BPD, Trauma, and WHY the f*#k did I just say that?!

As an emotionally sensitive person or someone with borderline personality disorder or BPD traits, have you ever found yourself saying anything along the lines of the following, all the while regretting each word as it's coming out of your mouth?:

to a spouse/partner… “I HATE you and want a divorce….” “I can’t do this {relationship} anymore…”
to an employer… “I HATE this job, and I QUIT!”   
to your child… “I miss what life was like before having kids!”
to anyone who’ll listen… “I should just kill myself*!”

The guilt, shame, and remorse that can arise during and immediately after speaking words such words to a loved one can feel unbearable. 

This article is not about excusing anyone from speaking to loved ones in this way, but rather an opportunity to gently examine what might be happening in these moments when we find ourselves asking,
"WHY the f*#k did I just say that?!"
with curiosity, self-compassion, and empathy for ourselves and the other person.

There have been times in my life when I’ve uttered these types of things, noticed someone was finally listening and felt vindicated. I’d been hurt or screwed over by the other person, or at least that was my perception…and after years of being in an actual victim role (abusive situation), my nervous system was on red alert for any semblance of someone violating my boundaries or disrespecting me.  I was very quick to jump to defensive, hurtful, sometimes vicious speech.  But why? 

Human beings often lash out and attack, whether it be physically or verbally, when we feel threatened. Even if we are not in any grave physical danger, someone who has experienced trauma and then perceives in present time that they are being violated, deeply disrespected, or disregarded  - especially in a moment of emotional vulnerability - may utter harsh words as a protective mechanism.

The words serve as an attack that push the other person away and create a sense of space and safety.  But if you are regretting those words as you’re saying them, what’s really going on?

Perhaps it occurs to you that you don’t want to finish that sentence, but there’s no way you’re willing to be vulnerable and let your guard down.  
You may feel sensations in your head, throat and abdomen that feel like indicators that this action ‘isn’t right,” even as, perhaps, another is witnessing the interaction and you’re hoping they’ll back you up and take your side.

Even though a person may seem (and feel!) horrible when they are uttering harsh words, if they are also experiencing regret and remorse, body sensations, or a knowing that this isn’t what they really want to be doing, what’s going on?

These can all be signs that the action (the hurtful speech) is not in alignment with who the person really is and what they REALLY want in that moment. 

Human beings are thought to not do anything, really, without a purpose – without an attempt to meet some need.  While the lashing out may be an attempt to fill the need of feeling safe and powerful in the moment, what might have led up to that moment may have been a very different need.

For example…

Someone might say:

 “I HATE you and want a divorce….” “I can’t do this {relationship} anymore…” not because they truly, in their heart of hearts want to actually end the relationship, but perhaps because they feel so desperate for the other person to understand how deeply they are hurting or wanting a need to be met in the relationship. In the moment, it may seem as though this “9-1-1 language” feels necessary to get the point across and be taken seriously.

Someone might say:

“I miss what life was like before having kids!” not because they truly wish they hadn’t had their kids or because they actually don’t want them anymore, but perhaps because they are feeling overwhelmed, overloaded, and are desperate for some support around having some time to themselves somehow, and this “9-1-1 language” feels necessary to get the point across and be taken seriously.

Someone might say:

“I should just kill myself!*” or “I don’t want to live anymore*” not because they truly want to end their life*, but perhaps because the internal emotional distress, regulation, anxiety, and conflict feel like too much to bear and they don't know how to get relief from the pain, and this “9-1-1 language” feels necessary to get the point across and be taken seriously.

You see the pattern: there’s a need to be seen, heard, and taken seriously. There is often an associated cry for help: pay attention to me, I need you, I need time to myself to restore.  
When we don’t trust in the moment that our needs will get met by outright asking for them (due to past abuse or a pattern in the existing relationship), 9-1-1 language may feel like the best option.

But anyone who’s used it and regretted it knows the damage choosing to do so can cause – to the other person, the relationship, and to ourselves. 

Our words and choices have impact.

So, how can we prevent deferring to 9-1-1 language?

