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Author Topic: LESSONS  (Read 64599 times)
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« on: December 20, 2009, 02:21:52 PM »

[L5] Lessons for Coping and Thriving When A Family Member Has BPD  

This is the beginning of our lessons for members with a relative suffering from BPD. The workshops were developed over a few years, but the stories and advice are still very relevant. Take each section slowly, and really think about the questions that follow. Not everything will apply to your specific situation, but much of it should.

Our goal is to provide you with the tools and knowledge to begin to make changes in the only thing you can control - yourself...

Lesson 1. Taking Steps to Immediately Improve Safety and Reduce Conflict

Lesson 2. Understanding BPD Behaviors

Lesson 3. Understanding the Damage of Growing Up in a BPD Environment and Healing It

Lesson 4. Managing Your Relationships
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« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2009, 02:22:03 PM »

Lesson 1

Taking Steps to Immediately Improve Safety and Reduce Conflict


Objective: To take back our power over our lives.

We need to have a minimum of safety and strength in order to cope with the present, deal with the past, and set a better future in motion. Taking care of ourselves is a radical notion for many with a BPD family member, as we have often been taking care of our relative for much of our lives. Taking care means valuing our own well being and backing up that value with actions, like building our support system, taking time to exercise, and learning new tools to deal with unwanted feelings and thoughts. It means regaining control over our lives. Our sense of fear, our feelings of obligation, our massive guilt keeps us trapped and vulnerable to being manipulated and abused by the very people who claim to love us, as well as others. When we stand up for ourselves through and take care of ourselves to build our strength, we regain our self-respect and put our lives on a healthier path.

Directions: Read through the following workshops we've developed on taking steps to immediately improve safety and reduce conflict, with information as well as real life stories and examples to help you gain valuable knowledge. You will recognize your life in the stories and tales of others.

TOOLS FOR TAKING CARE OF OUR SAFETY:

Case Study: Safety First  <----

One member's demonstration of the Safety First process, showing how a careful self-assessment can improve your situation whatever your current level of safety.

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=185925.0

TOOLS FOR REDUCING CONFLICT:

PERSPECTIVES: Conflict dynamics / Karpman Triangle

The purpose of this workshop is to discuss the dynamics of difficult family relationships and the roles we get caught up in - unconscious defenses that keep people disconnected and distant. Family members with BPD often get stuck in victim, persecutor, and rescuer roles (the Karpman Triangle), and we get stuck with them. These roles are ways we try to stay safe, or feel important. Participating in the "triangle" ultimately buries people in manipulation, blame, shame, and addictions to crisis and chaos. Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=108440.0

TOOLS: Triggering, Mindfulness, and the Wise Mind

There are several ways that mindfulness can help reduce the intensity, duration, and frequency of unhelpful habitual response patterns.  Our mind is the source of all misery and of all pleasure. People don’t effectively hurt our feelings or anyone to inspire us. People can offer us their opinions,  it is only that which the mind decides has any relevance that we take on for ourselves.  Only the mind that can complement us, insult us, lift us, or destroy us.

We can influence this.. Learn more:


https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=64749.0

VIDEO: Before you can make things better - you must stop making them worse!

We often find ourselves caught in a cycle of conflict with our BPD loved one. Little good can happen when we are in this conflict dynamic.  Learn how to deal with it here:

https://bpdfamily.com/content/ending-conflict

Pamphlet: Tools to reduce anger

People affected by Borderline Personality Disorder are often hyper-sensitive and prone to conflict and excessive anger. Learn how to communicate to sensitive people using "S.E.T.", a tool conceived by Jerold Kreissmen, MD. Also learn how to break the Cycle of Conflict using a Dialectical Behavior Therapy tool conceived by Alan Fruzzetti, PhD.

https://bpdfamily.com/pdfs/fruzzetti_cp.pdf

BOUNDARIES: Upholding our values and independence

We all come to a relationship with core values or independent values.  We also have values that we are prepared to blend with the other person in a relationship - these become inter-dependent values. There are three types of boundaries: Physical boundaries; Mental boundaries; Emotional boundaries.

Each of the following five “Cs” is a component of planning boundaries:


  • Clarify


  • Calculate costs


  • Come up with consequences


  • Create a consensus


  • Consider possible outcomes


https://bpdfamily.com/content/values-and-boundaries

"Self-soothing"?

