Why them & not us?

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PDinStereo

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Why them & not us?
« on: July 20, 2017, 07:55:55 PM »
In sandpiper's thread on the taboo around discussing abusive mothers, I said that if our parents were themselves never parented, children are an unwanted reminder of their own emotionally impoverished childhood, and they largely either resent the messenger or try to get those needs met by the child - except for us. I said "I can understand not wanting to be one of us - bootstrapping yourself out of the generations of unmet needs is not something I would wish on anyone. The pain, once acknowledged, is immense. But why us and not them? Why can we, and not them? I've never come to a satisfactory answer."

Sandpiper mentioned personality factors, resilience, having a key figure in your life that made a difference, structural and genetic influences of brain functioning particularly relating to the ability to regulate emotions - particularly with regard to James Fallon's research on the psychopath "gene." Hazy 111 mentioned Robert Plomin's search for and failure to find genes that explain personality differences. And feel free to recap or expand your own thoughts, sandpiper and Hazy, I'm summarizing to avoid a hugely long OP.

From my point of view, there are three possible answers to the "why them and not me" problem:
(1) Environment/nurture - childhood development factors, e.g., sandpiper's point about having a connection with a role model
(2) Genes/nature
(3) Epigenetics - genetic potentials activated by environmental experiences

So, Fallon's discovery that psychopaths have identifiable patterns on brain scans that show significant lack of arousal as compared to the rest of the population in parts of the brain associated with a fear response is a straightforward argument for genes as a cause of a class of genetic psychopaths, like himself. Fallon's main (self-serving, IMO) point is that a person can have this lack of fear-arousal pattern (and another lack of activity in areas of the brain associated with empathy) and still not be antisocial in the classic sense if they are properly socialized in childhood, i.e., a genetic psychopath can be a pro-social sociopath if the childhood developmental factors are positive.

Psychoanalysis, on the other hand, for example, operates on a pure environmental model and traces, as far as I know, nearly every possible psychological disorder to childhood development factors and later life situations that cannot be effectively regulated and processed because they require developmental milestones the person is missing.

Epigenetics is the idea that, for example, a significant traumatic experience could "flip a genetic switch" in what used to be thought of as our "junk DNA" and bring about new genetically-influenced personality factors during the person's lifetime that would maybe then be inheritable by the next generation just like the genes that operated as phenotypes (expressed genes) at that person's birth. I'm not sure it's all that relevant here, but I thought I'd throw it in anyway for the sake of completeness.

There are biological structural brain factors as well that could be secondary to genetics or the environment that are significant enough to consider a cause of personality on their own, like, say, Phineas Gage? You know, having your brain impaled by a railroad spike - that probably counts.  ;)

I'm pretty much 100% on the environmental/nurture side here for all practical purposes, anyway, mostly because of my own successful experience with psychoanalysis, which resolved not only many things we typically associate with fleas, but also, as I went through therapy, resulted in me only being able to tolerate progressively lower and lower doses of my ADD medication, which is nearly universally thought to be genetic, and for very good reasons - but that is super controversial and this isn't an ADD forum, so I'll leave that alone. But I say to put out this idea that I really believe that things we do emotionally can have effects on the neurochemistry of the brain.

Anyway, on the actual question of why them and not us, I have no idea. I don't love my preference for environmental factors there, because I did not have a healthy non-parental adult in childhood who I may have attached to securely or any of the other factors outside of the family that you usually see mentioned there. So it seems to lead to the conclusion that if I'm better off than my parents, it's because my parents were not as bad as their parents. And honestly, that may be. But then it feels like I should be grateful to my parents for managing to at least move the ball down the field, and try as I might to feel that way, it's a hard thing to get comfortable with. It seems like there would then just be this standard amount of progress from generation to generation over time, and we're just the ones lucky enough to hit the event horizon where bootstrapping yourself out of the generational cycle of abuse becomes possible. And yet, I've read stories from people here and elsewhere that seem like the person has made NOT standard, but tremendous gains over the emotional maturity level of the parents, and sometimes that person is, like, only 19.

