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Author Topic: Hold Me Tight ~ Sue Johnson Phd  (Read 754 times)
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Relationship status: single
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« on: March 07, 2013, 03:47:42 AM »

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love
Author: Sue Johnson PhD
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1st edition (April 8, 2008)
Paperback: 300 pages
ISBN-10: 031611300X
ISBN-13: 978-0316113007

I found some interesting support for the theme I'm reading from some posters here -- about how we are NOT meant to draw all meaning from ourselves, be completely able to make ourselves happy independent of others -- in this remarkable book Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, by Sue Johnson.  I learned of the book in some posts on here.  The book applies attachment theory to adult relationships -- which helps to explain, by the way, how some of us without evident FOO abandonment issues get spun into acute abandonment crises by these adult BPD relationships.  But more fundamentally, she takes issue with the approach that says we are all supposed to be fundamentally emotionally self-sufficient.  She says no, we have a strong instinct to take emotional shelter in the love of another.
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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Posts: 130

« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2014, 10:52:03 AM »

I highly recommend this book about Attachment Theory and how it affects relationships. Would love to talk more about them.  There is a good general conversation on the subject here: https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=226082.0

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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Posts: 36

« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2017, 11:55:50 AM »

Date: Apr 2010Minutes: 5:05

Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson

I have heard a couple of people whose opinions I admire recommend the work of therapist Sue Johnson (Canada) for personality-disordered individuals and partners.  :)r. Craig Childress ("Foundations" recommends her work, for instance, as does Craig Malkin ("Rethinking Narcissism".  

Sue Johnson has written a couple of popular titles, including "Hold Me Tight."  Worth looking at.  Try her website too.  She developed Emotionally Focused Couple and Family Therapy.  

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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 446

« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2018, 05:42:21 AM »

I originally posted this on a thread about books, but I wanted to give it its own thread so more people can see it and hopefully benefit from it. I'm not usually a "salesy" kind of person trying to pitch books and products, but I cannot recommend this book strongly enough for anyone struggling with a difficult relationship:

Hold Me Tight, by Sue Johnson.

It is actually NOT about BPD, but more about patterns of conflict in a relationship, why they happen, and how to overcome them. The information I gleaned from this book (and my BPD partner as well - it was easy to get him to read it because it is not about his "disorder" at all) has been more helpful for us than anything else out there (besides our EFT sessions with our T who recommended the book to us.)

One of the things I have come to realize in all of this is that BPD truly IS a spectrum. Some people are severely adversely affected by it, perhaps so far as to be unable to hold a job, or to stop self-harming. This isn't the majority though, and many of those really extreme behaviors are "last line" behaviors that come from a long history of not having any relief from their illness, or any understanding from those around them, or any "healthy connections" with others. No pwBPD's first symptom is a suicide attempt, or a severe self injury. It starts out more subtle, and the more alienated the person becomes from society and their loved ones, the more extreme their behavior becomes.

I've also come to learn that BPD, and many of the traits associated with it, like many other "letter combinations"... .can often be just personality variants that don't fit in so snugly with polite society's very narrow definition of "acceptable" behavior. The ADHD child in class might be intellectually underchallenged and better suited to physical learning activities than "classroom incubation". The BPD might be a highly intuitive, sensitive person who isn't understood by many others, but with the right kinds of people - can get along great, be functional, and even highly empathic. (Many BPD's are fantastic nurses, caregivers, teachers etc... .)

Once I was able to "forget" my partner's diagnosis, and instead address how he processes his feelings and how I can better respond to him (not by enabling and becoming a doormat, but by doing other things that are simply common courtesy that I wasn't even aware I was missing) things improved between us a lot, and still continue to. We were in absolute full-blown crisis before we went to our T and read this book. The difference now is remarkable - largely because I had the not-so-pleasant realization that I was 50% responsible for our conflicts getting as bad as they did. It was NOT all his fault. All we have done now is make subtle changes in how we project our frustrations, and listen to each others' - and it's working.

There are even exercises in the book you can do with your partner, (or on your own) to get a better understanding of why trouble starts and how to prevent it, or stop it in its tracks.

One thing I noticed when I read this book was that when the couples profiled in it shared their stories - it could have been me and my partner telling those stories. And these are non-BPD couples. But conflict, and what exacerbates it is essentially the same for everybody. It's just heightened with BPD's because they are more sensitive to upset, and more emotionally fragile and volatile than a non-disordered person.  But the core reasons for their actions and reactions are the same as for anyone else in pain.


"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2018, 09:00:32 AM »

This gives a good sense of Johnson's EFT and how to move to a more secure bond.

Date: 7-2014Minutes: 23:44

How to Love Intelligently - Sue Johnson PhD

Tattered Heart
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Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 1943

« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2018, 09:07:17 AM »

I'm glad you found help through this book. Like you I had to stop seeing my H as a disorder and begin seeing him as a person with a disorder. I would often dismiss his behavior (and sometimes any feelings he had) as only an off shoot of BPD. When I realized I was doing this I began to change the way I approached him and first listened to him. It was only AFTER the conversations that I would view it through the lens of how BPD affected things.

I can now say, "Oh my H felt this and reacted this way. The feelings he had were just his feelings and neither good or bad. I can help him with those. His reaction to those feelings is the BPD speaking, but if I address the normal feelings, then the BPD behavior is not as severe."

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life Proverbs 13:12

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