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Author Topic: 1.20 | Triggering, Mindfulness, and the WiseMind  (Read 89450 times)
lbjnltx
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« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2013, 06:36:52 AM »

We are using a great deal of wisemind skills around my house these days.  Since my husband and father of dd17 has passed away we are recognizing that we dwell in the house of the dialectical dilemma constantly.  We are sad he is gone and glad he is not suffering.  We are hurting and hopeful. We are staying in the moment and processing the past.

Since learning about DBT/The Dialectical Dilemma/Wisemind, I have used one especially helpful technique to remain aware of my thoughts and emotions... .I have removed the word "BUT" from my vocabulary and replaced it with the word "AND".  Since "but" is an invalidating word this also helps me be supportive, empathetic and truthful in my validating and accountability responses to my dd17.

Can two opposing truths be true at the same time?

Yes.

When I first began replacing "but" with "and" it sounded very odd and unnatural ... .not anymore.

Maybe this will help you too.

lbjnltx
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Skip
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« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2013, 08:35:04 AM »

We are using a great deal of wisemind skills around my house these days.  Since my husband and father of dd17 has passed away we are recognizing that we dwell in the house of the dialectical dilemma constantly.  We are sad he is gone and glad he is not suffering.  We are hurting and hopeful. We are staying in the moment and processing the past.

Since learning about DBT/The Dialectical Dilemma/Wisemind, I have used one especially helpful technique to remain aware of my thoughts and emotions... .I have removed the word "BUT" from my vocabulary and replaced it with the word "AND".  Since "but" is an invalidating word this also helps me be supportive, empathetic and truthful in my validating and accountability responses to my dd17.

Can two opposing truths be true at the same time?

Yes.

When I first began replacing "but" with "and" it sounded very odd and unnatural ... .not anymore.

Maybe this will help you too.

lbjnltx

That's incredibly inspiring.  Thanks.
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« Reply #32 on: December 10, 2013, 07:37:00 AM »

I've noticed that since I've started practicing mindfulness it is much easier to access it.  I used to react so much to the emotional side of my brain that I never took the time to just stop... .breath... .think and invite the logical side to the party before I react to a situation.  I tell ya, life is so much better and I get myself in far less trouble these days!

I'm working on the but/and translations too.  It does sound so much nicer and everyone feels so much better just by translating that word.  I remember getting a review from one of my bosses.  You are a wonderful employee.  You initiate your own projects and take a lot of responsibility on yourself, BUT... . Completely wiped out all of those great compliments with just one little word.

-crazed
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« Reply #33 on: December 20, 2013, 05:59:13 PM »

Skip has often said "good mental health is hard".

Good mental health is hard! Nice to hear it said out loud. Thanks Skip for saying and JoannaK for bringing it out.
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« Reply #34 on: January 11, 2014, 02:30:46 PM »

Using these tools has made my day to day life easier. It also helps with my PTSD.  So often as Nons we are in constant react mode. This helps us stay more focused and thoughtful.

So very, very true.
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« Reply #35 on: February 03, 2014, 01:42:04 PM »

Mindfulness was a HUGE help for me. I knew something had to change, and since she wasn't going to do it, I started to focus only on myself and the kids. I ran across mediation and Mindfulness. What an eye opener. I finally was able to find a healthy way to calm myself and go that extra step towards getting a grip on my situation.

It really happened overnight with the first guided Mindful meditation.
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« Reply #36 on: March 12, 2014, 09:52:35 PM »

Thank you Skip. This has really helped me. The responses too have been very helpful and thought-provoking. Thanks all.
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« Reply #37 on: March 29, 2014, 06:00:27 PM »

Triggering and Mindfulness and Wise Mind

What is mindfulness all about?  In the simplest sense, we all develop from time to time, thinking patterns that do not serve us well.  When we do, we are easily "triggered" -- having non-constructive reactions to specific words or actions based on prior experiences.  We've all been there - resentment, pessimism, defensiveness, impatience, closed mindedness, distrusting, intolerance, confrontational, defeated... .

[/size]

this is where I have gotten to over the 5 years of not knowing what the battlefield was.  I have to get back to me and recover strength.

