If you ask mental health professionals which diagnostic classification they most dread, they won’t generally reply “schizophrenia,” or “bipolar,” or “drug abuse.” More often, they will respond with the disdainful (and amorphous) designation, “borderline.” Indeed, Borderline Personality Disorder frequently refers to demanding, unstable, and difficult individuals. They may idealize beyond measure those whom they will soon come to revile without reason. Lovers become hated. Disappointment slides into litigation. It sometimes seems that everyone’s first wife was a borderline! Often, BPD becomes a diagnosis of countertransference–the label attributed to a patient who lacks the graciousness to get better, or who just aggravates the doctor.Recent research, however, defies the myths that BPD represents willful spoiled brattiness and never improves. Neurobiological and genetic information demonstrates that DNA vulnerability may combine with environmental circumstance to yield distinctive changes in brain function. In such individuals, those parts of the brain associated with impulsivity and emotionality may be overly stimulated. Specific and directed treatment approaches, such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy among others, have resulted in marked improvement in functioning. Even without any treatment most BPD patients eventually improve significantly.Although the classic stereotype of BPD is the mutating character played by Glenn Close in the film “Fatal Attraction,” less malignant figures fulfill defining characteristics. Biographers of Princess Diana reveal that this beloved woman probably suffered from BPD. Individuals with borderline traits can be attractive, talented people, who, over time, live full and contented lives.Jerold Kresiman MDFull article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/i-hate-you-dont-leave-me/201011/whos-afraid-bpd-borderline-personality-disorder
Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic used to gain power. And it works too well.
Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works much better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn’t realize how much they’ve been brainwashed. For example, in the movie Gaslight(1944), a man manipulates his wife to the point where she thinks she is losing her mind.
People who gaslight typically use the following techniques:
1. They tell blatant lies.
You know it’s an outright lie. Yet they are telling you this lie with a straight face. Why are they so blatant? Because they’re setting up a precedent. Once they tell you a huge lie, you’re not sure if anything they say is true. Keeping you unsteady and off-kilter is the goal.
2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.
You know they said they would do something; you know you heard it. But they out and out deny it. It makes you start questioning your reality—maybe they never said that thing. And the more they do this, the more you question your reality and start accepting theirs.
3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.
They know how important your kids are to you, and they know how important your identity is to you. So those may be one of the first things they attack. If you have kids, they tell you that you should not have had those children. They will tell you’d be a worthy person if only you didn’t have a long list of negative traits. They attack the foundation of your being.
4. They wear you down over time.
This is one of the insidious things about gaslighting—it is done gradually, over time. A lie here, a lie there, a snide comment every so often…and then it starts ramping up. Even the brightest, most self-aware people can be sucked into gaslighting—it is that effective. It’s the “frog in the frying pan” analogy: The heat is turned up slowly, so the frog never realizes what’s happening to it.
5. Their actions do not match their words.
When dealing with a person or entity that gaslights, look at what they are doing rather than what they are saying. What they are saying means nothing; it is just talk. What they are doing is the issue.
6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you.
This person or entity that is cutting you down, telling you that you don’t have value, is now praising you for something you did. This adds an additional sense of uneasiness. You think, “Well maybe they aren’t so bad.” Yes, they are. This is a calculated attempt to keep you off-kilter—and again, to question your reality. Also look at what you were praised for; it is probably something that served the gaslighter.
7. They know confusion weakens people.
Gaslighters know that people like having a sense of stability and normalcy. Their goal is to uproot this and make you constantly question everything. And humans’ natural tendency is to look to the person or entity that will help you feel more stable—and that happens to be the gaslighter.
8. They project.
They are a drug user or a cheater, yet they are constantly accusing you of that. This is done so often that you start trying to defend yourself, and are distracted from the gaslighter’s own behavior.
9. They try to align people against you.
Gaslighters are masters at manipulating and finding the people they know will stand by them no matter what—and they use these people against you. They will make comments such as, “This person knows that you’re not right,” or “This person knows you’re useless too.” Keep in mind it does not mean that these people actually said these things. A gaslighter is a constant liar. When the gaslighter uses this tactic it makes you feel like you don’t know who to trust or turn to—and that leads you right back to the gaslighter. And that’s exactly what they want: Isolation gives them more control.
10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.
This is one of the most effective tools of the gaslighter, because it’s dismissive. The gaslighter knows if they question your sanity, people will not believe you when you tell them the gaslighter is abusive or out-of-control. It’s a master technique.
