Terminal Uniqueness/Personal Exceptionalism is the false belief that the situation a person is facing is unlike anything anyone has ever faced before. Is so unique that therapy and treatment or recovery programs that work for others will not work for them because they are a special case.
What works for others couldn't possibly work for them because no one can understand what they have been through. It is called terminal because this delusional thinking that leads to a refusal to get help and the denial that consequences for PD behaviors apply to them, is ultimately self destructive and relationship destroying.
(above paraphrased from article found here: http://www.orchidrecoverycenter.com/blog/terminal-uniqueness-can-know/)
Terminal Uniqueness is most often talked about in the Recovery community, but as we know there is a high incidence of comorbidity between PD and addiction. I came across this phrase when I was doing some research on false pride which the author of this article - who is writing from her own experiences and awakening to this in herself - identifies as the root source of Terminal Uniqueness.
Here are some responses someone in the midst of this warped thinking might give when a loved one is attempting to help them - from the resourced article:
When someone suggests treatment or a recovery program do you often say things like:
- I’m not like them
- I need to do it my way
- I’m different
- I’d rather do it myself
- This won’t work for me
Sound familiar OOTF friends? From another source: http://alcoholrehab.com/drug-addiction/terminal-uniqueness/ the following dangers of Terminal Uniqueness were identified:
This way of thinking can be dangerous in a number of ways including:
* It allows people to ignore the likely consequences of their actions
* It provides a false sense of security
* It divides the world into me and them
* It means that the individual will be unwilling to believe that treatments that help other people can help them
* It leads to the individual thinking that they are either worse than everyone else or that they are better than everyone else
* It prevents them from seeking help for their problems
* It can be a barrier to communication
* It leads to feelings of loneliness and desperation
It kind of seems like grandiosity, false pride (also called hubristic pride - there's an oldie for us, but actually a more accurate descriptor for this PD behavior than false pride), and arrogance all wrapped up together.
Either way, the feet dragging to get help, the poor me - no one can possibly help or understand me, the self inflicted suffering of the PD that refuses to get help in managing their issues that spills out on all of us that love them - has a name - and the behavior is actually quite common in certain populations of people. How's that for irony! Terminally unique? I don't think so.
Contributed by member Bloomie