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How do you replace supply?

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Re: How do you replace supply?

Postby steerfield » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:45 pm

Akuma wrote:Personality is a data-structure, not an object of consciousness, so there is a clear distinction and contradiction.


Is there though? It seems like you're utilising these terms with some kind of bias, because the distinction and contradiction, from what I can tell, only exist when interpreting the data-structure concept as partially characterised by the specific exclusion of all self-reflective elements. That true metacognition cannot be part of the personality structure, for some reason. And that, similarly, true awareness of one’s own maladaptive personality features as they present themselves, is literally impossible.

Why is there a quantum paradox involved in the self-observation of a personality disorder? And, why isn’t consciousness capable of guiding an effective personality change?

But that was not what I'm getting at. What I meant is that personality disorders are characterized by unusually wide areas of defensive functioning. And psychological defenses are unconscious and defend against things that by their functioning are meant to be [kept] unconscious. Example, alcoholic."No I dont have a problem". The denial is unconscious, the problem, too.
In addition PDs of the borderline or psychotic variants are also characterized by these thought and emotional process levels, which further complicates stuff. For example a borderline patient will come to treatment and in the next session has forgotten all about what was talked about before. Differences like this dictate differences in the therapeutic approach.


I’m an addict and alcoholic recently out of rehab, so if that’s your meaning, that unconscious functioning contradicts conscious alterations, it’s an area I’m familiar with.

It would be technically true prior to the paradigm-shift in self-understanding brought by a careful diagnosis; which is, as you know, the same reason so many NPDs go undiagnosed — they often don't see a problem. Narcissism is especially resistant to accountability.

But, that resistance isn’t a prime characteristic of the root trait, nor is it a special feature on the NPD trait-list. It's a symptom of a bigger and more pressing ego problem, and not required for diagnosis. Many narcissists continue their pervasive behaviour with an accurate awareness of the consequences — the unconscious narcissistic feature being, in that case, the default rationalisation of their proclivities — but that resistance isn't impenetrable, and many NPDs have been able to gain an entirely new perspective on themselves.

Again, I feel we have a fundamental difference in our philosophy. The way I see it, and I suspect the way most modern psychiatrists see it, is that self-awareness can be developed and constructed. Which seems like an incredibly simple thing to be saying in response to the bulk of your post, but there’s more needed to establish the axioms in psychological academia you’re apparently seeing as obvious.

The limits of consciousness are a boundary: once an area of awareness has been extended and charted, whether through mindfulness or professional guidance, there’s nothing blocking anyone from becoming more consciously aware of themselves and being cognisant of the feelings preceding any disorderly conduct they display.

If a person with diagnosed NPD makes a serious and committed effort to change themselves, can they be confident enough in not having a disorder, to stop changing?

I would rather think we have different views as to the method and the necessary depth of change. CBT for example is not the therapy of choice for PDs - one reason is that the amount of problems that need to be addressed are many, CBT is rather oriented at very specific issues for which then homework is given, increasing exposure is used etc. In addition, and I have only skimemd thru the thread so maybe I have misunderstood this, it seemed to me like what you are proposing is more akin to a drug addiction, namely creating a few layers of [obsessive] activity to get your mind of your "bad" "narcissistic" stuff. While that per definition is of course also change, I am personally not convinced that such change is very useful for a person who actually has a PD.


Have you done a 10-day Vipassana course yet? I recall it being something you were interested in.

If you combine an understanding of the psychological benefits of vipassana with the long-term discipline involved in effecting lasting neuroplasticity, then CBT starts looking very modest indeed. And vipassana does more than increase the faculty of awareness; it provides an exceptionally balanced and positive and stable structure to living. Westernised mindfulness is extremely light-weight by comparison. There is no comparison, really. Most of vipassana’s effectiveness comes from the intensity and duration. Applying isolated techniques, or CBT, will only ever have a superficial result.

I’ve done 3 courses now. If you’re disordered, and willing, it’s tantamount to psychological abuse — in a good way. The first is still one of the most painful experiences that I’ve been through, and it made a more significant impact than any medication or therapy I’ve taken. As you know, even with its Buddhist leanings, it’s hardly spiritual. More like intentional self-torture. To my mind, multiple courses a year and two hours of strict daily practice is the absolute minimum for a small incremental improvement.

