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I'm going to go to therapy


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Old 19th September 2017, 12:58 PM   #1
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I'm going to go to therapy

I have my first appointment for an evaluation in 6 days. I am the abuser. It's not meant to be mean or hurtful, I just have so much baggage I carry it over into my new relationship. Despite all the meditating, and self help books, I'm still super suspicious of everything.

The thing is he proves himself. He lets me talk to him about these things. He doesn't get mad. He says he understands, but I can tell it hurts him. Also I'm getting worse and worse.

He tries to show me his phone in an effort to show me nothings going on and now I'm addicted to checking his phone.

He sends me his location so I can see where he's at but I feel so guilty

And when he's just doing miniscual harmless things I take them so personal. Like I didn't show it at first but he ate dinner without me and that hurt my feelings. A few times I saw that he had jerked off " I don't want to tell you how I know... he's got a weird way" and I was upset that he " had "sexual activity" without me. I was sad that he started a new T.V. series without me, and went out to the car to smoke instead of just smoke in the house with me like he usually does. And then I blew up at him. I was like " you want to do everything by yourself... fine just sleep by yourself then." And I went downstairs.

But he's his own person right? He should be able to do those things without me. And I know this. So why can't I just stay cool.

We are having some sex issues. But I think it's more than that.

What do you do?
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Old 19th September 2017, 4:34 PM   #2
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Sick, welcome to LoveShack. You made a wise decision when making an appointment with a therapist in six days to obtain a professional opinion on what you are dealing with. You seem to be describing mild paranoia that is fueled by a strong fear of abandonment. If so, the most likely reason that abandonment fear is so strong is that you lack the emotional skills needed to intellectually challenge this fear and to calm yourself down. That is, you may lack the skills needed to regulate your own feelings.

If this situation applies to you, a good therapist (ideally, a psychologist) may recommend that you acquire the missing regulation-skills by participating in CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) or DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). Such treatment would teach you a number of important skills:
  • how to do self soothing;
  • how to better regulate your own emotions;
  • how to intellectually challenge your intense feelings instead of accepting them as "facts";
  • how to trust others;
  • how to be "mindful" (i.e., to remain in the room instead of escaping in daydreams to the past or future);
  • how to perceive "object constancy" (i.e., to see that your BF's personality is essentially unchanged day to day, even when he is angry with you); and
  • how to avoid black-white thinking by learning to tolerate strong mixed feelings, uncertainties, ambiguities, and the other gray areas of interpersonal relationships.
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Old 19th September 2017, 7:19 PM   #3
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Yes, go to therapy. You do have a problem. You'll have a hard time having a successful relationship until you do some work on yourself. None of that is normal. You should feel perfectly fine apart from him and like a whole person. Instead you're a bottomless pit of need that no one can quench. Glad you're into therapy. Good luck with it.
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Old 19th September 2017, 7:42 PM   #4
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Sick, welcome to LoveShack. You made a wise decision when making an appointment with a therapist in six days to obtain a professional opinion on what you are dealing with. You seem to be describing mild paranoia that is fueled by a strong fear of abandonment. If so, the most likely reason that abandonment fear is so strong is that you lack the emotional skills needed to intellectually challenge this fear and to calm yourself down. That is, you may lack the skills needed to regulate your own feelings.

If this situation applies to you, a good therapist (ideally, a psychologist) may recommend that you acquire the missing regulation-skills by participating in CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) or DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy). Such treatment would teach you a number of important skills:
  • how to do self soothing;
  • how to better regulate your own emotions;
  • how to intellectually challenge your intense feelings instead of accepting them as "facts";
  • how to trust others;
  • how to be "mindful" (i.e., to remain in the room instead of escaping in daydreams to the past or future);
  • how to perceive "object constancy" (i.e., to see that your BF's personality is essentially unchanged day to day, even when he is angry with you); and
  • how to avoid black-white thinking by learning to tolerate strong mixed feelings, uncertainties, ambiguities, and the other gray areas of interpersonal relationships.
This gives me a little hope. Like I've made it this far, I can make it to Monday. And a piece of me was like " What if it doesn't even work? What if I'm just awful and there's not helping it!" But this sounds about right. Like it might work.
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Old 19th September 2017, 10:09 PM   #5
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What if it doesn't even work? What if I'm just awful and there's no helping it?
Sick, perhaps you are "just awful." I don't know because I've never met you. All I can tell you is that you are NOT describing an awful person here. Instead, you're describing someone who likely experienced a trauma in early childhood -- probably before age five -- which prevented the child from acquiring the more mature ego defenses that most children learn. If this happened to you, you likely had no opportunity to acquire those more advanced skills because -- in order to survive childhood -- you desperately held onto the primitive ego defenses that all young children rely on to get through childhood.

The human condition that we all are stuck with is that, whenever we experience intense feelings, those feelings color and distort our perception of other peoples' intentions and motivations. This magnifies our natural fears of abandonment and engulfment. These thought distortions occur so many thousands of times that, by the time we enter high school, we already know we cannot trust our own perception of other peoples' intentions whenever we are very angry or very infatuated.

