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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7662
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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Why am I so easily able to manipulate people? Why do I hurt

Customer Question

Why am I so easily able to manipulate people? Why do I hurt so much more for those I love than for myself? Why do I have so many walls for men to get through? My mother has a personality disorder of some sort. Is that why it is so hard for me to trust people?

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Dear friend,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I believe that I can help.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I would like to be able to chat with you.

Customer:

Er...alright, then.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Can you explain what you mean when you say that you hurt so much more for those you love than for yourself.

Customer:

... it hurts me (my soul, my inner being, my superego?) to see someone I love in pain, the emotional kind at least. I love people with too much passion, I think. I could beat the crap out of someone who hurt my sister but couldn't raise a fist when she once hit me.

Customer:

Does that explain anything?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Not yet.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You didn'

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

you didn't speak of loving your sister, you spoke of hating her attacker.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Are you a violent person?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Do you go into rages at times?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Do you ever hurt yourself or cut yourself?

Customer:

Accidentally hit enter, huh? I don't hate her attacker. I loathe the fact she had ever been attacked at all. I love my sister. It took a year to forgive her for hitting me, but I love her far more than I love myself.

Customer:

Rages? I get mad, sure. I've never really hurt someone, not even if it's a defensive maneuver. (My mom would've been hurt.) No. I don't hurt people. Or animals.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Was she attacked?

Customer:

Maybe. Probably. She was a bit spare on the details.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

How do you get mad?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

How do you show it?

Customer:

I throw books, topple mail piles over, that sort of thing.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

What sets you off?

Customer:

I don't have anger management issues. But when things go astray. I don't like change.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

What do you mean by change?

Customer:

I.e., a change from the norm.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

For example?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

What caused you to throw a book, etc. the last time you did it?

Customer:

My car wouldn't start.

Customer:

It was too cold.

Customer:

We have room for three cars in our garage, my mother just keeps too much junk so i can't park in there.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

So you were mad at your mother?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Indirectly?

Customer:

And the keys and my car...

Customer:

I only shoved a few mail piles and slammed my head against a wall twice. Wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't the second night in a row it had happened.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

That must have hurt.

Customer:

Ever passed a kidney stone? It didn't.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

And you said that to illustrate how much your head hurt?

Customer:

My head didn't hurt. A wee bit, nothing more.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Do you ever hurt yourself in other ways, such as cutting yourself?

Customer:

Once, not deep at all. I called a friend immediately to come help me. Dumped a guy. Took medical leave from classes.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Did you feel abandoned by the guy? Is that why you dumped him?

Customer:

No, he was very dependable but too needy. I was depressed. I had to cut what responsibility I could afford for my own sake.

Customer:

I was in a bad place at the time.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Were you abused or neglected or abandoned in any way when you were younger (anytime)?

Customer:

Depends on the definition. Yes, in a sense. My mother used me, threatened to take me away every time my sister or dad got to 'dissident' (not her word, of course), left me in a hotel room for twelve hours, woke me asking why i loved my dad more than her, had my sister arrested when she was just keeping her keys (Xanax and whiskey, bad combination apparently.).

Customer:

*too

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Do you ever engage in reckless behavior (spending money, driving, gambling, sex, etc.)

Customer:

Virgin, never gambled, don't drive more then three or four over the speed limit unless it's the end of the month and quotas are due. I spend money. Who doesn't? I don't buy anything that won't be used.

Customer:

Books, movies, games.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I asked about spending well beyond your means - that is reckless.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Do you have severe mood reactions or mood swings causing anxiety or depression or irritability lasting a few hours to a few days?

Customer:

I know myself well enough to know I can't leave home. My Dad is finally (Finally! At seven years old, i told him we needed mental aid.) able to see when i get too depressed. So I have no means. Not really. This might have been reckless.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

What is your mother's personality disorder?

Customer:

A few hours. My psychiatrist doesn't believe in giving anything a name. He implied it was similar to a prophecy, if you believe in it--it will come true. Borderline? She hasn't been diagnosed. But my psychiatrist has seen both of us, and after a session said so.

