Home page of BPDFamily.com, online relationship supportMember registration here
September 19, 2019, 10:15:18 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Board Admins: Harri, Once Removed, Scarlet Phoenix
Senior Ambassadors: Cat Familiar, FaithHopeLove, I Am Redeemed, Mutt, Only Human, Turkish
Ambassadors: Enabler, formflier, GaGrl, Longterm, Ozzie101, Swimmy55, zachira
  Help!   Groups   Please Donate Login to Post New?--Click here to register  
bing
Things we can't ignore
What Does it Take to Be in a Relationship
Why We Struggle in Our Relationships
Is Your Relationship Breaking Down?
Codependency and Codependent Relationships
93
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: How to respond to heightened emotions  (Read 15403 times)
united for now
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Person in your life: Other
Posts: 8711

Talking about solutions create solutions


« on: February 14, 2012, 01:20:18 AM »

Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) Crisis  |>

Extreme dysregulation has a way of blindsiding you, catching you by surprise and leaving you reacting in negative, rather than positive ways. Your frustration and resentment can quickly boil over. Few of us are prepared, yet it is in these situations that we most need to have a quick, automatic response to cope.


How about 5 steps to respond that can lead to better, more balanced outcomes...


#1) Regulate your own emotions

Pause - take a deep breath and notice your physical sensations. Label them as the emotion you are experiencing.

Pay attention to your body posture - unclench your hands, relax the muscles on your face. Make sure your other muscles are not tensed.

half-smile - send calming messages to your brain.

validate and cheerlead yourself - you are doing the best that you can right now. Focus on the good



#2) Validate (do this at every step)

soothe your loved ones emotions by finding something to acknowledge.

*You are validating that you understand them.

*That you accept they have a right to their feelings. Even if you don't agree with them.

*That it is a reasonable possibility, and that others would feel the same way.

*That you have empathy for them (a true connection with what they are going through).

*That there is a kernel of truth to what they are expressing.

*That they have a legitimate right to feel as they do.

Whenever emotion begins to build, stop and validate again

The 6 levels of Validation


#3) Ask/assess

specifically, but gently ask "how would you like me to help? Do you want me to listen, give advice, or help you figure out what to do?"

* if the answer is "just listen", then skip step 4 and move to step 5

* if the person wants your input, assess exactly what is going on


#4) brainstorm/troubleshoot

If your loved one wants your help...

Generate a list of solutions with the help of your loved one.

Collaborate with your loved one to select an option.

Anticipate what could get in the way of your loved one's actually carrying out the plan.


#5) get information on your role (if any) and what you can plan on hearing about the outcome

Are there things that you need to do to help/support your loved one in carrying out the plan?

Request a check-in/follow up if it is important to you. Tell your loved one that you are really interested in knowing what happened and ask to be updated. This is very validating for the person who is in the crisis but also doesn't leave you guessing.


A quick reference  Smiling (click to insert in post)

#1) Regulate your own emotions

#2) Validate (do this at every step)

#3) Ask/assess

#4) brainstorm/troubleshoot

#5) get information on your role (if any) and what you can plan on hearing about the outcome



What if your loved one doesn't participate?

There is no guarantee that your loved one still won't get upset and want to attack and abuse you. This is where it is important to know your own limits and how to properly take care of yourself.

~ ~ communicating a limit ~~

* let them know that you are going to end the conversation if _____ doesn't happen (they don't lower their voice, let you talk, or if they keep cursing)

* give them a chance, even if it's brief to modify their behavior to a way of interacting that works for you.

* make sure you "own" that you are ending the conversation because of your reactions and what you want from the interaction.

* then follow through on what you say if they continue their behavior.

* validate and soothe your loved one's emotions about having a limit established

* assure your loved one that you will be available at a different time or for

a different issue


Shari Manning, "Loving Someone With BPD"
Logged

Change your perceptions and you change your life.  Nothing changes without changes
RELATIONSHIP PROBLEM SOLVING
This is a high level discussion board for solving ongoing, day-to-day relationship conflicts. Members are welcomed to express frustration but must seek constructive solutions to problems. This is not a place for relationship "stay" or "leave" discussions. Please read the specific guidelines for this group.

united for now
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Person in your life: Other
Posts: 8711

Talking about solutions create solutions


« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2012, 12:21:11 AM »

When you ponder recent arguments, can you see where these steps could help you?

What areas (steps) do you feel you need to work on?

What do you think inhibits you from following these steps?

Logged

Change your perceptions and you change your life.  Nothing changes without changes
Auspicious
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 8104



« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2012, 10:42:23 AM »

I think I still need to work on all of them 

It is hard to react helpfully when things are just happening so fast ... I think I need to rehearse some "canned" responses that can buy me time to think. I'm not always the fastest thinker on my feet :P
Logged

Have you read the Lessons?
isilme
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Person in your life: Parent
Posts: 2669



« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2012, 11:21:02 AM »

Excerpt
I think I still need to work on all of them 

It is hard to react helpfully when things are just happening so fast ... I think I need to rehearse some "canned" responses that can buy me time to think. I'm not always the fastest thinker on my feet :P

I agree, times 1000.  When it's an old topic, or something I agree with him on, like that he's being dumped on at work, I can easily validate, and figure out he really just wants someone to listen, as I am learning he doesn't trust his own emotions are okay to feel (does that make sense?) but he can't get a handle on them easily. 

