Friday, September 23, 2011

Lucid Analysis - Trials in Therapy

I can’t believe it’s been a month already. I’m starting to track them by my visits to Psychiatrist. Yeesh. Yesterday I saw Psychiatrist (really Psychiatrists PA). I like her a lot better than the actual resident Psych. I realized that I absolutely do not trust him because of the first med he had me on that made me gain weight. I know this is not entirely rational. He was more concerned with stopping my suicidal thoughts and cutting so he needed to put me on something that worked immediately, unfortunately that didn’t take into account my other issues. Which is my main problem with psychiatry. They don’t really spend enough time with you. They aren’t fully aware of your issues and your personalities because primarily they are drug pushers. This is why I believe therapy is so important. Therapy is where the real work on your core gets done. Ramble ramble. So I’m continuing on my 50mg of Pristiq for another month and we’ll see how it goes. Honestly, so far. I’ve had no issues with it at all. I’ve had a few days of mild depression, but my mood has definitely been better in general. Not swinging all over the place. Then again, I’ve also been secluding myself in my world of books and very minimum socializing which may also contribute to that.

I just want to be perfect

This was a pretty heavy day in therapy. I’m going to try to remember everything we discussed but it was a pretty intense session.
My body image is a disaster. I don’t even want to go out in public or wear normal clothes because I’d rather hide myself away. Therapist says I’m so incredibly hard on myself, she wishes I could take it easy on myself. I should just go out there and say, ‘anyone worth anything will love me the way that I am’. The problem is, I don’t love me the way that I am, so how can anyone else? Yeah, this is something I have to work on.
I’ve only had one bulimic episode in the last two weeks though. Last Saturday I went to Maker Faire with Friend and the wife. We did this last year too. Afterwards we went back to their place. I made cookies, we watched movies and hung out, I went home around 9 and had an all out binge. I didn’t plan on it, it just sort of happened. In working through it, the whole day was probably very triggering for me. Last year at this time Friend and I were very deeply involved. Physically and emotionally. When we were at the Faire with the wife and friends it was fun and exciting because just being near him was exciting and intense. We had this chemistry and bond that was intense and I was emotionally attached in a way that I finally felt like I had someone who truly understood and accepted me and appreciated me for all that I was. He was my best friend and an intimate partner. There was a completeness to how I felt with him and a trust that he shared the experience with me of doing something in. Knowing that part of us was together there. Well, all that is gone now. This year I was kind of bored, I wandered off alone. I felt like a passenger. It’s normal that I would compare the two experiences. The differences between them. But I’m not processing them in a healthy way. I’m shutting down and blocking out actually experiencing the emotions that should be bubbling to the surface. It would be normal to remember that time and feel sad, or hurt, or lonely. It would be normal to feel a welling of emotion, to cry, and miss what once was and isn’t there anymore. But I’m not. Instead of feeling the range of emotions that come with grieving a loss of happiness, I’m detaching from my emotions and suppressing them. Instead of dealing with them directly, they’re being expressed by bingeing and purging. I feel an aching emptiness that I’m trying to fill with the only thing I have, food. Food is a comfort, it’s nourishment. I’m lacking true emotional nourishment so I’m reaching for what I do have to fill the void and the empty time. It’s not what I really need though. And then of course, I feel guilty because I’ve eaten so much. Guilty that I lost control over my ability to control my impulses, disappointed and ashamed that I couldn’t control myself, and I have to get rid of it. Maddening. But it makes sense. I’m still grieving the loss of something that made me feel loved and accepted, but I’m not actually processing it. Therapist is concerned that I’m not dealing with my feelings towards Friend. Especially as I still talk to him everyday and hang out with him frequently. When we were first developing our friendship and later involved, I felt an intimate core emotional attachment to him in a way that made me feel like I was actually experiencing the world alongside someone. Now when I see him, he’s like a very familiar stranger who I’m experiencing the world next to, but not with. Does that make sense? I recognize it, I remember the history, but the feeling is like “who is this person and how does he know so much about me? Do I really know him? Does he really know me?” It’s very disconnected. Therapist wants me to try dealing with my feelings more directly.
