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PostPosted: Tue May 17, 2011 9:17 pm 
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I have been seeing a new therapist for a couple of months now. She is really helping me to get to [i]core issues.[i] FINALLY. She has diagnosed me with Complex PTSD. So many things make so much sense in that context. The "complex" nature is different from traditional PTSD in that the trauma that causes it is chronic/long term, creating layers of trauma instead of issues surronding a single traumatic event. Of course, all this makes perfect sense when I look at the kind of man I have chosen in my H.

As we go through my issues, my therapist has been very clear about the fact that sex addiction is often a symptom of a more serious mental condition. I told her that my H had come across an article on Borderline Personality Disorder last Fall, and had proclaimed, "thats me!" She has encouraged me to educate myself and, OH MY, this is what I consider to be bad new!! As I learn more about this illness, I am certain that my Hs instincts were spot on! Borderlines are very impulsive and complusive and the disorder is characterized by lack of emotive control. They are, at the core of their nature, very childish. They, also, are liars and deceivers as they cannot understand or manage truth or total honesty, so the lying is more for their own perceiced self protection. All of which mimics as addiction, but is much more serious. This disorder creates a constant struggle for them between fear of abandonment and fear of engulfment. They appear manipulative as they desperately try to keep people from real or imagined abandonment. At the same time, they encase themselves within a solid wall to protect themselves from overwhelming emotions of engulfment. Its a reality of 'love/hate' for them. For us, it is crazy making. The term "push/pull" is used by professionals to describe this behavior, and I have actually told my H that I feel we have a Pushme/Pullyou relationship! He has said 'come here' and 'go away' almost within the same sentence at times!

There is treatment for this illness. But it requires a long sustained commitment. Im not very optomistic. My H has done an excellent job of getting things exactly right for him: He gets to do whatever he wants, and if he thinks I wont like it he has no problem lying. He tells me whatever he thinks I want to hear, does what he thinks I expect, and of course that placates me because I cant always know when he is lying because hes an expert at it (and I am not). And since Im not a liar, he gets to trust me, and he gets the wifey at home to keep his house and pay the bills and brag to his friends...

My therapist is helping me with my layers of trauma, helping me with boundaries, and self confidence. I feel like Im beginning to SEE myself in here somewhere, to really SEE ME! And that feels good :sat: Of course I know this is gonna be a long road to really be whole; Ive been so damaged on so many levels. But I wanted to share what I have learned because Borderline Personality Disorder is now estimated to affect 6% of the population, thats a lot of folks! And Drs used to think it affected mostly women, but now realize its affects men and women at about the same rate. It is more common than bi-polar or depression, and the most misdiagnosed of all mental illnesses.

Reality can be harsh, but knowing is so much less scary than not!


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 7:11 am 
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Hi there

I believe my H has underlying issues too. He likely has mild aspergers and adhd but I feel he really needs a full psych assessment. Luckily he is up for seeking help now after years of hiding but he is facing the same rejection which we faced when tring to get our children assessed. We really need to know what we are looking at for him and also for our children who have adhd/aspergers in case there are other things they might have or are at risk of developing. My 10yr old disabilities affect her mental health and we have not been able to get any help for her as 'we are managing'. I like to think that the support we give her and the skills we are helping her develop will give her the best chance but it still shocks me that kids and adults mental health needs are just not being met. I have been told that my parenting is keeping her on the rails, but what happens in a few years time? I can't seem to get any direct therapy for her so just have to research and do things myself and live with the worry of whether i am doing enough. I don't want that burdon (for want of a better word) with my husband too. He has asked to tried to access support for his adhd/possible asd but has been told that medication and support is only given to those on the 'top end' such as criminals! Luckily he has found a SA therapist with experience with adhd/aspergers but he still needs further assessment and we are struggling to get this without paying our a ridiculous amount of money.

I am sorry to hear about your own trauma but glad you are getting help with this.


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 8:15 am 
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Hi Cyndiloowho,

I've looked into all that borderline stuff too in relation to my H. It's quite depressing isn't it? Because borderlines often tend to not accept that they have any problem. My H fits many of those traits. I have to say I sent myself a while ago on a massive rumination ride about which causes which - is there something like BPD that's underlying all of his problems, or is it just years of addiction leading to those sort of personality traits, because when you read about addiction behaviour, alot of it matches those sort of personality disorder traits.
I still sometimes go round in circles with the whole which came first thing. But I think in many addicts, the very things that define "personality disorder" are the same things that lead any person into addiction - some sort of lack of development of healthy emotional management tools. I have, for a long, long time, had the instinctive feeling that there is something there, underlying all this with my H - that he is not just as he is because of addiction, but rather that addiction is there because of how he is, and in fact that addiction behaviour just then feeds right back in to his underdevelopment, and keeps him "stuck" in that emotional immaturity.