11. They tell you everyone else is a liar.
By telling you that everyone else (your family, the media) is a liar, it again makes you question your reality. You’ve never known someone with the audacity to do this, so they must be telling the truth, right? No. It’s a manipulation technique. It makes people turn to the gaslighter for the “correct” information—which isn’t correct information at all.
The more you are aware of these techniques, the quicker you can identify them and avoid falling into the gaslighter’s trap.
Stephanie A. Sarkis PhD.
The full article can be found at this link:
Narcissists are not who they appear to be. They’re both easy and hard to love.
Despite having a seemingly strong personality, narcissists lack a core self. Their self-image and thinking and behavior are other-oriented in order to stabilize and validate their self-esteem and fragile, fragmented self.
The gods sentenced Narcissus to a life without human love. He fell in love with his own reflection in pool of water and died hungering for its response. Like Narcissus, narcissists only “love” themselves as reflected in the eyes of others. It’s a common misconception that they love themselves. They may actually dislike themselves immensely. Their inflated self-flattery, perfectionism, and arrogance are merely covers for the self-loathing they don’t admit — usually even to themselves. Instead, it’s projected outward in their disdain for and criticism of others. They’re too afraid to look at themselves, because they believe the truth would be devastating. Emotionally, they may be dead inside, and hungering to be filled and validated by others. Sadly, they’re unable to appreciate the love they do get and they alienate those who give it.
When we think of narcissists, we usually picture someone with an inflated ego — someone bossy and arrogant, who has to be right. To be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), the person must exhibit grandiosity (if only in fantasy) and lack of empathy, as exhibited by at least five of the following traits:
1 Has a grandiose sense of self-importance and exaggerates achievements and talents.
3 Believes he or she is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions.
4 Requires excessive admiration.
5 Unreasonably expects special, favorable treatment or compliance with his or her wishes.
6 Exploits and takes advantage of others to achieve personal ends.
7 Lacks empathy for the feelings and needs of others.
8 Envies others or believes they’re envious of him or her.
9 Has arrogant behaviors or attitudes.
In addition to the grandiose “Exhibitionist Narcissist” described above, James Masterson identified “Closet Narcissists” — those with a deflated, inadequate self-perception, a sense of depression and inner emptiness. (They are also referred to as “Introverted Narcissists.”) They may appear shy, humble, or anxious, because their emotional investment is in the idealized other, which is indirectly gratifying (Masterson, 2004). “Malignant Narcissists” are the most pernicious and hostile type, enacting anti-social behavior. They can be cruel and vindictive when they feel threatened or don’t get what they want.
It’s hard to empathize with narcissists, but they didn’t choose to be that way. Their natural development was arrested, often due to faulty, early parenting. Some believe the cause lies in extreme closeness with an indulgent mother; others attribute it to parental harshness or criticalness. Although more research is required, twin studies revealed a 64-percent correlation of narcissistic behaviors, suggesting a genetic component (Livesley, Jang, Jackson, & Vernon, 1993).
Psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut observed that his narcissistic clients suffered from profound alienation, emptiness, powerlessness, and lack of meaning. Beneath a narcissistic façade, they lacked the sufficient internal structures to maintain cohesiveness, stability, and a positive self-image to provide a stable identity. Narcissists are uncertain of the boundaries between themselves and others and vacillate between dissociated states of self-inflation and inferiority. The self, divided by shame, is made up of the superior-acting, grandiose self and the inferior, devalued self. When the devalued self is in the inferior position, shame manifests by idealizing others. When the individual is in the superior position, defending against shame, the grandiose self aligns with the inner critic and devalues others through projection. Both this devaluation and idealization are commensurate with the severity of shame and the associated depression (Lancer, 2014).
Although most people fluctuate in these positions, exhibitionistic and closet narcissists are more or less static in their respective superior and inferior positions, irrespective of reality, making them pathological. Arrogance and contempt, envy, withdrawal, denial and repression (unconscious), aggression and rage, projection (blaming or accusing others of their own flaws or actions), self-pity (especially closet narcissists), and avoidance (e.g., addictive behaviors) are common defenses to shame (Lancer, 2014). Narcissists also defend against shame and fragmentation by feeling special through idealizing or identifying with special or important people.
A Relationship with a Narcissist
At home, narcissists are totally different than their public persona. They may privately denigrate the person they were just entertaining. After an initial romance, they expect appreciation of their specialness and specific responses through demands and criticism in order to manage their internal environment and protect against their high sensitivity to humiliation and shame. Relationships revolve around them, and they experience their mates as extensions of themselves.
