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BPD Recovery Entails Learning How To Give A Real Apology

Learn how to give a real apology

 

It is extremely difficult for most people to offer up a real apology. Most of the time our apologies look like this, “I’m sorry but….” or “I’m sorry except….” or “I’m sorry however….” If you want to apologize to someone your statement should look more like “I’m sorry for saying …..” or “I’m sorry I hurt you when I did …..” If you qualify your apology or try to shift the cause of your bad behaviour onto the other person then it is not an authentic and genuine apology. Being able to give an authentic apology is very difficult. It requires that you take a good, hard look at your behaviour and take  real ownership of it, admit that it was hurtful to the other person. In order to do this you must be willing to humble yourself before the other person and this is often the major stumbling block between people because apologies are necessary when there is conflict between two people. Hey, who wants to admit they were wrong? No one. But if you want to be truly happy you must be able to do this if you are going to negotiate a solution to the conflict and move forward. I like to quote Dr. Phil often because I believe he is truly a superstar when it comes to winding the way through relationships. He says, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” This is really key. Sometimes you have to surrender your right to own the outcome in order to preserve and grow your happiness.

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Practice accountability: Say what you mean and mean what you say

 

Learning how to do this was an enormous challenge for me. I was such a people pleaser. Even though I generally did not like other people, it was still incredibly important to me that they like me. Imagine the conundrum. So,  I became a social chameleon. I would say whatever I thought other people wanted me to say, something that would make them happy and thus, like me. It was impossible for me to stand up for myself even if someone attacked me. Then, one day I had an assertiveness training lesson and my whole life and way of being changed. I learned how to defend myself in an argument without tearing the other person down. I learned how disagree politely but firmly with another person. In essence, I learned how say what I meant and mean what I said. It was a tremendous eye opener and life changer.

IT IS NOT HARD TO LEARN HOW TO BE ASSERTIVE, IT JUST TAKES PRACTICE

The best part about learning how to be assertive is that even being an assertive person can be difficult the techniques are tried and true and easy to learn. However, though easy to learn, they are often difficult to put into practice. They take determination and diligence and practice. I started by practicing on store clerks at my local mall. The closer into your personal sphere with people you care about, the more difficult it will become but it is entirely possible to learn these techniques and master them. You can literally change your life by learning assertiveness and your life will be dramatically improved by learning and implementing this skill. Trust me.

BEING ASSERTIVE MEANS STATING YOUR POSITION WITHOUT PUTTING THE OTHER PERSON DOWN

The key is to not personalize your responses to the other person. So when your husband says something mean to you, the response is “When you say ‘x’ I feel ‘y’. No one can tell you that your feelings are wrong. They just are. You are not saying the other person is bad because of what they said, you are just informing them about how you are responding feeling-wise to their comment. It gets easier the more you practice it and in no time it will become second nature to you.

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Transference and Borderline Personality Disorder

Nearly everyone with Borderline Personality Disorder who participates in therapy knows about the phenomenon called transference. Transference occurs when the patient’s expectations, desires and feelings are put onto another person,  usually the therapist. The types of transference issues the patient brings to their therapy will often be representative of issues which occurred in childhood and which have remained unresolved.

Some history about transference

Sigmund Freud  the most famous psychotherapist of all wrote about transference in one of his early seminal works called Hysteria.He considered it to be an extremely important aspect of psychoanalysis  because it revealed hidden parts of the patient. He came to this idea because he began to notice the many complex and usually unconscious feelings many of his patients were having.

Though many people on their way to a BPD recovery will certainly experience transference issues, not all do. Experiencing transference is not indicative of anything serious being wrong with the person with Borderline Personality Disorder, it is merely an occurrence which happens naturally during the therapeutic process and one should not be alarmed by it. A skillful and well-trained therapist will know how to handle it.

Different Kinds of Transference

One of the most common kinds of transference is a maternal transference. This occurs when the patient has unresolved issues with their mother, either a biological mother or an adoptive mother. This transference can be one of nurturing feelings of full of ambivalence and anger.

Paternal transference occurs when the patient looks at the therapist as a father figure. The patient may want to receive advice and protection from the therapist who she or he sees as all powerful and very wise.