The other thing I can say based on what I've seen here is that posters here in these family forums seem like really, really good writers compared to the internet on average. So I have this working hypothesis that raw intelligence, which is genetic, is a factor. Any of the PDs I can think of who are truly genuinely very intelligent, and not suffering under the illusion of the Dunning-Kruger effect (in short, the less you know about something, the less capable you are of seeing your ignorance), are like Fallon - potential genetic psychopaths. My ex-husband is like this. He is demonstrably very intelligent in a profession involving data analysis, like Fallon (he also has the very same risk-taking behavior as Fallon, right down to the part where they like to secretly dupe other people into taking the risks too without their knowledge, AND the same lack of normal fear response - which is really handy when you have to, say, avoid an oncoming vehicle in the wrong lane around a corner that you only had a mere second to react to, that kind of thing). AND he is aware of and able to talk about his parents' deficiencies and the developmental effects that would be expected to have on his own personality, more or less. But the odd thing is that he really doesn't care about any of that, even though his father is just like him and was absent for long periods of his life and extremely emotionally and sometimes physically abusive when he was around. The knowledge that his Dad was abusive led to no insight, and so he was, of course, extremely emotionally and sometimes physically abusive to me and would have been an absolutely horrific parent. Other than that, I've not seen any of the PDs I know be capable of exhibiting the clarity of thought and expression, open-mindedness, and ability to grasp theoretical concepts that people regularly exhibit on this board.

Food for thought. Looking forward to reading your thoughts.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2017, 08:05:42 PM by PDinStereo »

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Hazy111

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Re: Why them & not us?
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2017, 10:06:02 PM »
Im firmly in the nuture camp.

Id like to throw another factor in the mix. Body chemistry. Levels of stress hormone. Cortisol.

If a mother is highly stressed in one pregnancy and not another, one child can be born with high or lower levels of what is considered normal. Studies show that this can be stuck like  a thermostat  too high or low for life. Thus one child can become extremely anxious reacting to events compared to another and this can affect the mothers reactions to that child.

My mother said she was highly stressed carrying me and i have high than average levels of cortisol measured through out the day even when not stressed. I have the classic body signs of high cortisol levels from an early stage.  My bio chemistry was warped from the start and i was always tired and sleepy she said, whereas my sister was  up with the lark and full of energy. This is not genetics.

One thing with the its all to do with nuture/ environment, it effectively places parents, more specifically mothers in the dock and as we say this is still a societal taboo. too much insight and reflection can be vary painful.  Its much easier to blame genes.

My uBPD mother was fond of blaming my fathers genes for our many faults. I once asked her what explained her faults then?? Wrong move!

Ill just post this here about the genes and personality angle.

https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-28/december-2015/not-your-genes

PDinStereo ; note backs up what you say on ADD

Hazy

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PDinStereo

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Re: Why them & not us?
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2017, 10:15:44 PM »
Cortisol levels could be epigenetic.

But higher cortisol levels are maybe not determinative on the PD or non-PD question. My younger sister has all the classic biological markers of high cortisol as well - to an extreme degree - but refuses to consider it because, you know, I mentioned it and she's an N GC.

My parents blamed genes for everything too, but where they're convinced that I'm different because I got all the "bad," mental illness genes. So I'll note we both share an arguable bias against the gene explanation. ;-)

Also, d*mn, I wrote a really long OP after all. Oops.

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Hazy111

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Re: Why them & not us?
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2017, 11:43:31 PM »
I should have explained more fully. I didnt mean that high stress levels are a cause of PD per say, but its affect on a child might be one of the many factors in how a mother reacts to a child during the early years creating a PD adult. ie the already unstable mother reacts negatively to say the childs irritability, crying etc. She cant relate to it emotionally , it makes her more stressed and it becomes a feedback loop. or she smothers it emotionally over reacting to everything.

 On your point about Pd having basically no insight. I dont necessarily agree, some do, but the thing is they cant really change. If theyre triggered for whatever reason they react accordingly. Afterwards they can reflect and think i did it again. Theyre  like the relapsing alcoholic.

Intelligence and curiosity are also keys when it comes to insight i feel.

Insight as they say though,  is no cure.

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PDinStereo

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Re: Why them & not us?
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2017, 03:03:44 AM »
On your point about Pd having basically no insight. I dont necessarily agree, some do, but the thing is they cant really change. If theyre triggered for whatever reason they react accordingly. Afterwards they can reflect and think i did it again. Theyre  like the relapsing alcoholic.

