Tag: bpd life
Season 1: Episode 7
Link to listen to the podcast:
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 vision for this podcast is that it will bring hope to all individuals that may be overwhelmed by the challenges mental illness can create.
Alright… Welcome back everyone, this is episode 7 of the first season of The World in Black & White! I am going to try and knock out 11 episodes total, for Season 1 before the start of 2023, so wish me luck!
This week’s topic is very near and dear to my heart, SELF-AWARENESS!
I don’t know the percentage of Borderlines that deal with this issue, but I am sure it is high.
If I were put on the spot to give 100% honesty on whether or not I liked something I would respond with a neutral type of response, still being unsure of what the appropriate answer might be for the given situation or I’d be worried about the response the person asking me the question is seeking. I’d probably just say “umm sure, it’s good”
For starters, I do not like to offend but the closer I steer towards being authentic and honest, the more I realize that there will be times where my wants and needs may not be the same as others, and that my opinions and beliefs may not match their beliefs.I just need to remind myself that this doesn’t make me offensive. (because In my head, offensive people aren’t well liked.) and because well, answering with an agreeable answer is less troublesome.
but I have found that the moments where I have abandoned my opinions, beliefs or values to be agreeable for someone or something are also the initial moments that create conflict in my life. I know now that I must redirect my responses towards honesty and steer clear of always being agreeable.
This amnesia of self may be one of the most destructive behavior patterns for PwBPD.
I have made a lot of progress by bringing my focus on being present, really tuning in, consistently seeking my inner voice, and presenting the truth to others about the thoughts that are awakened or my true feelings when situations needing my input may arise. //
I would also like to let listeners know of help that is available. Call one of these numbers or text them to find help. I pray you always find someone there to pull you up.
You can call or text 988.
Another helpline available through the National Alliance for Mental Illness is 800-950-6264 or text “HelpLine” to 62640
Are you able to make good decisions in a timely manner, or do you waver a bunch and say “well what do you want to do? Or what do you think we should do?”
I always thought this behavior pattern of mine to be a considerate personality trait. I was offering the decision to be made by someone else, to give them an opportunity to experience any level of joy out of that decision. But in doing so, I have lost the ability to make my own decisions based on what I truly think or believe. However; I think one of the only times we aren’t indecisive is when something causes us to “feel”. I am curious to find out if this need to “feel” happens because so many people with BPD actually function in their own lives in a numb and apathetic way.It appears we have discovered some kind of mental switch for autopilot.
However; this default in my brain to avoid making decisions for myself stems from my inability to see who I really am and what I really want. This also leaves me with the inability to be decisive. I rely on many other people to help me make good decisions. Why should I trust others and their decision-making over my own?
Well, I think that’s a good question!. I think I have stumbled upon something that will help us understand a little bit better why people with BPD have such a hard time with self awareness and understanding who they are, what they think ,and what their beliefs are//
BYTE of Insight:
Lately, I have been struggling a ton with not being able to see myself. I don’t mean I need to buy glasses or clean my bathroom mirror. I mean, I’ve noticed that I’m lacking in the area of self awareness and understanding my own identity. I am working at getting a better understanding of all the things that make me, me.
This may sound silly to some listeners but I do believe that this is a big issue for someone battling textbook BPD.
Not having the slightest clue of how others see you may directly berelated to that inability to see/know/or understand myself.
I bet if you have BPD you are bothered by this just as much as I am.
We have already learned that splitting occurs, as well as other unhealthy defense mechanisms when the PwBPD is threatened and that this happens on a subconscious level.
I am now constantly telling myself, there is no threat Michelle. Or reminding my brain that everything is ok, because I don’t want some unhealthy defense mechanism hijacking my mind or my behaviors.//
STUDY OVER SELF: Alright what I’m about to read is an abstract from a study
Mentalization and embodied selfhood in Borderline Personality Disorder – PMC (nih.gov)
ABSTRACT: Aberrations of self-experience are considered a core feature of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). While prominent etiologic accounts of BPD, such as the mentalization based approach, appeal to the developmental constitution of self in early infant-caregiver environments, they often rely on a conception of self that is not explicitly articulated. Moreover, self-experience in BPD is often theorized at the level of narrative identity, thus minimizing the role of embodied experience. In this article, we present the hypothesis that disordered self and interpersonal functioning in BPD result, in part, from impairments in “embodied mentalization,” that manifest foundationally as alterations in minimal embodied selfhood, i.e. the first-person experience of being an individuated embodied subject. This account of BPD, which engages early intersubjective experiences has the potential to integrate phenomenological, developmental, and symptomatic findings in BPD, and is consistent with contemporary theories of brain function.
