Originally Posted by organica
Thank you very much zoebird.
The hard part is (a.) I can't seem to drop the grandiose/a$$hole personality at will or in therapy (even after years of therapy);
i don't think that you have to 'drop it' to progress. the first step is acknowledgeing it and recognizing when you're acting out because of it. So, it's largely just observing.
This, then, is combined with the fact that while you are observing that, you can also look to the causes and origins of your shame and self-hate and begin to work through those.
(b.) I know that negative personality protects me from a lot of painful things, like awareness of the fact I have very few people in my life who care about me, child abuse, poverty, etc. by puffing me up "larger than life";
predominently, you use it as an avoidance technique. The awareness of the fact is still there (if you can write it out like this, you're aware of it)--so it's not functioning at that level, but it does allow you to avoid going into the "whys and wherefores" of what is really going on or what your part is and isn't in child abuse, poverty, etc.
so, now you have two elements that you are observing. First, you're observing your awareness of your reality and then second you're observing your reaction to that reality. In combination, you are observing the dynamic interplay between the two--and it's likely that you're beginning to expand that awareness into how it is affecting you and how it is affecting others.
(c.) I am terrified of more psychosis/crippling depression/panic attacks/suicide attempts if I do manage to drop the tough, holier-than-thou personality or ego.
like most people, you fear the whole process of change because you don't know what will happen. What will happen when you undo your shame? it is likely that if you can undo certain aspects of your shame, then you'll not have to behave in a grandious way. This way, the grandiousness drops naturally because you no longer need it.
this is really the way that it works. You don't have to drop the grandious to deal with the shame. You simply recognize that that's how you deal with it. Then, when you decide to delve into the origins of the shame and work through it, the grandiousness will fall away on it's own--and something new will be there.
I can understand your fear for a number of reasons. In the past, your only experience was 'no grandious, then depression." depression is the 'other reaction' to the shame. It really was 'either/or.' If there's no grandious, then there's depression--becuase you haven't worked through the cause of what you're reacting to, your shame and suffering and all of that. Does that make sense?
So, what if you work through the cause, which will be difficult, and allow either of those reactive-things to express (if grandious makes you more functional or is more helpful, then let that happen and observe that happening) in the process, then when you get to the other side--unravelling the cause--you'll find that both reactions 'drop away' on their own because you no longer need them.
does this make sense?