I Started DBT

Last night was the first night with the group. Lucky for me, only four of us showed up plus the two therapists that run it. Meaning, I was relieved there wasn’t the full house of ten people + the 2 therapists.

I just met one of the therapists for the first time last night as well. And he seems really nice, but also dedicated to what he’s doing. He clearly enjoys it. Both therapists are young, which is to be expected I suppose. It’s been a while since therapists and psychiatrists were actually older than me.

The other therapist, the one I’d already known, is my individual therapist.

I’m not going to say anything else about the therapists right now because I don’t want to jinx anything. Last time I got excited about a therapist, she turned out to piss me off and frustrate me more than help me. She talked a good game on the phone, about knowing how to help those with complex trauma and that ended up to be bullshit.

But then she’s also the one who FINALLY picked up on my impulsive behaviors when I talked to her about some things that had been bothering me and she found this DBT program for me. So I’m thankful for that.

However, I do think there were plenty of other indications before that when I was in therapy with her and she could’ve caught it earlier.

I was also sitting there thinking last night while I sat at that table in that tiny conference room. “This should’ve happened a long time ago.”

In all the therapy I’ve been through, both psychiatrists (when they still had office hours and were also therapists), psychologists, social workers and two hospitalizations, DBT should have been offered to me repeatedly.

I even had a therapist once who saw the BPD traits. He’d suggested a book for me to read that mentioned some of the traits of BPD, even mentioned borderline personality disorder.

When I saw him again after finishing the book, I told him that I saw me in those traits. He nodded and quietly said, “Yeah.”  But instead of informing me of DBT and helping find a way to get it, he continued to not help me. In fact he was abusive. This I realized later though, in hindsight.

It’s hard to think about all the time wasted, the years behind me I’ll never get back. For one, my parents had no idea what they were doing, never helped me figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, didn’t help me deal with emotions, disappointments, heartbreak. Even my joy was dowsed.  It’s no secret they were causing what they should’ve been helping me cope with.

And two,  because the professionals that were supposed to be there to help, allowed me to slip through crack after crack after crack.

Playing With Fire Again! REALLY???

If my adrenals don’t get a fucking break I’m never going to recover.  I can’t leave and right now I am so fucking angry it’s more than uncomfortable.

I get angry all the time actually, but a lot of it is about shit that doesn’t matter or is truly futile because it’s about something that will NEVER change. I hate being trapped here. I hate living with someone I don’t trust to learn from previous mistakes, someone who doesn’t pay attention to some of the important shit.  I don’t feel safe.

So just a little back story: In the past, B had burnt a pot after walking away from a tiny bit of water he put on to heat up for tea. And a couple other times he forgot about toast he was making in a toaster oven, one of those times resulting in the toast actually catching fire!

So now at this apartment we now live in, we have a gas stove. I love gas to cook with. I really do. But I also know you need to be fucking careful when you cook with anything.

There are these pieces of round steel that go on top of the part where the fire comes out and they are removable. And if not put back right, (a fairly new discovery for me) the burner does not work. So when I turned the knob today to cook some quinoa, all I got was gas.

As I began to turn it off, the fire suddenly came on and it came out toward me. Scared the shit out of me.  At this point I didn’t realize that piece was on wrong. I just noticed something that looked wet on it. Probably butter from me cooking eggs this morning.

Well, B tried to clean it off by taking it to the sink and cleaning it off with the dish rag. And then when he put it back, he didn’t put it back right. So when I went to use the stove again…well…I already told you what happened.

The reason I realized that piece wasn’t on right and was the reason the fire didn’t go on, is because the exact same issue had happened before. In fact B was right next to me when we had the problem before.

I lost it. I yelled about it and couldn’t stop. I am really sucking at the DBT skills. It was the perfect opportunity for me to walk the fuck away, go outside or into my room and calm down first and THEN go back and talk to him about it. Tell him in a calm way how scared that makes me, which would also be less berating. And I did berate him for not learning from mistakes.