“disturbances in self and other mental representations are fundamental to borderline psychopathology” (p.514). Similarly, Kerr et al. (Kerr et al., 2015) calls for a “reconceptualization” of BPD as “a disorder of self and relationality” (p.346). Interpersonal symptoms can include confusion about self-other boundaries with identity diffusion, projection of difficult affects onto interaction partners. One person with BPD evokes a bodily experience of this confusion (italics added):
(So this is from one person and what they have said but it hit me 100%!)
When I’m around other people, I can feel their energy. I can feel whether they’re happy or unhappy. I can walk into a room and feel whether there’s tension in the air or if everyone is getting along… Having my own identity issues makes it even harder to be around certain people. I feel other people’s emotions so strongly that sometimes, I believe they are my own (Mae, 2017).
PLANS For Next Episode:
So I am thinking I will go further into this study and talk about it more on the next episode, one of the last things they talked about in the study is that while bpd
“ remains in current classification systems and can be reliably diagnosed. A considerable body of research on self and BPD has accrued, including a recent profusion and confluence of neuroscientific and socio psychological findings. These have generated supporting evidence for a supra-ordinate, functionally constituted entity of the self ranging over multiple, interacting levels from an unconscious, ‘core’ self, through to a reflective, phenotypic, ‘idiographic’ and relational self constituted by interpersonal and sociocultural experience.
I am listening to many people that have been diagnosed with BPD on reddit and other websites that focus on psychology or mental health. I ventured to one site called themighty.com and found an interesting article entitled “25 PEOPLE SHARE THE WORST SYMPTOMS OF BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER”
One of the responses from James said that his worst symptom was this…
“No sense of self. I went through so many majors in college and I am constantly second guessing myself. Do I really want to do this with my life? What about this instead? This looks better let’s do this. It’s tiring for myself and everyone around me. I’ll finally settle on something and then something better will come along and I jump ship.”(quote from Themighty.com)
I believe people that are highly sensitive to their environment look externally for the correct response, because we were the ones to keep environments from becoming too chaotic during important moments of development. We weren’t given appropriate space and time to figure out the things we like/dislike, or what we really feel. We were more than likely always told how to feel, or “to get over it!”
The challenge that I would like to put out for this week is to use TRUTH as much as possible, rely on yourself to make those decisions, stay present, focus on listening to yourself, make a list if you have too. But the challenge is to be honest about what you want, and what you need. And I think that is a good challenge for this week and I think it will pull you to a better place of SELF AWARENESS.
CLOSING: Thanks so much for tuning in… We have come to the end of the podcast. What did you learn? Who can you share this podcast with? If this resonates with your spirit or makes you think of a certain someone that has experienced similar issues in their life, please share this with them. I believe mental health is something we are overlooking on a massive scale, and in order for people to heal we need to be able to speak about this openly and honestly.
…Until next time… Choose truth, goodness and love Closing:
How real is this statement in your life?
“The chronic emptiness and lack of identity. I am a ghost, stitched together with fragments of those I’ve known throughout my life. I pick apart their personality, and create this sort of ugly Frankenstein…I, even at the age of 26, still do not know who I am or what I like/dislike. There’s nothing more harrowing or isolating.” —(from themighty.com)PwBPD Yasmin A.
Bless you Yasmin. Thanks for sharing this. It touched my heart in a way I didn’t expect. I hope the following words help those that feel the same way.
I just want to share some positive thoughts about these “BPD things” we do flawlessly & without any real effort to do so.
Yes, we are fragmented in our emotions, we had to resort to this to survive, because we are highly sensitive to the emotions of others. We tend to absorb reactions, all of them (even the ones that haven’t happened yet.) Which means we often pick up the slightest differences in someone’s mood. We feel let down when others can’t do this for us as naturally as we do, and sadly we need it a lot.
