A while back, I received a voicemail from 67-year-old Scott Schaeffer – his story and experience struck such a profound cord that I reached out to him to see if he’d be interested in sharing more with the listeners of the podcast. What resulted was this episode – and one of the most incredible interviews I’ve done to date.
With the help of a supportive and well-informed psychotherapist, Scott realized that he identified heavily with the traits of borderline personality disorder.
As a child, he endured severe physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his father and struggled to reconcile his mother’s inability to protect him and his siblings. Through it all, he was able to nurture a decades-long healthy relationship with his wife and stop the cycle of abuse by parenting his daughter.
Years ago, Scott found the courage to leave a cushy corporate job and pursue his passion. He and his wife now run a thriving business that specializes in healing aggression, separation anxiety, and other behavioral issues in dogs who, to many, might seem like “lost causes.” Their reputation for working magic and considering the entire family system when working with animals and their owners means they now have a months-long waiting list to work with them.
Scott is living proof that ANYONE can heal and change. Regardless of your age or gender, Scott’s story will inspire anyone who struggles with generational family trauma, emotion dysregulation, validation addiction, self-confidence issues, and a longing to find a solid sense of identity, meaning, and purpose in life.
Questions answered and topics discussed in this episode:
■ How Scott realized he needed help (“everything felt like a conscious effort”)
■ The empowerment that comes with having concrete terms to describe hard-to-explain patterns of behavior
■ How BPD “splitting” (black-and-white or all-or-nothing thinking) can harm our relationships with ourselves and the people we love
■ Validation addiction: how to stop being an approval addict
■ The role childhood trauma and abuse play in the early development of BPD symptoms and traits
■ How highly sensitive children in toxic and dysfunctional family systems are often “canaries in the coal mine.”
■ Parents with BPD traits (parenting skills for mothers and fathers who identify with traits of borderline personality disorder)
■ “Hurt people hurt people” – how generational trauma and abuse play out in family systems
■ How Scott broke the cycle of generational trauma with his own family
■ Why cis-gendered heterosexual males don’t often get diagnosed with BPD (how the medical model of mental health fails men with traits of borderline personality disorder)
Connect with Scott at https://www.usadogbehavior.com/.
Disclaimer: information contained in this podcast episode is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for treatment or consultation with a licensed mental health professional.
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