trying to escape PD abuse on another forum led to....more PD abuse

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Wilderhearts

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I joined another online forum recently, one with lots of subforums, including some for survivors of narcissistic abuse and people living with CPTSD.  The difficulty I was encountering is that there were a lot of pwPDs on these forums, due to pwPDs also commonly having CPTSD and having experienced abuse.  I frequently saw people pass disordered thinking and cognitive distortions like "all the pain I experience is everyone else's fault" "I am the one true victim and they are all villains" (i.e., splitting, blame-shifting, no accountability for self and other destructive behaviour) passed off as CPTSD symptoms, which they are absolutely not.  It was extremely triggering to me.

I asked in a forum for narcissistic abuse survivors if there's a CPTSD forum where we won't be exposed to "personality disordered abuse."  Then the pwPDs showed up.  Someone projected her BPD diagnosis onto me in such a gross, "well of course you're BPD" kind of way, and when I reported it since it clearly violated the forum rules, the moderator gave her a polite "please don't do that," and then tore into me for "assuming all pwPD are abusive" (when I hadn't), then twisted a bunch of my other words and took them out of context, and commanded me to never to any such thing again (when I hadn't in the first place).  No polite requests or gentle reminders like were granted to the person using psychological abuse tactics on me.

So even in a forum for narcissistic abuse survivors, my reaction to abuse was treated as a greater violation than the abuse itself.

It did have me reconsidering the term "pd abuse", because I do associate chaos manufacturing and cycling through psychological abuse tactics with PDs. I think this is what the moderator was reacting to, although it is in no way the same as stating "all pwPDs are abusive."  It kind of made me realize that OOTF is a bit of an echo chamber, had me wondering if all pwPDs do eventually do interpersonal harm in the ways we're familiar with. I think we are all here because we've experienced abuse, which has led me to believe that pwPDs are largely abusive and cause interpersonal harm, but maybe experiences on this site are reflective of the worst case scenarios, since people who have experienced abuse will need this site more.  Maybe this is just the moderator's gaslighting working on me?  Anytime I peg someone as having a pd it's because they're unhealthy patterns are invariably doing harm to others.

Anyways, I was confused and angry and upset, but I've realized it's better for my mental health to not even try to seek support in those forums and leave them all together.  It really is a good thing that we're been able to form a real community here, where accountability and respect matte and are upheld, so thank you all.

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xredshoesx

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Re: trying to escape PD abuse on another forum led to....more PD abuse
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2021, 07:07:02 PM »
i'm sorry that was your experience.  i think something i've had a shift in with my own personal thinking, is not so much trying to diagnose the PD/ uPD folks i will encounter in my live (former/current/future) but more so how to examine my own responses and better ways to use boundaries and gray rock better to not get sucked into the FOG again.  like- it's almost more important how I react to the person than if the person has a PD or not for me-  because my reaction is the one thing I can control.  that coupled with the fact that the main person i post her for, my biological mother is not going to change- and nothing i can do or have done in the past will change that- so i really just focus on *me*

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Janeite V

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Re: trying to escape PD abuse on another forum led to....more PD abuse
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2021, 02:58:17 AM »
Wilderhearts, I am sorry you experienced such gross abuse in a place that should have been a haven. It is a shame the moderator didn't pick up on that, but I hope you won't be discouraged from getting help and solidarity elsewhere. Even some of the best of us can be caught up in the urge to brigade on others, and it sounds like that might have been what happened in your situation.

Unfortunately I have found your experience to be a common one; some particular types of PDs take a perverse pleasure in labeling others with their own PD, thinking that having it themselves gives their armchair diagnosis extra weight. I've seen narcissists who claim to be "narc busters" who manage to turn people on their fellow victims, or who try to claim they're an oppressed minority in support groups. It's disheartening and rather disturbing. I think they must really get a great source of supply and a feeling of power from turning these groups on each other.