So not only am I angry at him for being careless, not putting that piece of the burner back on right, but also pissed at myself for not catching myself and working some DBT skill.

How the fuck am I supposed to stop myself when I feel the flooding of the threat of danger and then in turn anger? I talked to my therapist about it and she gave me specific things to do, but I can’t even get to the part where I’m supposed to STOP!

Shit Days

I am not doing well right now. I have just come off another binge with Mary Jane and am wondering wtf draws me so much to that.

Well, I know the answer…Pain…lots of pain. I have struggled with quitting her for years. And I am making another effort now. I’ve just committed to myself yesterday that I will not be drinking any alcohol for a year again. I did this in 2015 and it worked well.

I have not been drinking lately but I have thought about it a time or too. This may not be a big deal for some people but I have a  history of binge drinking. And I do the same with Mary. If she’s here, I indulge till she’s gone.

I wish I could keep her around, tucked away to enjoy now and then or use as a tool to calm down when I’m way over the top in an emotional reaction. But I don’t. I indulge every single day to keep myself at a constant numb.

And that’s not a good way to recover.

I am in DBT and have been going to individual therapy for about a month now. I will start group in a couple of weeks.

The whole premise around the program is to feel your emotions. I can’t feel what’s really there if I’m numbing them all the time. So now that Mary is gone along with sending her accessories out into the trash last week, I am going into this full force.

I don’t have to deal with the physical symptoms that many drugs bring with them once you let them go. But there is a cleaning out period plus the matter of now having to feel my emotions.

This isn’t easy and things have been more than difficult to say the least.

The other thing that Mary does is keep me asleep so to speak. It takes away my motivation and drive so I waste a lot of time. I also don’t care about myself either. So what happens is, I sleep a lot. I eat a lot of junk because I don’t have the drive to prepare healthy food. I don’t move my body because all my body wants to do is lay around. I also can’t read so I spend a lot of time on YouTube watching shit that is yet another waste of time.

It also keeps me somewhat oblivious or at least calmer about the situation here with B and me. And that includes between the two of us as well as the landlady downstairs. From here on out landlady will be known as Nasty.

Nasty the landlady.

So when I quit Mary, my emotions become awakened. And most of my emotions are not pleasant. I’ve written recently about Nasty in another post so I won’t get into her bullshit right now. She’s not even really the problem. The fact that she’s in my life is merely a symptom of other shit and my entire history has led me to this point.

My ‘addiction’ to Mary has held me back seriously. And for a while my emotions will be even more sensitive than usual as I adjust and learn how to be with and find another way of coping with my emotions.

So there’s that. But I actually started this post for another reason.

I am miserable with Mr. B. I have a lot of anger and resentment toward him and want to leave. But since I have not been working, have no income and don’t feel like I could hold down a job right now, I am trapped.

I talked to my therapist yesterday about a specific blow up that happened for me (B doesn’t blow up, yell or have much of an emotional spectrum at all). In talking about that one incident, I was able to illustrate what the relationship is like between the two of us and she gave me some really good insight

The pattern is: I’m triggered by something B does, says, doesn’t do, doesn’t say or something he forgets even though we’ve had the conversation once or sometimes many times. I have felt disregarded and not listened to.

When I’m triggered my reaction is to…well…react. I yell and berate. And this leads to sadness, depression and shame for me. I hate myself every single time. I apologize but the next time I’m triggered, I react the very same way.

I know this is abuse. And I am responsible for stopping. Which is one reason I am in DBT. A big reason for seeking out therapy, period. Although I sought out therapeutic help long before B was in the picture.

However, wanting to stop reacting in that matter, wanting to do DBT, wanting to be a better person…it’s all for myself. I mean, I want to stop hurting others too with my reaction, but my priority is myself.

Even if I didn’t react the way I do, this relationship is unhealthy. B is shut off from his emotions, he says shit all the time that indicates he doesn’t listen when I talk to him. He doesn’t look at me when I’m trying to communicate that I’m upset. And this happens even when the conversation is calm and normal.