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« Reply #38 on: March 30, 2014, 01:42:09 AM »

Am in the same process right now, Firefall. Difficult days trying to balance all i've learnt and not caving in... .
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« Reply #39 on: April 02, 2014, 05:23:18 PM »

Mindfulness is a hard thing to do on a consistent basis when the BPD is pulling your trigger constantly.  I am trying to figure my triggers and manage them in mindful way without conflict.  I have changed my response to my BPD adult daughter. When she texts me of all the mess in her life, I am able to tell her that I am sorry she is going through all this and then text "love u".  Before, I always tried to get her to see my way and solve her problems.  Being mindful of my own reaction is making a difference.  Thank you.

Bannec
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« Reply #40 on: August 14, 2014, 03:51:17 PM »

Mindfulness has worked a little differently for me than for others in this thread.  I went all out and joined a Zendo and meditate regularly.  I'm able to go into a meditative state in just a few minutes. I can't emphasize enough how this has helped me to achieve a sense of confident, clear, settled calm.  I'm not always in this mode, but I am in it a lot more than I ever could be without the meditation. 

A lot of people here mention how mindfulness reduces triggers, but for me, I think it has caused me to become almost entirely emotionally divested of the relationship.  I feel like I've "worn it out," but in the healthiest way.  I recognize that she suffers, that I suffer, that we all suffer, and to me she is now more of a sister and fellow human than a spouse.  I am not motivated to really "do" anything to help her, as I once did, because the relationship was from its inception one in which I took care of her.  It began under circumstances that could not have been predicted and probably could not have been prevented, and at the time I felt a moral obligation to not abandon her.  We're relatively young, but I think that now we may have begun relating to each other as people who have been married 60 years.

There is a benefit to this, I think, in that the time will probably soon come to formally end the marriage.  She might alter her course and begin work with a psychologist or psychiatrist (she is seeing a LCSW now and describes the sessions as more of a sh**-and-giggles girlfriends having coffee thing than work), but this would only make me more optimistic about her own recovery.  It would not make me more optimistic about the future of the marriage.  I do not think she knows her own mind, and therefore I cannot trust what she says or does. To do so would be a bit like negotiating a final settlement with the Palestinians, in that it's hard to tell who is in charge and has decision making authority.  The only sane solution is a mellow and complete emotional divestment.

So yes, mindfulness has helped, but it has helped me see the broad picture and the needle tips toward leaving (except I won't leave my home nor will our children; I suspect that she will be politely asked to leave when the time comes). 

A somewhat unexpected consequence of this -- and by this I mean a mellow, imperturbable detachment to pretty much every signal she sends my way -- is that she shows a marked warming toward me.  Of course this seems suspect to me, and I wonder about this approach / avoidance thing she seems always to engage in (never more so than now).  I wonder how many encounter approach / avoidance like this.  I never thought that my wife smiling broadly at me and asking me all kinds of questions about my day/life would make me feel hesitant, but it does.       
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lbjnltx
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« Reply #41 on: February 14, 2015, 12:17:59 PM »

Recognizing that we are in a  heightened state of anxiety due to our past experiences with the person in our lives that suffers from BPD is the first step towards mindfulness... .

As soon as we engage in or even have the potential to engage in a conversation that we believe ALWAYS has the potential to go bad we can observe our own quick pulse... .shallow breathing... .hands shaking... .and feel the negative energy emerge from our guts! 

The good news is that we are aware. Now we can begin to address these symptoms and ease them through skills.

What is your prominent exterior trigger and how will using what you learn here help disengage that trigger?

What is your prominent interior trigger and how will using what you learn here help disengage that trigger?

For me... .the most prominent exterior trigger is when I ask my d18 "how are you doing today?" and she responds "horrible!".  Why does this trigger me?  Because I know I am about to hear how she is struggling to be ok which causes me to worry about her... .

My most prominent interior trigger is when I find myself trying to problem solve for my d18 in my own head and I begin to feel anxiety because I can't make decisions for her and am afraid she is going to fail miserably. 

Practicing mindfulness (awareness) grounds me and keeps me in the moment instead of going into fortune teller mode where everything falls apart and her life and mine are in the crapper!

Practicing wisemind keeps my reactions at bay and allows me space to respond thoughtfully by leading the conversation in a positive direction with validation and validating questions.

Most of us share the valuable effects of practicing these skills and in different ways.

What ways are you benefitting?

lbj

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« Reply #42 on: February 18, 2015, 11:18:29 AM »

1.  Radical acceptance - acceptance of a disorder we cannot change.  Recognize and learn to understand BPD, even if the afflicted person does not acknowledge being disordered.

