Thank you very much to Vicki G. Reiner, M.A., Life Coach for generously volunteering to have our Open Letter to Those Who Do Not Have BPD from those Who Do to Portuguese!
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) = Transtorno de Personalidade Borderline (TPB)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) = Transtorno de Estresse Pós-Traumático (TEPT)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) = Terapia Comportamental Dialética (TCD)
Uma carta aberta de aqueles de nós com Transtorno da Personalidade
Queridos amigos, familiares, amantes, ex-amantes, colegas de trabalho, filhos e outros
de nós que sofremos com Transtorno da Personalidade Borderline,
Talvez você esteja se sentindo frustrado, impotente, e pronto para desistir. Não é sua
culpa. Você não é a causa do nosso sofrimento. Você pode achar difícil de acreditar, já
que somos capazes de lhe atacar, deixar instantaneamente de sermos carinhosos e
gentis e ficar desconfiados e cruéis em um minuto, e podemos até mesmo diretamente
culpar você. Mas não é culpa sua. Você merece entender mais sobre esta condição e o
que desejamos que poderíamos dizer, mesmo que não estamos preparados para dizé-
lo neste momento.
É possível que algo que você disse ou fez nos “engatilhou”. Um gatilho é algo que
desencadeia em nossas mentes um evento traumático do passado ou nos leva a ter
pensamentos angustiantes. Por mais que você pode tentar ser sensível com as coisas
que você diz e faz, isso nem sempre é possível, e nem sempre está claro por que algo
desencadeia um gatilho.
A mente é muito complexa. Uma certa canção, som, cheiro, ou palavra pode
rapidamente disparar conexões neurológicas que nos trazem de volta a um lugar onde
não nos sentimos seguro, e nós talvez respondemos no agora com uma reação similar
(pense em pessoas militares que lutam em de combate - o simples escapamento de
um carro pode levá-los a terem flashbacks. Isto é conhecido como Transtorno de
Estresse Pós-Traumático, TEPT, e isso acontece com muitos de nós, também).
Mas saiba que, ao mesmo tempo que estamos a empurrá-lo afastado com nossas
palavras ou comportamento, esperamos também desesperadamente de que você não
vai nos deixar ou abandonar-nos no nosso tempo de aflição e desespero.
Este pensamento, preto e branco ao extremo, junto com a experiência de desejos
totalmente opostos é conhecido como uma dialética. Logo no início do nosso
diagnóstico e antes de realmente cavar profundamente com TCD (Terapia
Comportamental Dialética), não temos as ferramentas adequadas para dizer-lhe isso
ou pedir seu apoio de forma saudável.
Podemos fazer coisas muito dramáticas, como prejudicar a nós mesmos de alguma
forma (ou ameaçar fazê-lo), indo para o hospital, ou algo similar. Embora estes gritos
de socorro deve ser levado a sério, entendemos que você pode enfrentar burn out de
se preocupar conosco e o comportamento repetido.
Por favor, confie que, com a ajuda profissional, e apesar do que você pode ter ouvido
ou vir a acreditar, nós PODEMOS melhorar, e, de fato, MELHORAMOS.
Estes episódios podem se tornar mais ou menos frequentes, e podemos experimentar
longos períodos de estabilidade e regularidade de nossas emoções. Às vezes, a
melhor coisa a fazer, se você puder juntar suas forças no meio de toda a sua frustração
e mágoa, é nos segurar, nos abraçar, dizer que nos ama, se importa, e não vai nos
Um dos sintomas de Transtorno de Personalidade Borderline é um medo intenso de ser
abandonado, e, portanto, (muitas vezes inconscientemente) às vezes nos
comportamos de maneira extrema, frenéticos para evitar que isso aconteça. Mesmo a
nossa percepção de que o abandono é iminente pode nos causar a nos tornarmos
Outra coisa que você pode achar confuso é nossa aparente incapacidade de manter
relacionamentos. Podemos saltar de um amigo para outro, passando de amar e
idolatrar-los para desprezá-los - os excluindo dos nossos telefones celulares e do
Facebook. Somos capazes evitá-lo, não atender chamadas, e recusar convites para
estar perto de você - e outras vezes, tudo que nós queremos fazer é estar perto de
Isto se chama splitting (dissociação), e faz parte da transtorno. Às vezes nós tomamos
um ataque preventivo, renegando as pessoas antes que eles possam nos rejeitar ou
nos abandonar. Nós não estamos dizendo que é "certo". Nós podemos trabalhar neste
padrão destrutivo e aprender a ser mais saudáveis no contexto de relacionamentos.
Isto só não vem naturalmente para nós. Vai levar tempo e muito esforço.
É difícil, a final, de se relacionar com os outros corretamente quando não se tem uma
sólida compreensão de si mesmo e quem você é, para falar nada dos outros ao seu
No Transtorno de Personalidade Borderline, muitos de nós enfrentamos problemas de
perturbação de identidade. Podemos assumir os atributos dos que nos rodeiam, nunca
realmente sabendo quem somos. Você se lembra na escola as crianças que passaram
de gostar de música rock ao pop para Goth, tudo para se encaixar com um grupo - se
vestir como eles, fazer o estilo seu cabelo como os deles, usando os mesmos
maneirismos? É como se nós não superássemos isso.
Às vezes, até assumir os maneirismos de outras pessoas (agimos de uma maneira no
trabalho a outra em casa, outra na igreja), que é em parte de como nós começamos o
nosso apelido de "camaleões". Claro, as pessoas agem de forma diferente em casa e
no trabalho, mas você pode não reconhecer-nos pela forma como nos comportamos no
trabalho em relação em casa. É tão extremo.
