Identity Disturbance And Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

identity problems

BPD And Identity Disturbance :

We have seen from other articles that I have published on this site that one of the defining symptoms of borderline personality disorder (a condition strongly associated with childhood trauma) is identity disturbance. In other words, many individuals with BPD have an unstable self-image and no firm sense of their identity ; they may sum up such issues by using expressions such as : ‘I don’t know who I am.

Individuals suffering from identity disturbance may :

  • have an unstable self-image that frequently oscillates between two extremes and an inconsistent view of self over time
  • become obsessed by their appearance, even to the extent that they develop conditions such as body dysmorphic disorder and anorexia nervosa.
  • lose touch with reality (dissociation)
  • experience feelings of derealization and/or depersonalization
  • attempt to develop an unrealistic, idealized self (e.g. trying to adopt the image of a famous movie star) only to feel empty and deficient when this inevitably fails
  • act as ‘social chameleons‘ (find that, because of their weak and uncertain sense of their own identity, they mimic the behaviors, values and attitudes of those they happen to be associating with at any given time
  • live by inconsistent standards and principals
  • have inconsistent view of the world and their place in it

social chameleon

Categories Of Identity Disturbance :

Some psychologists break identity disorder associated with BPD into four categories ; these are as follows :

  1. ROLE ABSORPTION
  2. PAINFUL INCOHERENCE
  3. INCONSISTENCY
  4. LACK OF COMMITMENT

Let’s look at each of these four categories in a little more detail :

ROLE ABSORPTION :

This involves individuals with an intrinsically weak sense of their own identity desperately attempting to create one by defining themselves through a particular role or cause. This may involve adopting a different name and radically altering their world view, values and belief system. Such individuals

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Neurogenic Tremors : Why Shaking With Fear Is Good For Us

neurogenic tremors

Recent research has served to emphasize the crucial relevance of the body when considering both how severe traumatic experiences can adversely affect us AND how we can treat such adverse effects (including posttraumatic stress disorder).

One very important finding in relation to this is that traumatic experiences can lead to chronic excess tension in the skeletal muscles. And, because the body and the mind are so intimately connected, this, in turn, can make us hypersensitive to stress to such a degree that we may find even very minor stressors create in us feelings of overwhelming anxiety.

Indeed, as the role of the body in how traumatic experiences affect us (especially if we are suffering from PTSD) becomes better understood there is a concomitant increase in interest in supplementing psychological therapies to treat responses to trauma with somatic (physical) therapies.

Neurogenic Tremors :

Tremors are a natural, automatic / instinctual response to anxiety, fear, panic attacks, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or any shock to the nervous system. This response has evolved because, when the

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Overcoming Feelings Of Shame With Counseling

overcome feelings of shame

We have seen from other articles that I have published on this site that those of us who have experienced significant and protracted childhood trauma often experience irrational, deep feelings of shame as adults which can severely disrupt our lives (for much more on this, see the section of this site entitled : ‘Self-Hatred And Shame).

Because living with profound feelings of shame is so psychologically painful and impinges so seriously upon our quality of life, it is worth considering undergoing counseling to help overcome the problem.

One important counseling technique employed to help individuals diminish their irrational, but insidious, sense of deep-rooted shame is to help them build shame resilience.

Overcoming Feelings Of Shame By Building Shame Resilience :

According to the American  Psychological Association (2014), there are several important factors that help

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Four Responses To Intense Feelings Of Shame

shame

We have already seen from other articles that I have published on this site that those of us who have experienced significant childhood trauma over a protracted period are at risk of, as adults, having to endure intense, irrational feelings of deep-rooted shame ; this can be extremely painful.

Nathanson

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Often Aggressive? Is Your Sensorimotor System Primed To Deal With Threat?

sensorimotor system

Are You Easily Provoked Into Angry And Aggressive Behavior?

After my mother threw me out of her house when I was thirteen years old and I was reluctantly taken in by my father and step-mother (which I have written about elsewhere in this site, so I won’t repeat the details), I was quickly labelled by my unwilling new custodians as ‘morose’ and ‘hostile ‘ (amongst other less than complimentary descriptors); whilst perhaps less than helpful, I am forced to confess that these two adjectives had not been applied to me wholly inaccurately.

