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Author Topic: Lonely Child Schema - discussion with therapist  (Read 3000 times)
sheepdog
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« on: May 26, 2013, 09:18:31 AM »

So last week I had told my therapist aht I had read something online that pretty much followed exactly what my relationship with BPD was like.  She was very interested and curious to read it so I sent her the link to the the abandoned child and the lonely child thread https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=161524.msg1548181

Yesterday I had another session and she pulls out the post.  And then completely floored me.  Because instead of talking about my relationship with BPD, she focused on me and what she saw of me based on that post.

She said that the way she read the post, the lonely child was basically desperately seeking attachment.  And unfortunately, they (I) found the pwBPD.  Then she brought it back to me.  

She started talking about herself and how she had attachment issues as well until she went through her own therapy.  I asked what that meant and she said children can sense/know when a caregiver does not want them and that this could go all the way back to the womb.  I am *very* open to things _ I really am - but the way she was talking, I have to admit I found it to be a bit like mumbo jumbo.  And she smiled and said, "Sheepdog, it's true.  My mother did not want me.  She was going to divorce my father and then found out she was pregnant.  She never wanted to have me, and didn't love that I was around when I was born, either."  And I said that I could see if she could sense that as a 5 or 6 year old but int he *womb*?  And she said, "Sheep, it is true.  There have been numerous studies about attachment with children, starting very early in their lives."  

So she started digging into my life but there really wasn't much there.     I guess I will keep digging.  But it made me really start to think and it kind of upset me.  I had a great relationship with my parents and she sense that I was getting uncomfortable and said, "We're not judging anyone here, sheep, and we're not here to throw stones... . "

She asked me how I would describe myself - meaning do I have a trusting nature or would I say that I am mistrustful of others and how they view me.  And honestly, my motto kind of has always been, "Trust no one."  Except sometimes I do wear my heart on my sleeve for certain people - like BPD.

She said being mistrustful goes along with the attachment studies.

Then, we started talking about the possible sexual abuse and... . yeah, yesterday was such a hard session.

Bt when I was leaving she reminded me that I wanted/needed this attachment to BPD.  Even after he treated me in not so kind ways and completely used me.  And we needed to figure out why.  

Anyone ever heard of any of this or have any thoughts about it?

Thank you.
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babyducks
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« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2013, 09:38:52 AM »

Yesterday I had another session and she pulls out the post.  And then completely floored me.  Because instead of talking about my relationship with BPD, she focused on me and what she saw of me based on that post.

She said that the way she read the post, the lonely child was basically desperately seeking attachment.  And unfortunately, they (I) found the pwBPD.  Then she brought it back to me. 

Sheepdog,

Being 100% honest, I find it pretty odd that she pulled out the post.   Creeps me out a little but hey that's just me.

I think everything is on a spectrum,   I have some very strong components of the lonely child.  And I ran into a pwBPD that offered me unconditional, unlimited, over the moon love.   I, of course, dived into that like into a pool on a 90 degree day.   It was wonderful, it was bliss, it wasn't real.   I have elements of the lonely child because after my birth my mother became quite ill with a tumor and I was way too much for her to handle while she was that sick.   So I got passed around from family member to family member.  There was nothing deliberate or nasty about it, just life happening. 

Therapy relationships are about trust and maybe she rattled your trust button?   

My two cents, it might be helpful to understand what drew you to your pwBPD.   It appears from what you wrote that before you are ready to concentrate on that, there might be some fence mending to do with the therapist.

babyducks

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« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2013, 09:40:17 AM »

Sounds like a good T and yes,we were all open to the RS with BPD's.We were missing something in ourselves that they were able to fill.It's one reason we have a difficult time detaching.The idealization was something we craved.We were whole.We're not too different from those with BPD.Our boundaries may be different.Our goals in life may be.But,when it came to RS's,we were very much their equal.

Sounds like your T is wanting you to look inside yourself and see why you needed your ex.There's a reason sheepdog or you(and I) would have called off the RS when you began to be treated unkindly.You're doing great work and it's hard,but you're going to come out much better for it.
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sheepdog
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« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2013, 10:08:32 AM »

Yesterday I had another session and she pulls out the post.  And then completely floored me.  Because instead of talking about my relationship with BPD, she focused on me and what she saw of me based on that post.

She said that the way she read the post, the lonely child was basically desperately seeking attachment.  And unfortunately, they (I) found the pwBPD.  Then she brought it back to me. 

Sheepdog,

Being 100% honest, I find it pretty odd that she pulled out the post.   Creeps me out a little but hey that's just me.

Hi babyducks - no I did not mean it like that.  I expected her to talk about the post, in fact, I wanted her to as it so exactly mirrors my relationship with BPD.  It just floored me that instead of talking about the relationship - it turned into a discussion about ME.

Which really is the issue.

I had just never heard of the stuff she was talking about yesterday and left with even more questions about why am I the way I am.  It was nothing against the therapist.

I did not find her pulling out the article creepy - I sent her something and I would find it odd if she didn't want to discuss it with me.
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arabella
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« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2013, 11:42:38 AM »

It just floored me that instead of talking about the relationship - it turned into a discussion about ME.

Which really is the issue.

This makes sense to me. After all, you are her patient, not the relationship - her goal is to help you to move forward in your life. You seem to recognize that she hit upon the real issue (i.e. you) so that's great that she's able to keep you both focused!

I have actually heard of some of the theories and studies that your T was discussing with you. Very interesting stuff! Yes, the 'in the womb' stuff is hard to wrap one's head around, but multiple studies point to small changes in the chemical balances within the mother (and, thus, also in the developing fetus) that are mood dependent. This exposure to a different womb environment can set the child up for different behavioural patterns later in life as it affects their own neural development at a critical time in their brain development (i.e. before it is even fully formed). Most of the studies focus on depression or stress, but there are some that investigate more subtle moods as well, including unwanted pregnancies. Think of it as being similar to when a pregnant woman is malnourished - it affects the baby and those effects can last a lifetime.

I would add that sometimes the 'abandoned' or 'unwanted' child is not truly abandoned or unwanted by his/her mother/father but it is simply the child's perception of the situation. Keep in mind too that a child's perception is not necessarily rational or obvious to an adult mind. For example, it's possible (and I am not saying this is the case) that if you suffered sexual abuse, the child that suffered felt 'abandoned' by her parent(s) for not rescuing her or preventing it from happening. This is not to say that the parents could have prevented it, knew about it, or had any options - just that the child was unsafe and the child-mind blames the parent because that is where protection is supposed to come from (realistic or not). Does that make sense (in a round-about sort of way)?

Just a few thoughts for you (please bear in mind that I'm in no way an expert on any of this stuff)!
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fromheeltoheal
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« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2013, 12:10:54 PM »

I would add that sometimes the 'abandoned' or 'unwanted' child is not truly abandoned or unwanted by his/her mother/father but it is simply the child's perception of the situation. Keep in mind too that a child's perception is not necessarily rational or obvious to an adult mind.

Exactly arabella.  My parents did love me, but were very uncomfortable expressing emotion, so my perception was they were aloof and stoic, which left me wondering if I was loved growing up, plus my father wanted my mother all to himself, so there was palpable animosity coming from him at times, but other times he was a happy playmate.  Confusing.

Anyway, lonely child and abandoned child come from Jeffrey Young, who has written some amazing things on schema therapy; his description of the Lonely Child Schema fits me to a T.  I've learned that with my BPD ex we both brought core trauma to the relationship, and the ways each of us is wired created a loaded bond, which I now consider a gift because the pain that followed forced me to finally look at these issues, and I've noticed growth already, just by looking and understanding.  Healing work is feeling work, and now that I'm focusing on my emotions, instead of looking outward for validation and acceptance, a whole bunch of feelings are coming up.  I know what I'm doing is the right thing, but growth is painful, although I also have faith and curiosity towards whatever's on the other side.
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Rose Tiger
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« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2013, 12:22:36 PM »

Sometimes we have to work through the r/s issues before moving on to the childhood issues.  The r/s gives lots of clues.  If the T wants to move directly to childhood, well, it can be hard.  There can be a thick wall of denial built up around early experiences, feelings can be buried under 10 feet of concrete.  The r/s feelings are easier to connect with initially.  This is not boom boom overnight stuff, it can take some time.  I needed to focus on ex and his stuff first, it was my way of avoiding to deal with my own stuff.  But I needed to work through that first.  To get it out of the way.
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« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2013, 12:34:28 PM »

Sometimes we have to work through the r/s issues before moving on to the childhood issues.  The r/s gives lots of clues.  If the T wants to move directly to childhood, well, it can be hard.  There can be a thick wall of denial built up around early experiences, feelings can be buried under 10 feet of concrete.  The r/s feelings are easier to connect with initially.  This is not boom boom overnight stuff, it can take some time.  I needed to focus on ex and his stuff first, it was my way of avoiding to deal with my own stuff.  But I needed to work through that first.  To get it out of the way.

I agree Rose, when I left my BPD ex I didn't know what BPD was, just that I was hurting, living in the FOG, and thinking about her 24/7.  That pain motivated me to look for answers, and you're right, it was a process of getting over her, learning, digging, and eventually focusing on my stuff.  When I think about where I was the day I left her and where I am now, the contrast is stunning; do you guys notice that?
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« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2013, 03:20:01 PM »

Bt when I was leaving she reminded me that I wanted/needed this attachment to BPD.  Even after he treated me in not so kind ways and completely used me.  And we needed to figure out why. 