Para alguns de nós, tivemos infâncias durante a qual, infelizmente, tivemos pais ou
cuidadores que poderiam mudar rapidamente de amar e ser normal para serem
abusivos. Tínhamos que nos comportar de maneiras que iriam agradar o cuidador a
qualquer momento, a fim de permanecer seguro e sobreviver. Nós não superamos isso.
Por causa de toda essa dor, muitas vezes experimentamos sentimentos de vazio. Não
podemos imaginar como impotente você deve sentir a testemunhar isso. Talvez você já
tentou tantas coisas para aliviar a dor, mas nada funcionou. Mais uma vez - isso NÃO é
A melhor coisa que podemos fazer durante estes tempos é nos lembrar que "isto
também passará" e praticar habilidades TCD - especialmente auto-calmante - coisas
que nos ajudam a sentir um pouco melhor, apesar da dormência. O tédio é muitas
vezes perigoso para nós, uma vez que se pode levar a um sentimentos de vazio. É
inteligente para nós ficarmos ocupados e nos destrairmos quando o tédio começa a
No outro lado da moeda, podemos ter explosões de raiva que podem ser assustadoras.
É importante que fiquemos seguro e não ferirmos a você ou a nós mesmos. Esta é
apenas outra manifestação de TPB.
Somos altamente sensíveis emocionalmente, e temos extrema dificuldade de controlar
nossas emoções. Dra. Marsha Linehan, fundadora da TPB, nos compara vítimas de
queimaduras emocionais de 3º grau.
Através da terapia comportamental dialética, podemos aprender a regular nossas
emoções para que não fiquem fora de controle. Podemos aprender a parar de sabotar
nossas vidas e circunstâncias ... e podemos aprender a se comportar de maneiras que
são menos dolorosas e assustadoras para você.
Outra coisa que você pode ter notado é um olhar vazio em nossos rostos. Isto é
chamado de dissociação. Nossos cérebros literalmente desligam, e os nossos
pensamentos vão para outro lugar, como se nossos cérebros estivessem tentando nos
proteger de um trauma emocional adicional. Podemos aprender exercícios de
aterramento e aplicar nossas habilidades para ajudar durante esses episódios, e eles
podem se tornar menos frequentes à medida que melhoremos.
Mas e você?
Se você tiver decidido a se esforçar e ficar ao lado de seu amado com TPB, você
provavelmente precisa de apoio também. Aqui estão algumas ideias:
Lembre-se de que o comportamento da pessoa não é sua culpa
Acesse a sua compaixão pelo sofrimento da pessoa, enquanto a compreensão
de que o seu comportamento é provavelmente uma reação intensa daquele
Faça coisas para cuidar de VOCÊ. Na página recursos deste blog, há uma
grande variedade de informações sobre livros, workbooks, CDs, filmes, etc. para
você entender esse transtorno e cuidar de si mesmo. Dé uma olhada.
Além de aprender mais sobre TPB e como fazer o autocuidado em torno dela,
certifique-se de fazer coisas que você goste e que lhe acalmam, como sair para
uma caminhada, assistir a um filme engraçado, comer uma boa refeição, tomar
um caloroso banho - o que quer que você gosta de fazer para cuidar de si
mesmo e se sentir confortado.
Faça perguntas. Há um monte de equívoco por aí sobre TPB.
Lembre-se que as suas palavras, o amor e apoio percorrem um longo caminho
para ajudar seu amado a se curar, mesmo que os resultados não são
Nem todas as situações que descrevi se aplicam a todas as pessoas com Transtorno
da Personalidade Borderline. Só se deve ter 5 sintomas de 9 para se qualificar para um
diagnóstico, e as combinações desses 5-9 são aparentemente interminável. Essa
publicação é só para lhe dar uma ideia do sofrimento típico e pensamentos aqueles de
nós com TPB têm.
Este é o meu segundo ano na TCD. Um ano atrás, eu não poderia ter escrito esta
carta, mas representa muito do que estava em meu coração, mesmo que ainda não
podia ser entendido ou expressado.
Minha esperança é que você ganhe uma nova visão sobre a condição do seu ente
querido, e cresça na compaixão e compreensão tanto para seu amado quanto para
você mesmo, pois este não é um caminho fácil.
Eu posso te dizer, por experiência pessoal, que trabalhar nesta doença através de TCD
vale a pena a luta. A esperança pode ser restaurada. A vida normal pode se retornar.
Você pode ver vislumbres e cada vez mais de quem essa pessoa realmente é ao longo
do tempo, se você não desistir. Desejo-lhe paz.
Obrigada pela leitura.
Logo escrevo mais.
O autor desta carta já se recuperou de Transtorno de Personalidade Borderline e já não
satisfaz os critérios para o diagnóstico de TCD. Há esperança para você e seu amado.
Recuperação aconteceu através de um compromisso com a TCD. Debbie agora ensina
as habilidades TCD que ajudaram a mudar a sua vida no site DBTpath.net onde você
pode ter aulas de terapia de comportamento dialético on-line de qualquer lugar do
mundo. * * Você pode superar esta transtorno!
Do you struggle with self-care when you're under stress? Some people shut down and let their self-care go by the wayside (hygiene, cooking, going out). Others can't seem to stop trying to solve a problem, even if they know it is unsolvable in that moment due to circumstances beyond their control.