If we’re talking about the necessary depth of change, we might be of a similar viewpoint. But your position doesn’t seem to allow for any change at all, as change would contradict the thing you are changing. You can’t see your eyeball with your own retina, etc. The basis of the contradiction still hasn’t been adequately established.

The list of psychological litrature I've read in the past years would be too long to give you a reference. I do orient mainly towards the depth-psychological field, though.


If you can’t provide a straightforward explanation of the basis for an opinion concerning human nature, there’s a problem. You are discussing these things like they’re salient enough to be a headline on the PD wikipedia article. If most (or some) of the psychological community agrees with you, it will be an easy thing to find.

The term originates in a book by Otto Fenichel from 1946 and hasnt been used in the literature on NPD. Narcissistic in this context just means "pertaining to the ego"; in a bit of a more detailed way things thta you do that are in accord with your ideals will raise self-esteem and be supply, things that are not will lower self-esteem and will be narcissistic injury.


How familiar are you with Wittgenstein? Definitions are descriptive of usage, not prescriptive. Whether it’s been incorporated by the psychological establishment doesn’t matter, the same as it doesn’t matter the DSM sees AsPD and sociopathy and psychopathy as largely interchangeable. The life-experienced general population consistently gravitates towards its own definition: sociopaths are made anti-socials, psychopaths are born calculating control freaks, and AsPD is a catch-all for any behavioural problems associated with the two. The terms that fit the best tend to stick, and narcissistic supply, no matter how it was coined, describes that particular disorderly need exceptionally well.

In terms of philosophy I have studied authors like Vasubandhu, Nagarjuna and Shantarakshita so my definition of dualist and materialist will differ from yours.


Are you suggesting these avenues have allowed you to transcend the shared philosophical language of consciousness?

Dualists believe in soul-like phenomena and use the term ‘qualia’ to describe human subjective experience; materialists believe in computational neurology, and see consciousness as an illusion.

Saying ‘object of consciousness’ is ambiguous without consciousness having special phenomenalism, so knowing the difference is important.

At this point, primarily due to my chronic depression I would assume most people would call me a nihilist or an annihilationist >_>.


From an uneducated perspective, that depression seems functional in how you’ve come to understand psychology, which has been further complicated by your intelligence. The points you’ve made are intelligent and insightful on their own terms, but they’re also the furthest thing from helpful for anyone who actually wants to overcome anything.

To what extend do you believe a person can correct (or organise) a personality disorder, and by what means?
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Re: How do you replace supply?

Postby Arthur » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:57 am

I agree with Akuma that it seems like you might not be going about things the best way steerfield.

I wonder if you aren't being a little bit more analytical than necessary.

When I was first diagnosed, I spent a lot of time being very analytical, both because I felt so directionless and also because it was a way to avoid dealing with my feelings.

I think you would be better off thinking about more specific things, like how you feel, your relationships with people, and how you can achieve the things you want in a healthy and sustainable way.
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Re: How do you replace supply?

Postby steerfield » Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:42 am

I haven't been a personal subject so far, so you are reading too deeply into my interest in alternative perspectives. And, going by that assertion, I'm unsure you've followed the conversation between me and Akuma properly: his comprehension is significantly more academic and analytical (and catatonic) in nature than my own.
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Re: How do you replace supply?

Postby Akuma » Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:26 am

steerfield wrote:
Akuma wrote:Personality is a data-structure, not an object of consciousness, so there is a clear distinction and contradiction.


Is there though? It seems like you're utilising these terms with some kind of bias, because the distinction and contradiction, from what I can tell, only exist when interpreting the data-structure concept as partially characterised by the specific exclusion of all self-reflective elements. That true metacognition cannot be part of the personality structure, for some reason. And that, similarly, true awareness of one’s own maladaptive personality features as they present themselves, is literally impossible.

Why is there a quantum paradox involved in the self-observation of a personality disorder? And, why isn’t consciousness capable of guiding an effective personality change?


"Personality" is a set of data, the complete set which can not be seen all at once, it can not be an object of consciousness, as its not an object which at a given moment appears to consciousness. Only perts of the personality are indirectly perceived after another and then cognitive functions are used to build an idea of a personality - both our own and that of another. Its not a quantum paradox or a paradox at all, its just the basic fact that most of our mind is not conscious to us.