Self-soothing is the ability to calm yourself down when your nervous system is "aroused"--when you're upset, angry, overly excited, or otherwise feeling overwhelmed. Techniques for self-soothing include journalling, breathing exercises, yoga, exercise, meditation, and distraction. Self-soothing skills help us to return to a calmer state, feel more content, and use our higher thinking to solve problems and make decisions. Many adults raised in a BPD environment did not learn these skills as children and would benefit from practicing them now.

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=131977.0


Questions:

  • What would you need to make the necessary changes to become stronger?


  • If in that past you tried to set boundaries, but never kept them, do you think you started too big or with too many? If you tried to implement a new boundary, what would it be and how would you do it?


  • What is your support system? How can you strengthen it?


Mod note: If you experienced abuse as a child, consider working through our Survivors' Guide.
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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2009, 02:22:20 PM »

Lesson 2

Understanding BPD Behaviors


Mod Note: Reading about BPD behaviors can be difficult. Traumatic memories can be surfaced. Take this information in at a safe pace. Be sure to revisit the Taking Care of Yourself section of the Lessons as often as necessary. Build and rely on your support system. If you experienced abuse as a child, consider working through our Survivors' Guide.

Objective: to understand more about the mental illness.

Your BPD relative may seem unpredictable. Rapid changes in mood and an unstable, flexible identity are parts of the disorder. As a child, your BPD parent may have praised you one day and slapped you the next for the same behavior. Understanding BPD behavior patterns gives you a rock to stand on in a swirling sea, bringing a sense of order to highly chaotic relationships and situations. Studying the behavior patterns can also help free you from self-defeating thought patterns - is it me? Am I crazy? Am I truly evil/selfish/the worst relative in the world? Our goal is to help you find some comfort in recognizing the various phases and symptoms your family member has or will exhibit.

Directions: Read through the following workshops we've developed discussing symptoms and manifestations, with real life stories and examples to help you gain valuable knowledge. You will recognize your life in the stories and tales of others.

VIDEO and checklist of symptoms of BPD

Are you trying to determine if someone in your life may suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder? This eight minute video is a good starting point. You will soon find out, however, that this is a complex question. There are no simple behavioral checklists; no definitive tests. Identifying Borderline Personality Disorder requires having a working knowledge of the disorder and some insight into the past life of the person in question... See the video and the standard checklists:

https://bpdfamily.com/bpdresources/nk_a102.htm

BPD - What is it? How can I tell?

BPD 102 - The disorder is determined by evaluating lifelong behavior patterns. This workshop is about defining BPD and how to reasonably determine if someone in your life has significant traits of a personality disorder. Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=63511.0

Diagnosis: What are the new DSM 5.0.0 criteria for BPD? else?

BPD 200 - The DSM 5.0 simplifies the definition and differentiation of the personality disorders - basically the Axes I, II, III illnesses will be consolidated to one -- the 10 personality disorders will be reduced to 6 -- and PD will be "scored" on a rating system based on severity.

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=114843.0

BPD BEHAVIORS: Waif, Hermit, Queen, and Witch

BPD manifests in different ways. Christine Lawson, in her book Understanding the Borderline Mother, identifies four BPD mother archetypes -waif, hermit, queen, and witch. This workshop discusses the four types and some strategies for coping with them. Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=61982.0

To review or purchase Understanding the Borderline Mother, see: https://bpdfamily.com/book_review/christine_lawson.htm

BPD BEHAVIORS: problematic mothering/parenting

People with BPD by definition struggle with relationships, and relationships with children are not spared. This workshop explores typical, sometimes subtle, patterns of BPD behaviors in relation to children. Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=65426.0

BPD BEHAVIORS: poor executive control

At the core of BPD is rejection sensitivity and poor executive control.  Rejection sensitivity is easy to understand, executive control is a bit more complex. Executive functions and cognitive control are terms used by psychologists and neuroscientists to describe a loosely defined collection of brain processes whose role is to guide thought and behavior in accordance with a person's goals or plans. Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=79702.0

BPD BEHAVIORS: How it feels to have BPD

For a person with the disorder, understand the reasoning behind the actions. The person with (pw) BPD is not reacting to the situation at hand - to what's happening then and there and now - but to either something that had happened in the past, or to a kind of ready-reference list of beliefs about the world, which was usually learned in childhood. Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=67059.0