Me neither. I think PDs are developmental disorders. But if there is this OTHER thing that is genetic psychopathy, I think a marker of those people is the way self-knowledge does not lead to insight. You can see this by observing Fallon in one of his videos (he is, of course, not aware of it, ha).

Curious, why chalk your cortisone levels up to in utero? Shifts in the HPA axis & cortisone levels are known (IMO, maybe epigenetic) markers of PTSD and the like.

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Danden

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Re: Why them & not us?
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2017, 01:38:06 PM »
I appreciate all the talk about nature/nurture, but  I think identifying the cause wouldn't be enough to understand the problem.  Whether it was nature or nurture, neither nature nor nurture can be undone.  The brain is molded to its experiences throughout life, and especially, childhood experiences have a big effect.  For example, an infant learns to speak by listening to others speak.  Once a first language is learned, it is molded into the brain.  If a person learns a second language before the age of 5 or so, they take to the second language in the same way as the first, they speak it automatically.  But if they learn a second language at a later age, they learn the second language by its relationship to the first language, that is to say, not impicitly.  It requires translation.   After a certain molding has occurred, the ability to speak two languages automatically, implicitly, is lost. So there is a window of opportunity for certain things to occur.  If, from the time of birth, an infant does not receive adequate love and nurturing, they will be seriously hampered in their ability to give and receive love from that point on.  This impairment will be greater or lesser and may be modified by environmental factors, but the impairment will always be there.

I look at it holistically.  In general, different people have different capacities to achieve things in life.  We all strive for the best things whether emotionally, spiritually, physically, economically.  To the degree that we can achieve those things, we can modify the negative aspects of our life for the better.  For some people this can mean throwing oneself into work and achieving success in the world.  That is something that doesn't depend a lot on emotional relationships.  For others, this can mean helping those less fortunate through community service or exercising regularly to feel strong in one's body.  The idea is to find something that mitigates the negative effect for that person.  This requires having an open and creative mind to identify that thing.  And this requires thinking outside the box.  And it also requires a fighting spirit, a rejection of helplessness.  Some people have a lesser ability to do this, and they remain mired in the negative aspects of their life. 

My M had an abusive childhood that included emotional neglect, lack of food, her mother's death, physical abuse, medical neglect and an early marriage.  As an adult, she was able to mitigate these negative aspects of her life to a degree, but at the same time, the stresses of her adult life brought out the worst in her as well.  On the whole, balancing these two things, it was not enough for her to have a healthy, good (enough) life.  I did not have all the negative things in my life that she had, but I had some for sure, and others that she did not.  I have overcome the negative things to a degree, but probably not 100%.  Maybe I reached a critical threshold, at least I hope so.  I am hopeful that eventually, there will be a generation that is free of this altogether.

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PDinStereo

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Re: Why them & not us?
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2017, 08:02:29 PM »
I'd agree that early life nurture factors are somewhere between unchangeable and resistant to change, depending on the factor (e.g. the brain development resulting from exposure to sound needed for cochlear implants to work seems to be unchangeable). I believe, though, that emotional regulation, maturity, attachment, etc. are resistent to change, but not unchangeable. Not that I believe my *parents* will change.

I wholeheartedly agree about the role of open-mindedness and creativity. It's more or less encompassed by the Big 5 personality scale's openness dimension? What factors contribute to developing higher openness is an open question. It somewhat, but not entirely, correlates to intelligence.

I think about it in terms of systems effects. That is probably more or less similar to thinking about it holistically.

I hope my daughter is meaningfully more free of this than I have been too.

