My therapist is about to tell me what I have.

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My therapist has issues with psychiatric labels (as I do), but over the past year I’ve been driving myself crazy trying to figure out exactly what I have, flip-flopping back and forth between Complex PTSD, BPD, Avoidant PD, and even the covert form of NPD. Trying to figure out what I have is driving me nuts!

Although I have a BPD diagnosis (and Avoidant PD), those were given to me in the 1990’s and he has said things that indicate to me he thinks BPD may no longer be accurate. It’s true I don’t act out in Borderline ways the way I used to. But is that because I’ve gotten so good at mindfulness it’s become second nature to not act out, or did I actually manage to somehow cure myself of it? Or was I never a Borderline at all? I think I was–or still am–especially since I was diagnosed with it TWICE).

Complex PTSD seems a likely candidate (if he recognizes diagnoses that are not in the DSM). But here’s the worrisome thing. He has said things in session that make me concerned he may suspect narcissism. Of course I could be reading a lot of things into what he says too based on my worries. I’m pretty sure I’m somewhere on the spectrum though, even if I’m not very high on it. If that’s the case, then I’m back to where I was a few months ago, when I thought I was a covert/fragile narcissist. Or maybe I have something that never even occurred to me I could have, like OCD or Social Anxiety or some dissociative disorder. Maybe I have more than one diagnosis. That’s why this not knowing is driving me insane. I HAVE to know and put a stop to this insanity so I can stop trying to diagnose myself!

We didn’t meet this Thursday because of my lack of funds this week–and I also wanted to attend Holy Thursday services. I didn’t make it to church though because I came home and passed out instead (see my last post). Yesterday I sent my therapist an email letting him know that even though I realized all the drawbacks of psychiatric labels and respected his ambivalence about them, that knowing mine would help me feel more in control. Knowing what he thinks I have would provide me with a sort of closure on all this self-labeling nonsense and I’d be able to focus more on what I’m doing to get better, instead of on “what the hell do I have?” I assured him that anything he told me wouldn’t hurt my feelings, but would come as a relief.

He answered promptly and said he’d be happy to share his opinion with me since I want to know. I see him again Monday and he will tell me then what he thinks. OMG. Of course, at the end of the day, his opinion is just an opinion. But I NEED to know his opinion.

I’m both excited as hell and scared to death.

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Yes! I’ll have money soon!

Some of you probably know that for about a month, I’ve been without a drivable car.  I’ve been fortunate enough to be allowed to use the company car, but obviously this can’t be permanent and I’m limited as to where I can take the company car.

A few kind people sent small donations to my car fund (thank you very much to those who contributed!) but the GoFundMe was a bust and I took it down.

I’d been worried about my tax refund (I worry myself into a frenzy every year) which my daughter and I filed together (since she lived with me much of last year).   I had no reason to worry, because it’s more than I expected and should be enough to put at least a good down payment on a decent used car and might even be enough to purchase a used car upfront, if I’m careful.   I’ll be using my 2001 Ford Taurus as a trade-in or I might try selling it on Craigslist first.  It’s got several great things going for it: new tires, a new transmission (rebuilt last year), and an amazing sound system (I will miss that!)   Between the money I get from the car, my tax refund, and the little bit I’ve been able to save from donations, I should have enough.

I was a nervous wreck before DD and I left for the tax preparer, but I came away feeling great because the news was actually good (it always is).   I don’t know why I drive myself insane over this every year.   I waste so much time just worrying and fretting over everything.  Worry flies in the face of faith; if you have enough faith you don’t worry.

After we left the tax preparer’s office, DD and I celebrated by having a late lunch at Waffle House.    I wouldn’t let her take any pictures of me, but here’s a few of her enjoying her meal (and her phone).

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   Worry is useless, because if what you worry about never happens, you’ve worried for naught, and if it does happen, you lived through it twice. — Unknown

Worry: the useless emotion.