BPD BEHAVIORS: Objectifying people

We all know neediness is common with BPD... Distrust of others' motives (especially if the person with BPD was sexually abused) lends a coloring to all personal interactions: fear is a self-centered emotion, a defense mechanism. Neediness and fear are all about what is happening to the person, and they leave little room for empathy or even awareness of anyone else's needs. Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=87006.0

BPD BEHAVIORS: Emotional Immaturity

Immature people often demand immediate gratification. They cannot wait. They may seem thoughtless and impulsive. They may be loyal only while you are useful. They emotional impulsiveness (lack of executive control) results in chaotic social and financial lives. Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=60935.0

BPD BEHAVIORS:  Silent treatment: verbal abuse

This workshop is to discuss one type of verbal or emotional abuse; the silent treatment. Verbal abuse, in general, is a means of controlling others. What is the difference between "silent treatment (silent raging)" and someone just being quiet? Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=68733.0

BPD BEHAVIORS: Projection

Projection is a defense mechanism, operating unconsciously, in which what is emotionally unacceptable in the self is unconsciously rejected and attributed (projected) to others.  Projection is denying one's own unpleasant traits, behaviors, or feelings by attributing them, often in an accusing way, to someone else. Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=70931.0

BPD BEHAVIORS: Splitting

Splitting is a powerful unconscious force that manifests to protect against anxiety. Rather than providing real protection, splitting leads to destructive behavior and turmoil, and the often confused reactions by those who try to help.  Some degree of splitting is an expected part of early mental development. It is seen in young children who, early on, press to be told "Is it good?" or "Is it bad?" Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=62033.0

BPD BEHAVIORS:Disassociation and dysphoria

Dissociation is a psychological state or condition in which certain thoughts, emotions, sensations, or memories are separated from the rest of a persons psyche. This is sometimes referred to as "splitting."  Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=68392.0

BPD: Treatments and cures

Recent consensus seems to suggest that behavior modification training is most effective with people affected by Borderline Personality Disorder.  Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), or one promising offshoot, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is the method most heavily evaluated in population studies.  There are also several others - Transference (a preferred method at Columbia Presbyterian in NYC, for example) and the newer Schema, and Mentalization therapies that are being evaluated. Learn about these methods:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=76487.0

BPD: Common medications and their side effects

NIMH-funded neuroscience research is revealing brain mechanisms underlying the impulsivity, mood instability, aggression, anger, and negative emotion seen in BPD. Studies suggest that people predisposed to impulsive aggression have impaired regulation of the neural circuits that modulate emotion. Within the past 15 years, a new psychosocial treatment termed dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) was developed specifically to treat BPD, and this technique has looked promising in treatment studies. Pharmacological treatments are often prescribed based on specific target symptoms shown by the individual patient. Antidepressant drugs and mood stabilizers may be helpful for depressed and/or labile mood. Antipsychotic drugs may also be used when there are distortions in thinking. Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=141634

questions:

* Do you recognize any of these symptoms in your family member(s) or in yourself?

* Do you recognize any of these symptoms in your in yourself?

* What feelings are you experiencing as you read this information?

* What can you do with this information, now that you have it, to help move your own life forward?

Mod Note: Many family members, upon discovering BPD, feel an almost overwhelming urge to share this information. The best advice is to wait a bit, let yourself process it. Most people with BPD do not react well to being told they have a difficult, stigmatized, major mental illness. You may not be prepared for the reaction. Give it some time. The same goes for sharing the information with other directly affected family members (such as a non sibling). You may choose to do so for many good reasons, but let it sink in before you decide.
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« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2009, 02:22:28 PM »

Lesson 3

Understanding the Damage of Growing Up in a BPD Environment and Healing It


Mod Note: Reading about the effects of growing up in a BPD environment can be difficult. Traumatic memories can be surfaced. Take this information in at a safe pace. Be sure to revisit the Taking Care of Yourself section of the Lessons as often as necessary. Build and rely on your support system. If you experienced abuse as a child, consider working through our Survivors' Guide. You may want to review this lesson as you are working through steps 1-7 of the Guide (Remembering).

Objective: to understand the ways growing up in a BPD environment has shaped us

Growing up in a BPD environment leaves marks. Siblings may have experienced rages from a young age and witnessed their family revolve around the mood of the disordered person. Children of BPD sufferers can feel out of sync with the rest of the world. We may struggle to surface and express our own feelings, to take pleasure in our own accomplishments, and to feel worthy of living a happy life. We may be taking care of a parent or a sibling at the expense of taking care of ourselves and our own spouses and children. Just as the disordered behavior has patterns, so children are affected in recognizable ways. Our goal with this lesson is to help you identify the marks of growing up in a BPD environment in order to increase your self-knowledge, help you end the cycle of dysfunction, and give you a platform to heal.