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sandpiper

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Re: Why them & not us?
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2017, 04:55:02 AM »
This is fascinating, I'm so glad you started it.
I'm on the fly here, so the only thing I want to add is a comment on the writing skills.
I kept a diary from a very early age & I wrote every day.
A few years ago I stumbled over a research paper on veterans with PTSD, which showed that those who wrote down their stories (alongside trauma therapy) and who developed a meaningful narrative about their experience were the ones who made the best recovery. It actually changed their brains.
Sorry I don't have the link, but I'm sure someone could probably find it. Could have been Australian research as I keep a close eye on Veterans' support services.
So the very act of being at these support boards could be something that changes our brains, and while I'm all for real-life group therapy, I wonder if there's a difference in outcome between real-life support groups where you process your stuff via vocalising it, and here, where you write it down. Different brain pathways could lead to different outcomes.
My original therapy was transactional analysis & Gestalt & for me, it was cathartic. It rebooted my psyche.
I wonder if that, in part, was the need for someone in the real world to bear witness to your pain.
So much of communication is non-verbal, that being in group, and telling your story, and seeing the faces of your audience change...and the feeling that you have when you see someone telling their story.
That's incredibly powerful.
Anyway. those are my thoughts, just quickly, before I have to get back to my real-world demands.
Brilliant discussion, I'm really enjoying this.

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Rose1

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Re: Why them & not us?
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2017, 08:51:10 AM »
Fascinating I agree. I'm in the nurture camp but with some nature. Exbpdh (diagnosed with bpd and bi polar as well as adhd) fluctuated in life. There is a strong history in the family, his mother low functioning ubpd   and ubipolar (never had any evaluation), him, and daughters. Youngest bi polar, autism spectrum, oldest adhd and some mild ocd. Ex had bi polar and pd on one side, adhd and enmeshment on the other. Plus from observations from relatives before I knew him, had some very undesirable traits in childhood including violent behaviour which seemed to come out of nowhere. Ex was gc and only. Gc of exmil and on a pedestal, not so golden of enfil who attempted to balance him out with emotional abuse. Awful mix. This I believe developed pd in a child that because of the bi polar and add was already fragile. He observed that certain behaviour in his mother got her what she wanted and learned to model it as well.
Now he wasn't really aware of this (I thought). We married and he improved, could see the dysfunction in his family and made an effort to overcome the add. As he approached his 40s though he started to regress. This may be because we had children and one with a lot of support needs and he was no longer the centre of attention.  He started behaviour that was similar to his mother's attempts to get her own way. He started threats of suicide (had tried that early in our marriage and then not again for 20 years, then regularly). He tried  bad aggressive behaviour, passive aggressive behaviour, setting me up, accusing me of having an agenda. Firmly on his parents side now with no more acknowledgement of their dysfunction, eventually left to go back to mother.
Since then hasn't  worked except occasionally, making sure to dodge child support and tax, remarried and I guess is again the centre of attention. Parents have died. He remained firmly of the belief that they were the most wonderful parents ever, meant the best for me etc (they didn't and actively worked against our marriage). He has no relationship with his children. He says he has a wonderful life but when I saw him last I actually felt sorry for his wife and thought "I dodged a bullet".
So the nurture, while abated for a while, got him in the end when he moved back into that situation. I feel strongly that he had the ability to change but that he eventually allowed his desire to have it all his way and not have any responsibility to overcome his progress. Plus associating again with his foo dynamic just made the whole thing worse.
So certainly some genetic predisposition to the pd behaviour and a willingness to learn it, but also sadly a failed attempt to overcome it. I can remember when he must have decided to continue down his mother's path. He had been treated for bi polar, successfully medicated and the psychiatrist told him he was 80% cured and to complete the process he now needed to take back his responsibilities, start work, look after his wife and kids etc. From that day he went downhill. Which indicates choice and awareness sadly.
So why didn't he want to continue to hold it together? The lure of doing what he wanted? Encouraged by his parents? (he was actually), less able to hold it together with age? Wanting to be the centre of attention no matter what? I suspect the last, along with the freedom to do exactly as he pleased and the learned tools to achieve that. Is he happy? Most likely not.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2017, 08:56:08 AM by Rose1 »

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PDinStereo

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Re: Why them & not us?
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2017, 09:00:55 AM »
A few years ago I stumbled over a research paper on veterans with PTSD, which showed that those who wrote down their stories (alongside trauma therapy) and who developed a meaningful narrative about their experience were the ones who made the best recovery. It actually changed their brains.

Seeing evidence for this all over - but the WRITTEN narrative part is new to me. Cool.

