There are therapists who specialize in treating individuals with characterological disorders who are realistic about the prognosis and, depending on the severity of the case and commitment to change, can help an individual with these problems, such as Borderline Personality Disorder, develop better impulse control, reality testing and how to consider other’s feelings and needs if only to avoid the consequences of not doing so (e.g., the loss of an important relationship).
Then there are therapists who can best be described as BPD enablers and apologists. They tell the BPD individual and her or his significant other, who is often on the receiving end of tremendous emotional, psychological, financial and/or physical abuse, that the BPD’s partner must learn to practice “radical acceptance” because the individual with BPD can’t control themselves and doesn’t know what they’re doing. They insist that the BPD’s victims need to be more understanding and empathetic of their abuser’s pain.
Unfortunately, a lot of these therapists provide services to those seeking marriage and family therapy, and it appears the bad ones far outnumber the good ones.
This attitude toward BPD individuals as victims, even when they’re perpetrating egregious abuse, is also rampant on a number of support sites that supposedly exist as resources for men and women who are being abused by spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends, friends and family members with BPD.
They are quite literally sending the message that the victims of personality disordered abusers need to react to that abuse by making themselves vulnerable to more of the same.
There is very little open discussion of just how dangerous these therapists and “support groups” are to the victims of personality disordered abusers. It is important for people to know how to spot this problem in professionals, and in supposed support groups. It is the only chance they have of obtaining help from people who are actually interested in ending abuse rather than perpetuating it.
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Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.
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