“‘One of the most interesting origins for much of this aberrant thought comes out of harsh and inconsistent and unpredictable early environments,’ Caspi tells me. ‘Those kinds of experiences that set up the anticipation of bad things happening, or they set up the anticipation of being rejected, they set up the anticipation of being violated, they set up anticipation of constantly being threatened, and things going wrong. Things, you know, being unalterable. And thereby spiraling out of control. So I think a lot of it is about what those early experiences do – they distort our expectations about the future. And that’s why they’re so consequential.’…
…The p-factor might turn out to be nothing more than a statistical artefact. But if there’s some value in its conception, it’s in raising the possibility that targeted measures in childhood – prevention of abuse, effective treatment of mental disorders in parents, and cognitive behavioral therapy lessons in schools – could reduce the prevalence of the most severe mental disorders that diversify and disable throughout a person’s life…”—Alex Riley, “The seed of suffering.” Aeon. May 14, 2021.
I buy the notion the mental illness has a progression, where our childhood lays the groundwork and our sensitivities combined with later environments can lead to different sequela that emerge from common origins, with inflammation serving as a useful metaphor.
“Ellen Biros, MS, LCSW, a therapist in Suwanee, Georgia, describes grey rocking as a technique for interacting with manipulative and abusive people. This can include people with narcissistic personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder as well as toxic people without a mental health diagnosis…She goes on to explain that since people with manipulative personalities feed on drama, the duller and more boring you seem, the more you undermine their efforts to manipulate and control you.”—Timothy J. Legg, “Dealing With a Manipulative Person? Grey Rocking May Help.” Healthline. December 12, 2019.
“That didn’t happen.
And if it did, it wasn’t that bad.
And if it was, that’s not a big deal.
And if it is, that’s not my fault.
And if it was, I didn’t mean it.
And if I did…
You deserved it.”-Anonymous
There’s a support group on Reddit called /r/raisedbynarcissists that provides some basic resources for helping people understand the behaviors of their parents and other people in their lives who may have Cluster B personality disorders. They have guides to traits and tactics, and the idea of FLEAs, that living or growing up with someone with these behaviors often means you will pick up these traits and strategies yourself, even if you do not have a personality disorder.
Perhaps the most useful resources is their Best of post that links on red flags, boundaries, forgiveness and so forth. If you’ve encountered this kind of person in your life, it’s probably worth a look.
“Depression is beating up on us already, and we don’t need to help it out. Give yourself permission to acknowledge that you’re feeling terrible (or bad, or whatever it is you are feeling), and then do a little thing, just one single thing, that you probably don’t feel like doing, and I PROMISE you it will help. Some of those things are:
Take a shower.
Eat a nutritious meal.
Take a walk outside (even if it’s literally to the corner and back).
Do something – throw a ball, play tug of war, give belly rubs – with a dog. Just about any activity with my dogs, even if it’s just a snuggle on the couch for a few minutes, helps me.
Do five minutes of yoga stretching.
Listen to a guided meditation and follow along as best as you can.
Finally, please trust me and know that this shitty, awful, overwhelming, terrible way you feel IS NOT FOREVER. It will get better. It always gets better. You are not alone in this fight, and you are OK.”
—Wil Wheaton. “My name is Wil Wheaton. I live with chronic Depression, and I am not ashamed.” WilWheaton.com. May 4, 2018.
“Psychic vampires, also known as energy vampires, are emotionally immature individuals who drain the time and energy from those around them. They are usually highly self-interested and lack empathy. The relationships they form are largely self serving. You can deal with psychic vampires by identifying psychic vampires in your life, setting firm boundaries with these people, and working on your own sense of self esteem and self worth.”
—How to Deal With Psychic Vampires. wikiHow.
Understanding the basic concept is important if you have a psychic vampire in your life. However, the advice is much too passive. Identify them and cut them out.