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Does this sound like a personality disorder?(18 Posts)
I'm beginning to think that I may have a personality disorder. To the outside world i look normal, I've got something to say for myself and have been told I'm very funny. I've made a success of the business I've grown from nothing. I've never been short of male attention or had difficulty making friends. BUT, something is very wrong with the way I maintain relationships and commitments. From the age of about 13 I've been systematically destroying friendships, walking out of jobs, dropping out of school, college and later on university. It's not that I'm lazy or have no ambition. It's just that friendships or work relationships become too hard for me to cope with emotionally so I cut them off. I've lost count of the friendships I've severed in recent years because people got too close. I've lost count of the jobs I've quit on because of the issues I have with authority or have made one small mistake, thought they would all see through me and see that I was a fake.
The only thing I haven't wrecked yet is my marriage. DH is an amazing man and over the past decade has stood by me through thick and thin and always been unwavering in his love. I don't deserve him because I constantly test him and try to sabotage our marriage. We have three beautiful children together and they are the centre of my universe. I've surprised myself and love every second of being their mum but I worry that my behaviour will rub off on them. They see mummy avoiding social situations, mummy turning her back on friends, quitting pretty much everything she starts. The only reason I've made the business a success is because I'm my own boss, working alone from home. Does any of this sound like I might have a personality disorder to you? I'm becoming convinced that I have. I should say that I currently take medication for anxiety and OCD.
You sound like a great person to me... you have kept your family happy and well-looked after and found a way to manage your working life that you are comfortable with. You also sound a shedload more self-aware than most people.
You do sound like you are suffering significantly with low self-esteem (and a dose of imposter syndrome professionally, like a lot of women). For what it's worth I am crap with authority and employment. I make a good living being self-employed. I see it as a victory in understanding my strengths and weaknesses - never considered it a failure.
I can't diagnose you but just wanted to say you sound like a good person and I hope some support here or in real life can help you to stop self-sabotaging.
OP I can relate to some of the things you say, I am diagnosed with Aspergers and borderline personality disorder, there is so much crossover between both my diagnoses I never know which is responsible for which symptoms!
It would be worth talking to your GP.
You doing like you have s lot more awareness than the average person. What do you mean when you day you try to sabotage your marriage?
Did you have a painful rejection in childhood?
I should have also said.. there is hope if you do have a personality disorder. I have been in therapy since last year (DBT) and my symptoms are becoming much more manageable. Like you I was very self aware, I knew I was sabotaging everything but just couldn't stop! I would fly off in a rage about all sorts, be remorseful and make promises not to do it again, but next time always came round again. I can finally see the light now though!
It is manageable and correct treatments can improve your life massively, in my experience.
Watching with interest as a likewise self-sabotager.
Yes, I had a crappy childhood. My dad was away in the navy a lot and mum was left alone with four small kids. She worked on the land to make ends meet. Was dreadfully cold towards us, never did anything with us or showed us an ounce of affection.
Dad was an authoritarian and we were all shit scared of him. When he was home we were all walking on eggshells. He regularly would beat us. At around the age of about 8 I became really anxious and nervous. The other kids started to bully me at school, and it was a horrendous time in my life. Dad left the Royal Navy and became a publican. One of the regulars touched me one night and when I finally plucked up the courage to tell my sister, who told my parents, the whole thing was brushed under the carpet. Looking back it should have had very little impact on my life but I don't think I ever recovered from the thought that my mum and dad didn't care about me. In hindsight I don't think that was true, this was almost 30 years ago and I think they just didn't know how to deal with it.
So started a cycle of self destruction. I won a scholarship to a private school. I got expelled. I took drugs. Slept around. Was rarely sober. Had violent relationships. Started college courses that I would quit half way through. Got on to a degree course, was heading for a First when I dropped out right before my dissertation was due to be handed in. I don't know why.
I drank and drank. I think I was on the verge of alcoholism or ending up murdered or something. Then my husband came along and picked me up, and I've been putting my life back together ever since. I want to function normally, like I know I should be capable of. I want to have the career and friends and be happy, but I can't do it. Every day I give my husband shit. I constantly test him and push him away. He's unflinching.
I can make friends fairly easily because I'm chatty and quick witted and friendships blossom for me over the course of a few weeks. Then bam...I cut them off. Every job I ever had I freak out about the authority I have to deal with and resign. I really think this is more than anxiety... but I don't know.
I don't think a label is the main thing, I think you need therapy to come to terms with your difficult past. It sounds as though your parents really let you down.
I don't think you need any personality disorder label either.
You have had a traumatic childhood and if you've never had any help to comes to terms with what happened to you I think that would be a great starting point. You may find many links relating to you pushing people away and you being consistently let down and abused by people who you should have been able to trust.
It sounds like you had such a tough time. I would agree with others that working through what happened with someone would be the best place to start.
Personality disorders can be as a result of trauma, more commonly childhood trauma though mine was domestic abuse related. I never really like the name 'personality disorder' and see why people may be wary of gaining such a label. For me it's not been a label but an explanation of why I think in certain ways, and that 'label' has opened up doors to therapies, those being the ones that deal with the future and how to cope from now.
I hope you get the support you need.
Not trying to diagnose by the way I'm in no way qualified and generally don't have a clue what I'm talking about . Just speaking from personal experience and trying to say why labels aren't always a bad thing in the right circumstances
Thank you all so much for listening and for your advice. I only plucked up the courage to see my GP about my mental health about 18 months ago now. The medication she's put me on has helped enormously. For the first time in about 30 years I feel genuine emotion again whereas before I was apathetic. She did refer me for therapy, and after a long phone call assessment I was finally offered group therapy. I refused it as 'not suitable'. I really don't fancy rehashing the past with a bunch of strangers listening in. It's private. Maybe that was the wrong decision to make, but I think I've been searching for a label which will help me explain to myself why i'm like this. And more importantly so that I can tell myself 'it's ok. This is why you behave like this and you're not weird or bad'. Xx
I think pursuing a deeper understanding of yourself via therapy will be life changing for you because I am sure you will find that you are not bad or weird.
A way to explain it without giving it a specific name is usually that.. your childhood experiences shape your views and understanding about the world and your place in it. If we have had difficult childhoods we can then find it difficult to tolerate it when good things happen to us, because it doesn't fit with our view of the world. So we may constantly sabotage often without realising it, to make it 'bad' again, as it's too hard to tolerate things being ok and life being a success.
I say 'we' meaning anybody in the world.
Attachment disorder also known as developmental trauma might explain your approach. It really helps to understand it, because you can recognise your behaviour and make different choices.
I'm sorry to hear about what you went through in childhood. Your issues now sound like a very natural response to all that.
I would go back to GP and explain why you don't want group therapy. They often offer this first (as it's cheapest). I said no, and pushed for solo CBT, which they then gave me. You may need to insist a bit - but emphasise that you are really experienced difficulties managing.
I wish you luck. Your other half sounds like a gem. And I'm sure (even if you can't see why) that he will also feel lucky to have you.
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