One of the first things we can do is take a regular check of our self-care status. You might ask yourself, on a scale of 0-1000, with 0 being no distress and 1000 being the most distress ever and barely tolerable, where you are each day.

If you note that you are at 800 on a given day, you’re already almost at your capacity for handling stress, annoyances, and upsets.  Something that might feel relatively minor or just irritating on a day where you’d gauge your distress level at, say, 400, might just be enough to push you over the edge and feel like a full-blown crisis.

When we have an episode of lashing out with words and take a step back, it’s not uncommon to discover that we’ve been operating at almost full capacity for a while.

So how do we reduce this number and create more spaciousness – more room in our nervous systems so we’re not feeling as if we’re always operating at nearly our breaking point?


Self-care looks different for everyone. And, right now, in addition to talking about daily self-care habits (i.e. getting enough sleep, eating well, and getting movement) we’re also invited to think about which pleasant activities we can incorporate into our lives – daily – that will allow us to decompress, unwind, and relax. 
All of these activities can help us reduce our perceived stress level on that 0-1000 scale.

Perhaps you’d enjoy:

·         Sitting or walking in the park or somewhere else out in nature

·         Strolling through your town

·         Antique shopping

·         Sipping on a peppermint mocha at a nice caf√©

·         Taking a luxurious bath or shower with essential oils or scrubs

·         Watching a non-triggering movie or TV show

·         Listening to soothing music

·         Doing a guided meditation

·         Having fun taking pictures and playing with photo editing

·         Cuddling up with a pet

Or if time is really limited:

·      Getting up before everyone else (or staying up later) and sipping some herbal tea with fuzzy slippers on and looking up at the night sky or while watching a favorite show, listening to good music, or scrolling through a social media platform that you don’t find triggering {for me, that’s Pinterest.}.

·         Absolutely taking those 10-15 minute breaks at work and sitting quietly in your office, outside under a tree (perhaps bring a nice yoga blanket), walking around the building or outside, or sitting in your car to get a few minutes of peace and rebalancing. You could practice mindful breathing, listen to a quick 5-minute meditation track on the free app Insight Timer, or perhaps have a nourishing snack or hydrate.

·         Bring a “book on tape,” i.e. use a CD, mp3, or stream something like audible in your car while driving attentively and safely and stuck in gridlock traffic…or you might have some music queued up. On apps like Spotify, it’s possible to make some playlists available offline so you can listen to them in situations where there isn’t any wifi.

Look for moments of opportunity to nourish your body, mind, and soul…and take them!

And, self-care is only a part of it. In addition to tending to our nervous systems, we must also proactively engage in problem-solving. 
If there’s a need we have that isn’t getting met, how can we go about skillfully asking for this need to be met and asserting how important and serious it is to us without bringing 9-1-1 language on board?

One idea is to express, verbally or in writing, through the DBT DEAR MAN format, a skills template that guides you asking for what you want with the intention of making the ask effective as possible.

Another is to use DBT Distress Tolerance skills to “buy time” when you’re nervous system is emotionally activated so you don’t make matters worse in the moment. (You can learn these skills online at DBT Path.)

And yet another is to ask a support person, such as a therapist, to be present when you initially bring up the issue with the other person.

And, if you find yourself in one of those heated moments, I personally know how incredibly difficult it can be to CHOOSE to step away, calm down, soothe your nervous system and then return to skillfully ask what you want – but please remember that IS POSSIBLE.

I hope this article helps you to tap into even just a little bit of self-compassion around this issue and gives you hope that you can choose differently in the future and have a different outcome.

Be well!

In kindness,


LEARN MORE: Debbie DeMarco Bennett, BSc., CLC is a DBT-trained certified life coach who teaches DBT skills online to emotionally sensitive people around the globe at emotionallysensitive.com. She is in recovery from borderline personality disorder herself and now thrives an emotionally sensitive person thanks to learning DBT.