Many narcissists are perfectionists.
Nothing that others do is right or appreciated. Their partners are expected to meet their endless needs — for admiration, service, love, or purchases — and are dismissed when they don’t. That their spouse is ill or in pain is inconsequential. Narcissists don’t like to hear “no” and often expect others to know their needs without having to ask. They manipulate to get their way and punish or make partners feel guilty for turning them down.
Trying to please the narcissist is thankless, like trying to fill a bottomless pit. They manage to find fault with your efforts or give back-handed compliments, so that you always feel one down. If they’re momentarily pleased, they’re soon disparaging or asking for more from you. They make their partners experience what it was like having had a cold, invasive, or unavailable narcissistic parent. Anne Rice’s vampire Lestat had just such an emotionally empty mother, who devotedly bonded with him to survive. The deprivation of real nurturing and a lack of boundaries make narcissists dependent on others to feed their insatiable need for validation.
Partners often doubt the narcissist’s sincerity and question whether it’s really manipulation, pretense, or a manufactured “as-if” personality. They feel tense and drained from unpredictable tantrums, attacks, false accusations, criticism, and unjustified indignation about small or imaginary slights. These partners also lack boundaries and absorb whatever is said about them as truth. In vain attempts to win approval and stay connected, they sacrifice their needs and walk on eggshells, fearful of displeasing the narcissist. They daily risk blame and punishment, love being withheld, or a rupture in the relationship. They worry what their spouses will think or do, and become as preoccupied with the narcissist as they are with themselves.
Partners have to fit into the narcissists’ cold world and get used to living with emotional abandonment. Soon, they begin to doubt themselves and lose confidence and self-worth. Communicating their disappointment gets twisted and is met with defensive blame or further put-downs. The narcissist can dish it out, but not take it. Nevertheless, many partners stay, because periodically the charm, excitement, and loving gestures that first enchanted them return, especially when the narcissist feels threatened that a breakup is imminent. When two narcissists get together, they fight over whose needs come first, blame and push each other away, yet are miserable needing each other.
Often in these relationships, narcissists are the distancers when more than sex is anticipated. Getting emotionally close means giving up power and control. The thought of being dependent is abhorrent. It not only limits their options and makes them feel weak, but also exposes them to rejection and feelings of shame, which they keep from consciousness at all costs (Lancer, 2014). Their anxious partners pursue them, unconsciously replaying emotional abandonment from their past. Underneath they both feel unlovable.
Darlene Lancer JD, LMFT
Emotional abuse in relationships, marriage, is sneaky because while abuse is taking place, no physical marks or scars ever appear. Often the only sign that something is wrong in emotionally abusive relationships is just a feeling that something is amiss. Often the victim can’t quite put their finger on it, but to outsiders there is often no doubt that emotional abuse is taking place.
Emotional abuse in any relationship, including marriage, has the same dynamic. The perpetrator aims to gain power and control over the victim. The abuser does this though belittling, threatening or manipulative behavior.
BEHAVIOR IN EMOTIONALLY ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS, MARRIAGES
Abusive behavior can be enacted by a female or male and either a female or male can be a victim. (Information About: Emotional Abuse of Men) And it’s important to remember that even though the scars from emotional abuse are not physical, they can be every bit as much permanent and harmful as the scars of physical abuse.
Emotional abuse is designed to chip away at a person’s self-esteem, self-worth, independence and even make them believe that without the abuser they have nothing. Tragically, this keeps victims in emotionally abusive relationships as they feel they have no way out and that they are nothing without their abuser.
Emotional abuse comes in many forms, they include:1
• Financial abuse – the abuser does not allow the victim control over any of the finances
• Name-calling, blaming and shaming – forms of humiliation
• Isolation – controlling access to friends and family
• Threats and intimidation
• Denial and blame – denying or minimizing the abuse or blaming the victim; saying that the victim “made them do it”
These emotionally abusive behaviors seen in relationships, marriages, are all used in an attempt to control the victim.
SIGNS OF EMOTIONALLY ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS
Signs of an emotionally abusive relationship can sometimes be seen more easily from the inside out. Assessing an emotionally abusive relationship may first start with how you feel about the relationship and then move on to actually dissecting the nature of the abuse.
Signs an emotionally abused person in a relationship might notice are:
• Feeling edgy all the time
• Feeling they can’t do anything right
• Feeling afraid of their partner and what they might say or do
• Doing or avoiding certain things in order to make their partner happy
• Feeling they deserve to be hurt by their partner
• Wondering if they’re crazy
• Feeling emotionally numb, helpless or depressed
It’s often been described as feeling like you’ve been run over by a train. A runaway train you weren’t expecting, a train you never saw coming, and one you didn’t see leave. A huge, invisible, mystery train.
