Thursday, February 20, 2014

Resolution, Not Conflict

I found this article the other day and at first I was hesitant to present it because frankly, I found it off putting. I was offended by it…. At first. Here’s the thing to remember though, not all articles or studies will necessarily relate to you personally, we are all individuals with very different lives, with very different stories and upbringings, but it may help someone… and by the end of this article there was something that did hit home for me. Now it is quite long so I’m going to present this in 2 parts. Stick with me until tomorrow on this. It’s the bit tomorrow where it breaks down into the different types of patterns that I was most intrigued by….

The guide to problem-solving. by Susan Heitler, Ph.D.

From Cute Little Girl To Boderline Personality

Difficult daughters may show early signs of potential borderline patterns.
Published on December 12, 2011 by Susan Heitler, Ph.D. in Resolution, Not Conflict

One of the prominent commonalities usually found in folks diagnosed with bpd (borderline personality disorder) is their fear of abandonment.  Could it be possible that folks with bpd fear abandonment because they do things that motivate people in their lives to want to get rid of them? Their off-putting behavior may be related to feeling that they are royalty, special people entitled to be treated as the prince or princess of the family and entitled to create chaos if they do not get royal treatment.  Royalty syndrome is a losing formula for how to make a relationship last. 
How do borderline personality disorder patterns develop?

This flat out pissed me off. Royalty treatment? I wouldn’t know how to act like a princess if someone put a tiara on my head and handed me a kingdom. I’m the one that does for people, not the one that expects people to do for me. I generally feel bad and extremely awkward when people do anything for me, even at appropriate times. I take on everything myself. Even other peoples burdens. The few times I’ve needed help or to rely on others I’ve learned that this is wrong or something that I should be ashamed of. This is a lesson I’ve had practically beaten into me.
Then, I had to stop for a second and think that maybe this article was talking about someone that had a different experience than me. 

It's not pc to blame the victim.  If a woman has fears, we should be sympathetic, right?  Or maybe not.  Maybe the fears of a person who fears abandonment are totally appropriate because that person's provocative behaviors invite rejection.  

Why would someone want to abandon a person with bpd?  Allowing a person who expects to be treated like a prince or princess to remain involved in your life may sign you up for too much emotional turbulence. The kind of royalty belief I am referring to is the kind that bites off your head ("Off with your head!") if you do not do what they want you to do.

I learned this lesson the hard way, from experience. 

Fortunately, the experience was short.  It ended however with my behaving in a manner that at the time I could hardly believe was in my behavioral repertoire.  Using the tone of voice my mother used to call talking 'in no uncertain terms,'  I sternly told little Ginny Mae, "I will never allow you to cross the doorstep of my house again.  You are never again welcome to enter my house." 

Those words were harsh, especially for speaking to a six year old girl.  Were they words of abandonment?  Yes.  Or worse.  I didn't merely walk away from Ginny Mae.  I told her that I would never allow her in my home again.  I ejected her from my life.

My secretary describes me as unflappable.  People usually like me and I usually like them.  How could I have spoken so meanly to poor young Ginny May?

It started when I invited six cute little girls to join my soon-to-be-seven-year-old daughter and our family for a birthday weekend in the mountains.  We live in Colorado and my daughter and our family were relishing a fun weekend with the children at a cabin in the woods.

For two and a half days, the girls played with each other delightfully, all except Ginny Mae.  Every time a group of girls included Ginny Mae in their activity, fighting erupted.   Whether they played with dolls, built forts out of branches, baked cookies in the kitchen, or played hide and go seek amongst the trees, every two-some or three-some that included Ginny Mae ended up in tears, anger, yelling and sometimes even hitting.

The repeated eruptions of anger turned me into a firefighter.  By the end of the weekend, I was exhausted.  The last fight, an argument about who would ride home in which car, finally flipped my switch.  I transformed from warm helpful host to sternly rejecting, fed up, overwhelmed mother bear. 

"I do not want you ever again to set foot in my house!" I spewed out.  "You are never, that's never, to come play with my daughter again!" I repeated forcefully to be certain that Ginny Mae got the point that from this point forward she was to stay totally out of my world.

I succeeded in ejecting Ginny Mae from my world.  

I pretty much never saw her again.  Ginny Mae did however continue in the same grade as my daughter, who for years felt fearful at the sight of her provocative, quick-to-pick-a-fight friend.  

As it turned out, Ginny Mae even ended up attending my daughter's same college, but fortunately my daughter by then understood that Ginny Mae was herself the victim of her habit of picking fight.

Actually, my daughter's youthful experiences with Ginny Mae may have served to help her as an adult to understand borderline patterns of functioning.  Now a clinical psychologist herself, my daughter is particularly effective with clients who show borderline patterns such as emotional hyper-reactivity, seeing situations and people as all good or all bad, having a divisive impact on groups (splitting), misinterpreting situations in ways that lead them to feel like a victim, and repeatedly putting themselves in situations that prove hurtful to themselves.  With regard to her, and my, learning this story has at least a partially happy ending.  

In addition, this incident with Ginny Mae that happened now over thirty years ago continues to intrigue me.

Specifically, how do some young people, most often but not limited to female, develop personality patterns that create chaos and fighting wherever they go? 

            Well…. We’ll get to those tomorrow… Stay tuned!!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

A cautionary tale: Medication

I’ve been feeling so much better lately. In fact I almost feel back to my usual self. I’m so very grateful. One of my biggest problems, besides all of the emotional upheaval, my medication has been off. How does that even happen you wonder? Believe me it’s not as hard as you would think.

I’m a creature of regime. I tend to do things at the same time every day. I wake up, I brush my teeth, I take my meds. It’s what I do. Except I lately I’ve been going out of state over winter break to visit my parents and friends, I would wake up later, my meds would be packed away, OUT OF SIGHT OUT OF MIND… eventually I would remember, but then I was already a few days off. I’ve been sleeping so much more lately I hadn’t been taking them at the same time, I’ve felt practically like a zombie when I woke up. I haven’t been putting them in my handy little meds wheel to remind me every morning. The sadness and heartache is such an emotional brain fog I’m embarrassed that it does occasionally cloud my judgment that way. Then I just recently went back out of state again to visit my Sister for my birthday (hence my lack of posting the other week, sorry!). Again, more travelling, more sleeping in and a schedule other than what is different than what I would typically be keeping to. My medication packed away and not on my sink counter right at hand next to my toothbrush where I would easily remember to take them right away.

Out of sight, out of mind. I always try to keep the important things in places that I continuously look so I don’t forget them.

I also haven’t been taking my vitamins lately. This has been shear laziness on my part. Well laziness and depression. But not taking my B-complex vitamins which help lift stress, elevate energy, and aid depression, only makes it worse. So I’ve had kind of double whammy hitting my brain chemicals as of late. No good. Really no good.

That’s my cautionary tale. When you travel, be very, very mindful to place your medications in a place where you will see them and remember to take them. Even a day or two of missing them will mess up your neuro-chemicals and that will only compound the emotional mess, if not create it entirely, where there might not have been a problem at all.

Set an alarm on your phone or watch, even on vacations to keep a proper schedule. I know vacations are supposed to be a time of relaxation, but they won’t be very relaxing if your mind gets messed up due to terrible chemical imbalances. Take care of your mental health!

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