So many of us do these things, but the good news is, we can shift how we respond when we're feeling emotional distress and take better care of ourselves. If we have BPD traits, borderline personality disorder, or emotional sensitivity, it is especially important that we take extra good care when we're feeling dysregulated. The choices we make when we're feeling this way impact our nervous systems and really matter!
Through radical acceptance and self-care, we can get ourselves through a difficult time without making matters worse.
Check out this video on the topic, and let me know your thoughts!
For those who are 👉👉 TIRED OF SELF-SABOTAGING!! 👈👈
As emotionally sensitive people who may have BPD traits or borderline personality disorder, there are so many reasons why we might be prone to self-sabotaging behavior. In this video, I talk about one of the reasons that many of us do it that people don't talk about as much (but probably should!)
If we're operating from this one powerful belief, it can affect the choices we make about how we treat ourselves and others and whether we move forward or stay stuck, continuously repeating those patterns that no longer serve us, while at the same time deeply wanting to break free from them.
I give a very personal example of how this belief impacted my life years ago to encourage you that, no matter where you are, you can build a life worth living -- the life you want to live -- one step and one day at a time.
Give the video a watch, and then pop a comment down below with your thoughts!
In kindness, Debbie
For more information and to sign up for my online DBT informed course where I'll teach you everything I learned and answer your questions in real-time, visit: www.emotionallysensitive.com
Are you worried that having a BPD diagnosis (or having a loved one with this diagnosis) means doom? That there's little or no hope for building the life you want and that you are forever stuck repeating self-sabotaging, destructive behaviors and not getting anywhere with your goals? I have good news for you: If you're ready to be encouraged about the reality of this often misunderstood diagnosis, this article is just for you. Read on.
It's been said, but I'm going to say it again: "Borderline Personality Disorder is no longer considered a psychiatric death sentence." To say this inevitably implies that BPD was considered just that: a psychiatric death sentence. In the past, the mental health community agreed that there was little hope or help for the patient who demonstrated the traits to qualify for this diagnosis.
They were seen as difficult, manipulative, and untreatable.
While people with BPD traits may resort to behaviors interpreted as others as manipulative, the truth is that they have learned maladaptive ways to get their needs met. They are doing the best they can by doing what they know -- behaviors that at one time, earlier in their lives, may have served as a way to survive and get their needs met. These behaviors no longer serve them, but without learning new ways of coping and responding, they stay stuck repeating these unhealthy behaviors.
Because they often struggle with self-harm or self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors and suicidal thoughts, it is true that people with BPD may be more challenging to work with, but what is NOT true is that they are untreatable.
We now know that Borderline Personality Disorder is one of the rare psychiatric diagnoses that can actually go into remission and that the sufferer can enter into recovery, not all mental health and medical professionals are up to speed on this truth, and people with BPD to this day often experience stigma, fear, or a refusal of help from the very people they seek for support. My story of recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder started in 2010 when I finally received BPD as my diagnosis. I had suffered from trauma (to the extent of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD), anxiety, OCD, and a myriad of other issues but had eluded the diagnosis for many years until I came clean about my behaviors and struggles with my treatment team.
My emotions were intense. I was often emotionally dysregulated, and my behaviors in response to this distress were impulsive and reckless.
To the outside world and within my own mind and body, I was almost always in constant crisis, showing up in emergency rooms suicidal, quitting jobs and dropping out of school without giving thought to the potential consequences or effects on my short and long-term goals (until it was too late), having one tumultuous, unhealthy relationship after another, and that's just the tip of the iceberg of what my life looked like.
Fortunately, during an intensive outpatient hospitalization, the clinical team monitoring me during my stay evaluated that I had borderline personality disorder.
I say "fortunately," because this diagnosis opened the door to learning DBT skills, which changed, and ultimately saved my life.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills are skills that help us learn to manage our emotions. These skills are not about shaming ourselves for being emotionally sensitive or intense. What they are about is acknowledging how we feel, growing in our ability to exercise self-compassion for our experiences, and learning to manage the intensity that can sometimes arise when you have emotion dysregulation issues. And, they made all the difference in my life.
DBT helped me to overcome:
Identity Disturbance Issues: I had no idea who I was and became like a chameleon around others. I wanted to be loved and accepted and not rejected, and my subconscious had learned to mimic others and be like them to improve my chances. These skills allowed me to begin to become mindful of what I was doing and why I was doing it, and it opened the doors to learning and practicing new behaviors. I now know (and even *love* - something I wouldn't have believed would be possible) myself!
Self-Sabotaging: No longer am I jumping from one unhealthy relationship to the next, acting on impulse with other people, money, or my health, safety, and well-being. No longer am I making commitments and sabotaging relationships, education, or schooling with knee-jerk reactions and behaviors that would serve to make me feel better in the immediate but then only cause a world of additional problems and the need for damage control. You can read more about my story of overcoming BPD with DBT skills HERE.
If you're ready to learn the skills that helped me reclaim my life, I invite you to check out my online DBT informed course at DBT Path (www.emotionallysensitive.com). Each week, along side a licensed DBT therapist, I teach you everything I learned in live, real-time global online classes. You'll learn the skills that changed and saved my life, along with so many more tools to help you begin to build the life that YOU want, to learn how to reduce your suffering, and to begin to finally and truly care about and for yourself in the way you deserve.
DBT takes work! Know this: Learning the skills is not enough. Putting them into practice is everything!
It takes a willingness. It takes getting out of your comfort zone. It takes being willing to try and fail sometimes and still get up and try again.