Few in your life will be capable of comprehending, understanding or truly empathizing with your deep, overwhelming, confusing pain unless they’ve experienced a similar trauma themselves first-hand. Some who have may begin to struggle with the familiarity of their own past traumas, pain, or unresolved guilt and shame if they caused this similar pain to another, and become cruel, compassionless, and cold in an attempt at self-preservation. Some may deny or simply not believe or see it at all, especially the one doing the abusing. Emotional abusers are just that good at what they do. They may convince many, even convince themselves of anything they choose.
At first there will appear to be no visible, identifiable cause and effect, no logical or reasonable explanation for the sudden and total disappearance of love, emotion, empathy, long standing affection and positive regard. It feels inexplicable and unreal in that sudden moment as you begin to search for that logic and reason, all the while finding none. It’s as if you just witnessed the real-time suicide of a loved one. It feels as if this person you knew, loved and trusted, suddenly unzipped their human suit, stepped out of it and threw that person lifelessly to the ground, leaving you viewing an unfamiliar monster you’ve never seen before who is now, for the first time, openly in control. You realize at once and more over time that person you loved, never truly existed because of a masterfully hidden personality disorder and manufactured persona. A persona you will learn, that has morphed and changed to suit every new source. This person you knew wasn’t real they were created, customized to fit, uniquely, specifically for you. It was all a long running, pathological show. It will leave you completely confused, feeling like you’ve been suddenly catapulted into an alternate universe that you never could’ve imagined existed. That’s the most baffling thing about psychological and emotional abuse. You typically just don’t see it happening when you’re in it and then, it’s too late.
And there begins the journey. The journey of discovering exactly what and who you’ve been cluelessly sharing a life with, who you’ve been dealing with, while all the while you made excuses for their “moodiness” those random, sudden, continuously surfacing bad moods, the overly excessive, never ending drinking, the “work pressures” while constantly being told you are so loved and none of this mood being taken out on you has anything to do with you. Having nothing to do with you is the only truth you will find. Suddenly, these moods cannot be explained in the same way any longer. You will eventually learn from other friends and people who will now feel it appropriate to reach out with shocking facts of the abuser’s past and their previous relationship occurrences. You will shockingly learn that the tales you’ve known and heard for years from this person are mostly all untrue. There’s much, much, so much more going on here than you previously realized, or ever possibly could’ve imagined. You just couldn’t see it. That is, until they began to realize that you had begun to unknowingly see too much of who they really are beneath the facade. They are just that good at what they do. They’re experts at fooling everyone, especially themselves, after years of deception caused by the deep layers within this complicated personality disorder. If it’s combined with the complex affliction and the pseudo-coping of high-functioning alcoholism, it will be even more dumbfounding, intense and complex. You may witness the previously solid sanctimonious (and commonly known) standings make a sudden 180 degree turn toward all things they previously professed to vehemently despise.
Here is where the extremely difficult, shocking, and strength building journey of discovery begins. The journey of learning, of uncovering the sad, disappointing, heartbreaking truth of this complicated, hidden reality. For now, just take a deep breath and treat yourself with patience, compassion and kindness. Your jaw may frequently drop during this changing, transformational time of discovery, but with your due diligence it will likely all come together in time with the logic and reason that was so profoundly absent before. Your eyes will be opened to what you could not see until now because you’re now aware and away from it. The wisdom and strength you will develop and gain during this time will be life-changing, profound, priceless. Invaluable. You will now be able to see the tongue biters and enablers that had closely surrounded you in their true form as they cannot hide their ulterior intentions for being in your life any longer. There is no such thing as mutual friends after emotional abuse. If they can look the other way, they are not real. The other good news is, seeing truth will slowly rebuild your strength and bring you the closure of understanding of what it was this unforeseen runaway train had been carrying all that time.
Buckle up, and hang on to your seat. It’s going to be a bumpy ride as you approach your destination, the busy intersection of Truth and Reality that lies just outside the city of Emotional Abuse.
A new study from University of Colorado at Boulder reports that the psychological and social consequences of heavy drinking outweigh the physical hazards of alcohol abuse. This is especially true in terms of mortality rates. Heavy drinking was found to create a domino effect that can lead to a premature death.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines heavy drinking as exceeding an average of one drink per day during the past month for women and two drinks per day for men. Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men on a single occasion at least once during the past month.
