Professional Help Activity 1: Self-perception Distortions & Therapy Sessions

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C.

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Reminder: In order to honor our group process we ask that only current ASCA workbook group members post and respond here please.  If you would like to join in at this time or a later date please send the moderator a PM.  Thank you.

Note:  Your recovery is unique to you.  These topics and activities are suggestions.  Please feel free to do and respond to those that work for you at this time.

1.   What kind of distortions has your therapist pointed out to you in the past? Share your ideas about this and discuss with your therapist which ones still present problems for you.

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VeryFoggy

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One of the first things my therapist said to me at our first meeting was, “You present yourself to the world as truthful and honest, and then are devastated when the world does not receive you in the manner you expect.” Of course having CPTSD distorts things too, but having had it my whole life, and KNOWING other people probably did not feel the same paralyzing terror when confronted with abusive behavior?  Well it wasn’t that hard to figure out that it did cause me to feel exaggerated feelings.  But choosing to view it an asset has helped me.  It’s my own personal abuse warning system.  It just works too well!

She also does not criticize, or tell me I am going the wrong way, or that anything I am thinking is wrong.  On the contrary every single thing I have ever suspected and thought is completely validated, and supported, and agreed with. So I really can’t say that she has pointed out ANY distortions AT ALL in my thinking or decision making. 

It’s just the opposite.  Just like so much of this work book… Everything they talk about seems to be the opposite for me. My thinking is not distorted.  On the contrary it’s crystal clear.  But I have no idea what to do with the knowledge. But having someone else like my T impartially look at the things that are said between the abusers and I, and the exchanges we have had, and to be:

a) Validated that yes, they quite likely are probably ALL Narcissists and
b) No you have no personality disorders, your thinking is logical and clear, and
c) Stop dismissing your abuse and downplaying it, both past and present, it is every bit and then some as bad as you say. 

All of these validations by a certified trained PhD professional have kept me ALIVE. If she had told me I was crazy myself, and there was something mentally wrong with me?  And that all of these very nice people in my family were just fine and "normal" and that it was me that was crazy?  I probably would have just ended it all. That's how far gone I was when I went for help.  They almost succeeded in killing me. It's kind of scary to look back on.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2015, 02:48:08 AM by VeryFoggy »

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Kizzie

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Reminder: In order to honor our group process we ask that only current ASCA workbook group members post and respond here please.  If you would like to join in at this time or a later date please send the moderator (C) a PM.  Thank you.

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I'm not in therapy having just moved, but my last T and I spent some time looking at the fact that I tend to take things very personally. No surprize having grown up in a PD FOO!  I'm not quite sure how I am getting over this one, but I am. I am starting to have a "Meh" reaction to things I would have cringed at or even gone into an EF over because I felt so vulnerable and responsible not all that long ago.   

Perhaps it's just a case of knowing and believing finally that I am not responsible for others as I had been trained to think I was, and having a strategy in place  to combat the thinking.  When I hear that tape start in my head I challenge it, let go and give things over to the universe or back to the person they belong to.  I think this area of recovery also relates to becoming more self-referenced than other-referenced.

Whatever the case, it's a nice feeling to be able to stay in my own skin, and not be pulled hither and yon by others or to feel the weight of the world on my shoulders anymore. 
« Last Edit: May 19, 2015, 06:47:36 PM by Kizzie »

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C.

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Over a year ago I convinced myself that my son didn't need me anymore, I was of no use to him. 

I don't think in that extreme now, but I do have a pervasive underlying belief that I'm not doing a good enough job as his mom b/c of his behavior at times (he's a teen, but has a NPD dad).  I know intellectually that I'm doing ok, but in my gut I feel unsure and insecure about parenting him.

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Kizzie

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I've been thinking about your post since reading it a few days ago and I think if I am being honest with myself, I am insecure about whether or not my son truly loves me.  I know he does, but every once in a while I will hear my IC rise up and say "You have no real connection with him, he doesn't really love you." 

