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Author Topic: Do not allow others to 'rent space' in your 'head'  (Read 25708 times)
elphaba
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« on: May 22, 2008, 07:00:20 AM »

How NOT To Allow Negative People To

'Rent Space' In Your Heart or Your Head

by Rachel G. Baldino, MSW, LCSW for www.SixWise.com


 When I was in my final year of graduate school, working toward my MSW, I interned at a V.A. Hospital in Boston, where I had a wonderful field supervisor named Jerry. He was certainly not the first person to coin the saying, "Don't let them rent space in your head," but he was definitely the first person that I heard using the expression on a regular basis.

He enjoyed saying it to us, his students, and also to several of the veterans that he worked with as a therapist. I even heard him say it to his fellow counselors on a few occasions.

And yet, while he called upon this little motto with great frequency, it somehow never lost its fundamental truth and power each time that he used it, perhaps because he believed in it so strongly.

And I find that it is one of those sayings with so much potential to be applied to so many situations.

Is your boss treating you shabbily?

Don't let him rent space in your head!

Has one of your more judgmental family members been treating you with utter contempt lately?

Once again, don't let her rent space in your head!

It's quite catchy, and it's also pretty easy to remember.

But there's just one little problem: It can actually be extremely difficult to apply in our day-to-day lives.

Why?

Well, many of us have been habitually "renting out" the precious space in our minds to totally undeserving, and sometimes quite malicious, people for many years. So long, in fact, that it can actually be very tough to simply "turn off" this type of ultra-self-defeating behavior after all this time and practice.

But when you think about it, you quickly realize that this dangerous kind of emotional arrangement is the furthest thing from a "fair exchange." After all, what do the nasty nay-sayers get out of the deal? Why, they get to have a considerable amount of emotional power and control over us. Specifically, they get the power to dominate our thoughts and our memory banks for weeks, months ... .or even years. And what do we get in return? Well, we get a whole lot of angst, heartache and pain.

That's right. Every time that we "rent out our precious mental space" to nasty individuals by continually analyzing and mulling over the cruel things that they have said and/or done to us, we are actually giving them little bits and pieces of our precious emotional strength and personal power ... .both of which can be very difficult to get back as time marches on.

A Classic Example of an "Undeserving Tenant"

Who Rents Precious Space in Your Head

Don't let them rent space in your head!

For example, let's say you had a teacher back in elementary school who had a well-deserved reputation for picking "teacher's pets," and you were not among them. In fact, for some reason that you never did manage to figure out, you were actually one of her least favorite students, and she was not shy about letting you know it.

One day, when you were running a couple minutes late to class, she really let you have it, yelling at you at the top of her lungs just for being a tiny bit tardy, and shaking her long, bony finger right in your face for what felt like an eternity in front of all of your shocked, frightened classmates.

It was a terrible, gut-wrenching, humiliating experience, not to mention a horrible instance of an adult committing an act of emotional and verbal abuse against a child in her care. And it made such a deep, lasting impression on you that you can still recall the bitter wave of nausea that swept through you as she was yelling, and the way your right hand was trembling so hard that you almost dropped your pencil, and how you had to summon every last ounce of your emotional strength not to break down and cry in front of everybody.

It was a relatively traumatic experience-perhaps not in the same way that a physical assault or a terrible car accident would widely be considered traumatic-but in the sense that it left some emotional scars, scars that still have not fully healed to this day.

Maybe it's not something that you think about every single day of your life, but you do think about it fairly often, and when you do think about it, what bothers you the most is the fact that the painful memory of this woman's harsh behavior still has some strange sort of emotional hold on you. All these years have gone by, you've grown up and left your childhood behind, and you've had all sorts of interesting life experiences in the interim ... ..

And yet, somehow, this unkind woman from your past still has the capacity to reach out from the deepest recesses of your memory, grab you (metaphorically) by the throat, and bring you to your knees. Indeed, the sense memory of the whole rotten experience is still so powerful that all these years later, you still feel a touch nauseous when you visualize her or recall her name.

This is what it means to rent out the incalculably precious space in your head to some undeserving person (or to the memory of what that person once said or did to you). And perhaps now you can see why the instruction not to rent out your mental space to negative people is often so much easier said than done.

