Oops! I did it again... Impulsiveness and Regret in BPD
Today I lacked some judgment. Because things have been going well at work, and I received accolades from my boss publicly in two meetings this past week, I had this brilliant idea that it might be a good time to ask for a raise. It wasn't.
If only I had done due diligence rather than respond to a very intense urge to act impulsively by asking today instead of thinking it through, I would not have been left with the feelings of regret and embarrassment. I wouldn't have a troubling scenario to now torture myself with over and over again.
Up until today, I had been doing really well with impulse control. For example, for a while there, I would emotionally respond to emails right away, often regretting what I had written just moments later -- but it would be too late. I would cause myself so much unnecessary distress and anxiety because I didn't think things through until after the fact.
I've been practicing mindfulness around emails, including putting a space (time) between my initial reaction and actually responding to the other person. My goal has been to move away from always needing to be seen as right and competent to simply being effective. For me, being effective means I get my point across in a professional manner that I don't end up regretting.
It was difficult at first, as it is with any impulsive behavior. I knew it would take practice, and with time, I have come to the point where I no longer respond immediately and emotionally to emails. In fact, this practice has extended to other areas of my life when I feel an impulsive urge to do something potentially self-sabotaging or damaging.
That's why I'm not entirely sure why today I decided to ask my boss for a raise. What was I thinking? I didn't take the time to look at the financial health of the company, and in reality, everyone is working pretty hard to maintain their jobs in this economy. I certainly did not deserve one any more than the next guy.
When I didn't get a "yes" answer, I immediately felt embarrassed, ashamed, and regretful. My boss reassured me that I did nothing wrong, joked with me, and simply explained that it wasn't a good time for the company and that no one would be getting a raise at this time.
I have no reasonable explanation as to why I asked at this point other than that the desire to ask swelled up in me like an insatiable urge. I needed an answer. Even though I knew in my gut that I probably shouldn't have asked and anticipated that I would probably regret it (two red flags that have successfully helped me guide myself to my DBT skills on many a recent occasion), I still followed through on the urge.
I have been feeling emotionally vulnerable for the past couple of days - very heightened and emotionally sensitive, as many people with Borderline Personality Disorder can understand.
Perhaps practicing some distress tolerance and mindfulness skills would have helped to intercept my actions, but I cannot continue to beat myself up over it and be consumed with regret. At some point, when we do something counterproductive and we regret it, we must radically accept that it is what it is and hopefully learn our lessons for the next time we are faced with a similar situation. This is what I have chosen to do.
Do you have a habit of acting impulsively, even when you get a hunch that you might later regret your actions? What coping skills have helped you to avoid such behavior?