Getting support and ongoing treatment from a qualified mental health professional in your local area to help you through the deep work needed to heal is so important.
Equip yourself for success, and you can achieve it. If it was possible for me, I have hope for you, too! The more we demonstrate our ability to overcome this disorder, the more evidence we present to those who are stuck in an antiquated perspective of this disorder. Our hard inner work has important ripple effects. Stay strong. Believe in your ability to overcome.
Please welcome guest blogger Fiona, who actively blogs about her mental health experience to a captive audience at Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers. Her story is honest, refreshing, and inspiring. TRIGGER WARNING: Mentions of self-harm and a suicide attempt (not graphic).
Eight years ago I was diagnosed with
clinical depression, and two years ago, I was given a further diagnosis of
borderline personality disorder. I remember so clearly the day that the bpd label
landed in my life. I’d seen my therapist a few days previously, and we’d agreed
that after my psychiatrist appointment I’d give her a call to let her know what
had been said. I’d been years in the public mental health service at this
stage, and years trying and failing to get to grips with my extremes of
emotion. We were dealing with the depression as best as we could (medication
and ongoing therapy), but for every step forward I took there seemed to be
When bpd was finally mentioned it made so
much sense. I remember coming home and reading up about it, and being both
relieved at finally knowing what I was dealing with, yet horrified at the
implications - how difficult it is to treat and to manage, and how it had
impacted my behaviour for most of my life.
I struggled on for another year with my
therapist doing the best she could to support me, but it was becoming
increasingly clear that I needed more help than she could give, particularly as
found it more and more challenging to respect the boundaries of the therapeutic
relationship. I absolutely idolised her, and desperately wanted to be her
favourite client, the one she would break all the rules for. This need became
so strong that it finally got in the way of therapy entirely - I spent so much
of my time between sessions agonising over not being able to contact her, that
when I did eventually sit in the room with her, the shame of all that need
overwhelmed me and I couldn’t even look at her.
The turning point came last May. It wasn’t
a spectacular, everything-is-better-now turning point, but rather one that made
everything so much worse. I took an overdose and while I thankfully did no
lasting damage, it was the nail in the coffin for my relationship with my
therapist. She knew I needed a different intervention, and my psychiatrist had
started talking about DBT, so we agreed to finish and I went on the waiting
list in my local Adult Mental Health Service.
All good, right? Wrong. Hindsight is
wonderful. If I had known exactly how the situation would play out I would
likely have done things very differently, but of course, I didn’t. Initially
there was talk of DBT starting last September, which would only have been a
couple of months after finishing with my therapist. But, it was decided that I
needed a break of at least 6 months between therapies, so my DBT start date was
pushed out to March. During those 6 months, with no emotional support of any
kind, depression came back with a vengeance, and by November last year I was
signed out of work on sick leave (I’m yet to go back). We - my husband, family,
friends and I - were hanging on by our fingernails. The promise of DBT was the
only thing keeping me going. I was suicidal, self-harming, severely depressed
and functioning at a bare minimum level. As I have two young kids this was
incredibly difficult, and my general lack of ability to cope was starting to
take a toll on my family.
As March approached, things got worse, not
better. It was almost as though the closer I got to DBT, the less able I was to
manage, kind of like the way we often get sick as soon as we go on holiday. My
general practitioner was aware of this, my psychiatrist was aware of this, they
were pushing as hard as they could to make sure I got a place. But at the last
minute, the course was pulled. Not only was I not going to get a place, it was
not going to go ahead at all (mental health services in Ireland are in severe
crisis and have seen significant cuts to already paltry funding over the last
I probably don’t need to describe how I
reacted, how utterly devastated we were. There was something quite uniquely
horrifying about being told that my last available option had just been taken
away from me – it felt like drowning, watching the lifeboat get closer and
closer all the while struggling and losing strength, and then watching them
change their minds at the last minute and sail away, leaving me to fend for
Perhaps unsurprisingly though, we had been
expecting this. I’ve been let down by our mental health services so many times
over the years that I had never fully believed they would come through for me
with something as huge as DBT. We spent a couple of days in shock, then started
to consider alternatives. Private treatment wasn’t an option, it’s
prohibitively expensive and we just do not have the means, particularly as I’m
currently on unpaid sick leave. But the more we looked, the more we realised
there was no alternative, we would have to find a way to make private therapy
This next bit was really, really hard to
do. I’ve been blogging for years about the various aspects of my mental health
drama and have a decent following, people who’ve been incredibly supportive of
me and were very aware of just how badly I’d been let down by the HSE (our
national health service). I needed to raise €5000 to fund a year of therapy, so
I decided to try crowd funding. It felt horrible. What right did I have to ask
for money? Why did I deserve to get help above any of the other people who’d
been let down just as much as me? We thought long and hard about it, but
eventually decided we had been left with no choice – there was literally no
other way for me to make this happen, and a future without treatment would
quickly have become no future at all.
The response was just staggering. In less
than 24 hours, I’d been donated enough to provide me with a year of sessions
with a private clinical psychologist, one who specialises in personality
disorders. I started with her a couple of months ago, and am quite literally
astounded at the difference the proper treatment is already making to my life.