His behaviour fits anxiety disorder, but then a suggestion from someone on an anxiety forum, pointed me in the direction of personality disorder. My H seems to fit cluster C type disorders, like avoidant and dependent, but he has many of those borderline traits too. The whole pull-push thing you mention - I know it very well! I have said that it's like one moment our relationship is everything he needs, then the next it's everything he can't cope with! It's the 2 sides - the jekyll/hyde thing - a big trait of BPD, but also usually apparent in any addict.
I think any of us carry some of those traits of any personality disorder, to a degree, but not to the same sort of dis-ordered extent. Those people with personality disorder often don't tend to fit completely into any one box - they can display cross-over traits from several of the disorders - which is definitely how it seems with my H.
I have been reading about how basically personality disorder is really about lack of development, and so emotional immaturity, which means these sort of people are very likely to have that "addictive personality". It all seems to come down to emotional immaturity of a kind really. I think there's some sort of "disorder" there, which is why my H found himself heading down the addiction slope in the first place (it is some sort of lack of development or emotional immaturity which means they don't develop the tools for achieving stability & good emotional management - things like delaying gratification, accepting responsibility - things that most of us develop naturally through childhood), but then once they are on that slope, the addiction behaviour just feeds right back in to the whole cycle. So what I decided was whether I see his main problem as addiction or personality disorder it doesn't really matter - either way he needs to face things about himself and address that emotional immaturity. I imagine the therapy involved would be similar whether it was for addiction or personality disorder, because therapy to help with addiction is usually more about the bigger picture anyway, not just about dealing solely with compulsion. I see this in the way that we hear so much that abstinence is not recovery.

Like you say, it would be good to know what's behind it all, to have a diagnosis if there is one (beyond him just being "an addict"). But I can't see my H seeking the diagnosis, or the help anytime soon.

I'm glad for you that despite your lack of optimism about your H & what may be going on with him, you are finding yourself through your own therapy. This shows your strength! Good for you.


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 8:36 am 
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I believe my mother has borderline disorder. A therapist friend of mine believes so, but she has never been officially diagnoses. I looked into it, and discovered that even if she doesn't have it, the results were much the same for us who lived with her...like said already, crazy making!
Anyway, I've tried most of my life to make-good with my mom and finally gave up. The only way to survive her was to create a serious separation, strong boundaries and a secure sense of self away from her (which, of course has been seriously damaged again through the relationship with my partner...but thats another story).
When I looked up the disorder I had that same sense of relief! "Ohhhhh....now I get it!" moment. And knowing made it easier to determine how to respond.
I'm not trying to discourage you, but untreated borderline disorder is so painful for anyone who loves the person. Gl to you all! :g:


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 9:05 am 
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Quote:
I like to think that the support we give her and the skills we are helping her develop will give her the best chance but it still shocks me that kids and adults mental health needs are just not being met
.
It's a sad situation and is getting worse in many states, including mine. My oldest child, now 45, suffers from adult ADHD and is bi-polar. He's also an alchoholic suffereing from depression - gee I wonder why. He has been in and out of treatment programs and bad relationships and is constantly in search of finding something that works for him in terms of meds. He has no money, has a hard time keeping a job in spite of being smart, a talented musician, and builder. As frustrating as it can get in dealing with him, I also marvel at his ability to keep on going. He has been my own personal "rock" in this journey with my husband's SA. His compassion is huge - as is his generosity when he does have money. It is so hard, however, to see him so stuck and needing medical help and nothng available that fits his budget. Our health system just doesn't work the way it should, but I have no answers or solutions. I wish I did. Maybe someone knows of a good model in another country. Sweden?

I also know the heartbreak of having a grandchild diagnosed with adhd/aspergers - my daughter's 9 year old. They have worked to get him specialized help from the beginning recognizing that he was developmentally delayed and now realize that he cannot be mainstreamed but needs a special school which they are searching for. Behaving somewhere between 3 and 7 years, he is an elfin child that seems more connected to heaven than earth. He has an amazing love of nature, water, animals, and gardening. He recently told his mommy that when he grows up he wants to be a "master gardener" and "landscape architect." Of course he has been gardening at her side since a baby - that's what she loves and so does he. In our community, there is a special farm where the developmentally disabled work, grow plants, sell their products, etc year around - they have land and greenhouses. I know of another special situation in which toys are designed and manufactured by developmentally disabled adults - they even sit on the board and help make decisions. Not too long ago, a movie was made, My So Called Life, about a woman with asbergers who graduated from college and now helps design feedlots because she has such an understanding of animals - her mother was advised to institionalize her when she was young because no one understood her potential except her mother. So things are changing - but ever so slowly. Getting medical/professional help, however, is a major problem here in our own backyard. The question is why?