Sometimes we have to work through the r/s issues before moving on to the childhood issues.  The r/s gives lots of clues.  If the T wants to move directly to childhood, well, it can be hard.  T

Hi Sheepdog,

I had a really difficult session with my relatively new T last week for this reason.  I feel, finally, that I am out of the fog of my relationship but I'm at a new stage of realising just how messed up it all was and ashamed of my part in it.   

My new T really resists me talking about ex but I feel that I need to give examples of what happened to then be able to get to root of why I accepted the words/behaviours that were damaging.  I also have to maintain contact with him because of children so had mentioned something that happened during week in order to work on a strategy to deal with future contact.  I felt very frustrated at end of session - as if she was taking on role of ex and not letting me really say what I needed to say; not being heard properly!  I could feel myself doing what I did with exH - trying to explain myself, and not being able to really articulate it because I was aware of his 'disapproval'/interruptions.  I'm trying to stick with it because I think T has some valuable things to say and the fact that I am getting angry/sad/frustrated etc is telling me something.

I too feel that I had a good relationship with my parents so I also get annoyed when T starts poking around about them!  But some interesting things have come up.  For example, although my parents were loving and kind, they were loving and kind with everyone and our house was always full of 'waifs and strays'.   I resented not having their full attention at times but felt guilty for feeling that way because my parents were only trying to help others.  Then I meet my H who knows how to really give me his full attention (how I loved that feeling).  So when he withdrew it (which happened frequently), I would want to do anything to get it back.   I have always felt I had a happy childhood - I don't think that's necessarily untrue but we all pick up negative stuff that we carry into adult life and into our relationships. 

Seems to be relatively common here that having focus on us instead of the ex or the relationship has us feeling uncomfortable.  But I also read plenty of posts from folks further along than me that say that it was the best thing that could have happened, painful as it might be at the time.
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fromheeltoheal
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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2013, 03:34:34 PM »

Seems to be relatively common here that having focus on us instead of the ex or the relationship has us feeling uncomfortable.  But I also read plenty of posts from folks further along than me that say that it was the best thing that could have happened, painful as it might be at the time.

Yes, and to me that's the gift of a BPD relationship.  The questions for me, after the fog cleared, were why did I get in a r/s like that to begin with, why did I ignore all the red flags, and how am I going to avoid it next time?  Obviously all those questions focus on me and the answers require digging.  Healing work is feeling work, my T says, and if it always felt good and easy I'd be doing it wrong.  And it's definitely the right thing to do; thanks BPD.  
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Clearmind
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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2013, 05:20:53 PM »

 The lonely child schema is just one of the many.

To find out what your Schemas are: go to the Young Schema Questionnaire (YSQ)  https://bpdfamily.com/pdfs/schema_inventory.xls.

Sheepdog do the questionnaire yourself if you are questioning your therapist.
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sheepdog
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2013, 06:13:03 PM »

For example, it's possible (and I am not saying this is the case) that if you suffered sexual abuse, the child that suffered felt 'abandoned' by her parent(s) for not rescuing her or preventing it from happening. This is not to say that the parents could have prevented it, knew about it, or had any options - just that the child was unsafe and the child-mind blames the parent because that is where protection is supposed to come from (realistic or not). Does that make sense (in a round-about sort of way)?

Just a few thoughts for you (please bear in mind that I'm in no way an expert on any of this stuff)!

arabella - possible sexual abuse is one of the things we ARE talking about and what you said above actually makes a lot of sense.


Anyway, lonely child and abandoned child come from Jeffrey Young, who has written some amazing things on schema therapy; his description of the Lonely Child Schema fits me to a T.  I've learned that with my BPD ex we both brought core trauma to the relationship, and the ways each of us is wired created a loaded bond, which I now consider a gift because the pain that followed forced me to finally look at these issues, and I've noticed growth already, just by looking and understanding.  Healing work is feeling work, and now that I'm focusing on my emotions, instead of looking outward for validation and acceptance, a whole bunch of feelings are coming up.  I know what I'm doing is the right thing, but growth is painful, although I also have faith and curiosity towards whatever's on the other side.

Thank you - I will look into Jeffrey Young... . this is the first I've heard of him.  And yes, healing is feeling... . and hard.  Best to you!

Sometimes we have to work through the r/s issues before moving on to the childhood issues.  The r/s gives lots of clues.  If the T wants to move directly to childhood, well, it can be hard.  There can be a thick wall of denial built up around early experiences, feelings can be buried under 10 feet of concrete.  The r/s feelings are easier to connect with initially.  This is not boom boom overnight stuff, it can take some time.  I needed to focus on ex and his stuff first, it was my way of avoiding to deal with my own stuff.  But I needed to work through that first.  To get it out of the way.

Thanks, Rose Tiger.  Actually, she is kind of sticking with BPD right now.  This is the first we've ever really delved into my childhood.  She had said a few months ago that we needed to work through he and I before anything else.

Hi Sheepdog,

I had a really difficult session with my relatively new T last week for this reason.  I feel, finally, that I am out of the fog of my relationship but I'm at a new stage of realising just how messed up it all was and ashamed of my part in it.  

My new T really resists me talking about ex but I feel that I need to give examples of what happened to then be able to get to root of why I accepted the words/behaviours that were damaging.  I also have to maintain contact with him because of children so had mentioned something that happened during week in order to work on a strategy to deal with future contact.  I felt very frustrated at end of session - as if she was taking on role of ex and not letting me really say what I needed to say; not being heard properly!  I could feel myself doing what I did with exH - trying to explain myself, and not being able to really articulate it because I was aware of his 'disapproval'/interruptions.  I'm trying to stick with it because I think T has some valuable things to say and the fact that I am getting angry/sad/frustrated etc is telling me something.

I too feel that I had a good relationship with my parents so I also get annoyed when T starts poking around about them!  But some interesting things have come up.  For example, although my parents were loving and kind, they were loving and kind with everyone and our house was always full of 'waifs and strays'.   I resented not having their full attention at times but felt guilty for feeling that way because my parents were only trying to help others.  Then I meet my H who knows how to really give me his full attention (how I loved that feeling).  So when he withdrew it (which happened frequently), I would want to do anything to get it back.   I have always felt I had a happy childhood - I don't think that's necessarily untrue but we all pick up negative stuff that we carry into adult life and into our relationships.  

Seems to be relatively common here that having focus on us instead of the ex or the relationship has us feeling uncomfortable.  But I also read plenty of posts from folks further along than me that say that it was the best thing that could have happened, painful as it might be at the time.

clairedair - so much of what you wrote resonated with me!  Your first paragraph - soo where I am.  I am so ashamed of my part in it.  So realizing how messed up I was.  Completely out of the fog.  I know if he contacted me now I would not want to engage AT ALL.  His pull on me in that way is over.  My therapist asked if I'd been following the Jodi Arias trial (I hadn't).  SHe said Arias has BPD.  She said that she took her boyfriend's life and she said that in a sense my BPD took my life and she wants that to stop now.  I loved what you said about though it's hard, you're going to stick with it BECAUSE the fact that you are getting angry/upset etc. is telling you something.  LOVE that!

The lonely child schema is just one of the many.

To find out what your Schemas are: go to the Young Schema Questionnaire (YSQ)  https://bpdfamily.com/pdfs/schema_inventory.xls.

Sheepdog do the questionnaire yourself if you are questioning your therapist.

Hi Clearmind.  I noticed that my title got changed.  As I said to babyducks earlier, I am NOT at all questioning my therapist.  I agree with her.  I was actually inquiring about the whole womb thing and attachment thing.  She never mentioned Lonely Child... . I sent it to her.  Again, I'm not upset with therapist.  I just was surprised because I thought we would be talking about my relationship with BPD due to 2010s post but instead, it became a discussion about me.  Necessary.  Sorry for the confusion.

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Clearmind
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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2013, 06:21:24 PM »

No confusion Sheepdog! Doing the questionnaire is always a good idea - helps to tease out our thinking.
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« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2013, 06:52:28 PM »

Clearmind, I did the questionaire a couple of days ago, but I couldn't figure out how to score it.  Can you explain that to me?

Sheepdog, I just want to add that my mom didn't want any of her children.  One was the product of date rape, one an affair with a married man, and I was the result of an extremely unhappy marriage.  I've always felt unwanted, and questioned whether my mother had thought about aborting me. 

It was confirmed by my aunt after my mother died that she had never wanted me.  She told me that my mother had finally found a job that she loved, and when she got accidentally pregnant my dad made her quit. My aunt actually used those words, "your mom never wanted you".  My mom had a miscarriage before me, and the doctor told her she couldn't have any more children.  So on the one hand I was her "miracle baby", but on the other hand she never wanted me, and ended up neglecting me pretty badly.  I remember that she had a habit of leaving the house, and locking the door when I was around  4 or 5 years old, being gone for a couple of hours and leaving me outside to "play".  She snuck away when I wasn't looking so I wouldn't make a fuss.  I had no access to food or water, but worse no access to a toliet. 

So I'm sure my mom's ambivalence about wanting me was felt by me in the womb.  It's caused a lifetime of looking for love from outside sources because I didn't get it from the person I was supposed to get it from early on in life.

My exBPDbf seemed to offer me complete and unconditional love.  It was magical, until he decided eight months later that he was done and broke up with me by email with no prior warning or discussion about it.

Just wanted to say that it can happen that if a child is truly unwanted like in my case, that you come in with these issues.  My ex is not the first disordered person I dated, hopefully he'll be the last if I do the work on myself to heal what is so hungry/lonely/desperate for love.

I'm not saying this is the case in your childhood, just felt like sharing my own and how it may have led me to fall for a BPD person.  Good luck on your journey - I wish happiness for both of us.
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« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2013, 07:16:47 PM »

Clearmind, I did the questionaire a couple of days ago, but I couldn't figure out how to score it.  Can you explain that to me?

