Home page of BPDFamily.com, online relationship supportMember registration here
December 11, 2019, 07:35:00 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Board Admins: FaithHopeLove, Harri, Once Removed
Senior Ambassadors: Cat Familiar, I Am Redeemed, Mutt, Turkish
Ambassadors: Enabler, Forgiveness, formflier, GaGrl,  khibomsis , Longterm, Ozzie101, pursuingJoy, Swimmy55, zachira
  Help!   Groups   Please Donate Login to Post New?--Click here to register  
bing
Poll
Question: How do you rate this article?
Excellent - 31 (56.4%)
Good - 18 (32.7%)
Fair - 3 (5.5%)
Poor - 3 (5.5%)
Total Voters: 53

Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: POLL: Radical Acceptance - Marsha Linehan PhD  (Read 9919 times)
BPDFamily
Site Director
***
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 231



WWW
« on: February 22, 2009, 07:43:44 PM »

RADICAL ACCEPTANCE
by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D.

dbtselfhelp.com/html/radical_acceptance.html


FROM SUFFERING TO FREEDOM: PRACTICING REALITY ACCEPTANCE

Have you ever wondered why some people get destroyed by suffering, and other people, when they suffer, they don't get destroyed. In fact, some people not only don't get destroyed by suffering, but they... .they seem to become even stronger just by going through suffering.  Have you ever thought about that?

Well, I didn't think about for a long time because I was brought up believing that suffering is something everybody can go through.  So I was just brought up thinking that. So I always thought it was true. That if you wanted to go through it, you could.

Then when I started working with people who suffer a lot, both as a psychotherapist but also I've worked a lot with the poor and with the homeless, I started realizing, hey wait a minute, I'm not so sure this is true. Everybody doesn't go through suffering.  Some people get destroyed by suffering. Despite their best efforts, some people simply get destroyed.

So I started asking myself what was the difference.  I mean, what was the difference between the person who gets destroyed and the person who doesn't. Why is it that when some people get knocked down, they keep going. They get knocked down, they get up, and they go again. Other people, they get knocked down and they just stay down; they never get up.

So I thought to myself, well, I need to find the answer to this question.  Mainly 'cause I work with a lot of people who suffer, and I work with a lot of people who seem to be getting destroyed by it. So I thought, well, if I can find the answer to that question, I could teach it and I could help the people that I work with. So I started to try to figure it out. So I thought a lot about it. I also did a lot of reading. I decided, alright, the thing to do is I'll try to read as much as I can about people who have lots of suffering in their lives, tragedies and traumas, and the people who somehow make it, and I'll try to figure out, what's the difference between the people who make it and people who don't make it.

The purpose of this program is for me to teach you what I've learned.  In all the readings that I've done, all the thinking that I've done, and all the people I've talked to.  What we're going to focus on in this program is how to make it; how to keep yourself from being destroyed.  Even how to grow or to build when a life that you're living feels like it's not worth living.

We're going to talk about 3 sets of skills, or 3 sets of behaviours. Three things to practice.  These seem to be what the people who grow all have in common.

So, there's a lot of information that's going to be coming your way in this particular program.  You may want to take some notes. Most people find that pretty useful. So if you want to take some notes, I recommend that you do.  The thing to do right now is to get up and put this program on pause. Go get yourself some paper; get a pencil or a pen; come back; hit the start button; get yourself all comfy again and get ready to go.

Now while you're doing all of that, I'm going to get myself all organized. I'm going to get all organized and be ready to teach the skills when you get back.

One more thing.  If you just so happen to have my skills training book, when you get up to go get paper, go get your skills training manual. If you don't have the manual but you've got the handouts, well go get your handouts.  Bring them back.  And when you come back and sit down, you're going to want to open your book up and you're going to find the following handouts. You're going to find "Basic Principles of Accepting Reality."  And there are two pages. On the first page you're going to have Radical Acceptance, Turning the Mind. We're going to be going over those skills. And on the second page you're going to have Willingness and Willfulness. We're going to go over those too.  And when you get back, I'll be back.  I'll be ready so I hope you are.  Let's go.

There may be an infinite number of really painful things that can happen to you. But there are not an infinite number of responses you can make to pain.  In fact, if you sit back and think about it, there are only four. There are only four things you can do when painful problems come into your life.

What do you think they are?  Think for a minute. A problem is in your life, pain, suffering, something you don't want in it.  How can you respond?

Well the first thing you could do is you could do is you could solve the problem.  You can figure out a way to either end the painful event or you could figure out a way to leave the situation that's so painful. That's the first thing you could do.  Solve the problem.

What's the second thing you could do?  You could try to change how you feel about the problem; to figure out a way to take a negative in your life and make it into a positive. Alright, so that's the second thing you could do.

What's your other option?  You could accept it.  So that's the third thing you can do. You could just accept the problem.

Ok.  That's not everything you could do. There is a fourth alternative. What do you think it is? You could stay miserable. That's the only other option you've got.

So you've got to either solve it, change how you feel about it, accept it, or stay miserable.


The skills I'm going to talking about, you could call them 'Reality Acceptance Skills'.    And there are three:  radical acceptance, turning the mind, and willingness. We're going start with the first one, radical acceptance.
 

Radical Acceptance

Can you think of any really serious problems, really serious pain, serious traumas, things that make you really unhappy that you can't change? Maybe you've had a child who's died. People who have had a child who's died never get over it. Maybe you have a permanent disability.