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In recent years, several emotions have been called out as unhealthy or maladaptive for human happiness. These emotions are worry, shame and guilt. In a narcissistic society where selfishness is held as a virtue, these three emotions are indeed maladaptive, especially shame and guilt. But shame and guilt keep us civilized. They keep us from doing bad things to others and they are the reason we have laws such as not murdering someone we don’t like. Shame and guilt (when appropriate, of course) have a pro-social function and are the inner brakes that keep us from hurting others or making restitution if we have. A car with no brakes is a dangerous thing. So is a human being. Shame and guilt are only “bad” when they’re excessive or unnecessary. But a person without the ability to ever feel shame and guilt is a sociopath with no conscience and without the ability to feel empathy for others, not a proper human being.

Worry is a different ball of wax. I can’t think of any good reasons for worry to exist. I’m one of those people who worry all the time, about everything. It’s not a fun emotion and is a huge damper to happiness. Worry is related to fear, but is a little different. Fear has its proper place. It keeps us from being harmed or killed. If we are walking in the woods and a bear blocks our path, it would be stupid to try to reason with the bear or fight it. We feel fear instead, which causes us to run or back away. If we meet a person who gives us the willies, fear is a natural response that keeps us from becoming that person’s victim. We learn to avoid that person. Fear is a survival emotion.

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Worry is a kind of fear that isn’t set on the here and now. It’s set on what might happen in the future or sometimes what happened in the past. It causes a person to ruminate excessively and not be able to enjoy what’s taking place right then and there, because they’re too focused on nonexistent events or events that have already taken place and can’t be undone. If you worry constantly about losing your job, that will usually cause you to act less confident and make more mistakes and can even bring on the event you fear the most. If you worry your mate might leave you, your worry causes you to act clingy and possessive, and they could feel smothered and actually leave you. Worrying over things you have no control over is just, well, stupid.

Sometimes people worry about things that have already occurred too. If you snapped at your girlfriend for no reason, you might worry about that because you’re afraid they might leave you. Guilt–not worry–would be appropriate in a situation like this. Guilt will make you apologize to your girlfriend, after which you both feel relief. Worry will do nothing except make you obsess and ruminate over your mistake. Rather than act as an impetus to action or a motivation to correct your mistakes, worry over past events causes you to turn inward and beat yourself up without taking any action.

Some people are addicted to worry though, and go through life imagining the worst things imaginable. It’s impossible to be happy constantly believing the world is a dangerous place full of landmines and booby traps. I have no idea why so many people are addicted to worry, because it’s not a drug that has a pleasant high. It can even kill you because it causes excessive stress which is hard on your body and can lead to illness. I think worry was pounded into those of us who were victimized by narcissists because we lack confidence in our own ability to control the events in our lives. We believe we have no more control over things than a leaf blowing in the wind. But that’s another lie they tell us.

There are a couple of sayings I’ve heard about worry that sum it up pretty well and made me realize just how useless this emotion is.

1. Worrying about something is like paying interest on a debt you never owed.
2. Worry is useless because if the event you fear never happens, you lived through it for nothing; and if the event does happen, you lived through it twice.

Guilt: the great inhibitor.

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When I started this blog, I also made a commitment to 100% honesty about my feelings, no matter what. Doing that was easier than I thought and due to my honesty, I’ve become less fearful of what other people think and my self esteem has improved (though it still has a long way to go to be in the “normal” range).

About a month ago, my parents discovered this blog. My mother, though she’s in her 80’s, is active on social media and has accounts with Facebook and LinkedIn. At first I was horrified, and waited for something terrible to happen.

Nothing did, at least nothing that was evident at first.

I worry less about my father reading this blog, but then again, he’s not an MN and he actually seemed somewhat supportive of what I’m doing. If he objected to my discussing my MN mother in such a negative way, he never let on that he did. My mother, as expected has said nothing. I quietly unfriended her on Facebook because I’m linking my blog posts there now (my profile is set up so only friends can view details), but she can still access this blog directly if she wants to.

And that’s where my problem comes in. Knowing that she is probably reading every word I say is causing me to censor what I post and be about 95% honest instead of 100%. It’s stupid, because she doesn’t approve of me anyway and will say bad things about me to others no matter what. She has for years. So I don’t really understand why I’m so worried about what this 80-something woman might say about this blog to her relatives.

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Every time I want to post something, I’m hesitating if it’s about her. Since it would be dishonest of me to post wonderful, great things about her, I’m finding I’m not posting about her much lately at all.

