Psychological DISORDERS (Part 4c)

 

IF I REALLY WANT TO GROW
I have to crack thru my walls

PREVIOUS: Disorders #4a

SITEs : PDs PLAY DEFENSE    //   EnneaType DEFENSES


3. PERSONALITY DISORDERS (PDs) (cont.)

The Five Factor Model (FFM) groups human characteristics into:
1. Conscientiousness – re. dependability
2. Neuroticism – re. emotional stability
3. Agreeableness – re. sociability
4. Extroversion – re. hi levels of positive emotions
5. Openness – re. Intellect   (MORE…. includes extensive assessments)

SIDEBAR: A study of 468 young adults at risk for becoming alcoholics used a questionnaire based on the FFM.  It was designed to correlate: risk for alcoholism, alcohol use disorder, & alcoholism subtyping . Some results:

• Familial risk for alcoholism was positively associated with openness, and negatively associated with agreeableness & conscientiousness.

• Alcohol use disorders were positively associated with neuroticism, and negatively associated with agreeableness & conscientiousness.

With the exceptions of family alcoholism, & a dual diagnosis with Antisocial PD • all the alcoholic subtypes examined related to at least one of the 5 FFM.

E.M.Jellinek’s (1960) 5 SUBTYPES of alcoholism :
ALPHA : Based in mental & emotional problems, it’s drinking to drive away depression, stress, or anxiety
BETA: almost daily heavy drinkers, leading to various physical & psychological symptoms
GAMMA: sudden cravings for alcohol after 1 or 2 episode of ‘social drinking’, becomes continual drinking, drunkenness & full-fledged alcoholism
DELTA: the habit of drinking small amounts throughout the day, without ever really getting drunk. Like Gamma, but with inability to abstain, instead of loss of control
EPSILON: ‘periodic’ – drinking at regular intervals until they pass out completely – called dipsomania, but being sober more often than drunk

ALSO: 5 types of alcoholics, re. ‘Progressive Symptoms

Research has shown that environmental, genetic, pre-natal factors, as well as unhealthy parenting (not affectionate + harshness) all contribute to developing PDs
Re. the FFM
 the extreme reverse of the characteristics identify PATHOLOGY:
1. DIS-INHIBITION (negative of conscientiousness):
Distractible / Impulsive /Irresponsible /Rigid perfectionism / Risk taking 

2. NEGATIVE AFFECT (negative of emotional stability):
Anxious / Emotionally over-reactive w/ mood swings & persistent taking or movement / Hostile / Submissive / Separation anxiety

3. ANTAGONISM (negative of agreeableness):
Attention seeking / Callous / Deceitful / Grandiose / Hostile / Manipulative

4. DETACHMENT (negative of extroversion):
Avoiding intimacy / Depressed – long term / Lack of enjoyment / Limited emotional range / Suspicion-paranoia / Withdrawal

5. PSYCHOTISM (negative of mental lucidity):
Eccentricity / Unusual-unrealistic beliefs & experiences
💚
PDs & DEFENSES
PDs  are the result of combining continual abuse & neglect in childhood, with the hardening of defenses developed as protection. The type of disorder formed will depend on the interaction between each person’s native personality (including inherited qualities) ➕ the severity of the early abuse ➕ the broader environment which determines a person’s life & growth options.

In the present – staying entrenched in defenses means the walls of the castle are high, the gate is up & the alligators are in the moat. This makes it very unlikely you can take in another point of view – which is all that matters to you – (such as aBR), to keep everyone from adding to your vast pile of insecurities.
Where are your INNER archers & guys with the vats of boiling oil? 