Customer:

He was more worried for me than her. She's not very nice to most people...unless she has an agenda

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

All of the questions I have been asking you concerned Borderline PD thus far.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Tell me about your being manipulative of othersA?

Customer:

O

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

others?

Customer:

Yes, I

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Would you like to see the official psychiatric diagnostic criteria for BPD?

Customer:

am aware. Psych major.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I will show them to you anyway.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

BPD – DSM-IV


1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.


2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterised by alternation between extremes of idealization and devaluation.


3. Identity disturbance - markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.


4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging, e.g. spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving or binge-eating.


5. Recurrent suicidal behaviour, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behaviour.


6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood, e.g. intense episodic dysphoria, irritability or anxiety, which usually lasts for between a few hours and several days.


7. Chronic feelings of emptiness


8. Inappropriate, intense anger, or difficulty controlling anger, e.g. frequent displays of temper, constant anger or recurrent physical fights.


9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.


Anyone with six or more of the above traits and symptoms may be diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. However, the traits must be long-standing (pervasive), and there must be no better explanation for them, e.g. physical illness, a different mental illness or substance misuse.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

What about being manipulative?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I know that your mom is and you said you are. Tell me HOW you are manipulative?

Customer:

I keep peace...or used to, when I was little...soothed nerves, mollified pride, etc. She threatened to take me from everyone else. I did everything I could not to be taken.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Feared abandonment - the classic cause of BPD.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You were not manipulative in that example.

Customer:

Of course I was.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Love has great power to influence but it is not manipulative which is cognitive whereas love is emotional.

Customer:

Manipulation, e.g. affecting the emotions or thoughts of another in a positive or negative way to suit one's own agenda.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

So this was for personal gain in a crafty and false way?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

So you don't really feel this, just use it as a tool?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Or a way of bending people? No feeling atatched?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

attached

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Can you feel real empathy for people?

Customer:

I don't understand. I always feel...TOO much even. It's my curse. At four, I went around finding the ones who needed a bit of light the most at my own grandfathers funeral.

Customer:

Of course, I'm not sure I knew my grandfather was dead. I was four.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Were you "clingy"?

Customer:

When? As a child? If so, yes.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Did you get nurture and support by helping others? Were or are you willing to go way out of your way to help or do unpleasant tasks to gain favor and support?

Customer:

I don't need favor or support or to string along people like a marionette. I *need* to trust. How do you learn to do that? (And, yes, of course I did. Helping people is like chocolate.)

Customer:

It's all I ever wanted. People say God tests everyone. Well, I think I've been tested for three. God has to have a reason for all this pain and emotional trauma and illness. For me to reach out, at least to a few...

Customer:

So they know they're not alone, like I was

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You need to trust so terribly badly because you could not trust your own mother. You could not even feel confident that you would not be abandoned. You want to find some one who will never abandon you like you were abandoned.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You have some elements of dependent personality disorder and borderline, both of which are due to abandonment.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You found that old boyfriend "too needy" but maybe didn't like him because sometimes you felt too needy.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You feel needy sometimes because you didn't get what you needed when you were young.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You can't trust others because you couldn't even trust the one that should protect and nurture you the most, and that was your mother, who was very possibly a narcissist.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I can recommend a workbook for you - a really good one based on Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

Customer:

What about inverted narcissism?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Here is the book link and then I will discuss it.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Inverted narcissism is a form of dependent personality disorder in which you would be dependent upon the narcissist - i.e. your mother.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

There is an interested article by narcissist expert Sam Vaknin. I have it in my file. Give me a second.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

http://www.narcissismfree.com/inverted-narcissist.php

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

they spell his name wrong in the article. It is VAKNIN.

Customer:

I'm not borderline. I care too much. I just don't trust.

Customer:

...and, hm, already seen that site. my sister was thorough.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You have elements of borderline: the anger, the occasional self hurt, the emotional states, but you are not diagnosable as such. You also have elements of dependent PD.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You could say Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified which is a real category, or you could say like your psychiatrist (I think similarly) to keep the label off.