The April 2015 study “Drinking Problems and Mortality Risk in the United States” was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
The CU-Boulder researchers found that the social risks of drinking—which included everything from losing a job to having a spouse threaten to leave—were strongly linked to mortality. Surprisingly, the physiological consequences of alcohol abuse—such as having the jitters from withdrawal or becoming physically ill—were less linked to mortality.
What Are Your Habits Surrounding Alcohol Consumption?
The CU-Boulder study analyzed the drinking habits of 40,000 people across the nation, and focused on 41 specific drinking problems. The researchers had access to information about which participants died between the time of the survey and 2006.
The statistics linking alcohol abuse and mortality are alarming. Study participants who had been through an intervention by physicians, family members, or friends had a 67 percent greater risk of death over the 18-year study period, according to the lead author, Richard G. Rogers.
Participants who reported cutting down on social or sports activities because of alcohol use had a 46 percent higher risk of death over the same 18-year period. In an unexpected twist, issues like drunken driving or engaging in other physically hazardous behaviors did not result in a significant uptick in death rates.
One of the most unexpected findings of the study is that 48 percent of people who consumed less than one drink a day also admitted to having some type of problem with alcohol in the 12 months prior to the survey.
The research data allowed the CU-Boulder team to investigate the mortality rates associated with 41 separate drinking problems including:
• Drinking more than intended
• Unsuccessfully trying to cut back
• Driving a car after drinking too much
• Losing ties with friends and family
• Missing work with hangovers
• Drinking more to get the same effect
If you drink alcohol, what are your patterns of behavior? Do any of the bullet points on this list relate to your life experience? Do you ever binge drink or abuse alcohol?
Rogers said there was substantial variation in drinking problems. Among drinkers at the time of the study: 23 percent started drinking without intending to, 20 percent drank longer than expected, and 25 percent experienced a strong urge to drink. For those who experienced a strong urge to drink over the past year, 19 percent were light drinkers, 40 percent were moderate drinkers, and 57 percent were heavy drinkers.
Binge Drinking by American Women Is Skyrocketing
Binge drinking in the United States is on the rise according to a different April 2015 study from the University of Washington published in the American Journal of Public Health. The skyrocketing increase of alcohol consumption by American women is considered to be the driving force behind the nationwide escalation of binge drinking.
On average, heavy drinking among Americans rose 17.2 percent between 2005 and 2012, largely due to rising rates among women. Across the nation, binge drinking among women increased more than seven times the rate among men. In Santa Clara County, California, women’s binge drinking rates rose a whopping 36 percent between 2002 and 2012, compared with 23 percent among men.
The researchers suggest that women’s drinking habits have evolved as a reflection of changes in “social norms,” but the reasons are probably much more complex.
A 2011 study from the Center for Advancing Health found that people who abuse alcohol and are impulsive will most likely to die sooner. People with a drinking problem and weak impulse control are more likely to die in the next 15 years than their sober peers.
Alcohol abuse can be a catalyst for impulsive behavior, excessive risk-taking, and recklessness that can lead to an accidental death. On a promising note, the researchers found that having a strong social support network can diffuse life-threatening behaviors caused by alcohol-fueled impulsivity. In a press release, lead author Daniel Blonigen, PhD said,
Based on past research, impulsivity is related to a wide range of health risk behaviors [besides heavy drinking], like smoking, drug use, dangerous driving, and risky sexual activities.
On the positive side, the study found that individuals who reported strong supportive relationships with peers and friends to be somewhat protected from the consequences of impulsivity: They were less likely to die than those who lacked that resource.
“What seemed important was the strength of friendship, the degree of trust, and the ability to confide,” Blonigen concluded. “The numbers of friends didn’t make much difference. The findings reaffirm the importance of measuring and emphasizing the social support network in alcohol treatment programs.”
In response to this study, Kenneth Sher, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Missouri, pointed out the dual-edged sword that someone’s social nework can have on his or her alcohol abuse and impulsivity. Sher said, “If you’re around people who keep you in line it will help; if they themselves are heavily involved in problem behavior, it could have the opposite effect.”
Conclusion: What Is the Best Way to Reduce Alcohol Abuse and Binge Drinking?
If you think you might have a problem with alcohol, there are a wide range of options for seeking help. Unfortunately, relapse rates for alcohol abuse remain alarmingly high for those who seek total abstinence through traditional 12-step programs. That said, groups like Alcoholics Anonymous have helped millions stay sober and live longer.