Overcoming Narcissistic Abuse, by Elizabeth Shaw – Life Coach.
Borderline personality Disorder (BPD.) And Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD.) are both cluster B Personality Disorders, often those with NPD can be miss diagnosed with having BPD, those with BPD who’ve come away from a narcissistic relationship can believe that they are a narcissist due to behaviours of BPD. Also, those of us left with Complex Post Traumatised Stress Disorder. ( CPTSD .) can be miss diagnosed with BPD. So what are the differences and what could you be dealing with? Within yourself and those around you?
BPD and CPTSD.
People with borderline personality disorder can feel like their whole lives are on one long emotional rollercoaster, those with CPTSD can also feel this way, with relationships and emotions seemingly extremely unstable at times, not knowing who they indeed are no real self-image, full of self-doubt, feeling confused, and the things they like and dislike changing from one day to the next, isolating themselves from those around them, for fear of hurting others or clinging to people for fear of abandonment.
Those with BPD or CPTSD can both trigger easily and are often extremely sensitive when events, people or even their own perceptions trigger their emotions. Their emotions can be extremely volatile, needing lots of reassurance, they often find it difficult to self-sooth, and it takes time to calm down, this can leave them feeling emotionally and physically drained.
Both those with CPTSD and BPD can become anxious or depressed easily. They can most often yet not always be prone to self-harm.
Narcissistic Abuse can and often does grow the amygdala within our minds. This is the part of our Brian that houses our emotions. The amygdala helps to coordinate our responses to those things in our reality, this part of our brains is the part that plays a role in our emotional responses, especially our responses to fear and anger. When in a narcissistic relationship, be it our parents, partner, family members, friends. With the narcissists gaslighting, blame-shifting, provoking and the other manipulative games they play, it causes our emotions to respond which grows our amygdala, which heightens our feelings sometimes to the extreme, making fear and anger become extreme.
Then we have the hippocampus within our minds which houses our memories, and this often shrinks in people who’ve been mentally or physically abused by narcissists, the hippocampus helps to regulate memories that are also connected to our emotions.
So if you fear something, from past experience, Your hippocampus can wipe the memories out, yet your amygdala can cause irrational fear in things that could potentially trigger past pains, leading to anxiety and often irrational anxiety, leading to emotional outbursts, our minds are then unable to control our emotions as easily as those who’ve not suffered at the hands of a narcissist, often it can become so uncontrollable, we can then end up lashing out, going on benders, fearing abandonment, become addicted to drugs legal, or illegal, smoking, drinking, cannabis, cocaine etc. as coping mechanism. Then thinking that we could be the narcissist. Or that our child/partner/parent could be a narcissist.
If you’re dealing with someone who has BPD or CPTSD and it’s harming you, then they need outside help, they have to want to change, and it requires work and support, if you’re dealing with someone who’s NPD, you need to walk away safely for your own sanity. No matter what, no one deserves to be abused. The reason behind someone’s behaviour is a reason. It’s never an excuse.
The fear of been abandoned can lead those with CPTSD it BPD, to lash out at those they love the most, or think of suicide, as they feel so low, so miss understood, so helpless, they feel there is no other way out, sometimes people threaten suicide for attention, or from desperation, suicide is serious and should always be taken seriously.
Nine symptoms of BPD. To have the disorder, a person would need five out of the nine criteria below.
1. Fear of abandonment. Those with BPD can have a real fear of being abandoned, to the point where it can have a massive impact on their daily lives and their loved ones, often pushing loved ones away, they can react when those they love are five minutes late, want to go away with friends for the weekend, they can track the movements of their loved ones, pled, beg, cause arguments. Which is similar to how those with NPD can react, and often why people coming away from a narcissistic relationship can then question if they are a narcissist, especially when there is little to no trust, so they don’t want the other going away. Paranoid and suspicious of those around them.
2. Feelings of suspicion. When under stress feeling like you’re having an out of body experience, or feelings of paranoia.
3. Anger. Having a very short temper with outbursts of anger, throwing things, screaming, shouting, this can be at those around them, or it can be inwards anger.
4. Emptiness. Feelings of being nothing, having nothing, can lead to filling the void by overeating, overspending, sex, alcohol, drugs, but nothing ever satisfies.
5. Emotional mood swings. Unstable mood swing, one minute happy, the next sad.
6. Self Harm. Attempting to hurt themselves without suicide intentions, more to try and release inner pain, threats of suicide, attempts of suicide. Behaviour that’s harmful towards others, or damaging property.
7. Self-destructive. Risk-taking behaviours that harm themselves and those around them, taking drugs, unsafe and inappropriate sexual conduct, binge eating, driving dangerously, spending too much. To feel something.
8. No real sense of self. Sometimes thinking poorly of themselves as they are a bad person, hating themselves and at other times feeling good about themselves, no long term goals or dreams of what they want in life, changing jobs often, values, beliefs, religions, friends or partners.
9. Unstable relationship. Falling in love fast only to have short-lived yet intense relationships. Going to extreme lengths to avoid a relationship breaking down, begging, pleading, self-harm.