Homework: She wants me to write him a letter. Not one to actually give him, but write it as if I were writing it to him. In it, I should express all the feelings, hopes, wishes and regrets that I had, have, and felt and feel towards him. I expect it will be rather painful, but she said I can take it slow and do a little bit at a time.
It just kills me. The wife always appears so put upon to show any kind of affection or make an effort to do anything, let alone anything warm and loving. I can’t imagine being so cold and reserved towards someone that I’m supposed to be in love with and married to. It’s actually painful to know what he wants and see him deprived of it, knowing that I am naturally the kind of person that could willingly give the sort of thing he always said he wanted. Especially when the wife has (even recently) said that she should probably care about what he feels but traditionally she only really thinks about herself. But hey, I don’t get to choose who anyone falls in love with, I don’t get to decide what’s best for anyone. Except me. If he wants reserved and unaffectionate, so be it, that’s not the kind of person I am so I guess he wouldn’t have really wanted someone like me anyways. Not nearly so painful as it used to be.
And that’s starting to touch on my progress. I’m letting go. I don’t need to talk to him. I don’t need to be near him. I don’t need him. In fact, I’m starting to want to get out and meet new people. I want to expand my circle of friends because how am I going to meet someone else, if I only ever see him?
Oh! I broke up with Lady Friend. Whoops. I sort of forgot to mention that a while ago. There was just no chemistry between us at all. Well, for me. I felt bad because she really liked me, but trying to hold a conversation with her was like a stop motion film. Choppy and strung together. I’m not an overly chatty person (not that you would know that from my ridiculous long rambling blogs), but she was even less chatty/social than me. There was no real balance, no real spark. I like more outgoing, aggressive people, she was incredibly passive. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a beautiful, sweet, wonderful woman, but there was just nothing there. She didn’t drive me crazy, and I think that’s part of the problem.  
I have hope though. From all of this Therapist thinks that it wasn’t all bad. Friend and I were highly, highly compatible. That wasn’t made up. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that I’ve had such a natural, easy connection with. While he might not be the one for me, at least I know that a connection like that can exist. I’m one step closer to knowing what it is that I want. Never again will I settle for another Boring-Ex.  I also know that I deserve someone who wants to be with me. Not someone that is willing to let go of something so intense without thinking about how it would affect me, without talking about it with me so that I could understand what was happening. Dick. He doesn’t deserve me. Therapist says that as long as I have hope, than she doesn’t really need to worry about me. I’ll get there. I’m slowly getting to a place where I’m actually ready to move forward and try something new. I’m still grieving. Greif doesn’t just go away overnight. I need to actively work through it though, not dissociate from it.
Therapist also doesn’t think my self-imposed seclusion is a bad thing either. All summer (especially all August) I was incredibly stressed out about vacations, doing everything for other people, that I finally just needed a break. And that’s ok. I’ve been reading a lot. And I mean, A LOT. It’s a complete and utter escape for me. My imagination is so vivid that reading a book is like watching a movie from an omniscient point of view. I’m totally immersed, totally out of my head, out of the world, away from my problems. I know it’s partially to avoid dealing with life but on the other hand, I’m allowed to take a break and take time for myself too. I shouldn’t feel guilty about this.
Homework: Following up from last week though, she did give me an additional homework assignment. It’s a completing sentences exercise. This specific set was designed more for the younger clientele, but trying to decipher and deal with emotions is universally human so she thinks it would be good to sit down and really work through. She wants me to stay in the present, mostly with respect to Friend and Roommate as they’re my immediate sphere of emotional attachment.
Work on the current stuff now. The past will always be in the past and there will always be time to deal with that later. There’s no time like the present to deal with right now though.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shield, Sword, or Dynamite - Maladaptive Coping Modes