She’s explaining so much to me – about how our brains work, how our bodies
react, how inextricably linked the two are, how they constantly feed into each
other – and most importantly she’s helping me to see that none of this is my
I’ve a lot of work left to do, but I’m
doing better now than I have done in years, possibly ever. I’m aware that I’m
fairly limited in what I can take on right now and I have to work hard to keep
myself well - I need to keep things as simple as I can, avoid stress, watch my
diet, my sleep, my exercise, the demands I put on myself – and I also need to
be able to function as a parent. With all of this, going back to work just
isn’t on the cards for the immediate future. Right now, it would be a push too
far, a push that would take energy away from everything else that has to
But, with the help of my new therapist, I’m
in a far better place to accept that. I’m not jumping ahead to what’s going to
come next, or what could be around the corner. I am where I am, and that’s the
absolute best that I can do. I’m just so incredibly grateful to the people who
made this possible for me. They have quite literally saved my life.
Top picks for BPD (and other) books! Replay from live stream on Facebook... (www.facebook.com/dbtpath). As promised, here's the list of books with links. Please continue to comment with books that have helped you or have helped your loved ones better understand and cope!
I recently discovered Facebook Live, which allows my Facebook Followers on my Debbie of DBT Path Facebook page to connect with me in real-time, with me on the cam, talking and responding to comments and questions that you enter in below my video. Here's the first live event, which took place on April 1st. Thoughts? I definitely look forward to doing more of these be sure to follow me on the DBT Path FB page!
BPD, Insecurity, and Reassurance. What's it all about? Join me for this
super quick (less than 5 minutes) lesson on this topic. Looking forward
to your thoughts - drop a comment below the video after watching so we
Are people with borderline personality disorder "addicted" to drama? My answer might surprise you. Take biology, past history, and other issues into account, and we can understand this issue a bit better and learn how to compassionately approach and work on issues around drama addiction.
Are people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) just "innocent victims" of their pasts, or are they responsible for their behavior? Someone recently asked this on a comment thread on my Facebook Page, Debbie of Debbie Path, and I responded. You may be surprised by my answer. Let me know your thoughts after watching.
I hope this was helpful to you or your loved ones in some way.
Is fear of abandonment one of the criteria of Borderline Personality Disorder that affects your most important relationships? If you experienced abandonment or rejection early in life and went on to develop BPD, it's no wonder that this fear would be present and amplified as a concern and worry. But, we do not have to continue in the cycle of fear and unknowingly (or even knowingly) repeating unskillful interpersonal behaviors that can create a self-fulfilling prophecy and keep the pain going.
Why? Because there are many incredibly sensitive, passionate, intelligent, creative, people with Borderline Personality Disorder or who have BPD traits on this planet, and when an article comes out that harshly, or even unfairly, criticizes who they are...that makes sweeping generalizations that ALL people with BPD traits are vindictive manipulative, or drama seekers, I know those beating hearts are hurting behind their screens as they are reading it.
In fact, that's why, in part, I started this blog (Healing From BPD) back in 2010. To give a new face to the "Borderline," and to put out encouraging, hopeful materials on how those of us with this disorder can and do get better. (I'm in recovery and no longer meet the criteria for a BPD diagnosis. If you're interested in learning more, you can read about my story by clicking HERE after you finish this article.)
So, there I was, looking at this headline on my news feed and thinking. What is Seth Meyers, Psy.D. going to say? Is he going to be fair? Is he going to be responsible? Or is he going to perpetuate stigma and make those sweeping generalizations? Well, read on...
First off, the article's title lumps together those with Narcissistic tendencies and those with Borderline tendencies. It's important to note off the bat that not all people who are narcissistic have BPD, and not all people with BPD are narcissistic. The diagnoses are not one and the same. Meyers does make the distinction in the article.
The first paragraph, where Meyers says that he has found in his clinical practice that those who have relationships with people with narcissistic or borderline personalities "often leads to one of the most upsetting relationship experiences a person can have...the closer you are to someone with one of these personalities, the worse the emotional injury," really stings; In part, it stings because I know that when I was in the thick of BPD illness, that statement was probably true. I was a mess, and my relationships, or lack thereof, were a reflection of that.
But, keep in mind that not ALL people with BPD behave this way. In fact, those who are in treatment, learning DBT Skills, and working hard to manage their emotions and improve their interpersonal effectiveness may have his type of personality but are not (or no longer) acting in self-destructive, hurtful ways. So, let's cast aside that sweeping generalization.
I was relieved to read on and find that Meyers does not paint a picture of someone with BPD as intentionally seeking to hurt and connive. He acknowledges that BPD is something that develops over time, and the possible reasons he cited for its development did resonate with me personally. We often wind up with distorted views and maladaptive behaviors to try to get our needs met, and in a word, they unfortunately don't work in healthy relationships.
He also touches upon the fears that are at the core of many of the bewildering behaviors those with BPD traits may exhibit in a relationship, including the classic fear of abandonment and issues with emotional connection and intensity, bringing, hopefully, a compassionate perspective as far as the "why" of such behaviors.
When I read his comments that those with BPD "don't fight fairly or consistently. [They] get nasty in a way you may have never seen before...[using] words as bullets, intended to hit you where you're most vulnerable" and that we will sometimes start arguments and then blame the whole argument on the other person, again, when I didn't have the skills to manage my intense emotions, take a step back, be mindful of my experience, and make the choice to respond in a way that would not damage the relationship or hurt he other person, yes, I did behave this way.
But, people don't choose to be "borderline." It doesn't mean someone doesn't love you if they have trait-related outbursts and say hurtful things. I'm not justifying the behavior, and at the same time, let's see it for what it is: behavior. Behavior that can change. Behavior coming from a place of doing the best you can with what you know, until you know better. There is a hurting person underneath those behaviors. Emotionally terrified at times. You're dealing with someone who, emotionally at times, is as fearful as a wounded animal who lashes out in protection mode. Keep that in mind. It's most often not malicious. It's an attempt at survival.