Yes, We mirror in order to be received by our POI (person of interest) who was so intriguing, that they were able to awaken our curiosity. They in one way or another offered us a new & different approach to the world.
You allow yourself to absorb the parts of their personality that attracted you to them. During this process we may find some parts we don’t approve of or we may even attach too much value to the little bit of attractive personality they offered us. Either way, we tend to discard them because to love someone fully is painful. We understand that they don’t love like we do on a cellular level.
We will sabotage any relationship either to test the durability or to get them to move on.
Yes, we love big & we shower our POI with all the attention and love that we are just wanting to be reciprocated. A matched intensity.
We aren’t the bad monster in this world. We aren’t the “Frankenstein” unless you are consciously choosing to cycle through these emotional hurricanes without taking inventory of what it is you are actually seeking .
We were broken at times in our lives when we should have been protected. Our high sensitivities to people and situations was established on a subconscious level to protect us from further harm.
We are able to survive most any situation and get a long with any type of person.
We wear an emotional blanket that we have “stitched” together to act as an added layer of protection from the world that taught us early on that you need to be many things in order to make it out alive. (So we absorb various personality traits.)
You aren’t the monster. We have been trying to find the most useful personality, because at some point in our lives we received the message that ours wasn’t enough.
We have a lot of emotional sensitivities that allow us to persevere through intense & tough situations, not to mention doing all of this with an intensity and passion that can make other’s heads spin
We are highly perceptive to what the needs of others are, because we were conditioned to take care of the external & surrounding chaos at some point in life.
People that have been involved with a PwBPD would love to paint us as the monster, but maybe we are just mirroring & exposing all of the things they would like to remain hidden. We become what they aren’t pleased with and when that picture settles and the image comes through they “feel” that we have somehow changed them or abused them. No, in most every case we take the intentional beating and intentional abuse in order to protect others. I have learned, the toxicity I dish out happens after I have had my fill of disrespect or complete disregard of my thoughts or opinions. I honestly believe That those suffering from a brain disorder has taken the blame for too long.
I’m now no longer fighting the world. I’m fighting my brain for control. I will no longer let my innate and toxic defense mechanisms rule my life. They are kept in check by fiercely and persistently staying present.
Be a monster if you have to, but realize the war for you is internal.
(I’m now seeking me!) I’ve given every person I’ve ever met the opportunity to show me something good.
The better we are at seeking our authentic selves. The more equipped we arrive to the battle.
Life is a struggle, we were trying to live it by seeking comfort in a world that doesn’t understand how uncomfortable we are all making it. Thinking that we should seek comfort is one of the first lies we need to eradicate from our beliefs. Get uncomfortable, we aren’t monsters… We are fighters! Love you Yasmin, and anyone else that is fighting a battle!
Recipe:People Pleaser, Yields 1
After watching the above YouTube video the following thoughts emerged. As I continue on my journey of self acceptance and self love… I dig much deeper into my childhood and realize now that there are very specific details that helped make me into a “super people pleaser!”
Want to know how one becomes a “super people pleaser?” Here is a short list of things that I have personally identified as common things people may have experienced or endured, which increases the likelihood of becoming a super people pleaser.
Ingredient #1] stress on the mother during pregnancy. This is said to release more cortisol levels for the unborn child. (Some have also said that this can create emotional disregulation because the unborn child is receiving too much of that stress hormone in utero that it literally messes with the design of the brain.)
Ingredient #2] place him/her in an environment that is strict and also stingy with positivity.
My mom and dad… What a long story. First of all, bless their hearts. I know that they were doing their best! I can honestly say that now after being a parent now for over a decade, & looking back at my mistakes in parenting. It’s not an easy job. Anyone that says otherwise is in denial. Trust me!
Ingredient #3] praise the child only when they do exactly what you want them to do.
