Borderline Personality Disorder and Mirroring

I wrote this post, The Male Borderline Waif, a year ago, and it gets a lot of daily traffic.  For as much research that’s been accomplished over the decades around borderline personality disorder (BPD), there are still few answers to be had particularly for men who may be on the borderline spectrum.  Mental health and healing should not be pie in sky for any of us regardless of our diagnosis.

What do we do?

There is also a great deal of stigma for those who carry a personality disorder diagnosis particularly borderline.  The psychopath CEO or even pastor is let off far more easily than the borderline woman (TIME).

Let me be clear.  I’m not a personality disorder apologist.  I don’t, however, feel that anyone should withhold empathy from a population of people simply because there is little true understanding  around the etiology and ultimate course of their condition.  In the case of personality disorders, there are working theories.  That’s it.

Both my parents have personality disorders, and my father was extremely dangerous.  For years, I suspected something was going on with my ex-husband, but I could not pin it down.  Also, I didn’t want to believe that after growing up within a family dynamic so influenced by disordered personalities that I would then go on to choose a partner who would exercise a similar influence.  I, therefore, felt a great deal of denial for a long time which led to my staying in a very unhealthy relationship longer than I should have.

So, what pushed me out of my denial?

Firstly, I observed that my ex-husband was very resistant to any kind of treatment and became very defensive if I suggested it.  He refused to go to the doctor for anything.  He refused to seek mental health treatment as well–even when an ultimatum was on the table.  When I asked him why, he would tell me that he knew more than any doctor.  Was my ex-husband a physician? No.  Did he believe that he knew more? Yes, I think he did.  Is there a name for what he was expressing? Yes, there is.


Secondly, over the years I noticed that he had different “personalities” or ego states depending upon the situation, and sometimes they were wildly different.  He was a chameleon, and I wouldn’t even recognize him as the same person particularly at work functions.  What was most bothersome is that he had borrowed my self-image in terms of how he talked about life in general.  He used my language and knowledge base as if they were his own.  This is called mirroring.

What is mirroring?


Mirroring – Imitating or copying another person’s characteristics, behaviors or traits.

Borrowing a Self-Image

Mirroring occurs when people with Personality Disorders have a vacant or distorted self-image, which can manifest itself as an imitation of another person’s speech, mannerisms, behaviors, dress style, purchase preferences or daily habits.

In more extreme manifestations of this behavior, the person doing the mirroring might begin to believe they actually are the other person, to the extent they might call themselves by their name, claim to be them or ‘borrow’ elements of the other person’s life such as relationships, past experiences, career or family history and claim these as their own.

Mirroring can be a form of Dissociation, where a person’s strong feelings create “facts” which are less than true.

A dramatic case of mirroring is portrayed in the movieSingle White Female, in which the character Hedra Carlson (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh) begins to imitate her new room-mate Allie in the way she looks, dresses and behaves, imitating her haircut, wearing her clothes and ultimately seducing Allie’s boyfriend. (Out of the Fog)

What it Looks Like

  • A man switches accents to mimic a colleague.
  • A woman wears identical clothing to her friend.
  • A mother wears her daughter’s clothing.
  • A teenager makes phone calls in which she pretends to be her sibling or parent.
  • A secretary wears her boss’s wife’s perfume in an attempt to seduce him.
  • A man writes letters in which he forges his boss’s signature. (Out of the Fog)

My mother mirrored me frequently.  It was obvious.  It wasn’t as obvious when my ex-husband was doing it until he attended an intake session with a therapist.

He came home after his intake appointment and told me that his new therapist saw no reason for him to be there.  I felt shocked, but I played along.

“Why does your therapist think that you don’t need therapy?” I casually asked.

“I told him that I was looking to create more ’emotional mindfulness’ in my life, and he was really impressed with that.  He had never heard that term before, and he really liked it.  Anyone who would even come into his office and use such a term probably didn’t need much therapy,” he said smugly.