Tips for Kicking Out The "Undeserving Tenants"

In Your Head Once and For All

You have the emotional strength to kick undeserving tenants out of your head!

However, as hard as it often is to live by the words: Don't let them rent space in our head, it actually can be done. And here's how:

*Acknowledge that some cruel, undeserving person is "renting" valuable space in your heart and mind. Perhaps the person is from your past, or perhaps they are bothering you right now, in the present. Either way, you need to admit to yourself that this is going on in your life, and that it has become disruptive to your emotional health and personal growth, and that you want to do something about it.

*Brainstorm ways that you can drain this person of the emotional power that they have over you. For example, consider talking to a positive, upbeat person that you love and trust about what this nasty person said or did to you that has been causing you so much emotional turmoil.

Sometimes the deceptively simple act of saying the words out loud to someone who cares can help deflate the nasty person's power, almost like a needle popping a balloon. In addition, the person who cares about you can listen, confirm, and most important of all, validate your feelings about the experience by letting you know that yes, indeed, you were wronged by this nasty person. But now the time has come to work through that old pain and to try to move forward.

*After confiding in your trusted friend or family member, you may also want to consider performing a sort of "goodbye ritual" to the person who has been haunting your memory bank, so that you can continue to work toward letting the painful memory go.

To return for a moment to the teacher example that I used earlier, since the pencil that you were holding in your trembling little hand at the time is such a vivid, potent part of that awful memory of her reprehensible behavior toward you, you may want to pull a good old Number Two pencil out of your desk drawer, snap it in half, and say something along the lines of: "Mrs. So-and-so, you are no longer allowed to rent out any of the precious space in my head. It's terrible what you did to me, but I'm sick and tired of thinking about it as often as I do. I want you out of my head, and I want you out RIGHT NOW. Consider yourself EVICTED."

*Sometimes it helps to re-imagine the mean person in a whole new light. For instance, maybe that teacher who yelled at you had just had her heart trampled by a cruel boyfriend, or maybe she had just had a terrible meeting with one of her school administrators. Maybe her aging mother, who lived with her, had fallen ill the night before.

Let's face it: this person has been living and thriving and growing in monstrosity in your imagination as a sort of "Wicked Witch of the West" for years and years now. So what could it hurt, then, to imagine her more fully, and perhaps even with just a hint of compassion and forgiveness?

"That's not fair," you could always argue. "After all, she certainly didn't treat me with any kindness or compassion when she embarrassed me in front of all those other kids on that terrible day." But in order to get yourself "unstuck" from that terrible memory loop ... .in order to smash that awful, tortuous mental tape that keeps playing over and over again in your mind ... .you need to change the tape.

*And one way to "change the tape" is to add more layers to the story in your memory bank by "humanizing the villain." Specifically, if you make the deliberate choice to change the mental picture that you have had all these years from an evil, grimacing "monster-teacher" towering over your cowering third-grade self into a new (and quite possibly more realistic image) of a then-relatively-young woman, who maybe just broke her heel, stepped in a mud puddle, and got screamed at by her boss before she unfairly and inappropriately took out her frustration on you, this can actually be quite a potent way of draining any remaining power that the memory of her may still have over you. In fact, this kind of "image-altering" exercise may be just the way to finally kick her out of your head for good!





About the Author

SixWise.com contributing editor Rachel G. Baldino, MSW, LCSW, is the author of the e-book, Loving Simply: Eliminating Drama from Your Intimate Relationships, published in 2006 by Fictionwise.com, and the print book, Welcome to Methadonia: A Social Worker's Candid Account of Life in a Methadone Clinic, published in 2000 by White Hat Communications.

Her articles have appeared in Social Work Today, The New Social Worker, New Living Magazine, Conflict911.com and other publications. After earning her MSW from the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work in 1997, she provided counseling services, first at a methadone clinic, and later at an outpatient mental health treatment facility.