Talk about Existential Ennui. I’ve certainly been having a case of that lately. This whole not drinking thing is just boring (though I admit I cheated a bit this past Sunday). I’m starting to get really restless. Oh well.
So where were we? Oh, yes! Breaking down the psyche personas.
Maladaptive Coping Modes. There are 3 of them; The Compliant Surrenderer, The Detached Protector, and The Overcompensator. Logically they correspond directly to the 3 Maladaptive Coping Styles: Surrender, Avoidance, and Overcompensating.
These modes develop early on in a child/adolescents life as an attempt to adapt to living in a harmful environment where emotional needs aren’t met. The function of the Compliant Surrenderer is to avoid further mistreatment. The f unction of the other two modes, the Detached Protector and the Overcompensator, is to escape the upsetting emotions generated when a schema mode is triggered. They may be protective and adaptive at the time, but they become maladaptive when they continue on into adult life where they are no longer appropriate or necessary.
The Compliant Surrenderer
The Compliant Surrenderer submits to the schema as a coping style. Patients in this mode appear passive and dependent. They do whatever the therapist (and others) want them to do. Individuals in the Compliant Surrenderer mode experience themselves as helpless in the face of a more powerful figure. They feel they have no choice but to try to please this person to avoid conflict. They are obedient, perhaps allowing others to abuse them, neglect them, control them, or devalue them in order to preserve the connection or avoid retaliation.
In most things I am not one that surrenders easily. I’ve had periods of time when I would though. Like when things were most abusive with Evil-Ex I would fall to compliance. I would do everything in my power to try to maintain the tenuous stability and good times that we had. I’m not naturally obedient though and I would fight my own decisions to be this way. I knew what was happening was wrong, but I was terrified of losing what I had. I was in constant conflict when I let him have control over my life. I would surrender to the mistreatment to avoid outright abuse and then become furious that I had no control over how I felt in the face of how I knew I was being treated. It was like riding a favorite rollercoaster knowing the rails were out of order. I let myself be lead onto it, but I knew I’d have to jump off at the last possible second in order to save myself.
Detached Protector
The Detached Protector uses schema avoidance as a coping style. The coping style is one of psychological withdrawal. Individuals in the Detached Protector mode detach from other people and shut off their emotions in order to protect themselves from the pain of being vulnerable. The mode is like a protective armor or wall, with the more vulnerable modes hiding inside. In the Detached Protector mode, patients may feel numb or empty. They may adopt a cynical or aloof stance to avoid investing emotionally in people or activities. Behavioral examples include social withdrawal, excessive self-reliance, addictive self-soothing, fantasizing, compulsive distraction, an stimulation-seeking.
The Detached Protector mode is problematic for many PD patients, but especially for those with BPD, and is often the most difficult to change. This is a mode that was developed to distance themselves from a traumatic environment that created too much suffering to deal with, to detach and not to feel. As these children matured into adults and entered a less hostile or depriving world, it would b have been adaptive to let go of the Detached Protector and become open to the world and their own emotions again. But these people have become so accustomed to being in the Detached Protector mode that it is automatic, and they no longer know how to get out of it. Their refuge has become their prison.
This, is where I spend most of my time. For me though, it never stopped being an adaptive mode. Instead of finding healthier relationships as I got older I found more and more destructive ones. I was in an emotionally traumatic relationship from the time I was 16 until my early 20’s. Then of course, after I graduated from college I left my family and support base and moved in with Evil-Ex in my mid-20’s. Not until maybe a year or two ago have I been in a place to get away from this kind of thing (and even that sort of depends on how you view my relationship with Friend).  
The whole point of this mode is to cut off emotional needs, disconnect from others, and behave in a way that avoids punishment. A Borderline in Detached Protector mode usually appears quite normal. They do everything they’re supposed to do and act appropriately. They don’t act out or lose control of their emotions. The problem is, they may be acting ‘right’, but it’s because they are utterly cut off from their own needs and feelings. Instead of being true to themselves they’re sort of going through the motions of what they think is expected of them to gain the approval, or not receive disapproval, from those around them. Signs and symptoms include depersonalization, emptiness, boredom, substance abuse, bingeing, self-mutilation, psychosomatic complaints, “blankness”, and robot-like compliance.
Hah! This sounds an awful lot like the existential ennui that I’ve been feeling lately. I haven’t had anything to shake me up, I’ve been purposefully avoiding anything that can shake me up, but it’s left me feeling hollow. I felt like this for years at University. I avoided emotional attachments and hid inside my world of self-protection. Part of why I fell so hard for Evil-Ex was because he was able to bring me out of this. His lies and his language opened me up to a world of light and laughter. Everything we did awakened a sense that we were at the pinnacle of a grandiose, glamorous world making me more than happy to participate in the manipulative seductions we played out. He brought me out of the emptiness and boredom. Something no one else had been able to do for years. Then of course, when we finally moved in together, when I was finally away from my comfort zone and support, things changed. Quickly, and drastically.
Overcompensator
Overcompensators use schema overcompensation as a coping style. They act as though the opposite of the schema were true. For example if they feel defective, they try to appear perfect and superior to others. If they feel guilty, they blame others. If they feel dominated, they bully others. If they feel used, they move to exploit others. If they feel inferior, they seek to impress others with their status or accomplishments. Some overcompensators are passive-aggressive. They appear overtly compliant while secretly getting revenge, or they rebel covertly through procrastination, backstabbing, complaining, or nonperformance. Other cover compensators are obsessive. They maintain strict order, tight self-control, or high levels of predictability through planning, excessive adherence to routines, or undue caution.  
This is another mode I see clearly in myself, though it’s changed a lot over the years. I definitely feel defective and try to appear perfect. I refuse to let people see me upset, I maintain my composure, I never let people see my depression, I only talk about neutral things or those that put me in an optimal light. When I was younger I felt controlled by my father so I would control and bully my sister. At the end of high school when I shed all aspects of my life that he influenced this melted away and my sister and I bonded very strongly. At University I held extremely rigid study schedules and precisely monitored every calorie I consumed. I actually miss my obsessive control. I think this is one aspect I definitely attribute to my meds helping with. Almost all of the meds I’ve been on have lessened my obsessive sense of strict order and super tight self-control. I’m not as worried about my world falling apart if one hair is out of place or one pound is off on the scale, though I still beat myself up for it to an extent.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Maddening Mundane Drones on and on

