Thriving as an adult after a dysfunctional authoritarian childhood?
May 7, 2011 1:22 PM Subscribe
Resources for adults who have trouble living day to day after growing up in an authoritative family in which abuse was present?
posted by GEB's fun world to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
My apologies if this has already been asked - I was unable to locate what I'm specifically looking for.
I'm a 25 year old woman. Only two months ago I began seeing a new psychologist who specializes in concurrent mental illnesses and abuse in women. I like her, but she is suddenly taking a 6-month leave of absence. I want to find resources on issues she has raised so I can continue to work on improving myself.
It is her belief I am not quite a sufferer of mental illness in the ways I've been lead to believe from being a psychiatric patient, but someone who has been severely distorted by authoritarian parenting that was also physically, emotionally and psychologically abusive. While I do firmly believe I've experienced mental illness and abuse, I think what she is encouraging me to do is move away from focusing on it as a disability and instead look at its causes in order to deal with where and why it has put me in the place I am today. And I think that is probably a helpful thing.
A little background (TMI warning):
This past January I stopped taking Paxil, which took me a year and 4 months to entirely wean myself off. Paxil withdrawal was one of the hardest things I've ever experienced. I was on it for 8 years, and it really made me act like a damned fool most of the time. Glad it's over, and feel proud of myself for accomplishing the withdrawal.
I've suffered from depression, anxiety, off-and-on suicide ideation and trichotillomania (hair pulling) since I was about 9. My parents completely ignored my behavior, reprimanded my emotions with more physical discipline/violence, and ignored the phonecalls requesting meetings from my teachers (in grade 5 my school contacted children's aid, someone spoke with me, but nothing was ever done beyond that). About two years ago, a doctor diagnosed me with a personality disorder and referred me to a mental health hospital, which completely rejected the PD diagnosis once I was assessed by their personality disorders/interpersonal therapy dept. Instead, I received CBT therapy for depression, it kind of worked, but it did not address deep-rooted self-hate that has governed most of my decisions in life.
So now I am without a therapist, but am lucky enough not be in a hopeless state of depression. Because I've already worked through coming off of my medication, and have made other big steps in feeling better, I feel capable and motivated to working on this alone for now.
I've already read Alice Miller's The Drama of the Gifted Child, and found it to be helpful although it really triggered me emotionally. I'd like a recommendation of books or resources for redeveloping one's personality and/or self-image in regard to growing up in an authoritarian family structure.
I'll be using these tools in conjunction to what I've already learned in CBT. Ideally, I'd like to find a guide outlining how to not obsess and fear authority, how to feel that I am worthy of agency and able to make decisions for myself (intellectually I know I am, but psychically there is a big wall), how to listen to my own intuition, how to stop 'acting out' in self-destructive ways as an adult, how to uphold and adhere to my own personal principles, and more. If such a book exists, please let me know.
Please and thank you.