Ms. Baldino has been quoted about managing anger in relationships in Kathy Svitil's 2006 book, Calming The Anger Storm, which is part of the Psychology Today Here To Help series. She has also been quoted in such magazines, newspapers and online publications as For Me Magazine, Conceive Magazine, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, The Albany Times Union, The Tallahassee Democrat, Bay State Parent Magazine, TheBridalBook.com, Babyzone.com, Momstoday.com, The Newhouse News Service, and Indianapolis Woman. She lives with her husband and children in Massachusetts.
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elphaba
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2008, 07:02:26 AM »

Ok, so I know this is something that many of us struggle with, especially after a BPD relationship, or dealing with a BPD family member or friend... .so, how do we apply the suggestions Ms. Baldino gives... .or who here has discovered other ways of evicting those nasty tenants?

What helps you may just help someone else... .so c'mon lets' share the wealth.
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« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2008, 09:25:11 AM »

To make a change in my mind I must have an "attitude readjustment time" ceremony.  I have to get my sister out of my head.

The ceremony would be in the fall sometime when my mother's will finished probate court. Then my sister will be dead to me.   I would adapt the old Jewish custom used when someone left the faith. They would shiva for a week by wearing a black arm band and never say the name again.

I told someone on this board about my plan, and the thoughts of my sister diminished!  It was working so well I bought and began wearing a black braclet! The bracelet gives me strength!

It's not even fall yet. 

After probate court I may have to have a Wonder Woman certmony!

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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2008, 10:02:39 AM »

To extend the idea of the tape being replayed over and over again... .

I've been reading up on how the mind works.  We have Emotions, Intellect and Decision Making power.  Our boundaries contain these things.  We can also use something called an observing ego to form a third person view of whats going on with us.  Its kind of like looking at ourselves as if on TV, a movie screen or computer monitor.  How would a third person view us if they were able to see us replaying this tenant in our head?

One technique I've read about and its helped me a bit is it envision this tenant on a TV screen.  Then imagine the image of this person losing color, becoming unfocused.  The image slowly shrinks to a point like old tvs did when it was turned off.  This imagery helps to remove the tenant from your thoughts.

From a decisioning POV... .we can assess whether having these thoughts are helpful or hurtful to us.  An observing ego can be our friend to let us know that these thoughts are not helpful... .

For me right now... .I try to distract myself with other things.  Focus on work.  I don't have a circle of friends I can rely on nor family in the same state.  Im very much on my own save for this forum.  This makes distraction tough... .plus being on the computer for work and reading posts here... .it is tempting to think of the ex and search for her (vigilance).  So, my online behaviors need to change - I need to strengthen my boundaries to not let the ex back in.
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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2008, 05:10:39 AM »

I like that sitting Shiva idea!  :-*

I am in close proximity to someone who's done the "use, pretend, abandon"-type of abuse.  Smeared with some great religious superiority, I just got choked to pieces on it all!   Smiling (click to insert in post)  When I lay eyes on this person, and I hear the grumble coming way down deep in my belly towards my mouth, I try to talk to myself like I would a good friend who's battling same thing - "Come on, you know better, this person is the biggest ___hole on the planet, go back inside [go do this, that, distract] and remember, YOU ARE SO DAMNED LUCKY YOU'RE NOT THIS PERSON!"

The space in my head dwindles.  It's just the visual reminder that can start the cycle up again.  I also understand that this person does NOT have the capacity to see others as fellow human beings who are worthy of friendship and respect, but only what can be gotten and used from other people - I'm so glad I'm me!

     Having defined this person as an abusive user and taker, and I did discuss it with someone I value as a solid, normal individual who heard me and validated my experiences with this individual, it's cool.  Or becoming cool.   Smiling (click to insert in post) If only I were nearsighted and not farsighted, Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)!
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2008, 08:00:33 AM »

George,

Sounds like validation and logic work for you.  That's great.  I will not get validation from people in my family.  I went throug logic but my mind wouldn't behave. Logic and validation are a direct route and preferabe. 

I needed something more physical, tactial, with a ritual or event attached. I guess because I'm more physical and tactial.

Mtn,

I'm going to try the TV screen.  And I use distraction but ultilmately when I stop "doing stuff" the thoughts creep in.