Customer:

Hm. Psychology is rather new, in terms of scientific knowledge. And isn't the manual going to be modified soon, anyway?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Yes. What is your point?

Customer:

Nothing, really. What elements are dependent?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

This is not about labels but about getting some trusting psychotherapy.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Your strong need of nurture and trust is the biggest.

Customer:

...crap. I'd have to leave the state for that. My mom got kicked out of the best psychiatric and psychological clinic here.

Customer:

saying it'd be easier to buy a gun than see the director after 9/11--idiocy incarnate to the fourth degree.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

What are you talking about?

Customer:

Hm? Oh, my mother got kicked out of the leading heath center here. Not that she'd know that. She only sees what she wants to see.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

So where are you going with this?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

i GET IT.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Self-fulfilling prophecy. You fear that you are going to be abandoned and so you act in a way to have others abandon you and then feel justified that this is your fate. Continuous cycle.

Customer:

And? I could've told you that.

Customer:

Most of the time.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You have given me a demonstration over the course of the last hour and a half.

Customer:

I have? Huh. Must be the whole anonymous thing. I'm rather introverted.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Not when you are anonymous.

Customer:

...

Customer:

That's what I just said, typed, whatever.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You could reveal yourself.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Safe behind the wall.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Do you think that you are an aggressive person?

Customer:

The opposite.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

When you are anonymous?

Customer:

No, in general, I'm not aggressive. I don't get angry over stupid mistakes at work, or at really stupid questions in class. I'm an escapist, not a fighter.

Customer:

And revealing myself? whats to reveal? A minefield of psychological trauma?! I'm too damaged.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Yes you are hurt by terrible trauma. You can overcome this.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Dialectical BehavIor Therapy.

Customer:

Quaint. I've tried! But she's back in this house and is bringing the worst out in me. Normally I'm never so angry. But she. doesn't. remember. what. she's. done. In her mind, she is the eternal victim. I

Customer:

am no saint but certainly a better person than her...I hope.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

From what you said it is like night and day.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You say you can't leave but you should not stay around her.

Customer:

<And, yes, it's on my Kindle now.>

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

The workbook?

Customer:

Yes. I know! But I can't live at our other house, it's fifteen minutes to a grocery store. Plus, she has the keys.

Customer:

<And, i meant, yes, the workbook.>

Customer:

And not night and day, too dissimilar....more like dusk and dawn or twilight and dusk. I could so easily become her and that fear haunts me. She haunts me. In my dreams, in my life, in my dog's psychological well-being. I can't be her. I can't! I'd rather die than unleash another her into the world.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You won't. Your are not the same. You have heart and feelings and she is a sociopath.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I don't know if I have done you any good at all in these last nearly two hours, but I do not think that I can do any more tonight other than keep you in my prayers.

Customer:

No one can help me. My sister may be an inverted narcissist. But at least she can trust people. I...have an offer to leave. But it comes with strings. Strings that scare me.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

So you are saying that I did not help you and this time has been in vain?

Customer:

No, of course not.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Whewwww!

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I so much want to help you, even just a tiny drop.

Customer:

That would be disrespectful. I just meant, a lot of this, I've known for a long while. What seven year old tells her dad she needs to see a therapist, after all?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

A smart one.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Please work on the book.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

For starters.

Customer:

I'll try.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I wish you great success, and I WILL keep you in my prayers.

Customer:

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX requires both sound body and mind. I can work on my mind, but my body has been screwed up for ten years. I'd just like moderate-mild success.

Customer:

Anyhow, I feel a little better. I

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Take whatever you can get but aim hight.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

high.

Customer:

I choose neither the glass half full or empty, merely that someone forgot to bring the ce.

Customer:

*ice

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

As long as you know who is making the choices and if you are making the best and most appropriate ones to move yourself forward.

Customer:

I just want to move forward. I'll take what I can get.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Good woman.

Customer:

Shrugs. Thanks for listening. And the book thing.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You are very welcome. I'm glad to know you a little bit, and I believe that you can get past all of this trauma.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

God bless you and goodnight.

Customer:

Nite.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

:)

Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7662
Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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