I’m stuck today. I know there are so many things I should be doing. Need to be doing. I feel like there are invisible hands grabbing at my arms, pulling me in multiple directions at the same time, with equal force, so I go precisely nowhere. Rooted in place by an unseen force. There’s no jittery anxiety. No. Just a low level dread, like molasses settling down my throat, choking my ability to express what I must do next.
Another day. They just keep coming. No matter how much I push, no matter how much I accomplish, something else will always take its place. That’s life. That’s how things go on. It’s how we understand time. One thing following another in an endless stream of sensation. Continually passing. But for what? I’m not sure I know. I feel completely adrift in a sea of unfulfilled dreams. No white picket fence. No knight in shining armor. Hell, no knight in slightly tarnished armor. I don’t see a future. If I went to sleep tonight and did not wake up, I would not want for anything because there is nothing for me to want. Only vagaries. I wouldn’t lament my loss. Not that I would have the ability to lament anything anymore, but you know what I mean.
I’m steady, and stable, but I have nothing to look forward to. I don’t know what the future holds. I might run smack into the jackpot of lives tomorrow and ride off happily ever after into the sunset, but sitting here today, trying to pull my thoughts together, I can only see an endlessly repeating loop of my daily activities stretching into the horizon. I’m surviving quite well. Surviving. But I don’t feel like I’m living. One foot in front of the other, one step, and then another, plodding onwards. Alone and empty.
This stability drones on. I start to feel a little dead inside. Maybe this is why it’s so hard to give up the intense flux of emotions that come across the borderline. Everything is life and death but all of it is living.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Second Time's the Charm - Limited Reparenting

The Schema concept of “limited reparenting” means that the therapist provides the support that the parents failed to provide, enabling patients to internalize the therapist and eventually provide their own support.

