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childhood incest - adult personality disorder

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childhood incest - adult personality disorder

Postby wisdom » Tue Sep 06, 2011 5:25 am

CAUTION – may TRIGGER. Although its not very explicit this post covers childhood sexual abuse.

Were you, or do you suspect you may have been, a victim of any type of incest?

If you have, take a look at the following pattern of symptoms that seem connected to how an adult personality disorder might take hold and manifest itself in adulthood, based on the experience of traumatic childhood incest.

Background and explanation why this is so challenging

When someone presents for treatment and is diagnosed with a personality disorder its not always apparent if traumatic incest occurred. The patient in many, if not most, cases will be in denial, or will have totally repressed the events. Where incest is significantly suspected the best course of treatment for the PD may need to be very different, and highly sensitized to the possible existence of that type of trauma.

Perhaps more important, in the actual treatment of prior trauma, knowing the particulars of what actually happened helps unravel a better understanding of the actual mindset of the perpetrator. Beginning clues may often be found in the specific constellation of symptoms that appear years later in adult life. For instance, sadistic and nonsadistic incest offenders have very different mindsets and leave very different footprints.

A book reviewer of Slater, A. C., Transforming trauma - A guide to understanding and treating adult survivors of child sexual abuse) wrote:
Abusers are masters of introjecting their sick thought patterns into the victim's mind, and any help at recovery must begin with teasing out that subtle "other voice" -- so subtle, the victim might not even recognize that he/she has heard it ever since the abuse.


In any intimate relationship (including adult-to-adult btw…) there is introjection. With childhood incest the exploitation and trauma can have a perverse result later in adult life, where the victim becomes the aggressor. Ejecting that aggressor back out of the adult victim, without risking the introduction of yet more trauma, is clearly a challenging therapeutic task!

Help mark out the trail a bit better if you can….

  • If you have known incest - does any of the following seem to fit?
  • Have you looked into Personality Disorders such as: Narcisistic PD, Borderline PD, Histrionic PD, Antisocial PD. Do you have a PD dx? Or do you have any apparent cluster of PD traits?
  • If you have known incest and yet did not develop any adult personality disorder do you have any ideas how you might have avoided that?
  • If you have an inkling of possible incest but you don't know for sure, do any of the following seem plausible? And do any of the Personality Disorders such as: Narcisistic PD, Borderline PD, Histrionic PD, Antisocial PD traits seem to fit you?

Again, Nons, with very close-in knowledge, feel free to also comment on the person you know.

Incest-Related Syndromes of Adult Psychopathogy by Richard P. Kluft. Chapter 9 by Michael H Stone, M.D. wrote:
The Incest Profile

Attitudes and Personality traits
  • Anger, irritability
  • Jealousy
  • Emotional volatility
  • Mistrust suspiciousness
  • Irresponsibility, disregard for social rules and customs
  • Manipulativeness, exploitativeness
  • Seductiveness
  • Deceitfulness
  • Secretiveness
  • Coyness [artfully or affectedly shy or reserved; slyly hesitant; coquettish. ]
  • Dependency
  • Hostility
  • Low self-esteem
  • Masochism
  • Shame

Symptoms
  • Sexual dysfunction (viz., frigidity, extreme avoidance of sex; hypersexuality with nymphomania]
  • Depression, suicidal preoccupation and behavior
  • Self-mutilation
  • Impulse dyscontrol (viz., rage outbursts, substance abuse, antisocial behavior) [Episodic dyscontrol syndrome (EDS, or sometimes just dyscontrol), is a pattern of abnormal, episodic, and frequently violent and uncontrollable antisocial behavior in the absence of significant provocation]
  • Anxiety, Fearfulness
  • Dissociative tendencies (viz., psychogenic fugue, multiple personality disorder)
  • Dysmorphophohia [Body Dysmorphic Disorder - fixation on an imaginary flaw in the physical appearance. In cases in which a minor defect truly exists, the individual with body dysmorphic disorder exhibits an inordinate amount of anguish. Body dysmorphic disorder often is encountered in dermatologic and cosmetic surgery settings.]
  • Extreme avoidance of gaze
  • Nightmares

Disturbances in Object Relations
  • Distorted attitudes toward sex: a tilting toward sex as a power-mechanism or enslavement or punishment of the partner, rather than as a pleasure and bonding mechanism; occasionally, a turning away from men altogether and toward homosexual object choice (especially where offending relative was cruel or humiliating); occasionally, an avoidance of specific sexual acts indulged in by the offending relative
  • Abnormalities in intimacy with either avoidance of men or (more commonly) stormy relationships, with a tendency to choose abusive partners reminiscent of the original offending relative
  • Primacy of the dominance/submission mode in intimate relationships, with impairment in the capacity for the (more mature) mode of cooperativeness
  • Ambivalence, with a tendency to oscillate between adoration and vilification (a manifestation of "splitting")
  • Infidelity
  • Possessiveness
  • Intense loyally to abusing relative, especially to a father, with inability to form enduring attachment to any other male
  • In married women with daughters: a tendency to divorce husband when daughter reaches same age as when mother was first abused

I am not a professional therapist. My postings here are provided for general informational purposes only and are not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical or psychological advice. See: site Disclaimer and Notes
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Re: childhood incest - adult personality disorder

Postby CrackedGirl » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:37 am

Locked. No one here is a professional.

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