STOP!!!!!! That’s MY term!! I used that term! That is what I was trying to create in MY life! 

He mirrored my therapeutic process in his first therapy session to get out of therapy! That was the moment when I knew something was wrong.

I kept this behavior in mind as I proceeded, and this weekend’s antics with my daughter settled it for me.

Between his mirroring, chameleon-like behavior, grandiosity, entitlement, apparent lack of a solid sense of self as well as his belief that others do not have a sense of self that requires fencing in (boundaries), protecting, and respecting, displays of rage and violence, and consistent need to be the victim in our relationship when he was actually participating in victimization, and his reported self-loathing, I finally understand that he is likely experiencing identity disturbance among other things.

I know that pathologizing people isn’t necessarily the way to go, but it helps me get a proper handle on how to adjust my expectations and behaviors.  It helps me think in terms of what I can expect from someone in terms of personal safety, too.  It also helps me organize a better narrative around our past interactions.  When I look back over our relationship, I can see that I wasn’t interacting with his true self but rather his disorder.

Mirroring behaviors are not discussed enough in the context of personality disorders particularly if you are in a relationship with someone who is engaging in them.  You may feel “creeped out” by them, and that’s legitimate.  It is a bit alarming.    Why is this even a thing? I found a very brave blog post written by a woman with borderline personality disorder who explains why she engages in mirroring behaviors:

“One of the biggest and most challenging aspects of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is often ‘The Chameleon Effect’ – or ‘mirroring’. This is the constant, unconscious change in the person’s ‘self’, as they struggle to fit in with their environment, or the people around them. It is, essentially, a fluctuating identity. It is the manifestation of a basic inability or difficulty in establishing a stable sense of self.

The presence of The Chameleon is often one of the main obstacles to effective initial treatment and diagnosis of BPD, as it affects the interaction between patient and doctor, and can mask the disorder itself. It also effects and masks the way in which BPD intersects with other disorders that may have developed in connection with it – creating a complex web of behaviours that can be hard to untangle. The irony is that, without diagnosis and treatment, most are unaware of The Chameleon, and it is only through awareness that The Chameleon can be managed.” (Borderline Personality Disorder and the Chameleon Effect)

She goes on to explain very succinctly what the mirroring is all about:

“Now that I am acknowledging the presence of my Chameleon, I am beginning to wonder if this is actually the key to everything. The whole kit and caboodle. The crux of the issue. From what I can see, everything stems from this lack of a stable self. Borderlines instinctively ‘mirror’ to fit in, because without that behaviour, we have no idea what will happen. We have little or no sense of our own identity, so we can’t know if that will be acceptable to others. Without acceptance by others, we risk abandonment, which is often an intense fear for Borderlines. Why do we have this intense fear of abandonment? Because if we are abandoned, we have nobody to ‘mirror’. The fear of abandonment is a fear of being alone. It is terrifying to be left alone with yourself, when you don’t know who yourself is.” (Borderline Personality Disorder and the Chameleon Effect)

This is such a courageous thing to write, and it explains the inner movements of the emotional life of people who struggle with borderline personality disorder in a way that is very understandable.

My ex-husband and mother refused to confront themselves or their abusive behaviors.  There was no happy ending, but perhaps we can all gain better insight into the vast spectrum of human experience through the depth of our own.

Further Reading:

Borderline Personality Disorder and ‘The Chameleon Effect’

19 Comments on “Borderline Personality Disorder and Mirroring

    • My ex has BPD, he’s a male and in his 60s.

      He was successful in business but had no real personality.

      I was mirrored and it’s a form of violence. I have never felt so duped in all my life.

      If you include the cluster b rollercoaster, it’s disgusting. PwBPD have my compassion, but it’s a shocking illness that harms, destroys and infects innocent peope.

