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Selah R, M.S. LPC
Selah R, M.S. LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 582
Experience:  Licensed Professional Counselor; over 13+ yrs exp working with adults, teens, & families/couples.
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my girlfriend shows dual personalities. One seems to be the real her (balanced, mature, co

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my girlfriend shows dual personalities. One seems to be the real her (balanced, mature, confident, etc), and the other is very different in the way she believes, behaves, remember facts, distorts messages, is negative, etc. She can totally twist somenthing that I say (and it's normally connected to one of the traumatic events of her life). She gets angry, and doesn't believe in any clarification I give. She can also listen to phrases that I said that were never said by me. This tend to happen every 7 to 10 days. She's being treated for depression, but this change in behavior/personality has not changed. She also had psychotic crisis for 3 weeks about 10 months ago. She got also 3 different diagnostics (Schizofrenia, then Bi-polar, and then Depression). She's also doing therapy, but I believe it's not working as well. It's some sort of ego boosting therapy and she feels as if she's never been better. Could she have some disorder that needs medication and is not necessarily depression?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Selah R, M.S. LPC replied 3 years ago.

Selah R, M.S. LPC : Thank you for trusting JustAnswer with your important question.
Expert:  Selah R, M.S. LPC replied 3 years ago.
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Expert:  Selah R, M.S. LPC replied 3 years ago.
Sorry for that, chat froze up on my computer.

The phrase dual personality has been used to describe several different psychological issues.
- Bipolar Disorder: mood disorder in which significant mood changes happen that include episodes of depression alternating with episodes of mania or hypomania. Manic episodes may contain psychotic symptoms.
- Schizophrenia: thought disorder in which hallucinations are a major component. Depression and even thoughts of grandiosity seen in Bipolar can happen. If the mood changes and psychotic symptoms are both strong, Schizoaffective Disorder may be diagnosed.
- Dissociative Identity Disorder: dissociative disorder which typically forms in early childhood due to significant abuse or trauma. People with DID feel as though there is more than one ego state, or person, or alter ego, sharing their body. One of the hallmark symptoms is the loss of memory for large chunks of time in the past memory, and loss of time awareness in their current life.
- Borderline Personality Disorder: personality disorder that is usually present starting in teens or early adulthood. Significant changes in relationships, difficulty tolerating strong emotions, and fears of abandonment are common Issues. Classic example is relationships in which they completely and deeply love someone, then after a relatively small offense can feel total hatred and anger towards the partner.

Depression may be her main symptom right now, but her medications may include mood stabilizers if they believe there could be a Bipolar Disorder. Mood stabilizers and antipsychotics medications can also be used with Schizoaffective Disorder and severe Borderline Personality Disorder. Her therapist or doctors may believe that she has Borderline Personality Disorder, but they may be billing with Depression as the main (or only) problem due to insurance company restrictions on treating Borderline and other personality disorders.

So read up on these and see if any fit. Then talk to your girlfriend about your concerns that she may not be getting the right or best treatment options. You may need to have her go through a psychological evaluation with a clinical psychologist complete with in-depth testing to make sure they have a better understanding of her symptoms. You may also need to attend some sessions with her to share your side and your observations with the counselor or psychiatrist because she could be reporting that things are better than they really are. Specific types of therapy that are also worth researching are CBT and DBT, which might be more useful than the standard supportive and insight oriented talk therapy modalities.

Sincerely,
Selah
Selah R, M.S. LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 582
Experience: Licensed Professional Counselor; over 13+ yrs exp working with adults, teens, & families/couples.
Selah R, M.S. LPC and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you very much Selah, you got me good clues. Let me put here a full summary of the whole story and I can give you a bonus for extra $15.

 

 

My girlfriend manifests two types of personalities, where behaviours, beliefs, perceptions of the facts, and mood vary significantly, and are very contradictory. This switch tends to happen at a very predictable rate (every 7 to 10 days). The trigger is something we are discussing and she completely misunderstands what I said, my intentions, my mood. She won't listen to any clarifications I try to make. She simply attacks me which end up driving me mad at her at certain point and we have horrible arguments. Another important point, this switch happens exactly when we reach a new peak of love.

 

The first personality seems to be the real her. She's very mature, believes in our relationship (we have all that the other always wanted - I see the same). For her and for me we have the most complete type of love we've ever had before (she has all she's ever wanted: love, affection, great sex, friendship, my support and her need to support me, I'm sensible, understanding, etc.). She realizes she's instable and hurts me for things that have no connection to me, and she's sad because she hates doing that to me. She acknowledges that when her personality changes, she gets into some sort of "bubble" were she's disconnected from her feelings and she becomes cold with a strong need to be in peace. In reality, she's very caring, and my feelings are really important to her. She makes plans about us moving together, but she's responsible in the sense that she knows we have issues that need to be worked on before that.

 

The second personality is full of fear. She fears I don't love her enough (or I don't love her at all), she doesn't believe her love for me as well (as if she's needy and falls for the first one who says "I love you"), she fears a lot being broken heart and she can't allow herself to love me fully otherwise she'll go back to the black hole she was June last year (see details later). She can't be with me for her kids (2 kids, 10 and 7) even though they truly like me and one of them sees me as a father figure already. She sabotages us. She can completely twist something I say, and sometimes she listen or even read words and sentences I never said or wrote. She's very negative about us, and she has the very strong need to go back to her old routine (comfort zone), where she's almost like a single mother of two, works, doesn't need a man, is constantly tired, frustrated, moody, and sometimes depressive, where she has almost no time for herself, and has her life pretty much controlled by the travel schedule of her ex-husband. She also believe she's doing great. She can be very stubborn, completely cold towards my feelings, she has the need to hurt me because I hurt her (she can't see what she did to create the whole argument). She's very sure she doesn't want to come back to me and we'll never work out. She minimizes anything good we have and empower anything negative we have.

