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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSONALITY DISORDERS
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Author Topic: What is meant by diminished executive function (poor executive control)?  (Read 44816 times)
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« on: August 22, 2008, 08:47:57 PM »

People affected by Borderline Personality Disorder generally have diminished executive functions.

Executive functions and cognitive control are terms used by psychologists and neuroscientists to describe a loosely defined collection of brain processes whose role is to guide thought and behavior in accordance with a persons goals or plans.

Often the executive functions are invoked when it is necessary to override immediate stimuli that may be in conflict with the goals or plans.

For example, on being presented with an insult, the automatic response might be to retaliate. However, where this behavior conflicts with internal plans (such as wanting to be "level headed"), the executive functions could engage to inhibit the retaliation.

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ozzy
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2008, 10:05:15 AM »

This makes perfect sense to me. My executive functions have been "out of order" for the duration of my relationship with a potential BP.

I do feel though that with my search for answers and eventual stumbling upon this forum, the bigger perspective has forced me to review my own habits and understand that I have been a willing participant and "dance partner".

I believe that this is why many refer to their experience as an important component in their own journey's as ultimately, with improved understanding, we become better people in our own right and learn the value of executive control.

Anyone who, in hindsight, regrets their involvement with a person who demonstates these behaviours is unfortunately missing this opportunity for personal growth.

I understand that this question was asked in the context of the person with the disorder, I am simply suggesting that we can take on this characteristic when enmeshed as well.
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Randi Kreger
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2008, 01:33:06 PM »

This is also sometimes called impulse control--impulsiveness being one of the defining characteristics of BPD. This is biologically based. When you're talking about "biologically based," it means either or both:* The chemical brain--neurotransmitters and such.* The physical brain--what you can hold in your hand in a labImpulsivity can be passed genetically and is associated with many BPD traits, including rage, emotional instability, suicidal thoughts, and self-injury. Impulsiveness + rage= impulsive aggression or the "border-lion," which I talk about in my new book, The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder. Warmly,Randi
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lbjnltx
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« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2011, 08:52:15 PM »

my daughter, 14 was diagnosed odd at age 10.5, emerging BPD at age 12, mdd at age 12 and developed psychotic features at 13...the therapist at the rtc she was in for 9.5 months suspected she may have add/adhd...we began neurofeedback therapy a few weeks ago...had the tova test where my d14 scored "borderline adhd"...she is much more "impulsive" than hyper or attention deficit.  we will see if the therapy makes a big difference.

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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2011, 12:21:50 PM »

My ex-wife's executive function and impulse control capacities are completely undermined when she drinks, and I do mean completely. When not drinking (during the day or if she has to drive), these otherwise comport with standard BPD behavior, which I suppose is something of a conundrum. For example, when she leaves work to pick up her boy-toy for the weekend stay at her house, she is obviously exercising an appropriate (for her) level of executive function. But when she hits on and kisses a married friend of forty years under the influence of his Lord Calvert, maybe not so much. I really dunno where the executive function begins and ends with BPD, except of course that it certainly ends with her drinking, and as she does this every night I suppose the loss of EF began sooner, as a symptom of her BPD.

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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2011, 06:10:04 PM »

In recent years, neuropsychologists have located a set of brain areas located in the frontal lobe (around the forehead) of humans that support self-control processes. These so-called “executive functions”, which were the last bit of our brain to evolve, involve the ability to plan, inhibit, or delay responding. Whenever someone must focus hard on a task and ignore distractions, this area is particularly active. The extent to which these areas of the brain light up predicts a lot of important outcomes, including whether people are likely to follow the rule norms of society, resist a wide variety of temptations, and engage in risky behaviors. Executive control even predicts the ability to resist the urge to eat M&M’s when on a diet

www.counsellingcentral.com/why-dont-we-all-cheat-on-our-partners-the-importance-of-executive-control/

Now it makes more sense...and is more worrying sad
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« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2011, 03:51:20 PM »

This makes perfect sense to me. My executive functions have been "out of order" for the duration of my relationship with a potential BP.

I do feel though that with my search for answers and eventual stumbling upon this forum, the bigger perspective has forced me to review my own habits and understand that I have been a willing participant and "dance partner".

I believe that this is why many refer to their experience as an important component in their own journey's as ultimately, with improved understanding, we become better people in our own right and learn the value of executive control.

Anyone who, in hindsight, regrets their involvement with a person who demonstates these behaviours is unfortunately missing this opportunity for personal growth.