My mother has terrified me my entire life. Even though I’m in my 50s now and I am very low contact with her (I only went No Contact with my ex), I still worry about what she might be thinking or saying about me. It’s so stupid–what difference could it possibly make? I’m not a child and I’ve already been abandoned emotionally by her, so why do I still care so much? I know I’m never going to win her approval even if I should ever become wildly successful (for her, it wouldn’t count as success because it would be ME) and what else can she say about me that she hasn’t already been saying? I don’t use real names so I can’t be sued. And finally, it’s not as if she hasn’t already read everything I’ve said about her under “My Story” already. There’s nothing worse I can say that I haven’t already said.

I know it’s irrational to censor myself for fear of what she’ll think, but I can’t seem to let go of my fear of her. I know she will never love me or approve of me. But I feel like she can still control me and she still scares me. I know much of this has a lot to do with having been programmed to always feel guilty and ashamed, even though ironically, both my parents believe guilt is a bad emotion.

How many of you have had to face this situation? What did you do to cope with it? I really need some help here, because if I can’t be 100% honest about EVERYTHING, that puts a damper on my healing.

Toxic guilt

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I’m sick with 103F fever and can barely eat or move, and I still feel guilty about not going to work today even though there was no way I could have gotten through today. When I called they told me to “feel better, get some rest” but I still always feel so guilty, so unproductive.
I feel like I should go scrub the kitchen or something. I’ve been in bed all day and it’s almost 4 PM. I feel like a slug.

I still feel guilty when I take care of myself. I still feel like if I’m not doing things for other people, I’m not a good person. I know that makes no sense, but it’s how I was trained.
I also start to worry about things when I feel overwhelmed with guilt. That somehow I’ll be punished. This is a toxic sort of guilt that leads to toxic worry.

There’s good guilt (when you have hurt someone and feel sorry later) and bad guilt.
This is definitely unhealthy, bad guilt, residue of being surrounded by narcs my whole life, and it’s very toxic.

I just wrote two short posts (including this one) and that does makes me feel a little better but not enough to ease my sense of being useless.

Meh.

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Meh. Today wasn’t a very good day. Low activity on this blog today and I got absolutely nothing done. I started to read but only got through about 2 pages and then fell asleep. Then I just slept most of the day and didn’t even go outside even though it was beautiful and sunny out. Now I have too many things to do tomorrow. Then back to work on Monday. Ugh.

I didn’t even post much on this blog today. Just one article, but I don’t think it’s one of my better ones.

I got called out by another blogger for an article I wrote in November where apparently I gave some misinformation about MPD (not NPD). I could have argued with this blogger (who suffers from that disorder) to keep it up by updating my outdated information (MPD is now called DID–Dissociative Identity Disorder in the most current DSM) and correcting the misinformation, but the blogger told me I also insulted all people with DID by saying their personalities were “fragmented” instead of calling them “alters.”

It seems like I’m inadvertently insulting a lot of people lately. What’s up with that? I hate insulting anyone.

In spite of pointing out my Disclaimer and explaining my blog focused on NPD and to a lesser extent on other mental disorders and conditions, this blogger snarkily questioned me about what made me qualified to even write about NPD since I didn’t suffer from the condition myself? (I guess my Disclaimer wasn’t enough). So I just deleted the whole thing. Like the one I wrote today, that one wasn’t one of my best articles anyway. (I checked and this is a legitimate blogger, not a particular other person whose recent anger at me might cause them to want to troll my site or sneak attack, even though they apologized. I’m always so damned hypervigilant).

I’m inexplicably depressed. When I’m depressed I just lie around doing nothing at all. And sleep a lot. And there’s no food in the house because I’m too lazy to go out and get any. I wonder if there’s a can of soup or some eggs or something.

I did get my W2 today though, but every year I worry that I won’t get a refund or have to owe, even though that’s patently ridiculous since I make next to nothing.

Am I that annoying or am I just paranoid?

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There are days I feel like I have to apologize for my existence. Today was one of those days.

The woman I was teamed up with today to clean houses is someone I’m used to working with. We don’t have a whole lot in common, but normally we get along well enough and we work well together. I know what to expect and she doesn’t have to check my work because she knows I know what I’m doing.