The process of limited reparenting is the heart of the treatment in schema therapy and is one of its most unique and defining elements. Through treatment the therapist uses the relationship built in therapy as a partial antidote to the patient’s schemas. This limited reparenting provides something of a corrective emotional experience specifically designed to counteract the patient’s Early Maladaptive Schemas. Limited reparenting flows directly from schema therapies assumption that early maladaptive schemas and modes arise when core needs are not met. Schema therapy’s aim is to meet these needs by helping the patient find the experiences that were missed in early childhood that will serve as an antidote to the damaging experiences that led to maladaptive schemas and modes. Limited reparenting, paralleling healthy parenting, involves the establishment of a secure attachment through the therapist, within the bounds of a professional relationship, doing what she can to meet these needs.

In order to do this the therapist will use childhood history, reports of interpersonal difficulties, questionnaires, imagery exercises… pretty much anything that gives insight into what the person with BPD was missing early in life. It takes the form of simultaneous tenderness and firmness through what is called “empathic confrontation”.

The more I learn about Schematherapy the more I believe that it takes a special kind of person to be this kind of therapist. Since this type of depends entirely on the individual with BPD the therapist has to be very flexible to adjust to their patients  unique history. It’s the goal of the therapist to become something of a ‘good parent’. Now that does not mean they’re going to become a substitute parent. But within the reasonable limits of therapy a therapist will try to meet those basic emotional needs: (1) Secure attachment; (2) autonomy and competence; (3) genuine self-expression of needs and emotions; (4) spontaneity and play; and (5) realistic limits.

This technique works because treatment parallels child development in some ways. Think of it as the person with BPD growing up in therapy. The patient begins anew (as an infant or very young child) and under the influene of the therapist’s reparenting, can gradually mature into a healthy adult. This is also one of the reasons why therapy for someone with a Borderline Personality Disorder cannot be short. It takes a long time to grow up and mature. These things can’t be rushed and require putting in real effort to grow into a healthier person.

For this to be truly effective the relationship with the therapist has to be one of mutual respect and genuineness. The therapist should genuinely care about the patient. A lot of people with BPD are hypersensitive which makes them very aware of how other people interact with them. If the therapist doesn’t genuinely care that falseness isn’t hard to pick up on and it makes it really difficult to form a trusting therapeutic bond. It’s funny. My therapist often reminds and reassures me of this. That she cares. I don’t understand why she cares though. I don’t believe she has reason to because I’m essentially a random person in her life with no cause for an emotional bond. This is probably my failing though, not hers. Like I said, it takes a special kind of person to care about people like this. Or maybe I’m just so detached and dissociated from my own emotions that this only feels like a foreign concept to me. Maybe for an emotionally healthy person it’s not that difficult.

The overall goal of therapeutic treatment is to help incorporate that Healthy Adult mode, modeled after the therapist. Relating to all those modes we’ve been talking about the therapist tries to:

1.      Empathize with and protect the Abandoned Child
2.      Help the Abandoned Child to give and receive love.
3.      Fight against, and expunge, the Punitive Parent.
4.      Set limits on the behavior of the Angy and Impulsive Child and help patients in this mode to express emotions and needs appropriately.
5.      Reassure, and gradually replace, the Detached Protector with the Healthy Adult.