NEGATIVE Toxic Beliefs locks us inside our armor, keeping us from being flexible in our thinking or adaptable in our actions. They lead to a defensive stance in life, as a dysfunctional way of protecting ourselves.
The following list is similar to the one in Part 4a, but here it’s referring to core statements which are each type’s defense (7 out of the 10 PDs, including defensive statements, as well as healing goals for each)

AVOIDER: “I don’t want to be hurt, ever, because I can’t bear it”
BORDERLINE: “No one is allowed to leave me, no matter how much I mistreat them”
DEPENDENT: “Please take care of me”

HYSTERICAL: “Please pay attention to me
NARCISSIST: “Please help me achieve success because I’m special”
OCD : “I act right & the world would be a better place if everyone else did too
PARANOID: “It’s important to keep myself safe – people are not trustworthy & the world is dangerous”  (MORE – scroll down .) 

►Each PD can use one or more Defense Mechanisms to maintain their False Self pattern.
EXP: Narcissistic & Anti-social PDs share minor image-distorting defenses – such as Omnipotence or Devaluation, while NPD also uses Splitting of self-images, & A-S PD uses disavowal defenses like Denial.
— Borderline PD is strongly associated with major image-distorting defenses, mainly Splitting of self & other’s images, as well as the hysterical level defenses of Dissociation &
Repression.  

 NEXT: Disorders 5a
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Psychological DISORDERS (Part 4b)

TRYING TO BE SOCIAL
is such hard work!

PREVIOUS: Disorders #4a

SITE: ‘Somatization’ & Psych terms used as swear words

HUMOR: 35 Undiagnosed Medical Conditions of Disney Characters


3. PERSONALITY DISORDERS (PDs) (cont.)

PDs describe categories of ‘damage’ in adults who have long-standing problems establishing deep, meaningful, positive relationships with others. These people often show unusual, rigid or extreme patterns of thought, emotional reactivity, &/or impulsive behavior that consistently lead to problems for them & others

People with this mental/emotional dysfunction have a wounded core identity.
= At one extreme – some PD people assume they’re invulnerable & have a right to feel superior. They are insulated in their carefully built shell of defenses – and flatly deny having a wounded core

= However, most feel wrong, bad, not right, empty or simply ‘Not OK’ – in their basic sense of Self. The brain uses Self-concept as a guide for interpreting the world. How dysfunctional such people are depends on how intensely they act in self-defeating ways

Their sense of badness has a physical quality about it – it’s in their very bones or cells. They say they’ve always felt this way, that there was never a time where they felt OK, & they truly believe it. (C. ego state Post)

Transactional Analysis theory explains this sense of badness as coming from their WIC’s child parts (C1 or C0) – the most vulnerable aspects of personality. So their sense of badness is ego syntonic – meaning that it ‘makes sense’ to them on a gut level, with no inner conflict, as there are with neurotics. So the damage started very early, likely at birth (Co).

Using the Gestalt technique, if we visualize putting the Adult & Parents aspects of someone in 2 opposite chairs, & imagine the Inner Child between them, we ask “How do you feel about your IC?” Most people will have a fairly positive reaction. Instead, many PDs will say they hate their child – that it’s ugly, dirty, disgusting, full of needs ….. expressing the person’s ingrained sense of worthlessness (typical of many ACoAs!).

💚SIDEBAR: There is now a “Grand Unified Theory” of psychology (GUT) the relationship between psychology & neuroscience …..which clearly defines the field, & how the field relates to other disciplines (like biology & sociology)….
The 4 parts that make up GUT are:
1) the Tree of Knowledge System // 2) the Justification Hypothesis
3) the Influence Matrix  // 4) Behavioral Investment Theory (MORE….)  

Relational INFLUENCE Matrix
The Influence Matrix (IM) maps the dimensions on which people represent themselves in relationship to others.
It grew out of the Behavioral Investment Theory of social motivational & emotional processes, which is based on Attachment Theory. 