Like you, I am not seeing the implication that all pwPDs are abusive because of the term "PD abuse." It's just a helpful term to differentiate it from other forms of abuse. Were it not for forums like this one, and the language it has given me, I'd still think that my N-relative was some sort of indecipherable anomaly and would be very much still in the FOG. I also think it is very important for survivors to be able to detail their experience without having to walk on eggshells or write paragraphs of disclaimers saying "not all pwPDs" lest the brigades come for them.

That said, as you noted many pwPDs also experience PD abuse and CPTSD and their PD is likely indistinguishable from their CPTSD for them as individuals. It would be very difficult for such people to separate what is a "normal" symptom of CPTSD and what is their PD. For that reason I think it is also important to have a space for pwPDs coming OOTF, especially since our knowledge of treating PDs is very limited and mostly still focused around cluster Bs (the ones who are more solitary tend to be forgotten).

The toolbox here, as well as all of the very useful advice I've gotten has truly helped me ease some of my own PD symptoms (schizotypal PD) because it made me realise that some of what I have been experiencing (some very terrifying and painful hallucinations, for example) were very much linked with my own co-dependency as well as the narcissistic abuse I've experienced :bigwink:

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Wilderhearts

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Re: trying to escape PD abuse on another forum led to....more PD abuse
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2021, 12:56:32 AM »
That's a good approach, Red.  Focusing only on your own actions and what is in your control.  I probably *thought* I was doing that, by trying to control my exposure to pwPDs.  But you kind of can't - and that also doesn't protect me from generally toxic behaviour either, and we know that can sometimes happen on the internet ;)

Vienna Pharon has all these quotes about triggers and healing, and I cam across another one today about how healing doesn't happen by avoiding your triggers - it happens when we're triggered and we move through the pattern you're used to and walk your way to a different ending.  That really helped me, cause I can find strength in feeling triggered and telling myself I'm getting stronger by observing the trigger and reacting differently.

I do find "PD'd abuse" helpful, Janeite.  To me, it's entirely different encountering someone who can turn reality upside down and inside out so seamlessly, compared to someone who just belittles or calls names, or intimidates (although in my experience that's often sprinkled throughout distorting reality).

I do recognize that the nature of a PD would make it hard for a lot of folks to insightfully differentiate between PD symptoms and CPTSD symptoms - and I realize BPD and CPTSD are often confused for one another, although diagnostically distinguishable. 

I'm sorry you have to deal with hallucinations and the like - that's terrifying even when the hallucinations don't have a terrifying nature.  I'm glad this community has been helpful for you in dealing with relating to others with PDs but also getting insight into your own experience.

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Janeite V

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Re: trying to escape PD abuse on another forum led to....more PD abuse
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2021, 02:27:48 AM »
Wilderhearts, I am glad you are strong enough to see it as an opportunity to witness your own growth and healing! Of course, no one should be berated, DARVO'd or armchair diagnosed for sharing their experience with PD abuse, but since it is very likely to happen in certain circles regardless, it is good to be forewarned and forearmed.

I am also glad that you see that the BPD comment and the difficulty in appreciating the difference between your CPTSD and their BPD (or other PD) is a part of their own PD and not a reflection on you.

That is very true about how it is an entirely different experience being abused by a difficult person compared with pwPDs. So much of the advice we get from therapists (who aren't always educated on PDs or abuse) as well as the Internet and books assumes that the other person is fundamentally reasonable and working with consensus reality as we are, and that all conflicts are a mere matter of clashing personalities. That the truth is always somewhere in the middle.

We are told to search for a compromise, to tell them how we feel, to always put yourself in the other's shoes. That just opens you up to more abuse by giving them ammunition, and makes you even more susceptible to their gaslighting. There's also the common narrative that those who do awful things (such as school shooters) weren't truly responsible for their actions because others rejected and bullied them (though it's obvious people were just getting OOTF and going NC or grey rock)!

I cannot be sure what they were offended by (possibly putting all PD types together, although I can see that singling them out might be considered worse by some)? But we definitely need such language to describe the unique experience, and spaces where people don't have to pander to that sort of hypersensitivity. If professionals aren't willing or able to address this issue then survivors have to step up ourselves - and we have!