Directions: Read the Survivor Guide in the right margin (click on each step)

We have set up a place to track your progress at bpdfamily. Please start by telling us where you currently are. Click here

In time, yo will want to review the workshops and other information. The more you understand the effects of growing up in a BPD environment, the better you will be able to move forward to enrich your relationships and live a more fulfilling life.


TOOLS FOR TAKING CARE OF OUR OWN MENTAL HEALTH AND FULFILLMENT:

Remembering

POLL: Have you had a "breakthrough crisis"? (Survivors' Guide step #1)

A "breakthrough crisis" is something happens to release a flood of old memories, feelings and even physical sensations of abuse or gives you an insight that shifts your view of memories and situations to recognize them as abusive. Take the test.

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=127140.0

Us: Remembering the Abuse - when is it therapeutic? When is it debilitating?

This step represents the major task of the first stage of recovery and may require the most time to accomplish. Often, survivors of extreme and prolonged abuse will need to return to this step again and again as new recollections of the same or additional episodes of abuse surface. This step essentially involves going through the memories of your abuse and expressing them at bpdfamily.com, to trusted friends, supporters or your therapist in as much detail as you can remember and to the extent appropriate for your listener(s).

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=189733.0

TOOLS: EMDR and PTSD

EMDR is a popular form of therapy for trauma recovery. Learn more about the method, some debates around how it works, and the results some members have experienced.

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=37825.0

POLL: Have you experienced emotional incest in your family?

Dysfunctional family members often have poor boundaries. Unhealthy alliances form, and enmeshment is common. A pattern commonly seen is when a parent comes to rely on a child as a substitute spouse, putting the child in an adult's position, emotionally. This is known as "emotional incest." Take a poll and find out more at https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=127914.0.

TOOLS: When are the the children of a BPD parent at risk?

Children of BPD parents are at risk for abuse and neglect. This workshop explores risk and resiliency factors and includes personal stories from adult children of BPD sufferers and other relatives. Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=97979.0

US: Stockholm Syndrome, trauma, and betrayal bonding when your parent is BPD

A trauma bond is formed when a relationship necessary for survival - such as one between a child and a parent - is inconsistent and uncertain. Traumatic bonding patterns can lead us to cling to one who mistreats us, and those patterns can stay with us into adulthood. Learn more about what makes us afraid to disrupt dysfunctional relationships:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=63989.0


Mourning

US: How a mother with Borderline Personality Disorder affects her children

Mothers with Borderline Personality Disorder are characterized by a history of broken relationships and marked instability in multiple domains of their lives. It is anticipated that these characteristic behaviors infiltrate the mother-child relationship as much as it interferes with other relationships.  Children of mothers with BPD show a significantly higher prevalence of ‘disorganized’ attachment than children of mothers without BPD. Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/tools/articles8.htm

Are we at risk for acquiring BPD?

This is a question many of us have asked at one time or another. Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=55406.0 (requires the minimum post count to access personal inventory board)

US: PTSD versus BPD--what's the difference?

Being raised in a BPD environment can leave scars from traumatic experiences. Those scars can take the form of PTSD, a syndrome also experienced by soldiers and disaster survivors. This workshop explores PTSD and how it relates to BPD. Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=42598.0

Depression and suicidal ideation

Serious depression can occur under many circumstances but most commonly is present in two situations - sudden severe loss and long-term high stress levels. Depression is not necessarily about sadness... it's about faulty. defeated thinking. Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=69192.0

US: Dealing with ruminations

Our minds sometimes travel in well-worn, yet uncomfortable or even painful, grooves. Learn specific techniques to interrupt the rumination cycle.

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=103396.0

US: What it means to be in the "FOG"

With a BPD relative, we often live lost in the "FOG" of fear, obligation, and guilt. These normal and useful emotions, in the right context, become dangerous tools of manipulation in the wrong hands. Identifying how these emotions are controlling us is a first step toward clearer thinking.

https://bpdfamily.com/content/emotional-blackmail-fear-obligation-and-guilt-fog

US: How can we forgive ourselves?

Much has been written about forgiving the people who have hurt us or who are causing us pain.  But there is very little written about forgiving ourselves.   This workshop is not about forgiving our abusers or those who didn’t protect us but about forgiving ourselves.  It’s about learning to silence that voice that berates us inside our own heads.  