NPD. To have NPD, a person would need five out of the nine from the criteria below.
1. A sense of entitlement. They believe they have a right to anything and everything they want. What’s yours is mine and what’s mines my own attitude.
2. Arrogance and dominance. They are proud of who they are. Some will be obvious in showing it, and some will hide it away.
3. Exploitative. Whatever they do is only to ever to meet a need of their own.
4. Grandiose. If they show it or not, they believe they are superior to all others.
5. Jealous and envious. They are never truly happy and always want more.
6. Lack of empathy. They can not truly feel what others do or put themselves in other people’s shoes.
7. Preoccupied with power and/or success. Those who are successful will brag, those who are not will blame others.
8. Requires excessive attention. They need to be admired by others, through love or fear.
9. The belief they are special. They believe all others are inferior to them.
Common symptoms of CPTSD.
1. Flashbacks. Reliving events from the past, intense distress, vivid nightmares, intrusive thoughts, physical body pain.
2. Anxiety. Sense of dread, feeling on edge, becoming easily upset or angry, disturbed sleep, easily angered or aggressive, self-destructive behaviour.
3. Paranoid, difficulty with beliefs. Not being able to trust others, feelings that no one understands, feelings that nowhere is safe, overwhelming feelings of sadness, emptiness, pain or guilt, self-blame.
4. Self-destructive. Difficulty in holding down a job, difficulty in maintaining relationships or friendships, inability to cope with change,
5. Self-harm. Suicidal thoughts, self-harming, anxiety, panic attacks, depression.
Miss diagnosis is common, as with NPD, BPD and CPTSD, people suffering from any of these can all potentially, have difficulty maintaining a relationship, they can have explosive bouts of anger, they can cause arguments, they can throw things, they can threaten self-harm, (why it’s always vital to take these threats seriously, and seek support for them, even if the support isn’t from you.) the can all potentially have difficulty holding down a job, all drive recklessly, all overindulged in spending, they can all potentially use drugs legal or illegal to self-sooth, they can all possibly be paranoid.
This is also why those leaving any form of narcissistic relationship that could be left with CPTSD or BPD, primarily if raised by narcissistic parents, then going from one narcissistic partner to the next, can once they start learning about the disorder believe they themselves are suffering from NPD. The three things to look out for and not to be confused with BPD are self-entitlement ( not just believing they deserve happiness due to troubled past.) entitled to anything and everything they want whenever they want, exploit others with intent, going into whatever relationship with the intentions of ripping them off or exploiting others, no empathy, and not just because you believe someone has hurt you so badly you want karma to hit them hard, having no empathy for anyone. If you start with good intentions, don’t exploit others, don’t always feel entitled and have empathy for others you’re not NPD, and if you’re asking if you are, most likely you’re not.
Causes of BPD, NPD. Most professionals believe it can be anything from Inherited to the external environment, internal biological factors, personally I think the most common root cause is trauma, suffering from any experience that it’s deemed traumatic to that person. Then dealing with the daily struggle to overcome trauma, also learned behaviour and coping mechanisms, to deal with the emotions.
At the end is a link for additional help and support from better help, as we all recover differently and the support we require is individual to ourselves, some can with online tips, others need extra support, as what you’ve been through it individual to you.
Take care of yourself, depending on where you’re at it can take practice daily to get these into alignment. Start at a pace where you’re not overwhelmed.
1. Exercise. If you don’t already, then start steady with a ten-minute walk, a five-minute jog up and down the stairs, then build up to something or join team sports to begin building friendships.
2. Healthy eating. Avoiding stimulants such as alcohol, cut down at a pace that suits you, avoiding mood-altering stimulants, seek support if required don’t dive in.
3. Sleep. Not easy when dealing with symptoms of CPTSD Or BPD even if you don’t have them, or dealing with outside situations, exercise actually helps rest, think of great things you want from live as you fall asleep if you wake at 3,4,5,6 instead of fighting to get back to sleep ( can be challenging to start with depression.) try just getting up, reading a good book, getting some jobs done, getting a twenty-minute work out routine in, a soak in the bath, motivational video on as you go about your morning.
4. Emotions. Again practice, time and patience, ”my mind controls my emotions, I control my mind.” focus on your thinking, taking extra care of your thoughts and feelings, they’re all normal, if your struggling from anger, punch the lights out of a pillow, exercise, releasing emotions, you might even end up laughing, which helps shift your state of mind. Looking for things to be grateful for, complaining less and being thankful more.
5. Self-distraction. When you feel anxiety, or anytime coming on that you don’t want to feel, put something funny on t.v. Make a Vision board of your future, write down a list of five things to be grateful for and five things you’d like from life, expand on those and keep writing, have a soak in the bath, curl up in bed, and call a friend. Get busy doing things you need to do for you, whatever works for you as an individual.
6. Making a choice, facing your fears. Making a decision and within five seconds going for it, choosing to think happy, choosing to believe in you, Choosing to apply for that job, choosing you, choosing life, fears don’t allow them to hold you back, use them to drive you forwards. You’re worth so much more. Make the impossible possible. Become the best you.
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