Mind change required a multi-dimentional approach.
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2008, 09:06:29 AM »

I totally get it, livingwell. Here at home, some time back, my partner was making me just really fume and lose it (to the extent someone can MAKE you do anything!) and I took a huge permanent marker and wrote SILENCE on the back of my hand. Nothing I said that week was going to work, and I needed something to shut ME down.

Your black bracelet is the same thing.  An inanimate "referee" to say, "Hold up, take a second, it's okay."

     I am the least logical creature on the planet. You should hear what rises to my lips before my little self-pep talk kicks in! it'd get me arrested, Laugh out loud (click to insert in post).     
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« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2008, 12:47:30 PM »

I have a few ideas that have worked for me.  One is that I have imaginary conversations with that person.  Okay, they are not imaginary on my part because I usually have them in the shower and I speak aloud.  I tell them EVERYTHING I wanted to say to them.  I ask them questions, like "how could you do this to me"? "How could you give up your whole life for what you have now"?  It just clears everything that's rolling around out of my mind.

I also picture a STOP sign in my head when I'm thinking about him/the situation. I have also tried wearing a loose rubber band around my wrist and snapping it when I get too involved. I also wear a silver bracelet on my wrist that says "Celebrate Small Victories" that reminds me of my journey and keeps me focused on the future rather than the past.

I also "budget" time to think about the situation.  Like I budget time to go on this board (I usually post during my lunch hours and work.  I don't totally avoid the situation, but I figure "okay, it's lunchtime, I can spend 15 min or so dealing with this situation".  If I know I CAN deal with it later, I don't spend the rest of my time rolling it arounded in my brain.

Finally, there are times when I replay the situation in my mind and imagine the "new me" taking a different approach (like with my inner child).  I picture what is happening and how the healthier me would handle it. It's a way to erase some of the old tapes - more proactive, at least for me. 

For me, it's like being told I can never eat chocolate again.  If I know that I can eat chocolate in a healthier way (i.e. a few Hershey's kises instead of a one pound bar), then I don't get so panicked trying NOT to think about it.

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« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2008, 07:22:07 AM »

I have found letter-writing excercises to be helpful.  Similar to the imaginary conversation, but with an extra layer of tangibility for a visual learner like me.  Sometimes, when I am through with my never-to-be-mailed letters, I re-read them from the perspective of the other person.  I imagine what the return letter would say.  Again, like a conversation, but something about the printed word helps it gel for me.  Once I do that, it's easy to see the futility of trying to communicate with the person.  Makes the mental eviction process a bit easier. 
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« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2008, 01:22:27 PM »

Thanks, guys.  I love your ideas! 

I'm going to journal, and write some letters to Jackal that I won't send.  I'll sit shiva and say goodbye to her nastiness in our lives.  I'll wear the black band, even.  It fits since I'm a Jew   8)

But, the one thing I didn't like about that article is that it expects us to 'repaint' them into good people.  Sorry, but someone who destroys everyone in their path once she's done using them cannot be in any way, shape, or form 'good.'  I can't get there. 

My T wants to do EMDR with me so that I can see her 'in a place of love.'  I don't think I can do that either.  I think I'm going to be wasting a lot of time, effort and money aiming for that goal.  I think I can become indifferent toward this evil, disgusting person eventually and that is my true goal.  But loving her soul?         

Hubby and Kendyl seem to be there.  They are indifferent.  I really don't think hubby views her from a

place of love.' 

have any of you tried 'rethinking' these people like the article suggests, or trying to love them?


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« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2008, 06:09:43 PM »

     That's hard for me too.  Partly because in my situation, that's the maladaptive thinking that kept me from setting limits with her years ago.  Everytime she would do something destructive and hurtful, I would remind myself of how she was abused as a child, molested, cheated on, divorced, unable to conceive, attacked, abandoned, on and on.  I would pity her, sympathize, whatever.  Fine, that's great.  But then I would let go of whatever it was, stuff it down, suck it up.  Because after all, she was hurt so badly in the past, how could I let myself be added to the list of soul-assasains?

     Even now, I have moments, fewer and farther between, where I will be overwhelmed with sadness for her tortured existence.  But right on the heels of that comes the thought of maybe giving her another chance.  I don't know how to seperate the second thought from the first.  Since the second thought is unacceptable, I think for now I will avoid the excercise of reshaping her into a good person.  I've barely mastered the task of shaping her into a dangerous person. .  I have to keep reminding myself of the abusive things she's done in order to give myself permission to keep my boundaries in place.