I’m an addict and alcoholic recently out of rehab, so if that’s your meaning, that unconscious functioning contradicts conscious alterations, it’s an area I’m familiar with.

It would be technically true prior to the paradigm-shift in self-understanding brought by a careful diagnosis; which is, as you know, the same reason so many NPDs go undiagnosed — they often don't see a problem. Narcissism is especially resistant to accountability.

But, that resistance isn’t a prime characteristic of the root trait, nor is it a special feature on the NPD trait-list. It's a symptom of a bigger and more pressing ego problem, and not required for diagnosis. Many narcissists continue their pervasive behaviour with an accurate awareness of the consequences — the unconscious narcissistic feature being, in that case, the default rationalisation of their proclivities — but that resistance isn't impenetrable, and many NPDs have been able to gain an entirely new perspective on themselves.

Again, I feel we have a fundamental difference in our philosophy. The way I see it, and I suspect the way most modern psychiatrists see it, is that self-awareness can be developed and constructed. Which seems like an incredibly simple thing to be saying in response to the bulk of your post, but there’s more needed to establish the axioms in psychological academia you’re apparently seeing as obvious.


To me the difference is that you - excuse my wording - are babbling. You are beating around a bush here, eventhough I am not sure which one. All psychological defense mechanisms are per definition unconscious, this has nothing to do wich the diagnosis and there is no need for further elaboration, there is just the need to realize the implication, for example that one needs outside help.

If a person with diagnosed NPD makes a serious and committed effort to change themselves, can they be confident enough in not having a disorder, to stop changing?


?

Have you done a 10-day Vipassana course yet? I recall it being something you were interested in.

If you combine an understanding of the psychological benefits of vipassana with the long-term discipline involved in effecting lasting neuroplasticity, then CBT starts looking very modest indeed. And vipassana does more than increase the faculty of awareness; it provides an exceptionally balanced and positive and stable structure to living. Westernised mindfulness is extremely light-weight by comparison. There is no comparison, really. Most of vipassana’s effectiveness comes from the intensity and duration. Applying isolated techniques, or CBT, will only ever have a superficial result.


Im in psychoanalytic therapy since 2 months. If we are reducing this to structure, repetition, awareness and - cough - endless suffering... it's kind of the same thing ;)

If we’re talking about the necessary depth of change, we might be of a similar viewpoint. But your position doesn’t seem to allow for any change at all, as change would contradict the thing you are changing. You can’t see your eyeball with your own retina, etc. The basis of the contradiction still hasn’t been adequately established.


The idea in analytic/dynamic therapy is, if put simply, that the relationship with the therapist alters how your midn works. The theory is basically that your brain has an in-built mechanism to absorb functions from another being that it needs for itself and to integrate them especially if that other person becoems imperfect (which of course always happens). Both Winnicott and Kohut have talked about this, I think Fairbain, too, its called empathic failure, or good-enough parenting, and leads to "introjection" of the parent-function in the form of "what would parent do" in babies and children and according to the theory also in people undergoing the treatment.
Then there is some differences of course in which parts the approaches focus on, Fonagy and bateman have created MBT for example, which is extremely promising according to studies and follow-ups for BPD and is focusing on mentalization, or the capacity to correctly apprehend ones own and others mental states.
Anyways, my difference to yours is that you are trying to fix a problem with a set amount of tools that in the past have not sufficed. So why should they now? The expectation that you somehow expand your mind / consciousness and that in itself will allow you more freedom is naive in my opinion, because the deeper you go the more borderline and psychotic it becomes - in every person btw. And even if you would actually manage to reach that stuff, you wont know what to do with it.

If you can’t provide a straightforward explanation of the basis for an opinion concerning human nature, there’s a problem. You are discussing these things like they’re salient enough to be a headline on the PD wikipedia article. If most (or some) of the psychological community agrees with you, it will be an easy thing to find.


Its not my opinion though, it seems to be your opinion of my opinion, so it will be hard to fidn a quote. I am usually happy to flood people with quotes tho, so if you have a specific thing maybe I can find something.