What I wish, and what would be nice to see in general when professionals write articles on what nightmares "borderlines" can be, is that they close with something a bit hopeful, such as "the good news is, over time, those with this disorder, with the right treatment and determination, can get better. Realizing this doesn't help you in the now if your loved ones is lashing out, so be sure to seek support for yourself regarding setting limits and boundaries and guidance in suggesting resources that may help your loved one."
If you suffer from borderline personality disorder, BPD traits, or emotional sensitivity, you likely relate to having incredibly intense emotions. What people who do not have these issues have difficulty understanding is how we can go from sadness to despair (and even having suicidal thoughts) or from anger to rage (and even lashing out and getting in trouble with the law) so quickly.
I'm now in recovery from BPD (I no longer meet the criteria for the diagnosis, which is actually possible with this disorder! You can learn more about my story by clicking here after you finish this article.) But, you know what? I remember those times. I remember when something made me sad, and that sadness, untamed, would become unbearable because I didn't yet know DBT skills, which would ultimately save me and move me into recovery.
Sure, in those moments I could remember times when I didn't feel sad in the past, but I couldn't really tap into and feel anything else. To make matters worse, it was difficult to imagine that I would feel any better ever again. Yes, those of us with BPD often go through this, and it is a very real experience, even if it doesn't makes sense to us, our family, friends, co-workers, bosses, and even some of the professionals who treat us. We don't choose it, and we wish it weren't so.
The problem with having the fearful thought that a feeling, such as deep sadness or despair, may not end, is that it is very difficult to then access our inner wisdom in order to make skillful, healthy choices to get through those difficult episodes. Instead, we often seek quick fixes, usually in the form of unhealthy, impulsive behaviors that give us temporary relief but ultimately cause us more pain, suffering, and consequences in the long run.
And, we don't do this because we're stupid or because we don't care. We've learned to behave this way. Somehow, over the years, these maladaptive coping strategies have helped us to get by and survive. But we do want more than that for ourselves. We really do.
So, when someone with BPD traits is experiencing a painful emotion such as sadness, the natural tendency is to want to push away and reject that emotion. It's uncomfortable, makes us feel badly, and doesn't seem to serve a purpose. Another component, which is one that I struggled with for a long time and still notice arise in my thoughts when I'm feeling sadness, is this fear that sadness won't just stay sadness. That it will spiral into despair and worse, as it did many years ago.
So, on my own personal journey and in my role as a DBT skills peer educator, I've realized:
In DBT, we learn about a concept called Radical Acceptance. This means radically and fully embracing reality as it is, without trying to change it. This doesn't mean we lie down and give up. It means that the paradox is, if I want to change something, I have to first accept (acknowledge) the truth of what is present in this moment with that situation or issue. In this case, "I am sad."
We also learn in DBT that there is "cause" for everything, meaning that this moment is the result of every moment that came before it. Every thought, decision, choice...by us, those around us, humanity, etc. Even when we can't pinpoint why something is happening in a particular moment, i.e. "I don't even know why I feel this sad right now!" , this theory of cause says that there is a reason. (The great news is that we don't have to pinpoint it in order to move forward with taking care of ourselves and making skillful healthy choices.)
It's important to validate our feelings and experiences. If we have some awareness about the cause, we might say, "Well, of course I feel sad. Most people would be upset under these circumstances." If we don't know the cause, we might say, "I am not sure why I am feeling so sad right now, but the fact is that I am. There's some cause, and I am going to love myself through this with kindness and compassion. Here's what I'm going to do to take extra good care of myself today. This too shall pass."
I like to then remind myself of two things: One, that I am not the same person I was back in the days when sadness would go untamed and unchecked with skills, and two, that no two situations are exactly alike. There are new variables at play. The past is the past. Just because sadness led to deep despair in the past, doesn't mean it will or needs to this time.
I've plugged in other emotions, such as anger, as well, and found this line of thinking to be helpful.
So, we've got our work cut out for us explaining to others why we're afraid to feel certain emotions and how quickly our emotions become more intense than they do for the average person, but there's hope. We can learn skills, work hard with our therapists, and take good care of ourselves in order to get better at accepting emotions, feeling them, and letting them pass. We don't have to spiral or fear the spiral. We can reach out to our clinical support when we have concerns about this, and then get right back on track with skills.
Enjoy this post via the Roanne Program for young adults with
BPD or BPD traits..
often inspire estranged individuals to attempt to restore contact with the
family. If the estranged individual acts as a trauma trigger for your
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), just the thought of direct contact can
suddenly intensify your symptoms. Unexpectedly ending up face-to-face with
the individual has the frightening potential to send your condition into a
you can remain in control by resisting the urge to flee (the “fight or flight”
reaction), utilizing your established toolkit of coping skills, challenging
emotional responses, and seeking professional assistance for care when needed.
the Urge to Flee
noticing the offending individual, you have the opportunity resist the urge to
immediately flee the area. If you give in to the urge to flee, this act of
avoidance only serves to intensify the trauma trigger in your mind. As long as
you are not in physical danger, you can consider attempting to face the trigger
head on. By curtailing avoidant behaviors, you reinforce that your adult self
is strong enough to face the people your inner child could not.
You may only
be able to stand this level of internal confrontation for a few minutes, but
that is okay. Once you face your fears, you can cease the interaction and
retreat to use your coping tools to head off rising BPD symptoms.