But when he starts in attacking ME, which I have to admit has decreased quite a bit (used to be a few times a day, a few times a week to now maybe once a month, and a lot less intense/shorter duration for the most part, hours instead of days) as both I inadvertently validated in the past few years, and now am working hard to purposefully do so, I still have the inclination to JADE, "Hey, stop that, I'm not saying/doing/thinking whatever you want to believe I am!" 

In order to stop, when I catch it in time, and when I'm not feeling poopy and emotional myself (sick, tired, sore, stressed on my own, not regarding him) I try to do #1:

#1) Regulate your own emotions

Pause - take a deep breath and notice your physical sensations. Label them as the emotion you are experiencing. I pause, and tell myself, "This isn't really about me, as it's not something I ahve done, and I need to detach, he is dysregualting, what do can I do to help take it down a notch, or at elast keep it from getting worse?

Pay attention to your body posture - unclench your hands, relax the muscles on your face. Make sure your other muscles are not tensed. Need to work on this - I try not to cross my arms - used to be a defensive stance as a kid

half-smile - send calming messages to your brain. Ca't really do this - he sees any emotion other than a mirror of his own anger as being patronizing, any sort of smile will escalate things (I've smirked inadvertently when I realize how ridiculous the statements or argument is and how silly it is for us to be arguing over who forgot the A1 sauce at the store.  So I tend to revert back to my gradeschool mask of a lack of emotion

validate and cheerlead yourself - you are doing the best that you can right now. Focus on the good Trying.

#2) Validate (do this at every step) This is not so hard unless I'm being accused of something I know dang well I didn't do, think or say.

soothe your loved ones emotions by finding something to acknowledge.

*You are validating that you understand them.

*That you accept they have a right to their feelings. Even if you don't agree with them.

*That it is a reasonable possibility, and that others would feel the same way.

*That you have empathy for them (a true connection with what they are going through).

*That there is a kernel of truth to what they are expressing.

*That they have a legitimate right to feel as they do.

Whenever emotion begins to build, stop and validate again

#3) Ask/assess #4) #5)

specifically, but gently ask "how would you like me to help? Do you want me to listen, give advice, or help you figure out what to do?"

* if the answer is "just listen", then skip step 4 and move to step 5 99% of the time this is the case.

* if the person wants your input, assess exactly what is going on I do this, but it needs to be repeated ("We need to call a plumber.  I will stay home and show him the problem if you will pay the bill.  I will call a plumber and miss work, you can go to work, I will call a plumber today, and need to call my office so I can get off, if you will leave a check, My office lets me call in more often if I do not have a pressing appointment.  I will be the one to call in, you don't need to do anything but get yourself to work, and pay the bill, and so on until he's able to listen, you need to go so I can look up a plumber in the phone book.  (actual conversation)"

What if your loved one doesn't participate?

There is no guarantee that your loved one still won't get upset and want to attack and abuse you. This is where it is important to know your own limits and how to properly take care of yourself.

~ ~ communicating a limit ~~

Trying, trying, trying.  Usually when work or another appointment is able to help me leave, I can take a break and come back and we can talk about it, or if he left, I can fix or repair the problem if it's of that sort.  I am also trying to give him time to sort his emotions out, at what used to seem like the silent treatment to be mean to me has proven to actually, at times, to be him trying earnestly to stop ranting, to stop the anger, and to calm down.  It's all a work in progress.
Logged

Steph
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 7487



« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2012, 12:18:28 PM »

 I want to add that this works!

I learned this skill via DBT for families training,  while my H was still in the throes of BPD and I was about as skeptical as I could be. Then, I found I felt some relief knowing that I had options, that I could do something else..

And I practiced this, and practiced and it became automatic. So automatic that  8 years later, Ive used it in a variety of crisis times...with psych patients that had escalated and with our former housemate who has paranoid schizophrenia and was going off on us. It keeps ME in control so that I am not reacting in ways that are not helpful, or even dangerous. Keeping my own emotions in check, having that little bit of time to avoid me flooding makes ALL the difference in the world.


Practice! Happily (  ), there are plenty of opportunities! This skill continues to serve me well, even tho BPD is no longer an issue!