*We must always take threats of suicide seriously and point those who are experiencing such thoughts toward a qualified mental health professional. Sometimes, a person will gain clarity once they feel truly heard and realize they have needs that are not getting met and are seeking to meet those needs. Other times, they are truly in danger of harming themselves. It is critical that we take all talk of suicide and wanting to die seriously.

BPD, Ghosting, and Abandonment Issues


It can be incredibly difficult when someone suddenly disappears or "ghosts" from your life -- especially once you've risked your heart, allowed yourself to be vulnerable, and have become emotionally attached or invested.

When you have borderline personality disorder, BPD traits, or emotional sensitivity, it may also be difficult to experience rejection or ghosting from someone you barely knew. The feeling of being rejected can be so intense that it just seems absolutely unbearable.

Then there are situations when loved ones or support persons seem to be rejecting or abandoning us, prompting our nervous systems to tailspin into memories of past trauma.

This can then cloud our vision in the current situation and have us (often erroneously) convinced, "It's happening again. They're leaving me, too!"

In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) used by mental health professionals it is noted that, with BPD, the sufferer may experience an intense fear of abandonment (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). This can include frantic attempts (including dangerous behaviors, self-harming, and suicidal gestures) to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

So, what is imagined abandonment?

Situations that aren't ghosting and that may seem like everyday, understandable and tolerable event to people without BPD (such as a therapist taking a vacation, or a partner or loved one needing to travel on business or choosing to travel to visit family) may be so triggering that it causes the person with BPD to experience an emotional crisis.

They may become inconsolable with fear and grief that in an effort to escape or distract from the pain, they may engage in unhealthy behaviors or actions that only make matters worse.


Then, on the other side of the coin, sometimes the person with BPD is the ghoster, and often for a heartbreaking reason.  Many people with BPD experience black-or-white, all-or-nothing thinking.  When it comes to relationships, this is often referred to as Idealizing vs. Devaluing.

At first, the sufferer might become completely enthralled and even preoccupied with a new friend or lover (idealizing), but if that person does something that sets off a trigger, they might quickly shift to wanting to cut that person out of their life, impulsively blocking them on social media and text, etc. (devaluing).

Trauma is often at the root of this phenomenon. My personal account of how I believe black-or-white thinking formed in my psyche was that my father could be very loving, funny, and nice to be around one minute, but then set him off with the wrong look or saying the wrong thing (and it varied from day to day, so you never really knew what was safe and what wasn't), and he became incredibly angry, scary, and abusive.

So in my developing young mind, to survive the trauma, I saw my Dad as two extremes: Good (safe) Dad, and Bad (unsafe) Dad. There was no room for a middle ground or in-between when it came to survival.

I went on to continue to see other people, circumstances, and the world in this way.  It wasn't until I learned and integrated into my life DBT Skills that I began to unwind what was happening and started to see this distorted thinking style for what it is.


From a DBT skills perspective, one of the first things to do is Check the Facts:  Have I really been ghosted or abandoned?

If you gather evidence to support that you've been ghosted (i.e., the person has left without a trace, blocked you, and you can no longer communicate with them) one of the first steps that can help on the path of healing from this wound is Radical Acceptance.

This not radical approval or radical I'm-okay-with-this.  In this step, it's more of a "radical acknowledgment" of reality.  It's allowing yourself to acknowledge what's happened rather than fall into denial or avoidance.

Next, notice your emotions. All emotions are valid. It's understandable that you could be angry, sad, fearful, or anything else that is coming up for you.

All emotions come with an "action urge," and it's time to notice that, too. For example, anger may cause you to want to lash out, not take no for an answer, or even attempt to stalk the ghoster.  Sadness may prompt you to isolate or self-harm or self-sabotage in some way. Fear may create anxiety so intense that it begins to feel like an emotional crisis and you may be tempted to reach for a substance to console yourself.

The important thing at this point is to simply NOTICE the urge. Just because you have an urge does not mean you need to act on it. In fact, doing so often will only make matters worse, creating new problems on top of your existing one.

Instead, you can choose to skillfully distract until those urges come down. You might watch your favorite show, get out of the house for a walk, paint, dance, whatever you can do to stay occupied until the emotional urge goes down. No, these activities won't solve the pain or change the situation, but they can buy time while you calm down so you don't act on those urges.