 

NOTE: these personalities changes also affect the way she deals with the kids; changing from tough but caring and responsible mother, to spoiling mother

 

Key Aspects of her life:

 

- Loss of her mother (cancer) when she was 11

- Father becomes alcoholic and can't take care of family (she always resents the total lack of support throughout her life towards her - example, when she divorced, he didn't even call. There are too many examples).

- She becomes "mom" of the family

- The father hires a maid who's very abusive, saying things that totally hurt her self esteem. She goes often to her room, hit her head with flip-flops for hours until she gets into some sort of a trance, a state of peace.

- From late adolescence to the age of 26 she had 3 long term relationships. She also had many good friends (her memories of childhood and adolescence are as if they were really great).

- Soon after breaking up with a boyfriend she meets her future husband. She had "love at first sight", and dates him for 1 month. He lives in a different country. She visits him and spends two weeks with him there, and then they date over the phone for about 3 months. She decides to move to Canada to marry him. Friends and family say she's nuts. She's stubborn and does it anyways. 3 years later they have a baby. Problems start to be evident (his constant traveling, lack of support, grumpy/fussy behaviour, low intimacy, different values, egoistic behaviour, etc). Despite that, 2 years later they decide to have a second child. Her motto was "this relationship has to work at all costs". It lasted 12 years, she developed depression, was constantly exhausted (as she also studied/worked), and didn't get what she really wanted. Despite that, she says she would have done everything again "for her kids".

- Soon after they split, she gets involved with a great friend whom she knew wasn't the right guy for her. Both were very hurt in the relationship. It lasted 3 months, although they were still emotionally connected for about 5 months after that. The guy complained a lot of her "back and forward behaviour - pro relationship, against relationship. He said she was crazy. Last talk they had while still "connected" she believes he said that for him, it was pretty much about sex (and she felt like used as a sex toy). He denies saying that.

- May last year, she starts developing pre psychotic crisis symptoms. In late may her best friend then (my ex-wife) realizes I have feeling for her and mistreats my girl (my ex-and I were splitting). Fernanda gets into a 3 week period of psychotic crisis. In this meantime, she also lost the "support" from her ex who found out about her relationship with the ex-friend (and he was very cruel to her, even knowing of her very delicate state)

- She attempted suicide. She took several pills, and was about to take more pills when I called her and went there for help.

 

- She's got 3 diagnostics: 1: Schizophrenia. 2: Bi-polar (less than 2 months later). 3: Depression (one month later). She's being taken medicines for depression since then: Wellbutrin, Pristiq, and a third for sleeping problems.

 

- She's also in therapy for the last 8 months. She's starting to realize it's not working. The therapy is mostly about boosting her ego, so she feels she's never been better in her entire life. But the problems, the twist of personalities, and the predictable constancy of those persist.

 

I suspect she may have Dependent Personality Disorder and/or as you suggested Borderline Personality Disorder. I believe she need some medicine she's not taking, and definitely she needs better therapy and we've just started going to couple's therapy - she was reluctant for months and now she sees the value.

 

Please, any help will be significantly appreciated. Thanks

Expert:  Selah R, M.S. LPC replied 3 years ago.
It's not uncommon to have diagnosis change as people get to know her and her symptoms better. It sounds like the psychotic episode lead to the Schizophrenia diagnosis, but as they saw more of her mood changes and got to better know her psychological history they changed it to Bipolar. Now they may have backed that down to depression because if her shifts are happening on a predictable basis then that is not Bipolar.

Right now it's hard to say what is going on because of the predictable time you see between switching personality styles. That's just highly unusual for any disorder. Unless there is a trigger that is happening on the same schedule. For example, going to church for Sunday services could trigger a different alter personality to be out and functioning in someone with DID. But it's still rare to never see that personality switch take place at other times.

She may have a diagnosis that doesn't totally fit the standard diagnosis labels. For example, if she dissociates and feels like she has personality swings, but she doesn't have the memory gaps and other functional differences we'd see in someone with DID, then she might be given a diagnosis like "Dissociation Disorder Not Otherwise Specified."

Here is a test for dissociation can help her find out if dissociation is a symptom or if it's actually possibly a disorder at this point:
http://counsellingresource.com/quizzes/des/index.html

If she is no longer feeling like counseling is helping, it's time to find someone new. If she feels like her thoughts and self-talk are overly negative, pessimistic, or anxiety-based then Cognitive Behavioral Counseling can be very beneficial. If she feels like her emotions are too intense, and that it's hard for her to really know what her thoughts and beliefs are because of those strong emotions, then Dialectical Behavior Counseling can be a better fit. She can look at counselors in her area and read about their counseling styles and beliefs at PsychologyToday.com. A good therapist can work with her psychiatrist to address any changes in medications that might be needed, which may change depending on what they are processing in therapy.

I'd still recommend seeking someone who specializes in trauma, because they will have the skills to work with dissociation, depression, and borderline tendencies because those are all very common in the trauma population.

Sincerely,
Selah
Selah R, M.S. LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 582
Experience: Licensed Professional Counselor; over 13+ yrs exp working with adults, teens, & families/couples.
Selah R, M.S. LPC and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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