- Comparing myself to a chameleon that would shape shift to mimic or be like those around me:
- Sundays Can Be Difficult for the BPD Chameleon
- Chameleon Phenomenon in Borderline Personality Disorder
- The Psychic Borderline: Reading Others & Identity Issues
- Discussing the emotional distress I've felt when experiencing being alone, as related to identity disturbance:
- Inability to settle on a career path or keep a job:
- One of several posts on how I tend to act like a little girl as part of identity disturbance:
- A couple of many posts on how DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) is helping me to find myself:
Can you relate to any of these?
One of the most helpful DBT skills I've found with regards to finding my identity is the section on Wise Mind Values and Priorities in the Emotion Regulation module. In this section, we are given worksheets to help us discover what we hold true to be our values.
Often times we take on others' values without realizing it. Here's a minor example that illustrates this. My doctor told the group that there was a woman who told her that, in order to feel at peace and without anxiety, she absolutely needed to keep her house spotless at all times. When prompted to think about whether she, personally, really felt the need to keep the house that way, the woman realizes that the high standards she set for herself were values she adopted from someone else (her mother). She felt such a relief to let that go and to keep her house tidy, without the expectation of perfection.
Sorting out our values can help us discover what is important to us, so we can begin practicing behaving in ways that are in accordance. This is a major piece in the identity puzzle.
I've also observed that learning the Emotion Regulation and Distress Tolerance skills have helped me to begin separating who I am from what I am feeling. We are not our emotions. We are the observers and experiencers of our emotions. This may sound strange at first, but as I got deeper and deeper into my DBT practice, it made more sense.
In the beginning of my DBT path, I would jot down any little thing that I really felt that I identified with, such as "I like the color purple," "I like Indian food," and "I love to sing." These were also pieces of the puzzle that I continue to put together.
What are some things that you know are part of who you are?
What is your experience with Identity Disturbance?
Thanks for reading.