2.  Mindfulness - I believe we need to actually get "inside the head" of our BPD loved ones to understand what triggers them.  Mentally see both sides of an issue, even if it makes little sense at the time, and do not react until you have done this.

3.  Wisemind allows us to rationalize and select a proper reaction to limit or avoid confrontation.

Remember, pwBPD have a different perception of what we do and say. :)o not forget your boundaries, but choose words carefully and think before you speak.  React with logic not emotion.
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« Reply #43 on: February 18, 2015, 10:59:32 PM »

Most of us share the valuable effects of practicing these skills and in different ways.

What ways are you benefitting?

For me, Mindfulness is taking the form of being able to focus on what's going on in the moment.

In the past, I would try to shut out my emotions and sensations and my mind would usually take off running in all different directions, connecting context, solutions and logical arguments pro and con.

These days, when I realize that I am being triggered, I deliberately slow down and take a few deep breaths, calming myself down which allows me to focus on what's going on in the moment.

I can pay better attention to the emotional cues of others, not just words that are being said, I can also pay attention to my own feelings and start integrating them with my thinking.

3.  Wisemind allows us to rationalize and select a proper reaction to limit or avoid confrontation.

I agree that being in Wisemind (the synthesis of the logical and emotional mind) helps us select the best solution/reaction.

In my particular case, it helps me take all of the impressions and information I am able to collect while being mindful and put them together in a more complete way, that leads to better, wiser solutions.

In the past, I would deal with the "facts" only (worked primarily out of my logical mind) and that often prevented me from being sensitive to the emotional state of my pwBPD and led to seemingly 'correct' solutions that were ineffective in the moment. I was aware of her emotions, but I was not taking them into account while looking for solutions that would work for her at the time.

My biggest external trigger: SD starting to dysregulate.

(In the past, I would try to calm her down by logical arguments while ignoring and suppressing my own emotions)

Now, I can see what emotions and issues are driving her behavior, I try to validate, and redirect with questions towards possible ways to cope and make herself feel better. The issue at hand often ceases to be the topic of discussion altogether.

If she keeps dysregulating, I am aware of her and my own emotional state and can detect better when it's time to disengage for everyone's safety.

My biggest internal trigger: dealing with thoughts of possible future scenarios that I have no solutions for yet.

I am still working on coping with that one    advice welcome.
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« Reply #44 on: February 20, 2015, 07:46:40 AM »

Thanks for posting Pessim-optimist.

The external trigger... .future scenarios you don't have solutions for:

In our minds we often try to problem solve for problems we don't have.

You might try asking self questions  like:

Is this really going to be a problem in the future?  How can I know that for sure?

Is this my problem to solve? Do I have it within my power? Is it my responsibility?

Can I focus on how to be supportive if this problem does occur rather than look for solutions?

Do my boundaries protect me if this problem does occur?

What do you think Pessim-optimist?  Can you see this helping you stay in the moment?

lbj
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« Reply #45 on: February 20, 2015, 10:07:27 PM »

Is this really going to be a problem in the future?  How can I know that for sure?

As you can tell, I too can be a great fortune teller.  Smiling (click to insert in post)

Thank you, this helps. I need to remind myself more often of Mark Twain's quote:

"Many bad things happened to me in my life, some of which actually happened."

Can you see this helping you stay in the moment?

Yes, it does help, thank you. Especially the question about boundaries. These days I am better at seeing which problems aren't mine to solve, but I still get wrapped up in thinking about potential 'blow-up' situations where I lack proper boundaries. So, in a way, it is not a question of the situation per se, but building better boundaries in general.

It's tough to know that I still don't feel safe sometimes.

But I can focus on the moment and I can keep working on improving all of my skills (boundaries included).
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lbjnltx
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« Reply #46 on: February 21, 2015, 05:36:39 AM »

Thank you, this helps. I need to remind myself more often of Mark Twain's quote:

"Many bad things happened to me in my life, some of which actually happened."

LOL!  Priceless!
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« Reply #47 on: December 26, 2015, 01:59:14 AM »

Thank you for this thread, read it all Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #48 on: April 05, 2016, 03:50:22 PM »

Practicing mindfulness (awareness) grounds me and keeps me in the moment instead of going into fortune teller mode where everything falls apart and her life and mine are in the crapper!

lbj

This is so funny and so my problem too and where I'm finding mindfulness helpful.