 What are your options?  You can be miserable or you can accept the reality that you've got it.  Maybe you've had a really painful childhood.  You know, a lot of people have to live with that; you just have to live with the fact that those happy childhoods you see on tv aren't in your life and there's nothing you can do about it.  Maybe you didn't get a job that you really wanted - there's nothing you can do about it.

These are just not the kind of things you can start being happy about. So what are your options?  You can either be miserable or you can figure out a way to accept the reality of your own life.

So what's Radical Acceptance?  What do I mean by the word 'radical'? Radical means complete and total.  It's when you accept something from the depths of your soul.  When you accept it in your mind, in your heart, and even with your body. It's total and complete.

When you've radically accepted something, you're not fighting it.  It's when you stop fighting reality.  That's what radical acceptance is.

The problem is, telling you what it is and telling you how to do it are two different things.  Radical acceptance can't really be completely explained.  Why not?  Because it's something that is interior - it's something that goes on inside yourself.  But all of us have experienced radical acceptance so what I want you to do right now is to try to focus in on sometime in your life when you've actually accepted something, radically - completely and totally.

So let's think about it. When might that be?  Well, think back in your own life to either something you've lost, perhaps someone you've loved has died, or something that you really wanted that you didn't get - a job you really wanted and you didn't get it.

Think about something you wanted that you either didn't get or something that you had that you've lost.  Now, sit back, close your eyes and go back in time to right before you found out that you've lost what you had or right before you've found out that you weren't going to get what you wanted. Imagine that again.  Kind of go back there.  And then go through that period were you weren't accepting it, and then move to imagining when you did accept it. So kind of like, relive that.

Most people can find some place in their life where that's happened to them and where they've accepted it, and that's what I mean by radical acceptance.

I'm guessing some of you tried that exercise and you just couldn't think of any time when you've accepted something. So you couldn't imagine what it felt like cause you couldn't even remember a time when you have done it. Don't worry about it.  Just try it another time - maybe after the program, today, tomorrow, or some other day. Just see if you can go back to a time when you've accepted.

But for the moment, let me tell you what it might feel like. Often when you've accepted you have this sense of letting go of the struggle.  It's just like you've been struggling and now you're not. Sometimes, if you have accepted, you just have this sense of being centered, like you feel centered inside yourself somehow.

You may have a lot of sadness. Acceptance often goes with a lot of sadness actually, but even though you've got sadness, there's a feeling like a burden's lifted. Usually if you've accepted, you feel, well, ready to move on with your life.  Sort of feel free, ready to move. So that's what it feels like.
Let's keep going.  Pain is pain. Suffering, agony, are pain plus non-acceptance.  So if you take pain, add non-acceptance you end up with suffering.  Radical acceptance transforms suffering into ordinary pain.

There are three parts to radical acceptance. The first part is accepting that reality is what it is.  The second part is accepting that the event or situation causing you pain has a cause.  The third part is accepting life can be worth living even with painful events in it.



Accepting Reality for What It Is

So let's start with the first, accepting reality for what it is. What do we mean by that? Well, I'll give you an example from my own life.  This is a good example because it makes the point that acceptance can actually do you some good.

I once had this job - I was a clerk typist for a big insurance company.  But, I really wanted to be a social worker.  So I applied for a new job. I went to an employment agency and I asked them to help me get a new job and I told them I wanted a job in social work. So, they got me a job in social work.  So I gave notice to the job that I had, which was a really good job in the sense that the people were fabulous and I got paid at least enough to live on. And I gave them notice, I quit that job and I went to the social work job.

I was so excited I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I was.  Ah! I've got a job in social work! So I went in, so the first day, you know you have to do training and stuff, so what did they have me do?  Well, they had me typing. So I typed all day and I was thinking, 'Oh well, it's not so terrible, I'm not going to have to keep typing'.

But the second day, what did they have me do?  I was typing again. So I went and talked to my supervisor and I said, 'Well, when am I going to get to do the social work?'  She said 'What do you mean?'  I said, 'Well, I mean when do I get to do something like social work work?'  She said, 'What do you mean?  Your job is typing.'

And the first thing that went through my mind was that 'No, that is not true.  I took a job with a social work agency.  This can't be true.'

And I actually thought of staying. I thought of staying and trying to make it into a social work job. That would be denying reality.  Because the facts of the matter are, it really was a typing job.  So what are my options? Well, I could have stayed miserable, I could have gotten hysterical. I could have stayed there, fought, told them that they should make it into social work, how mean they were for not doing that. I could have done a lot of things.

My other option was just to accept this was not a social work job. I made a mistake.  I needed to correct the mistake. And the way to correct that mistake? Well, it was to get another job. So, that's just what I did.  When my next break came, I called the employment agency; I told them I'd made a mistake. I needed another job. They said fine, they looked for it.  It took two weeks but I found another job.  I was a lot happier.

Now think about your own life. What is the reality that you are denying?  What are you not accepting for what it is?


Everything has a Cause

The second part to accepting is accepting that every event and every situation has a cause.  Accepting that every event has a cause is the opposite of saying 'why me'.

Now there's another opposite for thinking events have causes and that opposite is when you say things should not be the way they are. Now 'should not be the way they are' in non-acceptance.  We never say that about things we're accepting or we like or we want.  We say 'should not' about things that we think aren't caused - they should not be this way.

So the opposite of should not is should. And once you think that everything has a cause, then you think reality should be the way it is. Acceptance from this point of view is when you say 'everything should be as it is'.