Growing up I was constantly told to listen. I grew up with a very authoritative dad & my mom was just enough of an authoritarian that whatever she demanded, we delivered. She made sure that we listen to her and that we weren’t allowed to have our own opinions on things like food or clothing, anything really. We were always told “you’ll take what you can get & like it.” A seriously dangerous mantra from my childhood, and I just realized this is the reason I have a hard time making decisions for myself now in my 38th year of life. Doing what I want to do seems like an action for royalty, not me. If you treat your children like peasants they will expect bread crumbs, but will settle for any piece of the crust when it is presented. It will not matter if it is their piece of the pie or not they just want more than crumbs. They want to believe that they are worth more than crumbs. This idea that they aren’t able to make decisions for themselves leaves them listening to others needs and wants while suppressing their own. Ignoring the voice that makes them unique and authentic. This idea that they are unable to access this voice and be heard has been ingrained into their brain as if to know that the voice/desire to have what they want is there, but it is out of order. The child continues through life looking to everyone else for the answers and listening to “these so called answers” even to their own demise. Because their core value or belief of who they are rests on the belief that “you are only a good kid if you do what you are told.”
Well that was enlightening. Illuminating for myself even.
2020 has been quite the ride. We have been diligently working on remodeling our home. We are nearing completion and have redone every room of the house. I will be posting photos soon of all the changes. I will be very happy to complete this huge project, it has been a difficult one.
Happy Holidays everyone! I’m praying for a peaceful 2021!
A N G E R
Responding like a stoic…
Is anger a good thing or a bad thing? Anger, when first recognized, is actually just simply a warning. A signal from your amygdala blasting throughout your brain, sounding an alarm via chemicals, that warns your body that something is not right. Message received as, “there is a present threat and there is a possibility to fight, flight, or freeze.” Anger can therefore be seen as a natural response to external stimuli. It is a response that was designed in humans to help protect us in perceived dangerous situations. After reading what Seneca wrote on Anger, I concluded that he deduced that anger wasn’t natural, that reasoning was natural. The truth is, it requires more brain function to engage the logical areas of the brain. Leaving me to believe, emotion is more natural than thought.
The emotional response happens automatically. This emotional part of our brains (amygdala) is so much more developed than the logical part of our brain, which is known as the prefrontal cortex. The emotional part of our brain has kept us alive, reacting to the world without much thought to consequences, other than one that is primal, “Stay alive!” While this much developed area of my brain has kept me alive, it has also assumed for far too long that it is in charge. I have now learned that the prefrontal cortex can be trained/stimulated so that it can show the amygdala whose boss. Seneca was then saying that allowing our emotional brain to just run rampant in our lives wouldn’t be natural. The natural thing, the “good thing” is to have what we call In DBT, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, your wise mind always aware of what your amygdala and prefrontal cortex are doing. After studying stoicism and understanding that Cognitive Behavior Therapy was designed using stoicism. I can see how it’s philosophy is also helpful in The therapy I am currently receiving now. That this higher order thinking, being cognitively aware is the practice of stoicism. “through Stoic training, Aurelius was able to master his perceptions and see each obstacle as an opportunity to improve”(dailystoic.com) mastering our perceptions, added with the knowledge of how our minds naturally respond will help most manage anger.
You can find some exercises for the prefrontal cortex below…
If you have read any of my previous posts or know anything of Borderline Personality Disorder, becoming a stoic is changing the natural way in which my BPD brain will more than likely over respond to the difficult to digest external stimuli. Like black is to white, BPD is to stoicism. The way in which one chooses to respond to this automatic alarm system is what I believe answers our question today. When anger is triggered inside the mind, it is neither good nor bad. It is not decided until we respond.
Anger, shows duality, with the possibility of being both good and bad. Stoics believe that there is no good with anger. They were told to see that there is no good, because of all the “evil” it created. They want every stoic to believe that there is no good to be found in anger. I see the justifications of their message. A calm and sound mind, not writhing with “passions” can be controlled. One drowning in anger or other “passions” cannot. So then, if looking at it from this perspective, serenity isn’t the final goal, but rather control. Or does control get us to the place of serenity? I have had moments, in which I have given into passions of anger and it has kept me alive. So isn’t it necessary to be alive in order to be serene? Can we have one without the other?