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=113483.0

US: Respecting our anger

Anger is a natural reaction to child abuse at the hands of a BPD parent. Yet, as survivors, we have a hard time managing our anger--or even recognizing that we are angry or hearing the "don't tread on me" messages our anger provides. As children, we were not able to express the anger safely in our family. Where did that anger from the past go? Most survivors turn the anger against themselves. This pattern could be a major reason for our difficulties as adults. Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=135831


Healing

US: Positive entitlement--taking the initiative to share in life's riches

We often view entitlement in a negative light, but there's also a positive version--honoring our own self-worth. Many raised in a BPD environment suffer from low self-esteem and fear and anxiety about pursuing our own fulfillment. This workshop explores the concept of positive entitlement, how to evaluate areas of self-esteem to work on, and ways to embrace positive entitlement.

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=111984.0

US: Toxic shame--what is it and what can we do about it?

Shame can become "toxic"--a pervasive feeling not about anything we do, but about who we are. John Bradshaw, author of Healing the Shame That Binds You and other works, and many others have suggested that toxic shame forms early in our lives. Many raised in a BPD environment, as well as others, carry toxic shame that is expressed as addictions, perfectionism, and codependence and limits our own fulfillment and relationships. Learn more about toxic shame and what to do about it:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=117309.0

TOOLS: Family systems: understanding the Narcissistic Family

Families with BPD members are often dysfunctional and narcissistic, meaning children meet parents' needs instead of the other way around. Understanding how families work as a system helps us see our own roles and gives us tools to change the script. Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=108970.0

Radical Acceptance (article)

We are most effective at creating positive change when we start with an honest assessment of reality. Radical acceptance is the opposite of denial. Learn more about radical acceptance and participate in a conversation about the pros and cons from the perspective of a family member of a person with BPD.

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=90041.0

TOOLS: Radical Acceptance for family members

A past or present relationship with a borderline family member is likely to be fuller of negative experiences than most. We may deal today or have dealt as children with crises and situations for which we were unprepared as well as painful rages and smear campaigns. Radical Acceptance has nothing to do with accepting abuse. It is a practice of thinking that strips negative experiences and thoughts of their power to cause us suffering. Learn more.

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=89910.0

TOOLS: DBT for non borderlines - mindfulness

Mindfulness is a tool that gives us breathing room from our reactions and emotions. It builds strength and helps us cope. Learn more.

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=64749.10

TOOLS: Dealing with Enmeshment and Codependence

What can we undo enmeshment?

- is there some way to break out?

- is it a slow process to get out?

- did therapy of the pwBPD help?

- what are the pitfalls?

- what do we need to overcome in ourselves?


https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=111772

US: How do we know when we love our BPD parents?

Adult children of BPD parents are often left with very complicated feelings toward those parents. There's a longing to love, but trust and respect have been eroded. The truth many adult children face is that they do not love their parent(s) or not in the way that they wish they could. Given society's taboo against not loving or honoring a parent, these are difficult recognitions to face. Learn more.

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=86429.0

US: Acceptance, when your parent has BPD

This workshop explores the idea of acceptance and the different meanings and related emotions to those raised in an abusive environment. Acceptance may anger, frighten, or free you. How you choose to regard and/or act is very personal.

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=111415.0

TOOLS: Practicing meditation - how to do it

Mindfulness has tremendous benefits to our physical and mental health. It clears our minds and leaves us refreshed and calmer--mental space many of us desperately need given the chaos and emotional dysregulation that characterize the BPD relationships in our lives. This workshop provides simple explanations, exercises, and strategies for getting started with practicing mindfulness.

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=111031.0

A related workshop for those with children in their lives who are exposed to a stressful environment is TOOLS: Mindfulness for Children Under Stress.

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=119814.0

US: Do not allow others to "rent space" in your "head"

We give power to those who may not have our best interests to heart when we allow their voices and opinions to influence our own thoughts. Learn how to "kick undeserving tenants" out of your head.

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=74749.0

US: Support and information for children with both a BPD parent & an NPD Parent

Adult children of BPD/NPD couples face unique challenges. These couples are often locked in high conflict or otherwise reinforce each other's disordered behavior. Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=98295.0

US: What is PTSD and how do you define trigger?

