Trouble in the Making: Personality Disorders Mixed with Depression

By: Christine Hammond LMHC
Depression has its own signs and symptoms but when mixed with a personality disorder (PD) it can be more elusive. Each PD has a different manifestation of depression with varying levels of intensity. While not all depression becomes homicidal or suicidal, the risks for this possibility are presented as a word of caution. The following are the PDs most likely to raise a red flag.·Anti-Social PD (Sociopath and Psychopath): This is the hardest of the PDs to diagnose as depressed unless they want a person to know about it. So accustomed to masking true feelings or emotions, they are even able to deceive themselves. At first, to counteract the sadness, they will escalate in two main ways: criminal and sexual behavior. Both behaviors have given them pleasure in the past however the acceleration and intensification of their actions will be noticeable. Just like a drug addict with high tolerance, they need much more than before to satisfy. When that fails to achieve …

Four Analogies to Understanding Mental Health Counseling

By: Nate Webster, IMH
What exactly does sitting down and talking to someone about your problems actually do? In many ways counseling can just sound like a glorified coffee date with friends, except the cappuccino is $75.00 an hour! Here are four analogies to help uncover the mystery of counseling. These analogies give word pictures to help you understand exactly what counseling does to help you and what can be expected. So whether you’re someone who uses analogies a lot or someone who is new to using analogies, I hope these give you some clarity.
Counselors are like binoculars:First and foremost, counselors often act like a pair of binoculars in your life. When you’re trying to discern what the current conditions of your life may be leading to, a counselor can be helpful as they look out at the horizon and discern what’s in the distance. What looks like some harmless twirling in the water a mile away, a counselor can identify as an eventual whirlpool that may trap you. A counselor isn’…

How Not to Cope with a Narcissist

By: Christine Hammond LMHC
Dysfunctional behavior applies to everyone. It’s not just the narcissist who is flawed in their perception and responses. The people around them frequently utilize maladjusted coping mechanisms (or defense mechanisms) in an attempt to handle the toxic situation or manage the narcissism.Here are some real life examples: An employee realizes their boss is a narcissist but idealizes their success and strives to be just like them. A child knows their parent is different, controlling, reactionary and demanding but says they are perfect. A spouse sees the narcissism but minimizes the behavior and makes excuses for it.A quick look at types of defense mechanisms, originally coined by Sigmund Freud and further developed by Anna Freud and George Eman Vaillant, reveals several which are commonly found in people who deal with narcissists.·Acting out. It frequently backfires when a person expresses their frustrations to the narcissist about their narcissistic behavior. So…

Projective Identification: How a Narcissist Projects Their Identity on Others

By: Christine Hammond LMHC

A client walked into my office for the first time and began to describe her husband as a narcissist. They had been married for 15 years, had two children, were well established in the community, and were both very career oriented. She came across an article about narcissism and that her husband fit the profile. Not interested in getting a divorce, she wanted to learn how to manage his narcissism.But something seemed a bit off about her as she was too put together and completely lacked the usual anxious reaction that corresponds with living with a narcissist. Her appearance was immaculate, her mannerism was guarded, she shed what seemed like an obligatory tear, and within minutes she revealed her income, square footage of her house, and details of the latest European vacation. There was nothing about the kids, no admittance of even the slightest abuse, and no signs of PTSD, anxiety or depression. Then it hit me, she was the narcissist.Twisted Perception. The d…

The Four Biggest Barriers to a Social Life

By: Nate Webster, IMH

Even up until 50 years ago, people lived in a very different world than today. In just 5 decades we’ve seen the invention of digital technology, the Internet and really fast transportation! However, some of our advances as a society have become our biggest barriers to a thriving social life. Below is a list what may be the four biggest barriers to your social life. Read them through and see which ones fit.
Doing everything online: Shopping, taking piano lessons, school and even counseling can be done online. There is a great temptation to live our entire lives online. It feels more convenient and gives us a sense of efficiency, but forfeits human interaction that allows for relationships and community. What’s one activity you do online that maybe you can start doing in person? Is loneliness really worth all the efficiency and convenience of online living?
Everything’s about productivity: It’s true that you may work in an office that needs productivity all the time, …

The Aging Narcissist: Adding Dementia to the Mix

By: Christine Hammond LMHC
Despite what a narcissist will pontificate, even they are subject to the effects of getting older. Becoming elderly is a normal part of the developmental stage of life for most people, but not for the narcissistic. They view aging as an ultimate evil. Some will engage in ridiculous plastic surgery in an effort to look as young as they feel. Others will begin a new career while their peers are retiring. And still others will take on far younger partners.But what the narcissist can’t do is dodge the effects of dementia. As a progressive indiscriminate disorder which sometimes transforms into Alzheimer's or other disorders, dementia affects every area of the brain in a random order. What seemed natural and habitual now becomes foreign and difficult. Memory becomes scattered and unreliable. Familiar people become strangers or even enemies that are out to get them.For the narcissist, this is completely unacceptable. Most narcissists rely heavily on their cogni…

Why Marriages Fail After 25 Years

By: Christine Hammond LMHC

It’s shocking. After 25 years of marriage, a couple decides to get a divorce. From the outside looking in, things could not be any stranger. The pressures of establishing a career have subsided, the kids have grown-up (and hopefully moved out), and a desired lifestyle has been obtained. After all, surely this couple has been though just about everything and survived it. Or have they?
It is precisely when a lack of distractions from career, kids, schools, and community subsides that underlying long-term issues rise to the surface. The defense mechanism of denial no longer works. Instead what is revealed is prolonged hurt, deep seeded resentment, a lack of forgiveness, virtually no real communication, and zero intimacy.A marriage falling apart after such a long duration isn’t about a lack of commitment. Rather, the dedication to staying together is what allowed the marriage to last as long as it did. Yet society vilifies the desolation. Instead of understanding …