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PDinStereo

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Re: Why them & not us?
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2017, 09:09:57 AM »
Rose - my psychoanalytic T would have chalked up bi-polar to failure to develop emotional regulation abilities, asperger-type autism (now all considered high-functioning?) to inhibiting oneself to affective empathy (to not feel disturbing feelings of PD parents), and ADD to other various inhibitions against things like areas of success that would be threatening to PD parents & basic noticing (to lack awareness of threatening aspects of PD parents).

I'm simplifying, and it's not necessarily my own POV so I may not be doing it justice, but figured I'd throw it out there.

My personal guess is that if bi-polar is nuture due to undeveloped emotional regulation ability, it's probably one of those nurture things that is nearly impossible to change.

If bi-polar people only had symptoms around other people, I'd consider where it was related to under-developed boundaries & "catching" other people's feelings, but I don't think it's that way.

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wintersnighttraveler

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Re: Why them & not us?
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2017, 10:12:00 AM »
As an adopted child, I have pretty firm beliefs in inherited personality differences because neither my brother nor myself are anything like my parents. Or each other. On the other hand, I have started to see how early attachment has affected me and how having an attachment disorder with my mother contributed to my CPTSD.

It's possible that the two major separations I experienced in the first year of my life (from my birth mother and then from a foster mother), set me up for insecure attachment and then I won the jackpot of being adopted by a PD mom with extreme anxiety, probably an anxious attachment style. My detachment did not gel with her constant need for me to emotionally reflect her feelings back at her, which caused her to cling more and me to distance myself further. But this does not make my abuse her fault and it doesn't make her a helpless victim of circumstances.

Anyway, all this is to say is that I have seen the power of genetics really very clearly. My mom's family is extremely alike. From the sound of their laughter to their high anxiety and tendency to closemindedness and abusive behaviors.

On the other hand, it also seems pretty clear that circumstances contributed to the situation. My mother's father died when she was young and I have been told by close relatives that this really arrested her development. Her PD may have been triggered by this. It's like she's stuck in that naturally narcissistic phase of childhood. Her mother was also apparently very abusive, as was her mother, which may have resulted in PD coming down through the generations.

However, I don't have a personality disorder, and I was always searching for ways to cope and deal with my negative behaviors in a positive way. My mother and father seem to lack self-awareness entirely and think they are perfect as is and that the world needs to adjust to accommodate them. Fundamental personality difference between us.  As an aside, a hilarious example of this is my mom wouldn't learn to use chopsticks when she went to China because she assumed that everyone would be stocking forks "in case she came in".  :no:

Wow, so rambling way to say that I don't know where PDs come from and how if they are passed down. But it's a fascinating subject.

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Inurdreams

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Re: Why them & not us?
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2017, 01:18:36 PM »
\

Anyway, on the actual question of why them and not us, I have no idea. I don't love my preference for environmental factors there, because I did not have a healthy non-parental adult in childhood who I may have attached to securely or any of the other factors outside of the family that you usually see mentioned there. So it seems to lead to the conclusion that if I'm better off than my parents, it's because my parents were not as bad as their parents. And honestly, that may be. But then it feels like I should be grateful to my parents for managing to at least move the ball down the field, and try as I might to feel that way, it's a hard thing to get comfortable with. It seems like there would then just be this standard amount of progress from generation to generation over time, and we're just the ones lucky enough to hit the event horizon where bootstrapping yourself out of the generational cycle of abuse becomes possible. And yet, I've read stories from people here and elsewhere that seem like the person has made NOT standard, but tremendous gains over the emotional maturity level of the parents, and sometimes that person is, like, only 19.


I agree with this^^.

I never had an outside person to protect, nurture of mentor me, either.  I also moved away from home at 18, had my own apartment, alone, full time job, etc. for 2 years before I married. And I never went wild, in fact I was overly responsible.  But I wouldn't necessarily say it was because I was so moral, but rather I was determined stay on my own and not have to go crawling back to my parents.

I do find it interesting why I was and am so different from my siblings.  We were all abused but while they were clingy, why was I not?  What happened to me to cause me to have the courage to walk away from it all, especially at such a young age?

I have thought that perhaps by me being the oldest child I was given more, if not all responsibility for raising my siblings as well as maintaining peace in the home and it was simply too much for any child, so when the door opened (when I was legally considered an adult) I walked out.  Oddly, my own NM actually told me just before my 18th birthday that I had better be making plans for my future because I was not going to be living at home once I turned 18.  Now that might sound cruel to some people, but I was shouting hallelujah, inside.