So I'm going to give you an example. Imagine that there's a child on a bicycle. And the child is on a hill, and the child is racing down the hill, really fast on his bicycle. And he goes into an intersection and coming the other direction is a car.  And that car is driving, let's say at the speed limit - that car's not speeding.  But the intersection's unmarked. There's not a stop sign, there's not a stop light and there's not a yield sign.

So we're going to imagine the kid is racing down the hill. The car's coming the other way and they meet up right in the middle of the intersection. The car hits the kid and the kid dies.

If you say it should not have happened, I would say 'well, it should have'.  There wasn't a stop sign. There wasn't a stop light. There wasn't a yield sign. The kid was going fast.  The car was going the speed limit.  Something blocked the driver's view. The child was a child. Children go fast.

If you wanted to say that should not have happened, you would have to create causes for it not to happen.  You'd have to do something about all those causes.

That's an example of accepting reality as it is and accepting that reality has causes. Now, do you think I approve of this? Do you think you think I think it's good?  Is acceptance saying it's good that the child got hit by the car?  No. Is that what I want? No.  I were the child's mother am I going to go on a campaign, get stops signs put there or make the speed limit lower? Yes. Will I teach my child not to race down hills?  I will certainly try.

But, until the causes are different, that event should happen. It was caused.

So think of a situation in your life.  Can you think of one? Can you think of one where you've been saying 'why me' or 'it shouldn't have happened'? See if you can think of one.

What's acceptance? Radical acceptance? Radical acceptance is not necessarily knowing what the causes are.  Like in the example with the car.  Well, alright, I don't if the problem was that there wasn't a stop sign or if the speed limit was too fast.  I don't really know.  But I accept that there was a cause, even if I don't know it.

So think of a situation in your life.  See if you can radically accept that even though it's not clear what the cause is, there is some cause.

Think back in your life, something either about yourself that you found hard to accept or something in someone else that you found hard to accept but it's not really a catastrophe.  Alright.  You got it? Now think through. What caused that event to happen?  So what you want to go through in your mind is just be thinking, 'now why did that happen? What caused it?' 'Cause often when we don't accept something, you know you say 'it shouldn't have happened.'

Like somehow the rules in the universe should be different.  So the first thing you want to say when you're trying to accept is to say 'wait a second, the rules of the universe are the rules of the universe.' Then you try to figure out what caused it.

Now you know, most times when people don't accept things, they start saying things shouldn't be the way they are. Have you ever noticed that?  You say that? 'This shouldn't be that way.'  We all do it. So if what you are trying to practice is acceptance, you're going to try to go the other way. You're going to try to say everything is as it should be.

That's the way you practice. First you think what caused it.  And as you notice what caused it, you're going to notice that what happened, should have happened, given those causes.

Sort of sounds like I'm saying if you can change your thinking everything will be alright. Right? Does sound that way but it's not true. Now acceptance is a lot easier if you can change your thinking.  But that's not all there is to it, especially not with radical acceptance.

The whole idea in radical acceptance is you've got to accept all the way.  You accept with your mind, accept with your heart, you accept with your body.  Now how would you do that?  Well, the short answer is you practice.  What do you practice? Well, what you want to practice is 'letting go'.

You're going to let go of tension, tightness, let go of your muscles.  You know how when you are not accepting how you get all chunks:  your face gets tense, your arms get tense, your hands get tense.  Have you ever noticed that?  People get sick to their stomach when they're not accepting.  I mean, it's all around - your whole body just tightens up.

So, if you want to accept, start with just letting go. You can start letting go of your forehead, letting go of your eyes, letting go of your cheeks, letting go of your jaw, let go of your shoulders, let go of your arms, let go of your stomach, your legs, your calves, your feet.  Just start letting go.

Sometimes when people start letting go they say 'No! I don't want to!'  You tighten back up.  It's alright. Don't worry about it.  That happens, start over. Just start relaxing again. Just keep letting go.

You know acceptance, it's all about the word 'yes'.  It's yes to reality; it's yes to the moment; it's yes to just what is.

So another way to practice it is you could just walk outside, maybe late a night, look up at the stars and you could just say the word 'yes'. It's yes to the universe.  You could go out and practice every night.  You could say yes two times a night. So there are lots of ways to practice. You might think of other ways you could practice them. Lets go back to the program.


ACCEPT THAT LIFE CAN BE WORTH LIVING

So what else do you have to do?  You have to do one final thing. You have to accept that life can be worth living, even if really painful events are in your life.

What's that mean?  Well, it means that you have to find a way to not say that life is a catastrophe.

How about if we take an example. You get thrown in jail for a crime you didn't commit.  You are innocent. And now it's gone to the Supreme Court.  And they didn't overturn your conviction. So it's looking like not only are you in jail... .Let's imagine you're in there for something really serious so you're in there for life.  What are your options?

Well, you certainly can not solve that problem.  You're not going to get yourself out of jail. And to be honest, it just doesn't seem to me it's going to be possible that you're going to start being happy that you're an innocent person in jail.  So I think we're going to rule that one out.  So what are your options?

Ok.  You could be miserable, distraught, upset.  You could cry every day for the rest of your life.  Or, you could accept it and figure out a way to build a life worth living inside a prison.

To go from unendurable agony to endurable pain, you're going to have to accept that you can build a life.  Because if you don't accept it, what will happen?  You're not going to build a life. And building a life worth living actually takes a fair amount of work.  Believing that you can't do it makes it almost impossible.  Believing that you can do it makes it a lot easier, so the chances are a lot higher that you'll actually do it - you'll build a life worth living.