How familiar are you with Wittgenstein? Definitions are descriptive of usage, not prescriptive. Whether it’s been incorporated by the psychological establishment doesn’t matter, the same as it doesn’t matter the DSM sees AsPD and sociopathy and psychopathy as largely interchangeable. The life-experienced general population consistently gravitates towards its own definition: sociopaths are made anti-socials, psychopaths are born calculating control freaks, and AsPD is a catch-all for any behavioural problems associated with the two. The terms that fit the best tend to stick, and narcissistic supply, no matter how it was coined, describes that particular disorderly need exceptionally well.


I dont share the opinion that there is a need like this. I think the expectation colors the perception in this regard. Many case studies with pwNPD show not a trace of "narcissistic supply" or "narcissistic rage" or the like and even with other words the dynamic that is pop-psychologically called narcissistic supply isnt described as an essential feature of NPD in the literature. In addition exactly because it describes a non-pathological need, it muddels everything because how do you differentiate then between narcissistic supply as pathological and non-pathological?
We've had pwOCD here who became convinced at some point in their lives they were pwNPD and started to demonize every need and every bit of egoism in themselves based on having read about the concept. Contrary to that, I dont see any usefulness at all. I wouldnt be surprised if thats the same thing for you, too. You do seem pretty obsessive in using abstract thought to steer your mind away from stuff, and not actualyl explaining what exactly is so important for you that you are trying to change it, so maybe your initial idea to find new routes for supply is just a red herring, too.
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Re: How do you replace supply?

Postby steerfield » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:58 am

Akuma wrote:"Personality" is a set of data, the complete set which can not be seen all at once, it can not be an object of consciousness, as its not an object which at a given moment appears to consciousness. Only perts of the personality are indirectly perceived after another and then cognitive functions are used to build an idea of a personality - both our own and that of another. Its not a quantum paradox or a paradox at all, its just the basic fact that most of our mind is not conscious to us.


Thanks for explaining it better. That makes sense.

We don’t disagree on this. From the way you worded things, the paradox was in the contradiction of a consciousness capable of observing and correcting disorderly traits in a deep and meaningful way; that being able to observe a personality disorder means having no personality disorder to begin with.

I don’t think it’s necessary to observe the entire personality to adjust a disorder, even it were possible. But it’s possible to comprehend enough, to make the changes necessary for reaching a relatively good state of function and contentment.

To what extent do you believe a person can correct (or organise) a personality disorder, and by what means?


To me the difference is that you - excuse my wording - are babbling. You are beating around a bush here, eventhough I am not sure which one. All psychological defense mechanisms are per definition unconscious, this has nothing to do wich the diagnosis and there is no need for further elaboration, there is just the need to realize the implication, for example that one needs outside help.


I still don’t agree with your axiomatic understanding of cure prevention. The bolded, as explained, is not an authority over practical relevance; it’s more the other way round: practical relevance and usage inform definition.

You are understanding psychology through a filter of the abstractions that describe it. Psychology is still formative. Even it weren't, even if it were as refined as a field like geology, scientific terms are just as subject to an evolving definition as any. Defence mechanisms exist, but whatever defines them as a totally unconscious force, contradicts what often happens in reality.

Take the example of the alcoholic: It’s true that alcoholics will display frequent and unconscious defensive thinking, which thinking can continue for months or years into recovery. Only one in twenty - 5% - of addicts end up successfully sober long-term.

It’s also true of that 5%, that they become fully cognisant of their triggers. They even learn to recognise their defensive thinking at a metacognitive level. The deeper changes are progressively brought about through major changes in lifestyle and habit-pattern.

The same can apply to both narcissistic and borderline thinking. Whatever contradiction in definition you think there is, seems perceived or exaggerated through some kind of failure, because there isn’t anything special about metacognition. It’s a developable skill, and people with disorders, in spite of their obstacles, are numerous enough in their capacity to self-regulate their thoughts and behaviour towards decent functionality, to suggest the problem here isn’t the personality construct, it’s whatever definition you’re using.

Like I said, it appears your depression has played a role in rationalising any conclusion that keeps you imprisoned. Especially that post in the NPD cure thread you made, where you basically said people w/ NPD and BPD are probabilistically headed towards entropy or suicide.

