Borderline Personality Disorder

When You Fear You Don’t Fit

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.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Accurate Expression

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?

Coping Skills

Coping with the Post Holiday Let Down

You survived the holiday. Maybe it was a good holiday, one you enjoyed. Then suddenly Monday comes, the Monday that all goes back to the same routine. Not only are you hit with all the issues that have been put on hold for two weeks, you also hear about the fantasy holidays that some people enjoyed. Suddenly your holiday pales in comparison.

Coping Skills

Coping Ahead for Your Holiday

Countless minefields lie ahead in the next few days. The holidays can lead you to  pressure yourself to be joyful, spend time with family, buy the perfect presents, and have a memorable celebration.  There's food to cook (the meal must be special, right?) and concern about who might drop off freshly baked goodies when you can't reciprocate. For the emotionally sensitive person, these challenges are aggravated by perfectionism, worry about people getting along, fear of hurting...

Coping Skills

Too Busy to Live: Mindfulness of Your Priorities

If we are paying attention to our lives, we'll recognize those defining moments. The challenge for so many of us is that we are so deep into daily distractions and 'being busy, busy' that we miss out on those moments and opportunities that - if jumped on - would get our careers and personal lives to a whole new level of wow.  Robin S. Sharma

I’ve been thinking about priorities and demands. That’s an interpersonal skill in DBT. Priorities are what you want, what’s important to you. Demands come from other people, what they want you to do. The idea is to have a balance that helps you live your life effectively. So how does this actually apply to your life?

Coping Skills

Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenge: An Interview with Lori Deschene

Strengthening relationships and feeling less lonely is a challenge for emotionally sensitive people and can be overwhelming. Tiny Buddha's 365 Tiny Love Challenges offers a step-by step model that is easily understood and gives the reader a way to move forward. I am grateful to Lori Deschene, the author, for answering a few questions about her work.

How did you get the idea for Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges?

I knew I wanted to write a book about strengthening our relationships, both because authentic connection is such a huge part of Tiny Buddha, and because I’ve personally experienced the consequences of shutting people out.

For years when I was younger I isolated myself in shame, afraid that people would reject me if they knew about my struggles and shortcomings.

Coping Skills

Skills to Welcome Your Day When Past Fears Haunt You

The sun's up, the alarm clock sounds off and you peel your eyes open. What are your thoughts? I'm wondering if you squeeze your eyes shut and wish the day were over. Maybe you wake up tense with a boulder in your throat and an upset stomach. Maybe you have a low-grade sadness that the day just doesn't matter.

I've had that experience. For too long I struggled with anxiety about facing the day. Unfortunately I allowed a narcissist into my life. No matter how much you give to people who feel entitled, it's never enough. When you don't give them what they want, they will make it their mission to make you miserable.

Coping Skills

Six Ways to Build Happiness from Within

What does it really mean to have happiness from within? Doesn't happiness come from laughing with friends, having a family you love and enjoying your work?  Certainly there are many ways that you can find happiness outside yourself. But lasting, enduring happiness comes from within and isn't so affected by whether you lose your job or a friend moves half way around the world. You can develop happiness from within in many ways. Here are a few ideas that make sense to me.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Living Your Life Fully Through Mindfulness

  Emotionally Sensitive People are capable of great joy.  You are the person who lights up the room and makes any get-together a memorable event.  Your sensitivity also means that  your capacity for joy can be lost, buried under depression or fear.  Here's some ideas for how to recover your ability to live fully with all the joy and love you naturally have.

1.  Be mindful of your fears.  Are you making decisions based on fear?  Maybe you fear not being good enough, being rejected or being hurt. Those fears can keep you isolated and alone. So think about it. Really focus in a purposeful, nonjudgmental way on the decisions you are making. Do you truly want to avoid life rather than experience difficult emotions?  In ten years from now do you want to look back and say,  "I'm so glad I isolated and didn't take any chances? "  You could be dancing, planting community gardens, listening to music or playing music, singing, taking your grandchildren to the park and other pleasurable activities. You risk people not approving, talking negatively, and saying hurtful statements. You risk feeling sad and hurt for a time.  Be mindful of what you really want for your life, not just about what you fear. Pay attention, on purpose to what is your heart's desire, not your fear. If you are making decisions based on fear, then decide if you want to change that.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Making Decisions in Wise Mind: The If. . .Then Question

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.