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In the previous episode, while speaking with our lovely guest, Imi Lo, she had mentioned… and I am paraphrasing here that people with borderline personality disorder & might possibly have an enhanced sensitivity when observing the slightest change in another person’s facial expressions, and that this sensitivity can be especially accurate when observing expressions showing negativity, and that this could mean that people with BPD may possess a higher level of interpersonal sensitivities.
What does that mean, higher interpersonal sensitivities?
I found a great explanation/definition from an article entitled “INTERPERSONAL SENSITIVITY: WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT”
“Do you know when you can just tell that someone is in a bad mood just by their expression even if they have not said a word to indicate that they are in a bad mood? It’s the little things that give them away like their expression, that you are sensitively capturing. Or even if their expression is not betraying their current state, it could be the way that they are behaving, showing that they’re in survival mode. If it is someone you know well, then you can easily tell by their behavior having been altered from their usual behavior. How can noticing such things be useful and meaningful for us?
There are many non-verbal cues that we as humans can tend to give out to indicate the current emotional or mental state that we are in. Even if it’s a complete stranger, we can tend to pick up on subliminal hints through the way that they are acting, the words that they are speaking, the way that they are speaking, the tone they employ while speaking, the facial expression they have, among other non-verbal cues. In fact, body language accounts for 55% of communication between people.
You are able to tell a lot about a person you’ve just met, given that you are paying attention to all of these cues being presented by that person, whether they are doing it intentionally or unintentionally. The ability to correctly assess and understand information about them without having been directly presented with it is a little concept (it’s actually quite a big concept) known as Interpersonal Sensitivity.”
I feel I do this so much and without even thinking about it… & then I will react to certain facial expressions… the good, the bad, but mostly the ugly. I’m not talking about how you look on the outside, but those menacing expressions that come from deep within… those real feelings that the other person being observed had been unsuccessful at hiding, you even know they were trying to suppress their real feelings in hopes not to upset you. That sentiment doesn’t matter, because their slightest change has already upset you and aggravated your intense sensitivities.
This dance gets exhausting, even though it always happens automatically for the borderline. It is a quick & primary go-to defense mechanism that the subconscious has learned to use when others are displeased with us. I’ve been reading facial expressions for a long time now and even though I think I’m good at it. I will never get it right 100% of the time, why? I think being sensitive in this way simply means you are still living life in survival mode instead of living life.
To be completely transparent, I’ve been trusting my feelings more about what I observe in others. Really leaning into this to see what it really is. I’m sure I’m driving my husband crazy with it, because I’m not the type to observe something negative from someone and then just let it go. To top it all off, I’m leaning into this at the same time we are dealing with a highly stressful situation. Remodeling our burnt home back to something better, even though we had just finished remodeling nearly the entire house.
For me personally, from the viewpoint of a 40-year-old, “Textbook” BPD female, it can mean that having high interpersonal sensitivities or abilities mean that you could very well still be living in survival mode. If you are currently more worried about not upsetting your environment, or the people in it, & you find it necessary to please everyone in it… You are living in survival mode. You likely haven’t begun to see that your environment is unsteady because you are still relying on others to be the support for you that you feel you are to them. The reason we (people with BPD) are highly reactive to any displeasure shown by those in our environment, it shows a disapproval of our tireless attempts at maintaining a copesetic environment. We take on that role and feel very hurt if someone is unappreciative of all of the work, we have done behind the scenes to keep others happy. At the very least we hope to keep the peace, this always has a tendency to slap us in the face.
A person w/BPD can be triggered by the slightest negative change in facial expression or tone. We have become excellent at interpreting the unspoken human language. Our mind tells us who we can likely trust, and who is valuable for our survival. The slightest change in another person’s normal reaction, can affect a person with BPD so much, that often times they can automatically go into a defensive mode, either to protect themselves or to fight against their biggest fear, which is being abandoned for one reason and that reason in their BPD mind is that they weren’t “good enough” or that they didn’t “do enough” I am not certain that every person that has BPD deals with the fear of abandonment, but in my life it has created many moments of regret.
Byte of Insight – unscripted, have a listen…
Announcements – Still rebuilding after the fire, bringing a lot of inconveniences and next episode, April 3rd.
Byte of Insight – unscripted, have a listen to the episode.
I realize now that most of the people in my life have had transactional love from me not unconditional love. I was asking them to have the same type of love for me, for myself. show me this feeling you have for me by some tangible transaction. Show me that I am worthy of your time and attention. I know now that unconditional love doesn’t require this of anyone. You are loved for who you are, not for what you aren’t. I have worn myself out entirely being transactional in the past. To my lack of understanding relationships, I can now blame my upbringing and romantic movies. To continue to exist in that way though would be by choice and I don’t choose to love transactionally. I choose to love unconditionally.
Have a wonderful day and don’t forget to choose truth, goodness, and LOVE!
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