Sometimes the patient will experience sibling transference with the therapist during which they have had strong, oftentimes unhealthy bonds with their siblings when relationships with the parents were extremely lacking or highly dysfunctional.

Transference does not only occur during therapy though it is more likely to occur in that setting. It can occur in a workplace situation when a person is dealing with a co-worker who may remind them of a sibling for example. The worker may give this co-worker extra leeway when it comes to deadlines because their sibling was always late and they have empathy for the sibling. Or a person may have had a spouse who cheated on them and so every new relationship following carries the baggage of the first and is tainted by the transference of anger and resentment to the previous spouse.

Transference is not always only positive or negative. Negative as well as positive transference can be beneficial to the therapeutic relationship as long as it is handled skilfully by the therapist.

How does transference affect the person with Borderline Personality Disorder?

Transference when not dealt with properly can lead the person with Borderline Personality Disorder to engage in other types of maladaptive behaviour like cutting, drug use or excessive shopping or gambling. These type of self-injurious behaviours can have devastating consequences.

Transference helps the therapist help his or her patient because it sheds light on what issues need to be addressed during therapy. Most therapists see it as a tool to help them understand their patient’s repressed feelings and unconscious desires and/or fears. Once these issues and/or fears begin to be addressed the healing can start to occur.

Transference should not be confused with projection

Projection is a common defense mechanism many people use when trying to cope with emotions or feelings they find difficult to face head on. An example would be a situation in which you take an almost instantaneous dislike to someone you have only just met. This may be because they remind you of your sister with whom you have recently had a big argument. Another example of projection is a person who accuses another person of stealing from them because they themselves have been shoplifting.

I firmly believe that the therapy itself is not what heals the patient but rather it is the relationship between the patient and the therapist which heals. That relationship happens because of transference.

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What is splitting and why do people with BPD do it?

December 8th

What is splitting and why do people with BPD do it?

 

One of the most common aspects of Borderline Personality Disorder is something called splitting. Splitting occurs when a person is unable to thoughts and/or feeling that are in opposition with each other. They are unable to see the positive AND negative aspects of another person and/or event. Most people with BPD do it in order to keep their feelings of being hurt and/or rejected at bay. Splitting is one of the characteristic nine symptoms which define Borderline Personality Disorder as outlined by the DSM-5. Most people with Borderline Personality Disorder engage in this behaviour because they tend to think in black and white terms and are unable to see the grey that exists in the world. People with BPD have difficulty seeing and appreciating that people are flawed individuals and are just trying to do their best. For them, the world is either all or nothing. People with BPD who are also depressed also tend to engage in black and white thinking because, for them, there is no escape from their pain.

Splitting ultimately leads to serious interpersonal difficulties because the person who loves a person with BPD usually feels confused and frustrated about not being seen with a spirit of understanding or forgiveness. Splitting is also one of the primary causes of workplace disruption as well.

Examples are when someone is fighting with their partner and they say, “You always leave the toilet seat up!” This is a good example because no person will always perform the same behaviour. This is classic black and white thinking.

Another example would be a young woman who falls in love with a guy she can only describe as 100%  perfect match. Again, this is a classic example of splitting because we all know that there is no such thing as a perfect person. Everyone has faults and being able to see both the good and the bad is something to which we we should all aspire.

A small list of words which are indicative of splitting is as follows:

  1. Impossible

  2. Terrible

  3. Horrible

  4. Never

  5. Always

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The $64 Million Dollar BPD Question: Who Am I?

If you have BPD chances are you wrestle with this question a lot. Figuring out who you are can be a major hurdle for many people whether they have BPD or not. But for those of us with BPD, this is something that literally quite often stops us right in our tracks. I say all this while knowing full well that a true BPD recovery depends on knowing who you are. In my opinion, people who do not have a good handle on who they are  become people pleasers and drift along aimlessly through life. When I used to think about who I was and try to figure it out I always used to get tripped up by this, would get lost in a circle of existential thinking about such things as “What is my purpose in life?” “Where am I going?” and “What is the role of God play in this mess?”

