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Hello I believe I can help you with your concern
I can imagine how distressful this must be for the child to experience physical and verbal abuse, as well as narcissism from their parents.
May I ask, how old is the child now?
And for how long did the abuse last?
the child is me... I am 56 years old. The physical and verbal abuse from my father lasted until I left home at 17. My mother is still the same as of right now
I knew at 15 that if I did not get out of my parents' home my life was lost to me.
I am so sorry that you suffered this abuse and narcissism from your parents as a child. So for the effects is can really depend on your resiliency as a child. If you are very resilient then you most likely would be able to develop strong coping strategies to not let this effect you as much as the average person. Of course the opposite can be said if you were not a very resilient child and the effects of the abuse and narcissism would have a greater impact on you. Some of the most common behavioral issues associated with this would be symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Where you would exhibit symptoms of depression, anxiety, have issues with attachment and relationships with others because getting close to someone may trigger memories of the abuse. Also you may have nightmares from this and become cold or detached in order to "put up a wall" protecting yourself from any perceived future abuse.
In addition, you could develop rapid mood changes, usually of negative symptoms, like anxiety, depression, anger, etc... Also some impulsivity and self-destructive behavior can be present from the this events in your childhood.
Low self-esteem and lack of confidence is also a typical characteristic in future behavior from this. You over analyze issues and lack assertiveness in certain areas. Also you may over-react to certain situations where our perceive to be slighted by someone or something
In some rare cases the individual can model their abusers behavior and you can actually develop narcissistic and controlling traits as well. You would mostly identify with the same gender, so this would be with your mother, but these are atypical cases and do not happen that often.
I see that you are typing, so I will wait for your response
Ok so I have been diagnosed in the past with both PTSD and depression. I saw my first psychologist when I was 16. Of my own accord with my own money. I have had two episodes of hospitalization. Taken Prozac and now I am not taking Prozac. I have been off of medication for 12 years. Heaven help me that I don't become like my mother. I have had the nightmares and come to grips with and accepted what happened with my father. Of late I am wondering if I really am over any of these things.
I thought after having over 25 years counseling that I would have developed all the coping skills I could ever need. But I feel depressed and have such self loathing
And now the magical thinking - there must be some reason why this is happening to me... out of all this negativity there must be something positive.
I am sorry that this is still effecting you. Childhood trauma has an enormous impact on the adult because your brain is still developing during that time, that it gets harmed by the effects of the abuse and that lasts well into your adulthood. Also the parent-child bond is the first relationship you are exposed to and when the parents abuse you in that relationship, it makes it so hard for you to develop other relationships and other bond.
I thought I had battled all my demons and put them to bed but I am not so sure any more. I think I am terrible at relationships.
Well you are still thinking there may be a positive, that is a good thing, so you still have hope. I imagine with that type of thinking you must have tried Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Yes - but the positive is just shear persistence and my belief that there is always something positive in negative situations. That is the balance of life.
I don't know that I am hopeful as much as I refuse to be defeated by this.
I understand that, but refusing to be defeated by this is very good and shows that you are persistent. Would you like to tell me what types of therapy you have tried in the past and maybe I can recommend some different for you. I can also recommend some more effective medications than the Prozac as well
I have had all types of group sessions - as well as CBT - and I have read extensively on depression. Just as football seems to be an American past time so does self diagnosis. Prozac helped me but I felt numb for the 7 years I was on it.
What are your suggestions? I feel like such a terrible and flawed person.
Do people really come out of this as whole or are they just a step up from being the walking wounded?
You are not a flawed person at all, you were abused as a child and that is not your fault at all. You cannot blame yourself for what they did to you, they were your parents, they were supposed to protect you. There are two therapy modalities that I would like to recommend. One is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), this is like CBT but there is a greater focus on emotions and also self-identity. The next one is called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). This uses rapid eye movement and bilateral eye movements to access neural pathways that were effected by the past trauma. This type of therapy has been shown to be very effective for individuals diagnosed with PTSD
People do come out of this whole again, but it can be a long journey as you can attest to. The symptoms of PTSD can be successfully managed with the right treatment
As for medication, I would recommend Lexpaor 10-20mg as this is also a SSRI like prozac but will not make your feel numb like it. Also if that does not work you can try a relatively new medication called Viibryd that is very effective.
Here is a link on DBT that can give you more information on it
Also this book details EMDR for you as well
Yes your are right my parents were supposed to protect me. I can't blame them. My father was abused by his mother and understood later in his life that what he did was unhealthy. He and I talked about it. I believe it or not I love my father in spite of the horror that I went through. My mother is quite another matter.
Well it sounds like your forgave your father, but you cannot blame yourself either
I don't think I blame myself - I just think I am fraying around the edges. I have told a few close friends that my emotional state is like being a leaper and I have to be so careful not to allow myself to get into situations which will open the flood gates of all that emotional "junk".
That makes sense, and with past trauma it would be hard to control emotions sometimes as an adult because the trauma hurt your emotional development
DBT is actually a really good therapy for the emotional control and to prevent those flood gates from opening as you described it
You are the first person whose said that makes sense. But being an emotional leaper is limiting. I don't see my family because the risk is too high for me - the emotional toll too much.
DBT sounds very hopeful. How will these medications make me feel. Not numb. Will I feel drugged? Just in general. I know that everyone is different.
Usually with the Lexapo or the Viibryd, you do not feel medicated or numb. Most individuals with the Lexapro and Viibryd feel more elevated, happy, and usually feel more energy. There are a lot of medications out there these days that are very effective for your symptoms. There is actually a new medication called Valdoxan that is supposed to come out early next year that has great antidepressant and antianxiety properties. I am excited to see how it does on the market
DBT is a great therapy that I have used on many individuals with PTSD to great success. I can also recommend a couple good DBT books too
I would be interested in the books as well. I have a tendency of immersing my self in order to effective deal.
Sure here you go
Thank you for your help.
Anytime, is there anything else I can help you with tonight?
I don't believe so. You've been very helpful. I hope the rest of your evening goes well.
Okay, well I do wish you the best of luck and I hope you have a wonderful rest of your weekend. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.
I will. Thank you.