So what gets in the way of radical acceptance? Lots of things do. The most common thing that gets in the way is the belief that if you radically accept that means you're approving, you're going to be passive, you're resigned.

People I've worked with, they almost always so this. They say, 'what are you talking about? Me?  Radically accept?  I thought you were trying to teach me to stand up for myself. How could I do that by radically accepting?'

Other people say, 'Are you kidding?  That's the problem with the world.  We accept to much - the world is going to hell in a hand cart and no-one is doing anything about it.'

If you want to change something, you have to accept it first.  You can't change something you don't accept.  If you don't face the reality as it is, if you deny it how are you going to change it?  If you think there is no cause, it just happened magically or fate or luck, how are you going to change it?

So, acceptance is required.

Don't believe me, huh? Alright, I'll give you an example. Imagine the following. You're a person who is buying a new house. And you finally found the house of your dreams.

There's only one problem with the house. It's purple. And you hate the colour purple.  So you say when you buy, 'Alright, I'll pay you this much money' and you get it signed, sealed, delivered. When you get to that house, it is not going to be purple. Fine.  The big day comes, so exiting, you get your keys, you go to the house - not only is the house still purple, but the owners have moved and you don't even know where they are.

Alright. Who do you think would get that house changed the fastest? The person who walks in and says, 'Ah! I can't stand it!  This is a disaster. Oh God!  Where are those people? We've got to get this... .Ah! So mad!  Well I'm just not going to tolerate this!  I just can't believe... .'  And that person goes on and on and on. Maybe they storm out, get in their car, leave, they say, 'We're not buying that house.'  But can you get out of it?  No. That's one person.

Now imagine the other person.  They go in and say, 'Ah, so disappointed. I didn't want the house purple.  Alright, where's the nearest paint store?'

Who's going to get it changed first? The person who accepted that the walls were purple or the person who threw a tantrum? What do you think? Well it's the person who accepted.

So if you want things to change, accept them.  Then change them. Because when we talk about accepting reality as it is, we're not saying, 'Accept reality as it is and believe it can never change.' Reality is always changing.  If you want to have an influence on how it changes, you see your interest is to accept how it is right now.

It's really easy to accept things you like.  And when you're happy, you don't even think about accepting it. When things are going your way, they're what you approve of, what you want, acceptance is really easy.

So when is acceptance hard?  Well, it's the hardest when you hate what's happening to you.  Or your really disapprove of it.  Or, it's causing you a lot of pain. So the bottom line is, the higher the pain, the harder the acceptance.

Let me give you an example.  You get married to a nice guy.  Then you discover this guy has lots of wonderful qualities that you had actually never noticed. He's completely different than you thought.  He's ten times more wonderful than you thought.  Do you think that would be easy to accept or hard to accept?  Right!  Easy.

Well, let's take another case. You marry a guy, he's a nice enough guy. Now you're married.  You get to know him. And you discover he has lots of negative qualities.  In fact, he's got a lot of things about him that you had not known and you do not like. Easy or hard? Hard.

Now why do you think that is?  Why is it harder to accept really painful things? Generally, it's because secretly, somewhere inside us, we actually believe that if we refuse to accept something that we don't like, all we have to do is throw a tantrum or refuse to accept it.


TURNING YOUR MIND

The next skill we're going to talk about is the skill of turning your mind.  Now turning your mind is a great skill because radical acceptance is not something you can do once. It's something you have to do over and over and over.  And how do you get yourself to do that? You get yourself to do that by turning the mind.

What you have to practice is turning the mind towards acceptance.  It's a little bit like walking down a road and you keep coming to forks in the road.  One direction, accepting. The other direction, rejecting.

Turning the mind is when you keep turning your mind towards the acceptance road. So in life, you keep coming to forks and you have to keep turning the mind to the accepting road.

Getting yourself to do it can be really hard.  You have to practice over and over and over.  The good news is if you practice turning the mind towards acceptance, eventually you'll practice acceptance more often.  And if you do that, what happens? Suffering gets less intense. Suffering goes down to ordinary pain.
How do you do it?  Well, the first step is you have to actually notice that you're not accepting.  The tip off to not accepting generally is going to be anger, bitterness, annoyance. Or you may be falling into the sea of 'Why Me'. So you're going to want to notice that.

Or, you might find that you are always trying to escape reality. You're trying to block things out all the time.  You're hiding behind other things. Or you're covering up how you're really feeling with other things. You find yourself saying all the time, 'Why?  Why is this happening?  Why is this happening?'

So notice. Notice that you're not accepting.

The next step is make an inner commitment to accept. The inner commitment is the turning the mind to the road of accepting. This isn't accepting.  Don't worry, you don't have to do it right away, just have to make the commitment.
So go within yourself and make the commitment. In other words, go inside yourself and simply turn your mind towards acceptance.

The third step - do it again.  Sometimes you may have to do it again over and over many times in a minute. Sometimes you have to do it many times in a day.

So that's how you do it. Step one:  notice. Step two:  inner commitment. Step three:  do it again.


So let's take an example.  Let's imagine that you're on the bus and the bus is taking a really long time.  And you want to get where you're going.  So you look at your watch and it's already 45 minutes and it's usually only 20.

You may start noticing that you are having lots of non-acceptance thoughts.  'I can't stand this.' 'They have to hurry up.'  'This shouldn't be taking so long.' 'How much longer!  How much longer!  Ugh!'

