Archives for Borderline Personality Disorder
As a child, you learned the labels for what you were feeling from your caregivers. Is that tightness in your throat fear or excitement? Is the tension in our muscles anger or fear? Those around you gave you labels for what you were experiencing in your body with statements like, "You're such a ball of nerves today," "Stop crying, you're just mad you didn't get your way," or "I'm guessing you're pretty mad at your mom."
In DBT™, you learn about three states of mind: Emotion mind, rational mind, and wise mind. Living your life in either emotion mind or rational mind is not effective. In emotion mind, your emotions are in control. They overwhelm you. To make good decisions,...
Reinforcement is a term used in operant conditioning to refer to anything that increases the likelihood that a response will occur. If every time you stay home on Sunday night your child performs better on the tests on Monday, and you are more likely to stay home because of that, then your child performing well on Monday tests reinforces your staying home the night before. When other people reinforce you for being with them, you want to socialize more. There are many reinforcers for behavior. Among the naturally occurring reinforcers, social reinforcement is one of the most commonly occurring. Social reinforcers come from other people and include smiles, hugs, praise and attention. Social reinforcers are powerful. Acceptance and approval of others means you are part of the group/family and communicate that you are a lovable person.
Imagine that your daughter is late coming home. It's 3 AM and she hasn't called. The roads are wet--it's pouring rain. You are terrified. The minute she finally walks in the door, you're angry. You scream about how inconsiderate and irresponsible she is. Then she's back out the door, yelling that she hates you. You sit with your head in your hands. So many times you've been through this and promised yourself you'd handle it differently. But you can't just let her walk all over you, right?
Making decisions in emotion mind often has very difficult consequences. Being in emotion mind means more than experiencing strong emotions, it means your emotions are controlling your thinking and actions. Demanding in anger a divorce (that you don't really want), quitting a job you need when upset and you don't have another one, and walking out on your best friend who you still care about are all examples of acting on your emotions in ways that hurt you.
When conflict with others is managed well, people talk calmly with each other and work to solve problems. Unfortunately, relationships are full of situations in which even the most skilled at remaining calm cannot do so. There are times that you find yourself saying unkind words to those you love and losing your cool when you promised yourself you wouldn't. There are many ways of coping with conflict and with behaviors from those we love that just annoy us no end. One way to do this is to prevent the conflict from happening in the first place. If you really don't like conflict, then preventing it may be a great choice for you. If you have a pattern with someone of repeating the same conflict over and over, then prevention may be a wonderful choice. One way to prevent conflict is by using satiation.
Are you cringing with dread about the deliveries of red roses that will come to the office to what seems like everyone but you? Are you hoping to sleep Valentine's Day away and avoid all the celebrations of romance that will be everywhere you turn? With hearts everywhere you turn, avoiding reminders is impossible.
We often act consistent with how we feel. If you wake up in the morning and you don't feel like talking with people, maybe you don't answer the phone. If you don't feel like going to the grocery store, then you don't go. If you don't feel like networking then you cancel the luncheon. If you don't feel like being kind, you may talk gruffly to your friends and co-workers. Perhaps you even justify your actions, or attempt to, by saying, "I'm just in a bad mood."
We all have days that everything seems to go wrong. We get a speeding ticket, the dishwasher stops working and your zippers splits when you're already late for a dinner engagement. Sometimes what goes wrong is bigger and more difficult. Maybe your best friend is moving away or someone you love is diagnosed with cancer. Those times are particularly tough and may lead you to wonder what life's all about. Actually, what is your life all about? One of the most effective ways of coping with daily ups and down is to know your purpose, your contribution to the world. What is it that you contribute to the human race or to our world? Knowing your part in the world can help you see the forest when the trees all seem negative. Every contribution to a better world counts. Every person can make a difference. Do you know what your purpose is?