Thank you for the well-wishes. I know that I won't ever be fully cured but techniques like grey rock and recognizing my own co-dependency has really helped to give those symptoms (and thus the narcissist) less power over me  ;D


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xredshoesx

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Re: trying to escape PD abuse on another forum led to....more PD abuse
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2021, 10:13:26 PM »
i needed to see this today.  thank you for this!

That's a good approach, Red.  Focusing only on your own actions and what is in your control.  I probably *thought* I was doing that, by trying to control my exposure to pwPDs.  But you kind of can't - and that also doesn't protect me from generally toxic behaviour either, and we know that can sometimes happen on the internet ;)

Vienna Pharon has all these quotes about triggers and healing, and I cam across another one today about how healing doesn't happen by avoiding your triggers - it happens when we're triggered and we move through the pattern you're used to and walk your way to a different ending. That really helped me, cause I can find strength in feeling triggered and telling myself I'm getting stronger by observing the trigger and reacting differently.

I do find "PD'd abuse" helpful, Janeite.  To me, it's entirely different encountering someone who can turn reality upside down and inside out so seamlessly, compared to someone who just belittles or calls names, or intimidates (although in my experience that's often sprinkled throughout distorting reality).

I do recognize that the nature of a PD would make it hard for a lot of folks to insightfully differentiate between PD symptoms and CPTSD symptoms - and I realize BPD and CPTSD are often confused for one another, although diagnostically distinguishable. 

I'm sorry you have to deal with hallucinations and the like - that's terrifying even when the hallucinations don't have a terrifying nature.  I'm glad this community has been helpful for you in dealing with relating to others with PDs but also getting insight into your own experience.

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xredshoesx

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Re: trying to escape PD abuse on another forum led to....more PD abuse
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2021, 10:14:58 PM »
fwiw i was a refugee from another board when i first came here.  i know exactly what you mean- nobody should need to see a T for getting the business from  their online help group....

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Wilderhearts

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Re: trying to escape PD abuse on another forum led to....more PD abuse
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2021, 10:34:38 PM »

I am also glad that you see that the BPD comment and the difficulty in appreciating the difference between your CPTSD and their BPD (or other PD) is a part of their own PD and not a reflection on you.

Thank you for pointing that out - my T gets me to focus on what I did right in situations and I had skimmed right over that.  I also think reporting to the moderator was a good choice for me, even if I got the wrong mod on the wrong day!  I very rarely "tell" on anyone when I'm being mistreated, and it makes me more vulnerable to abuse.

You make a very good point that the difference between PD'd and non-PD'd abuse is not only in the experience, but in what is an effective response.

I am starting to sense that this online community separates PDs into "almost always abusive" and "not abusive/just a victim".  Viewing some posts on the board, people were making quite negative generalizations about pwNPD, despite the guidelines to not generalize about pwPDs.  Those were much worse than any "generalization" they assumed I had made.  I agree that there is need for both communities with and without pwPDs so we can all make as much progress as possible.

It really helps to know I'm not alone in that experience, Red.  I'm sorry you went through something similar, but thank you for sharing that with me.  pwPDs who have been abusive to me have always tried engrain in me the belief that "I'm the problem."  Having others' perspectives and experiences that align with mine are just another helpful reminder that no, I'm not the cause of others' abuse.

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Janeite V

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Re: trying to escape PD abuse on another forum led to....more PD abuse
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2021, 07:41:24 AM »
Wilderhearts, it's good to hear that you aren't put off reporting abuse to moderators after that experience  ;D

It's quite frustrating when the unspoken rules and assumptions in an online community are different from what is written. Especially for someone who writes as clearly as you do!

I tend to agree with those loose categories based on my own experiences in real life and in the personality disorder forums. I think that the PD types which have the most variance within the disorder tend to be the most difficult to talk about on either side without being ganged up upon, BPD being the obvious example.

I am glad you are focusing on what you did right and being highly resistant to the gaslighting!