Hi leftbehind.  On that web page there's a link called Schema Mode Inventory 1.1 Scoring Information.  Go there and download the doc, and there's a list of schemas by title, along with the questionnaire numbers that correspond to that schema.  You go back to your questionnaire and add up the numbers you gave for each of the questions listed in that schema, and then divide by the number of numbers (it will say n = 10 after the title, for example, which means there are 10 questions that 'matter' in that schema).  Or in English, average your responses to the questions in the list.  On the second page of that doc there's a table of scores of control people and Axis I and Axis II patients.

All the number crunching is a pain; I used Excel, easier.  Good luck!
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« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2013, 03:51:40 PM »

Bt when I was leaving she reminded me that I wanted/needed this attachment to BPD.  Even after he treated me in not so kind ways and completely used me.  And we needed to figure out why.  

Anyone ever heard of any of this or have any thoughts about it?

This thread that you shared with your therapist was conceived to be about our issues - PERSPECTIVES: From idealization to devaluation - why we struggle - so your T's redirect was consistent with what she read.  

This thread was an interesting one as when it originally appeared, many members enthusiastically chimed in with "I'm a lonely child" and "me too" and we're all lonely childrenuntil it was pointed out that this schema mode is one of three schema modes associated with narcissism.  The thread then went dead quiet  (the 5 pages of "me too" were later pruned out to keep thread readable).

The conceptual model for narcissism revolves around schema modes, which are defined as separate facets of the self that have not been fully integrated with each other.

The patient is characterized by three modes:

  • the Lonely Child, who feels lonely and devalued;


  • the Self-Aggrandizer, who overcompensates through entitlement and approval-seeking; and


  • the Detached Self-Soother, who seeks stimulation to avoid painful affect.  


The patient alternates between the Self-Aggrandizer and Detached Self- Soother modes to avoid experiencing the isolation of the Lonely Child.

Schema therapy treatment includes helping the patient value nurturing and empathy more than status and approval; combating entitled behavior; accessing early feelings of loneliness and defectiveness.


Who of you that identify with the "Lonely Child" are ready to take this on?

Who of you that identify with the "Lonely Child" are struggling to break through your own coping mechanisms?[/quote]
Here is direct quote from Schema therapy: a practitioner's guide by Jeffrey E. Young, Janet S. Klosko, Marjorie E. Weishaar

This is good material to look at (Schema in general) - don't limit your vision to one Schema - we are not all lonely children - many of use struggle with other isssues - but some of us fit this mode.  And above all, don't become fearful of any label.  The value of this material is to see ourselves and explore ways to work through it for a more stable and rewarding life.

Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

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« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2013, 04:52:22 PM »

Yes Skip, the Lonely Child schema does have corresponding schemas that allow us to cope, and it's a little disconcerting to have that labelled narcissism, but as you say, labels are just labels, not to be given undue weight.

Without the labels, I've had a life-long feeling of inferiority that I've coped with in a variety of ways:

Significant achievement, fine in it's own right, but also a mask for the feelings of inferiority.

Workaholism to focus out and make work the 'problem' to be solved, distracting me from me.

Substance abuse, to numb feelings, provide stimulation and excitement, or 'check out' from reality, depending on the chemical.

Taking a superior stance with people, again in an attempt to mask the feelings of inferiority.

None of those really work, although they can provide the illusion they do for a while, and the masks are always transparent, other folks see right through them, although they may work to delude me until someone calls me on them.

So what's the answer?  This awareness is not new, but the labels are, and the schema therapy has helped.  What's important for me is to acknowledge all of it and find people I can talk to about what's going on with me, real connectedness.  Not everyone is capable or willing, and that goes back to new-found boundaries, developing relationships while maintaining boundaries, and letting the right people in at the right pace.  All new, but it's right.  Moving forward... .  
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« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2013, 05:31:54 PM »

Yes Skip, the Lonely Child schema does have corresponding schemas that allow us to cope, and it's a little disconcerting to have that labelled narcissism, but as you say, labels are just labels, not to be given undue weight.


Which makes sense.  The literature tell s that one common pairing of pwBPD traits is pwNPD traits.  So clearly some of us are in this category.

And Bowen's family theory tells us that we often mate with people that are our emotional peers (similar emotional maturity).  And this makes sense too - how many times have you seen a member here painting a pwBPD traits black, blaming them, talking about how we were persecuted, etc. - sometimes the same things we report the pwBPD traits are doing to us.

I'm not saying we are the same - if we were we would understand our partner better - but we have our baggage.

This is a hard self awareness to face... .  at first.  But once we see our role, its a gift.  We now have a target to fix, overcome, compensate for.

I like to ski.  I like to be videoed as when I see my style problems, I'm well on the way to getting better.  I then only need to accept them, and have enough thirst to be better that I'm willing to do things different.  And then it happens.

Same here.   Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2013, 06:21:14 PM »

Enough thirst to be better, I also need enough self discipline to stay focused, enough will power to maintain the hard work of finding myself and recovering, and enough self love to overcome the loneliness of needing to be on this road alone. I also need the faith to know that I can persevere and come closer to becoming a whole person.
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« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2013, 06:57:02 PM »

Enough thirst to be better, I also need enough self discipline to stay focused, enough will power to maintain the hard work of finding myself and recovering, and enough self love to overcome the loneliness of needing to be on this road alone. I also need the faith to know that I can persevere and come closer to becoming a whole person.

That's quite a list Cumulus!  I've always developed lists of things I need to do to 'fix' myself, and although some have been effective, I always felt like I was addressing surface stuff and not getting to the root of the problem.  Turns out I was right.  My relationship with my BPD ex 'activated core trauma', as it's put, which was great in hindsight since it shined a spotlight on the real issues, issues I haven't necessarily been avoiding, I just didn't know they were there or what they were, so that experience has presented an opportunity for major growth, and for that I thank her.

And what I've found is once I address those core issues, it affects everything downstream, kind of like a ripple effect. An example is anger, which I denied myself forever, anger was an inappropriate emotion, not to be expressed, didn't exist, could always be explained around.  Well no more.  Sometimes it's appropriate to get pissed off, and I do, and that has changed my relationships with several people, for the better; they say respect is not granted but earned, and I've been earning it, an unexpected consequence of getting pissed off.  And Hallelujah!

Another one is my 'need' to excel in my business and other areas, which just gets exhausting, and is really about compensating for a sense of inferiority.  Addressing that belief in my inferiority head-on and where it came from has already reaped benefits from just noticing and acknowledging it, as well as addressing it in schema therapy.

My point?  I'm learning that addressing those core issues does have a ripple effect, and I can relax into it without overloading myself with things to 'do', and it works.  And it's a process, huge changes, I don't need to swallow it all at once, especially since it's only been a few months and I've realized major growth already.  So the point is to do less, but do the right things, and settle into me.  Whew!
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« Reply #20 on: May 30, 2013, 04:44:44 PM »

Bt when I was leaving she reminded me that I wanted/needed this attachment to BPD.  Even after he treated me in not so kind ways and completely used me.  And we needed to figure out why.  

Anyone ever heard of any of this or have any thoughts about it?

This thread that you shared with your therapist was conceived to be about our issues - PERSPECTIVES: From idealization to devaluation - why we struggle - so your T's redirect was consistent with what she read.  

This thread was an interesting one as when it originally appeared, many members enthusiastically chimed in with "I'm a lonely child" and "me too" and we're all lonely childrenuntil it was pointed out that this schema mode is one of three schema modes associated with narcissism.  The thread then went dead quiet  (the 5 pages of "me too" were later pruned out to keep thread readable).

The conceptual model for narcissism revolves around schema modes, which are defined as separate facets of the self that have not been fully integrated with each other.

The patient is characterized by three modes:

  • the Lonely Child, who feels lonely and devalued;


  • the Self-Aggrandizer, who overcompensates through entitlement and approval-seeking; and


  • the Detached Self-Soother, who seeks stimulation to avoid painful affect.  


The patient alternates between the Self-Aggrandizer and Detached Self- Soother modes to avoid experiencing the isolation of the Lonely Child.

Schema therapy treatment includes helping the patient value nurturing and empathy more than status and approval; combating entitled behavior; accessing early feelings of loneliness and defectiveness.


Who of you that identify with the "Lonely Child" are ready to take this on?

Who of you that identify with the "Lonely Child" are struggling to break through your own coping mechanisms?

Here is direct quote from Schema therapy: a practitioner's guide by Jeffrey E. Young, Janet S. Klosko, Marjorie E. Weishaar

This is good material to look at (Schema in general) - don't limit your vision to one Schema - we are not all lonely children - many of use struggle with other isssues - but some of us fit this mode.  And above all, don't become fearful of any label.  The value of this material is to see ourselves and explore ways to work through it for a more stable and rewarding life.

Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

Skip - she didn't have the whole thread (title, where it came from, etc) just the post from 2010 that I copied and pasted.

I feel as though my original post is veering off track.  

I *know* she should have turned it on me.  I'm *glad* she did.  I was just asking about the attachment stuff she had talked about.  I've never heard of it before.

And, just trying to understand - are you saying that lonely children are narcissists?
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« Reply #21 on: May 30, 2013, 09:47:16 PM »

And, just trying to understand - are you saying that lonely children are narcissists?