     Madre, I think it's perfectly normal and healthy to keep company with your anger for awile.  This woman put you and your family through hell.  You can't go from fighting a bloody battle for all you hold dear to loving the soul of the person who tried to destroy it.  How are you supposed to just shut that off?  I'm all for an initial goal of indifference.     

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« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2008, 06:21:23 PM »

Excerpt
I can't get there

I don't know that I'll ever get THERE... .and that is ok, what he did to me and my girls is unforgivable, the damage he did is done and all I can do is pick up the pieces, so making him "human"... .probably not going to happen, I think some of that goes out the window when we are talking about the mentally ill... .what I can do is get to apathy... .just simply not caring at all who he is, where he is, what he's doing... .and I'm close... .so close I can taste it.

So far some great ideas in this thread, which is what I was hoping for, the article is just a jumping off point to see what tools others are using or find helpful... .we are all learning from each other, leaning on each other and taking the necessary steps to work on US... .keep it coming folks... .the ideas are awesome, visualization, focus... .more, more... .YEAH!

I've used a phrase from an old post from many moons ago... ."forget to remember" sometimes I'll say this over and over in my head when I feel like he is "squatting"... .Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)... .

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« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2008, 11:21:54 AM »

I'm in agreement with Elphaba - there are things he did, no matter how I look back on his family of origin, that I cannot forgive - most of them pertaining to our kids. I had an abusive childhood, with a mother that was most likely BPD who raged and basically scared the s**t out of me during my entire childhood, not to mention the physical abuse. I vowed that I would NEVER treat my kids this way.  It was way harder to train myself not to smack them for spilling a glass of milk or making them feel lower than a snake for making a mistake, but I made it my priority because the way my mother treated me was NOT THEIR FAULTS.

Ex had a bully/ jerk for a father, but when the kids got older (and started to question Ex), Ex turned into his father - an abusive yeller, one of those "I'm the father, you must respect me, I know it all and you're dog c**p".  He actually started threatening to paddle our daughters when they were 12 or so! Ex never learned from his situation, he just reverted back to something that made HIM feel horrible growing up - and he got back in touch with the old man and they waged war against us. Neither of them have contact with the girls - these are Grandpa's only grandchildren and he just wrote them off because they dared to have a voice, an opinion, a life.  What do they say. .  if you don't learn from your mistakes, you are doomed to repeat them?

I don't concentrate on forgiving him or seeing him as human.  I'm unable to do that.  But as I concentrate on healing myself, I find that trying to figure out WHY a person could act like that fades from my thought process.  Why things happened doesn't matter as much - it happened and it's reality and what can I do to learn from it, to move on from it, and make sure I live my own life (which is the only thing I can control) as healthy as possible. I don't beat myself about something I'm not able to do at this time.

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« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2008, 01:26:06 PM »

It's an interesting plan when you just can't get past a hurt or injustice.

  • 1) Acknowledge the issue….


  • 2) Brainstorm ways to eliminate the emotional power that it has over you.


  • 3) You may also want to consider performing a sort of "goodbye ritual"


  • 4) Sometimes it helps to re-imagine the person/source in a whole new light – maybe something unfortunate has happened to them - that they are struggling in their own way... .


  • 5) And one way to "change the tape" is to add more layers to the story in your memory bank by "humanizing the villain." Specifically, if you make the deliberate choice to change the mental picture that you have had all these years…


I went through something very much like this myself. 

Number 4 is a good one - if the person affected by BPD is haunted by the disorder and acting out - then it's about their struggle - we are collateral damage in that battle (although the damage is very real). many with BPD often toy with ending their life - it doesn't get much worse than that.

Number 5 helped me a lot - in a way it is the final "disconnection" - putting it in its true perspective.

I added one more step that really helped... .

6) Being an emotional victim is a state of mind - it ends when you no longer allow it to be.

I decided one day to end the feeling - I wrestled with it for about 2 weeks or so ( I resfused to accept it anymore) and it then it started to fade away.