Because humans are highly social creatures, we tend to care an awful lot about the people around us and what they think about us. Many of us allow these thoughts to completely dictate our actions and feelings. Figuring out who we are is difficult at best.We don’t want to offend anyone or cause them to not like us so it is easier to live in the shadows and not assert ourselves.

Why is it so difficult to see the bigger picture?

The human brain is programmed to see things in certain ways so as to make sense of the world in which we live. This is why people have both physical and emotional  blind spots. If you are seeing something and you’re looking at your blind spot, your brain is programmed to fill in the blanks and put order into that blank space. This happens outside our field of cognition. It happens automatically without us even being aware it is going on. In the same way, the human brain is programmed to perceive patterns even where they do not exist. This causes people to infer certain meanings with regard to completely random events.So, we see patterns in such things as sports statistics even though a football player’s ability to kick a field goal though based on skill is not based in probability. What does this mean? It means, for the in general, most people are incapable seeing the truths about themselves without bias and without making things up about themselves. This kind of thinking is evident when you think about the way people are influenced to purchase certain products over another.Most people are totally ill-prepared to make rational judgements and choose their best behaviour.

When people engage in the activity of trying to figure themselves out, they experience something called the “measurement effect”. In one study, subjects who were asked whether or not they were likely to donate blood in the coming year turned out to be much likelier to donate blood than people who were not asked the same question. This leads one to suspect that the mere suggestion is enough to influence future behaviour. Researchers concluded that people who are embarking on a journey of self-discovery were more likely to experience feelings based on the kinds of questions they asked themselves: Am I a generous person? they might be more apt to donate more money to charity during the course of a year after asking themselves that kind of self-reaching question.

Ergo, just the act of trying to discover who you are will lead you to a deeper understanding of just who you are.

YOUR OWN SELFNESS MAY BE TOO COMPLEX FOR YOUR MIND TO PERCEIVE

Is it possible that humans, like reality, are too complicated to be truly understood by simple human brains? It is simple to make certain declarations about oneself such as “I know I like to eat Tex-Mex food” or “I am afraid of spiders.” But when it comes to the deeper, more fundamental questions about who we are, that’s when things get really dicey and complicated.

SOME TIPS ON HOW TO FINALLY START TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION

For me, it started with me taking an inventory of some very basic things: I am a Chinese woman. Answer number one. I am a Catholic. Answer number two. I believe in x, y and z: answers number three, four and five. I have x number of children. I was born in this place. I love to x and y. Eventually, the picture of who I was began to take shape. The harder answers were much more difficult to come by, though. Why am I here?

It took me a long time to be able to figure that one out. The answer was that I am here because this is where I am. Why am I  here, really though? I guess that for me a person’s purpose in life is what they choose to make it. I don’t believe that any one individual has been imbued with any great cosmic purpose. We all exist in order to bring happiness and joy to others through the sharing of experiences and the sharing of laughter.

AND THE ANSWER TO MY $64,000 BPD QUESTION IS….

I am a 55 year old Catholic Chinese woman who was born in Hong Kong. I love to ski and throw pots on a pottery wheel. I have three children. I believe in everyone’s right to choose their own destiny and shape it as they see fit. I am against capital punishment. I am a vegetarian because I believe killing animals is cruel and unnecessary in order to survive. I believe in global warming and actively work to reduce my carbon footprint as much as possible given the confines of my life circumstances. I am apolitical and do not support any political party but believe very strongly in democracy. I enjoy reading and am committed to expanding my education through books. I dislike drinking beer and do not like to go to bars. I prefer to think as creatively as possible and strive to find solutions whenever possible. I am a strong communicator and believe that every problem can be solved with dialogue. I have created a life space for myself that is chaos free and as stress-free as possible and I relish it and am grateful for it every single day.

AND THIS IS WHO I AM. WHO ARE YOU?

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The $64 Million Dollar BPD Question: Who Am I?