This is why, when we're angry, we all try to keep our mouths shut until we have time to cool down. And this is why, when we're infatuated, we try to wait two years before committing ourselves to a marriage.

Well, you seem to be describing a situation that is exactly like that -- only it is several times worse for you. If this is what is occurring, it likely is your inability to regulate your own emotions that is causing you to experience very intense feelings so frequently. As noted above, those strong feelings distort your perceptions of your BF's motivations and intentions -- thus magnifying your natural fears. And, unlike most people, you are unable to calm yourself down because you never learned the skills of diverting your own thoughts and stopping mind loops. Moreover, your inability to regulate your emotions means you lack impulse control -- i.e., you cannot keep your mouth shut until you have time to cool down.

If this problem actually does apply to you -- as I suspect it may -- your therapist likely will tell you that regular "talk therapy" won't do much to help you. Instead, the therapist likely will recommend that you acquire the emotional skills you had no opportunity to learn in early childhood. I therefore would be very interested in hearing what it is that your therapist decides is bothering you. By the way, don't be too disappointed if the therapist is unable to identify the problem on Monday. It may take several meetings before he/she obtains sufficient information to get a clear picture.
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Old 20th September 2017, 4:20 PM   #6
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It will be interesting. It's a VA doctor. I had a bad experience before and hopefully that was just one insensitive man.

... I had a breakdown during my deployment I wasn't getting adequate food or sleep, My family was having issues at home that I couldn't be there for, and they gave me Wellbutren to quit smoking. When I stopped taking the Wellbutren my whole world fell apart. I tried to talk to the mental health specialist and he diagnosed me with P.M.S. He also said something along the lines of " Are you going to kill yourself or anyone today? No? Come back when you are."

So, just in case it's one of those deals... are there any books you can suggest that would be helpful to teach someone to process their emotions?
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Old 20th September 2017, 5:28 PM   #7
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So, just in case it's one of those deals... are there any books you can suggest that would be helpful to teach someone to process their emotions?
Sick, do you believe you lack the emotional skills I listed above? And do you believe that you've been lacking these skills ever since you were in your early teens, if not earlier? If so, you likely are describing a persistent problem that requires guidance from a professional. Granted, you may be able to make some progress by reading on your own. Yet, if you have an issue that has persisted for many years, you likely won't get very far on your own without professional guidance.

As I noted earlier, I've never met you and cannot know what issues you actually suffer from. That said, if you are convinced that you have a strong abandonment fear and lack the ability to properly regulate your own emotions, it may be worth your while to take a quick look at my list of 18 BPD Warning Signs to see if most sound very familiar. If so -- and if you want a book recommendation -- I would suggest Friedel's Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified.

Reading a book, however, is no substitute for receiving professional guidance from a psychologist. Hence, if you decide that the VA therapist is inadequate, I would strongly recommend you seek out a good psychologist on your own.
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Old 21st September 2017, 10:24 AM   #8
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OP, whatever you do...always trust the word of an in person, licensed, qualified person who has actually met you over any cookie cutter cut and paste diagnoses from strangers. That is a dangerous "armchair expert" game people play, and it is damaging and, quite frankly, arrogant.

Be honest with your therapist and open to their assistance.
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Old 21st September 2017, 9:53 PM   #9
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It will be interesting. It's a VA doctor. I had a bad experience before and hopefully that was just one insensitive man.

... I had a breakdown during my deployment I wasn't getting adequate food or sleep, My family was having issues at home that I couldn't be there for, and they gave me Wellbutren to quit smoking. When I stopped taking the Wellbutren my whole world fell apart. I tried to talk to the mental health specialist and he diagnosed me with P.M.S. He also said something along the lines of " Are you going to kill yourself or anyone today? No? Come back when you are."