It's more of a fear than a reality though - not quite sure how to explain it other than I think it's seated in that abandonment depression at the core of CPTSD trauma that Walker and others talk about.  Not to get too deep into that, but I sense it's connected more to the past than anything in reality and my actual relationship with my son.   

Have to ponder this a bit more.

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VeryFoggy

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C. and Kizzie, I believe my son is quite a bit older than yours are.  When he was 16 I never even thought about  things such as whether he loved me or needed me or not.

I was so busy getting him out of scrape after scrape I did not have time to think about such things. Truancy, stealing credit cards out of neighbors mail boxes so he could dial 1-800-SEXY, drugs, overdoses, hospitalizations, arrests for drunkenness, curfew violations, underage smoking, car wrecks, forcing an insurance company to authorize a colonoscopy for him by writing to senators and congressman, finally homeschooling and helping him get a GED. Then a rehab program and lawyers, and psychologists and psychiatrists, and dropping him at the jail for a weekend of incarceration due to missing, not failing, just missing a drug test. Over and over and over he went to jail for this. And I was running, running, running.

I thought he loved me or would someday.  But he doesn't. He still lives at home. He is almost 31. And he has no memory of any it, remembers nothing I did to save him and help him.  Or so he claims.  And he hates me.  He hates me because I take care of him and saved him from himself.

He has no record at all.  I am proud of that if nothing else. He has nothing at all on his record, and I did it single handedly. Through sheer grit. Because I thought if he had a record?  That he would have to live with that stigma for the rest of his life.  So I got him off. Through begging and programs, and lawyers, and promises.

But maybe he should have had a record.  Maybe he would have been better off if I had stepped aside and said "You do the crime, you do the time."  I don't know.

We just do the best we can, you know? But we can't do it all.  They have to help. So love them as best you can, but you can't make them love you. That's their choice.

I just know he is a Narcissist, and has nothing for anybody. And that's not my fault. He had every chance in the world.  He was loved and cared for, and I did the best I could. Maybe I did too much, but I do not think that my doing made him a Narcissist. I think there was something wrong with to start with, and I did my best to stop it?  But I couldn't do it. This is why I think Narcissism is genetic. I think I gave it to him. Through my genes.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 02:04:19 AM by VeryFoggy »

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C.

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VF your kindness and acceptance about these big, heartfelt and painful topics are so validating and encouraging.

Just as a side note I've noticed that in the research and my personal experience of NPD people it's this odd combination of "spoiling" (giving in too much) combined with neglect/abuse.  At least in my case w/my son I feel like I was "spoiling" too much (not setting enough boundaries) combined w/the neglect from his father.  I know that was the case w/my NPD ex, emotional incest w/his mom combined w/abuse and neglect by his father and extended family.  And I'm sure the genes play a roll.  And definitely we all do the best that we can at the time.  That's probably one of the steps somewhere, acceptance.

Honestly w/my Faith perspective I think we just don't know enough about NPD treatment yet.  We're finally understanding C-PTSD and treatment.  We're finally understanding "good enough" experiences for children to develop healthy social-emotional identities.  As science, psychology, and humanity evolves I believe someone will begin to find better treatment for PD folks to help them w/their own self-awareness.  But that's not my recovery, just a faith piece I've tucked away at the back of my mind to stay hopeful for your son VF and my ex and anyone else who (probably unknowingly) battles a PD.

This is another reminder that my divorce was in great part to "save" my own kids, I sensed that they could not be raised appropriately by my ex w/me around enabling his pathological behavior.

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anosognosia

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He has no record at all.  I am proud of that if nothing else. He has nothing at all on his record, and I did it single handedly. Through sheer grit. Because I thought if he had a record?  That he would have to live with that stigma for the rest of his life.  So I got him off. Through begging and programs, and lawyers, and promises.

But maybe he should have had a record.  Maybe he would have been better off if I had stepped aside and said "You do the crime, you do the time."  I don't know.

We just do the best we can, you know? But we can't do it all.  They have to help. So love them as best you can, but you can't make them love you. That's their choice.