If you have BPD chances are you wrestle with this question a lot. Figuring out who you are can be a major hurdle for many people whether they have BPD or not. But for those of us with BPD, this is something that literally quite often stops us right in our tracks. I say all this while knowing full well that a true BPD recovery depends on knowing who you are. In my opinion, people who do not have a good handle on who they are  become people pleasers and drift along aimlessly through life. When I used to think about who I was and try to figure it out I always used to get tripped up by this, would get lost in a circle of existential thinking about such things as “What is my purpose in life?” “Where am I going?” and “What is the role of God play in this mess?”

Because humans are highly social creatures, we tend to care an awful lot about the people around us and what they think about us. Many of us allow these thoughts to completely dictate our actions and feelings. Figuring out who we are is difficult at best.We don’t want to offend anyone or cause them to not like us so it is easier to live in the shadows and not assert ourselves.

Why is it so difficult to see the bigger picture?

The human brain is programmed to see things in certain ways so as to make sense of the world in which we live. This is why people have both physical and emotional  blind spots. If you are seeing something and you’re looking at your blind spot, your brain is programmed to fill in the blanks and put order into that blank space. This happens outside our field of cognition. It happens automatically without us even being aware it is going on. In the same way, the human brain is programmed to perceive patterns even where they do not exist. This causes people to infer certain meanings with regard to completely random events.So, we see patterns in such things as sports statistics even though a football player’s ability to kick a field goal though based on skill is not based in probability. What does this mean? It means, for the in general, most people are incapable seeing the truths about themselves without bias and without making things up about themselves. This kind of thinking is evident when you think about the way people are influenced to purchase certain products over another.Most people are totally ill-prepared to make rational judgements and choose their best behaviour.

When people engage in the activity of trying to figure themselves out, they experience something called the “measurement effect”. In one study, subjects who were asked whether or not they were likely to donate blood in the coming year turned out to be much likelier to donate blood than people who were not asked the same question. This leads one to suspect that the mere suggestion is enough to influence future behaviour. Researchers concluded that people who are embarking on a journey of self-discovery were more likely to experience feelings based on the kinds of questions they asked themselves: Am I a generous person? they might be more apt to donate more money to charity during the course of a year after asking themselves that kind of self-reaching question.

Ergo, just the act of trying to discover who you are will lead you to a deeper understanding of just who you are.

YOUR OWN SELFNESS MAY BE TOO COMPLEX FOR YOUR MIND TO PERCEIVE

Is it possible that humans, like reality, are too complicated to be truly understood by simple human brains? It is simple to make certain declarations about oneself such as “I know I like to eat Tex-Mex food” or “I am afraid of spiders.” But when it comes to the deeper, more fundamental questions about who we are, that’s when things get really dicey and complicated.

SOME TIPS ON HOW TO FINALLY START TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION

For me, it started with me taking an inventory of some very basic things: I am a Chinese woman. Answer number one. I am a Catholic. Answer number two. I believe in x, y and z: answers number three, four and five. I have x number of children. I was born in this place. I love to x and y. Eventually, the picture of who I was began to take shape. The harder answers were much more difficult to come by, though. Why am I here?

It took me a long time to be able to figure that one out. The answer was that I am here because this is where I am. Why am I  here, really though? I guess that for me a person’s purpose in life is what they choose to make it. I don’t believe that any one individual has been imbued with any great cosmic purpose. We all exist in order to bring happiness and joy to others through the sharing of experiences and the sharing of laughter.

AND THE ANSWER TO MY $64,000 BPD QUESTION IS….

I am a 55 year old Catholic Chinese woman who was born in Hong Kong. I love to ski and throw pots on a pottery wheel. I have three children. I believe in everyone’s right to choose their own destiny and shape it as they see fit. I am against capital punishment. I am a vegetarian because I believe killing animals is cruel and unnecessary in order to survive. I believe in global warming and actively work to reduce my carbon footprint as much as possible given the confines of my life circumstances. I am apolitical and do not support any political party but believe very strongly in democracy. I enjoy reading and am committed to expanding my education through books. I dislike drinking beer and do not like to go to bars. I prefer to think as creatively as possible and strive to find solutions whenever possible. I am a strong communicator and believe that every problem can be solved with dialogue. I have created a life space for myself that is chaos free and as stress-free as possible and I relish it and am grateful for it every single day.

AND THIS IS WHO I AM. WHO ARE YOU?

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