Im in psychoanalytic therapy since 2 months. If we are reducing this to structure, repetition, awareness and - cough - endless suffering... it's kind of the same thing


Why are you responding to the question as though I asked for a dick measure? :wink:

Anyways, my difference to yours is that you are trying to fix a problem with a set amount of tools that in the past have not sufficed. So why should they now? The expectation that you somehow expand your mind / consciousness and that in itself will allow you more freedom is naive in my opinion, because the deeper you go the more borderline and psychotic it becomes - in every person btw. And even if you would actually manage to reach that stuff, you wont know what to do with it.


Fragments of my understanding and approach have been used as examples, but I haven’t talked about myself yet.

If it interests you, even though substance addiction has made things more complicated, the improvements I’ve made so far are significant enough to indicate an optimistic trajectory. Consistent with many things you’ve said, the level of effort I’ve needed for that isn’t commonly recommended by therapists.


Its not my opinion though, it seems to be your opinion of my opinion, so it will be hard to fidn a quote. I am usually happy to flood people with quotes tho, so if you have a specific thing maybe I can find something.


This has gotten muddled somehow — here’s my original comment:

The axioms necessary for the kind of negative certainty you're advocating won't exist until neuroscience burrows in from the other side of the problem; going by the literal definition of a formative psychological construct is pragmatically unwise. And I'm not sure where you're getting you're information from anyway, because I doubt many psychiatrists would agree with you.


Which is in reference to the essence of your reasoning: that people with personality disorders are literally incapable of making any meaningful change.

This particular message that you’re communicating, is an important one to back-up.


I dont share the opinion that there is a need like this. I think the expectation colors the perception in this regard.


It’s not a need, or an opinion. It’s the organic nature of the lexicon. The Tractatus explains it well: logic should always supersede the language that presents it.

Many case studies with pwNPD show not a trace of "narcissistic supply" or "narcissistic rage" or the like and even with other words the dynamic that is pop-psychologically called narcissistic supply isnt described as an essential feature of NPD in the literature. In addition exactly because it describes a non-pathological need, it muddels everything because how do you differentiate then between narcissistic supply as pathological and non-pathological?


Let’s say that’s true, that many case studies have shown narcissistic supply to be absent in people with NPD.

Who cares? It orientates people towards a common enough ego mechanism, which often presents as distinctly maladaptive in narcissists. People here generally know what is meant by the term, any differences to which become an interesting point of conversation.

We've had pwOCD here who became convinced at some point in their lives they were pwNPD and started to demonize every need and every bit of egoism in themselves based on having read about the concept. Contrary to that, I dont see any usefulness at all. I wouldnt be surprised if thats the same thing for you, too. You do seem pretty obsessive in using abstract thought to steer your mind away from stuff, and not actualyl explaining what exactly is so important for you that you are trying to change it, so maybe your initial idea to find new routes for supply is just a red herring, too.


Based on our conversation so far I’m feeling pretty damn pragmatic about things compared to the absolute analysis paralysis you seem caught-up in. Seriously man, sorry to hear you feel that way about your outlook. My interest in abstractions isn’t counterproductive to doing stuff — the contradiction between the two isn’t is obvious as it sounds. It’s possible to engage with someone such as yourself and enquire as to their philosophical underpinnings while also having a realistic and productive mentality of my own disorder. The two aren’t connected; the tangent into dualism/materialism was for 2 reasons: (1) to avoid the inevitable unstoppable force/immovable object dynamic in our conversation; and (2) because in spite of my obvious frustration at your overly-intellectualised pessimism, I’m a big fan of your posts, and wouldn’t mind picking your brain on consciousness in general.
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Re: How do you replace supply?

Postby Akuma » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:33 am

steerfield wrote:To what extent do you believe a person can correct (or organise) a personality disorder, and by what means?