The Matrix makes 2 main points:
a. Humans are motivated by the need to be loved, admired & respected
b. They are equally driven by the need to avoid loss – being rejected, criticized or ostracized
(Freud’s Pleasure-Pain principal)

The green ovals on the BLACK axis suggests that people have a mental/ emotional picture of how valuable different types of relationships are, & tend to approach or avoid them accordingly.
💗EXP: Having ‘HI relational value’ can come from accomplishing 
something really hard that other people admire or love you for

✥ Personality Disorder Star (these 2 CHARTS)
Karen Horney’s 3 main NEEDS – ways of relating to others – exactly parallel the IM dimensions (above): Power is used to move against, Love for moving toward & Freedom for moving away. This means that there are separate pathways to deciding relational value

HOWEVER – People with PDs consistently act in ways that reduce the relational value of themselves & others – making their behavior patterns self-defeating, which cause everyone so much distress
EXP: PDs are grouped by the direction of MOVING –
• Against = Narcissistic – being hyper-competitive, constantly needing to demonstrate superiority over others (Steve Jobs)
• Away = Schizoid – a fundamental detachment, with a lack of emotional connection & responsiveness to others
• Toward = Dependent – desperately fearing abandonment, submitting to the will of others to avoid rejection, creating a need to caretake others

 The star shows how certain PDs are the opposites of other negative personality characteristics.
Cluster A people are extreme on the Freedom dimension of relating
Cluster B people are mainly selfish, competitive, manipulative & controlling
Cluster C people (especially Avoidant & Dependent PDs) are deeply concerned with affiliation – come here or go away – at any cost

Note that only 6 out of the 10 PDs are represented. The others tend to be combinations.
EXP: Borderlines (BPD) fluctuate between strong displays of dependency/ neediness followed by extreme displays of reactive hostility – described in”I hate you, don’t leave me” by Kreitman & Straus. They are less rigid than most PDs, with a weak or fragmented identity, & strong needs for all 3 (power, love & freedom), covering up a basically insecure Self (LO relational value).



NEXT: Personality Disorders (Part 4c)

Psychological DISORDERS (Part 4a)

 

 

I CAN’T HELP IT
if I’m afraid of everything!

PREVIOUS: Psych Disorders (#3)

POSTs: EGO States – summary

SITE: Re. PSYCH terms used as swear words

HUMOR: Hollywood PDs, as “Cars in the parking lot”


3. PERSONALITY DISORDERS (PDs)

They are a group of 10 PMES mental/emotional illnesses,
 consisting of maladaptive internal experiencing (Es) thinking (Ts) & behavior (As) that deviate from norms & expectations of the person’s culture. These PDs make it very hard for the sufferers to accurately understand or relate to people & situations.

To put this category in perspective, it’s useful to place them in the hierarchy of mental states – from Highest to Lowest functioning:
1. Healthy —-> 2. Neurotics —-> 3. Personality Disordered (PD)—-> 4. Sociopaths/Psychopaths —-> 5. Psychotics (who are not at all in reality) 

PDs are pervasive & inflexible (unlike neuroses), have an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, are stable over time (consistent, persistent), & lead to emotional distress or impairment of ‘normal’ functioning.
— PDs are about 15% of the US population, 10% worldwide
— They are usually chronic, & difficult to treat
— A person can be diagnosed with more than one personality disorder, usually from the same cluster. (Skodol, 2005)
— Identifying the specific PD a person has (Axis I of the DSM) can help clinicians identify the risk of suicide & other psychological problems (any on Axis II), which often accompany PDs

●  All human traits range from
healthy & adaptive <—> to unhealthy & maladaptive.
PDs fall into the orange & red sectors, because their damage effects 
every part of a person’s life, usually as a result of an ongoing traumatic childhood. They tends to severely limit success in school, relationships, social encounters, work…. 

OVERVIEW – Main Symptoms of PDs
a. Distorted thinking patterns (CDs)
b. Over / under – regulated impulse control
• Odd / eccentric behavior patterns
• In some cases, periods of losing contact with reality (dissociations)
c. Interpersonal difficulties
• Avoiding other people, feeling empty & emotionally disconnected
• Trouble sustaining stable & close relationships, especially with partners, children & professional helpers

d. Problematic emotional responses
•  Overwhelmed by distress, anxiety, anger & worthlessness
• Difficulty managing uncomfortable/painful emotions, especially without self-harming – so may use cutting, being promiscuous, belligerent, withholding, abusing chemicals… in order to ‘cope’ – but rarely harm others physically. There are exceptions in some, such as torturing animals & bullying

CLUSTERSCHART
Based on descriptive similarities, PDs are grouped into:

A3 “odd, eccentric” types: socially awkwardness & withdrawal (MORE….)

