I imagine people with borderline and narcissistic behaviors can relate to how tough its been for me to wrap my mind around Dialectical Behavior Therapy. My Psychiatrist told me after our first few visits that I was an enigma somewhat (WooHoo what every borderline hopes to achieve and already feels intensely)...the exception to the rule. He said he really had a lot of hope for me. He believed that it would take me about 2 years to really "get it" but...people with a Narcissistic disorder on top of Borderline Personality can be treatment resistant. I believe it is the Narcissism that drives this...its very hard for me to embrace something that I don't believe in or that I have 'improved'...or maybe a better way to say it is...."I'm smarter than you so don't try and 'trick me' into something".
My first moment of abandonment was observing my mother attempt suicide at age 4 which is no doubt where the narcissism comes from. One day (I know I keep promising) I will blog to help clear up some statements about narcissists that are flat out false and hurtful. It's portrayed as hopeless to treat, avoid it all costs...so in many ways we have created a hierarchy of disorders and well sorry you are narcissistic therefore its hopeless isn't helpful. We hear "we" are hopeless.
Originally it was fun to research all the times DBT didn't work, all the failures...which are fewer than the successes. There are a fair amount of people, including some professionals, that either don't accept it verbatim or at least feel it should be integrated with other parts of treatment...including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I do believe in individualized treatment plans and I think that there needs to be a better understanding that with personality disorders that require a minimum 4 or 5 symptoms out of 9...you create Tens of thousands combinations. Not everyone will have the same combination...and the "intensity" level of each will differ.
As time went on I began to see that my "better" days were when I was being mindful. Present. My "darker" days were when I was bogged down. I also don't want to diminish the difficulty of being in recovery when every waking moments is how do you keep your family off the streets. It's pretty hard...I mean sometimes I still feel like being in the "present" is just too painful.
So to marry the two (DBT therapy and the struggled Narcissist have with it) I decided that, and get this LOL...I decided that I would, with the help of my therapist, define DBT...as it relates to me. Like..one thing is we rarely say "DBT" but we talk extensively about Mindfulness and Radical Acceptance Vs. Change. Two of the core components.
I've been denied disability 3 times, required to not make more than $800/month for the last 18 months...its such a messed up system and while its a federal program it is administered differently by region...I live in an ultra conservative area so applying as a male w/ a Mental Health Personality disorder...there really was never a chance I would be approved. It was actually held against me that I wasn't hospitalized over these 18 months.
When people I trust deeply began talking to me about going back to work...it scared me and I began to shut down. This was in December after my last denial. There are so many factors at play and many of my entries since December address them...primarily this "CHASM" we face where the minute we exceed $800/month we lose insurance and cannot use the exchange as it directs us back to Medicaid. As soon as we exceed $1100 (ish) a month I no longer qualify for disability and we begin to lose food assistance...and for me to take over everything...every bill...I would need to be at $45,000+ (last job I walked out of I was at $67,500) I have no references, I have JUGE ;-) ( #feelthebern ) gaps in my resume. We whine about PT jobs don't pay much, don't want full time, etc....well they are also not looking for people to only work 10 hours a week to stay under the $800/month. I have exhausted that subject so feel free to look at even my previous entry if you would like further information.
Borderlines tend to think everything is clearly black and white...one extreme or the other. Sort of like bi-polar and many of the symptoms are the same between the two with the key difference being the length of time between mood swings...in general borderlines are minutes and hours, maybe a day or two and bi-polar can be manic and/or depressed for lengthy periods. This is called Emotional dysregulation
There are many great explanations of borderline, its symptoms causes and treatment but lately its made me think of when cars used to have what they called a alternator regulator. Very cheap piece but due to its design and location, in many cars, the repair was extensive and could cost hundreds of dollars for a $4.99 part. So many people would learn how to replace it themselves (Which required having or knowing someone with the right tools)
Now...compare that analogy to those of us with personality disorders. Versus the general person.
I believe healthier people learn how "fix it themselves" or seek out someone to help (Short term, situational therapy as an example) However...when a bi-polar or a borderline or many others PD's have their regulator broken WE DON'T KNOW HOW TO FIX IT and before we know it, something relatively simple has now caused us so much stress and worry that its no longer an easy fix.
Throughout my journey I had many people comment on my embracing this, my understanding of it, my research and my ability to communicate. It seemed like no one was factoring in how, in some ways, this "knowledge" makes (made) it that much harder. This used to infuriate me...I felt robbed of my need to heal the past. I mean if you really understand how its affected your life...then the intense pain of ALL the relationships you have destroyed was that much harder. I first had to grieve some very real abandonment and finally I had to learn how to (MJ ORIGINAL) to let others be held responsible for what they did.
That was very hard. My whole life it was just so much easier to forgive or end it myself as the alternative was abandonment which borderlines go to great lengths to avoid. My whole life I never knew who I was. I'm still learning that.
About 2 weeks ago I began to really buckle down on Radical Acceptance. It's hard to see where I am versus where I was (Professionally) but I was blessed to have a day with my daughters and my lifelong best friend. One of about 5 guys that have stuck with me...unfortunately none live within 500 miles. This entry explained that day
The main gist of it was that sitting there with my buddy, watching him just spoil my girls, I was just blown away. We talked, I explained what I was going through. While I am not 100% sure he understood all of it he also was supportive and never once dismissed it. Which is what guys do.
I've finally accepted that disability is over. I should officially hear that sometime within the next few weeks. I'm spending a little time each day looking at help wanted ads on Indeed and some part time ones on craigslist.
I wish I could tell my story. Show them how hard I have worked. Explain my gaps, etc...but that's not how the world we live in works. That's new for me. I had a completely different view of the reality of the world versus the safety of my fantasy world. But I am spending less and less time there. My buddy gave me that shot of self confidence I needed.
Change will come. I will be mindful to stay in the present. I will focus on all the good in my life, my wife, kids, Dad and a few dear friends. I will cherish memories but not live in them.
I will focus on looking forward more and back less.