Steph
Logged

tamerlamb
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 158



« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2012, 01:09:30 PM »

Question:  Does a BPD person generally disregulate in a blindsiding way?  I find that mine does this when it's least expected... things had either generally been going well... or the cause of the disregulation seems out of the blue.  In either event, it has a way of catching the non off-guard and creates a very unbalanced reaction for the non.  And as a follow up... does the BPD do this purposeful?  As a way of maintaining control by being so unpredictable... or is the unpredictability just part of the disorder.  I often wonder because I KNOW my BPD enjoys the games... so I can't figure if this is a normal part of BPD or just part of the NPD game of keeping control by keeping the other person so off balanced.   
Logged
momtario
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Person in your life: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 1299



WWW
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2012, 01:51:33 PM »

tamerlamb, narcissists will do this on purpose, pwBPD, not so much... comorbid, yes, for sure they will as well, sometimes to fill both their N needs and their B needs.
Logged
isilme
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Person in your life: Parent
Posts: 2669



« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2012, 02:17:58 PM »

I don't know if it's consciously contrived, or if arguing and passionate feelings are just the norm, and so what we feel are stable, good days, they feel are dull and need that spark of conflict to feel alive?
Logged

LoveNotWar
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Person in your life: Parent
Posts: 539



WWW
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2012, 02:50:18 PM »

Yup, I can see how this could help a ton!  If I can master #1, the rest are totally doable!  Smiling (click to insert in post) Thank you!
Logged
susiebird

*
Offline Offline

Posts: 26


« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2012, 02:59:39 PM »

I get stuck on #4.  What if their only solution is not logical and is aimed at controlling you? You can validate crazy, but you can't argue/negotiate/reason with crazy.
Logged
momtario
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Person in your life: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 1299



WWW
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2012, 03:16:52 PM »

I personally have most of it down, because it's all just part of who I am. I admit to sometimes trying to fix things I have not been asked to fix, however. I am trying to stop this now that I understand PD's a little better.

The part I have obvious difficulty with is communicating a limit. There is still a lot of FOG I have to work my way through. It is explained differently here than I have seen it before, and it may work best this way. Things do happen quickly, but I think that if I am always prepared to have to do this, then it will be able to happen.

It does get stressful, having to always be on guard for a dysregulated crisis to happen, though. I'm hoping that with practise it will all come more naturally for me, and I won't have to be on guard, but be more capable of rolling with things as they happen.
Logged
Auspicious
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 8104



« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2012, 05:19:02 AM »

I get stuck on #4.  What if their only solution is not logical and is aimed at controlling you? You can validate crazy, but you can't argue/negotiate/reason with crazy.

You don't validate "solutions", you validate emotions.

"It would be fun and exciting to start your own business!  I can see why you are excited about that. I can't invest in anything right now, and if I could, it would need to have a solid business plan. Yes, that is disappointing - don't blame you for being disappointed "
Logged

Have you read the Lessons?
yeeter
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 2051



« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2012, 06:51:59 AM »

A great thread.

And lots of chance to practice and work on these suggestions - good stuff.

Where we (my uNPD/uBPDw and I) get hung up a lot is in what warrants validation, and the degree of involvement I am permitted to have.

Many times, anything less than agreement (and adoption) of her position is invalidating to her.  Then the emotions escalate and its really hard to bring her back from there (at that stage, no amount of validation of emotions is useful). 

And this carries over into the problem solving.  She 'wants' my inputs - but then if I dont let her lead the conversation to the conclusion she wants - again its invalidating.  (fact is, we are very very different in style and how we interpret things, and it is rare for us to both see a situation in a similar manner).  I think this is where the 'N' portion becomes especially difficult to engage with (she knows everything, and can only trust her own conclusions/opinions - in fact she becomes defensive and threatened if they are not seen as the holy grail - in effect, deeply emotionally invested in hers as the ideal solution).  Tricky to validate and still maintain my own position because a different position is by definition invalidating of her feelings!  (the solution = feelings perhaps)

Finally, there are times when 'I' want to be involved in the problem solving (sick child, or if a child is receiving punishment - or in particular if its punishment I dont feel warranted for the crime).  For example:  Child does something that upsets wife.  When wife is upset, she wants to lash out at someone/something - and child is the obvious place.  So punishes child more severely than the crime warrants.

When she is in this mode - no amount of validation is useful.  (but at the same time there is a compulsion on my part to try and help the child).  I dont have any single item that works best here - just try lots of different things hoping one of then helps.

For false accusations - I used to defend but now I just state that 'we see/remember things differently'.  And repeat this over and over if she continues.  Its helped to reduce arguing - but hasnt necessarily helped to get us to a place where we are sharing/living life together.

The more we can engage in a manner where our differences are acknowledged - the more we will have a common position of just how different we really are.  (a big theme for us is that our styles and values are very, very different from each other - but when I point these things out wife gets upset).  I would hope that understanding triggers acceptance (or not) - and that acceptance will lead to a happier relationship (or if not, mutual clarity on just why we arent compatible).
Logged
smoker

*
Offline Offline

Posts: 24


« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2012, 02:32:10 PM »

Question:  Does a BPD person generally disregulate in a blindsiding way?  I find that mine does this when it's least expected... things had either generally been going well... or the cause of the disregulation seems out of the blue. 

