Mental Health Therapy and Addiction Counseling In Person or Virtual Telehealth. Located in Doylestown, PA.
Disclaimer: I'm not a fan of the term "Personality Disorder" because it has such negative connotations and stigma attached. I will be using it here simply because anyone looking for help and support will be using it as a term to search - and I want to make sure everyone gets evidence based and trauma-informed information. You are more than your diagnosis.
A Personality Disorder is basically a way of saying that the brain processes information in a way that can be unhealthy, rigid and impact behavior and functioning. The behavior and thinking patterns that a person with a personality disorder engages in are usually out of the norm of cultural expectations. This can cause distress for the person experiencing it, and impacts those who care about them. The symptoms usually become noticeable in the teen and young adult years. While personality disorders can not be cured, there are ways of learning to cope and supports that can be put into place to help. It's also important to understand that being diagnosed with a personality disorder does not mean you are flawed, or that you have a terrible personality. It's just a term that's been used forever because the world used to see these diagnoses differently than we do now.
The most common personality disorders are (In ABC order):
Borderline Personality Disorder is a diagnosis that has historically carried with it a lot of stigma and shame. The focus used to be on how "difficult" individuals diagnosed with this disorder were to have as clients. You may have found for yourself that it's hard to find a therapist that is willing to see you once you tell them your diagnosis, or you got into therapy only to find that your provider talks down to you or doesn't seem to understand.
Thankfully research has come a long way in changing how we view and treat Borderline Personality Disorder. However, evidence-based research that looks at why someone develops this disorder is still lacking.
Here is what we do know:
It's really important that you get a proper diagnosis. If you are wondering if you have BPD it means that you might be experiencing some tough stuff right now. You may be feeling really emotionally vulnerable. Your partner, family and/or friends may be frustrated and not know how to help.
In order to diagnose BPD, it's necessary to find out about your life and your experiences. This diagnosis deserves time, thorough exploration and appropriate evidence-based treatment. Borderline Personality Disorder is one of THE most stigmatized diagnoses in the mental health community. Mainly because it is so misunderstood.
Borderline Personality Disorder is often not the singular diagnosis. It's not uncommon for someone diagnosed with BPD to also be diagnosed with bipolar, eating disorders, substance misuse disorder, major depression, anxiety disorder, health issues and PTSD.
Self harming and frequent suicidal thoughts (and attempts) are also common in people who are diagnosed with BPD.
Borderline Personality Disorder impacts how you feel about yourself and others, and is usually connected strongly to emotions. These are signs and symptoms of BPD. It is possible to have a diagnosis of BPD and not experience all of the things in the list:
Borderline Personality Disorder can be misdiagnosed just like anything else AND often times other disorders are given when BPD is the more appropriate diagnosis. Proper diagnosis is important to proper treatment.
What disorders can look like BPD and/or are often given instead of BPD?
Narcissistic Abuse is abuse that is perpetrated by a person diagnosed with, or who has the tendencies of, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
NPD is not specific to any one gender. Individuals with NPD do not always appear to be outwardly abusive, and the experience of the victim is not always validated by loved ones. NPD is not curable, and individuals with NPD struggle to make lasting or effective changes to their behavior. Someone who struggles with NPD has less of a willingness to exercise empathy which means they are less likely to cry, apologize or express remorse. Individuals with NPD are often arrogant and self centered, and tend to devalue to feelings and desires of others.
How do I know if I have, or am experiencing Narcissistic Abuse?
Here are some warning signs (red flags) to pay attention to, if you think you have experienced the impact of Narcissistic Abuse:
Is it possible to recover from the impact of Narcissistic Abuse?
There is hope! It is possible to recover from the impact of Narcissistic Abuse. It is important to work with a therapist who has experience helping someone to heal from this form of abuse. The therapist will help you to identify patterns of behavior within yourself and to learn to develop values and boundaries. The client and therapist will work towards helping the client to developing a strong sense of self love and self respect.
Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents grow up believing they are not good enough. Nothing they do ever meets the unrealistic expectations of the narcissistic parent. And even if they are high achievers, they often feel like they should be doing more, or setting bigger goals.
Children of narcissistic parents are always impacted by the behaviors, feelings, attitudes and expectations of the narcissist. It's important to note that narcissists aren't always mean or cruel. However, the kindness of a narcissist usually comes with conditions. With both the "mean" narcissist and the "kind" narcissist, love and kindness are conditional.
What are the common traits of children of narcissistic parents?
Indecision and Guilt
Adult children of narcissists are so used to putting their parents feelings above their own, that they often don't consider their own needs or feel selfish for having needs. and this can make it feel paralyzing to make decisions.
When you grow up having your reality questioned, it can cause you to struggle to believe that your decisions, feelings, thoughts or behaviors are appropriate or accurate. This can perpetuate the feeling of not being "good enough", even with evidence to the contrary.
Children who grew up with narcissistic parents are used to putting their own needs aside, not having boundaries and feeling responsible for the feelings of their parent. This can cause the adult child of a narcissist parent to feel like they have to continue caring for the parent in adulthood. This can also impact who an adult child of a narcissist picks for a partner, and what they are willing to "put up with". Adult children of narcissists are more likely to choose narcissistic partners, because it is how they are used to being treated.
Because the child of a narcissist is typically made responsible for the feelings of the narcissistic parent, the child often grows up to be an adult that believes are are at fault for anything that goes wrong or doesn't work out.
Shrink from the Spotlight
In order to avoid being the focus of the narcissistic parent, children will often do whatever they can to fade into the background and not be noticed. This can follow the child into adulthood, where they find themselves uncomfortable in the spotlight, or as the center of attention.
Narcissistic parents rarely feel safe to their children. Their love is conditional, and their moods are often unpredictable. This can create longstanding issues of trust within the child. Adult children of narcissistic parents are often either fiercely independent or highly emotionally codependent on others.
Children of narcissistic parents are not always "allowed" to be children. They are raised to be aware of the wants and needs of the parent. This can cause the child to take on adult responsibility too early. Adult children of narcissists often grow into caretakers and find themselves employed in helping professions.
Is it possible to recover from the impact of a narcissistic parent?
There is hope! It is possible to recover. The therapist will help you to identify patterns of behavior within yourself and to learn to develop values and boundaries. The client and therapist will work towards helping the client to developing a strong sense of self love and self respect.