This workshop provides an overview of PTSD and asks members to explore their use of the word "trigger." Learn more:

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=124200.0

Questions:

* After reading this material, how has your understanding of the effects of growing up in a BPD environment changed?

* Many members express relief at finding they "are not the only ones" to have these experiences. What feelings did you experience as you read the information?

* What concepts resonated with you the most? Why?

* Given what you can control - yourself - what key areas would you like to work on to heal from these experiences?

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« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2009, 02:22:38 PM »

Lesson 4
 
Managing Your Relationships

 
Mod note: If you questioning whether you are in an unsafe relationship, review Safety First as an initial step.
 
objective: To learn healthier communication techniques and better ways to manage our relationships.
 
For those who grew up in a BPD environment, managing family relationships as an adult can be challenging.
 
Sometimes, our family relationships are necessarily limited or have come to an end. We need tools to manage those situations and protect ourselves and our loved ones. Information on boundary setting is provided in Lesson 1: Taking Care of Yourself. Additional information about limiting relationships is provided below, as is information about managing relationships with non-disordered relatives and others.
 
Our ways of communicating, relating, and coping--even thinking and feeling--have been shaped by the BPD environment. Working on ourselves will improve how we relate to others.
 

Directions: Read through the following workshops and other material we've developed providing tools and resources to manage relationships when your family is impacted by BPD, with real life stories and examples to help you gain valuable knowledge. You will recognize your life in the stories and tales of others.
 
Parenting when you have a BPD parent
 
Read about tips, resources, and experiences of adult children of BPD parents as we strive to be the best parents we can be to our own children:
 
https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=111534.msg1106379#new
 
A related workshop on parenting when you have experienced trauma is Trauma and our children:
 
https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=120428.0
 
Red flags in relationships
 
Trauma survivors are often described as having "broken pickers," meaning the self-protective instincts most adults have are skewed or missing for those who experienced trauma early in life. Learn how to identify "red flags" early on in relationships and teach yourself to be a better "picker" when you invite new people into your life.
 
https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=112466.0
 
A very helpful book for sharpening your self-protective instincts is
 
The Gift of Fear. It provides critical information and strategies for fostering in adulthood this life-saving awareness that may have been underdeveloped in childhood.
 
BPD Behaviors: Extinction burst and intermittent reinforcement?
 
What does extinction burst mean and why should I care about this stuff?  Because when you try to implement boundaries you will most likely see an increase in bad behavior because the BPD sufferer isn't getting the response they expect. They become confused and frustrated. You've changed the rules by not giving your typical response. They will increase their bad behavior to try to get the response they are used to.   If we are prepared going in ahead of time... see how:
 
https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=85479.0
 
VIDEO: Helping a family member seek professional treatment
 
According to Dr. Xavier Amador, professor in Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, denial is a powerful deterrent to recovery in mental illness. What is often thought to be immaturity, stubbornness, and defensiveness is a much more complex and difficult problem.  Empathy with the patient's frustrations and even the patients delusional beliefs is also important, remarked Amador, who said that the phrase "I understand how you feel" can make a world of difference. The most difficult thing for family members to do in building a trusting relationship, he said, is to restrict discussion only to the problems that the person with mental illness perceives as problems - not to try to convince them of others. View this video overview:
 
https://bpdfamily.com/content/how-to-get-borderline-into-therapy
 
TOOLS: "Getting" someone to see a therapist or to get into treatment
 
You cannot control the person's decision to see a therapist or get into treatment. Put yourself into the other person's place - no one likes to be told what to do or that they need help. So if the approach wouldn't be palatable to you, it probably won't be something the person with BPD will be receptive to either. There are 4 techniques that come from motivational interviewing that may help - Express Empathy; Develop Discrepancy; Roll with Resistance; Support Self-Efficacy. Learn more: https://bpdfamily.com/content/how-to-get-borderline-into-therapy
 
The Characteristics of Healthy Relationships
 
Relationships are learned behaviors. Without good models in our families, we have to learn elsewhere what to strive for. This article describes the key features of healthy partner relationships, such as respect, trust and support, and honesty and accountability. Most of these characteristics apply to all close relationships, including those with parents, siblings, in-laws, and children. Learn more: 
 
https://bpdfamily.com/tools/articles15.htm
 
US: Are you offering support or being an enabler?
 
Individuals raised in a BPD environment often learn to do too much for others. There is a fine line between offering support and enabling others. Our relationships with the BPD sufferer in our family, and with others, will improve when we stop enabling. Learn more: [/
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