  1. my ex did this within months of knowing each other. He stared to take phrases I said and jokes to use them as his own. He would always use them playfully with me so it made me feel closer to him a way. Almost like it was our inside joke until I heard one of his friend’s say my joke on his youtube channel. Then I was like wait a minute! I always had a feeling that he used parts of me as his own more with his friends when I wasn’t around to seem more funny or intelligent than he actually was. He also started using phrases with me that I had never heard before and would say “I always say that…c’mon you’ve never heard me say that” when I fact never did hear him say it before. I found it was phrase his close friend always said that he took. I always thought it was vice versa. I read out of the fog months after our separation and realized how deep mirroring really is and was happy to know a term for it.

  2. Hi. This is a great article. I have BPD and other issues like Dependent Personality Disorder and complex PTSD. I feel like a sponge. I have no sense of identity, and my interests and hobbies have varied so much over the years. I was watching Home Alone 2, and there is a scene where the evil hotel clerk makes a grinch face. Well, my youngest sister and I have been making that face at each other for years and I couldn’t remember why we started doing it but now I know! We also use other phrases and facial expressions from various movies over the years. I don’t see any other friends acting that way, and was googling this behaviour and discovered it’s called mirroring. I think my bf may have narcissistic p.d. and I read about mirroring in that relationship dynamic too. He loves hunting and fishing and I am started to feel compelled to learn when it kind of goes against my morals. When we first started dating I started listening to hip hop because he did, when I really hate that kind of music. He mirrors me a bit too but it’s not to my extent. Back in my early 20’s I was dating a biker, and got my motorcycle licence and a motorbike and was totally engrossed in that scene. After we broke up 5 years later, I could barely get on that bike anymore and decided to sell it. I thought it was because of anxiety from having a health scare and surgery, but in retrospect I think it’s due to mirroring and losing my reference point or whatever. It’s kind of scary. I wish I knew how to stop this. I’m in DBT and it doesn’t really touch on building an identity. I do feel being emotionally aware is helping me a lot. I know I have to do a lot of work to do.

    • Thank you for commenting. I really appreciate it. I write a lot about the “other” experience of personality disorders. I am very grateful to hear from you–a woman who experiences it.

      It helps the conversation, and it broadens understanding.

      You know, I have been asking a question about how identity forms so that a person feels complete and solid within themselves. The mechanisms of that. The how or the steps that occur. DBT does not address identity. You are correct. It address the emotional instability part that results from identity instability. I really liked DBT for that. For a lot of people with BPD or any sort of personality disorder or even mood disorder, DBT is really useful. I took the 24-week course and found it to be invaluable for learning about self-validation and even what a validating environment looks like. But, it doesn’t address how to build an identity when you feel like you don’t have one.

      I don’ know what the current APA protocol is, but I wonder if there is belief that one can’t. I don’t believe that. I do think that one has to be emotionally stable first in order to do the deep identity work. Sometimes reframing helps me settle down inside myself, and I feel hopeful again. Perhaps building emotional awareness and working on emotional regulation–skills learned in DBT–and then slowly addressing identity work. It’s a hard thing to do. I think that your insight into yourself is outstanding and shows that you already have a sense of identity in a way–you know where you have a deficit. And that is actually how one starts. After I separated from my ex-husband, I had to address identity again because so much of mine was wiped out. I had to go back to what I liked before. I started there. I started doing the things I liked before I stopped doing them to prevent his judgments and mockery. What about that? Do you have anything in your life that you have always liked to do? Even if it is tiny? A hobby? Watching musicals? Walking? Looking at birds? Pets? It can be anything. Your likes and dislikes are part of who you are.

  3. Great article. Do you think that certain personality types draw the excessive mirroring types toward them? I am surrounded right now with two people who seem to have fluctuating personalities and mirror me. At first, I felt great being around these two people. Now, I think that I felt great because they were mirroring me. Of course I liked them–They were me! At first it was flattering to have my phrases and ideas taken. It then became irritating. I’m scared to think of it, but I wonder what is the need inside me that draws these people into my life. As I’d like to have a happy and healthy life surrounded by stable people, I’d like to figure this out.

