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Personality Disorders

What is a Personality Disorder?

As a psychoanalytic trained Masterson therapist, Nancy Carbone treats those with deficits in the self, including personality disorders. These are characterised as individuals who have an impaired sense of self, resorting to destructive coping mechanisms to manage unwanted emotions.  The self remains empty and impaired when emotions cannot be tolerated within the self, so individuals resort to defensive reactions, maladaptive coping mechanisms, seeking instant pleasure or distractions, in order to avoid facing feelings. These behaviours often work against them and their relationships. Counselling and psychotherapy overcomes impairments in self functioning, so the individual can  rebuild the self to function and cope with life. Therapy also repairs barriers to intimacy by resolving unresolved areas in the self.

Counselling for Personality Disorders in Perth

Often, pain is derived from our earliest experiences and get’s re-experienced in our relationships, work or life; if  the feelings remain unresolved or kept out of our  awareness. Often unconscious blind spots  prevent us from seeing that these events  triggers the feelings  already within us, so we project them out, to ward off the pain. Often many locate the blame in others, for causing one to feel a particular way. It will be the partner, work or boss that causes these feelings, not realising they are deep down within us and get continually re-trigged, if not resolved in therapy. These feelings will not go away  if we continue to externalise the feelings as being caused by others,   outside of ourselves.  Attending counselling in Perth  allows individuals to work through  difficult feelings. By locating these feelings within us, when they become activated, allows anxious feelings to become reprocessed,  better organised and  managed within ourselves. So these feelings can be tolerated inside, so that they do not need to be continually projected out onto others, by hurting others and damaging ourselves at the same time. When feelings are managed within, the self becomes stronger to  cope and function with life, relationships and work. While the self becomes more able to deal with  all kinds of emotions, instead of uses defenses to cope.

A patient with a personality disorder will most likely get confused if their feelings are their own or caused by others. They are more likely to deny anger and project anger outside of them, as belonging to others. Others are mean to them, rather then seeing how they are angry or aggressive towards others. A healthy personality will be able to differentiate and see if someone is abusive, rude or not.  A  person with a personality disorder may think the waitress was rude for not serving them first, or not smiling at them. They may get angry at their boss for giving them constructive feedback by taking it as criticism, they may feel their partner is inattentive when they do something for themselves and not focus on their needs. These emotional reactions are disproportionate to the reality. They often take other people the wrong way, misinterpreting them. Individuals with personality disorders believe that what they are feeling is attributed to others, they cannot distinguish if these feelings belong to them or not. A healthy person can see if their own feelings are being triggered, they can separate their own feelings since they have clearer boundaries and not as affected by other people’s reactions, they are less likely to take it on board and react. A borderline personality  (BPD) patient might feel rejected if the therapist couldn’t find a spot in the diary, they may take it personally, as if the therapist did not care or not want them as a patient. A narcissist might feel disappointed that partner didn’t agree with them or be not be on same page, leaving them to feel their ideas were not important. A schizoid might feel attacked by their partner wanting to talk to them, feeling bombarded by them and want to get away to get space.

Personality Disorder

Fear of Abandonment

Often these feelings derive from earlier experiences, and have nothing to do with the current situation, but it feels as if the patient is re-living all their pain, again. It becomes alive  and awaken again, when these feelings belong in the past.  These reactions or feelings can be put back to where they belong,  once they are re-processed and worked through in the therapy. So the feelings go back to where they originated from, and do not distort reality in the present. As a result of therapy, the individual is able to see themselves and others more clearly, and respond according to the real situation, not their projected fantasy.

Borderline, Narcissistic and Schizoid Personality Disorders

Often disorders of the self or personality disorders result from using defensive coping mechanisms, to ward off these feelings, because they cannot be managed within. The Borderline personality disorder patient will defend against abandonment with clinging and angry distancing defences. The narcissistic personality disorder patient  will become grandiose, guarded and perfect in order to ward off feelings of inadequacy to prevent criticism. The Schizoid patients will feel unsafe in relationships when they get too close,  feeling trapped or enslaved to their partners needs, so they will back away to get back their self.

Most of these  patients with a disorder of the self will feel more comfortable defending against these feelings, because these coping behaviours temporarily relieves them of the discomfort of facing these feelings. Yet, these coping behaviours come at a high price for them and  it prevents them from living a self enriched life. So life feels empty without having real investments in the self, when individuals remain stuck in these defensive positions. So many find ways to escape the void, with  pleasure seeking activities. These coping methods often gets in the way of having healthy relationships, often causing relationships to breakdown. When the feelings cannot be tolerated at all, it often leads to  anger outbursts, spousal affairs, sexual promiscuity, emotional withdrawal, alcohol or drug use, distressed couples conflict  and inability to hold down relationships or jobs. When life gets  out of control, this further spirals into anxiety  symptoms and  episodes of depression, since the ways that people protect themselves from pain, ends up causing more pain and self destruction in their lives.

For more information on counselling for personality disorders in Perth call Nancy on 0449 861 147 or use the enquiry form below.

Click here for signs of relationship a narcissist, relationships with narcissists, the origins of narcissism, narcissistic personality disorder and ending a relationship with a narcissist.

For personality disorder counselling in Melbourne contact our Counselling in Melbourne service