Ghosting is a form of rejection and abandonment, and the last thing you want to do is then ghost on yourself. Show up with as much self-compassion as you can. Get into self-care to soothe your nervous system (think of what you can do to soothe yourself through the senses -- take a bath, make a warm cup of tea, snuggle up with your pets), and reach out to someone you trust to talk about how you're feeling. You may need some time to grieve the loss of this relationship.

If you've checked the facts and they don't support that you were ghosted, for example, your friend went out of town, she told you in advance, and you know she's coming back, using any of the above skills can also be helpful in addition to reminding yourself that the person *is* coming back.


If you find yourself suddenly wanting to check out and abandon a relationship, it's time to check the facts again. What's happening?  Is what's happening grounds for totally cutting the other person off?

What are the potential consequences of responding this way (i.e. the person may lose trust in me, see me as unstable, not want to reengage in relationship if I realize this was a mistake), and am I truly prepared to face those consequences?

You might ask yourself, "Am I doing this not because I truly want to leave the relationship but because I want to convey how intense I'm feeling and think this will show them how hurt I am?"  If the answer is yes, refer to the list of potential consequences.  This could be a pivotal moment in your relationship if you choose to, instead of ghosting, tell the other person what you're feeling, for example, "I'm feeling really hurt and scared and worried and I need to talk about this."

What are some coping skills you've used when you've been ghosted or when you've experienced an intense fear of abandonment?

What skills have you used when you've noticed you've gone into black-or-white idealizing vs. devaluing thinking?

I hope this was helpful in some way.  You can learn more in my online DBT skills course at

In kindness,

Debbie is an Online DBT Skills Teacher and Coach at DBT Path.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

BPD, Trauma, and Jealousy

BPD trauma jealousy and insecurity

Jealousy and insecurity are normal emotions that everyone experiences, but when someone has borderline personality disorder, BPD traits, past trauma, or emotional sensitivity, the intensity of these emotions can be so much stronger -- to the point of feeling unbearable.

When a partner with any of these backgrounds is feeling jealous or insecure, even in the face of no real threat, it can be confusing for the other person in the couple.  This article invites you to have compassion for those who may be experiencing this and acting out on it, and if you're the one experiencing jealousy and insecurity and having a rough time of it, may this article serve to encourage you.

So WHY is the experience of jealousy and insecurity so much more intense?

Whether the person with BPD, BPD traits, trauma, or emotional sensitivity experienced past abandonment, rejection, or betrayal in the form of a lover cheating, a parent not being present, or some other type of similar experience, or if they witnessed such things as a child between their caregivers, their nervous system remembers this.

Every time we act out on something, it serves a purpose. The key is to find the driving force is and learn new emotional skills and ways to meet those needs more effectively.

In an effort to protect us from even perceived threats, reacting to jealous and insecure thoughts serves us by creating the illusion that we are in control and protecting ourselves from some threat.

The problem is, if the threat is only the thoughts and the thoughts are unfounded (for example, you worry that your boyfriend is cheating on you and the fear is strong and the thoughts repetitive, but there's no actual evidence) you're suffering from the consequences of these rather uncomfortable emotion.

How so?

First, when we're reacting to thoughts as if they are real
(because we're afraid, have been hurt in the past, and don't want to be hurt again),

but they're not actually real (there's no evidence, may be lots of evidence to the contrary, but we have a strong emotion and lots of thoughts accompanying it),

we're not living in reality.  We're living in the past trauma.

While we're upset, we may even notice body sensations that were present when the original trauma occurred (tight stomach, racing heart).

Secondly, a consequence of repeated acting out on jealous feelings and insecure thoughts is the impact it has on the relationships that matter most.  Ironically, the behaviors that emotionally sensitive people sometimes act out when jealous or feeling insecure are the very behaviors that push away a partner, friend, or loved one rather than create the connectedness, closeness, and intimacy that the panicky emotions are driving them to try to protect.