Great topic.

Skippy
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« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2008, 08:59:50 AM »

I am still totally working on this one.  How do I NOT do it?
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« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2008, 10:43:30 PM »

I went to my T on Tuesday.  It went great.  We're going to do EMDR to work on my fear of momster Jackal re-engaging Kendyl.  She said I have PTSD and the fear of losing my daughter is leaking out into my family life.  I'm jazzed about it. 

I'll let you guys know how it went.  Anyone else do EMDR for the same reason?
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« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2008, 01:35:39 PM »

This seems to need a kick start to get going again... .

For months now I have been using motivations, validations, anything I can find, things that I can read daily or books that fuel my personal power and let the light in... .with all that light there is no room for some dark figure to lurk about... .there are days that I don't work on it enough, but, I'm doin' pretty good... .even with continuing re-engagements... .

Anyone else have some suggestions? 
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« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2008, 05:47:48 PM »

This seems to need a kick start to get going again... .

For months now I have been using motivations, validations, anything I can find, things that I can read daily or books that fuel my personal power and let the light in... .with all that light there is no room for some dark figure to lurk about... .there are days that I don't work on it enough, but, I'm doin' pretty good... .even with continuing re-engagements... .

Anyone else have some suggestions? 

Hobbies, watching DVDs, listening to my IPOD have all have helped.

Keeping "my eye on the prize" has helped too.

I am in grad school right now, which is always a big hoop jump.  It is easy to let it get to you.  I just keep imagining the payoff at the end when the teacher starts babbling or gives a stupid assignment.

Same with work.  My one PT job is not that bad, but I am getting disrespected big time in some ways.  I nearly sent a really PO'd e-mail today but I stopped.  I need to keep this job until I am done with grad school.  They are paying the percentage of my tuition that is not already being paid by my other teaching job.  That equals a free degree.  I also make good hourly money and I know the job like the back of my hand, so the work part is easy.  The politics and laziness of my colleagues is what pisses me off.

So, what good would getting PO'd and alienting them now do?  No good at all.  I'd be out of a job, out of my tuiution reimbursement and alienating a school that I need to keep good relations with.  I am not losing by letting them think they are winning.  I am getting what I want too, and I have an exit plan. 

I have found that I am not up at night thinking about work any more so it must be working.
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« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2008, 12:03:19 AM »

Excerpt
3) You may also want to consider performing a sort of "goodbye ritual"

I really like the idea of number 3.

I think i'm going to brainstorm some way to use this regarding my PD parents and incorporate my innerchild into it.

She deserves to really get the message that shes safe now, that i'm in charge and that everythings going to be OK.

I'll let you know what i come up with.Thanks for the insight.

FS.

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AJMahari
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« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2008, 08:25:06 PM »

Another person can only rent space in our heads if we think about them. There are times and circumstances where it may seem next to impossible not to think about the borderline who is or was in your life. Focus is everything. It may sound overly simplified but so much of how we feel is the result of what we choose to think. So many non borderlines find it so difficult to stop focusing on (even after relationships are over) trying to make sense out of things in ways that just keep the tapes and thoughts going around and around essentially then allowing the borderline to rent space in your head.

Radical acceptance, a willing attitude to let go and surrender, over and over again, often, one thought at a time can and will work wonders for shifting focus, in the moment, one moment at a time in ways that can change what have been patterned and repetitive ways of thinking.

Allowing someone to rent space in your head can best be addressed at a cognitive level. Get in touch with what you are actually thinking. Sometimes, rather than distract or trying to push away the thoughts or tapes that keep coming back to your mind, it can be helpful to just mindfully radically accept their presence but in a way that does not engage these thoughts or tapes.

It is the engaging of the thoughts or tapes that is the process by which your focus shifts in ways that you then end up renting that space to the tenants that are the ghosts of unresolved hurt.
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elphaba
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« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2008, 06:18:08 AM »

Excerpt
It is the engaging of the thoughts or tapes that is the process by which your focus shifts in ways that you then end up renting that space to the tenants that are the ghosts of unresolved hurt.

Thank you AJ - this is excellent!
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« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2009, 08:50:04 AM »

It has been a while since I wrote something here as I took the time and the distance to work on myself.

