Earlier today I wrote that I thought my daughter may have NPD because she had taken my phone when she lost hers, and seemed uncaring that I had no way of contacting her or anyone else. About an hour ago, she returned with my phone, and seemed very apologetic and remorseful.
Granted, my daughter does have some narcissistic traits, but she is also Borderline, and most Borderlines do have some narcissistic behaviors–after all, they’re still in the Cluster B group of personality disorders (Cluster B disorders are those characterized by excessive dramatic behavior and/or lack empathy). But she’s not a Narcissist. She does have a conscience and can show empathy, and she’s also self-critical, something true Narcs are not.
My point here is this. I think we survivors have a problem with lack of trust. Having been hurt too often by those with malevolent character, sometimes even by our own…
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.
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.