I used to think this about my uBPDw, that it was out of the blue.  But I've discovered that if I really pay close attention to things that are likely to trigger her, or am persistent enough to get her to tell me about something that may have happened when I'm not around, that there has always been a trigger of some sort.  Took me ages to learn what they were, though.  Criticism, obviously, has always been a huge one, but many other things that would seem quite minor to most people.  That being said, sometimes being too close to me frightens her into disregulation.  Especially these days when we have so much bad blood between us.



Excerpt
In either event, it has a way of catching the non off-guard and creates a very unbalanced reaction for the non.  And as a follow up... does the BPD do this purposeful?  As a way of maintaining control by being so unpredictable... or is the unpredictability just part of the disorder.  I often wonder because I KNOW my BPD enjoys the games... so I can't figure if this is a normal part of BPD or just part of the NPD game of keeping control by keeping the other person so off balanced.   

I'm certain my wife isn't doing this on purpose.  Can't speak for others.  I think my wife is trying to control her own emotions by doing this (it seems to be the only way she knows how with some of them), but I am generally not relevant when it gets to that point.  I have always felt like an innocent bystander in the sense that she is so desperate to keep herself balanced that she knocks me off balance because I'm the person that is around for her to collide against.  If that makes any sense.

Regards.
Logged
smoker

*
Offline Offline

Posts: 24


« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2012, 02:52:26 PM »

It's funny, really.  I'd worked out a lot of these tools on my own through trial and error.  It would have been so much better for us and myself if I'd known all this before I entered this relationship, or at the very least earlier in this process.  This forum has been wonderful for helping me to understand why some things work and others don't or make a situation worse.  And also for teaching me things I hadn't worked out yet. 

TBH, everyone could benefit from these tips for a balanced response in many areas of life.  I wish there had been a class in school that had these kinds of subjects in.  A mandatory one.  Something like 'how to be an adult' that focused on adult issues like money management, conflict resolution, balanced responses, etc.  I took a Current Events class when I was a senior that was a complete waste of time.  I'd have gladly replaced it with How To Be An Adult, knowing what I know now.

Regards.
Logged
argyle
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 1318



« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2012, 05:12:57 PM »

#1) Regulate your own emotions - Usually pretty good starting out...not so good after 1/2 hr plus - tend to get sucked in when I pay attention to what's been said.

#2) Validate (do this at every step)

Should do this more - but - 90% - BPDw will stop me and ask for direct factual agreement/opinion about x...hates sidestepping - currently experimenting with giving what she's requesting and just accepting that she'll disregulate sometimes.

#3) Ask/assess

specifically, but gently ask "how would you like me to help? Do you want me to listen, give advice, or help you figure out what to do?"

* if the answer is "just listen", then skip step 4 and move to step 5

* if the person wants your input, assess exactly what is going on

-This is useful. Probably about 1/3rd of the time.

#4) brainstorm/troubleshoot

If your loved one wants your help...

Generate a list of solutions with the help of your loved one.

Collaborate with your loved one to select an option.

Anticipate what could get in the way of your loved one's actually carrying out the plan.

-Straightforwards

#5) get information on your role (if any) and what you can plan on hearing about the outcome

-Should do this more

Are there things that you need to do to help/support your loved one in carrying out the plan?

Request a check-in/follow up if it is important to you. Tell your loved one that you are really interested in knowing what happened and ask to be updated. This is very validating for the person who is in the crisis but also doesn't leave you guessing.

-Meh-I have a terrible memory.  Perhaps the calendar function/to do lists on my phone will help.

~ ~ communicating a limit ~~

* let them know that you are going to end the conversation if _____ doesn't happen (they don't lower their voice, let you talk, or if they keep cursing)

Yep,

* give them a chance, even if it's brief to modify their behavior to a way of interacting that works for you.

Yep.

* make sure you "own" that you are ending the conversation because of your reactions and what you want from the interaction.

Yep. - But should express feelings more.

* then follow through on what you say if they continue their behavior.

No problem.

* validate and soothe your loved one's emotions about having a limit established

Eh. Most of my limits involve walking out on abuse.  There's a 'not there anymore' issue - but I should probably try validating as I walk out.  Dunno, tricky validating while being ready to dodge.

* assure your loved one that you will be available at a different time or for

a different issue

Should remember to do this - don't always.  But, eh, conflicts are stressful, realistically, I don't really expect to remember.

Meh.  Still have the same wonderment.

If:

BPDw: ':)on't you agree that X is out to get me?' (Basically a truly crazy statement)

Possibilities:

1:'I can see how you'd feel like that...' 'F*k you. Do you agree?  I need you to agree. Stop talking about f*king feelings and answer the d*d question.'

2.'No. If you look at X's past history and personal motivations, she's one of your more reliable friends.' 'But, I need you to see... Why won't you agree with me here?' 'Y'know, maybe we should agree to disagree.' 'Why don't you agree with me? But don't you agree with me that her sending me a nasty text was messed up?' 'Well, I'd like to take your side, but, you did completely ignore her and cut off all contact for 3 months immediately after she asked you to speak at her wedding.  And, really, given that she had every reason to assume that you'd decided not to come without telling her, her text was fairly friendly.  You're making mountains out of molehills.' 70%: 'Oh. OK.' 30%: 'So, I'm getting jealous. You want to f*k her?'