Well, let's say that you've noticed all this, then you want to practice turning the mind.

First thing you might do is look at all those thoughts and see if you can replace them.  How could you do that?  Well, you could say, 'Alright this is a pain.  But it's not a catastrophe.'  You could say, 'I don't like it.  I'm frustrated.  I can stand it.'  You could say, 'Everything has a cause. There's a reason the bus driver doesn't drive better.'

Then, you could notice yourself. See that you're starting to get annoyed - fidget again.  You just repeat it. Over and over and over.

So the key idea here is that if you're trying to get from non-acceptance to radical acceptance, you first have to turn the mind.


WILLINGNESS AND WILFULNESS

Willlingness

So what's willingness? Willlingness is the realization that you are part of  and connected to some cosmic process. Not only that, but it's a commitment to active participation in that process.

Willingness is when you allow the world to be what it is.  And, no matter what it is, you agree to participate in the world.

So willingness has all to do with the attitude or the stance that you bring to life.

Life is a lot like being a batter in front of a pitching machine.  So what happens when you're in front of a pitching machine?  There's a machine and it's throwing balls at you. And you're standing at one end and the machine is at the other and the balls start coming.  You've got a bat.

Now, if the balls coming at you and the pitching machine is throwing them, what are your options?  Well, you could either take your bat, pull it back, try to hit the ball.  Or, you could throw a tantrum.  You could get really upset. You could say, 'It's coming too fast.  I don't like it.  I'm not doing it. I'm not hitting that ball anymore. Stop.'
You think the balls would stop coming if you did that? No.  Life is like that.  You can get as upset as you want about life but actually life just keeps coming - one moment right after the next.

What are your options? You can stand there, do nothing, let the ball go by. Or, you could stand in front of the ball and just get hit by it. Or, you could try to hit the ball. Willingness is trying to hit the ball.

Sometimes when I'm trying to explain willingness to people that I work with, I remind them that life is a lot like playing cards. So imagine that you are in a card game.  You get dealt a hand of cards, as does everybody else.  Now, what's the objective in a card game?  The objective is to play the cards you get. Right? That's the game - you get the cards, you play them.

So imagine you're at a card game; you get your cards; other people get their cards.  And one of the players gets mad about their cards, throws them down and says, 'I don't like my cards. I want more cards.'  You say, 'Well, those are the ones you got dealt.'  And they say, 'I don't care, it's not fair!'  You say, 'Well, those are your cards.' 'No! I'm not playing these cards.'

What would you think?  Would you want to play with that player?  Probably not. Who do you think is going to win at the card game?  Well, it's probably the person who plays the cards. That's willingness.

Throwing the cards down and walking out, that's willfulness. Sitting back and saying, 'I don't care.  Oh well, I got a bad hand.  Poor me.  Whatever.'  Just throwing any old card out.  Willfulness.   The idea when you're playing a hand of cards is to play as skillfully as you can.  That's willingness. It has everything to do with throwing yourself in to life.  Participating in a willing manner.


Willfulness

Willfulness is the opposite of willingness.  If willingness is realizing that you are a part of and connected to life, willfulness is when you forget life. It's when you deny it. It's when you refuse to be a part of it. When you want to sit on the sidelines.  Or, you try to ignore it. Or you try to destroy it.

Willfulness is a little like the terrible two's. When you start saying, 'No, no, no.' But you are saying no to life itself.  You're saying no to reality.  You're saying no to what is.

All of us have experiences of willfulness. Let's say something has happened to you that is really painful.  Sooner or later you figure out, alright, I need to accept this. So, you turn your mind towards acceptance. And just as your mind's turning, it's almost there... .What happens?  Up pops willfulness.  'No.  I refuse. I'm not going to do it.'

What do you do when willfulness shows up?

Well, the first thing you want to do when willfulness shows up is just notice it. You observe it.  You identify it.  You describe it. You say, 'Willfulness has shown up.'
Second, radically accept the willfulness.  You've got to accept that it really is there.

Third, you turn your mind. You turn your mind to willingness. Turn your mind towards acceptance, willingness, participating in reality just as it is.

And if you're having trouble getting yourself to turn your mind - you want to but your mind isn't turning. What can be really helpful when that happens is to try a willing posture. You know sometimes you can have a really willful posture. Your mind's going one way and your body is going another.

So try a willing posture.  What would that be?  Well, open your hands.  Try it right now. Just open your hands.  It is actually hard to be willing with clenched fists. Open your hands. Relax your body. Sit like this or stand like this.

So what it that doesn't work.  What do you do next?  The next step is ask yourself, 'What's the threat?' Usually immovable willfulness has to do with some sort of threat.  We're thinking that if we're willing we have something to lose, something terrible is going to happen to us.  There's something dangerous out there.  That may be true also.

Really immovable willfulness also involves some sort of catastrophe. We start saying, 'Not only is there a threat, not only is it dangerous, but I won't be able to deal with it.'  So we deny it.  We push it away.  We ignore it. Willfulness allows us to do that.
But remember, willingness is the active participation in reality.  Willingness is what you need to overcome a threat.

Willingness isn't approval.  And it's definitely not lying down and letting yourself get rolled over.

So ask yourself, 'What's the threat?'  Then you could ask yourself, 'What's the catastrophe?'


CONCLUSION

Reality acceptance skills are the skills that you need when really painful events happen in your life. And you can't change the painful event.  You can't solve it. You can't make it go away. And, you can't turn it into a positive.  It's a negative that just won't become a positive.  And you're miserable.

