The Psychopomp Garden

Month: November, 2013

Creativity…

“The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanely sensitive. To them… a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create — so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off… They must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating.”

—Pearl Buck

If…

“If you want to change the world, you have to change the metaphor.”

—Joseph Campbell

The Rapture of Being Alive…

“We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget that the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it’s all about.”

—Joseph Campbell

For loved ones…

If you’re living with someone with BPD, life probably feels like an emotional roller coaster. So what can you do? Certainly, suggesting psychotherapy is a good idea. Don’t be surprised, however, if he or she uses therapy not to seek understanding but to rage about others. So, if therapy for your loved one is not moving forward, try a few suggestions:

Be consistent and predictable.
Whatever you have told your loved one that you will do (or won’t do), keep your word. If you’re the recipient of a violent outburst of accusations or a tearful meltdown, it won’t be easy. However, if you give in to the outrage, the borderline behavior is reinforced. And if you think your problems are bad now, just wait!

Encourage responsibility.
Don’t become your loved one’s rescuer. Don’t be manipulated into taking responsibility for his irresponsible actions. If he smashes up the car, don’t replace it. If she racks up credit card debt, don’t bail her out. If you keep rescuing her from the consequences of her actions, she will have zero incentive to change.

Offer honest feedback.
Don’t reinforce your loved one’s belief that he’s been treated unfairly unless you actually think that’s true. People with BPD tend to be clueless about how their behavior affects others. Hence, offer honest feedback. Say, “I know it feels rotten when you’re fired” but don’t agree with his assessment that it’s all because of those awful, mean people he worked for.

Don’t escalate the argument.
Your loved one may misinterpret what you mean. Offer constructive criticism and you’re met with a tirade of how despicable you are. Offer a compliment and you’re accused of being patronizing. Explain your intentions and the emotions escalate. Don’t get hooked into a fruitless argument. Do your best to keep your cool and your sanity even though you’re feeling frustrated, powerless and defeated by your loved one’s behavior.

Remembering Sandy…(or living on the Borderline)

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
~Mark Twain

Yet, there is a widespread psychological disorder that most people know little or nothing about. Why? Because its symptoms are largely interpersonal, causing many to view it as a relationship issue, not a mental health one. Also, people shy away from the term because of its unflattering name: Borderline Personality Disorder.

In January of 2012 my cousin Sandy took her own life at the age of 46. She struggled  her whole life with alcoholism. She also had all the symptoms of BPD…

Enough ignorance. Let’s review the major symptoms of people who have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD):

They have turbulent and stormy relationships, making it difficult to keep a job or maintain a close relationship.
They have frequent emotional outbursts, often expressing their outrage with verbal abuse, physical attacks or acts of revenge.
Though they’re acutely sensitive to being abandoned and rejected, they’re harshly critical of those closest to them.
They view others as “good” or “bad.” A friend, parent or therapist may be idealized one day, yet viewed the next day as a terrible person for failing to live up to their expectations.
They may act out with self-destructive activity (i.e. reckless driving, compulsive shopping, shoplifting, cutting, bingeing with food, alcohol, drugs or promiscuous sex) as a way to fend off feelings of unbearable emptiness.
They frequently express the desire to commit suicide. 
Borderline personalities run the gamut from mild to severe. It’s generally only the people who know borderlines intimately who are aware of the extent of their emotional difficulties.

If you recognize your own borderline characteristics, what should you do? If you’re motivated to change, psychotherapy with a psychologist who understands BPD can be quite helpful.

Just a quick note…

Social Anxiety is:
a feeling of being judged by others, a sometimes crippling anxiety or fear of people or social situations

it is not:
being a loner and/or not having too many friends

So it Goes…

More Colours…