He is physically unhealthy and won’t do anything to help himself. He is in a job in a company that treats him like a doormat and he doesn’t have the back bone to say no or to ask for a raise. He has no ambition and he seems to be getting worse on the drive and motivation front. He doesn’t seem to learn from certain mistakes and is not careful at work, hitting his head, rushing around slipping or falling, etc.

This probably sounds like I have no empathy for him hurting himself and sometimes I guess you could say that’s true. But the injuries he incurs and the errors he makes at times, are things that most people learn from after doing it once or twice.

Think about it. If you bend down and then crawl under something, you know something is above your head. Would you raise your head up to bump it knowing that thing is there…unless you are deliberately want to deliver some pain to your noggen?

If you’ve slipped on a surface before or dropped something on your foot in the past, would you not keep that in mind, learn from it and do something completely different to keep the same fucking accident from happening?

Most likely, the answers to these questions are a big fat YES if you care at all about yourself. But not B, he makes the same fucking mistakes over and over and over again.

We have been pulling each down into the sewer for years.

And I’m past due ready to get the fuck out.

I wish I had some place to go but I can’t think of anyone who would take me in, in the state I’m in right now. And I definitely need to stay close so that I can get to DBT. Unless we lose health care or some other rug gets pulled out from under…which to be honest, I am programmed to expect, so I do.

But to keep my sanity and to get through DBT (and that’s as long as Trump doesn’t pull the rug out from under mental health care) I need to learn gray rock really fast.

I also need to keep in mind the good things. I have written before about some of the ways he is supportive. He’s got my basic need of having a roof over my head taken care of. He understands why and supports my choice of not being a part of my own family anymore. His expectations of me are quite low actually. And I feel like I’ve been taking advantage of the situation.

A healthy person would’ve had their own full time income and left a long time ago. For both of our sake. There’s good stuff, but the emotional support in the day to day and his ability to listen and regard what I say as of any importance seems to be zero.

We have…scratch that…I have conversations with him one day and the next he does something that indicates he either didn’t listen or forgot. But then when I say something again, he says the very same things he said in the conversation before, as if we never had the original conversation in the first place.  It’s crazy making. And I have no way out.

I’ve been wondering lately if he actually enjoys seeing me react on an unconscious level. And if that’s true, then he loves the idea that I’m trapped because it gives him all the power.

I’m closing comments right now because I don’t really want any advice or feedback. I just needed to get that poison out of my system.

 

Diary Card is a Trigger: Having an Emotional Flashback (or Five)

I’m not in a good place right now. I’m having an emotional flashback about this stupid diary card. I feel like a little fucken kid right now as a result and really sensitive.

I remember as a kid in school I would be feeling vulnerable for something like not doing my homework (just as an example) and this would make me afraid, especially when it came to certain teachers. Specifically my first grade nun was abusive when I didn’t get the homework done or even do it right.

So if I was already vulnerable I would be sensitive to just about anything adverse so I would cry easily.

Once I’d forgotten my homework in 7th or 8th grade and (guessing because memory) called my mother and asked her to bring it up to me. She did and when she got there, I saw her at the door of the classroom.

I shot up out of my desk, both embarrassed and relieved to see her there. When I got to the door, I nudged her into the hallway and the tears just flowed.

One year, just being back after the summer, the teacher gave the assignment to write out the multiplication tables. We were only supposed to got to 12 on each number but I kept going, not remembering this from the previous year. And I felt so overwhelmed and don’t even remember now how far I went with each one. It must’ve taken me hours that night to finish that assignment.

I didn’t go to my parents, because I didn’t know if my mom would send me to my father. He was the last one I needed or wanted helping me.

Now for some reason this diary card is sending me back to that assignment and just endlessly writing the times tables and then finding out when I got back to school the next day that I made it even difficult than I had to because I didn’t remember from the previous year, what to do.

So I’m sitting here in tears and I guess I’m supposed to record this shit in that itty bitty box with no fucking room!

DBT Diary Card-Help?