I just know he is a Narcissist, and has nothing for anybody. And that's not my fault. He had every chance in the world.  He was loved and cared for, and I did the best I could. Maybe I did too much, but I do not think that my doing made him a Narcissist. I think there was something wrong with to start with, and I did my best to stop it?  But I couldn't do it. This is why I think Narcissism is genetic. I think I gave it to him. Through my genes.

VF I totally get the sense that you do everything you can in your power to help him. Do you think there's a mismatch between his needs and yours?  What are your needs in this relationship dynamic? What have the supports told you and him? 

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anosognosia

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Just as a side note I've noticed that in the research and my personal experience of NPD people it's this odd combination of "spoiling" (giving in too much) combined with neglect/abuse.  At least in my case w/my son I feel like I was "spoiling" too much (not setting enough boundaries) combined w/the neglect from his father.  I know that was the case w/my NPD ex, emotional incest w/his mom combined w/abuse and neglect by his father and extended family.  And I'm sure the genes play a roll.  And definitely we all do the best that we can at the time.

C I am curious about this research about spoiling too much and neglect.  What sources have you come across? It somehow resonates with me too and I want to explore further. 

I agree with you that there's an interplay between genes and environment. They say that environment is the trigger and the genes are the guns. 

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VeryFoggy

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Ano - I am not sure I understand your questions? My needs are for my son to grow up and to leave home and to have a happy fulfilled life on his own without me. I wanted to get rid of all of the bad things he was doing to himself to clear the path so he could see a way forward and still have a happy life for himself.  My son's needs appear to be to happily stay here forever with mommy taking care of him and everything else just like she always has.  I did not understand the question "What do the supports say?'  If you mean therapists?  My therapist thinks he is a full blown Narcissist and we do NOT need to be living together.  It is a dangerous volatile situation. He is constantly verbally abusive, he has hit me and we need to get away from each other.  My therapist and I are both pondering on how to best accomplish that. And yet not leave him on the street destitute. If I have to? I will call the police.  But I don't want to.  So far threatening to do so has kept him in check.

He is not liking the new me, the one that says No? No you cannot talk to me that way, no I will not cosign a loan for you, no I will not do anything more, I have already given enough? But he appears to SLOWLY be accepting it. And when he dreams I encourage it. We will see what happens I guess.

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C.

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Ano-what I said about spoiling and abuse/neglect is a combination of what I read online w/reputable sources about the "etiology" and Walker's book where he talks about people who develop the "fight" response the most w/regards their neglect/abuse.  I also worked in the early childhood/parenting field, not to say I'm an expert in any way, but I've seen how much children need consistent and firm boundaries, so "spoiling" removes the boundary protection.  And we all know how damaging abuse/neglect is for people.  Also emotional incest really is another form of abuse/neglect, so as I think about it perhaps the "spoiling" I'm describing is really a form of abuse by not protecting a child from herself, for example from her aggression or staying out too late as a teen...

VF-It sounds like you are coping very well in difficult circumstances.  You have awareness and goals regards your son, and maybe faith in the process?  I worry about my own kids' abilities to support themselves b/c their NPD dad inconsistently likes them to be dependent on him (an extension of him in that way).  I mention this because as much as our kids are in part developed by us, the other parent plays a role and as you've described they also choose their own path.  My daughter is getting there, but doesn't really seem to belief in herself w/regards her own finances.  She depends on the good will of others.  But she's young and learning.  My son is young so I trust that I'll help him learn.

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anosognosia

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He is constantly verbally abusive, he has hit me and we need to get away from each other.  My therapist and I are both pondering on how to best accomplish that. And yet not leave him on the street destitute. If I have to? I will call the police.  But I don't want to.  So far threatening to do so has kept him in check.

He is not liking the new me, the one that says No?

Wow wow you are certainly turning tides and I can only imagine the unfamiliar and uncomfortable territories that come with it (maybe guilt? at least that'swhat I would feel).  I respect your process so much.