Archives for relationships - Page 2

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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Coping Skills

Gratitude Day 2012


Researchers in positive psychology tell us that we are more content when we savor the positive that happens in our lives. But focusing on the positive isn't natural for many people. We tend to see and think about what we dislike, fear and what has hurt us more than we recognize and replay what we cherish. So maybe the end of the year is a great time to remember what you are grateful for...
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Coping Skills

Maybe This Year It Will Be Different…

I don't know who wrote the following words of wisdom about stages of recovery.  It's been around as long as I can remember and this is just one version.

Stages of Recovery

Stage 1:
I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.

Stage 2:
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it. I fall in again. I can't believe I am in this same place. But it isn't my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

Stage 3:
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I fall in...it's a habit...but my eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Stage 4:
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Stage 5:
I walk down a different street.

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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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Coping Skills

Fooling Ourselves


We often don't know the reasons why we do what we do, feel what we feel, or make the choices we make, but apparently we are very good at creating reasons that seem quite logical and that reflect favorably on us. For example, we may believe that cheating and lying are wrong. Yet, according to Dan Ariely (2012) most of us lie. He's not talking about the big lies that cause major damage to others. He says we lie only to the extent we can still see ourselves as good people. We tell ourselves stories to justify our actions, like everyone cheats on their taxes or it's only an extra dollar in change the clerk gave me and the company owes me more than that for all the times I've overpaid.

If we're annoyed with the person we are interacting with, we are more likely to cheat or steal, believing we are justified. We may tell ourselves that we are simply restoring karma and crusading for justice.

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Emotionally Sensitive Person

Home and Loneliness

"The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go and not be questioned."

Home, in my mind, is about a feeling. That feeling can come from people, a place or yourself. It is serenity, laughter and authentic acceptance. Authentic acceptance from others means they know my faults and love me anyway. They don't point out my ongoing shortcomings to improve me or change me, they see those quirks as simply part of me. It's not the politically proper acceptance of keepng their thoughts to themselves. It goes beyond that. Their acceptance comes from deep within, the acceptance of those who truly love without qualifiers or caveats.

Many of those who make up my "home" would make different choices than I have, including the paths I would take all over again. Yet they accept my choices, love me anyway, and sometimes urge me to reconsider my current choices. They give information, saying what they believe is true without judging or threatening. When I trudge on with decisions they don't understand, they become my cheerleaders. They may not approve and they still love and accept. People who are your home don't leave. When you have these people in your life, you know you're not alone, whether they are physically present or not.

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Coping Skills

Open Heart Vulnerability


 

Based on the research on happiness, having close relationships is associated with life satisfaction. At the same time, connecting with others in a meaningful way requires allowing yourself be vulnerable. To connect meaningfully is to shed pretense, to take off whatever mask you wear and allow the authentic you to be present. Brene Brown has excellent TED talks and books that discuss her research on vulnerability.

Emotionally sensitive people tend to both overshare and undershare information about themselves; sometimes they tell very personal information to people they don't know well and whithold information from close friends. There can be undesirable results for both actions.

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Coping Skills

Developing a Pause


You've just learned that your boyfriend cheated on you. Or your boss criticized you in front of a large group of people. Maybe a friend has talked about you in not-so-flattering ways with other people. Full of anger, you write a scathing email and push send. Or you tell the other person off.  A few minutes later, you realize you are in agony, wishing you could unsend the email or unsay your angry words.

In such situations, you may wish emotions didn't exist. But emotions give us important information. Being completely logical leaves out the information we get from emotions.  For example, depending on the context, anger can communicate that we need to protect ourselves, shame may help us adhere to values, and fear helps us escape from situations that could be harmful. Sometimes, though, we experience emotions for reasons that have nothing to do with surviving the situation we're in, such as being afraid when there is no physical threat. For example, maybe we are afraid of uncomfortable situations, afraid of our emotions and afraid of  speaking up for ourselves.

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Coping Skills

For Those Who Dread Small Talk


Based on research, people in general are happier and have a greater sense of well-being the less time they spend alone. A recent study adds to that understanding. People who engage in more meaningful conversations, rather than small talk, have a greater sense of well-being. But small talk may be the path to having those deeper conversations. You may need to have small talk to move on to closer relationships.

For emotionally sensitive people, this is a difficult issue. Small talk can seem meaningless. Engaging in small talk, unpleasant for most, can feel as miserable as a migraine for the emotionally sensitive. Yet it's not likely that you can meet a new friend for coffee and then immediately discuss your shame about the affair you had last year or even how inadequate you feel around the have-it-all-together neighbors.  It happens, but it's not likely.

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