My new DBT therapist gave me my first diary card yesterday and already I’m a little confused.

I have not started group yet as there is not an opening for another month. This is OK with me as I have started individual and gives me time to acclimate and prepare myself to be part of any sort of group.

I tried googling to see if I could find a sample of someone having filled one out but I’m not finding the type that I have. In addition, my therapist only instructed me to start the top part, not worrying about the ‘Skill’ portion yet.  This is also good for me as I would be overwhelmed with too much right away.  My brain just can’t handle too much at once at this time.

The diary card, at the top going across, lists: Joy – Fear – Sad – Anger – Shame
And then I’m supposed to rate each one, each day, from 0-10.
There is also an extra block for another emotion. But I have like three other emotions I feel frequently.

So my questions:
1 How do I accommodate in those little boxes for the emotions I feel more than once a day? It seems that there is only room for one number, which seems to me like I’m only supposed to count one time. But I can feel each emotion many times a day. Right now I’m squeezing numbers in, but this could get sloppy on the paper and impossible to read if say I feel anger or sadness ten times in a day.

2 For the three other emotions I’m accounting for in one block, what should I do for this? I am thinking I could just do some of this on a separate piece of paper. I’m already seeing I’m going to need to do that for the notes anyway. I like to write out what the reason is for the emotion, because remembering why is helpful with dealing with the emotion as well.

Suggestions and help is welcome.

Rethinking a Self-Diagnosis of Narcissism

I just read a post on Lucky Otter’s Haven, that got past me last year…well August 2015. You can find it HERE.

As I read, some thing occurred to me. And I think it’s something I’ve been having trouble with for the last week or so.

A while back…on December 20 to be exact, I put up this post basically confessing to being a covert narcissist and borderline.

Now, I’ve been diagnosed by one therapist as a borderline. I self-diagnosed the narcissism. I can’t bring myself to refer to myself as someone having NPD.

Since I’ve written that post…and I felt pretty strongly about what I wrote because of my behaviors…I now think that I was wrong.

Let me make clear that I am interested in the truth and have no problem with admitting to these things if they are true. Not that I like it or want to be that way…and that is kind of the direction I’m headed here and leads to the point I’m trying to make.

So before I go on with my point as to why I think I’m mistaken about my self-diagnosis of narcissism (as far as it is a disorder for me) and in addition why I think the BPD diagnosis is wrong as well, please read the paragraph below in blue and in quotes.

It’s from Lucky Otter’s post that I linked above. But please go read the whole post/article to put it more into context.

“So what is evil? Evil to me means a person who wants to bring harm to others and has no remorse over what they do and doesn’t care about the suffering they cause–and even enjoys it. It’s a person who goes out of their way to hurt others. It’s a person who tries to destroy the reality or the soul of another human being. It’s a person who never feels guilt or shame over their actions and has no empathy for the pain they cause. All evil people (as far as I know) are of the Cluster B persuasion and most are narcissists (or ASPDs), but not every narcissist or borderline is evil.”

In the article, Otter made the point that narcissism (and BPD) run on a spectrum so there are degrees of each personality disorder.

For the most part I’ve agreed with this and in a way I still do agree that there are degrees of narcissism in people. In fact, there is narcissism in everyone. We need it to survive. We need to care about ourselves so we can stay alive, so we are driven to eat. So we are driven to care about ourselves enough to keep a roof over our heads, have friends to keep us company and to even care about anyone else.

People with BPD are also known to be narcissistic and also fall on a continuum. So although it’s not the same disorder, you’ll find that there are many things in common, which is probably why aware borderlines may feel they have NPD as well.

I was beginning to sway to think that maybe some people with NPD are truly aware of their behavior and they want to get better.

But I don’t know. I think it’s more likely that the people who think they have NPD, who even have behaviors that point to such a disorder, actually have complex PTSD.

There are those with complex PTSD have been misdiagnosed with a cluster b and that’s where I have a problem.

It seems that if evil is defined by having no remorse for the pain one causes, then could it really be that someone displays a behavior that is normally identified with someone with a cluster b, but the person is remorseful, how is that person a cluster b?