    • Well, it’s validating, isn’t it, when people imitate us to a degree. What is the saying? Imitation is the best form of flattery. Someone picking up on one of your hallmark sayings. Another one starting to wear their scarf or hat just like you. I mean, are there any original ideas out there? We all create new things from someone else’s idea, and that is how art, creativity, and the world at large seems to expand. But, your question–a great one BTW–is significant. How do we know when it’s not just normal relational mirroring (which happens in the beginning stages of falling in love, when we’re forming new bonds in platonic relationships)? When does it become…something else? Like identity encroachment? And are some people more prone to attract it? Well, I can’t say for sure as I haven’t studied this at length, and I’m not not a PsyD. But, from what I have experienced personally with the phenomenon, read, and observed over the years, I would suggest that people who are naturally empathetic and accommodating tend to have more “porous” relational boundaries with people. So, identity encroachment i.e. toxic mirroring is often missed or overlooked. People who come from codependent backgrounds and were raised to be enablers in the codependent family dynamic make great mirrorees largely because enablers were often encroached upon by a parent or sibling growing up. So, their identities are not firmly fenced in–they were not really allowed to develop an identity of their own. The mirroring behavior will then feel familiar and, thusly, almost intimate. Like two people who just “clicked”. The truth is that true lasting friendships take time to develop. Trust takes time to develop as does respect and the space to learn to be vulnerable. Oftentimes when two people click instantly and people start pouring out their most intimate secrets, it isn’t kismet. It’s compatible neuroses amplified by mirroring behaviors.

      So, how does one change this? Invest in personal identity development, and I know that this may sound abstract. Some of the best identity resources I’ve come across are written by SARK. You can check amazon for her stuff. It is whimsical looking, but it is amazing stuff. It will engage (but admittedly more female-oriented). Melody Beattie’s work–all of it–is outstanding. Start with Codependent No More. It is a classic work and a must read. And then go from there; she has a ton of books. All of this deals with identity. Next, figure out what sort of boundaries need to be reexamined around your personality. Think of yourself like a house or a property. Certain people get to come onto your lawn or patio or threshold depending upon the kind of place you reside. People have to deliver mail, etc. That is a public boundary. You have no control if a neighbor sees you hang a wreath on your door, and then, lo, they decide to copy you. That’s a public space for the most part. Like a coworker buying a tie or earrings like yours simply because they totally love it. It has zero to do with you in that case.

      Next is your entry way. What is analogous to your personhood? Who gets to be in that space with you? Then go through the rest of your living space and draw analogies to your person/identity? If someone bought a couch just like yours, how would that feel? Is this similar to snagging a catchphrase? Would it feel different if it were a one-time guest or a close friend? If so, why? And then bring it to your bedroom–your most intimate space. Who gets to be in that space with you? (this is all metaphor. What is your bedroom in your identity and personality?)

      This is very much like rings on a tree and who gets to occupy those spaces with you. This is how we start to fence in our lives, our person, and our identities. It also lets us prioritize what part of our person was violated. Did it happen in the entry way…or in the bedroom? Was it an acquaintance or a close friend? It lets us know who to move in and out of certain spaces in terms of vulnerability and intimacy. If someone close to you was once in the hallway outside your bedroom and they begin hurting you, then you get to decide if they should move to the guest room or living room…or foyer. Note, the bedroom doesn’t have to solely represent sexuality or sexual personality. It can be a sense of personal safety as we must be safe to sleep. It can represent ultimate vulnerability.