When that happens, practice reality acceptance.

So what are you going to practice? First, you're going to practice accepting radically. You're going to want to accept that the event has actually happened. You're going to need to accept that there's a cause. It happened for some reason.  You may not know what the reason is, but there is a reason.

And, you're going to want to accept that you can move through it.  You can develop a life that has satisfaction, meaning and worth in it. Even with this painful event in your life.

In order to do that, you're going to have to turn your mind over and over and over.  When you reach the fork in the road, with pain in the middle of it, turn your mind to acceptance. Away from rejection.
 And practice willingness. Practicing willingness means recognizing that you are part of life, that you are connected to things. But it's more than that. It's not just recognizing that you're part of life but it's actually agreeing to be part of life.

These are the skills of reality acceptance.  It sounds easy. Well, probably doesn't sound easy, probably sounds hard.  It is hard. It's really hard.

All of us are still practicing this. This is not one of those things you're going to get perfect at.  There's not going to be a day when you can say, 'Alright, I've got it; I've got it.  I can radically accept. I turn the mind all the time and I'm willing.'  That day is not going to come.

This is the only set of skills that I teach that I would have to say just about everybody has to practice just about every day of their lives.

The way to practice these skills at the beginning when they're really hard is to find small things to practice them on first.  If you start trying to practice on the really big things, you're not going to be able to do it.   So find something small. Practice on that.

The willfulness, notice it.  You could start by counting it. Slowly try to replace it.

Radical acceptance, notice when you are not accepting. You could start with counting it.  Slowly try to replace it.

Turning the mind, write yourself a note. Put it somewhere in your house.  Put it on the refrigerator. All you have to write is 'Turn the Mind'.  Put it up.  Try to practice it. Practice it every time you open the refrigerator.

If you keep practicing these skills, they do get easier. It's really the truth - they do. You'll get better at it. Life will get easier.

Alright, so those are the skills.

Radical acceptance - remember the word radical - complete, total, all the way.

Turning the mind over and over and over and over.

And willingness - entering life with willingness.

Now, I know that these are really difficult skills.  They, they've been difficult for me.  They are difficult for everybody I know.  And the facts of the matter are, every single person  I know is practicing these skills.

But I think if you practice them you'll find over time, may take a while, maybe slower than you want, but I think you're going to find them really helpful . The secret is, don't reject them right away. Don't reject them if you don't feel better right away or somehow your life isn't worth living right this minute.  These skills take time to work.  But, if you keep at it, I think they will work.

So, I'd love to hear from you.  I'd like to know, are they helpful? Or aren't they?  My email's going to come up in this program in just a moment.  I hope you'll write it down.  I hope you'll send me an email and tell me what you think about the skills.

Now, if you just so happen to know something that I haven't talked about in this program, you think it might improve my program the next time I do one, I hope you'll tell me that too. I'd love to hear from you.

Take care. Goodbye.
Logged

Skip
Site Director
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 8061


« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2010, 01:16:38 PM »

I thought I would share this transcript from a presentation by Marsha Linehan on her concept of radical acceptance.

I had heard the term for years before reading this - this really helped me to understand it.

Skippy
Logged

 
midgelette
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
What is your relationship status with them: Divorced
Posts: 166


« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2010, 06:57:40 PM »

Hope I can reply on this topic/article that was posted. I read the article and understand the concept. It is similar to Byron Katie's work, Loving What Is. I have, over the last decade, worked on this concept in my life in various areas, and it has truly helped me to grow.

It has helped me to change many negative attitudes, and I have definitely changed.

BUT... .there are some areas where I have not been able to grow, make the changes that I needed, or even get to the bottom of what my problem was/is.

For me I have always found it difficult to find that balance between what I CAN change my attitude towards, find acceptance for, see a higher spiritual meaning AND what I need to just not put up with.

I get stuck on this concept in relationship to how my family behaves towards me because of Personality disorders/mental illness. Until I went NC, which was the biggest crisis I think I have ever had-emotionally, I couldn't seem to get around my self-esteem issues, but since I did, I made other important decisions in my life and I am hoping that I can grow beyond this one very detrimental issue in my life. I have been stuck for many years. I get not being enmeshed I know I can easily step out of that, and have, and I can set boundaries-they just don't work with foo. NC is my last option.

Does radical acceptance mean, I should have my family in my life and just accept it for what it is-or does it mean I don't have to have my family in my life, accept it for what it is and not be upset about it. Right now, I can not have my foo in my life at all.

When dealing with abusive PD people-how does this relate in regards to current behavior and not in reference to reframing the past.

Just curious-cause I am lost on this one with pwPD's, when you are (for whatever reason) their target.

Midgelette

Logged
joiesophie
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 1286


« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2010, 07:24:19 PM »

I think it might be the serenity prayer :

Change what I can

Accept what I can't

Wisdom and courage to know the difference.

If you go out in the rain, you have a greater chance of getting wet.  If you have a raincoat on and you go out, you're more likely to stay dry.  If you go out without one and wanted to get wet, that's okay.  If you didn't wear  a raincoat and didn't want to get wet, then why did you go out in the first place?  The rain didn't know.

js


Logged
random
*****
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 636


« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2010, 09:34:32 PM »

Excerpt
For me I have always found it difficult to find that balance between what I CAN change my attitude towards, find acceptance for, see a higher spiritual meaning AND what I need to just not put up with.