Seems to me the person is likely not. And certainly not evil.

Out of the Closet: As a Borderline and a Narcissist

dsc04331aEven now, just as I begin to write I can feel myself wanting to detach, even slightly dissociate into a day-dream type state.

I’m tired though and depressed. What I take some days for my depression and anxiety, makes me tired the next day, which in turns feeds the depression and my boredom.

So, to the point of this post: I have borderline personality disorder. I was diagnosed some time ago, but even if I hadn’t been, I could, quite confidently still say this and know it’s true.

In fact, I sought the diagnosis. Although I would’ve preferred to be proven wrong, the truth is truth no matter how much you don’t want it to be. Sure, I could also be labeled as having Complex Post Traumatic Disorder too and in fact I do think I suffer from that as well. After all, I have borderline because of ongoing emotional neglect and abuse via both parents, which also caused the post traumatic stress.

The traumatic stress was exacerbated during the stretch of weeks that my family and I cared for my father after he was diagnosed with a terminal illness. There abuse exhausted me. I found myself wondering during the editing of this post, if their treatment of me didn’t play a part in removing the mask that I wear. That being said, the mask is and has been off in my living situation for a long time. It has come off in periodic fits of rage or berating of others.

According to the DSM (any version that lists it) I fit quite well into each symptom of BPD. I have mentioned the personality disorder here and there on this blog, but not a whole lot, pertaining to myself, preferring to go along with the (C)PTSD part of the diagnosis, given the way I acquired it. Note: I was not diagnosed with Complex PTSD. The therapist who diagnosed me with borderline also diagnosed me with PTSD.

My thinking on that is because the complex form is not recognized in the DSM and it’s likely for insurance purposes as well. This therapist , in fact all the therapists I’ve seen covered by public assistance have seemed to be more concerned with making sure they get paid than making sure they can help me.

Digressing…sorry.

Feeling afraid and shameful, because of the stigma, I have preferred to mention as little as possible in reference to myself. Besides, don’t people with C-PTSD have trouble with impulse control and containing emotions as well?  I’d bet that some do. It’s a coping strategy in defense of feeling threatened. Whether a real threat or not.

Some of what I’ve written of my behavior though, certainly speaks for itself and someone knowledgeable of the disorders would likely figure it out.  In fact someone knowledgeable may even guess I have some level of narcissism as well.

I want to at some point, go down the list of borderline symptoms and illustrate how they fit my own behaviors. But for now, I will just give an example of some unstable relationship behavior:

In past relationships I have been very indecisive (although the men were always unhealthy) and would pull someone in. Then when I felt like things were getting too serious, I’d push them away in some form or another. I know now that it was because I felt engulfed.

I spent my twenties back and forth between two men, seeing one for a stretch of time, then doing that with the other, repeatedly. Same two guys.

Then in my thirties there were two other men, one being married and the other Mr. B. It wasn’t quite the same as with the other two, but I found myself at one point not wanting to make up my mind between the two of them. In fact, I don’t know that I ever would have, had it not been made up for me. The married man from when I was in my early thirties is one in the same as the man I got re-involved with at the end of 2009 and he was married again to someone else

Always though, sex was the high-point and the most important part of these relationships for me. In fact it was an addiction of sorts. Sex in and of itself wasn’t what I’d call an addiction. I was addicted to each person I wanted to have sex with. I didn’t go seek out sex with every guy in town just so that I could have an orgasm. Sex though, with the men I felt drawn to, was an escape for me like getting drunk was or smoking a joint.

I was up late last night reading a blog I found a link to on the resource page of the blog “Down the Rabbit Hole.”

That  blog is called “From Narcissism to Nirvana” and can be found here. I found myself relating to so much of what was written there.

I know, it’s well known that if you question yourself being a narcissist, you aren’t one. But I don’t agree with that across the board. That’s not to say I don’t think all narcissists are aware, nor do all narcissists question. And it’s probably that if a malignant narcissist is aware of what he or she is, they see no reason to change.

