Archives for Dialectical Behavior Therapy - Page 2

Borderline Personality Disorder

Identifying Your Thoughts And Your Feelings: Why It Matters

We all have different ways of viewing the world. Some may have a strong sense of smell and their experiences are filtered through aromas and scents. Others may be particularly visual and react primarily to what they see. A bed of flowers elicits calmness while disarray in the home triggers anxiety. The senses of touch, taste, and hearing can also be ways of connecting to the world and affect your experience of events, people,  and situations.

In addition to the senses, your worldview is influenced by the balance between your thoughts and emotions. Many people will look at a puppy and feel love for the puppy.  For some, that love will dominate and they will be filled with longing to take the puppy home. They may do so even though they have no room for another pet. Others may smile and appreciate the puppy, but think of the time and money it takes to care for an animal.

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Coping Skills

Mindfulness in a Noisy, Messy, Cluttered World



 

In his book, Urban Mindfulness: Cultivating Peace, Presence and Purpose in The Middle of It All, Jonathan Kaplan, Ph.D. writes about applying mindfulness to your daily life experiences. His book is divided into sections about where you might practice mindfulness, such as "At Home," "At Play," and "At Work."

Emotionally sensitive people often find noise, crowds, strangers, lack of space or privacy, and clutter dysregulating. Yet all these experiences are often part of life, particularly  in an urban area. Turning to mindfulness may not seem natural as a way to cope in these situations. Kaplan's book offers ways to apply mindfulness to everyday life.

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Borderline Personality Disorder

Hints for Practicing New Coping Skills

If you are working on developing new coping skills, you may find that understanding the skills and how they work is much easier than actually using the skills. You may be able to tell someone else about the skill, write out the steps involved, and answer questions about it but find you do not use it in your life. You may find that you keep going back to familiar ways of dealing with emotions and stress, even when those old ways are not good for you in the long run.

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Borderline Personality Disorder

Being Right vs. Being Effective


Jessica has a great memory for details and enjoyed sharing adventures with her husband. She was shocked when he asked for a divorce--she had no idea how unhappy he was. Only after he filed the papers did she understand that there was no big event that changed their relationship, but a series of small episodes. For example, when out with friends, her husband enjoyed sharing stories about the trips he and Jessica had taken. Jessica often corrected the small mistakes he made and she was usually right. When he complained,  she explained she was just helping him get it right. She didn't see that as a problem.

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Borderline Personality Disorder

Willfulness

One day in second grade I raised my hand to read aloud certain paragraphs of a story. I loved to read. I skimmed ahead and found a dramatic section that would allow for varying voice tones. The teacher selected a different section for me to read. I protested that I wanted to read the section I had chosen. She skipped me and I didn't get to read at all. I was being willful.

We may think of willful behavior as typical of children. Picture the child in the store who is having a temper tantrum, refusing to leave without a wanted toy. That is willfulness.  Another example would be when a young child is chosen by a team he didn't want to play on. Going home or sitting by the sidelines refusing to play was most likely not effective behavior. It probably didn't solve the problem and in addition he didn't get to play a game he enjoyed. Even the child who doesn't want the bubbles he blew to float away is showing willfulness. While we tend to think of children exhibiting such behaviors, adults can be just as willful.

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Borderline Personality Disorder

Being Mindful of the Gray

Sometimes people who are emotionally sensitive are controlled by their emotions.  When they are feeling happy and joyful, they think positive thoughts and all may seem right with the world. When they are upset, they may not remember how good they felt before and be unable to believe that they may feel good again. During those times their thoughts are often pessimistic and they may see all as hopeless.

Emotionally sensitive people may also experience mood dependent behavior. When they are happy or content, they are active with their friends and interested in the events of the day. When they are depressed, sad, or scared they may withdraw and isolate. Their behavior depends on their mood, more so than for people who are not emotionally sensitive. In addition, the way they see themselves may be controlled by their mood.  They may hate themselves when they are angry, sad or disappointed.  When they are content or happy, they may accept themselves or at least not feel such intense self-dislike.

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Borderline Personality Disorder

If You Love Someone Who is Emotionally Sensitive


1. Learn how to validate. When emotionally sensitive people are upset, their emotions are more intense and last longer than those of other people you know. No one thinks clearly when emotionally dysregulated.

During those moments, the brain is focused on survival and threat, not on seeing options or thinking through the best way to express ideas. Validating their point of view and their emotions can help them get back to their wise mind. Remember, validating that their thoughts and emotions are understandable does not necessarily mean you agree.

2. Whenever possible, wait until both you and your loved one are calm before discussing any important topics. Communication is rarely effective when either party is emotionally upset. Attempting to discuss important concerns when upset often creates a mess.

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Borderline Personality Disorder

Letting Go of Judgments

The cost of judging is quite high, particularly for emotionally sensitive people. Think how you would live your life if you weren't afraid of being judged, either by yourself of others?

Judging and fear of being judged often keeps people in a trap - an emotional jail. Instead of living your life the way you would love to, you live safely, doing what is acceptable, so you aren't labelled as crazy, stupid, worthless, a failure, lazy or some other hateful word. You may try to  fit into molds that aren't right for you or that aren't even possible for human beings.

Humans simply aren't perfect.

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Borderline Personality Disorder

Judging, Judging, Judging


Most people have multiple ways of judging themselves, and often that involves comparing themselves to others. Maybe you have a role-model in mind, a person you think has it all together. Maybe you choose the best of several other people to compare yourself to--the role model for your professional life is different than the person you look up to in your personal life, and the person you admire for her mothering skills may not be the same person you want to look like in a swimsuit.

Most people don't consider themselves good enough. We're not good enough at work, as a parent, or as a spouse. Our bodies don't look good enough at a pool party and we aren't pretty enough or successful enough at the high school reunion. We don't have enough friends and we don't have the right car.

Emotionally sensitive people are more likely to judge themselves harshly. We live life as if it were a competition.
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Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Living Your Values



Living a values-based life is not an easy goal. You get up in the morning, you've got tasks to do. Sometimes you just do tasks without considering how you are allocating your time.  Sometimes you just keep going all day until you are done, then fall into bed exhausted. Often it seems there isn't enough time to think about living your life with meaning or putting your energy into what you believe in.

You may believe in family, contributing to those less fortunate, friendships or making positive difference in your community. Many times though, people don't put their values into action. They don't live their beliefs.

Paying Attention to Who You Are

Your values are an important part of your identity. What are your top five values? How much of your life do you spend consistent with those values?
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