She usually drives (because my car is very old and is starting to have transmission problems, which I refuse to worry about right now) which is fine by me, but that also means I’m forced to listen to the music she wants to listen to, which means Christian contemporary music all day, whenever we work together. The music isn’t so bad really, but it can get annoying after a while, when every song played starts to feel like a sermon. Give me some Nirvana, give me some U2, Rolling Stones, or Jimi; hell, even Lady Gaga will do. Or play some damned country. But it ain’t gonna happen, not with her.

Now that it’s the Overhyped Season of Greed and False Cheer again, she’s switched over to one of the pop stations, which plays Christmas music 24/7, starting the day after Thanksgiving. Bleccchhh. While there are a few carols I have nostalgic childhood memories of, as a whole I can’t stand Christmas music. If I hear “Jingle Bell Rock” one more time, I think I’m going to put my head through the dashboard. Especially because she SINGS ALONG to it. That, along with “Little Drummer Boy” are my two least favorite Christmas songs EVER, but for some reason I can’t possibly begin to fathom, they play those two ALL THE TIME. It’s pure torment. Shoot me please.

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So anyway, we get along alright even though we’re never going to be Thelma and Louise together. But today I thought I was getting on her nerves. I have no idea what I did or said, but she wasn’t speaking to me and snapped my head off if I asked her the most innocuous question or even said anything at all. After several hours of this treatment (and being silent right back), I finally couldn’t take it anymore. I had a little hissy fit.

“You haven’t spoken to me all day,” I fired at her. “It’s obvious you’re mad about something. I have no idea what I said to make you act so angry, but whatever it was, I’m sorry.”
I was apologizing for nothing at all really, because as far as I knew, I hadn’t done or said anything wrong, but I just wanted this to be over with. I hate it when people are angry with me, I hate it when I just imagine they are angry with me. Because as an Aspie, I can’t tell the difference.

Still she said nothing. She just harrumphed and kept on working as if I wasn’t there.
I didn’t say another word about it, because I sensed that would annoy her more, but I still felt sulky and wounded so back in the car, I pretended to sleep.
After another hour or so, my work partner suddenly became friendly again. She said she was tired. So that’s all it was, I guess. Another day ruined by my stupid paranoia and hypervigilance.

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WELL, WHY COULDN’T SHE JUST HAVE SAID SO BEFORE? She KNOWS about my disorder, she KNOWS I can’t read social cues, and she could have at least TOLD me she was tired this morning. That would have prevented hours of interpersonal tension, and my stupid paranoia and babyish hissy fit over nothing could have been avoided. But that’s not how she is.

This sort of thing happens to me so often. If people don’t think I’m stupid, they think I’m annoying. Sometimes they think I’m both. Or at least that’s what I think they think. They probably don’t think that nearly as often as I think they do. But I worry about it.

I have a related problem right now that’s probably just my hypervigilance but I’m not sure, and that uncertainty is what’s driving me crazy.

I have a friend in the narcissistic abuse community, a woman I seem to have a lot in common with. Our backgrounds are so similar it’s downright scary. We started e-mailing each other, but she never replied back to the last email I sent her, which was quite long. It’s been four days and every time I check my inbox, there’s nothing new there from her. After two days of no reply, I sent a friendly reminder asking simply if she got my email. I didn’t want to appear too concerned, but I was.

Another day passed. I emailed her again, asking if she was getting my emails. Maybe they’re going in her spam folder. But that little disapproving, judging voice that lives inside my head and I wish would go away was saying, no, no! It must have been something you said in your last email, something that made her not want to be your friend anymore.

I went back and analyzed my email, trying to pinpoint what it was I must have said to make her avoid me. It could have been anything. Or nothing. I’ve been ruminating over it and worrying myself almost sick over it. Again, why do I care so much? It’s not like I don’t have other friends in this community, other people who read my blog and like what I have to say.