Nor am I saying that I think every single person who questions themselves, is one. As has been said before, narcissism runs on a spectrum and a little is a good thing anyway.

On the blog is a post about different types of narcissists. I found this interesting to read about and found myself in the description of “Fragile/Covert narcissist.” Not everything fit, but enough to see and understand that I have some issues with this. You can find that post here.

I have been resisting using these labels. But I believe this resistance is holding me back from writing as freely as I’d like. I’ve been afraid of what some of my readers will think, say or do. (Even though I don’t have many.)

I am irresponsible. I stay up late and I sleep late. I don’t work. I rely on someone else to keep a roof over my head. There’s SNAP but no cash benefits because I don’t have kids. I self-isolate and have done so for a few years now. When I do leave the house for necessary errands, I am completely wiped out by the time I get back.

I berate my roommate and have little patience for our cat.

Even when Mr. B does something nice or positive or whatever, I will still find something to berate him for. I find something out of place and I call him at work, angry about it, trying to change the occurrence. Trying to get him to change his habits. Trying to control the situation. Trying to control him.

I rage when I feel threatened or slighted in any way, most of the time as well, so yes, Mr. B has experienced and been on the receiving end of this.

I get agitated easily when someone doesn’t understand me the first time I explain myself, whether it’s a hearing problem or a logistic misunderstanding, my reaction tends to be the same. And as I repeat myself the impatience and agitation is loud and clear.

I have never had an interest in anything long enough to become an expert in it, really great at it or to really make any money at it. I get bored quickly and easily long before I master anything.

On top of this I also have codependency issues. I am afraid to be assertive. Either I am putting my tail between my legs or I rage. There doesn’t seem to be too much in-between most of the time.

The co-dependency issues:

-I have a need for approval from others/everyone. The situation I went through with my family while we cared for my dying father is a really good example of my codependency behavior.
-Not being capable of drawing boundaries.
-Worried my family wouldn’t love me if I didn’t do what they wanted.
-Not standing up for myself when they raged at me or otherwise verbally/emotionally assaulted me.
-Their approval of me was more important to me than my own safety.

My family as a unit is/was very narcissistic.

None of us know how to deal with our emotions or stress in productive ways among each other. That was made very clear during my father’s illness. Speaking for myself, my emotional and stress responses go beyond my behavior with my family, as I’ve illustrated here.

Briefly speaking for my family members, I see borderline traits in my brother, both borderline and some malignant narcissism in my sister, and covert narcissism in my mother as well as apathy.

I prefer to say that I have borderline personality disorder rather than that I am a borderline. Because the borderline traits are the behaviors of false-self, as I see it. They are the protection and the defense. Even some kind of denial of self.

Even the nice-guy act of certain types of narcissists is a protective shell to get others to like them. I understand that this is manipulative and fake and much of the time there is some evil ulterior motive other than to just be liked. But bear with me, I am not talking about malignant narcs.

On the above mentioned blog From Narcissism to Nirvana, the author explains some behaviors and how they relate to the false-self and the mask. In reading I came to my own understanding of the phenomena of the act, the mask and the false-self.

The act is just that, but it’s also an adaptation to the social aspect of life. It’s also a far outer wall, to protect both real and false-selves as well as to hide the mask itself.

The mask is the shield closest to the surface personality, which I think is the false-self. The abusive self, the raging self, the angry and hardened self…that is all the false-self. The self that developed in defense to protect the real-self. The real self is actually the vulnerable soft little child who just wants love. And is the one hidden behind all these hard outer shells, known as masks.

So when the mask comes off it’s not the real-self you see. Even though, neither was the nice guy you first met. When a mask comes off, it’s still just one layer. The rage and evil you see is the self defense coping strategy developed over so much time.

The real-self is also the developmentally arrested self. The layers of masks are there to cover up the fact that the child has not emotionally grown up and into the full-fledged adult it was meant to. The adult child is emotionally stuck in whatever age the wounding began.