Jeffrey Young says that the lonely child schema is a mode and the self-aggrandizer and detached self-soother schemas are modes a person uses to cope with the feelings generated by the lonely child mode, and that group of schemas describes narcissism.  I recommend you check out his book Schema Therapy, which has detailed descriptions of all the schemas and how they interrelate, better than just the label, and not all of it fit for me, but a lot of it did, very enlightening.
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« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2013, 12:07:20 PM »

If I understand correctly, not all 'lonely children' are narcissists, but lonely children who cope via specific schema types are narcissists. It's the coping mechanisms that define that particular disorder, not the underlying cause.
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« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2013, 03:53:57 PM »

Awhile back, I found something about the dynamics that exist between the lonely child and abandoned child that really resonated with me, and dramatically shifted the focus of my therapy/healing process.

You can find the whole article here (www.dailystrength.org/c/Physical_Emotional_Abuse/forum/13391054-lonly-child), but for me, what caught my attention back in January was this line:

"Trauma for the lonely child occurs mainly because of perceived failure they cannot “understand” enough (essentially an obsession at this point) ... . "

At the point when I read this article, I'd already spent the better part of 2+ years trying to "understand" why my undiagnosed partner of 12+ years decided to have an affair, lie to/about me in order to do so with impugnity, leave me when he got caught, empty our bank accounts, destroy my professional reputation/business, sever all ties with the five children he helped raise, mount a massive smear campaign against me, enable/allow/encourage/help/reward my replacement for slandering, harassing, stalking, and threatening me as well as my children, family, and friends - and, in general, consistently making decisions and engaging in behaviors that kept hurting me over and over and over again on a variety of levels and in a variety of different ways.

After reading this article, and starting to explore some of the ideas it presented with my therapist, I started to realize that trying to "understand" how/why my ex could do any of these things was the only way I'd ever been allowed to cope with the similar feelings of being hurt by someone I loved, trused, and depended on when I was a child and didn't have the power, means, or ability to simply remove myself to a safe distance from people whose decisions and behaviors were insensitive, reckless, irresponsible, irrational, self-serving, frightening, violent, and abusive.

"Understanding" may not have changed the fact that I was hurt, but it kept me from being further hurt for not understanding by being humiliated, punished, shamed, and made to feel stupid/selfish/petty for being hurt by what was said/done in the first place.

It was - without any doubt - an essential mechanism for coping with the effects of being the oldest child of a single (and very resentful) undiagnosed NPD/BPD mother of six when I didn't have the physical/emotional ability to actually say enough is enough, and just leave.

But it became an automatic, compulsive and completely unconscious reaction to being hurt that I kept doing, never really questioned or thought about it at all - even as an adult - until I found myself so obsessed with "understanding" why my ex would say/do all these things that hurt me so much over and over again - staying in contact with him to both get the information I needed in order to "understand" and let him know I did "understand" so it/he wouldn't have any reason to hurt me anymore - and not being physically/emotionallyable to stop myself from doing it even though it clearly wasn't working - that I had no choice but to address it in therapy.

Five months later, and many hours of writing/therapy later, I know that "understanding" why someone would choose to hurt me doesn't change the fact that they did, I am, I have every right to be, and that it does/should change the way I feel/think about them.

That all my "understanding" actually does is make me feel stupid, selfish, petty, vindictive, immature, and ashamed of allowing myself to feel hurt in the first place. That it forces me to reject, deny, marginalize, invalidate, question, repress and suppress a whole bunch of really appropriate, predictable, and completely justifiable feelings/thoughts/reactions to behaviors that are hurtful and/or frightening.

That it doesn't make me feel any safer or better.

That all it really does is make it physically/psychologically possible for me to continue to allow myself to be subjected to that kind of behavior.

That it's an inherently non-responsive, ineffective, and ultimately very self-destructive way of dealing with how it feels to be hurt by someone I love, trust, and depend on.

That there is no reason that makes it "okay" for anyone to hurt me. Ever.

That I don't need to let it happen anymore. That I don't have to stick around. That I'm not a child. That I can take care of myself. That I do have the freedom to walk away/not leave myself in a position where I have to be subjected to it/find a way to cope with how it makes me feel.

And, you know what, that works exactly the way I always secretly believed, felt, thought, hoped it would: it keeps me from being hurt in the first place.

The compulsion I had to "understand" what happened to me, and why, is what got me into therapy and even brought me to this board. It helped me get through a really difficult period for me physically/emotionally again even. But ultimately, I had to shift the focus of what I was trying to understand to myself in order to really be able to make any kind of definitive progress/change in the way I felt inside at all.

Not like I'm perfect or anything. I still struggle. I still self-aggrandize. Still engage in detached self-soothing (ahhh, the hours I've lost to pinterest and Netflix!). Still find my thoughts wandering back to trying to figure out/understand what happened and why on occasion even. But less and less as time goes by, and I'm better at seeing all those things for what they are now so am a little more mindful/respectful of both what I'm doing and why I'm doing it, and tend to make myself at least try to do something different/better/more effective/less ultimately self-destructive to get the comfort I need.

And it seems to be working. For now anyway. Which is about all I can hope/ask for. One day, one step at a time.




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« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2013, 10:50:06 PM »

Talithacumi, I love your whole post!  I've been there, and I get it.  Sometimes "Why" is a maze with no cheese in the center.  Understanding doesn't negate your right to be angry or hurt.  Great post!
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« Reply #25 on: June 01, 2013, 07:10:21 AM »

Hey Talithacumi 

I can understand the detached self soothe, hello Hugh Grant movies but what does self-aggrandize mean?

So in attempting to understand the ex, it was a way to avoid thinking about wondering why I let myself be subjected to being misstreated for so long?  Instead of thinking, hey this is not cool and I'm not putting up with it, I put all my energy into trying to crack the code on his actions and wondering how a person could act like that.  Because that was all I was allowed to do growing up.  Makes sense.  It did finally reach a point where I was so fed up, that I did say enough, I guess we all have our breaking point.

I don't think I'll ever get over liking Hugh Grant movies though.  (He must be a cad in real life, Laugh out loud (click to insert in post))
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« Reply #26 on: June 01, 2013, 08:05:53 AM »

Superior to 'everyone', like everyone on the planet?  Or the stupid fool that pulls out in front of me, forcing me to slam on the brakes and almost hit them?

To quote Jeffrey Young's book Schema Therapy:

"The Self-Aggrandizer mode is an overcompensation for the patient’s feelings of emotional deprivation and defectiveness. When patients are in this mode, they behave in entitled, competitive, grandiose, abusive, or status-seeking ways. Typically, this is their “default” or automatic mode, especially around other people: It is the mode patients with narcissistic personality disorder experience most of the time. They generally flip into the Detached Self-Soother mode when they are by themselves for extended periods, and only rarely do they flip into the Lonely Child mode."

In your example I guess one way to deal with someone's 'unique' driving is to get mad at them, which is maybe healthy, the other way is to consider yourself a better person than them in general, and as Young says, entitled, competitive, grandiose, yadda.

This whole train of thought has been profound for me, painful actually, as real growth can be.  It started by looking at the loaded bond between me and my BPD ex, and asking, really asking, why did I get in so deep with someone who was so incredibly abusive and devaluing?  Turns out it's because that's what I'm used to.  Core trauma meets core trauma in a relationship between a pwBPD and someone like me, who is running those 3 schemas as modes, and is labeled a narcissist.  I just started digging here, and it ain't pretty, but it is enlightening.  Like Talithacumi I am an 'understanding' driven person; more later, as I process. 

This is really good growth, and I consider my relationship with my BPD ex as the catalyst.  Everything happens for a reason.
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« Reply #27 on: June 01, 2013, 08:24:18 AM »

I guess I need to understand better.  This superior thing that is so hard to look at.  I do detached very well.  I'm not sure what lonely mode is, is that when I feel so overwhelmed with the weight of world and don't want to be on this planet anymore?  The "I can't take this anymore" mode?

What would be a good example of self aggrandizer?  I'm not sure which of my behaviors could be this mode?

My ex was BPD/NPD combo.  My self tests are schizoid/avoidant.  So very shy.  Could this be also considered narcissisim?

This is pretty deep stuff and I'm not a pro, but that book discusses schemas in depth first, and then how to treat them from a therapist's perspective, and then goes into the 'special cases' of BPD and NPD, which according to him are groups of schemas operating as modes.

Labels can be limiting, and although some of it applies to me, some doesn't, so I take what I need and leave the rest.  I think labels are more useful to therapists, so they can talk to each other about conditions they see.  For me the descriptions speak to me almost exactly, and the book shows what to do about it; very enlightening.

The book is available on Amazon, you can be reading it on your computer 5 minutes from now, and I recommend it.
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« Reply #28 on: June 01, 2013, 09:30:39 AM »

Labels can be limiting, and although some of it applies to me, some doesn't, so I take what I need and leave the rest.  

This is an important point. If your question is, "do I have a personality disorder - yes/no", you will most likely be looking for something that says no until you find it.  This is not "personal inventory" - it's more along the lines of denial /  defensiveness.  

If you're struggling and you can identify the cause, you can make your life better.  This is personal inventory.

For me the descriptions speak to me almost exactly, and the book shows what to do about it; very enlightening.

Sounds like great progress - great attitude

Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #29 on: June 01, 2013, 01:16:39 PM »

For me, self-aggrandizing is less about thinking I'm superior to anyone/everyone in the world but more about EITHER how I really can't be blamed or responsible for whatever I'm going through because I'm really such a great person all around OR (more insidiously) how dysregulated, misguided, belligerent, incapable, and unhappy my ex is because he's disordered and how much, therefore, he really needs my undisordered and therefore inately superior knowledge, insights, understanding, guidance, direction, and support so he can reregulate and stop hurting me/cutting his own nose off to spite his face like the moronic ass he's always had such a tendency to be.