Limited reparenting involves reaching the Vulnerable Child Mode and reassuring, being firm with or setting limits on the avoidant and compensatory modes or coping styles that block access to the Vulnerable Child Modes or schemas. In the midst of this, the therapist helps to provide constructive outlets for the Angry Child Mode. In addition, it often requires that the therapist help the patient fight punitive, demanding, or subjugating parent modes or schemas. These steps are usually facilitated by the use of guided imagery; an experiential technique that allows the therapist to establish more direct contact with the various modes and schemas.
People with BPD often expect other people to treat them the same way their parents treated them (or whomever it was that most affected them most growing up). It seems completely natural that everyone else would take on the worst aspects of the person you internalized most. This is part of the Punitive Parent schema. It’s necessary to go through a process of understanding why the parent mistreated the patient. Once patients are able to understand the parent’s reasons for mistreating them, they are more likely to break the emotional tie between their parent’s treatment of them and their self-esteem. It’s possible to learn that, even though their parent mistreated them, they were worthy of love and respect. By becoming a stable, nurturing base, the therapist provides stability, enabling us to let go of or stand up to the dysfunctional parent figure and eventually all the dysfunctional schemas we embody. In being able to do this a level of autonomy and independence is achieved. Essentially the therapist is trying to lead by example; by demonstrating what a healthy adult thinks, acts, and feels, eventually, in time, that will become what seems normal as old habits and ways of living become things of the past.  

It’s not an overt thing though. I can definitely see how my therapist does this, but it’s not like she sets out to ‘be a parent’. It’s really not like that at all. She does what (I assume)  most therapists do, she listens, and works through my issues with me, but while doing this she also puts an emphasis on creating a safe place and building the relationship between us. Limited reparenting isn’t one large overlying program. It’s all the little encouragements, positive affirmations, repeated reminders, subtle guidance, and appropriate corrections in addition to your standard therapy. Like I said, it takes a special kind of person to be good at this.

Thinking about it, I get down on therapist for being so positive and telling me I’m a good person when I don’t feel like I am. I’ve heard my entire life that I’m not good enough and can always be better, so when she tells me that I am a good person and I don’t need to be so hard on myself this just seems contrary to what deep down I know because it’s what I’ve always been told. Just because I’ve always been told that, doesn’t make it true though. Geezus her patience is outstanding because no matter how much I fight her some days, she holds steady with the reality that she sees in me. Some days I even believe her too.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Vulnerable, Angry, and Impulsive - Child Modes


My inner child is a brat. Alright, I shouldn’t be so judgmental. My inner child is not healthy. Not yet, but hopefully she’ll get there someday. What she is, is Angry and Vulnerable. For as much as I hate, loathe, and detest to admitting any kind of vulnerability in real life, here is where I allow myself to admit to those facets of myself that I need to face. So what is it exactly that I’m looking at?
Vulnerable Child
Someone in this mode might appear frightened, sad, overwhelmed, or helpless. This mode is like a young child in the world who needs the care of adults in order to survive but is not getting that care. The child desperately needs a parent and will tolerate just about anything ot get one.
The specific nature of the wounded Vulnerable Child depends on the schema:
Abandoned Child – the parent leaves the child alone for long periods of time.
Abused Child – the child has been hit excessively
Deprived Child – love has been withheld
Defective Child – The child has been harshly criticized.