So what you see and experience when the mask comes off, is another defense and protective mechanism because the adult child hasn’t learned any coping mechanisms past that early age. That rage is a coping mechanism for a very scared, frightened, sad and grieving child.

The adult (real-self) never had a chance to emotionally develop because the child lived in a necessary state of defense, constant stress and fear.

Children need guidance and direction in order to learn new and age appropriate coping skills from healthy adults who also understand healthy ways of coping, as he or she grows.  When that’s not available, the child is left to fend for itself.

I can’t speak to the experience of every narcissist or everyone with borderline personality disorder. I’m speaking from the understanding I took from something I read and applied to the way it feels for me.

There are times I’ve reacted in anger when it made absolutely no sense and in fact it was a result of being embarrassed. So my thoughts on this, is that perhaps the mask is worn (for some) because of the embarrassment that they have not fully grown emotionally into an adult.

I can say that is likely the case for me as well as wanting to be liked, accepted and not bring about negative attention.

I am an ACON (Adult Child of Narcissists). Both parents I believe now were there own brand of narcissist. I didn’t see it in my mother prior because she is more covert and much quieter. I also think she has many codependent issues as well. My father fits the more fragile type and his immature emotions were obvious many times throughout my childhood and later.

As a result my defense mechanisms formed as traits that equal both borderline and narcissistic. My father passed away miserable and unhappy. My siblings and mother choose to stay in denial and simply use me as the family scapegoat. However, I am not in contact with them either so I am no longer privy to anything being said in that vein. Their actions, particularly in those last months of involvement with them, made it quite clear how they feel about me.

I feel like a bee who escaped a nest of angry hornets, who wanted to use me for stinging practice and buzz loudly about everyone they felt slighted them or couldn’t control.  I needed to get away from their angry buzzing and their stings. I needed to get the volume of all that noise down. But unfortunately, it still echoes throughout my mind and I am still defending myself against their attacks, even though they are no longer attacking me in real time.

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Below the line is a rambling before editing my thoughts on the act, the mask and the false-self, if you’re interested in some of the thought process.
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The love-bombing, the acting like a super good person, is an act…as most of us know…even the narcissists themselves, including the unaware ones, likely know this. As a narc becomes more familiar with the person he or she is love bombing, he starts to test the waters to see how much they can slack off. And as each layer of the act comes off, the closer you get to the mask. When you reach the mask, that’s when the the hard core abuse and rage really starts.

But under the mask? There’s where the real false-self is. The self that the narcissist doesn’t want you to see. The false self is the constructed self (the wall if you will) to protect the child inside. Because this person, in an adult body, is emotionally arrested at the level of a small child. A small intensely wounded child.

In essence, the false-self is on the surface…under the mask. And all those traits that you see when the mask falls off, is actually still more of the false-self.

The false-self formed a long time ago, during childhood, likely because of harsh abuse and neglect or maybe even from being fawned over too much, to make a child believe he or she was more special than anyone else. But I’d be willing to bet that different types of narcissism forms, depending on whether a child was abused or fawned over. And I’m not speaking from the stand-point of being fawned over as a child.

The false-self formed as a defense to protect the child. And as the child grows, it becomes more and more ingrained because it continues to need to protect itself.

(I’m using ‘it’ for simplification. I know children and humans aren’t things or its. It’s just easier than writing him/her and himself/herself. No offense intended here.)

And so those neural pathways become like dried concrete. And as a child develops into an adult the more it becomes ingrained and cemented in, if you will.

We have been told this can’t be changed because after all it has become the person’s personality. And although it’s disordered, the personality is the definition of someone.

But this begs the question, at least from me, what sort of person would have emerged if there was never a need to protect itself? If the child had been loved, guided and nurtured?

And if someone can become aware, they can also change their behaviors and even the drives that create a mind-set to bring those behaviors forth can also be changed.

In fact it is well known now through the study of the brain that our neuro-pathways are not forever stuck if we decide we want to change. It’s not easy to do but it is possible.