Hah, that would be the bit about the wisdom to know the difference.

I'm still learning about this Radical Acceptance concept, and I think people with extensive "suck it up and take crap from others" training need to go slowly with it. We've been trained to accept unacceptable behaviour and circumstances, from birth - it's very easy for us to slip from "accept that it's happening" to "accept that it MUST happen and there is nothing we can or should do to change it."

At least, that's what my concern is. I struggle with learned helplessness a lot, and I think before accepting whatever might bothering me, I am working on just identifying when something is bothering me and what that something is, because I don't even get this far most of the time. Like, before I can Radically Accept that I am worried about money, I have to work on getting to the point that I know I am waking up 6 times a night because I am worried about money, rather than only be aware than I am waking 6 times a night for some mysterious reason.  Smiling (click to insert in post)
Logged
Skip
Site Director
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 8061


« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2010, 08:53:42 AM »

It may help to look at radical acceptance to be mostly about facts - not about feelings.

    My mother has a mental illness.


    My mother treated me unfairly as a child.


    My lost childhood cannot be recovered.


    There is not going to compensatory action.


And to list some of th items you need to radically accept.

Focus on what you can put on the radical acceptance list today.

Then look at what you know you should be able to put on the list but can't - and start asking yourself "why?" - try to process that.

Logged

 
Cassy
*******
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 1221



« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2010, 02:58:22 PM »

Is there any way to read an edited version of this? I can barely understand what the writer is saying do to the poor grammar and syntax in this article.
Logged
justhere
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 655


« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2010, 03:15:51 PM »



I've been purposely staying away from these threads on acceptance as this is really upsetting for me I'm not sure if I'm ready for this yet but I'll post a few of my thoughts so far.

I think that I'm handling my acceptance of my mother and my sister to a point but it is the passing down of the whole 'abuse cycle' from my mom, to me, to my children that gets to me the most. I'm having a lot of trouble accepting how this has affected my children and most of all my part in it. 

If the abuser, the mentally ill person, my uBPDexH for example is not responsible or held accountable for his behavior, then where does that leave me as it was my choice to marry him and to have a child in the first place? I am trying to look at this without emotions but my guilt and pain is crushing and I'm not sure that I can deal with this kind of honesty.  I'm also very angry that I didn't have this awareness when I could of made an informed decision and prevented years of pain.

.

Then to have my mom who was the one who programmed me to accept abuse and ultimately marry someone who abuses both me and our children, not to even acknowledge or recognize her own part in this, is just unbelievable. 

I guess the going thing is it will only make things worse to confront this abuser so he/she will never see the devastation and pain that he/she has caused let alone lift one finger to try and make amends.  Right now anyway, I don't think I can accept that kind of thinking as the jails are full of people who think that they are innocent and I can't see how things can be much worse then a child being abused by a mother or father.

If this person really is not responsible for his/her abusive behavior due to mental illness, then society (the family) also has a right to be protected and as long as the abuser is still actively abusing or has the potential to hurt another person especially children, in my mind, safety has to come before acceptance.

Over the years, I have thought long and hard about what would make things right and I know that nothing can make up for the sorrow of the past but maybe this 'radical acceptance' is part of the answer so I guess it's worth a try...

justhere


.


Logged
blackandwhite
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
What is your relationship status with them: married
Posts: 3115



« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2010, 10:26:45 PM »

Radical acceptance doesn't mean approving of abuse or anything else. It doesn't mean condoning. It doesn't mean passivity. It doesn't mean giving a free pass. It doesn't mean forgiving. It doesn't mean reconciling. It doesn't mean oh poor mentally ill mother, I feel pity for you and to be a good child I'm about to poke myself in the eye with an ice pick to save you. Again.

A very simple way to understand radical acceptance: It's the opposite of denial.

Denial is a defense mechanism. People with BPD deny because they cannot face reality. Parents with BPD teach denial. They model it. They insist on it. And children need it to survive.

I'm reading a great book, The Betrayal Bond (by Patrick J. Carnes). The author says:

Excerpt
Children [in dysfunctional families and exposed to trauma] are presented with what trauma researcher David Calof has described as the "universal bind." Do not see, hear, sense, feel or address what is real. Instead, accept what is unreal and proscribed in the interest of your survival. Disbelieve the obvious and accept the improbable. The bind is that the child is presented with only two options: (1) be overwhelmed with terror and not able to function, or (2) distort reality to survive. Because of the bind, distorting reality becomes part of the "working model" eventually used in adult relationships.

I distorted reality. I denied. I used to leave my daughter with my mother to babysit and a little part of me wondered if my mother would kill herself while my daughter was in her care. I would squash that thought down, kill that instinct--deny. I was afraid. My mind so easily pushed those thoughts away. There was a well worn path of not seeing, hearing, sensing, feeling, or addressing what was real, of "disbelieving the obvious and accepting the improbable."

My mother tried to kill herself while I was in her care.

When I finally said, "I am afraid," I accepted reality. Not the distorted reality in my mother's head. Reality reality. I accepted it radically, meaning totally, whatever that meant for me. What it meant for me was this:

"I am afraid my mother will kill herself while my daughter is in her care."

"I am afraid of what will happen to my daughter."

"I am afraid to assert my right to protect my child."

I observed my fear. I accepted it. It terrified me. I felt terrible guilt. How could I have let my mother care for my daughter? I observed my guilt. By allowing the fear and guilt to come to light, I gained the insight and power to act. I stopped leaving my daughter with my mother. She no longer got to see her alone.