Thanks for the forum. This is close to my heart.

Nellie James


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 9:48 am 
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Devil's Advocate Here.

Quote:
As we go through my issues, my therapist has been very clear about the fact that sex addiction is often a symptom of a more serious mental condition.


I take exception to "often a symptom of a more serious mental condition". This is very familiar to the Disease Model where they can only control the symptoms of the addiction because it is a disease and therefore cannot be cured and they don't have full control over their actions. This would also be the case with serious mental conditions. That may be her opinion but it is not a general belief among Psychiatrist. What is agreed is that it can be a symptom of trauma, abuse, depression among other things. But they would not classify them as serious mental conditions. There are quite a few threads where BPT and NPT are discussed at length. Jon (who was a psychiatrist) distinguishes how those type classifications would excuse some of the behaviors that an addict exhibits and therefore they would have leeway as to what they took ownership of.

I'm not saying it is never the case I am merely pointing out that "often" is incorrect. I will bump up some of the BPD and NPD threads for you to take a look at.


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 11:27 am 
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sorry cheryl, but from where i sit, trauma, especial complex trauma, is a serious mental condition.
still, i would agree that while sa/pa can be a symptom of something else, it can also exist all on its' own. i do think it's tricky to try to diagnose mental illnesses or challenges without the help of a qualified professional. and then, of course, there are those "professionals" who are clueless which doesn't help anybody.
sigh.


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 12:06 pm 
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Actually, Coach Cheryl, I have never bought into the disease model, becuase I dont believe addiction is a disease. I have always personally felt, in our personal situation, that addiction is a symptom of something else. I could never put my finger on it, but I've always felt there was 'more to the story.' Psychiatry has come a long way in understanding BPD, especially in the last decade. It is an illness that occurs in very early childhood through seperation/attachment development. It is a chemical embalance that IS treatable and IS curable. The treatment model that has been developed in recent years is Dialectic Behavior Therapy, similar to Cognitive Behavior therapy, but specifially tailored to treat the unique issues of BPD. Having BPD is no excuse to act out. It provides a different explanation for 'why' but in no way minimizes his responsibility to seek treatment towards recovery. In fact, in my opinion, is an even greater cry to seek help for issues much more significant than JUST addiction. And addiction therapy cannot address the issues of BPD. They are not the same issues, similar characteristics, but psysiologically very different.

In 2008, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) published a study of mental health assesments of (I think 100) addiction treatment centers across the United States. In their evaluations, 40% of the patients had 5 of the 9 symptoms of BPD, meeting the criteria for a psychiatric diagnosis. And because secondary mental illnesses are also common with BPD, there are further statistics involving a signifcant amount of people with other illnesses, as well, that were also not being addressed or treated. I dont know what word you would consider appropriate, but that's a lot of folks being treated for the wrong illness! I believe that immaturity is at the heart of Jon's message, both in addiction and in mental illness. But I know with my H, he has been dismissed by Drs so many times as having anything other than addiction, and, clearly, those treatments have proven ineffective, AND have stigmatized his views of seeking treatment altogether. Very sad and disappointing!

Because BPD has had such a bad rap, many psychiatrists would not treat patients with BPD, or would only treat the issues of depression or addiction. But with new tests and treatment models, there is new hope for these patients. I am not optomistic for my H, because of his negative treatment within the mental health community in our area. Because of that I am also not optomistic about a relationship with him, especially given my issues with Complex PTSD, and my triggers being so many of the things he does! But I do not excuse my husband, nor do I make light of his responsibilities. There is much support and education/information on the world wide web that he could pursue if he wanted to. He does not.

So, on with me and my issues. I am not going to obsses about his issues. Education has been my interest, and I have certainly done that. And any awareness I can bring to light for others, I will offer. But I cannot treat my H, and I cannot drag and unwilling horse to the trough. My own struggles are enough of a burden for my slender shoulders!


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 1:01 pm 
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Quote:
sorry cheryl, but from where i sit, trauma, especial complex trauma, is a serious mental condition.


I was in no way trying to diminish trauma, especially complex trauma. In the context that it was written I was referring to personality disorders and the like.


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 6:33 pm 
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CoachCheryl wrote:
Devil's Advocate Here.

Quote:
As we go through my issues, my therapist has been very clear about the fact that sex addiction is often a symptom of a more serious mental condition.


I take exception to "often a symptom of a more serious mental condition". This is very familiar to the Disease Model where they can only control the symptoms of the addiction because it is a disease and therefore cannot be cured and they don't have full control over their actions. This would also be the case with serious mental conditions. That may be her opinion but it is not a general belief among Psychiatrist. What is agreed is that it can be a symptom of trauma, abuse, depression among other things. But they would not classify them as serious mental conditions. There are quite a few threads where BPT and NPT are discussed at length. Jon (who was a psychiatrist) distinguishes how those type classifications would excuse some of the behaviors that an addict exhibits and therefore they would have leeway as to what they took ownership of.