I do wonder if those of "us" who were able to escape and live a responsible life, void of pitfalls of early adulthood (i.e. drugs. alcohol, abhorrent behavior) do so as a result of the unintentional push by our parents to assume the role of parent within our own childhoods.  Hell, I was parent/cook/cleaner/teacher/mediator/protector from as far back as I remember.  I had no problem transitioning from child to adult because I had to be the adult for most of my childhood.

I'm not sure I am articulating this well.  While I have always believed nurture is the determining factor in whether someone develops a PD, I am rethinking this.  By all rights, based on how I was raised I should be a pathetic, drug addicted mess, living on the streets. having a dozen children by a dozen different fathers, on public assistance, unemployed, etc.  With this being said, it kind of throws nurture out the window.

So, if not nurture, then what?  I am kind of an anomaly in my entire family system, so I really can't see where genetics can be a factor, at least for me.  And I would think if epigenetics were involved, there would be evidence of it in someone else within my family, and I just have not seen any.

I think this was a great question, PDinStereo.  We spend so much time trying to analyze how someone with a PD becomes the way they are and rarely explore why or how we nons, raised in a PD home are not.



Peek not through the keyhole lest ye be vexed. - Stephen King


Response to a Flying Monkey:  Apparently you are suffering under the delusion that I give a damn.

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all4peace

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Re: Why them & not us?
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2017, 01:26:13 PM »
Epigenetics is the idea that, for example, a significant traumatic experience could "flip a genetic switch" in what used to be thought of as our "junk DNA" and bring about new genetically-influenced personality factors during the person's lifetime that would maybe then be inheritable by the next generation just like the genes that operated as phenotypes (expressed genes) at that person's birth. I'm not sure it's all that relevant here, but I thought I'd throw it in anyway for the sake of completeness.
PDinStereo, you're on fire lately! I've been fascinated by your posts! So, thank you for this particular paragraph. I have long wondered HOW something came to be genetic. For instance, we know that alcoholism has a genetic component to it but how does that get started? At some point some person had to have triggered this in their body by drinking wayyyyyy too much alcohol, but I never understand the mechanism. Your paragraph above finally answers that for me.

Frankly, your post is so dense (as in thick, full of things to be sorted through and digested) that I'll need more time to think about it before posting more. Very thought provoking. Thank you!

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all4peace

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Re: Why them & not us?
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2017, 07:35:18 PM »
Another quick thought. I remember reading Issendai's fascinating blog posts on "estranged parents" forums. S/he postulated that the children of PDs may often be doing better than their parents because our experiences were just enough better than what our own parents experienced as children to give us a tiny leg up in our development, to have somewhat more emotional intelligence and the strength to distance ourselves from our abusive situations.

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Rose1

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Re: Why them & not us?
« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2017, 08:27:04 PM »
Perhaps it's individual resilience? My d's neurologist said the tendency and chemical imbalance is inherited, then environmental factors kick in. This is also the view expressed in my psychology textbook.

I also think an element of taking the easy way out is involved as seen with exbpdh and his mother. It was easier to behave badly and get their own way than to comply with expectation. Not always because those things they wanted to do got done.

Hard to say really.

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PDinStereo

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Re: Why them & not us?
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2017, 12:37:07 AM »
I do find it interesting why I was and am so different from my siblings.  We were all abused but while they were clingy, why was I not?  What happened to me to cause me to have the courage to walk away from it all, especially at such a young age?
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I'm not sure I am articulating this well.  While I have always believed nurture is the determining factor in whether someone develops a PD, I am rethinking this.  By all rights, based on how I was raised I should be a pathetic, drug addicted mess, living on the streets. having a dozen children by a dozen different fathers, on public assistance, unemployed, etc. 