Like that.

It's a mindset I've found I tend to adopt when I can't find a way to understand why someone is choosing to say/do something that hurts me. I've noticed I seem to do it mostly/only when I'm feeling really overwhelmed, confused, frustrated by my inability to find or, I guess especially in my case, be given a reason to excuse, justify, dismiss, suppress, and otherwise exert some kind of control over the hurt I feel inside.

I always end up feeling guilty when I realize I'm doing it, but I realize now that all it really does is give me the shot of mental energy/strength I need in order to go back to trying to figure it all out again. Totally, spectacularly self-indulgent and comforting. I even know, while I'm doing it, that I'm not being particularly honest or fair. Doesn't stop me from doing it though. Just stops me from acting on it beyond, say, ignoring everyone/everything else and writing for hours about how great I am and unfair/undeserved all of this is.

It also doesn't last very long for me. Isn't my primary means of coping. More a stop gap measure designed to pump me back up.

Emergency rations for my ego when I've spent too long looking for real food in all the wrong places.

That's what I mean when I say I'm being self-aggrandizing anyway.

Does that help?




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« Reply #30 on: June 02, 2013, 09:36:27 PM »

I can offer some painful recent recognition of narcisstic traits I carry;

I have a tendency to drop the ball socially on things like remembering peoples birthdays. I will try to make up for it in socially appropriate ways, send a belated card, make a apologetic phone call or what have you... . but really... . the story I tell myself and others is " oh, I'm soo busy, or soo over-taxed all the time, or so put upon in so many areas, and I'm always working so hard and doing soo much... . that I really can't be expected to remember things like birthdays. It is really like an entitlement thought process, and self agrandizing. Honestly, am a busy person but so are most people, and its come to my attention that my schtick is really just a load of narcisstic crap.

I also suspect I got this from being a kid whose father forgot birthdays, missed events, cancelled promised trips or just Plain didn't show up my whole time growing up. It was never ok to share sadness or disappointment to my father. I always just said " no problem" and put a smile on and pretended it didn't bother me. After years of this, I was out of touch with how it really feels to be forgotten. I'm so indoctrinated into not feeling anything about being left our or forgotten and instead my rule is just to always  be a good sport.  

I then assumed everyone was like me. They don't mind being forgotten. And if they do mind, it's their job to be a good sport and not make a fuss... . like I was trained to do.

A few people over the years  have made a fuss about me forgetting their BDay... . and my reaction was that they are being self absorbed babies. funny enough... . my aging father now pouts and complains in a poor me manner to my sibs if I'm late wishing him a happy birthday. wow. I have noticed a lot of anger come up when my self absorbed father now feels sorry for himself when we don't all jump to acknowledge his life events promptly. Noticing how angry I feel toward him, made me realize, I have issues around the whole topic, and my history has colored my thinking about the value of recognizing life events of  important others.

I think I have been acting pretty narcisstic and entitled and out of touch just assuming everyone

will make allowances and be good sports about my forgetfulness.

Painful, but true.
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« Reply #31 on: June 03, 2013, 09:53:00 AM »

I have a long history of acting superior to people because I feel inferior.  It shows up mostly in my career, which isn't entirely a bad thing, because it's made me very good at what I do, but it's always a fight; I'm by no means the only one who competes in business, and that drive to prove that I'm not inferior has come in handy.  But couple that with workaholism, and what's left?  Someone who's propped up his ego with his career, feels inferior without the props, and has nothing like a balanced life.  No wonder I was susceptible to the BPD onslaught.  

So what's the answer?  I've been digging into the schemas that serve as modes in a narcissistic person, which speaks to me well, although I'm not as extreme as described.  But today's answer is instead of acting superior, self-aggrandizing as it's labelled, create healthy boundaries, notice who likes, respects, and cares about me and who doesn't, and then talk to them about what's really going on, how I'm lonely and want to connect with people on a real level.  What I've experienced lately is when I let my vulnerability fly, be who I am at my core, it feels so real and freeing, and some people end up liking me more, it moves our relationship forward, it makes some people uncomfortable, but that's not my problem, and some people just plain don't like me, and that's OK.  The key is going into these relationships with boundaries intact, new for me, and letting them down slowly when it's right; boundaries are great, but we can also create our own prison with them.  It's about being present in relationships, not letting the wrong people in, yet absolutely letting the right ones in.  Balance.  Moving forward... .
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« Reply #32 on: June 06, 2013, 06:15:48 AM »

Thank you talithacumi for this post. I had believed that my love, self control, social skills and interests were enough for both of us. I have since realized it as hubris, is that not a narcissistic trait?

Great discussion you got started sheepdog. Hope you are doing ok. Your story has touched me.
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« Reply #33 on: June 06, 2013, 09:25:19 AM »

I've been digging into the whole narcissism thingy, and it's kind of a loaded word, context-specific.

The DSM defines narcissistic personality disorder as:

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

(1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

(2) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

(3) believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

(4) requires excessive admiration

(5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

(6) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

(7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

(8) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

(9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

Although we all exhibit narcissistic traits, going all the way to disordered is the advanced level.  And I've noticed that this criteria is entirely in the self-aggradizing schema as defined by Young, and gives it the negative connotation I'm used to.  :)igging into schema therapy and adding the lonely child schema, the core of the issue, and the self-soother schema really speaks to be.  Moving forward... .
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« Reply #34 on: June 06, 2013, 03:32:19 PM »

Yes, we can have N traits, it does not qualify you necessarily for dx of NPD.  

I have studied the NPD criteria quite extensively.  I couldn't recognize myself in almost ANY of the DSM criteria 5 years ago. Now, I think of it a bit differently, but I do not qualify for a dx of NPD.  Still, I can see areas that need improvement.

Such as... .

(1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (rescue fantasies could fall under this) (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

(2) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love I think both myself and my ex had a preoccupation with a fantasy of ideal love.  

(3) believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

(4) requires excessive admiration

(5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations (I think my codependence leads to a type of entitlement thinking at times. eg., I do so much that I can't be expected to do "ordinary" xyz... . see post above)

(6) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

(7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others  (when I would get into a very codependent state, I would get very victim-y.  When you are victim-y... . you feel you are being harmed or injured by others, and it's nearly impossible to consider another point of view if your brain is in fight/flight mode.)

(8) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

(9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes  (I thought I could rescue my ex and others.  I now see this as a kind of arrogance, though it didn't strike me at all that way for years... . because my perception was I was being a do-gooder and they should be thankful for my long suffering heroic efforts to help them

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« Reply #35 on: June 17, 2013, 11:56:29 AM »

But *IS* it always self-aggrandizing?  Couldn't it sometimes be personal protection?  Or necessary?  Or a way of detaching?

For example, I trust my husband completely.  He will call me out when I am being unkind or selfish or defensive or whatever.

So, my pwBPD and my ex-friend are still friends.  Long story that is on these boards but basically the ex-friend (without BPD) has just completely dropped me from her life.  I don't know why.  No explanation.  I still have to see her every day at work.

In my mind, I do feel a little... . not sure of the word - 'superior' is too strong, but something.  I do think 'wow, you dropped me for him?  For a guy who has been unkind to you?  Forgotten your birthday?  Blown you off more times that I can count?  Meanwhile, I was always there for you, answered when you called, gave you a shoulder to cry on.'

I waffle constantly on whether to delete her from facebook.

Now in light of this thread, I sound... . self-aggrandizing.  But my husband doesn't see it like that.  He sees it the way I see it.  Granted, she and the BPD hurt me a lot last year.  But what I wrote above is true.

So is that self-aggrandizing or is it truth?

What is the difference between self-aggrandizing detachment and healthy-way detachment?
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« Reply #36 on: June 17, 2013, 01:55:10 PM »

What is the difference between self-aggrandizing detachment and healthy-way detachment?

Self-aggrandizing within the context of schemas works together with the lonely child and detached self soother schemas.  The self aggrandizer and detached self soother are both compensating to the lonely child schema, with its feelings of inferiority, detachment, isolation, invalidation, crappy feelings, so the other two step in to allow us to feel better.

Maybe you can relate to someone or yourself who feels inferior in a given situation so they act superior to compensate; sometimes it's blatant and obvious.  That's self aggrandizing, taking a superior posture to compensate for actually feeling inferior, to compensate, to feel better.

If you actually are better at something at work or whatever, and act that way, that's justified superiority and you aren't compensating for anything. 

Don't know what's going on with your feelings for your exBPD and your ex friend, depends if you're feeling superior in response to feeling inferior, or feel hurt, or angry, or something else.  The whole point of this schema discussion is to group lonely child, self aggrandizer, and detached self soother together as the constellation of schemas that coexist in narcissism.  Schema therapy is kind of it's own language, and we can get caught up in the labels and titles, but digging a little and learning about the traits associated with the schemas has helped me a lot, not the least of which has been to learn that I certainly do not have a full blown narcissistic personality disorder, but we all have narcissistic traits, and discovering the framework has been enlightening.
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« Reply #37 on: June 18, 2013, 12:18:14 PM »

Thank you fromheeltoheal (love that name, by the way).

And let me preface this by saying that I'm not trying to be belligerent.  I'm trying to understand so please don't take this as an argument.

You said:

Don't know what's going on with your feelings for your exBPD and your ex friend, depends if you're feeling superior in response to feeling inferior, or feel hurt, or angry, or something else.  The whole point of this schema discussion is to group lonely child, self aggrandizer, and detached self soother together as the constellation of schemas that coexist in narcissism. 