I'm not saying it is never the case I am merely pointing out that "often" is incorrect. I will bump up some of the BPD and NPD threads for you to take a look at.

Quote:
Actually, Coach Cheryl, I have never bought into the disease model, becuase I dont believe addiction is a disease. I have always personally felt, in our personal situation, that addiction is a symptom of something else. I could never put my finger on it, but I've always felt there was 'more to the story.'


Underlying issues would definitely not be a reason to act out in my book either, but there definitely seems to be a connection with trauma and mental health problems from childhood and SA/PA and in these cases it would appear that its important to treat those problems alongside other recovery programs.


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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 9:50 pm 
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Wow! This is so relevant to what I have been thinking. I have been on a BPD family forum for a couple of years now. I have also long believed that addiction is a symptom of a bigger problem... an emotional immaturity, for lack of a better term... (maybe emotional immaturity and severe trauma in childhood) that can cause/or facilitate addiction. I felt that with my addicted parent. I feel that with my addicted spouse.

My parent who has been in AA for almost 20 years, only recently began going to Al-Anon meetings to deal with unresolved trauma from also being raised by an addicted parent. My parent now attends both AA and Al-anon and seems more well rounded for it.

Although the outlook for treatment for someone with BPD seems bleak, I do believe that if you use the health based model of recovery offered here at RN, along with knowledge and understanding about BPD (that I have found on the BDP family forum and a book called Stop Walking On Eggshells), healing can occur. Health based healing can occur.

Throw a couple of ideas around. See what works for you. Use your gut. Take what you can and leave the rest.

My best to you. :g:


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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 12:47 am 
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This is very topical to my situation. I spent a lot of time diagnosing my H. Our counselor so far has only diagnosed him with ADD, not even SA, which is pretty blatant. What he has tol me is that I am not wrong.

From our counselors point of view, H has traits of a number of things, so it's easy to leap to a diagnosis. He is using a slower process of dialectic behavior therapy which basically gets a person to recognize and identify their own habits. The patient is accountable for his behavior, but not slapped with a diagnosis. Apparently, there are times when a diagnosis can make someone feel hopeless (especially with personality disorder, because there is no clear cure). Also, if they are not in the right place emotionally to change, they may flee from therapy. So, our therapists point of view is that it is easy to make a wrong diagnosis, where core elements can be overlooked.

It's hard to imagine an addict who does not have some traits of NPD, BPD, ADD, even Aspergers. High intelligence also can be involved (the denial and manipulation can be so masterful!) Addiction seems to delay emotional development, so skills are missing.

My H probably has something. When I first joined RN, one of the coaches mentioned that it doesn't exactly matter the label, but how it affects your life. My H doesn't consider himself an addict. For me, the paradigm fits for my recovery.

What I love about RN is it's focus on health and compassion. My H is starting to talk now about his feelings (which I am shocked about the depth of his selfishness and immaturity, even as I listen compassionately). He is still on the "other side", but progressing at his own pace, which I have urgently wanted to propel forward by having a diagnosis. I still feel like my kids need some explanation of his behavior, but I feel as though it will be much more meaningful when it comes from him. I admire him for making the changes he is making.

Here is a book that I think compliments RN pretty well. It's focus is on changing bad habits, it's very positive, let's you know how change develops. It takes a lot of will, but the process itself is simple. There is also a chapter on dealing with distress.

Changing for Good: A Revolutionary Six-Stage Program for Overcoming Bad Habits and Moving Your Life Positively Forward
James O. Prochaska, John C. Norcross,
 


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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 10:09 am 
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Hi Startap,
Very nice post. I agree that exact label doesn't matter - it's how it affect you and your life and if the paridigm fits, use it for your own healing. Yes.
Quote:
My H probably has something. When I first joined RN, one of the coaches mentioned that it doesn't exactly matter the label, but how it affects your life. My H doesn't consider himself an addict. For me, the paradigm fits for my recovery.

Quote:
What I love about RN is it's focus on health and compassion. My H is starting to talk now about his feelings (which I am shocked about the depth of his selfishness and immaturity, even as I listen compassionately). He is still on the "other side", but progressing at his own pace, which I have urgently wanted to propel forward by having a diagnosis
.
Good insight. It gives us some peace of mind if we can look at it like this.
Quote:
I still feel like my kids need some explanation of his behavior, but I feel as though it will be much more meaningful when it comes from him. I admire him for making the changes he is making.

This sounds very wise to me. Thanks for sharing this with us. :w:

Nellie James


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 12:43 pm 
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Bump


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