My question is: Can someone suggest something better than (2)?  Some of the direct answers can be awfully invalidating. (Basically anything where the answer is...'as a result of your past history of violence' or 'because of your behavior' or 'because of your mental illness' or 'because, overall, I'm doing about 90% of the housework and child-care' or 'My guess is that you hold that opinion because of your upbringing in an abusive family environment.  Studies show that that sort of behavior is just terrible for kids.'  

--Argyle

Logged
smoker

*
Offline Offline

Posts: 24


« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2012, 04:47:51 AM »

Excerpt
My question is: Can someone suggest something better than (2)?  Some of the direct answers can be awfully invalidating. (Basically anything where the answer is...'as a result of your past history of violence' or 'because of your behavior' or 'because of your mental illness' or 'because, overall, I'm doing about 90% of the housework and child-care' or 'My guess is that you hold that opinion because of your upbringing in an abusive family environment.  Studies show that that sort of behavior is just terrible for kids.' 

Yeah, I'd like to know if there is something better too.  I'm leaning toward thinking, atm, that there isn't really one and better not to do (2) very often, but sometimes you have to take a stand.  I had another moment with my uBPDw this morning.  I took a stand, but was very careful about what I said and I did attempt to validate where I could.  Silent treatment now, but then again I'm not filling up the atmosphere with chatter either.  In the past this has led to positive results, but that's relative.  Positive in the sense that a lot of the really abusive things on both our sides simply don't happen anymore.  Not positive, though, in the sense that I never really get through to her in a way that I would expect with someone else.  I guess that's the nature of the illness, though.

Then again, how does someone who feels like she does ever get better or decide to get help if there isn't someone offering a contrary opinion to hers at some point in such a way that she can't (if she's honest with herself) just chalk up to abusive behaviour on the other person's part?  For those with BPD partner's that have recovered or are in recovery, what was the catalyst that drove them to begin to pursue that recovery in the first place?  Probably the wrong thread to ask this on, but I'm hoping it is in context.
Logged
Auspicious
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 8104



« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2012, 05:30:01 AM »

For those with BPD partner's that have recovered or are in recovery, what was the catalyst that drove them to begin to pursue that recovery in the first place?  Probably the wrong thread to ask this on, but I'm hoping it is in context.

The catalyst for us was after she had multiple hospitalizations, after much chaos, I told her lovingly that I couldn't live that way anymore, and she needed to be in appropriate therapy or we would need to separate (we had already been separated briefly once, after she ran off, but I was presenting it in a planned, if this then that fashion).

That got her to start DBT. We did eventually separate again, but after yet another hospitalization I think she really got serious and worked. We got back together and we still face problems, certainly, but there is much less chaos.

I wish I had had this crisis checklist all along ... I would have had many opportunities to use it, and things may have gone better sooner!
Logged

Have you read the Lessons?
smoker

*
Offline Offline

Posts: 24


« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2012, 09:14:37 AM »

Excerpt
The catalyst for us was after she had multiple hospitalizations...

Oh god.  Sometimes it feels like my wife is one more bit of self induced stress from having to be hospitalized, but she always manages to pull herself back together.  You have my sympathy. 

Excerpt
We got back together and we still face problems, certainly, but there is much less chaos.

I'm glad to hear that.

Excerpt
I wish I had had this crisis checklist all along ... I would have had many opportunities to use it, and things may have gone better sooner!

Yeah, me too. 
Logged
argyle
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 1318



« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2012, 10:29:24 AM »

After a particularly unpleasant attack, she was arrested and charged with felony DV.  I bailed her out and told her that that sort of behavior was not good for children - she told me she had BPD - and I told her that - unless she was in therapy and working on meaningful change - I was filing for divorce. She said OK.

There's a big barrier to change with BPD - so usually some portion of the BPD's life needs to be absolutely and unusually awful.

From observation, the most sensible approach is usually 'run and don't look back'.  If, for some reason, the non chooses to stay - the second most sensible approach is usually to (a) learn the tools and generally improve the non's side of the R/S - wait about 6 months, (b) evaluate the R/S for deal-breakers (sometimes the non is more than half the problem), (c) (assuming there are still deal-breakers on the BPD side) - ask for meaningful change, and (d) assuming the BPD fails to provide meaningful change, ask them to enter therapy understanding that a refusal involves divorce.

Mind you, I could be completely wrong.