And here is what I still don't understand.  If someone has hurt you, most people DO feel hurt.  And then when that person who hurt you so bad ignores you and hangs out with someone who hurt HER so bad... . I DO feel... . again, not superior but more like, "Wow.  Okay.  That's who you are.  You're going to drop me for him when I've been there for you.  Okay then.  Better you than me.  Have a nice life."  I DO think those thoughts.  Are they narcissitic, self-aggrandizing, protective, smart?

I am feeling so much anger.  So much directed at myself but also toward them.  I know I will not get closure from the BPD ever but I want closure from her but my therapist said not to pursue that.

Anyway, sorry for rambling.  Just trying to understand things.
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« Reply #38 on: June 18, 2013, 01:23:15 PM »

I understand sheepdog, and I've been very angry too, I can relate.  Yes, it is totally appropriate to be hurt and then angry because we are hurt when someone hurts us, and anger is part of the grieving process.  In the case of a BPD, someone with a disordered personality, it's impossible to make sense of the way they think or expect validation or integrity; they're just doing what they do to survive, like they always have, and it's all about them always, it has to be, since they've got so much pain and dysfunction going on it's a full time job, and they will drag anyone they can into the chaos with them.  I'm sure you've noticed.

The way I look at it, when you give and give and give like we did, after a while it's natural to ask the question Where's mine?  Are my needs getting met, even slightly?  No, they certainly were not, and I felt much worse about myself with her than away from her, so eventually I decided to take care of myself, since she certainly wasn't.  That's just plain smart.

And at this point, NC longer than the relationship lasted, I've been digging deep to uncover why I was so susceptible in the first place, why I ignored so many red flags, why I put up with so much of her sht.  It's really all about me now, and the gift that BPD brought me, and I do consider it a gift, was the motivation to dig into these issues and better define the unfinished business I've been working on for decades, and actually thought I had done well with, until the hell that was a relationship with a BPD showed up.  I am actually grateful to her now, since the pain I was in was so strong that I had a blinding flash of the obvious, and started learning about schemas and childhood development patterns and all that.  Much of the lonely child, self aggrandizer and detached self soother schema stuff speaks to me, and no, I'm not as far gone as I'd feared, especially when you listen to my BPD ex tell it, but there's a framework there that fits, and it's been helping, especially the parts about what to do about it.  If you're interested, Schema Therapy by Young is where all this stuff comes from.

But enough about me.  :)on't know your whole situation, but if you focus on what's best for you, are you doing the right thing?  And as someone told me, it's impossible to have a functional relationship with a dysfunctional person, no matter how hard you try, and we will never get the validation we may be looking for.  Which is a great opportunity to self-validate.  And whatever's going on with them is undoubtedly following the same dynamic as what went on with you, and do you really want to go there?  If yours was as bad as mine, hell no, and better him than me, absolutely.  That's just smart.  And you might consider letting that sink in for a while before you start digging into you and assigning labels; labels can be limiting, and I've found the underlying descriptions much more valuable than the label.  Good luck and good work!
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« Reply #39 on: June 18, 2013, 02:49:32 PM »

Thank you fromheeltoheal.  What you're saying does make sense.

But I can't apply it to me.  You said you don't know my story.  Here is part of it:  https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=198423.0 .

All the anger and rage is pointed directly at myself. 

He and I have not spoken since August and I never will speak to him ever again.  If he even tries, which he won't, he will get nothing from me.

But her _ I have to work with her and that is where so many of my thoughts come from.

He is sick and he scares me.  She is not BPD. 
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« Reply #40 on: June 18, 2013, 03:07:20 PM »

For me, self-aggrandizing is less about thinking I'm superior to anyone/everyone in the world but more about EITHER how I really can't be blamed or responsible for whatever I'm going through because I'm really such a great person all around OR (more insidiously) how dysregulated, misguided, belligerent, incapable, and unhappy my ex is because he's disordered and how much, therefore, he really needs my undisordered and therefore inately superior knowledge, insights, understanding, guidance, direction, and support so he can reregulate and stop hurting me/cutting his own nose off to spite his face like the moronic ass he's always had such a tendency to be.

Like that.

It's a mindset I've found I tend to adopt when I can't find a way to understand why someone is choosing to say/do something that hurts me. I've noticed I seem to do it mostly/only when I'm feeling really overwhelmed, confused, frustrated by my inability to find or, I guess especially in my case, be given a reason to excuse, justify, dismiss, suppress, and otherwise exert some kind of control over the hurt I feel inside.

I always end up feeling guilty when I realize I'm doing it, but I realize now that all it really does is give me the shot of mental energy/strength I need in order to go back to trying to figure it all out again. Totally, spectacularly self-indulgent and comforting. I even know, while I'm doing it, that I'm not being particularly honest or fair. Doesn't stop me from doing it though. Just stops me from acting on it beyond, say, ignoring everyone/everything else and writing for hours about how great I am and unfair/undeserved all of this is.

It also doesn't last very long for me. Isn't my primary means of coping. More a stop gap measure designed to pump me back up.

Emergency rations for my ego when I've spent too long looking for real food in all the wrong places.

That's what I mean when I say I'm being self-aggrandizing anyway.

Does that help?


I really needed to see all of your posts today, especially this one. This thread is really helping to pull me back from a dark place I've been in today as my FOG is lifting. I would love you to PM me so you can help me start down my own road to healing, if you are willing.
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« Reply #41 on: June 19, 2013, 06:05:57 PM »

Sheepdog,

When I read your back story link... . what jumped out at me was the Punitive Parent mode from Schema therapy. You are soo hard on yourself, you know?

It's like you feel you are not allowed to be human and make mistakes and sometimes get drawn into the world that ordinary humans occupy... . where you have a dark side, where you have less than perfect "parts" of you like all human beings. If you can't just be a fallible human that does bad things once in a while... . then aren't you holding yourself to a higher standard than a human standard? Does that make you separate, apart, above... . what it is to be human? Being apart from, above, one-up, special... . isn't that a kind of narcissism, if narcissm is a preoccupation with a unrealistic idealized self image or  falling in love with an image instead of seeing and accepting

all of our parts as ordinary, fallible and  human?

I started out thinking of narcissism as a strict DSM dx or the most obvious forms we see in our

culture where there is a gross preoccupation with getting fawning attention over wealth or

beauty and being shallow and meanspirited and a jerk.

I now think of unhealthy narcissm in much broader terms, as any preoccupation with any false or

unrealistic image or mask that gets in the way of healthy relating to ourselves or others... . That

mask sometimes looks to all the world like Ghandi... . it does not have to look like Donald Trump

or Kim Kardashian, you know?

I also dont think of it as a label, it's just a way to raise my awareness of the ways I might

protect myself by wearing masks that prevent authentic connection and self acceptance.

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« Reply #42 on: June 21, 2013, 12:40:32 PM »

Sheepdog,

When I read your back story link... . what jumped out at me was the Punitive Parent mode from Schema therapy. You are soo hard on yourself, you know?

It's like you feel you are not allowed to be human and make mistakes and sometimes get drawn into the world that ordinary humans occupy... . where you have a dark side, where you have less than perfect "parts" of you like all human beings. If you can't just be a fallible human that does bad things once in a while... . then aren't you holding yourself to a higher standard than a human standard? Does that make you separate, apart, above... . what it is to be human? Being apart from, above, one-up, special... . isn't that a kind of narcissism, if narcissm is a preoccupation with a unrealistic idealized self image or  falling in love with an image instead of seeing and accepting

all of our parts as ordinary, fallible and  human?

I started out thinking of narcissism as a strict DSM dx or the most obvious forms we see in our

culture where there is a gross preoccupation with getting fawning attention over wealth or

beauty and being shallow and meanspirited and a jerk.

I now think of unhealthy narcissm in much broader terms, as any preoccupation with any false or

unrealistic image or mask that gets in the way of healthy relating to ourselves or others... . That

mask sometimes looks to all the world like Ghandi... . it does not have to look like Donald Trump

or Kim Kardashian, you know?

I also dont think of it as a label, it's just a way to raise my awareness of the ways I might

protect myself by wearing masks that prevent authentic connection and self acceptance.

Hi MaybeSo.  Your post gave me a lot to think about.

I'd never heard of Punitive Parent schema so I looked it up.  According to wiki it is:  "Punitive Parent - The Punitive Parent schema mode is identified by beliefs of a patient that they should be harshly punished perhaps due to feeling "defective", or making a simple mistake. They may feel that they should be punished for even existing when "punitive parent" takes over the psyche. Sadness, anger, impatience, and judgmental natures come out in "punitive parent" and are directed to the patient and from the patient. Even a small and solvable issue or unrealistic perfectionist expectations and "black and white thinking" all bring forth the "punitive parent." The "punitive parent" has great difficulty in forgiving oneself even under average circumstances in which anyone could fall short of their standards. The "Punitive Parent" does not wish to allow for human error or imperfection, thus punishment is what this mode seeks and what it desires."

Here is what stands out to me:  it says 'or making a simple mistake.'  I *didn't* make a simple mistake.  I made a complex, large, horrible mistake.  Repeatedly.  For several months.  It also goes on to say, "The "punitive parent" has great difficulty in forgiving oneself even under average circumstances in which anyone could fall short of their standards."  I think most people would not have fallen short.  I had never fallen short before.

I am NOT saying I was perfect.  I am so far from perfect.  I don't feel that I'm separate or above anyone else - quite the contrary.  I have made mistakes and know I will continue to do so.

This is me just royally screwing up... . it's more than a mistake.  It goes against MY values, beliefs, who I thought I was.