Whilst I see now that my ‘moroseness’ and ‘hostility’ were directly symptomatic of my experiences during my early life (I have also written about this elsewhere), this basic inference was emphatically not drawn by my father and new wife. To them I was just a ‘bad’ child, possibly even ‘evil’ (my step-mother was intensely, pathologically religious and, soon after I moved in I recall, as vividly as if it were happening now, her shouting at

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Antisocial Personality Disorder – A Psychodynamic Explanation

antisocial

Antisocial Personality Disorder And The Early Life Of Sufferers :

According to Meroy (1988), those who go on to develop antisocial personality disorder as adults have frequently experienced a dysfunctional relationship with their mothers during infancy, including a failure to form a healthy emotional bond with her – this could be for a variety of reasons that include maternal mental illness, emotional deprivation, rejection, abuse and/or neglect.

Stranger Self-Object :

Meroy also suggests that the person suffering from antisocial personality disorder has a self based upon an ‘aggressive introject’, referred to as a ‘stranger self-object.’

An introject can be defined as : an unconscious defense mechanism in which an individual (especially a child) absorbs , and replicates in himself, the personality traits of another person into his/her own psyche.

The aggressive introject is referred to as the stranger self-object

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Considering Seeing A Therapist? An Overview Of Talking Therapy.

talking therapy

What Is ‘Talking Therapy’And What Conditions Can It Treat?

The term ‘talking therapy’ refers not to one specific therapy but to a category of therapies. As the phrase strongly implies, ‘talking therapies’ involve a client talking to a therapist with the aim of ameliorating their particular psychological difficulty (e.g. depression, anger, addiction, eating disorders, phobias, childhood trauma, relationship problems and family problems). Studies show that in many cases ‘talking therapies’ can be at least as effective, and, frequently, more effective, than medications for the treatment of a wide range of psychological problems.

Examples Of ‘Talking Therapies’:

As stated above, there are a variety of ‘talking therapies’ from which to choose. These include the following :

  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • counselling
  • psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • behavioral activation
  • mindfulness-based therapies
  • family therapy
  • interpersonal therapy
  • dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)

(NB The above list is not exhaustive).

Let’s briefly look at each of these eight examples of ‘talking therapy’ in turn :

talking therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy :

This type of therapy is currently widely used to help individuals with psychological difficulties and is evidence-based (i.e. supported by empirical research findings). It is a short-term therapy within which the therapist and client

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‘Right Brain Therapy’ : Possible Benefits For Trauma Survivors

right brain therapy

The Brain’s Two Hemispheres :

The brain is split into two hemispheres (or halves) referred to, simply enough, as the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere.

What Is The Difference Between The Brain’s Left And Right Hemisphere?

In terms of their functions, the LEFT HEMISPHERE is associated with :

  • logical and analytical thought processes
  • reasoning
  • language (including written language)
  • mathematics / numerical skills

whilst the RIGHT HEMISPHERE is associated with :

Controversy :

The above lists of functions derive from the work of

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Borderline Personality Disorder Test

borderline personality disorder test

Controversy Surrounding The Diagnosis Of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) :

Diagnosing borderline personality disorder (BPD) is often regarded as controversial. There are several reasons for this which you can read about by clicking on the links that I provide at the bottom of this article.

The DSM V Criteria For The Diagnosis Of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) :

However, currently, borderline personality disorder is most commonly diagnosed by psychiatrists according to the criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (usually referred to as DSM V and sometimes informally and, perhaps, a little disparagingly, described as ‘The Psychiatrists’ Bible).

The criteria from the DSM V for the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD) are listed below. It is important to note that, in order to be

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‘Shattered Vase’ Theory : Posttraumatic Growth

shattered vase

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was first incorporated into the third edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – DSM III – (sometimes informally referred to as the psyciatrists’ bible) in 1980.

