Join Date: Jun 2012
| | Re: What kind of personality disorder is this??
Here comes a straggler...CT, so much of what you describe and how you feel, is eerily reminiscent of my own situation.
I have done a lot of reading, a lot of research, and a lot of posting in the BPD on-line forums (some on BPDFamily, mostly on another which I will only tell someone in a PM). What I’ve learned is that it is rarely a case of only one personality disorder. What they call co-morbidity is common, which means the person has more than one PD. I believe my H has both BPD and NPD, and sometimes I see sociopathic tendencies mixed in as well, when he’s really in high gear (I actually haven’t seen Mr. Hyde in about 6 months now).
It is alarming and upsetting and frightening and triggering to read up on PDs, but at the same time, it can be enlightening, though sometimes confusing, and it can sure make your head spin. Even most of the mental health professionals seem to be confused. I’ve read that most of them do not receive much training on PDs. Some of them can’t spot them, let alone treat them. Many of them even decline treating PDs, b/c doing so can easily burn them out.
PDs are often missed as a diagnosis for several reasons. Sometimes it is intentionally overlooked, b/c most insurance won’t cover it. The psychiatrist or mental health professional either keeps it to himself, notes the file but doesn’t inform the insurance company or the patient, or tells the patient off the record. Often, telling the patient makes the situation worse, due to denial and provocations of anger in the patient at hearing such a diagnosis. Often, the mental health professional can make more headway with the patient by NOT telling him of a PD diagnosis. For some people, the label is damaging; for others, the label is freeing and what finally gives them the answers they seek, and points them in the right direction in getting help for themselves. But most people with PDs cannot face who they really are, though until they do, they will never get better. As far as they are concerned, they are okay – it is the rest of the world that is not.
Sometimes it is inadvertently overlooked, b/c such patients are highly manipulative and can therefore “work” the therapist. It is often only when the professionals listen to the family, that the true nature of these people is seen. These people pick and choose to whom they show their other sides, and it is usually only immediate family members (or whomever is closest to them). They can be very skilled at painting an opposite picture for the rest of the world, which translates to the other people in your life being completely shocked by what you tell them goes on behind closed doors. They have a way of appearing “normal” to the rest of the world, in many cases (depending upon how the PD manifests; it is different for each individual, and there is no absolute “template”). Some do give themselves away easily to everyone around them.
Maybe I missed this part, but does your H frequently lie? Does he lead a double life? Does he wear a mask and present himself as one way, even appearing relatively “normal”, to most of the world, saving his true self for you and those closest to him?
The alcohol is a coping mechanism and could be a symptom of a much larger picture, and not necessarily a stand-alone diagnosis. As could PTSD. As could ADHD. Even if he currently completely abstains, he could still be what they call a “dry drunk”. Personality disorders have far-reaching tentacles. They do not always present in the same exact way. There are subtypes. There is overlap with other diagnoses. Addiction is but one of many possible symptoms, under a much larger umbrella.
Though my H has not been diagnosed with any PDs (or he has, but he has kept this from me), his diagnoses keep changing, from one mental health professional to the next. The one constant most of them seem to agree on is that he is a s*x addict, with multiple other issues. But what to call all those other issues? They could fall into several categories, or under several labels.
What I’ve learned is that the behaviors and traits can come and go, and are not necessarily always a constant. My H goes through phases. I am learning to do just what you reference – stand up for myself. It puts a lot of the responsibility upon my shoulders, and I should not have to do that. But if I don’t, then my H will just continue to walk all over me. Creating boundaries and consequences for breaking those boundaries is key, if you plan on staying.
If you plan on leaving, I have read that if you turn yourself into a “gray rock” (basically boring and detached), they will eventually lose interest in you, and move on to someone else, and end up being the one who abandons you instead. When they cannot create chaos and drama, which they thrive on, they start to lose interest. Regardless, they usually have to feel as if they are the ones who are in control of any given situation. Feeling out of control makes them out of control.
BTW, from what I’ve read, PDs can either be the byproduct of nature (genetics), nurture (environment and trauma suffered while growing up), or a combination of the two. PDs can be very difficult to diagnose, not only b/c the patient hides much of what goes on from the mental health professional; but also, b/c there is so much overlap amongst the possibilities.
Some people with PDs learn how to live effectively with it, as do their spouses; others never learn. For some with PDs, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), and more specifically, DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy), allow them to make significant improvements. For others, this simply does not work. In that case, what does? I don’t know. From what I’ve read, talk therapy usually backfires and makes them even worse; other times, talk therapy helps. Nothing will work, unless and until they themselves have a true desire to change in positive ways, and they find something they connect with, that allows them to make those changes. So much of it comes down to how they regulate their own emotions. When they can’t, that is when they explode, go over the edge, and we see the negative behaviors that are intolerable.
Sorry my reply is so long, but being a writer, this is my tendency, and your posts have really spoken to me, as I identify with them so very much. I hope you find the answers you seek, and I hope you get help for yourself, too. I imagine you feel overwhelmed much of the time, like I do. Even when my H is on his best behavior, my inner peace does not last, b/c I don’t trust that his bad side isn’t going to come out again. And I never know what, if anything, he is up to behind my back.