I absolutely want to be a stoic sage someday, using this higher-order thinking to get through the most complicated of situations with clarity and peace of mind… I’m left perplexed at this particular question. While I understand what the stoic philosophers were trying to convey to their followers in those times, teaching people to seek serenity. Being calm and collected leads to logical thinking and sound decisions. I have also experienced anger on several levels. Ultimately, anger has ensured my existence during some pretty tough times. More recently, I find that I am just angry at myself and my mistakes and this anger has propelled me to find better ways to manage myself, my disorder, and my life. Has it been pretty? No, fighting my way to this point hasn’t been pretty. I feel that’s why we are all built in this way. There is no way to determine which human will be placed in prime conditions and which will be placed in tough conditions. The emotional tools we are equipped with may not be dispersed equally, but we were all equipped with the ability to learn. I choose now as I am on the verge of entering my forties, to learn this higher order thinking. Working a portion of the brain more and more, so that my logical mind becomes stronger every day. My ultimate goal being serenity in this deeply maddening world.
I had a discussion with my students the other day about anger. One student said, “as a kid, my counselor told me not to show my anger, but to keep my anger to myself.” I felt that wasn’t a very healthy way to teach a young person to deal with such an intense emotion. I asked him, “How has that advice worked out for you?” My student responded with, “I’m still trying to find a useful method to control my anger.”
I then asked, “what if we started looking at anger differently?” A lot of puzzled stares looking back at me. I then said, “what if we started looking at the positive ways in which anger can be of use to us? Can anger be of use to us? Can we manage it? Or do we let that emotion manage us?”
What if we started looking at the positive ways in which anger can be of use to us?
What are positive ways anger has helped you?
Can anger be of use to us?
Can we manage anger, or do we let anger manage us?
Emotions indicate so many things for an individual, learning to understand our emotions and why we choose to respond in certain ways, increases not only our emotional intelligence but the control we possess over ourselves. Why then should anyone just ignore this emotion, anger? Especially, when anger is often the first emotion we go to when life gets confusing, or when we are afraid, when we feel threatened or rejected.
“Anger is temporary madness: the Stoics knew how to curb it” By: Massimo Pigliucci, here he states 10 ways to curb anger! Maybe one of these can help…
- Engage in preemptive meditation: think about what situations trigger your anger, and decide ahead of time how to deal with them.
- Check anger as soon as you feel its symptoms. Don’t wait, or it will get out of control.
- Associate with serene people, as much as possible; avoid irritable or angry ones. Moods are infective.
- Play a musical instrument, or purposefully engage in whatever activity relaxes your mind. A relaxed mind does not get angry.
- Seek environments with pleasing, not irritating, colours. Manipulating external circumstances actually has an effect on our moods.
- Don’t engage in discussions when you are tired, you will be more prone to irritation, which can then escalate into anger.
- Don’t start discussions when you are thirsty or hungry, for the same reason.
- Deploy self-deprecating humour, our main weapon against the unpredictability of the Universe, and the predictable nastiness of some of our fellow human beings.
- Practice cognitive distancing – what Seneca calls ‘delaying’ your response – by going for a walk, or retire to the bathroom, anything that will allow you a breather from a tense situation.
- Change your body to change your mind: deliberately slow down your steps, lower the tone of your voice, impose on your body the demeanour of a calm person.
My Conclusion: I thought about anger for an entire week. Oddly enough it kept me from getting angry. While I may not have answered the question for everyone here, my answer is… Anger, like all other emotions is necessary. It is neither a good or bad thing. To let it get out of control is bad. To see what it can do for us when we need it to survive, is good.
Have a great day! The end! 🙂
A game that could help improve logic… Chess
**Wanted to include a huge thanks to @dailystoic and @stoiccoffeebreak for wonderful podcasts! Thanks for stirring good thoughts and inspiring and motivating me to change the things I can control. Check out their podcasts if you are learning on the stoic philosophy.
Better Late Than Never:) Podcast Episode 4
I have spent most of the day in the ER with my husband, his job takes him out into the country to shoot footage for films and he is now undergoing treatment for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Thanks to a little bitty bug that wanted to suck his blood. It has been a day, but staying mindful and appreciating the small victories is helping me. This podcast and completing it today is one of those victories. Please keep my family in your prayers. Have a blessed night!
I will try to get caught up tomorrow.
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