Tonight was a really interesting therapy session but also confusing as hell. I talked a lot about my Inner Critic (IC), which keeps me trapped in shame. We did chair work with IC. It turns out that IC, while a judgmental, disapproving and sometimes punishing voice (much like my mother), is really trying to protect me. My therapist thinks that it’s IC that kept me from developing NPD. But IC is a terrible control freak. Besides keeping any narcissism under control, it also controls Chair Girl. IC disapproves of her weakness and vulnerability–and also disapproves of her tendency to lose emotional control at times (which doesn’t happen anymore but IC is still afraid of it happening).
Since this inner control freak won’t let me venture too far in any direction, I always feel like I’m walking a tightrope and that’s why I go through life so afraid to take any risks and why I’m so shy and socially awkward. If I go too far in one direction (narcissism), I become evil and just like my mother, which IC cannot allow; if I go too far the other way, Chair Girl (the holder of shame) emerges. IC is almost impossible to please. But it’s judgment and disapproval exists because it’s really as afraid as Chair Girl. My therapist asked me to try to have compassion for IC, as annoying as this voice can be.
I’m so confused by all this it’s hard to write about these voices and their roles in a coherent way. But being able to take apart my personality this way and look at the different parts makes a lot of things I didn’t understand before make a lot more sense. It’s incredible what the human mind is capable of and the ways it tries to protect you.
I feel almost like someone with DID, with all these “personalities” emerging (Chair Girl and IC). But these aren’t alters or whole personalities. I’m fully aware of them and can talk to them and they can talk to me. There’s no blacking out or amnesia. Now that I can name them and see what their roles have been, it’s easier for me to understand some of my contradictory behaviors and feelings that always befuddled me before.
So there’s Chair Girl (my true self), the vulnerable child who my IC tried to keep in hiding. But the IC’s other role is to keep me from becoming as narcissistic as my mother. The IC is needed, but its bedside manner is way too overbearing. It needs to be trained to loosen the reins a little and trust me more (I noted it allows me more freedom when I’m blogging and writing). It needs to stop worrying that I might lose control, bring it shame, or become a narcissist.
Something else interesting happened and this felt like a victory. He wasn’t finished diagnosing me and wanted to tell me what he’s concluded. He does think I have PTSD (C-PTSD isn’t an official diagnosis but he knows of it and thinks it’s valid). He also thinks I’m a recovering Borderline. Based on my accounts of the ways I used to behave and react to things, as well as the fact I was diagnosed with BPD twice, he’s quite sure I had BPD but that this label no longer applies, which means I somehow managed to cure myself. As grandiose as this may sound, I think what happened was my motivation to get better was so great I internalized mindfulness skills and through starting to blog a year and a half ago and using the other self-therapy tools I’ve described in earlier posts, I worked through a lot of the issues that otherwise would have to be worked out in therapy, or not at all. So the BPD is gone, and all that’s left is residual PTSD (or C-PTSD), which is what I’m working through now.