      This is all a metaphor for your life and who you are. But, the picture lets you get a sense of where you are in your own house, and THIS is how you stop the encroachment. Do you have people in your bedroom going through your metaphorical underwear while you stand in the hall saying, “Hey, hey, hey y’all…uh….hey…let’s go watch a movie…’kay???” Where are YOU in your own “house” vs. the people who encroach upon you? Have they stolen access to parts of your house before you gave them permission? When that happens, empathetic, accommodating people often do not know how to handle that skillfully. People with enabling tendencies often are not assertive enough to expel people from their homes (ahem…I’m raising my hand here. This is REALLY hard for me.) because they were not taught or permitted to.

      So, getting a map of your Inner House and where your friends are, to me, is Step 1. Taking a look at the state of your identity growth will always be primary and an ongoing process. We will never stop developing that. And, if you find that this is really hard or harder than you thought it would be, reach out and ask for help. If you need resources for that, I can point you in that direction.

      Does any of this make sense to you?

      • Wow….this is the most spot on post I’ve read and this sums up my BPD marriage…. Im very close to leaving for good… but my heart breaks for this lost soul….. even though me staying would mean I would have to give up so much of what I have learned and who I have become through therapy! My fear of seeing my Borderline husband suffer, has me stuck. I still feel responsible for him! I’ve been separated for a year and have never felt so alive and whole! My therapist thinks it will take a miracle for me to live the life I’m living now with him in it! He’s still in denial and won’t recognize his mental state, even after 2 therapist confirmed his BPD!
        Honestly, I went to a marriage coulcelor to find out why it was so difficult for my husband to HEAR me, and why communicating with him was impossible, I started saying “enough” lets do things different…and WOW the BPD came alive and has not stopped! It’s so bad and my sick little mind I think, we’ll if I just go home and give him all of me, then maybe this will get better…..but deep down I know thats not true at all! Ugh…. I want to be free, but I can’t bare the thought of causing someone so much pain!
        Thanks for sharing and writing and being transparent…..your right, Validation is so theraputic and your perception of this issue has helped me tremendously!

        • I understand the turmoil. I had some of that when I was preparing to leave my marriage and a lot of that when I realized I needed to stop interacting with my mother. I thought that I would cause irrevocable suffering. But, then I realized that neither of these two people thought this way about other people. And it gave me pause. I had to ask, “Does my husband think this way? Does my mother?” Well, no. They engage in behaviors that cause inordinate suffering in me and others to the point of causing what feels like irreversible trauma, and they do it because their behaviors meet their needs. Do they stop and ask, “Will my meeting my needs at their expense cause them so much pain?” Of course not! Because they have a pathology. And this is why I was set up to be exploited. And this is why you are as well. When you are overly concerned with the emotional status of another person to the point of sacrificing your own well-being for them and the person to whom you are willing to give up your well-being for does not care at all about that sacrifice or your well-being, then you are set up for ultimate exploitation. You have to choose your well-being first. Why? Because you cannot contribute to the health of a partnership–the health and well-being of Two–if the health of the individual–the One– isn’t intact first. If any partner would demand that you do that, then they are not healthy and the partnership isn’t good. Also, he is responsible for his happiness and the resolution of his suffering as an adult. Not you. As partners, we play a role in that but not the primary role. I don’t know if this is helpful to you. But, these are thoughts that have helped me resolve the dissonance of breaking free from codependency. I wish you the best. MJ