Again, I am not perfect but what I did is possibly the worst thing I could have ever done.  I don't judge people who have done things, I'm just talking about me.
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« Reply #43 on: June 21, 2013, 05:26:54 PM »

Excerpt
It also goes on to say, "The "punitive parent" has great difficulty in forgiving oneself even under average circumstances in which anyone could fall short of their standards."  I think most people would not have fallen short.  I had never fallen short before.

?

You had an emotional affair for a short period, first time ever you've done anything like this before,  you didn't even succumb to sleeping with the guy if I understand the back story correctly.

You did not rob a bank, kill or maim anyone, you did not act with intentional malice to inflict pain or harm to anyone.

Can you conceive that most human beings could fall into something like what you fell into?  This doesn't sound to you like something any human being could succumb to at least once during their journey on this earth? Even a good person, with a good heart and good intentions?

Excerpt
It goes against MY values, beliefs, who I thought I was

.

Yes and this is scary when we meet parts of ourselves in this way. In taking this path, have you not actually expanded your idea of who you are, hasn't the territory of who you are and your understanding of who you are, expanded to include MORE than perhaps you saw or were aware of before you had this experience? A part of you needed what this experience offered at the time, that is a valid part of you... . all parts of you deserve compassion and grace. Not just certain parts, no?

In Jungian therapy they stress its better to know and embrace ALL of your parts even your dark shadow side (that we tend to deny even exists)... . it's when we turn away, ignore, deny  or punish certain parts... . that they become more and more insistent on being seen and heard and it's then that they come out to play in ways that can be shocking or disruptive or feels alien to us. Our un-owned parts want our attention.   It's when we don't know and embrace all parts that we hear ourselves saying things like... . "I don't know how that happened, why I did that... . next thing I know I was ... . before I knew it ... . how did this happen, how could I have done that, what was I thinking?"

Okay, so that's Jungian theory. Try to resist the temptation to wiki Jung and give an intellectual argument against the theory and how it doesn't apply to you.    Just sit with the idea.  It's just an idea. Just let it roll around in your head a little.

Whether we call it narcissism, or inverted narcissism, or the punitive parent, or the critical parent, or the critical self, or the unaccepting self, or the Super Ego, or the mask, or the Shadow or the false self, etc. etc. etc... . whether we attempt to map something as complex as the human heart/soul using Schema or CBT or DBT or psychoanalytic theory or Jung ... . (none are perfect)

Keep open to the idea that any of this material is for us to gain insight, not check off the ways it doesn't fit exactly so we stay at ground zero defended and stuck.  

Some of what is being offered likely fits to some degree or can shed insight into some aspect of your struggle if for no other reason than because you are a human being and you will error like a human being and there is growth and understanding that can come from our most painful errors as human beings if you are willing to be vulnerable and open to it.    






 

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« Reply #44 on: June 27, 2013, 08:58:47 AM »

You had an emotional affair for a short period, first time ever you've done anything like this before,  you didn't even succumb to sleeping with the guy if I understand the back story correctly.

You did not rob a bank, kill or maim anyone, you did not act with intentional malice to inflict pain or harm to anyone.

No, I never slept with him and hardly touched him.  But that doesn't really matter to me.  In my heart (and I've always been like this) even if you kiss another person it is cheating.  My husband feels the same way.  And it wasn't just emotional, it did get very physical - mainly him doing things to me.

But see, MaybeSo?  I can say with 99.9% positiveness that I would never do any of those things you listed above.  This is the worst thing I probably could ever do.  And I did it.

And I DID act with malice - toward my husband.

The BPD had the machismo mindset.  He also thought women were not as smart as men.  He himself was brilliant.  I mean, serious genius.  And sneaky and manipulative.  My husband knows all of this about him.  When he finds out what I did and with who... .

And it kills me because I know BPD is probably thinking of my husband as cuckold.   :'(

I asked my therapist if I had narcissistic tendencies and she said not at all.  I don't know.

Also, she never mentions any of the schema stuff I see so often here.  Is that bad?  Should she?   

I will try to let what you wrote sit.

Thank you.
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« Reply #45 on: June 27, 2013, 10:13:38 AM »

No, I never slept with him and hardly touched him.  

... . it did get very physical - mainly him doing things to me.

The BPD had the machismo mindset.  He also thought women were not as smart as men. He himself was brilliant.  I mean, serious genius. And sneaky and manipulative.

From your other thread:

he was all over me and saying things and kissing me and touching me.  I know you are thinking, "Well, it's not you were probably just laying there."  But it was exactly like that.

... .

He knew, the entire time, how it was making me depressed, feeling like I wanted to die.  He knew I feared abandonment, felt worthless.

... .

My therapist is trying to show me this was orchestrated, it was predatory.

... .

FOG started to lift and when we reconnected, I think he knew it was different and he never attempted to touch me in that way again.  But he got even more abusive toward me.

I'm going to be brutally honest here, Sheep. This is the second time you've posted something about him that really creeps me out. To the point where I feel a little ill. I think I mentioned it before, in the other thread. He sounds, as your T said, like a predator. And the situation sounds like prolonged sexual abuse. It sounds like he went out looking for someone with child-like innocence to manipulate and abuse. It was always about his own gratification - pawing at you, manipulating you, lusting after you, making you feel small and weak and guilty, afraid to stand up to him. If you weren't an adult, if I heard this exact same story from a 14 year-old girl - I would report it to the police. We would all agree that it was sexual abuse. Yes, you are an adult. Yes, in retrospect you now see all of the signs and red flags, etc. You know what? So do child victims of abuse. They blame themselves. In fact, almost every sex assault survivor does precisely the same thing. Are you 100% innocent in all of this? No, that is not what I'm saying. But I AM saying that your psychological issues are very much in line with sexual assault victims - the toxic shame, the regret, the feelings of humiliation, the fear, the guilt - all of it. Have you considered finding a T who specializes in rape recovery? Not to replace your current T, but to maybe give you some additional help and understanding - and tools to help you move forward.
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« Reply #46 on: June 27, 2013, 07:07:36 PM »

Excerpt
And I DID act with malice - toward my husband.

I think your malice is directed inward.

You have not said a negative word about your husband, in fact he seems quite idealized in your mind. I have trouble believing you have malice for him.

I think you are using this affair to prove to yourself and everyone else how "bad" you are. I think those feelings of shame and self-loathing were probably there before your pwBPD ever walked in to your life. But since he did come along, having agreed to go along with him for a bit gives you an excuse to keep hating yourself. I think if you experienced CSA this makes a lot of sense. MaybeSo's observations make a lot of sense to me too. Maybe keep considering whether you are using a superhuman standard against yourself.

PF

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« Reply #47 on: June 29, 2013, 10:19:36 AM »

Schema is a specialized training, unless you got trained in it , like DBT etc., you wouldn't necessarily being using that model in your therapy practice. It doesn't necessarily say anything about your therapist; what is most important is the connection, trust/rapport you have with your therapist.

Malice implies wrongful intention to do evil. Are you saying your intention in having a emotional affair was to do evil against your husband? Really? Your purpose for the affair was to hurt your husband? If that is true, then start exploring why you intentionally want to hurt your husband! Cause if that's true... . there is some reason why this is so!

Sheep... . You are really hard on yourself.

I honor that you and your husband have specific high standards and values about behavior inside a marriage, mine are not disimilar.

Rigidity, punitive authority, lack of compassion and unrealistic expectations... . none of this is good

for human growth and development. We know this! It's not good for the relationship we have with children, with partners, and it doesn't foster a healthy relationship with yourself!

People make mistakes, we do things that we wish we hadn't or don't fully understand. A punitive stance is safe in that we don't have to fully embrace all parts of ourselves, but it's not knowing ourselves that leads to do things we don't understand.

Ok, the guy is creepy. I'm not focusing on him 1-because this is PI and 2- creeps are a dime a dozen. It's still your job to understand your choices and behaviors... . you do not get to that level of understanding by painting yourself or others black/white.

At this point, the rigidity you embrace is actually creating distance between you and your

husband and you and yourself. Do you see this? You went through a huge, important, impactful, traumatizing

experience and can't even share this with the most important person in your life! You can't forgive yourself even? How is this

lack of compassion and ridgid adherence to an idealized standard with no room for human

errors... . fostering human connection?

It's not.



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« Reply #48 on: June 29, 2013, 10:31:10 AM »

... . and how might this rigidity to a unrealistic standard make you (or any human)  susceptible to an affair?
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« Reply #49 on: June 29, 2013, 11:19:22 AM »

Ok, the guy is creepy. I'm not focusing on him 1-because this is PI and 2- creeps are a dime a dozen. It's still your job to understand your choices and behaviors... . you do not get to that level of understanding by painting yourself or others black/white.

I don't think it helps to focus on the guy either (but I do hope that rapists aren't quite so common). That said, I think you might need to consider, Sheep, that there is another side to this whole situation. Consider this: why are you so determined to put all of the blame on yourself? Is it possible that your refusal to see the victimization aspect of this is keeping you from being able to move forward? It doesn't help to say that this guy was a sexual predator (as even your T described him) if you just leave it at that. No matter what your role is in all of this, you have work to do in order to heal. So I am not suggesting that you blame him and forget it - not by a long shot! But you can't process your emotions properly unless you attribute them properly. This is Facing the Facts. Fact is what he did goes beyond a simple affair. As MaybeSo points out, your shame and fear are keeping you from reaching out to your religious community and keeping you from your connection with your H. Blaming only yourself isn't working! There are people out there (and here!) that miss the Sheep they used to know - the one who wasn't full of toxic shame and fear.

