if they are of relevance to him. I will never come first.


June, do you think that is true? It is so bleak. I am so sorry.

_________________________
LittleMiss

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

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#237085 - 07/09/08 07:44 PM Re: Survivors and Borderline traits/Communicating! [Re: LittleMiss]
Junefriday Offline


Registered: 06/05/08
Posts: 113
Loc: Canada
I don't know. I don't believe that a professional can make a true diagnosis without meeting the person. But, some of the things that she said were the EXACT words that my H uses. It was scary because what she was saying sounded just like him.

I went to visit an old family friend today who is a priest. He and I talked and he also said that he has counseled many sexual abuse survivors and often they fall so far because they deny they need help, that the partner becomes a victim too. He strongly urged me to leave if my H truly does not believe that he needs help and does not believe that the problems lie in him.

Now having said all of that, you must remember that everyone is different. There are many CSA survivors who do not develop personality disorders. And, there are many people with personality disorders that lead normal, functioning lives. What everyone is telling me is that I need to make a choice - (i) stay with him and take my chances hoping that he may one day see the light, or (ii) decide that what I want in life is too important to wait on "what ifs".

I don't know what to do. I love him and don't want to believe any of this. I want to fall asleep and wake up 2 years ago. But I know that he has changed and doesn't want me anymore. I know that I need to start to feel loved again or the abuse will take me over completely. I cannot help him. Only he can help himself. Since he won't do that, there really is no hope for us. If that is the case, why would I stay???

_________________________
"Love comes to those who still hope even though they've been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they've been betrayed, to those who still love even though they've been hurt before.

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#237148 - 07/09/08 10:38 PM Re: Survivors and Borderline traits/Communicating! [Re: Junefriday]
NY Daisy Offline
New Here

Registered: 02/29/08
Posts: 183
Junefriday, I feel like I could be writing your posts myself. I am afraid that I am losing my H this time for good. My spouse cycles about every 5 years. He told me 13 years ago. The first time he went to counseling, then disclosed, then we went to a T together. After he acted like the man I married. Five years later, he had trouble again, he sought out help, and acted like the man I married. Now we are doing it again. I wanted to seek counseling as a couple, but this time he was resistant. He told me that therapy wouldn't help us because I will manipulate the T into making everything his fault, when the problem is I won't admit to my many personality disorders.
After he diagnosed me, I was reading about them and talking to my T, she told me that it sounds like he has them. Like you my T desperately wants me to move foward, for my own sake. I am so scared that he is not coming back this time. It feels so different. He seems worse than the beginning. his attacks on me are more hurtful, and this time I think he means them. HE HONESTLY BELIEVES THAT EVERYTHING IS MY FAULT. He feels very victimized by me, I am abusing him. I asked for an example, and he said to me totally serious," you know when I talk to you in the morning, and I ask you what's for Dinner? When you tell me you don't know, that is mental abuse." To me that is not logical, yet he believes it to be true.
Anyway, since I was desperate, and I am not proud, after we had a particularly bad discussion,I decided to tell him what I thought he wanted to hear. I told him that he was right. I had a serious problem, and needed help. He called the very next day,and made an appointment for us to see a T together. We have gone 3 times now and he is there. He is not receptive to any opinion the T might have that he deems "against him". He is very supportive of my faults.
I am forever optimistic, and want this all to work out, but it has to change, and I'm terrified it won't. NYDAISY


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#237420 - 07/11/08 08:47 AM Re: Survivors and Borderline traits/Communicating! [Re: NY Daisy]
Junefriday Offline


Registered: 06/05/08
Posts: 113
Loc: Canada
I don't know what to say NYDAISY. I do know exactly how you feel. People with borderline (and it is does seem to be predominantly men) have a tendency to be very manipulative. So your H turning the tables as saying you are abusing him makes sense. They can be bullies but though we are normally taugh not to back down to bullies, we need to be careful with people with borderline because it may just provoke them. I've been told to be firm but kind. It has worked so far. When in doubt, I don't think there is anything wrong with telling them what they want to hear, but don't let yourself start believing it too.

I think one thing to keep in mind is that they aren't necessarily doing any of this intentionally. They aren't sociopaths in the sense that they don't care or feel no remorse. I think they just see things in a different way and because that is what they SEE, they can't imagine being wrong.

_________________________
"Love comes to those who still hope even though they've been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they've been betrayed, to those who still love even though they've been hurt before.

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