Is my PTSD therapist gas-lighting me into thinking I now have a personality disorder?

You asked for help with coping mechanisms. Did your therapist ensure that you had adequate ways of coping before he started treatment?
In short, no. We never made a safety plan or discussed concretely what I should/shouldn't do.
Sometimes we touched on my current (unhealthy) coping strategies, and he'd tell me to make sure I take time to myself after an EMDR session. A few times I confided in him about my heightened need for distraction (I'd constantly play soothing TV shows in my headphones, and had a near panic attack in the grocery store when I lost reception and the show stopped playing on my phone). He just told me it's normal and don't worry about it. And we moved on.
Are you aware of the three part treatment model that includes 1) safety and stabilization 2) processing and 3) rebuilding your life/reintegrating with society, etc?

I’m getting the feeling that you were shoved into step 2 but I’ll wait for your response first.

Edit. The first step of treatment can literally take years before one is ready to process. It’s not something that should be skipped or rushed.
Actually not really - I've heard of this structure, but read that EMDR therapists take multiple approaches. My T didn't follow this (or even talk about it). We had one "introductory" meeting, where I explained my trauma, (the way we all do when we meet a new therapist). In fairness, in the 2nd meeting he did an explanation of "what is EMDR" (and he gave me a youtube video to watch as homework), and together we wrote a list of 5 memories we will dive into during EMDR. But I didn't feel that that was enough. After this we dived right into Memory #1.

I first expected something along the lines of: "Let's walk through what exactly you will do after we end the EMDR, and let's write that down"; "Since we're meeting virtually, let's invite your partner to join part of our session to discuss together how he can help you after a session"; etc. etc.

I never felt "ready" when we started EMDR. I'd sometimes hijack the therapy, and ask a lot of questions to force the structure of "easing in" to the therapy. If I didn't do this, he'd dive right in. I started to dread every appointment, and I'd openly explain this to my therapist. But he just said that this is normal, because we're diving into traumatic memories. He also assured me that the only way to heal is to just dive right in, instead of stalling. Because it's true, that's what I was doing. I was stalling. But it felt wrong, because this guy I'm meeting online is telling me he's the right person to guide me through revisiting traumatic memories that I've shoved deep down and forgotten for 20+ years...

Now, many months later, I think this feeling of "not being ready" was just my insides telling me maybe I didn't feel safe yet (?).

My T also knew that I had a history of depression and suicidal ideation/planning, but we made no safety plan, even when I repeatedly told him I'd wanted to die and was not doing ok. I honestly didn't even know a "suicide safety plan" was a thing, until after my suicide scare, when I confronted the head of treatment and said "SURELY, as a Trauma Center, you guys have various toolkits and resources at your disposal to prevent this sort of thing?!?!" She responded with - "oh, we can do a suicide safety plan if you like".
 
If you raise your hand and contradict many of these clinicians, they will take it personally and assign you a label as a "combative patient." As a patient who is both combative and personality disordered, this is separate from actually having a real disorder of fixed/stable traits. The difference is that my disordered symptoms appear throughout my life, and across multiple forms of relationships, whereas your symptoms only appear during a single stimulus: enduring this treatment.

This happens due to the clinician being unable to tolerate questions to their ego. Anyone who is fully conversant in EMDR understands that this is a treatment that promotes neurogenesis, and as such, can result in incredible destabilization for a patient which can even culminate in suicidal ideation if it is not directed apropriately. Which, because most therapists do not know how to interact with suicide, then results in being labeled with another disorder.
Thanks for explaining this. I feel like I'm being treated as someone who is "simply reluctant to admit" that I have a personality / development disorder. But it truly came out of nowhere. They haven't even tested me for it, and they're treating me as if it's already decided.
 

Weemie

MyPTSD Pro
But it truly came out of nowhere. They haven't even tested me for it, and they're treating me as if it's already decided.

Personality disorders, especially the cluster B axis, are the most stigmatized diagnoses in the DSM. The idea that a therapist who is totally untrained to administer diagnostic assessments could identify you have one based on your response to an unrelated treatment is foolish and medically negligent. "Fun" fact: your reluctance to admit to having a personality disorder, will then be used as evidence that you have one. Once you get trapped in this cycle it can be impossible to break out of, so you should terminate with this therapist immediately and file a complaint with their licensing board.
 
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