Please don't take this the wrong way - I'm not trying to attack anyone, but I think there's a missing piece here... . Society has been indoctrinated to believe that when a woman has sexual contact with a man it is always her choice and, if she didn't want it, then it's still somehow her fault. The misogynist victim-blaming is antiquated but it is insidious. It is being bought into left, right, and centre in this situation (not on purpose, of course). Many victims of this sort of abuse suffer from a type of Stockholm Syndrome - they come to believe that they love their abusers, this is true especially with childhood victims of sexual abuse. It's a self-protection mechanism: e.g. if he knows I love him he'll stop hurting me, and/or if I love him then it isn't abuse so I'm okay. And you know what? The predators KNOW that this is how it works - and they count on it to keep from being caught. If a person says 'no' but the perpetrator applies pressure/guilt/manipulation, or even just carries on, until the victim says 'yes' or simply stops protesting (sound familiar?) - that is sexual assault. Legally. As in criminal charges (at least where I am). And it is NOT the victim's fault for not 'protesting harder' or not trying to run away, or whatever else people seem to think.

Sheep - your reactions and ongoing trauma are WAY beyond what a person normally feels after having a simple affair. Partially it's because you just have a very true heart and you're a wonderful person - so you really feel the weight of any mistakes you made. But I am suggesting to you that there is more to it than that, and unless you face those facts, you are going to keep feeling stuck.
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« Reply #50 on: June 29, 2013, 01:02:10 PM »

No, I never slept with him and hardly touched him.  

... . it did get very physical - mainly him doing things to me.

The BPD had the machismo mindset.  He also thought women were not as smart as men. He himself was brilliant.  I mean, serious genius. And sneaky and manipulative.

From your other thread:

he was all over me and saying things and kissing me and touching me.  I know you are thinking, "Well, it's not you were probably just laying there."  But it was exactly like that.

... .

He knew, the entire time, how it was making me depressed, feeling like I wanted to die.  He knew I feared abandonment, felt worthless.

... .

My therapist is trying to show me this was orchestrated, it was predatory.

... .

FOG started to lift and when we reconnected, I think he knew it was different and he never attempted to touch me in that way again.  But he got even more abusive toward me.

I'm going to be brutally honest here, Sheep. This is the second time you've posted something about him that really creeps me out. To the point where I feel a little ill. I think I mentioned it before, in the other thread. He sounds, as your T said, like a predator. And the situation sounds like prolonged sexual abuse. It sounds like he went out looking for someone with child-like innocence to manipulate and abuse. It was always about his own gratification - pawing at you, manipulating you, lusting after you, making you feel small and weak and guilty, afraid to stand up to him. If you weren't an adult, if I heard this exact same story from a 14 year-old girl - I would report it to the police. We would all agree that it was sexual abuse. Yes, you are an adult. Yes, in retrospect you now see all of the signs and red flags, etc. You know what? So do child victims of abuse. They blame themselves. In fact, almost every sex assault survivor does precisely the same thing. Are you 100% innocent in all of this? No, that is not what I'm saying. But I AM saying that your psychological issues are very much in line with sexual assault victims - the toxic shame, the regret, the feelings of humiliation, the fear, the guilt - all of it. Have you considered finding a T who specializes in rape recovery? Not to replace your current T, but to maybe give you some additional help and understanding - and tools to help you move forward.

Wow. It's very convincing once you put all the posts together in one spot. It seems to me there is a real tone of sexual abuse. We often relive our pasts until we are able to cope with and heal issues. Sheep, you mentioned possible childhood sexual abuse. Is it possible you relieved that with this man? Is it possible you subconsciously took on the role of a helpless child in the r/s because of what happened when you were a child? Who else in your past has treated you this way? And, as I see, you couldn't get out, you couldn't say no, because you felt powerless... . possibly because something similar happened as a child, at a time when you really were powerless, and felt abandoned because no one was stopping it or helping you? Maybe that's when you were conditioned to think you didn't deserve help or forgiveness?
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« Reply #51 on: June 29, 2013, 01:41:38 PM »

BTW, I think it is important to understand that not all narcissism is bad, and in fact, we all need a little healthy narcissism to like ourselves and be confident and assertive. As with all PDs, the issue is when healthy turns to dysfunction.

There is an interesting table on wikipedia's page about healthy narcissism that shows how healthy and unhealthy behaviors play out.
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« Reply #52 on: July 01, 2013, 01:21:57 PM »

I started out thinking of narcissism as a strict DSM dx or the most obvious forms we see in our

culture where there is a gross preoccupation with getting fawning attention over wealth or

beauty and being shallow and meanspirited and a jerk.

I now think of unhealthy narcissm in much broader terms, as any preoccupation with any false or

unrealistic image or mask that gets in the way of healthy relating to ourselves or others... . That

mask sometimes looks to all the world like Ghandi... . it does not have to look like Donald Trump

or Kim Kardashian, you know?

I also dont think of it as a label, it's just a way to raise my awareness of the ways I might

protect myself by wearing masks that prevent authentic connection and self acceptance.

Getting this discussion back on track. This is an interesting point. I see my codependent behaviors as very self centered today, they were narcissistic indeed. It did hinder authentic connection and self accepetance. Being more preoccupied with painting myself a victim when my giving didn't produce the results I had expected.
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« Reply #53 on: July 01, 2013, 05:37:07 PM »

I also don't think of it as a label, it's just a way to raise my awareness of the ways I might

protect myself by wearing masks that prevent authentic connection and self acceptance.

Being more preoccupied with painting myself a victim when my giving didn't produce the results I had expected.

Good points.  The word narcissist has a negative connotation in popular culture, and focuses on the self-aggrandizing schema portion exclusively, where the term has a different, more nuanced meaning in the psych world.  I agree that any label has limitations, and it's more effective and helpful to consider any form of compensation (masks) as just that: something that is limiting and inauthentic, and gets in the way of true connection with ourselves and others.

And yes, I've played the victim role plenty, and it usually sounds something like "all I was trying to do was help, and see what I get?  People are just mean and don't care about me."  Well, some people don't care about me, some do, and what I've found lately is it's important to discover what I really want, which includes focusing on my needs and feelings, a new thing, and then asking for those things directly.  And then noticing what happens with people; some people care and want to meet my needs, some don't, some don't feel comfortable having those kinds of conversations, some want to give me what I want, but aren't capable.  Of course it's reciprocal, but I've never had a problem discovering what other people want and giving it to them, I've been doing it my whole life, the difference now is giving to give, not to get.
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« Reply #54 on: July 01, 2013, 09:58:39 PM »

Sheepdog there are two quotes from the thread you showed your T that hit really hard for me.

Lonely children have a need to have some sort of control over their destiny because so much was out of control in their childhood.

Your T wants you to

get right with you

get right with God

get right with your husband

For me, the first two were all I had to do because I was single. Nevertheless, this is an excellent outline to work with. I worked on the first one on your list first. I worked on me. Hard. It took a long time to get past my low self worth and I didn't understand why. I still beat myself up for making mistakes, I knew I wasn't perfect but I still would just want to crawl under a rock when I messed up. It made me mad that I would do this once I realized I was doing it and couldn't, for the life of me, figure out how to stop.

A little, a nutshell if you will, history. There was physical abuse in my childhood. Not from my mother but she was emotionally unavailable so that didn't help. She never stopped the physical abuse. Never stood up for her children. Her methods for coping were to look on the bright side. If you're hurting stop thinking about it and find something to do that will take your mind off of it. She taught us how to escape, not feel. But see, the thing is she did this because she couldn't deal with the idea of knowing she was allowing this to happen. If we seemed ok, since she taught us how to be ok by escaping then she would be ok. It soothed her guilt. So the statement 2010 made above makes complete sense to me. I could not control what was happening, I was a child. And the one person who was supposed to protect me, didn't. I came to terms with all of this a year ago. I now understand.

There was a second, much deeper, piece to this puzzle. You say your faith is deeply embedded in you. So was mine. It's all I ever knew, was raised in this faith. I couldn't let go of beating myself up because I feared what I had been told to believe and that was that I could not make mistakes and be right with God. That was my perception, from my child's mind, all my memories of what I had been taught. I read a book called "The Shack". It gave me a different perspective, that doesn't mean I believe everything I read, it just gave me a different perspective. I see compassion everywhere in people today where I hadn't before and what I remind myself is that this is an attribute in us that came from somewhere and the source must be pretty amazing. It is also MHO that we are expected to turn that compassion within and give it to that child within us all. I had been terribly heavy handed with this child within myself and that's just not how you/I treat children. This is how I forgave myself for my mistakes and continue to do so.  

So for me the first two on your list ended up going hand in hand.

Radical acceptance comes when you realize that what was mirrored really wasn’t you- it was what *you wanted others to give to you*   It was <<Understanding.>>

When I gave myself "understanding" is when it all changed. My coping skills prior were very much in line with this schema. To feel I was better than some because this is something I was taught in my faith, that we were "chosen", and that I always followed the rules. I never lied, cheated or stole... . But I did, as an adult I lied to myself, cheated myself and stole from myself. And I was taught to escape my feelings so I most definitely was a detached self soother. I was not a full blown narcissist however I exhibited some traits. Codependence was about me controlling with manipulation, giving to get "what I had never gotten", since I had had no control over my "destiny" as a child.  
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« Reply #55 on: July 01, 2013, 11:50:03 PM »

This thread is so profound and moving for me.  I am reading and meditating as it is too overwhelming to craft a response.  Thank you so much to all of you for your candor, courage and warmth.  

Sheepdog, as a reader of this thread without familiarity with your broader story, it is readily apparent that you were violated.  And the commentary on your reaction, your rigidity, toxic shame and self abuse are accurate and wise.
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