Your Coping Tools
yourself permission to immediately and actively utilize your established coping
mechanisms to keep the BPD symptoms at bay. Distraction, meditation, and
breathing techniques work really well to distance yourself from overwhelming
emotions caused by the trauma trigger. You may need to go into a separate room
so you can quiet your mind enough to work through your coping mechanisms and
find one that works in the moment. You will need to return to your coping
mechanisms for several days after the initial interaction to keep negative
thoughts and behaviors from overwhelming your being.
bringing out your coping tools to deal with acute reactions to the trigger, you
may find harmful thoughts and emotions bubbling to the surface. You must remind
yourself that you are responding naturally to a challenging situation that you
did not cause. You will also benefit from positively reframing the situation by
looking at it as a chance to reinforce your recovery skills, including
mindfulness and meditation. After all, every time you are triggered, you are
given the opportunity to restore your balanced state with the toolkit you built,
especially if you have had some experience with Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Help When Needed
If you cannot
quickly return to a state of calm, you may need to seek help for your
Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms. Without professional assistance, your
symptoms may continue to rage out of control and cause your thoughts and
behaviors to negatively impact your life
therapist can help you confront emotions and thought patterns that lead to
destructive behaviors typically seen in cases of Borderline Personality
Disorder in young adults.
response to the trauma trigger of seeing your estranged family member will tell
you a lot about your location on the road to recovery. You can use the
information to prepare yourself for future triggers. With each triggered event,
you will further hone your coping skills and recovery response. Eventually, you
will find that you have the ability to maintain a calm, centered state of mind,
no matter the trigger you face.
Do you anticipate encountering relatives over the holidays who might create a triggering experience due to the past? How do you plan to cope effectively?
Enjoy this post via the Roanne Program for young adults with BPD or BPD traits..
holidays fast on their way, you may need to start preparing yourself for your
loved one's yearly travels. Throughout life, there may be many necessary short
and long-term travel periods that cause you to be separated. You must adequately prepare
yourself for these events to maintain control, despite the sometimes destructive urges and impulsivity that can come with Borderline
Personality Disorder symptoms.
you do not have to simply accept feeling hopelessly abandoned every time your
loved ones must travel away from your side. You can enact the following
strategies to maintain control over your thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
Strong Communication Pathways
feelings of abandonment, you can maintain direct contact with your loved one
throughout the travel period by using your phone, tablet, or computer. With
instant messaging, email, social media sites, Skype, and apps on your side, you may
never feel truly alone, despite the actual physical distance from your beloved.
communication schedule that does not disrupt either party's planned activities.
Periodic texts and a nightly phone call go a long way in reminding you that the
distance is temporary and abandonment has not occurred. Between calls or texts,
remember to stay accountable for your own feelings by practicing mindfulness
and challenging negative thought patterns.
Activities With Other People
abate feelings of abandonment by surrounding yourself with friends and
loved ones who enjoy your company. Sharing meals and activities with your loved
ones can help remind you that you are not alone in this world. Try to look at
your beloved's travel plans as a blessing that allows you to spend more time
with friends and family you do not see often enough. Attempt to maintain these
restored or strengthened connections after your beloved returns to
keep your social circle open and inclusive. By surrounding yourself with a
large social circle, you will have plenty of proof that you are not alone or
internal dialogue turns negative, the worst thing you can do is believe and
reinforce those destructive thought patterns. Harmful thoughts may burst
into your mind as soon as your loved one relays his or her travel plans. At
that moment, you must take a few minutes for mindfulness to assess how you are
feeling. Challenge the internal dialogue both on your own and with
help from your loved one or therapist. Have an open dialogue with your beloved to attempt to
keep your fear of abandonment in check.
Out Your Self-Healing Toolkit
fear of abandonment will likely push your Borderline Personality Disorder
symptoms into overdrive. Upon hearing travel plans, you will need to work hard
to avoid redirecting emotions to a more comfortable subject. Try to write down
all of the emotions you feel and correctly link them back to their source.
cannot remain rational and work through the emotions on your own, you may need
to seek assistance from a center offering intensive treatment specifically for
BPD such as the Intensive Outpatient Program ore residential, transitional living. Treatment professionals can help you learn to stay in control of your thoughts,
behaviors, and emotions while coping with your loved one's travels. Once you
regain footing, you can use the above strategies to stay in a positive state of
mind until your beloved returns once again.
life, you will have many chances to practice coping with feelings of
abandonment when your loved one travels. The earlier you start to build your
toolbox of coping techniques, the better you will handle the intense feelings
in the future.
How are you coping ahead for a loved one's departure during the holidays?
Please welcome back guest blogger Michelle Dabach, MA, MFT, of the Roanne Program in Southern California.
You have to admit, you are not the same person online that
you are in person. Online, you’re courageous, more confident, and you have an
opinion that you don’t second guess. You might be more or less confrontational,
you’re successful, happy. You and everything about your online personality is
perfect. School is great, your job is amazing, and life is grand.
In reality, your life is a bit messier. School is hard, and you might be
struggling to pay your tuition. Your roommate gets on your nerves, and that
picture you posted of your perfectly decorated apartment was a one-off or,
forget the apartment, you’re living at home with your parents and trying to
pass the space off as your own! You’re definitely not as put together in real
life (IRL) as you make yourself out to be on your social media streams. And,
you’re not alone.