So, just in case it's one of those deals... are there any books you can suggest that would be helpful to teach someone to process their emotions?
Your experience sounds sucky but that won't usually ever be the case. Don't let it turn you against mental health professionals. Wellbutrin can have some weird side effects, and just in case you haven't already been thoroughly counseled by your doctors, don't EVER stop or change the dosage of a psychiatric type drug without first consulting your doctor because some of them must be gone off gradually or they can have SEVERE side effects. Don't ever mess around with psychiatric drugs. Always follow the doctor's orders but then also always call him when there is a side effect, and remember many of those type drugs don't work immediately but some may build up over a period of weeks or 2 months to become effective on you. Don't give up! There's lots of drugs to try and other things. Good luck.
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Old 21st September 2017, 10:43 PM   #10
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...diagnoses from strangers... is a dangerous "armchair expert" game people play, and it is damaging and, quite frankly, arrogant.
Knabe, who are the arrogant armchair experts you are referring to? I ask because nobody on this thread has made the ludicrous claim that they can diagnose anything.
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Old 22nd September 2017, 2:34 PM   #11
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Yeah but leading someone towards a certain path is also just as dangerous, especially when they are vulnerable. I agree with knabe, please go see you therapist and see what they have to say rather than someone on the Internet. And while internet "therapy" is free and cheap, there is a reason why therapists are paid what they are to appropriately do their work. You are worth way more than an Internet diagnosis or "risky signs".
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Old 22nd September 2017, 6:31 PM   #12
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Yeah but leading someone towards a certain path is also just as dangerous, especially when they are vulnerable.
On the contrary, Field, learning how to spot the warning signs for BPD and other disorders is important for many reasons and is not "dangerous," as you say. This is why hundreds of mental health centers and hospitals have put this information on their public websites for the lay public to read. They know that the public is capable of learning how to spot these warning signs. They also know that, when the public is able to spot the warning signs, they are far more likely to seek professional help when they need it -- and will do so far more quickly. I will give you just a few examples: Indeed, even the U.S. House of Representatives -- yes, the House that cannot agree on anything -- agrees that you are mistaken about this BPD information being "dangerous." House Resolution 1005 was unanimously passed by the House in April 2008. It recognizes the month of May as Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month. The text of the resolution says it is meant "as a means of educating our nation about this disorder, the needs of those suffering from it, and its consequences." See BPD Awareness Month.

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I agree with knabe, please go see you therapist and see what they have to say rather than someone on the Internet.
Actually, you are agreeing with me as well as with Knabe. I stated above, "Reading a book, however, is no substitute for receiving professional guidance from a psychologist. Hence, if you decide that the VA therapist is inadequate, I would strongly recommend you seek out a good psychologist on your own."
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Old 22nd September 2017, 7:48 PM   #13
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Knabe, who are the arrogant armchair experts you are referring to? I ask because nobody on this thread has made the ludicrous claim that they can diagnose anything.
I would say pretty much anyone who reads 1 or 2 posts by complete stranger and then copies and pastes basically the same information indicating that they probably have A particulare disorder would qualify. Because nobody copies and pastes the same information over and over unless they are saying in so many words that they think random strangers have a particular disorder
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Old 22nd September 2017, 10:27 PM   #14
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I would say pretty much anyone who reads 1 or 2 posts by complete stranger and then copies and pastes basically the same information indicating that they probably have a particular disorder would qualify.
No, Knabe, I never stated that the OP "probably has a particular disorder," as you claim. On the contrary, I stated (post #7) "I've never met you and cannot know what issues you actually suffer from." What part of "I cannot know" do you not understand?

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Because nobody copies and pastes the same information over and over unless they are saying in so many words that they think random strangers have a particular disorder.
No, I am saying that the OP is describing several warning signs for BPD. Specifically, Sickubus describes several behaviors -- i.e., her abusive actions, her inability to trust others, her strong overreactions to "minuscule harmless things," her feeling "so insecure," and her difficulty regulating her own emotions (e.g., "why can't I just stay cool?") -- that are warning signs for BPD behavior. Significantly, these are behaviors that Sickubus herself acknowledges having. She describes these ongoing issues as "baggage I carry it over into my new relationship."

Hence, in response to her request for reading material, I told her that "if you are convinced that you have a strong abandonment fear and lack the ability to properly regulate your own emotions, it may be worth your while to take a quick look at my list of 18 BPD Warning Signs to see if most sound very familiar."

Significantly, even if Sickubus exhibits these behavioral symptoms, it does NOT imply she has a full-blown disorder. BPD is not something -- like chickenpox -- that a person either "has" or "doesn't have." Instead, it is a spectrum disorder, which means every adult on the planet occasionally exhibits all BPD traits to some degree (albeit at a low level if the person is healthy). At issue, then, is not whether Sickubus exhibits BPD traits. Of course she does. We all do.

Rather, at issue is whether she exhibits those traits at a strong and persistent level (i.e., is on the upper third of the BPD spectrum). Not having met her, I cannot answer that question -- as I clearly stated in both posts #5 and #7. I nonetheless believe Sickubus may be able to spot any strong BPD warning signs that are present if she takes a little time to learn which behaviors are on the list. They are easy to spot because there is nothing subtle about behaviors such as verbal abuse, temper tantrums, inability to trust others, and inability to do self calming and regulate one's own emotions.

Of course, learning to spot these warning signs will not enable Sickubus to diagnose her own issues. Although strong BPD symptoms are easy to spot, only a professional can determine whether they are so severe as to constitute full-blown BPD. Yet, like learning warning signs for a stroke or heart attack, learning those for BPD may help her avoid a painful future by seeking professional guidance -- from a psychologist or from the therapist provided by the VA. As I noted above, hundreds of mental health centers post these warning signs on their public websites because they know that people are far more likely to seek professional help (and do so more quickly) when they know what warning signs to look for.
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Old 22nd September 2017, 11:42 PM   #15
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This is about as good as the people who canvass with pamphlets on the street or knock on your door with the same schpeal. New users to loveshack beware.

And suggestion for everyone - don't over-blame yourself, but also look for issues within yourself too. Nothing is black and white.
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