--Argyle
Logged
Marvin Martian
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 244



« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2012, 09:32:57 PM »

While I had read "loving someone with BPD" I had loaned to a friend. Nice to have the "cheat sheet" printed off. Although things have been generally better, it will be nice to have the tools handy to help me with my responses in a seamless manner. Great feature.
Logged
an0ught
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Person in your life: Romantic Partner
Posts: 5049



« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2012, 09:58:50 AM »

Crisis situations are very common with a pwBPD and they wear us out. Besides handling the crisis well - which is the topic of this workshop - it is vital that we are mindful of our own limitations and manage our boundaries. It can be helpful after the initial realization that there is a crisis to take a step back and consider to what it is a crisis that needs to be handled by us together, by ourselves or maybe by our loved pwBPD themselves. A not well thought out crisis response tends to blur boundaries and while that can forge a stronger "us" it also can blur lines of responsibility and increase enmeshment. The outcome of a crisis is not always satisfactory for the pwBPD and when we are not careful we who supported them get the blame.

Summarizing:

  - balanced response and constructive problem solving

           ==> better outcome

  - mindful of own limitations and boundaries

           ==> manage energy, avoid crisis becoming a lever to manipulate us

  - mindful of interpersonal boundaries in the relationship i.e. who owns what

           ==> strengthen sense of self, avoid increased enmeshment and getting blamed for outcomes out of our control

Logged

  Writing is self validation. Writing on bpdfamily is self validation squared!
Marvin Martian
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 244



« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2012, 11:26:22 AM »

Crisis situations are very common with a pwBPD and they wear us out. Besides handling the crisis well - which is the topic of this workshop - it is vital that we are mindful of our own limitations and manage our boundaries. It can be helpful after the initial realization that there is a crisis to take a step back and consider to what it is a crisis that needs to be handled by us together, by ourselves or maybe by our loved pwBPD themselves. A not well thought out crisis response tends to blur boundaries and while that can forge a stronger "us" it also can blur lines of responsibility and increase enmeshment. The outcome of a crisis is not always satisfactory for the pwBPD and when we are not careful we who supported them get the blame.

Summarizing:

  - balanced response and constructive problem solving

           ==> better outcome

  - mindful of own limitations and boundaries

           ==> manage energy, avoid crisis becoming a lever to manipulate us

  - mindful of interpersonal boundaries in the relationship i.e. who owns what

           ==> strengthen sense of self, avoid increased enmeshment and getting blamed for outcomes out of our control

Excellent! A few days before Valentines day she dys-regulated, and had a bit of a rage. I have learned a lot, but still felt a bit drained. I focused on me, and didn't focus on her mode, and Valentines day actually turned out pretty nice. The above post is a good reminder & a good focal point.
Logged
qcarolr
Distinguished Member
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Person in your life: Child
Posts: 4928



WWW
« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2012, 02:06:45 PM »

What a great topic, and so timely for my conflicted r/s with my DD25 right now.

I am finding my biggest stumbling block is my own emotional regulation. I need to improve self-validation before I can respond in a crisis with DD. And I am afraid - this really gets in the way of thinking and speaking. I really want someone else to deal with this - call the police to mediate. They suggest family counseling. DD refuses any kind of therapy.

I am also coming to believe that drug use in pushing these episodes of extreme anger.

So hard to practice the first step in this process for me right now. I just want to escape. Need to protect my gd6 first, take care of myself next, seems not much left over for validating DD.

qcr :'(
Logged

The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better. (Dom Helder)
ennie
******
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 848



« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2012, 04:43:06 PM »

For the most part, I have been following this program for the past few years.  Not all of the details above would be appropriate for me with BPDmom, as she is my DH's ex wife and I do not have a very intimate relationship with her, so detailed problem solving would not really be useful...but a lot of the language I have used. 

What I notice is that she really wants to pull me in to her drama, and some of these methods result in me getting pulled in.  Not getting upset with her, but spending a long time out in the parking lot listening to her 1-2 hour rants and answers to questions like, "Is there something I can do to help you with that?" or her response to, "I hear that is really hard for you.  I imagine that must be difficult."  The result is usually eventual peace, at the expense of whatever else I was doing before the attack, such as watching my step-daughter's play, etc. 

LAst week, at SD7's school play, I did something I felt really bad about in the moment, but it had a different impact.  I said "hi" to BPD mom, and she turned on me with rage--basically asking me not to ever say hi again, and outlining how I am a bad person.  This was all in front of the kids, who were very stressed.  I said validating things, then (when she continued to rant and rave), I stated a boundary, "I am willing to talk with you about this later, but not right now, so I am going to go to the other side of the room." 

She kept following me, wherever I went, ranting.  She would start off by saying, "I am sorry, but you are just...(fill in some mean, bad things)."  I just got done with her leaving her 7 year old, who was the star of the play, to wander after me yelling and raising her fists.  This night was about the kids, not about the grownups. 

Finally, I looked at her and said, "You should be sorry.  You should be ashamed."  For the record, I do not really think ANYONE should be ashamed, if ashamed means to feel bad about who you are.  If ashamed means to be conscious of ways you harm others, I think feeling that sort of shame is useful and important.  But I do not think this is a good or nice thing to say. 

I truly do not think the kids heard that; they just saw me stand up to their mom in a totally calm and regulated way, and walk away from the drama.  So often, I am gentle and kind in response to the drama.