There is probably a perfectly reasonable answer for her silence–maybe she’s been busy, maybe she’s been sick (she does have health issues), maybe she can’t access her email, maybe she’s just lazy about replying to emails (like I can sometimes be). But of course, it’s never the reasonable, mundane, logical explanation I look for; it’s always something terrible and dire, it’s always because of something I did to upset them and make them hate me. It’s always because I’m such an annoying person they want nothing to do with me. My hypervigilance and paranoia is crazymaking and even…well, narcissistic. Why do I torment myself like this? It’s stupid.

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A few people (almost always neurotypicals who don’t get me) have actually told me I’m annoying. No doubt my annoyingness is due to my tendency to interject comments at inappropriate times during my rare pathetic attempts to appear “normal” in social settings–or making some other embarrassing social gaffe due to my high-functioning autism.

I analyze and brood about people’s reactions to me way, WAY too much. I’m hypervigilant and paranoid. Maybe I’m not really coming off as annoying and stupid to others as I believe others think I am. I am my own worst enemy sometimes.

I care too much about what people are thinking about me. But why does it even matter? Are these people I want to be best friends with? Do I really want to attend a backyard barbeque at their McMansion with a bunch of their friends and relatives I have nothing in common with except the fact we’re all of the human species? Would I pay any of these people $100 apiece to like me? NO, I WOULD NOT. So why do I CARE so much what others are thinking about me? Why do I care if they think I’m annoying? Or stupid? Or weird? Or fat? Or ugly? Why do I want to be approved of? AM I A FUCKING NARCISSIST?

Probably not, but I was raised by a family of N’s and as the scapegoat, I WAS NEVER GOOD ENOUGH FOR THEM. I questioned myself and everything I did; it seemed I could do nothing right. I felt awkward and defective even in my own family. My parents were bullies, especially my mother. Later I was bullied at school too, especially in the 3rd – 5th grades. I remember during 4th grade, I was followed home every day by a group of kids who laughed and jeered at the way I walked and imitated my walk, as my tears welled and threatened to overflow (no wonder I hate mimes). The bullies would call out to me and sometimes even throw things to get my attention, but I wouldn’t turn around. I just kept on walking. I knew I couldn’t let them see me cry because that would make everything so much worse.

My third grade teacher, Mrs. Morse, was a psychopath with arms like Jello who always wore sleeveless dresses, so whenever she wrote on the board, all that quivering, pale freckled flab hanging from her bare arm made me want to throw up, but I still couldn’t take my eyes off it. It was mesmerizing in a horrible way, like a car accident.

Mrs. Morse knew how sensitive and scared of everything I was. She knew I was bullied by most of the other kids. But she had no empathy for my plight. She was a sadistic bitch from hell. She deliberately called on me whenever I was daydreaming, which was often (no kids got diagnosed with Aspergers back in those days) and always made me stand in the front of the room and answer a question or solve a math problem. She never did this to the other kids, who were allowed to answer from their seat.

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One time I couldn’t solve the math problem on the board (which was my worst subject), and she berated and belittled me in front of the class.
“You never pay attention. You’re always daydreaming. Do you have a mental problem?”
The class laughed.
My tongue was in knots and I felt the blood drain from my face. I felt tears burning the backs of my eyelids like acid.
I swallowed hard and tried with all my might not to let a tear loose but they started to flow anyway. I hung my head in shame and rubbed away the tears with my grubby fists as I turned away toward the wall. My narrow back and bony shoulders heaved with silent sobs.
That was exactly the moment this sadistic malignant narcissist who passed for a teacher was waiting for.
“Look everyone! Lauren is crying! Look at the tears! Cry, cry, cry, baby.”
The class burst into screams and hoots of laughter.
“Cry, baby, cry!”
I stood there in front of the class, staring at the floor, snot mingling with my tears, and longed to melt into those scuffed green-gray linoleum tiles, and never return.
In today’s anti-bullying environment, this “teacher” would have been fired for that shit. She might have even lost her teaching license. That kind of thing isn’t put up with anymore.

Not too many years after this, I stopped being able to cry. I stopped being able to talk to people. I stopped being able to feel much of anything.

I still worry that people won’t like me, even though I’ve learned to hide my sensitivity pretty well. Too well, in fact. It’s hard for me to show my true feelings, but lately I’ve been opening up, getting better at it. I need to start feeling confident enough in myself, that other people’s opinions of me won’t make or break my day.

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