Via Facebook: P.L. says “I am definitely different online than in real
life. Online I am very verbal and I genuinely feel confident about myself. Real
life is where I feel the persona takes place, that is where I act confident but
do not feel confident inside, so I kinda go overboard in trying to act
confident and outgoing. “
J.W. concurs: “Most times tho i try to show i am ok & fighting like
H*** to persevere with my illness, when all i want to do is really .... [the
like i still have this "mask" to show at times....& not show
others how frustrated & sad & empty i really feel inside most times.”
Some more of your comments that came in on this topic on the Healing From BPD Facebook Page:
Add to the pressures of keeping up with an online persona
the debilitating effects of a mental illness, such as Borderline Personality
Disorder, and things get even more complicated. So, how can you show the world that you’re suffering
from these drastic mood changes, that your depression is so debilitating that
you can’t imagine how to continue living, or that you’ve just self-harmed? Or,
maybe you’re the opposite, leaving cryptic messages as your postings for anyone
to make any kind of meaning, good or bad, out of it? Leave it to the reader to
figure out what’s going on with you today.
question comes up, then, why bother hiding your “real self” online? Are you afraid
of stigma? Do you really value what other people might think of your
symptomatic posts? Do you base your self-worth on the number of likes or
re-shares you get? Where does the pressure you feel to keep up with this online
persona come from? And, how does it contribute to even more distress than you
might already be feeling?
young adults, with mental health issues and not, feel immense distress at
trying to keep up appearances. For those suffering from BPD, you’re trying to
keep up this appearance that all is ok and that you are “normal” like anyone
else. In some instances, you might be trying to hide your BPD from the general
public. But, this hiding of one’s true self not only causes great stress
because of trying to hide and not get caught, it causes distress from you
ultimately believing that you should be
like your online self! Now, you’re not just attempting to keep up with the
Jones’, but you’re trying to keep up with Social Media You. Social Media You
doesn’t suffer like you do. This attempt at trying to maintain a personality
that is not truly you may contribute to your depression and anxiety and make it
much worse than it needs to be. You may become even more depressed that you’re
not as perfect as you’re making yourself out to be and anxious that someone is
going to find you out. Or, you’re leaving those cryptic messages and depressed
at not getting the responses you were hoping for and anxious that no one seems
to care enough to save you.
about when a family gathering presents itself and now you have to face all
those friends/family that you’ve only been in contact with online? How are you
supposed to be Social Media You when you’re in the same room as Aunt Sue? The
reality is that you can’t be Social Media You in real life because Social Media
You doesn’t really exist. What happens instead? Your anxiety and stress levels
increase drastically, which causes a shift in behavior. Now, instead of being
slightly depressed, your mood is raging in one direction or the other and one
of two things happen: You either end up skipping the function to AVOID or you
go and have a complete MELTDOWN, neither of which accurately portray Social
best advice I could give that you didn’t ask for is to always be true to
yourself, both online and off. Your self-worth isn’t based on how many
followers you have, how popular your posts are, or how creatively you say that
you’re depressed and have no will to live. Your self-worth is what you make of
it. If you value your life, others will, too. And, when you are suffering,
those who know and love you will offer their support. Best of all, if you need
that extra support, all you have to do is ask for it!
Do you or a loved one want to learn more about recovery from #BPD
(Borderline Personality Disorder)? I am so pleased to be a guest at
this important online event, hosted by Amanda Smith, LMSW, in recovery
from BPD, and founder of My Dialectical Life. Hope to see you or your loved ones there! ♥ Debbie
Peer educator and author Debbie Corso and Amanda Smith, LMSW are in
recovery from borderline personality disorder. But what does recovery
really look like?
• How is recovery defined?
• Does everyone recover from BPD?
• What can do today to increase the likelihood of recovery?
• How do I know when my recovery is complete?
• What can individuals diagnosed with BPD and their families realistically expect in recovery?
This special event is open to anyone who would like to learn more about this important topic.
SATURDAY, NOV. 7th at 10 am Pacific / 1 pm Eastern
The cost is $39 for the 60-minute webinar. This event will also be recorded for registered participants.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy not only saved my life, but it also gave me a framework for creating something that I thought I'd never have—a life worth living. For me, recovery from borderline personality disorder has been hard work, but it's also been worth it every step of the way.
For a lot of people I know, keeping track of their skills, moods, and behaviors with a diary card can be a challenging (and often frustrating) experience. But keeping track of this important information is a good idea for several different reasons.
1. Recording our skills helps us to identify gaps.
Sometimes we can get stuck in a DBT skills pattern. We may find ourselves engaged in a little too much Distress Tolerance and not enough Emotion Regulation or we might recognize that we are leaning heavily on the FAST skills and that our GIVE skills may need a little extra work. Because mindfulness is a cornerstone of DBT, it's essential that we stay on top of those skills throughout the week, too. Keeping a diary card can be a valuable way to help us to see what we may be missing.
2. Keeping a diary card helps us to celebrate our progress.
Early in my DBT program, I remember looking at my diary card and thinking, "I'm using a lot of skills!" I needed this visual evidence to help me see that there were small things that I could do each day to help myself. After a few months, I could look back and see what I had been working on during any given week. It gave me a boost to keep moving forward even on difficult days.
3. Tracking our skills and behaviors helps us to see where we are going.
One of the central goals in DBT is to create a life worth living. It's hard to do that when we don't have a plan that is broken down into small daily steps. A diary card can help us to see the bigger picture of what we are working towards and the skills that we are using to reach those goals. For me, keeping a diary card during graduate school helped me to focus on one of the most important accomplishments of my life.