I think the possibility to do this oneself is very small. Quite frankly the people I have experienced so far as being convinced that they changed usually changed through religious or spiritual means and the change was - frankly - delusional and not objective.
Objective change has been seen by me only in people who have changed in response to [interaction with} other people. Mainly it seems to people they have had a strong romantic or otherwise positive emotional investment in. I think when we are talking narcissistic disorders specifically or also autistic disorders [in the broadest sense], this is also one of the problems with getting better. Like a narcissistically oriented person will much quicker orient himself towards a bottle or a drug [you seem to know my posts before you appeared here, so you might be aware I was an addict for 12 years] or find any other ways to help themselves somehow. One of the reasons I guess being that it is ver hard to take the narcissistic investment and route it onto someone else.
A bit broader though, eventhough its a bit of a cliché, just imagine a classic, by-the-book borderliner. Suicidality, massive emotional swings, self-harm, interpersonal chaos, drug abuse. Thinking that person will become better all by themvelf is not realistic.
So my main point here is not at all, that change is impossible. I've just privately posted a large chapter of a book to the OP of the "Cure" thread, that deals with changeability in NPD. But change where you are the instigator, the upholder and the master of change - I think that is in itself very narcissistic and is a huge burden that imo is impossible to bear. Plus its a bit like trying to fix a machine with broken parts. If we stay with the addiction example I would think a large reason why so many addicts fall back is bcause tehy only have themselves and their magical addiction device.

Why are you responding to the question as though I asked for a dick measure? :wink:


I'm not. But if you have to know I don't see mindfulness as a useful technique, at least not in the long run. Its a part in DBT and you can ask any pwBPD, DBT is just a toolset, it doesnt fix the underlying issues. So if you want to repeat your mindfulness practices for the rest of your life be my guest, but I would rather have something that makes it unnecessary to paint over the wet spots over and over again.
If we stay with Buddhism the difference here is a bit more spiritual than I'd liek to admit I think. You want to clean the mirror every day. I want to realize there is no mirror.

Which is in reference to the essence of your reasoning: that people with personality disorders are literally incapable of making any meaningful change.

This particular message that you’re communicating, is an important one to back-up.


I think you are still misinterpreting my first rather abstract comment about defense mechanisms :P. I've not said pwPD can't change, the last person to make that poiint here was dazn I think. I wouldnt be in therapy if there wouldnt be at least a part of me that would think it's possible to essentially get better. But I am trying to - not very skillfully it seems - point to a problem that I perceive here, namely that on the one hand side you are seeing supply as the outcome of a pathological thing, but you only want to reroute the supply, while keeping the thing. And you seem to be very much trying to do this in your meditation hut on the top of Fuji. Maybe my pessimism is distorting this too much but I think both are dangerous, especially if you have just come out of rehab. You might overstrain your muscles if you try to carry too much weight alone.
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Re: How do you replace supply?

Postby Akuma » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:53 am

Actually I want to add somethign else.
If I jump back to the original question, apart from my raised eyebrows about the method, which I probably perceive thru a thick layer of my own asocial tendencies here, there is another thing I dont get.
If I think about myself and narcissistci supply, not much comes to mind. I dont care too much what people think about me, I am not interested in my looks very much, I dont lie or manipulate to feel powerful or for any reason, I'm not even sure what would count as NS. From the definition it would be something that I do or say or think to make me feel good about myself, so basically that would probably be certain daydreams, making a sound or a track that I like, very rarely maybe posting some genius thing here on PF lol. I really rarely feel good about myself, so this is a bit of a mystery reserved for the grandiose types that seem to all have fled from the forum.
But anyways, this also means there is things that are totally natural - I wouldnt even have the inclination to change them, they arent hurting anybody, they arent making problems for me and except for the daydreaming maybe if it would occur too often they're not pathological. And I cant even imagine what kind of supply one would need to go to these lengths to change it.
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Re: How do you replace supply?

Postby steerfield » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:01 am

I'll reply in full tomorrow, but wanted to quickly say, that was a very good read. I had forgotten about your substance addictions, actually.

We might be similar. I can relate to your line of thinking from how I thought previously, but even with the current differences, we seem to have the same ideas on commitment.

Re mindfulness: It's vipassana proper that I've done. Much more extreme than DBT, as you know.

Courses offer something quite unique to the standard mindfulness technique. Recommend looking into it more (and to not do a DFW and chicken out after a few days because the food was bad).
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Re: How do you replace supply?

Postby YourBestFriend » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:55 pm

It sounds terrible. Narcissists should be accomplished individuals with narcissistic supply just being there with them. If you have to get yours from petty things and mercy from other people you are just damaged.

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