Psych Central

Choose One Of These 11 Insights And Make Your Life Better

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

1105726_67191626Psychiatrist Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning is one of the most powerful, even transcendent secular collection of insights into how to be the best human being you can be. Dr. Frankl survived four Nazi concentration camps, and during his imprisonment, spent much of his time thinking about freedom, life, and what it means to be truly human.

Many people who’ve thought about and applied his insights say their lives have been enriched. Choose one, and watch yourself blossom:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” 

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Intense Anger And Radical Acceptance: Help For Borderline Traits

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Debbie CorsoWe’re continuing our discussion about borderline personality traits with author Debbie Corso of DBT Path.

In these posts, Debbie will give us insight into self-sabotaging behaviors as well as practical skills that can help us move forward.

Today we’re discussing the trait of anger.

Anger is an interesting symptom.  It often shows up in reaction to the frustration of feeling blocked from accomplishing goals.

Before DBT, a person with this trait may have difficulty even identifying this intense emotion as anger! They’ll also have a hard time understanding what caused them to become angry. They’ll may also find it difficult to figure out what other emotions they are experiencing at same time as anger, emotions such as shame, fear, or frustration.

Anger can easily become overwhelming and prompt verbal and even physical reactions. It takes courage to admit that anger is a problem. When students are brave enough to be vulnerable, and openly and honestly share their struggles with anger, it is important to be compassionate.

It is so easy to judge people who exhibit anger—they are labeled as being bad, dangerous, or beyond help. We do not believe this! We have to remember that meeting anger with fear or judgmentalism isn’t helpful. Usually the angry person is also fearful, herself.

Anger often manifests as pushing others away, usually because there’s any underlying fear of abandonment and rejection—generally, the patterns are unconscious.

If anger is a serious issue, we recommend starting with the DBT Path Mindfulness module. This module places a strong emphasis of the skill called Radical Acceptance.

Can you tell us what Radical Acceptance is?

I’ll begin with a quote: When we put down ideas of what life should be like, we are free to wholeheartedly say yes to our life as it is. -Tara Brach

Radical Acceptance means completely, totally, RADICALLY accepting life as it is.

When first presented with this skill and concept, it can be daunting.  (I remember feeling this way when I first heard about it in a DBT group I attended.)  What helped greatly was the explanation that Acceptance does not mean approval.

A well-known, horrific historical event, such  Holocaust can help us understand.  In order to live in reality, embrace acceptance, heal, and learn from the past, we must accept that the Holocaust happened. That does not mean we approve of it or think it was okay.  If we do not accept that it occurred, we feed into “crazy making,” because we convince ourselves of something other than reality.

Sometimes it’s easier for an emotionally sensitive person to hear an example that can be related to on a large scale by humanity before looking at situations that make them feel personally vulnerable. For example, coming to understand Radical Acceptance in terms of historical events might be the first step towards Radically Accepting that a marriage is not working out and that both partners must move on.

It’s very human to struggle with inner conflict over not wanting things to be a certain way. It’s okay to not like what is happening. But at the same time, it is possible to not like something and also work to accept “it is what it is.”

But we are able to learn to cope effectively with what life is presenting us in the present moment, even we don’t like it, prefer it, or wish it were different.  Radical Acceptance is the skill we use to get to this place.

Then, based on how the anger manifests, we recommend either the Distress Tolerance or Emotion Regulation module next.  Distress Tolerance is suggested if the person relates to usually having anger episodes they need to cope with situations over which he or she truly has no control. It’s good when there is no solution in the moment, and the person must somehow manage their distress about lack of control, without making the situation worse or sabotaging.

Emotion Regulation is suggested if the person is primarily frightened by the intensity of their own anger. They feel they may need help learning how to manage when anger and other emotions frequently reach such a high level of unmanageable intensity that it lead to undesired behaviors.

Thank you Debbie for all the insights and expert advice you shared with our readers. We hope you’ll join us again at Therapy Soup and PsychCentral!

Debbie Corso, is a pioneering mental-health blogger, author, and teacher who has blogged about living with borderline personality disorder. Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) she has overcome the symptoms of BPD. Together with therapist Alicia Paz, she helps others with BPD and BPD traits in her online program, DBT Path. She’s the author of two books about BPD. Today, Debbie no longer meets the criteria for a BPD diagnosis.

Check out Debbie’s books:

Stop Sabotaging

Healing From Personality Disorder

Stop Sabotaging CoverBook cover design xlarge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Emotional Instability: Help For Borderline Traits

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Stop Sabotaging CoverWe’re continuing our discussion about borderline personality traits with author Debbie Corso of DBT Path. I

In these posts, Debbie will give us insight into self-sabotaging behaviors as well as practical skills that can help us move forward.

Today we’re discussing the trait of emotional instability.

This is one of the primary symptoms I suffered from and quite common.

Being extremely emotionally sensitive, and not having tools to manage the intense effect which even minor events can have on our emotions, results in emotional instability. This may include mood swings, impulsiveness, and often, an inability to follow through on things such as goals, school, and work.

People with this trait feel like they’re at the mercy of their emotions.

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Using Your Wise Mind To Understand Your Fear Of Abandonment

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

wise mindWe’re continuing our discussion about borderline personality traits with author Debbie Corso of DBT Path. In these posts, Debbie will give us insight into self-sabotaging behaviors as well as practical skills that can help us move forward.

