Season 1 Episode 4
listen to the podcast below
“ Lightning Tree”
Intro: Hello and welcome to “The World in Black and White”My name is Michelle and I’m the narrator and creator of this podcast.
Vision for the podcast:My hope is that this podcast will bring hope to all individuals that may be overwhelmed by the challenges mental illness creates when trying to navigate life in a positive and successful way. I hope to help others by teaching forgiveness and self-awareness.
ALRIGHT… Thanks for joining me today, our TOPIC is SPLITTING & this will be a two part,this is part 1 (PART 1)
I have discovered that there are many parts to this topic, so I am breaking it down into smaller morsels; bite-sized bits of information are sometimes easier to understand and retain. Today we will go into the definition of splitting and dive into why BPD persons feel the need to use this and other defense mechanisms in order to survive their daily life. .
I do love to start with definitions and force myself to truly understand the definition before advancing into further discussion on the topic. So here is the definition of splitting.
Borderline Personality Disorder (splitting) *I jacked this from Verywellmind.com
Splitting is considered a defense mechanism, by which people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) can view people, events, or even themselves in all or nothing terms. Splitting allows them to readily discard things they have assigned as “bad” and to embrace things they consider “good,” even if those things are harmful or risky.
So what I am hearing in this definition is that a person with BPD may always be on the defense. So let us look into what a defense mechanism actually is? Why does the person with BPD need to rely on defense mechanisms so often? So the question we must answer first is, what are defense mechanisms?
Here is a chart of 12 defense mechanisms according to Sigmund Freud. //
According to Medical News Today, and mostly just regurgitating other medical journal information into my own loosely constructed definition, an individual presenting healthy defense mechanisms can show normal development, so people use defense mechanisms naturally, it’s human. And although the BPD may utilize healthy defense mechanisms, it is more common to see them intuitively fall back into the use of unhealthy defense mechanisms. I believe this happens because the BPD brain gets stuck when faced with high levels of stress, it’s like the brain we can compare it to an engine that is idling and when an event occurs it begins revving and revving but not shifting into any productive gear, the brain of the bpd is simply trying to keep the engine running, and it does this from a primal place, not from an evil place. Having lived on both sides ( a daughter of a person with BPD and having caused trauma to my own family) I have witnessed the destructive nature of the BPD person. I understand the way a BPD can struggle to gain control of their own actions when encountering highly stressful events. I guess I should talk a moment to discuss what I mean about highly stressful events. We aren’t talking about one single event. The person with BPD more than likely hangs onto every bad act of rejection or slight someone has made the BPD feel. When that “emotional bank of bad” gets full, the BPD tries to either escape it by using easy to activate defense mechanisms, which for the BPD feels like an innate and natural response. If they can’t escape the pain they may try to ignore the pain, or substitute the pain with something that makes them feel good, finding an effective high. I’m not talking about drug use or drinking, I’m talking about something that makes them feel better. It could be shopping too much, it could be exercising too much. I’m telling you it could be a list of things. When the stress hormone is released (or the engine is revved) the brain reverts to a particular pattern of thinking that relies on certain defense mechanisms. (I also feel dissociation occurs simultaneously at this point, and the BPD goes into survival mode- auto-pilot) they are not particularly interested in providing realistic solutions, they are only interested in staying alive and feeling good about their decision to survive. So for the BPD to save the brain from actually dwelling on an uncomfortable event it may automatically find a defense mechanism that has been effective during past traumatic events.
I said I wanted this podcast to be about finding forgiveness and peace, I do hope that we are able to find that for both the person that has survived the destructive consequences of a borderline, and also for the Borderline.
Ok so this is for the borderline listener, are you aware of the defense mechanisms your brain naturally resorts to when confronted with high stress situations? Have you asked yourself why your brain keeps reverting to a specific defense mechanism? What defense mechanisms are you naturally inclined to use when times get more stressful than normal? If you don’t have the slightest clue what defense mechanisms your brain resorts to… Maybe you could check out this quiz. I took mine.
I took a quiz to see what defense mechanisms I use. That quiz can be found at
Here are my results.
Your scores for each defense mechanism can be found below. The higher the score, the more you use it.
Reaction formation: 30
Alright here is our BYTE OF INSIGHT
The BPD person must ask themselves what they are defending themselves from? Is this physical or emotional pain? If it is physical pain, remove that toxicity from your life, no one deserves to be beaten. If it is emotional pain, is it perceived emotional pain or is someone seriously beating you down with a psychological wrecking ball. Both aspects of abuse have to be taken care of. I have begun to reign in the things that I felt weren’t producing a healthy environment. I know that BPD is considered a brain disorder now, but maybe some people are just not good for your emotional health. You let them know that they upset your peace by communicating your feelings in the moment. It is ok to be honest with others about the anxiety and distress you go through during their toxic unloading. If they don’t understand or appreciate this they will naturally eliminate themselves from your life. You don’t need to be pleasing to be loved. I suffer from that same belief and have most of my life. You can disagree with people and have your own way about you and those that truly appreciate who you are will still be there for you no matter what and those that find you aren’t meeting their emotional supply anymore can find the door. I feel it is healthier and more peaceful to approach this as a journey of seeking peace and forgiveness now rather than battling something I honestly can’t stand about myself. I was created like this for a purpose and at some point in my life I hope to achieve that purpose but I know that both physical and emotional abuse exist, don’t agree to it for your life. You deserve peace. I am trying to establish peace in my life by establishing better boundaries and not subjecting myself to that type of environment. I have to literally tell myself “you deserve a good & healthy space. And honey, You don’t have to fight so hard to survive. Remember to breathe and also take in these moments, they are the only ones we get.”
Lightning Tree POEM
Weekly Challenge- Last week we were challenged to get back in touch with someone you have lost contact with. This week. you should take the defense mechanism quiz to see what defense mechanism you naturally rely upon and we will look into the 2nd part of BPD and splitting next week.