  4. Great article. I have a colleague who has been doing this with me and I didn’t understand why he would do it when it’s so obvious to everyone. At first, I thought he was joking and I tried to take it as a compliment but then it started to feel much like the movie you mentioned, single white female. I have had a very difficult time establishing boundaries due to the office culture of denial and I finally just had to ignore him completely. I kept thinking supervisors would step in but I realized he probably was given the job as a favor of some kind, not on his own merit, most likely the father. He’d been though a lot of jobs even though he was an educated privileged white male so I knew something was terribly wrong with him but I didn’t have a definition. This explains a lot of what’s happening. This will help me practice more compassion that he doesn’t have a sense of self rather than taking it so personally. He thinks I’m good and I guess it’s supposed to be a compliment but it got freaky when it became so obsessive compulsive. I understand from professionals that I can have compassion but not participate with him in the behavior the way his supervisors do. I don’t see him doing it as much with them so I guess that’s why it’s easier for them to cope with and I suspect they don’t have the psychology training that I have had…or at least enough reading because my mother was a mental health professional and had many books on the subject which I read as a youth. I really hope that this country gets better at handling the rampant mental illness that affects no tjust those that have it and wreak havoc but everyone they come into contact with. Sadly, this is a common problem i run into and it’s usually with women I work with who go so far as to dress like me etc or just let me know that they are obsessed with everything I do but I am intelligent enough that it could happen with an unstable male just as easily. I shouldn’t be surprised ever. anyway thanks for sharing on BPD.

  5. I have a problem that might be related to BPD, but i’m not entirely sure. Ever since I was in the fourth or fifth grade I’ve noticed I’m acting like someone else because I visualize being them in my head. It’s like I see them saying the thing I’m saying. It’s bizarre. It can be anyone from characters in tv shows and movies to infectious personalities in my life. I feel like I did it when I was younger to gain confidence, to fit in, or perhaps I was just using these people as role models. However, now that I’ve done this for almost 3 decades I feel like it’s a bad habit I really want to break. I hate that I do it because I feel inauthentic and I just want to be me. The weird thing is i’m not even sure anyone else even knows I’m doing it, because I only do it in short spurts. But I know I’m doing it because I can vividly see the person I’m acting like in my head and it bothers me. So is this BPD related? How can I work on establishing my sense of self more so I can put an end this this type of behavior?

    • This is really interesting. I have had other people ask almost the same thing. So, be comforted. You’re not the only person using this strategy. I suspect that this is actually a coping strategy to compensate for something. We all do something like this, I think. We imagine a person who has a quality that we think we need more of. So, we sort of “put on” the quality that person has that we need and “wear them” until we have developed the quality adequately. Then we no longer need that person in our minds any longer. Would you say that this is what you’re doing? It’s almost like a visualization exercise. I don’t think this is mirroring. Maybe to feel better about this, the next time you need to visualize a quality that one of these people has that you need, imagine borrowing an item of clothing from them and wearing it. It would still possess a certain quality, but you would still be you in your mind. An example: If you were working on your posture, and someone said, “Visualize someone with perfect posture,” and you thought of the Queen of England (now she’s quite elderly now, but humor me). Instead of imagining being Queen Elizabeth, you could imagine wearing a crown on your head as it represents the queen. An association with whatever these people represent to you. I suspect you are choosing these people based on a quality they possess rather than who they are. What are your thoughts?

      • I do this as well. I imagine myself as a fictional character, or someone I make up in my head. The second I stop the depression comes back. I hate myself. I don’t know who I am. What do I want. The only answer I can give is that i don’t want to be alone. But I don’t want to make anyone else suffer. I just want to die. It seems like the only fix. But everytime I have tried I chickened out. I don’t want to be like this. My father was abusive. I think he has this too, pretends to be someone else. He always speaks to me in a southern accent now when we speak and he’s lived his whole life in Minnesota. I have no sense of self, and it would explain why this started when I was so young. There’s no cure, there’s no help, I was born empty. What else is there to do.

        • Hi Cherie, I don’t presume to fully understand the scope of what you’ve experienced in your lifetime that has brought you here. The evidence that longterm parental abuse leads to chronic feelings of emptiness, depression, a lack of a sense of self, and even suicidal ideation is well-established. We are not meant to be alone, and yet the trauma we experience–particularly if it is in early childhood–imparts a heavy imprint on us that can leave us with a feeling of defectiveness. I am speaking from experience. Oddly, my father grew up in Minnesota, too, and moved South in adulthood. He, too, speaks with a Southern accent as if he were born and bred there (something I always thought was very strange, too). And, he was extraordinarily abusive throughout my childhood. I struggled for many, many years with a sense of what I call “ontological negation”. I could not even say that I felt worthless because to say that I felt worthless meant that I had to have a sense of being–a sense of substance. After some of the events in my life, I felt, at times, that I did not even exist really–like I was trapped in a weird void from which I could not escape. I was not really dead but I was not really living. In a way, it felt like I was dying a little bit every second but very slowly. It was agonizing. All…the….time. And this experience was almost entirely due to longterm childhood abuse. I share this in an effort to explain that I relate to what you’ve posted.