I also find mindfulness helps me to see the transience of all things and feel lighter of heart about just about everything.  So I can see something funny about waiting in line at the supermarket and the queue I join comes typically to a grinding halt for example, whereas before I would get stressed.

Where my interactions with my daughter are concerned, I'm finding I'm much more thoughtful and reflective and less defensive.
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« Reply #49 on: June 13, 2016, 07:49:04 AM »

Its a beautiful and ideal state of mind and I really like it when I'm there, yet I spend so much of my time in Unwisemind. It's quite an elusive thing for me.

So what is the secret? CBT?

https://bpdfamily.com/content/triggering-and-mindfulness-and-wise-mind

The goals of mindfulness practice are simply to practice and to experience “Wise Mind”. You’re in Wise Mind when your emotions and your thoughts work together so that wise action is easy, even when your life and/or circumstances are really hard. You’re in Wise Mind when you can meet each moment of life as it is, not as you would have it be, and respond to it skillfully.

... .What is mindfulness all about?  In the simplest sense, we all develop, from time to time, thinking patterns that do not serve us well.  When we do, we are easily "triggered" - having non-constructive reactions to specific words or actions based on prior experiences.  We've all been there - in resentment, pessimism, defensiveness, impatience, closed mindedness, distrust, intolerance, confrontational, defeat... .

Mindfulness is a type of self-awareness in which we learn to observe ourselves in real time to see and alter our reactions to be more constructive.
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« Reply #50 on: June 13, 2016, 01:20:13 PM »

How about this?

Feel -> PAUSE -> observe -> think -> act
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« Reply #51 on: June 13, 2016, 02:14:18 PM »

FPOTA  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

I like it. I had to FPOTA tonight
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« Reply #52 on: June 22, 2016, 12:42:35 PM »

How about this?

Feel -> PAUSE -> observe -> think -> act

I like this.

I also like this one--just slighty different:

Pause → Breathe → Observe → Feel → Think → Act

I think it's hardest to do in an argument. But it can give incredible benefits. Take up the gauntlet! I'll share an example  Smiling (click to insert in post)




Looks like:

Partner A: Some behaviour.

Partner B:



  • Pause 


  • Breathe


  • Observe →


  • Feel →


  • Think →


  • Act







Example:

Partner A: "You a*****e."

Partner B:



  • Pause


  • Breathe


  • Observe → She has expressed the statement, "You a*****e."

  • Observe → This is what she sees (metaphorically:).


  • Observe → What is the feeling?


  • Feel → This seems to be anger.


  • Think → An expression like this is her dysregulating. Validate.


  • Act → "(1) I agree, it looks like I'm an a*****e. (2) Would you mind telling me why?"




The key: Your mouth. It cannot make sentences that sound judgmental. That is the hardest to do. Especially when you are being judged and your first instinct is to judge back.




The cool thing about mindfulness is it can stop the BP escalating. It is extremely worth it. If you're a non and you don't have this, you're really missing out. I encourage you to read about it and try it. If I had to spend the rest of my life with my ex, I might consider giving my left leg to have this tool.






Note:

I love this example because we're always encouraged to try find the humour. You don't have to agree with what the non is saying. If incorrectly done it is improper validation.



  • "I agree I'm an a*****e." ← Improper.


  • "(1) I agree, it looks like I'm an a*****e." ← First validation (barely permissible); but you must maintain your tone.


  • "(2) Would you mind telling me why?" ← Second validation (classic).




If you're not ready to take this risk, don't use the agreement statement. Mindfulness can be enjoyable  Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #53 on: June 22, 2016, 01:04:13 PM »

I think these are great!

I have a question related to how to do it in a situation where the other person sees you pause and uses that as an opportunity to ramp things up or talk over you. I am trying to pause and breathe and gather my thoughts and he keeps going on like a freight train. Ex's conversation style is overwhelming.
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« Reply #54 on: June 23, 2016, 01:31:12 AM »

Great question. This was an issue for me too Voc. I think it's fairly safe to say that you can expect it--even well after getting used to things. People often try to talk over each in arguments--they defend their "turf". Consider that talking over someone does nothing productive for a conversation, regardless of non or BP. You handling your behaviour well and thinking over what you say is healthy behaviour.

I am open to hearing other peoples' suggestions on this.

