Thanks for providing a link to the article and your thoughts.
You raise a good question - Should behavioral response tools only be used by licensed therapists in the course of a therapy session?
My understanding is that there is a strong encouragement comimng from the medical community that the behavioral response tools not be just the province of the therapy session. One of the key objectives of the NEA-BPD Family Connections Program
is to teach family members these behavioral responses for use the home. This is also the basis idea behind SET and PUVAS
, which are fundamental behavioral response tools outlined in Stop Walking on Eggshells
and "I Hate You, Don't Leave Me"
For me, the most important aspect of dealing with splitting is "understanding"
. I know I got caught on this one - I had no understanding about what she was doing when she was splitting so I assumed all the wrong things... mostly that she was confused, or she didn't hear me, or that she was overwhelmed, or her mother was pushing her, or... All things I tried to help her deal with. All wasted and frustrating efforts for both of us.
I'd never experienced "black and white" thinking before... so I tumbled down into the black hole of BPD relationship confusion... blaming myself, feeling bad, grinding my self esteem, etc.
Once you know what "Splitting" is - you can try to deal with it constructively - and most importantly, not be consumed by it personally.
Kraft Goin MD (University of Southern California) uses the words "constant, continuing"
. John Gunderson MD (Harvard), in the NEABPD handout (pdf download
) uses the words "consistent, calm"... "maintain family routines as much as possible." They encourage you to understand "Affect Dyscontrol - that a person with BPD has feelings that dramatically fluctuate in the course of each day."
Goin uses the word "empathetic"
as does Jerold Kreisman, MD in his communication tool SET (s
ruth), in I Hate You, Don't Leave Me in 1991 (link
E= Empathy. Empathy refers to communicating that the loved one understands what the BP is feeling, and focuses on "you." It is not a conveyance of pity or sympathy, but instead a true awareness and validation of the feelings of the BP: "I see you are angry, and I understand how you can get mad at me," "How frustrating this must be for you." It is important not to tell the BP how she is feeling, but instead put her demonstrated feelings into words. The goal is to convey a clear understanding of the uncomfortable feelings she is having and that they are OK.
Dr. Goin also uses the words "boundaries"
. Dr Gunderson talks about setting limits
by stating the limits of your tolerance. Let your expectations be known in clear, simple language. Everyone needs to know what is expected of them. Too often, people assume that the members of their family should know their expectations automatically. It is often useful to give up such assumptions with a BP individual.
Of all the BP behaviors with a high functioning borderline, splitting is one of the toughest to understand, and the most damaging.