I understand that this question was asked in the context of the person with the disorder, I am simply suggesting that we can take on this characteristic when enmeshed as well.

I really appreciated this response. I too never wanted to pass the buck on taking responsibility for my own loss of executive control in dealing with my exBPDbf, but I do know certainly that it was enhanced or affected by being in that relationship. I often felt like I had to do the same things he did in order to be heard by him.  His rages were so thunderous I would feel drowned out, forced to compete for a space to occupy in the exchange of ideas.

It reminds me of how people say that you can become your worst version of yourself in a bad relationship, or if it brings out the worst in you...also made me think of those phrases: "when you play with children, you end up in the sandbox" or "when u mess with trash, you end up getting dirty"...Not to call BPDs children or trash exactly, but the sentiment is there - you engage with someone and the more you attempt to speak their language you end up crossing a line into the way that they communicate.

I definitely witnessed this lack of executive function in my BPDex many times, and most certainly after drinking. Even 1-2 drinks I would see clear effect in his behavior. He would be quick to say "Im not drunk" like it was SO out of question. But I could see it clear as day. There would be no restraint in driving his most inner-desired thought processes and instinctual behaviors.

A facinating topic.
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« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2011, 11:05:34 PM »

Why is it that many BPD's seem to be unable to logically reason out the consequences of their decisions, even though they may be intelligent and successful? For instance, they think they can spend all their money and somehow they will magically get more, or they can stay up all night and somehow they will get through work the next day (and the next and the next), or they can abuse the rules of etiquette (as well as their loved ones) and "it will be fine."  These kinds of things should be no-brainers.  But even smart BPD's seem to lose their ability to reason or plan ahead.  What triggers this?  My uBPDD18 breezed through two semesters of calculus and chemistry.  She can make a coherent logical argument in a well written essay.  She can take care of her horse, plan his training and care, and pay his board on time. She can obviously reason - but only some of the time.  When a personal relationship isn't working, or when she wants something and wants it NOW, all reasoning seems to disappear.  It goes way beyond normal 18 year old impulsivity or emotional immaturity.  She can lie to my face, knowing that I know the truth, and still continue to lie.  Once she insisted that a pair of guy's shoes next to her door were not guy's shoes, and another time that a bent rim on the car wasn't bent.   She will lie when there is nothing to gain by it, and she will spend every penny on anything she wants, even knowing that more bills are coming up.  Sure, everyone does irrational things some of the time, but usually we know when we've done it and most likely we will admit it and face the consequences.  She doesn't even know.  But she can do calc problems or debate religious philosophies.  How does that happen?
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« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2011, 11:03:09 AM »

pwBPD, high functioning ones, can operate in a "normal" capacity when emotions are not involved...when emotions are involved...that is when trouble strikes shocked
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« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2014, 07:25:49 PM »

There is some irony in my life regarding this topic.

My dxBPDh lack of impulse control or executive function wreaked havoc in my life. Yet within the safety of the insane relationship chaos, I released my own inhibitions for a year or so in the latter part of our relationship. I allowed myself the option to do whatever I was feeling regardless of consequence even if it hurt those around me. I gave him some (verbal) abuse back to him during this period. Now, I know this was my chance to validate the dark side of my ego ~ what I think kids do in healthier families as they are growing up (temper tantrums, biting other kids in day care, revenge, etc.) not as adults/parents with major responsibility. Without my ex, how would I have had this chance?

So my ex's lack of executive function led to me removing my executive function which led to me having a now more authentic and stronger executive function.

A major reason why my executive function is more authentic and stronger now is because I proved to myself I can choose another option. I have the freedom and ability to do what I want when I want.

I am grateful to me for having the courage to go through this internal battle and to my ex even after all of the abuse (which by the way, is soo much better now - hallelujah  although not living together helps  wink) for providing a "safe" environment for me to let loose.

I don't know if ozzy is still around but I agree with him:

This makes perfect sense to me. My executive functions have been "out of order" for the duration of my relationship with a potential BP.

I do feel though that with my search for answers and eventual stumbling upon this forum, the bigger perspective has forced me to review my own habits and understand that I have been a willing participant and "dance partner".

I believe that this is why many refer to their experience as an important component in their own journey's as ultimately, with improved understanding, we become better people in our own right and learn the value of executive control.

Anyone who, in hindsight, regrets their involvement with a person who demonstates these behaviours is unfortunately missing this opportunity for personal growth.

I understand that this question was asked in the context of the person with the disorder, I am simply suggesting that we can take on this characteristic when enmeshed as well.

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