Debbie was once diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Now, she’s created an online program which teaches people with Borderline Personality Disorder or Borderline Traits, the same life-changing DBT skills that helped her. In this post she discusses the DBT skill called Wise Mind.

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Fear Of Abandonment & Rejection: Help For Borderline Traits

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Debbie CorsoWe’re continuing our discussion about borderline personality traits with author Debbie Corso of DBT Path. In these posts, Debbie will give us insight into self-sabotaging behaviors as well as valuable, practical skills that can help us move forward.

What is the root of the BPD trait of fear of abandonment and rejection?

Based on my personal experience as well as observations and interactions with my blog readers and students, the fear of abandonment and rejection often stems from a deep emotional wound created in childhood.

Many of us have experienced abandonment and rejection by someone who we trusted. We expected this person to care for and protect us—sometimes it was a parent, but it could have been another adult.  Many who have the fear of abandonment  have also experienced trauma related to this issue.

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Help For Borderline Personality Traits With Debbie Corso

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Debbie CorsoYou may have heard of Debbie Corso, a revolutionary mental-health blogger, author, and teacher. Debbie has shared her story of living with borderline personality disorder online.

Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), she has overcome the symptoms of BPD. Now, together with a therapist, Debbie helps others with BPD and BPD traits in her online program, DBT Path. Today, Debbie no longer meets the criteria for a BPD diagnosis.

Welcome, Debbie.

You’ve worked hard using Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to help you transform yourself and improve your own symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Now you’re helping others do the same.

But perhaps what is revolutionary, is that you are also helping people who do not have a BPD diagnosis, yet want to the improve the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors which are associated with BPD, often called BPD traits.

Yes! DBT has been a truly life changing and transformational experience.  When I started treatment, I had nearly all of the nine criteria for a BPD diagnosis (and only five or more were required for a diagnosis). Nearly two years after participating in DBT, I entered recovery and no longer met enough of the criteria to be diagnosed with BPD.  Yet, I still have some of the symptoms—clinicians refer to this as having “borderline traits.”

I’m not alone, many others also live with borderline traits. Which is why therapist Alicia Paz and I decided that no formal BPD diagnosis would be required for students of our online DBT skills classes. By accepting students across the BPD spectrum, at DBT Path we are able to reach and help many more people who are motivated to change and improve upon their current, maladaptive behaviors, whether they have a diagnosis or not.

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Borderline PD, Narcissistic PD And Relationships

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski
Dr. Aaron Kipnis

Dr. Aaron Kipnis

We’re continuing our discussion with Dr. Aaron Kipnis about relationships between people with borderline personality and disorder narcissistic personality disorder. (Read more in our first post, Narcissistic And Borderline Attraction)

How does gender factor into these relationships?

Many people with borderline personality disorder tend to be female and the majority of people with narcissistic personality disorder are male.  It is even possible these are gender-based/influenced versions of a similar disorder.

Can these kinds of relationships be extremely volatile, violent even?

I think that might be how it goes at its worst. An intense, vibrant attraction eventually ends in some form of individual or mutual destruction (Think Glen Close in Fatal Attraction).

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Narcissistic And Borderline Attraction

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski
kipnis2

Dr. Aaron Kipnis

Individuals with borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder may marry or enter into intimate relationships with each other, more than statistically likely, it seems.  Although today treatment for BPD (especially in the form of dialectic behavior therapy), can be extremely effective, not everyone gets treatment, and may not be aware of why they are attracted to people with NPD.

We asked Dr. Aaron Kipnis, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute, why he thinks this pairing occurs.

Welcome Dr. Kipnis. Can you help us understand the underlying  attraction between people with borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder and explain what needs are being met?

It’s curious. People with cluster B personality disorders can make it challenging for other people to be around them. Interactions and relationship with them can be pretty frustrating because they are usually very self- involved with little empathy for others. As a result, their lives can be lonely.

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Pharrel Williams And The (Spiritual) Happy Phenomenon

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

There’s the starving artist. The moody writer. The angry young man. The super-cool, ultra-serious musician who never smiles. The thoughtful psychologist who only laughs at his own jokes…

And there’s Pharrell Williams, the skateboarding Star Trek fan/successful businessman/pop star who’s caused (another) international sensation with his seemingly everlasting chart-topping song, Happy.

Continue reading… »



Your Favorite Reason To Take A Break (From The News) Is…

By Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Stress!

Disappearing planes, hijacked by the pilots?!?

Stress!

Confusing and depressing stories of health-care nightmares?

Anxiety!

The Russian bear redux?

Depression?

Stock market slumps and soars—is this a roller coaster?

Stress!

Earthquakesearthquakesearthquakes

Phobia-inducing!

Massive human rights violator protected by other human rights violators...

Depressing.

We want to stay informed. But, there are problems we can’t do anything about except pray. Once again, it’s time for another Therapy Soup news fast.

What’s YOUR favorite reason to take a break from the news cycle?

 

 

 

 



 
Therapy Revolution
Check out the book!
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by Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

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Recent Comments
  • rcp0604: Interesting article, with helpful insights and strategies for everyone, BPD or not. The hitch, though, is...
  • Janey: This behaviour is an infantile form of communication the person has unfortunately internalized a negative...
  • Janey: Sounds like a good friend…
  • Janey: My mother had BPD and constantly felt abandoned everything was about her and therefore she sought to control...
  • Janet: Very good post. In my 20′s and 30′s I misread people leaving my life as abandoning me but I...
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