During my life, I have seen a lot of counselors.
The above is a snippet of an old record. The problems related to the social environment are from a recent move and social isolation. . My GAF and GAS score is lower from being disabled and being unable to work. This counselor diagnosed me with Panic Disorder, and PTSD as well. She also had Axis III diagnoses pertaining to my severe endocrine problems. I never have been diagnosed with a personality disorder. You can see their mention of severe emotional abuse.
With the counselors, I would be diagnosed with Panic Disorder and just about every one of them including a recent one from a few years ago diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder otherwise known as PTSD. Depression also came up from time to time. I never was diagnosed with any personality disorders myself. I found out about my Aspergers too of course from the counselors which was backed up by a recent psychologist who specialized in it partially.
When I went away to college, I went into counseling at the age of 18. One reason I had to go into counseling was severe panic attacks. They were affecting my functioning. I would run out of classes, telling my professors I was having an asthma attack sometimes it really was one but other times, I felt trapped!
I would be seeing repeated counselors just to function at work and elsewhere. My work life meant just trying to hold it together while inside my mind seethed. While I would get anxiety from breathing problems, I did have separate bone-rattling panic attacks. Panic attacks that made the world spin around me, and literally almost made me crawl into a ball. Counselors taught me techniques to hold it together.
By the way no contact has cut my panic attacks by 80%. I am not kidding. It actually improved this problem to the extreme.
One thing though as I sought refuge with counselors, is many admitted I was one of the most severely abused people they ever had talked to. One told me I was the worse case of emotional abuse they ever had heard of. I would literally shock my counselors with things I had to tell them. I didn't mean to.
My counseling often was beneficial. I liked many of my counselors. Counselors kept me out of the hospital. Counselors helped me process what I dealt with in the big city and the violence I saw on the job working with troubled youth. Christian Counselors helped me and my husband's marriage survive, during his career implosion. There were only one or two here and there I did not click with but recently pondering my past counseling experiences........
Sometimes I ask myself, why didn't my counselors tell me about narcissistic personality disorder?
Why didn't my counselors tell me about sociopathy?
Why didn't my counselors tell me about no contact?
Why did I have to find out about these things in my 40s?
I actually had a few well-meaning counselors tell me that to heal, I need to reconcile with my mother and family. This was during my first no contact! I remember one counselor insisting on this strongly even knowing about my abuse. "You can't cut off your whole family, you need to open the lanes of communication and heal those relationships!" I was told it was unhealthy to cut my family off and I should explore forgiveness. I think these counselors were well-meaning but the reality of sociopathy never occurred to them.
Many gave me fantasies of connecting to my mother as an adult. They told me since I was no longer a child, we could connect as equals. I got the feeling some saw abusive parents as troubled people that made mistakes but inherently reasonable, with the ability to be reformed.
A lot of counselors are not taught about the reality of evil, but taught that counseling improves human relationships and that communication will solve a lot of problems and disconnection. Even if one faces abuse, they still see communication and forgiveness as solving the problem. They did not even tell me that remorse may not be on the menu with one of the parties. Perhaps with some dealing with the conscience-less is not part of their life experience but it made me vulnerable.
Sometimes I think in the counseling world that narcissism and sociopathy are ignored to the detriment of many people. Perhaps a few domestic abuse counselors may warn their clients of Cluster B disorders, but what about then young women like me seeking answers crawling out of a very abusive childhood?
I may be returning to counseling soon, and I am worried about finding a counselor that understands narcissism or sociopathy. It could be a problem. I know I could not handle getting a counselor that tells me no contact is bad, and that reconciliation is the answer. I have been down that road before.