Something that can be helpful in these moments is to bring yourself back to the present by grounding.  You can do this by using your senses and noticing what you see, hear, feel, touch, and taste in the moment.

You can also use soothing self-talk to help calm your nervous system, such as, "I am safe. I am grounded.  There is no real threat right now. Fear is moving through me. I am okay."

In my online DBT class that starts soon, we'll be focusing on a set of skills that help us tolerate emotional distress when triggered so we don't make matters worse and damage our relationships while learning to take care of ourselves with a level of self-compassion we may have never received in the past.

And there's no judgment.  We'll work to apply the skills to situations that are meaningful to you in YOUR life, whether your jealousy stems from:

  • being triggered by
    •  your partner's friends or followers on social media
    • partner's co-worker relationships
    • a friend has a loving, stable family that you never had
    • your sibling's relationship with other family members
    • witnessing people you know graduate from school, get married, have kids, and you're feeling stuck dealing with your own mental health issues
    • thinking others are younger or more attractive than you and therefore a threat
    • thinking others are better than you at things you want to be great at

…or any other scenario.

Please know that you are NOT alone.  Take extra good care of yourself in these moments.  If jealousy and insecurity trigger urges to lash out, be sneaky, accuse, interrogate, or perhaps self-harm, this can then lead to shame and regret and a spiral of emotions. 

Please instead consider pausing and remembering to:

  • check the facts
  • ground and bring yourself into the present moment
  • find a way to distract yourself until the urge subsides

Doing this can help you to make the choices that will help you create the life you want to live and preserve the relationships you hold dear.

I hope this helps in some way.

In kindness,

Debbie is a DBT-trained certified life coach in recovery from borderline personality disorder. She teaches DBT skills weekly in an online class available worldwide.  

The Stronger Than BPD Journal

I'm so excited to bring you this news! Check out this new video, all about The Stronger Than BPD Journal, co-written by me (learn more about me HERE) and Kathryn C. Holt, M.A., LCSW.

This journal is designed to help you meet and access your inner Wise Woman (or Man!) to help with managing emotions and accessing deeper levels of your own intuition and wisdom.

The journaling exercises are quite different than what we've come across in DBT workbooks to date. I give some examples in the video.

Order your copy now at ► https://amzn.to/2uhN40M ◄ and we look forward to hearing what you think about it!!

In kindness,

ūüĖč️ūüďöūüíďūüĎćūüíď#DBT #DBTskills #emotionallysensitive  {affiliate link}

Intense Emotions: When Present Events Trigger Past Trauma

If you've ever experienced a trigger in the present that included noticeable body sensations, this post is for you.  There's a lot going on in our nervous systems when we experience a trigger connected to past trauma.

Apologies for the mic static on this particular video. The content is excellent, so the video was posted despite the sound issue.


What the video above covers:
  • Anxiety
  • Being triggered by intense emotions
    • reactionary moments to intense emotions
  • Energetic emotional charge connected to and related to things that have happened in the past -- most of the time in our childhood; often trauma-related.
  • Several components of trauma when we hurt ourselves physically (i.e. fall off of a bike)
    • physiologically
    • emotionally
    • memories of past trauma and somatics: the issues are in the tissues (trauma store in the body)
  • There is "cause" for why we get triggered today and why we have an intense reaction
    • It never happens without cause
  • TRE: Trauma release exercises: discharging trauma stored in the body through shaking it out with a trained practitioner.
  • Calming the nervous system to feel more ease physically and emotionally
    • Just describe body sensations rather than giving them a story

Win a copy of my new book, "Stronger Than BPD"!

Win a copy of my new book:Stronger Than BPD: The Girl's Guide to Taking Control of Intense Emotions, Drama & Chaos Using DBT 


CLICK HERE to enter now ◄
Contest closes February 13th and is unfortunately only open in the USA.

If you're outside of the USA or just can't wait to pre-order (it's on a promotional sale!), you can do so by clicking HERE.

Updated Portuguese BPD Open Letter

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.