These PDs are dominated by distorted thinking, & in extremes they go:
— from eccentricity to fantasy
— from being lonely to schizoid hiding
— from distorted thinking to delusion, to paranoia
— from projective identification to projecting guilt on to others…..

Paranoid (2%) “The world is hostile so don’t trust anyone, & deal with people by being angry & attacking.”
Schizoid – “The world is scary so I withdraw from it (people), & don’t show any emotion or other needs/feelings”
Schizotypal – “The world is too scary, so I withdraw from it (people), & being a bit crazy, I don’t think clearly”

B4 “dramatic, emotional, erratic” types
UNDER- controlled: People in this cluster share the pattern of little or no  impulse control & have trouble emotionally regulating  themselves. This can include failure to plan ahead, or to consider the long-term consequences of their actions. At the extreme they can end up getting  into trouble (like breaking the law), & hurting others.

Antisocial (3%) “You can’t trust anyone & life’s unfair, so I take advantage of people & do whatever I like”
Borderline (1-2%) “Relationships & life are very unreliable, so I frantically do anything to keep people around”
Histrionic (2-3%) “I must be the centre of attention, so I will be dramatic, flirtatious & highly emotional”
Narcissistic (1%) “I have always been told that I’m very important & the best, so I feel & act that way”

C 3 “anxious, fearful” types  
OVER- controlled: This group shares a pattern of social inhibition, a deep sense of inadequacy, & hyper-sensitivity to other people’s negative opinions. They’re afraid to try new things lest they embarrass themselves, & get ridiculed or outright rejected. They hold back around others, so can come across as uptight & snobbish. They lack spontaneity, since every action must be considered for its potential to cause themselves emotional pain (MORE….)

Avoidant (1-10%) Life is scary & rejecting, so I feel worthless & withdraw ”
Dependent (0.5%) “I am worthless & can’t cope with life, so I cling to others & do what they tell me”
Obsessive/compulsive (1-8%?) “Everything around me is chaotic, so I have to be in control of myself & everything in my life, by being orderly & a perfectionist”

Other PDs not in DSM IV
Cyclothymic: Mood swings from Hi to Lo, with evenness in between – not as extreme as Manic-Depression
Masochistic (self-defeating): A need to fail, deliberately putting obstacles in ones own way to induce 
frustration, grief, setbacks & suffering

Passive-aggressive: See POSTS
Sadistic: Deriving pleasure from harming or humiliating others, using aggressive, cruel, demeaning & manipulative behavior

NEXT: Personality Disorders (Part 4b)

Psychological DISORDERS (3c)

 

MY CHARACTER DEFECTS
are just twisted versions of the True me!

PREVIOUS: Disorders #3a

SITE:   What is High-functioning Anxiety?

 


2. NEUROSES  – 
From a DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE (cont.)

c. Transactional Analysis  – The IMPASSE
Def : 
A road or passage having no exit, as a cul-de-sac
A situation so difficult that no progress can be made. Deadlock/stalemate

In psychological terms, impasses are formed as Type 1, 2 & 3 developmental stages in childhood, during which script-decisions are made. Scripts – our unconscious plan for life /internal ‘story’ – are usually based on unmet needs & abuse. This causes inner conflicts between one’s Parent & Child ego states, & usually experienced by the child first as a personal failure – an internalized sense of inadequacy. Parents, wider family & society present, repeat & reinforce scripts – in some cases positive, but in most cases harmful. (See the Gouldings’ 12 script themes – similar to the ACoA Toxic Rules)
This shows the power & active participation of children in their own development.