Two things you can consider:

1) They may be automatically baiting you--let the person vent. Then validate in the gap (based on whatever you can recall from the talk-over); remain in wise mind--move the conversation forward.

- In theory, what they say can't affect a healthy person.

- Many humans have a belief that this is okay. Disregard the act of it. You're responsible for your side. (May have a caveat for parents.)

- Stay off the tracks, no matter what size the train. From the "side" of the tracks, let each statement be another carriage connecting itself to the train of the situation--wave it forward--then continue your spot.

2) Practice the area you feel uncomfortable with alone.

- E.g. "What to validate?", that I think is common. I encourage you to find out beforehand what things you're most comfortable validating. Emotions and actions are the obvious ones.

- E.g. On the commute. If I'm tired and irritated, I will sit quietly in the crowd then just describe that. "Seems you're tired Smiling (click to insert in post)" "Work today has made you feel tired Smiling (click to insert in post)" "Why are you irritated? Tell me more? Smiling (click to insert in post)"

Please post if you get some results:)
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« Reply #55 on: June 23, 2016, 10:53:35 AM »

I have a question related to how to do it in a situation where the other person sees you pause and uses that as an opportunity to ramp things up or talk over you. I am trying to pause and breathe and gather my thoughts and he keeps going on like a freight train. Ex's conversation style is overwhelming.

You can't stop a freight train.  Step aside, listen but don't engage as you watch it pass you by.  Once the noise quiets down and you can hear yourself think again you can engage.   Smiling (click to insert in post)

Works for me with clients that sometimes get pushy and irate.
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« Reply #56 on: June 25, 2016, 04:24:34 AM »

Hi everyone 


Good points:



  • Good use of easily-accessed examples to a non. She clearly relates the mechanism by which BPD behaviour can be an extreme extension of what we consider an individuals participation in "normal" highly-charged dialogues. I appreciated her example of "losing one's keys".


  • The friendly tone makes for easy listening for an interested person; I can see it being beneficial to a non in recovery, or in a relationship--it would have been helpful to me.


  • I can't speak for practitioners on this point, but I do feel that she very skilfully clarifies and simplifies the concepts for non-healthcare professionals to understand, which I appreciated a great deal.




The accuracy of her descriptions will be a useful reminder to me of this experience.

For those who are interested, there is an unusual letter reading in the following episode. It is inspirational to me--despite significant time having passed between now and my own relationship. I can't speak for its helpfulness for the non still emotionally involved with a BP--but one learning point (regarding actual responsibilities) would have helped me after I separated.
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« Reply #57 on: June 25, 2016, 10:24:33 AM »

Hi everyone 


Good points:



  • Good use of easily-accessed examples to a non. She clearly relates the mechanism by which BPD behaviour can be an extreme extension of what we consider an individuals participation in "normal" highly-charged dialogues. I appreciated her example of "losing one's keys".


  • The friendly tone makes for easy listening for an interested person; I can see it being beneficial to a non in recovery, or in a relationship--it would have been helpful to me.


  • I can't speak for practitioners on this point, but I do feel that she very skilfully clarifies and simplifies the concepts for non-healthcare professionals to understand, which I appreciated a great deal.



The audio file gave me some good things to think about as I navigate this situation. A couple of things came up for me.

-I seem to have a block with regards to ex. In my job, with my kids, and in other situations, I tend to be able to stay in a more mindful place.

Some things that came to light while listening to this are:

1. Ex tends to create a pervasively invalidating environment. It is difficult to stay present and mindful when in a pervasively invalidating environment. It is second nature for him to invalidate and dismiss. That was one of the big issues in the relationship. It also has me checking myself to see what I am contributing on my side. I have a difficult time seeing my contributions to the invalidating environment. I do recognize that I have lost the ability to validate him so limiting contact is probably the best course of action at the moment.

2. Being tired or exhausted interferes with ones ability to stay in wise mind and be mindful. This is an area of struggle for me. I have 4 daughters (ages 15-7) and I work two jobs. The finances, home upkeep, kids, etc. are part of my daily responsibilities. The most I can get ex to do is go to the store for us. Even when I have tried to get some down time and go away for a couple of days, I get contacted to help with things that they are perfectly capable of handling themselves. I am tired and that makes it difficult for me to be mindful when dealing with ex.

3. There is a lot of resentment that is clouding my ability to stay present when dealing with ex.
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