√Č poss√≠vel que algo que voc√™ disse ou fez nos “engatilhou”. Um gatilho √© algo que
desencadeia em nossas mentes um evento traum√°tico 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 conex√Ķes neurol√≥gicas 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 empurr√°-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 saud√°vel.

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 per√≠odos de estabilidade e regularidade de nossas emo√ß√Ķes. √Äs 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 desprez√°-los - os excluindo dos nossos telefones celulares e do
Facebook. Somos capazes evit√°-lo, n√£o 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
padr√£o destrutivo e aprender a ser mais saud√°veis no contexto de relacionamentos.
Isto só não vem naturalmente para nós. Vai levar tempo e muito esforço.
√Č dif√≠cil, a final, de se relacionar com os outros corretamente quando n√£o 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 m√ļsica 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? √Č como se n√≥s n√£o super√°ssemos 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 "camale√Ķes". 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 rela√ß√£o em casa. √Č t√£o extremo.

Para alguns de n√≥s, tivemos inf√Ęncias 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. N√£o
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
culpa sua.

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 n√≥s, uma vez que se pode levar a um sentimentos de vazio. √Č
inteligente para nós ficarmos ocupados e nos destrairmos quando o tédio começa a

No outro lado da moeda, podemos ter explos√Ķes de raiva que podem ser assustadoras.
√Č importante que fiquemos seguro e n√£o ferirmos a voc√™ ou a n√≥s mesmos. Esta √©
apenas outra manifestação de TPB.

Somos altamente sensíveis emocionalmente, e temos extrema dificuldade de controlar
nossas emo√ß√Ķes. Dra. Marsha Linehan, fundadora da TPB, nos compara v√≠timas de
queimaduras emocionais de 3¬ļ grau.

Através da terapia comportamental dialética, podemos aprender a regular nossas
emo√ß√Ķes para que n√£o fiquem fora de controle. Podemos aprender a parar de sabotar
nossas vidas e circunst√Ęncias ... 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 n√£o √© sua culpa
 Acesse a sua compaix√£o pelo sofrimento da pessoa, enquanto a compreens√£o
de que o seu comportamento é provavelmente uma reação intensa daquele

 Fa√ßa coisas para cuidar de VOC√ä. Na p√°gina recursos deste blog, h√° uma
grande variedade de informa√ß√Ķes sobre livros, workbooks, CDs, filmes, etc. para
você entender esse transtorno e cuidar de si mesmo. Dé uma olhada.

 Al√©m 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.

 Fa√ßa perguntas. H√° um monte de equ√≠voco por a√≠ 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 n√£o s√£o
imediatamente evidentes.

Nem todas as situa√ß√Ķes 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
diagn√≥stico, e as combina√ß√Ķes desses 5-9 s√£o aparentemente intermin√°vel. 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 j√° se recuperou de Transtorno de Personalidade Borderline e j√° n√£o
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!

BPD & Emotional Distress: Our choices impact our nervous systems...

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!

In kindness,

ūüĎČūüĎČ TIRED OF SELF-SABOTAGING?! Check this out...ūüĎąūüĎą

For those who are ūüĎČūüĎČ TIRED OF SELF-SABOTAGING!! ūüĎąūüĎą

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,

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

Borderline Personality Disorder: Is there hope?

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. 

In kindness,

What one of my students has to say about my online DBT informed courses at DBT Path:

My Road to DBT (Fiona's Story)

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 three backwards.

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 few years)

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 myself.
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 work.

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 fault.

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 happen.

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. 



ADVERTISEMENT: DBT Path offers entirely online DBT-informed psychoeducational courses worldwide. Affordable access to skills training!

Top Picks for ‪‎BPD‬ (and other) Books [Facebook Live Stream]

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!

The Buddha and the Borderline

Mindfulness for Borderline Personality Disorder

Coping with BPD

The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook

Oooh, they have one that addresses ‪#‎PTSD‬, too. I haven't yet read this one: http://amzn.to/1SdWik5

Hope and Help for Your Nerves

In kindness,

(These are Amazon Affiliate links. Being an affiiliate did not influence my views, perspectives, or reviews of these books.)


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