As adults, we all carry a representation (model) of the world  & ourselves – where we belong, how we fit in, our work & how we do it, & where we’re headed. If the source of this model comes from a dysfunctional family, it will always fall short of dynamic, ever-changing reality – limiting our S & I growth.
An impasse (being stuck in some area of life) indicates a need for change in order to move forward. The different intensities of psychological disorders represent various stages & intensities of impasse. (MORE...)

CHART: 3 development stages of conflicts between inner Parent (P) & Child (C)
3rd degree impasse (Po-Co: Birth to 6 months, pre-verbal, even pre-natal)
These earliest conflicts are produced by the type of connection between mother & child, depending on how they relate day after day. They will be around the issue of survival, between: abandonment & engulfment, destroying or being destroyed, worth & worthlessness….

EXPIf the mother has an unhealed WIC – stuck in her own impasse – her wounds get communicated to the baby, day after day. If she is insensitive, controlling or brutal – the effect on the baby is predictable.
However – much more difficult to identify later on –  if h
er grown up Adult & Parent parts are used to activate, even improve her parenting style, without Recovery her behavior won’t have any affect on her little C1 ego state. No matter how she tries to cover it up, her deepest damage will unconsciously keep re-traumatizing the baby. 

A depressed or angry mother can ‘responsibly’ feed & look after her baby son every day, but he knows / senses his mother is emotionally bereft. He intuits (or is told) that he needs to take care of her – all focus must be on her instead of his own feelings & needs – OR ELSE she may somehow leave (die). So he feels unworthy to be taken care of & worthless for not being able to help her, which causes intense anxiety. So he slowly develops defensive patterns like people-pleasing / isolation / addictions…., which form his False Self.

As an adult, this earliest impasse continues as deep-seated conflicts in PMES forms such as muscle tension, psychosomatic complaints, immune disorders…. & expressed verbally in symbolic images, such as “I feel as if I’m in a fog, lost, cold & alone, there’s a wall up between me & everyone else” …. 

 2 degree impasse (P1-C1:  6 mths – 6 yrs)
Made up of Injunctions (authoritative orders) carried by feelings /emotions. They become internalized, often through non-verbal comman
ds, at a time when the child has only a basic grasp of language. Script-decisions made are around basic theme about the child’s identity, such as: “Who am I? // Am I important? // Don’t grow up // Don’t feel”….. Later on, it’s much harder to remember how these issues developed, so the person usually doesn’t know they’re stuck back there

 1 degree impasse (P2-C2 : 6+ yrs old, when they can understand language)
The struggle here is between what the child should & should not do, what behaviors are socially acceptable or not. Internalized verbal
instructions (counter-injunctions) will be things like: “Please others // Always try hard // Be a good boy or good girl // Never get angry”….. These are more accessible to awareness, so later on it’s easier to remember who gave them & in what form.

BREAKING the Impasse – options
When the Bad Parent is so strong that it keeps the messages in place, the person gives in & continues to live by the original ‘rules’, keeping the Healthy Child bound. HOWEVER – 
a. When the person’s Wounded Child refuses to go along with its Bad Parent’s messages & is finally allowed to get angry, it liberates the Healthy / Free Child
b. The Bad Parent’s injunctions are agreed with, but the Healthy Child’s needs are ‘redefined’, often in humorous terms. Then both sides win.
EXP = Parent voice: “You’re crazy”
Child: “I may be crazy, but I’m never boring!”:)

NEXT: Disorders #4a

Psychological DISORDERS (Part 3b)

I’M ALWAYS ANXIOUS
when I  have to travel

PREVIOUS: Disorders #3a

BOOK:Neurosis & Treatment: A Holistic Theory. – A. Angyal

 

2. NEUROSES (cont.)

Neurotic Disorders
Agoraphobia w/ panic – perceiving some environment to be unsafe with no easy or possible escape, needing to stay hidden indoor
 • Conversion (hysteria) – neurological symptoms (numbness, blindness, paralysis, fits) without a well-established organic cause, causing significant distress, traced back to a psychological trigger
Depersonalization – feeling disconnected or estranged from one’s Self – of being an outside observer of ones thoughts or actions