What changed was that it was the first time SD11 got mad at her mom for making a fuss.  It was the first time that both kids remained loving and connected to me and their dad when mom was their and upset (usually, they ignore us and cling to mom).  Most of BPDmom's friends made a point of being kind to me in front of her and the kids.  Two friends of hers spoke to her about the negative impact of her dysregulated emotion on the kids, about how hard it is on them when she needs them to hate DH and I. 

I do not know if this stuff will help.  Maybe mom will freak out this week, and the kids will need to come to her rescue.  I am not sure how much I triggered her.  And ultimately, I want to be a loving person, not someone who asks others to feel shame. 

That said, I think that me calmly standing up for myself, even though my words may not have been the best, provided space for SD11 to stand up for herself, and for others to stand up for themselves and to create an environment in which it was clear to the kids mom was out of control but still loved by her friends.  This is the think about just doing things that lessen conflict--it encourages all present to do the same, to walk away, pretend it is not happening.  There is something about VALIDATING dysregulation that makes others pretend it is okay.  That makes it hard for anyone to say "no."  So I guess for those of us not in a romantic partnership with a BPD person, I would say there is some line between totally validating, and not taking the person so very seriously that is important to being able to create one's own environment. 

I am not really sure what the "right" way is here.  But what I observe is that there is a trade-off involved in the choice whether to validate or not.  Validating makes less conflict, makes the BPD person feel better and thus make less fuss.  It helps them to regulate.  This is good for the kids to see, also safer, and also models for the kids how to deal with a crazy person to make them more safe. 

On the other hand, kids experience mom as "normal", even when mom is invalidating their needs and experience.  Focusing energy on the dysregulated person means she is getting a reward for "acting out," and that the happy kids performing in a play are not getting the attention they want associated with their hard work and good cheer.  I notice that if I focus on the dysregulated person, even when doing "everything right", I only later notice I ignored the kids.  I also notice that the kids then perceive mom's behavior as "working."  But to "cut off" mom's behavior, to ignore it and focus on the stuff that is more interesting to me, is not as simple as walking away or speaking in a kind way a particular boundary.  I am just more focused, at this time, in validating the behavior that is inspiring, loving, kind, and fun, because I want a more happy life than I have when I am busy validating someone who is yelling and spewing hatred.  I find that eventually, after 2-3 hours, validating mom makes HER feel better.  But sometimes, in SD7's big moment, I want to validate that instead.  Or for SD11, I want to validate her anger, not her mom's fit throwing.  I guess I am starting to notice that with a BPD person, if you pay attention to her all the time, she will consume as much attention as you give her.  And most of it involves listening to really mean and ugly things.  When I spend time around that, I am more like that . When I spend time being with kind people, I am more like that.  So while I think working towards being more loving in times of crisis is a great goal, and I am on board...I am not sure that validating it is always the fastest, safest route away from drama claiming center stage.  Sometimes, a little bit of a cold shoulder goes a long way. 

Logged

ennie
******
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 848



« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2012, 05:05:42 PM »

I also want to note that when I give a little cold shoulder, without meanness generally, OTHER's impression of what is happening is VERY different.  When I am engaged, even in a regulated and validating way with BPDmom, I notice others perceive us as "working things out," they perceive a mutual conflict and attribute blame evenly between us.  But when I am polite, but somewhat disengaged, BPD mom may become enraged, but to others, it is clear that BPDmom is not totally in possession of her faculties, while DH and I ARE.  This is important, as it turns out.  It is what makes school teachers WANT to follow the court orders prohibiting mom from volunteering on dad's days; it is what makes people perceive that BPDmom's story of the week may not be true.  It is what allows a little extra space for BPD mom to receive the consequences of her actions, rather than me buffering her with kindness and validation.  And while she may not be able to change at the core, the truth is that she cares how people see her, and so she MAY regulate a bit more in their presence, if she knows they perceive her as crazy when she is saying mean things about us.  I think my values are that being loving is really important, even under stress.  But my tendency is to want to tend to the problem with kindness, instead of to focus on what is not a problem.  And I think that it is important to not validate sometimes, so that others see the dynamic.  For example, in front of a counselor or court personel, if DH is very caring and validating, there is no problem with his ex, and court people think they are working things out, so no restrictions on communication or verbal abuse are needed.  But if rather than validate, he says, "I have a hard time with you stating that I am a bad father, and that you are always there for the children.  That is not my experience," then the T or court person gets to see her become totally dysregulated. 

In general, I find that BPDmom is okay and can even be loving, as long as she is loved no matter what she does, is the center of all attention, and there are no boundaries for her.  But if one's attention is on one's own needs, this is terribly triggering.  So there is a balance between allowing her to be triggered by focusing on the kids' needs, or my needs, etc., and focusing on her to "keep the peace."  Validating places attention on the BPD person, not on whomever else is being affected by the dysregulation.  This shapes others' perceptions of what is the source of conflict, and makes it seem like DH and I can or should do more to help BPDmom stop being upset, when the truth is that our complete attention only helps for minutes, and only helps a little, and that ultimately, her rage and drama is just who she is.  I think it is important in in public spaces to allow the person making an attack to be perceived as the attacker. 