Although I was still living in the FOG I took some steps to disengage from my BPD friend but not fast enough so he got the chance to really badly hurt me.  Although the pain is really bad, I came to realise that this pain is not only caused by him but that part of it was coming from the little girl inside of me who wanted so much to hear from her parents that they were proud of here.

I always believed that people come into your life for a certain reason, so I guess my BPD friend came into mine to open these old wounds.  Like I said, it is very painfull but I have to face this and most of the time I'm proud of myself.

What I did to stop them renting space in my head:

I wrote letters to my father, my mother and to my friend in which I explained how they made me feel and what I felt about it.  I wrote how much it hurt me and what it did to me.

Their way of thinking is so unreal that giving them these letters (dad is too late he died 5 years ago) would only be another way for them to find a way to blame me for everything, so I decided that I will hold 3 different memorial services and at the end of each service I will light up his or her letter and watch it burn and see the smoke go up.

For the rest, each time my mind wonders off to my friend I stay several times stop to myself and try to focus on something else.

1 big problem remains however, we are working together so I still have to see him and I still feel an emotional wreckage after he comes to my desk to talk.  The friendly part of me still hasn't found the courage to tell him to leave me alone.  Not so much for him but especially for my coworkers who can see that I'm not too well at the moment and I don't want to have the name of the unstable one who is nasty to him... .some advise would be welcome here
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« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2009, 04:55:45 PM »

Bah,

If only I could get the squatters in my head to pay rent!

Time for an eviction, I think.

Shane
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« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2009, 11:32:50 PM »



Hi FMA and thank you for this workshop, Elphaba


Although the pain is really bad, I came to realise that this pain is not only caused by him but that part of it was coming from the little girl inside of me who wanted so much to hear from her parents that they were proud of here.

This resonates quite a bit, FMA.  I think one of the things that I was drawn to was that in the adoration I absorbed and allowed, I set it up (yes, with help from her) to base my validation on "making her proud of me."  As best as I can figure it now, this took the place of the approval I never got as a child.  In recognizing this, I'm now able to be much more in tune that it's really me, that is telling me that I'm proud of what a good job I do, etc. and in turn, I was able to reject her voice in my head and replace it with my own.  I had to be very mindful at first but it shortly became first nature to make the switch.  In addition I have been building a much more healthy sense of self esteem as I am in control of being reality based in self praise rather than the illusion/agenda based praise I received from her at times.

I like the ritual of writing and burning too.  I've done so with more recent journals and am planning another one in the presence of my counselor.  I'm saving some older journals/transcripts for legal reasons and on the advice of an attorney who was also married to a BP but eventually those will go too.  I think it helps to have someone present in some of these times but not just anyone... .someone who really understands what we have gone through if at all possible.

Something else that has brought me allot of peace is to work on real forgiveness.  Man it can be so difficult to reach for that in a direct way toward my former even by taking an honest self evaluation in order to see my part in things.  Something that has been helping me allot in forgiveness is that I flashed upon a very loving expression from someone else in my history other than the BP.  The relationship was one of the best I have ever had and one of my biggest regrets yet I have so much gratitude to have both loved and to have been loved by her.  I carry that with me always now because she was such a stark contrast to the BP I married and now sets the standard for what I would look for in another relationship... .were I looking... .which I am becoming open to. I have about 6 months to go but I'm not as rigid about the time frame anymore... .more with my own growth.

The way this has been working in me is that, this love was given to me so freely with all my flaws and attributes and as I loved (and still do) her with all of hers, the way for me to receive it within myself is to connect with that expression... .at that time.  At the end of our relationship we talked and forgave each other for our mistakes.

I can still receive this forgiveness but there is a price.  The price is that I also must pay it forward to my former.  Whether or not my BP former forgives me for my infractions means nothing to me at this time and the way I feel this working is that as I do forgive my former, should she ever seek forgiveness from me within herself (without contact) she will need to forgive someone that hurts her and I have no doubt that it'll happen... .and pay it forward. 