Dissociative (DDNOS) – chronic & recurrent identity disturbance due to prolonged & intense coercive persuasion (brainwashing) – disrupting normal functions of consciousness, memory or perception of the environment
Generalized anxiety (GAD) – the “worry cycle”, being concerned about getting through the day, but with no apparent or current problem

Hypochondriasis – excessively worried about having a serious illness, despite the absence of any actual medical diagnosis
Neurasthenia (from stress &/or isolation) – a mechanical weakness of the nerves, with symptoms of anxiety, depressed mood, fatigue, headache, heart palpitations, high blood pressure & neuralgia
Neurotic Depression – same mental & physical problems as depression, with less severe but longer-lasting symptoms

Obsessive-compulsive – the need to repeatedly check things, perform certain routines (“rituals”), or recurring thoughts, which control behavior
Phobic state – an  irrational fear of a place or situation that makes one feel powerless & not in control
Panic (without agoraphobia) – sudden periods of intense fear that may include palpitations, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, numbness, or a feeling that something really bad is going to happen

• Post-Traumatic – caused by experiencing a single or prolonged traumatic events, & includes physical flashbacks, nightmares, & intrusive memories
Social anxiety – significant amount of fear in one or more social situations, causing considerable distress & impaired ability to function in at least some parts of daily life
Somatization – multiple recurring clinically significant physical complaints representing emotional pain

A Different Perspective (non-traditional, non-medical)
a.  Students of the Enneagram start with each Type’s distortion or flaw, seen as a positive characteristic which has been bent away from True Center – because of wounding experiences. This is similar to the ancient Greek notion of sin or fault as hamartia = ‘missing the mark’. If you aim at a target with a bent gun barrel or crooked arrow, you’ll miss the target.

Starting in childhood, when we need the most nurturing & encouragement, our vulnerability turns our innate strengths into weaknesses ONLY —
— IF our values are attacked, discounted, made fun of or in any way violated, so we feel threatened & scared
— IF our strengths are challenged, distrusted, dismissed or questioned, so we can become anxious, guilty, ashamed & angry

Inner Child work is about uncovering & healing the wounds / vulnerabilities created when growing up. It’s discovering where our WIC is hiding, how & where it hides, & from what, and what it really needs. By knowing our specific sensitivities, our EnneaType can be used as a guide to growth. (MORE….)
FLAW                                                    GIFT
#1 – Criticism /Resentment              ==  Serene / Good
#2 – Pride / Flattery                          == Humble / Loving
#3 – Deceit / Vanity                           == Authentic / Effective
#4 – Envy / Moody                            == Emotionally balanced / Original
#5 – Avarice / Stingy                         ==  Unattached / Wise
#6 – Fear / Cowardice                      == Courageous /Loyal
#7 – Gluttony / Avoidance               == Sober / Joyful
#8 – Lust  / Vengeance                     == Subtle / Protective
#9 – Sloth  / Withdrawal                  == Engaged / Peaceful

(MORE ….  ➕ what each EnneaType really wants)

BOOK: “The Positive Enneagram“, Susan Rhodes

b. SIMILARLY – Andras Angyal (1965), a neo-psychoanalytic therapist, wrote:  “The real traumatizing factors are those which prevent the person from expressing these basic tendencies. In the neurotic development there are always a number of unfortunate circumstances which instil in the child a self-derogatory feeling……”  (MORE – excellent)
However –
✳️ “The person’s essentially healthy features exist not beside but within the neurosis. Each neurotic manifestation is a distorted expression of an individually shaped healthy trend. (p.228).
The distortion must be clearly seen & acknowledged, but the healthy core will be found within the distortion itself. So, when a person learns that the neurosis is an exaggerated version of health, they can feel less shame, & be more hopeful.”
• In other words – trace the neurosis back to it’s original strength & focus on expressing that instead.

NEXT: Disorders #3c

Psychological DISORDERS (Part 3a)

I’M NOT AS MESSED UP 
as some people I know!