Although, without appropriate and effective therapy, PTSD can devastate lives (including, of course, variants of PTSD resulting from severe childhood trauma), as the disorder has become increasingly studied by clinicians it has also become more and more apparent that some individuals affected by the disorder not only overcome their suffering, but, also, report positive changes to their lives that have derived from working through the effects of their traumatic

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Infanticide And Mental Illness

infanticide

What Is Infanticide?

At the severest end of the spectrum of childhood maltreatment lies the extremely rare and tragic act of infanticide which is defined as the killing of the child in his or her first year of life. The main focus of this article will be to examine parental infanticide (i.e. cases in which the infant is killed by a parent) together with how mental illness is frequently associated with this deeply disturbing phenomenon.

How Common Is Infanticide?

Infanticide is extremely rare. In the U.S., it is estimated that approximately 350 to 700 acts of infanticide are committed each year which is the equivalent of between about one and two cases per day on average.

Five Categories Of Perpetrators Of Infanticide :

According to the researchers Meyer and Oberman, there exist five main categories of women who commit infanticide (the sample they used for their study was made up of females from the U.S.). These five categories are as follows : 1) Those who kill their baby during the twenty-four hours immediately following birth (this is technically known as neonaticide). The researchers also suggested that the females in this category can be further divided into two, more specific, sub-categories :
  • those who have kept their pregnancy a secret and do not want it discovered that they had ever had a baby.
  • those who are severely afflicted by the psychological states of denial, dissociation and depersonalization

2) Women who kill their infant, aided and abetted by a physically abusive partner.

3) Women who kill their infant indirectly through gross neglect.

4) Women who have lost control of ‘disciplining’ their infant to such an extreme degree that this has actually resulted in his/her death (e.g. angry and violent shaking of the infant in a fit of frustration and rage).

5) Deliberate infanticide which may be linked to severe mental illness in the mother such as :

  • postpartum depression
  • postpartum psychosis
  • schizophrenia (especially in cases in which the individual has discontinued their medication against medical advise).

N.B. However, it is worth reiterating

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When Is BPD Diagnosed? The Continuum Of Personality Problems.

personality

The Nine Personality Problems Associated With Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) :

There is no clear demarcation between those who have borderline personality disorder (BPD) and those who do not ; this is because the personality problems that contribute to a BPD diagnosis lie on a continuum. I have described the symptoms of BPD in numerous other articles that I have previously published on this site, but, for the sake of convenience, will list them again :

Three Criteria That Contribute To A Diagnosis Of BPD :

According to DSM V (The Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) an individual must

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‘Avoidant’ Parenting And Its Possible Effects

avoidant attachment

We have seen from other posts that I have published on this site that we develop different kinds of attachment styles as we grow up which depend upon how stable and secure our early life relationship with our primary caretaker (usually the mother) was. In simplified terms, if this early life relationship WAS secure and stable we are likely to develop a SECURE ATTACHMENT STYLE as we get older and pass through adolescence to adulthood; however, if it WAS NOT, we are likely to develop an INSECURE

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Online Therapy

online therapy

If we have experienced significant and protracted childhood trauma in the early part of our lives we may, as adults, have many unresolved issues relating to this that can manifest themselves in psychological conditions such as, for example, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, intense feelings of shame, self-hatred, addictions, self-harm, dissociation, relationship problems, hypervigilance and emotional dysregulation (and this is not an exhaustive list). Indeed.

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Eighteen Maladaptive Schemas BPD Sufferers Might Experience

dysfunctional schema

What Are Maladaptive Schemas?

The term ‘schema’ can be defined as basic, fundamental beliefs we have in relation to ourselves, others, and the world in general. They are very deep rooted, persistent, enduring and difficult to change.

Our schemas develop during our childhood and, if our childhood involves significant and chronic trauma, abuse or neglect, resulting in our

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Dismissive Parents : Effects Of Being Largely Ignored As A Child

dismissive parents

My Experience :

As I have written elsewhere, after my mother threw me out of her house when I was thirteen, my father and his new wife reluctantly permitted me to live with them ; they did not particularly endeavour to conceal this reluctance even from the very first day of my arrival. : ‘When she [my father’s new wife] married me, she didn’t realize you’d be part of the deal’, my father coldly informed me. In other words, my moving in was most unwelcome

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