Reading this, I got hung up on the memories of how my mother used to actually say that to me - that I was seriously at risk of ending of up that way - but only when I was an honor student/class president/3x per week church-goer/debate captain-type. When I went fully rebellious when I was something like 17-18 and skipped class all the time, starting hanging out with the stoner kids, dropped out of my freshman year of college after a couple of a weeks, etc., she stopped. But I think those thoughts eventually went somewhere more related to, you know, what you were actually saying.  ;)

I read this article yesterday about a study done by a behavioral psychologist at Harvard's school of government, Todd Rogers, on the way we perceive politicians who pivot questions from debate moderators. He presented three different groups of viewers with three different Presidential debate-style moderator questions - on healthcare, illegal drug use, and terrorism - and one candidate answer - on health care, and measured how well each group remembered the moderator's question and what each group thought about the politician's character.

The group who heard a health care answer to a health care question remembered the question and thought well of the politician. The group who heard the politician give an answer on health care to an illegal drug use question - the subtle pivot - didn't remember question but still thought well of the politician. The group who heard the politician answer the terrorism question with a health care answer - the sledgehammer pivot - remembered the question and thought the politician was "a jerk."

The idea is that people don't really detect logical inconsistencies like this very well unless they're egregious because we're constantly using a lot of our processing making social evaluations. "It's only when the speaker is wildly inconsistent that some deep mental wire is tripped. "It raises some flags, and we direct our limited attention to assessing whether this person is doing something unusual by failing to answer the question and offering an egregiously different answer," Rogers says."

Here's the link: http://www.npr.org/2012/10/03/162103368/how-politicians-get-away-with-dodging-the-question
   
So...Did our PD parents give us such egregiously inconsistent information about who we are or what we were doing that we were in the sledgehammer pivot situation? My parents' idea of what I'm like is out of this world off. And not just because it's largely negative. I have plenty of bad traits. They're just not my goody-two-shoes churchy prudish mother's projected shadow self or whatever. I mean, I wasn't at risk of being a boy crazy drug-addicted failure when I was 8 years old. I remember how completely confused I was about it as an 8 year old - I didn't know what a lot of the words she used even meant yet. And then...maybe our siblings got only subtle inconsistencies? (Or if they inflated positive characteristics, maybe they just seemed subtle...). So they, you know, "don't remember the question" and don't make accurate judgments about character (but their subconscious surely knows...) And maybe we've been aware, since early on, that they were, intentionally or not, dishonest, untrustworthy jerks. And coming OOTF is about realizing that we've realized it.
 
PDinStereo, you're on fire lately! I've been fascinated by your posts! So, thank you for this particular paragraph. I have long wondered HOW something came to be genetic. For instance, we know that alcoholism has a genetic component to it but how does that get started? At some point some person had to have triggered this in their body by drinking wayyyyyy too much alcohol, but I never understand the mechanism. Your paragraph above finally answers that for me.

This is where I admit that I learned about epigenetics primarily from reading the very good but very fictional science fiction book Seveneves by Neal Stephenson. And also where I say "holy sh*t, totally" on the alcohol thing. Supposedly the alcoholic's brain processes alcohol differently in the brain, as a stimulant, and some people are seemingly born with it, others flip it on with their rate and amount of consumption - some much more easily than others, and some are very resistant to ever switching over to this other way of processing alcohol. I totally think you are right.

I am soooo baaaad with compliments, but thank you! I went NC with my parents a couple of weeks ago and I'm kind of drunk on thinking about, you know, stuff besides what I should do to deal with whatever they're doing.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2017, 12:40:24 AM by PDinStereo »

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sandpiper

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Re: Why them & not us?
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2017, 07:11:20 AM »
Congrats on the NC  :applause:
I know how much it has to take to push someone to that.
I have to keep rereading this thread because it's just so interesting.
A couple of weeks ago a loved one took her life. When last I saw her 10 years ago she'd been hospitalised & after getting multiple diagnoses, she was diagnosed with BPD (nuts, she was 18) and then, after I said to the counsellors 'um, has anyone actually told you what her mother is  like?' - that was changed to PTSD.
The family of course rejected it and she spent the last 10 years walking the earth with a diagnosis of depression. The family had to view her as having faulty wiring rather than as them having issues that might have put her into an unsafe environment at some point (her mother).
So this has kind of shifted my perspective again.
My therapist said that the reason families do this isn't necessarily because they don't love their child. This child was very, very loved.
It's because 'they are protecting their world' and they can't bear to view their child's pain because they've spent their entire lives numbing their own.
I don't know why I didn't become a substance abusing numb-er like the others in my family.
I used to have nightmares, as a teenager, that my family were zombies and I was the only one who hadn't succumbed to the trance of sleep & blindness.
My T, way back when, just said that it was more dangerous for  me to NOT see the demons in the corners than to block them out. Whereas for the others, closing their eyes was what made them safe.
It's why it's such a threat for them now, to have me not seeing things the way that they do.
The screwy perspectives that they have are the only thing that's shielding them from their demons, and they'd be defenceless without that.
Numbing didn't work for me, denial didn't work for me.
It was just destroying me, being around my family and having to play their stupid pretend game.
I wonder if that's just how it rolls.
Denial simply doesn't keep some of us safe, whereas it's the only thing keeping the rest of them safe.
I don't know where I'd be without you guys.
You rock, all of you.
I hope you all know that.
Wherever you are in your point of recovery, it's like there's this little band of rebels that I've run away to join. I'm never invisible with you guys, you see who I am, you know the real me.
My family wouldn't have a freaking clue who I am.