PREVIOUS: Disorders #1

SITEs: “Why being neurotic could actually be a good thing”

⬆️ IMAGE designed & assembled by DMT


2. NEUROSES
– now called “depressive or anxiety disorders”, are a group of mental dysfunctions which do not interfere with a person’s ability to think rationally or function day-to-day, but definitely cause distressing anxiety.
PSYCHOLOGICAL
Freud said they’re a result of an extremely painful experience earlier in life, which was never processed consciously (rape, witnessing a traumatic death, attacked by a person or animal….)
Jung added they’re cause by a conflict between conscious concerns (like obligations) & unconscious content (unacceptable thoughts, wishes, emotions….)

Trait Neuroticism (TN) one of the 5 personality components of OCEAN. All vertebrate animals – including humans – have a “negative affect system” to avoid negative/punishing situations. TN includes individual differences in sensitivity & activity of this system, ie. how painful someone’s emotions are & what kind of responses they have to upsets (affect=emotion)

People high in TN are more likely to develop depression & anxiety, especially when exposed to ongoing stressful living conditions without having the skills to process their distress in a safe, validating interpersonal environment. They can either avoid the disturbing person/situation, or shutdown from frustrated needs & losses. AND they can either turn their pain in on themselves, or turn it on other (S-H or attack). https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/theory-knowledge/201702/trait-neuroticism-and-depressive-and-anxiety-disorders

Karen Horney in “Our Inner Conflicts” said neurotic needs move us:
Toward others: those who seek affirmation & acceptance from others -needy, clingy, looking for approval & love
Away: those who are hostile & antisocial – aloof, cold & indifferent
Against: those who are also hostile, but with a need to control others, often described as difficult, domineering & unkind

MEDICAL/SOCIAL
• Scientific studies have found a correlation between a specific human gene & its corresponding allele pair and neuroticism. These cell components help to control the amount of serotonin released into the body, which when delivered unevenly, will continue to stimulate surrounding nerve cells, causing neurotic symptoms (anxiety)

• Not surprisingly – a 1998 study of over 9,500 UK residents found a higher number of neurotic disorders among poorer people. It’s possible that genetic factors predispose an individual to anxiety & neurosis, with outside factors triggering the symptoms.(MORE….)

IMP: Neurotics have a consolidated identity (not fragmented – being mostly in touch with reality), are well aware that something’s wrong (unlike PDs & psychotics), & can use ‘normal’ defenses (like CDs).

• With neuroses (n.), only a part of the personality is effected.  A person confronted with their feared issue (big dogs, snakes, airplanes, clowns, public speaking, visiting family….) will inevitably have an intense desire to avoid their specific issue. But their way of dealing with it is maladaptive, ie. the response ultimately moves the person away from their long-term needs (feeling safe) & goals (achievements).

✰ The main symptom is excessive anxiety, along with one or more physical manifestations (tight muscles, palpitation, headaches…..not based on illness), & may include anger & irritability, co-dependence, compulsive self-defeating behavior, low self-esteem, obsessive harmful thoughts & perfectionism.

Re. traumatic events – without psychological & spiritual help at the time of the originating stressor (rape, severe accident, death of parent, best friend, classmate….), the unconscious suppresses unbearable emotions, & sometimes even the memory of the event. Whether the person remember or not, their nervous system continue to experiences it as it did originally, becoming an ‘invisible injury. This makes dealing with their specific fear very difficult, while others parts of their life function relatively well. (MORE…..)

Neurotic reactions can be seen in one or more areas of ones life 
Beliefs: (‘verbal cognitions’), rigid & deeply protected theories about ourselves in the world, developed to justifying our actions/reactions
Defenses: trying to manage the tension between conflicting internal goals, & filter unacceptable ‘stuff ‘ out of full consciousness, but doing so at significant cost
Emotions: generally are either over-regulated (suppressed & not expressed) or under-regulated (hyper-sensitized & over-expressed)
Habits: automatic or ritualized patterns of visible actions used to alleviate anxiety & provide a sense of security
Relationships: adopting rigid styles of dealing with others, or having extreme reactions when not getting the connection they want/need

NEXT: Psych Disorders #4

Psychological DISORDERS (Part 2b)

BEING A HAPPY SENIOR
took a lot of effort!

PREVIOUS: Disorders #2a

SITE:  7  vitamin supplements that improve mental health

1. NORMAL (Healthy – cont.)

REVIEW: tools that improve Mental Health
• Value yourself     • Take care of your body (food, rest, exercise, sleep…)
• Learn how to deal with stress     • Quiet your mind  • Practice gratitude
• Surround yourself with good (healthy) people
• Set realistic goals   • Look for ways to change routines (travel, learn….)
• Express kindness to some else (but NOT at your one expense!)
• Practice saying NO!   • Get help when you need it!    (MORE ideas….)

NOTE: ACoAs can achieve a large portions of mental health by getting the right help & consistency using all the tools available to us, throughout our life!

DEFENSES
Our coping mechanisms develop organically in response to frustrating, difficult & painful situations / experiences. They function like a human firewall, a psychological immune system needed to defend against hurtful & abusive relationships, while hopefully allowing healthy / nurturing relationships to pass the protective walls. (Posts: Boundaries .… weak, rigid, healthy)

At their best:
Defenses are important to know about because they strongly influence how easily people can form & maintain healthy relationships, while being able to reject unhealthy relationships. Knowing when to be defensive & when not to be – is key for health.
We need them to keep us safe from people who mess with us, but also need to be able to relax & let the wall open up, to keep the capacity for innocence, availability & healthy connections. (Posts: Trust …. over. under, healthy)

At worst: Defenses are harmful & debilitating when they turn into psychological armor solidified into stone or iron, not allowing trust & spontaneous interactions with positive PPT (people, places, things) in our life.

 MATURE Defenses (Healthy)
Altruism = You derive true pleasure from helping other people—and if you couldn’t, you’d get depressed
Anticipation = When you know you’ll be faced with a challenging situation, you try to plan ahead so you won’t be overwhelmed
Distraction = When something upsetting may happen or has already happened, consciously deciding to put off distressing thoughts (which add anxiety) by temporarily focusing your attention on something less threatening

Humor (not humiliating, mean, sarcastic….) = You try to see the funny side of situations, even when they’re stressful or potentially upsetting
Identification (healthy version) = When in new or scary situation, you temporarily use characteristics of an admired/respected person you don’t automatically/naturally have (EXP from the Enneagram:  Picking up positive characteristics of the Number at the end of your Type’s “Security Point” arrow) 
Introjection (healthy version) = When you acknowledge a missing skill or trait you value – you can absorb inputs from the environment & make them a part of yourself
Sublimation = when you’re feeling anxious, you do something constructive such as cooking or woodworking
Suppression – If you’re bothered by something or someone, you keep the lid on your feelings if letting them show would interfere with your goals.

HERITABILITY (the likelihood of inheriting a trait) is a population-wide statistic which assesses the proportion of variation in the population one can attribute to heritable genetic variation.
— If heritability is 1.0, all of the variation is genetic – offspring are just a linear combination of their parents
— If heritability is ~0.0, then there’s basically no correlation between parents & offspring. While it’s a population-wide statistic, it can be informative on an individual level. EXP: the heritability of height is ~0.90 in the Western world. (More….)
See Survey CHART  re. Genetic influence on human psychological Traits – which can give a rough sense of the “pull” that biological inheritance will have on an individual. Biology may not be destiny, but it is definitely probability.

Some Behavioral Traits w/ HIGH Heritability
• Aggressiveness, Hard avoidance, Impulsivity, Reward-dependent
• Altruism, Empathy, Nurturance, Well-being, Persistence (or stubbornness)
• Assertiveness, Leadership, Constraint (non-impulsive)
• Sociability, Social closeness, Traditionalism, Physicality  (More….)

Article: “All Human Behavioral Traits are Heritable” from studies in BioDiversity

NEXT: Personality Disorders (#3a)