I had an experience with a man who was on a high dose of methamphetamines who appeared outside of an office where I was attending a meeting.  He and a woman were struggling over a child, an infant, both pulling the baby in different directions.  I was concerned the baby would be hurt or killed, so I approached them and was able to sooth the man, by asking his name, offering water, etc.  I asked a bystander if the police had been called, they answered yes.  As long as I was there with the man, he was able to remain calmer, not be violent, so I waited for the police to arrive.  15 minutes later, they had not arrived, so I asked again if the police were coming, and the person who called told me they had called back, as I had everything under control.  My validation worked to make the man give up the baby, and to soothe him.  But it also worked to make others think he was safe, when the reality is that when I got 5 feet away, he was back to screaming and yelling.  In a crisis situation, there is a place for others' perceiving that something is wrong. 
Logged

qcarolr
Distinguished Member
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Person in your life: Child
Posts: 4928



WWW
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2012, 10:47:23 PM »

ennie - thank you so much for sharing all this. It really helps me to see that sometimes the balance depends on the environment where the crisis is taking place. I can really see where the court, therapy, public arena may call for more of a meduim chill approach.

From going back and reading the other replies here tonight, I can see where validation works better when the crisis is not a personal attack. It is very hard to validate emotions that are just so darn unreasonable. There is no way to be sincere or supportive of feelings that are just plain wrong and abusive.

The other point I heard a lot is when things are moving from zero to 1000 in a matter of minutes, it is hard to even get out any words that are validating before the dysregulation is off the scale -- beyond stopping the raging or abuse -- beyond to 'point of no return'. At that point only our boundaries of escape may need to be engaged.

And I also understand that if I am in a bad place, so it is hard to regulate my own emotional state first (ie. not take it all in a personal way if I am the target) -- if the validating response is not from a sincere place it generally does not work. Sometimes I just am unable to be sincere - need to just escape or pass the baton to someone else that is there (usually my dh if he is there. my pwBPD is my DD25). And if my gd6 is present and I am being attacked, or if she is being attacked, that increases my inability to regulate my emotions.

If I can stop the madness quickly - and calmly - it is more likely to work.  Either I leave the scene, taking gd6 with me if she is present. Or I call the police to mediate - which they usually do without a crime being commited so no one is arrested. And this often turns DD's boiling over to a low simmer.

qcr
Logged

The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better. (Dom Helder)
Auspicious
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 8104



« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2012, 05:26:07 AM »

Emotional validation is just one tool in the toolbox. There are times to use it, times to use something else.

And yes, there are surely times when it is useful for others to see who "the out of control one" is. But there are other times when it can also be an inappropriate temptation to trigger the other person (and/or leave them triggered, when we have the option to de-escalate) so that we can get to look or feel like "the sane one".

Life is full of complexity    It takes a lot of practice, trial and error, and I personally think some prayer, to know when and how to use which tool. I'm certainly still working on learning
Logged

Have you read the Lessons?
qcarolr
Distinguished Member
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Person in your life: Child
Posts: 4928



WWW
« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2012, 04:08:04 PM »

A quick reference  Smiling (click to insert in post)

#1) Regulate your own emotions

#2) Validate (do this at every step)

#3) Ask/assess

#4) brainstorm/troubleshoot

#5) get information on your role (if any) and what you can plan on hearing about the outcome



What if your loved one doesn't participate?

There is no guarantee that your loved one still won't get upset and want to attack and abuse you. This is where it is important to know your own limits and how to properly take care of yourself.

~ ~ communicating a limit ~~

* let them know that you are going to end the conversation if _____ doesn't happen (they don't lower their voice, let you talk, or if they keep cursing)

* give them a chance, even if it's brief to modify their behavior to a way of interacting that works for you.

* make sure you "own" that you are ending the conversation because of your reactions and what you want from the interaction.

* then follow through on what you say if they continue their behavior.

* validate and soothe your loved one's emotions about having a limit established

* assure your loved one that you will be available at a different time or for

a different issue


Shari Manning, "Loving Someone With BPD"

Seems this last part is really important when our pwBPD can't hear us - for whatever the reason.  And #1 above is actually the most important step. If I can't manage myself - I have greater needs to be validated myself - then maybe I am the one that can't hear. In either case, taking a time out in some way is the best solution. The hard part for me has been coming back to it later - lots of fear about more out of control behavior. 

qcr
Logged

The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better. (Dom Helder)
Can You Help Us Stay on the Air in 2019?

Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Our 2020 Financial Sponsors
We are all appreciative of the members who provide the funding to keep BPDFamily on the air.
AskingWhy
Bittlecat
Harri
Only Human
PeacefulMom
Radcliff
Skip
Teno
Ventak
wendydarling
Wicker Man
worn_out





Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2006-2019, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!