Abandoned Child mode is especially common for someone with a Borderline Personality Disorder. By now it should be pretty obvious that abandonment issues are a major characterization of BPD and this is the aspect of the psyche that encompasses that focus on abandonment. In the Abandoned Child mode patients appear fragile and childlike. They seem sorrowful, frantic, frightened, unloved, lost. They feel helpless and utterly alone and are obsessed with finding a parent figure who will take care of them. In this mode, someone may seem like a very young child, innocent and dependent. They idealize nurturers and have fantasies of being rescued by them. They engage in desperate efforts to prevent caretakers from abandoning them, and at times their perceptions of abandonment approach delusional proportions. Something I found very interesting is, in this mode, someone with BPD usually lacks object permanence. A soothing mental image of ‘the caretaker’ cannot be held onto  unless that person is physically present. The Abandoned Child lives in an eternal present, without clear concepts of past and future, increasing the patient’s sense of urgency and impulsivity. 
For me the Defective Child aspect is particularly present as well. Oftentimes I’d say it’s even more prominent. I feel almost a sad resignation to my Abandoned Child, not accepting, but expecting that everyone will eventually leave. I don’t want it, but in a weird way, my expecting it prepares me for it and I can try to safeguard myself so it doesn’t devastate me as much by not allowing people so close to me. However, my feelings of defectiveness beat down on me constantly. I can’t stop functioning; therefore there is always something I could be doing better, that I’m not doing well enough. And if I’m not capable of these things, why would someone need to have me around, tying right back into my abandonment issues.
Encompassed Schemas = Abandonment, Mistrust/Abuse, Emotional Deprivation, Defectiveness, Social Isolation, Dependence/Incompetence, Vulnerability to Harm or Illness, Enmeshment/Undeveloped Self, Negativity/Pessimism.
As you can see this is a good chunk of the recognizable schemas. Since this mode encompasses so many it’s considered the core mode for schema work to focus on and ultimately it’s what therapists are most concerned with healing.
Angry/Impulsive Child
Enraged. This what the Angry Child has become. In this mode someone is likely to vent anger directly in response to perceived unmet needs or unfair treatment. When this schema is triggered someone may feel abandoned, abused, deprived, or subjugated. It’s likely that  a patient might yell, lash out verbally or have violent fantasies and impulses.
The Impulsive/Undisciplined Child acts impulsively to fill needs and pursue pleasure without regard to limits or concern for others. This mode is the child in a natural state, uninhibited and “uncivilized”, irresponsible and free (think Peter Pan). The Impulsive/Undisciplined Child has low frustration tolerance and cannot delay short-term gratification for the sake of long-term goals.

I have a feeling this is the mode that provides a lot of the negative stigma surrounding Borderline Personality Disorder.  The one clinicians and therapists most frequently associate with BPD, that flip into angry venting. Which is funny, because according to Young, it’s really not the mode most patients spend the majority of their time in.
More often you get a scenario where the Detached Protector or Punitive Parent mode operates to suppress feelings in order to protect the Self from letting someone into a vulnerable position, which works to block the needs and feelings of the Abandoned Child mode. Unfortunately when you do this for long enough those needs and feelings bottle up and accumulate and a growing sense of inner pressure begins to build. And build, and build… until something happens and quick as that the person may flip into Angry child mode and all of a sudden be consumed with rage. This is when all that anger is vented in inappropriate ways. Someone with BPD will act impulsively to have their immediate needs met, which makes them appear manipulative and reckless. Or they may make demands that seem entitled or spoiled and work to alienate others. These demands aren’t really coming from a sense of entitlement though. They’re just desperate attempts to have those basic emotional needs met.
When you’ve lived so long feeling deprived, being deprived, of something that should be so basic and natural, how can you not be angry about it? Especially when it all seems just out of reach. I can’t even begin to list the number of times it’s seemed like I found someone that I wanted to let in, that seemed like they wanted to be let in, only to find myself holding back, blocking my ability to form a real, solid attachment because I KNOW that if I do I’ll only be hurt again. Or I’ve chosen people that subconsciously I know can’t give me what I need because believe it or not, this is also safer than allowing someone to actually enter that place in your heart where they can do you real damage. The frustration is enormous. And infuriating. I’m furious at them for showing me a glimpse of what I actually need. They have it, shown it, but choose not to give it. Don’t I deserve it? Furious at myself for not having held back, for placing hope in someone else. It feels like my own fault for having let someone close enough that I begin to push away my protection. I blame them. I blame myself. Guilt. Anger. It’s a lot of intense emotion to have roiling beneath the surface. When you want something, but are afraid or don’t know how to get that thing it can become too much and you have to do something, anything, to reconcile all these conflicting feelings. Messy.
The trick is learning to look for what you really need in healthy places.  Developing the Healthy Child that can feel loved and contented where the needs of that inner child are adequately met. But how do you get to this place? That’s the goal. One technique therapists utilize is limited Reparenting….
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