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Why them & not us?
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2017, 09:00:58 AM »
Wow. This
Quote
My therapist said that the reason families do this isn't necessarily because they don't love their child. This child was very, very loved.
It's because 'they are protecting their world' and they can't bear to view their child's pain because they've spent their entire lives numbing their own.
and this
Quote
Denial simply doesn't keep some of us safe, whereas it's the only thing keeping the rest of them safe.

Not only are we ripping at their blindfold regarding their own damage we're ripping at the blindfold they need to keep on their own actions. Denial keeps them functioning and when we shine a spotlight behaviors ramp in an attempt to cover up their eyes once more. They can't bear to see what others have done to them and they can't bear to see what they've done to others and who they've become as a result of their own damage. This makes so much sense in my case.

Here's to our "little band of rebels"  :git: :righton: love that !
Every interaction w/ PD persons results in damage-plan accordingly, make time to heal
Individuation is one key to emotional freedom
It's foolish to expect of others what they have no capacity to give
my Empowered Growth blog

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Hazy111

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Re: Why them & not us?
« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2017, 09:34:39 PM »
The last posts about denial enforce the nurture argument. Denial is common to all families not just PD ones. 

Generational trauma is unwittingly passed down from one to the next.

This is a tremendously  difficult subject and i dont wish to offend.

I think PD or the consequences of PD parenting  is much more common than assumed.  But the taboo is strong. Parents are not to blame. Look for genes. The alternative is enormous guilt.

Offspring are in denial too about their treatment, as most children do not want to look unfavourably at their parents.

 I certainly didnt, as my mum loved me, she truly did, but her love was abusive. I dont blame her , as she didnt have the insight into her own pain and didnt know how to be a good enough mother. She was unaware of the causes of her own pain and that of brothers and sisters.

I always remember her telling me that her youngest brother (who they all said was the spoiled one, (the GC no doubt from their perspective) shocked her when he  told her  " You know our mother never loved us" and this coming from the GC!! Her denial was enormous.

She did her best, but her disordered personality prevented her achieving the best outcome for her children. 

Much trauma is caused by so called "loving" parents, who use overly intrusive, coercive, smothering, spoiling, lack of correction etc child care. They  dont want to cause harm to their children, but are still unaware of their own pain they carry with them. This can lead to a narcissistic  personality in their children and so the cycle continues.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions

Some parents know full well they had  abusive parents  and are determined that their children will not suffer the same treatment.  But their intentions though well intentioned ultimately can be  abusive, as they dont know what good parenting is, but they sure know what a form of bad parenting is. They over correct in a way.

This is such a sensitive subject i know. Parenting is a minefield. Its the hardest job of all, if only more people were aware of it.

This brings me back to denial, or blame the victim, or look for those pesky  genes. The truth is still unpalatable. Did i do wrong?

Wow. This
Quote
My therapist said that the reason families do this isn't necessarily because they don't love their child. This child was very, very loved.
It's because 'they are protecting their world' and they can't bear to view their child's pain because they've spent their entire lives numbing their own.
and this
Quote
Denial simply doesn't keep some of us safe, whereas it's the only thing keeping the rest of them safe.

They can't bear to see what others have done to them and they can't bear to see what they've done to others and who they've become as a result of their own damage.

 :yeahthat: