Diagnosis: Complex PTSD

your brain on CPTSD

My therapist finally spilled the beans (at my insistence) and thinks PTSD or complex PTSD is the closest fit for what I actually have.   BPD may have fit once, but he doesn’t think it does any longer, if it ever did.   He said a lot of those “borderline” symptoms may really have been PTSD.   He also doesn’t think I fit the criteria for any other personality disorder.    Also I would not be responding to therapy as well (or as quickly) if I had an actual personality disorder.

This is wonderful.   Complex PTSD is a non-stigmatizing label that acknowledges that damage was done to YOU,  and you are just reacting normally to the abnormal.   Personality disorders imply that the problem is in the person and BPD is one of the most stigmatizing labels of all.

I’ve grown quite attached to my BPD label though, and I’m not quite ready to give it up yet. So I’ll still keep BPD under “Read About My Crazy” since I actually was diagnosed with it twice.  Maybe it was an erroneous diagnosis or maybe not,  but being a “borderline” has become so much a part of my identity I’m going to keep it for now.  I’m just overjoyed that my therapist does NOT think I have it and also that he’s aware of narcissistic abuse and the ways it can really f**k with your mind.

He says it’s fairly common for people with PTSD/C-PTSD to try to self-diagnose and it’s normal to be confused, as I have been very much so.


About luckyotter

Recovering from BPD and C-PTSD due to narcissistic abuse from childhood. Married to a sociopath for 20 years. Proud INFJ, Enneagram type 4w5. Animal lover, music lover, cat mom, unapologetic geek, fan of the absurd, progressive Catholic, mom to 2, mental illness stigma activist, anti-Trumper. #RESISTANCE
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11 Responses to Diagnosis: Complex PTSD

  1. trE says:

    Glad you could get some closure regarding an actual diagnosis more “fitting” to your particular case. Bet you can breathe a bit easier now, I hope so.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. May the healing commence…naming it is a big step. I hope the clarity follows💜

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Glad you have a diagnosis. one of the major reasons Inwrite is to keep a conversation going about living everyday with PTSD.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Quixie says:

    Aha! I knew you didn’t have BPD or NPD. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m really glad that you have a diagnosis, and c-PTSD seems like a very helpful one. I’ve thought about this, and, personally, I feel that there is little difference between many combinations of personality disorder symptoms (which also appear to be divided, to some degree, but not completely, arbitrarily, into the disorders) and c-PTSD, and the local service for personality disorders has a strong focus on identifying and working through patients’ trauma histories. I have not actually encountered anyone who would fit a lable of c-PTSD but not some mixture of PD traits, or vice versa, although I am making a claim that such people do not exist. My point is really that I worry that distinctions are made based on the stigma carried by PDs and not by real recognition of any differences. Specifically, the Wikipedia article (and various other sites) on c-PTSD gives an in depth description of a wide range of symptoms: going through these, they could certainly cover aspects of BPD (relationship boundary issues, difficulties regulating emotions, explosive anger, suicidal ideation, self-injury, promiscuity (aware of the controversy over this criterion)), AvPD (sense of being fundamentally flawed, inhibited anger, distrust, social isolation, disruption in intimate relationships (could cover many PDs!), sexual inhibition, paralysis of initiative). outofthefog.website lists the symptoms of c-PTSD much morein terms of clear symptoms of BPD, AvPD, Dependent PD, Obsessive-Compulsive PD, and even one-or-two of Antisocial PD. (I’ve also seen NPD traits passed on by abusive parents: specifically from my grandmother to my mother; and, more than I’d like, to me.)

    I want people reading this post with PD diagnoses to be aware of this, because there probably isn’t anything “worse”, or even different, about their diagnoses than that of c-PTSD. As far as I’m aware, c-PTSD is not given as a medical diagnosis in the UK at all, because it’s not recognised in the ICD, or DSM. classifications.

    Liked by 2 people

    • luckyotter says:

      Hi Andrea,
      I appreciate your thoughtful input on this. I think C-PTSD is helpful becausse it focuses more on the SYMPTOMS rather than having a DISORDER. Yes, I think C-pTSD and BPD are often used interchangeably and I definitely think that if C-PTSD did not exist, I might have gotten a nebulous label like “anxiety disorder NOS” or “personality disorder NOS.” No one needs a “diagnosis” like that!

      I also found it interesting that C-PTSD in the Wikipedia article has been compared a lot to Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID–what used to be known as multiple personality disorder) and dissociation in various forms is very common symptom in patients with both PTSD and CPTSD. It’s also a common symptom in BPD and sometimes also NPD (during a narcissistic crisis or depression usually.

      The proposed diagnosis of Covert or Fragile NPD has confused things further and once again, the symptoms can be very similar to those of someone with BPD/C-PTSD. Covert Ns don’t act arrogant and entitled like classic NPDs but they are every bit as manipulative and there goal is to get supply.

      But what is supply? Supply is something to fill an empty hole inside, and the emptiness comes about because a person was not mirrored appropriately as a child. I feel like I often need “supply” to boost my ego (and to some extent everyone does). Because my personality fits the profile for Covert NPD, I spent a long while sure I was one. I was very relieved my therapist does NOT agree with that. (He said I always try to take care of HIS feelings–probably a codependent trait– and have too much empathy)

      Yes, the treatments and therapy techniques used for C-PTSD and Personality Disorders are very much the same. My therapist is a trauma/attachment therapist and as such, treats people with BPD and NPD, as well as C-PTSD, PTSD because all of these disorders have their roots in trauma and faulty attachments to caregivers. DID and other dissociative disorders also have their roots in childhood trauma. All of them are disorders where there is a weak, fractured, or nonexistent sense of self and a yawning emptiness inside. My therapist thinks my sense of self is there, but is fractured and mixed up with pieces of other “identities” I’ve taken on (sounds like BPD!), including my NPD mother! 😮

      I think the fact I’m paying out of pocket made it easier for my therapist to give me an “unofficial/experimental” diagnosis because no claims are being submitted for reimbursement.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks so much for taking the time to write such a considered reply! I agree with a lot of what you’ve said, and it sounds like your therapist’s background is really good, about which I’m glad. All the best with it! xx

        Liked by 1 person

  6. hbsuefred says:

    For many “crazy” or “sick” people (and I think we all fall under at least one of those descriptions at times), being able to give a name to a condition under which one is suffering, especially if that name is supplied by a trained and educated, experienced and caring, and most important of all objective “expert,” is a big help. More importantly, I think it’s a very big step that moves the “diagnosee” towards a better understanding of him/herself, his/her “place” in the world with the potential best outcome of gaining the ability to “live a ‘normal’ life” and to be happy with who one is and where one finds oneself in life now and in the future.
    I know from experience that it takes a lot of hard work and uncomfortable self-evaluation to reach that point. So let me add my congratulations to you for getting there, after all the trials and tribulations and tangential self-diagnoses you have blogged about. I think the hardest part of your journey has passed, and I look forward to reading more about your progress and seeing more pictures of your “happy place(s),” like the sunrise photo in your previous post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • luckyotter says:

      Thanks, what you say is so true. When I was trying on all those self-dx’s, it was much like trying on clothes! Just as frustrating and hard to find a perfect “fit.” Sometimes it pays to have someone do your “clothes shopping” for you who can see you objectively!

      Liked by 2 people

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