          It is possible to experience a measure of healing from this experience. It certainly does not *feel* possible, but it is. There is help. In terms of a cure, there isn’t a cure per se like a vaccine or a pill (if only). But, there are steps that, if taken, may, over time, move you up the spectrum from where you find yourself now towards a more fulfilling emotional experience. And that is the goal–always moving towards a more healed state. For all of us, regardless of our past and present experiences, the idea is to move towards a state of increased wholeness–when we follow a process or prescription that has the potential to lead to a positive result.

          What are the steps?
          1. In my opinion and based on experience, for anyone with emotional dysregulation, depression, and past trauma, DBT is a must (dialectical behavior therapy). It provides you with the skills to manage emotions and thoughts that are necessary to navigate managing every day challenges and the big emotions that come with healing from and managing trauma and C+PTSD. (Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
          2. If substance misuse is present, finding support by joining a community like a 12-Step Program can go a long way in learning about accountability, boundaries in relationships, self-care, and increasing distress tolerance. For many people with childhood trauma, relationships in general were never safe spaces. Isolation was and remains the only safe option. So, learning to associate safety with community is a BIG DEAL. Finding safe communities is a big part of healing from trauma.
          3. Shifting to trauma-informed therapy with EMDR after DBT to address unresolved trauma, increase resiliency, and learn healthy self-talk while getting necessary support in the process of integrating and practicing new skills in the context of identity development (This is EMDR:
          4. Leave unhealthy, destructive relationships. We will never be able to change other people who are intent on harming us. It’s just not possible.
          5. Consider the media that you consume–is it negative? Does it continue to confirm negative biases that you have about the world, others, and yourself? Begin to move away from old habits that keep you locked into negative cycles. Begin taking in new information that may challenge assumptions–Is it possible that you are innately good and worthwhile? Is it possible that there is hope for you? Is it possible that even though you were horribly mistreated as a child that you are lovable and pure and others will see you like that? The answers to all these questions is YES.

          These are some of the steps that a person takes to move up the spectrum towards healing. Some books that are vital to shifting the internal narrative:

          *The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Trauma and Adversity
          by Nadine Burke Harris | Jan 23, 2018 (

          *Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness Paperback
          by Rick Hanson PhD (Author), Forrest Hanson (Author) (

          *Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving: A GUIDE AND MAP FOR RECOVERING FROM CHILDHOOD TRAUMA
          Pete Walker

          I’ll be thinking of you, Cherie…

  6. I’ve read through this article a few times for certain research assignments and personal interest, but it wasn’t until now that I realized I know someone very close to me that might have this disorder. This person has caused a lot of confusion and emotional stress and insecurities in my own life, but I thought it was all my problems. I thought that I was just not being understanding or accepting of who they were. I thought that I was just overreacting or being unreasonable when I felt hurt by something they did or said, that it was something I needed to fix. Of course I can always fix something and be proactive with taking responsibility for my own actions and behavior, but it’s also helpful to know why we feel the way we feel or react a certain way to something. I have a question: at what point does the mirroring effect actually become a symptom of a disorder? At what point does it cross over from just simple imitation of something you like or admire to actually “mirroring” someone?

  7. Oh, nevermind about my question; I see you’ve answered it in an earlier comment. The analogy about the house and who we let in really put things into perspective, and I’m going to try this. Thank you for your insight!

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