Of course I have no control over what she does or thinks nor do I want any.  I don't care about what she chooses for her life now or at any time and the forgiveness is not about her... .it's about me.  It's about understanding that I so highly value the loving forgiveness from the good human being before her that lives inside of me as a gift of experience... .so I pay the price and forgive the BP-ex... .Gladly.

The gift of peace, when I reach for it (and I have to reach for it which makes it that much more valuable) is something I can't describe so the trade is well worth it and the space in my head is given over to what truly matters... .now.

Peace, UFH

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Validation78
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« Reply #24 on: June 19, 2013, 06:44:16 AM »

Hi All!

When I start thinking about my exBPDh I recite these affirmations:

Letting go will help me to be healthy

I control my own life and decisions

I am healthy

I am strong

I feel good about my decision to let go

Letting go is healthy

Consider this your eviction notice pwBPD!

Best Wishes,

Val78
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« Reply #25 on: June 19, 2013, 12:59:26 PM »

Thanks!   Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

I needed to see this thread because it completely validates my thoughts lately. I have come to realize giving my exBPD any attention validates her existance and drains me of my very souls substance. It seems to be what feeds her inner emptyness and in the process drains me. Even if the attention she is getting is negative, it does not matter. She knows she is still in my head and thats all she needs to move forward with her new relationships.

I am starting to better understand her growing up years (I know her mother quite well anymore and many of the observers that saw her youth. Mom is waif/witch BPD) It then makes perfect sense that she needs attention, even if its disaproving of her, it doesnt matter. Its still attention (headspace from me) That is EXACTLY what she got from her mother since the first day she took a breath.

Thats exactly why NC seems to work so well.

Ironically it seems to invigorate her even if she is merely in my thoughts throughout the day, if that makes any sense?

Anyone else feel that their thoughts feeds their partner/ex partners' disfunction?
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Mutt
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« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2015, 11:23:05 AM »

Great topic. I have been getting triggered this last month because my ex has been emotionally dysregulated. Some of the email messages and her wording triggered memories of the most difficult final few months of the relationship and her dissociative phase.

Some memories as recent as a couple of years ago and further are vivid. I have found that what has helped me is with empathizing and changing the POV. For example schema and the punitive parent, she has a hidden tape that self criticizes that gets triggered and she projects.

Lately she has been struggling with her emotions in her current relationship and has lashed out at me. It has helped me with memories by adding an "extra layer to the tape."

There's a lot of helpful tips and I would like to add that what I find helps me is I let myself feel the emotions and use mindfulness to alleviate anxious feelings when triggered. 
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« Reply #27 on: October 20, 2015, 10:03:54 PM »

I have been guilty of this lately (allowing my ex to be in my thoughts more than I should) and it somehow runs contrary to the hard work I've done on myself, which I think that's why it has been so exhausting.  I finally got free of the day to day anxiety and "walking on eggshells" but I guess because I'm not used to it, some days I still get stuck thinking too much.  I know I'm working on healing and moving forward, and that it will take time, but I should work harder on redirecting my thoughts when it gets me down.  Thanks for the reminder.
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« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2015, 08:07:27 PM »

Trying to get to a better place with my Dh's exgf that has BPD. She won't let go, they have a D7.

I told the T recently that I say her name more in a day than my own. There HAS to be something wrong with that. I am forced to think about and read her emails, and her daughter repeats her nasty remarks. She brings mom's "reminders" back to dads house and it all just feels like too much.

I know this seems like I'm giving her too much power, but it feels like she just takes it. I want her out of our lives. We have marginalized her as much as we can. There is no contact, hasn't been for years. Everything on our end goes through attoneys. So she just shows up and takes SD from school. So we call attorney and that's $400. She doesn't pay what she owes us now, so suing for attorney fees seems pointless. We have to read emails she sends, which are mostly grotesque accusations that aren't addressed or responded to. She truly gets no attention from us. But then she focuses all her energy onto SD7, and tries to alienate her in the worst way.

I am very unhappy. I hate that she would love that. :'( But who in their right mind would be happy with this unstable mean awful woman attacking you weekly, and I've never even met her! She won't be civil enough to even say hello. We are painted SO black its ridiculous.

She isn't just renting space, she's moved in, remodeled and putting in a pool.
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