Marsha Linehan says:

Excerpt
So if you want things to change, accept them.  Then change them. Because when we talk about accepting reality as it is, we're not saying, 'Accept reality as it is and believe it can never change.' Reality is always changing.  If you want to have an influence on how it changes, you see your interest is to accept how it is right now.

I have found this to be true. I know this can be overwhelming. Sometimes I think our lives are held together with pieces of chewing gum and packing tape, the items we were able to scrounge from our upbringings. We feel fragile. We are fragile and must be kind to ourselves, foster positive entitlement, take care. I have lived the terror and the guilt. It took me years to gain the strength. We have to take things at a pace we can handle. But having come through it, I cannot go back into denial.

I am no longer afraid.

That's what radical acceptance means to me.

B&W
Logged

What they call you is one thing.
What you answer to is something else. ~ Lucille Clifton
joiesophie
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 1286


« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2010, 06:36:03 AM »

Thanks, Skip, for posting that acceptance is about facts, not feelings.

B & W :  Your words are SO good.  It will take a while for me to take them all in. 

My first reaction is : I don't need to be warm and fuzzy about my family members with mental illness. 

js
Logged
Cordelia
formerly salome
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Posts: 1465



« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2010, 07:57:23 AM »

I think I understand the concept, but I am a little confused as to how it works in practice.  For example, yesterday I had a conversation with uBPD mom.  I kept it very superficial, did not provide information on others, only bare facts about myself, not feelings, did not attempt to have a real conversation or express anything of significance.  Was that an example of radical acceptance of the fact that she will never be able to really communicate with me, and so just communicating on her level?  Or was that suppression of my own personality and allowing her to completely dominate our interactions?  It certainly went better than our average conversation - she was pleased and happy to have nothing expected of her, but ultimately frustrated to have nothing to vampirize.  *she* actually initiated ending the call!  Very uncharacteristic.  I don't mean to hijack (maybe this should be its own thread?) but what do you guys think?
Logged
blackandwhite
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
What is your relationship status with them: married
Posts: 3115



« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2010, 08:27:09 AM »

Hi salome,

I think that's a great example to talk about. I hear you saying you instituted boundaries. You did not share personal information. You also used what we informally call around here "Wise Mind," meaning that you remained calm and polite but didn't give your mother any handholds into your heart.

Through boundaries and Wise Mind, you shifted your interaction.

Radical acceptance comes into play as you come to terms with this new situation. It might include observations such as:

*Real communication with my mother does not seem possible at this time.

*That makes me (sad, angry, full of grief--any (all) emotional reactions you have).

*By using boundaries and Wise Mind, I have more control over our interactions.

*By using these tools, I am acknowledging that my mother does not know me as a person. Perhaps she's not capable of knowing me.

*That makes me (emotional reactions).

It's acknowledging the facts of the situation and the fact of your feelings with full honesty with yourself. They are what they are. Then you can see what you want to and are able to change.

It might help to do the list of items that are the facts of the situation and the fact of your feelings--I just guessed. Does that make sense?

B&W

P.S. BMama and joiesophie, I'm glad my example helped. Smiling (click to insert in post)

Logged

What they call you is one thing.
What you answer to is something else. ~ Lucille Clifton
immadone
**
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
What is your relationship status with them: Widow since '92-see above. I'm turning into a cliche'
Posts: 96


« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2010, 08:45:58 AM »

Salome, I'd ask you how you felt about the conversation. I think Radical Acceptance is much more about a "feeling" or "attitude" from which our actions naturally flow. For example when I terminated my relationship with my uBPDmother, my "feeling" was total exhaustion, complete depletion in every way. I wasn't mad, I wasn't sad, I was just... .done. I'm not sure my feeling wasn't closer to being numb than anything else. Radical Acceptance would NEVER have allowed me to get to a point of total depletion; instead it would have helped me face the facts, see the situation for what it is, stop trying to make this relationship into what it never was or will be. It would have helped ME take the "sting" out of the "burn" although the burn would be present anyway. It's just that all my time, attention, resources wouldn't be focused on the burn any longer. Does this make any sense? The only power this woman had in my life (as an adult) was the power I gave her and in doing so I was in a constant state of React, anxiety, hurt etc. Yeah (cringe) I gave away my power and allowed her to determine how I would feel, react and so forth; Radical Acceptance puts you-the mentally stable one-back in control of your own life. And that builds alot of self confidence and sanity in your daily life. Any thoughts?  
Logged
LivingWell
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 5598


« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2010, 09:11:09 AM »

Was that an example of radical acceptance of the fact that she will never be able to really communicate with me, and so just communicating on her level?  Or was that suppression of my own personality and allowing her to completely dominate our interactions?  It certainly went better than our average conversation - she was pleased and happy to have nothing expected of her, but ultimately frustrated to have nothing to vampirize.  *she* actually initiated ending the call!  Very uncharacteristic.  I don't mean to hijack (maybe this should be its own thread?) but what do you guys think?

You have asked a very good question which is relevant to most of us.  Do we limit ourseslves by adjusting our actions?  Are we giving up us when we accomodate others? Or, are we providing a better and more healthy for ourselves?

If you were waiting for a bus would you stand on the sidewalk near a bus stop or would you stand in the street and try to flag it down.  Standing on the sidewalk is much safer and very effective. 

When we go to work do we act a little different than we do we walk around barefoot as we might at home?  Most of us don't.

We use different actions depending on the situation.  You got a great reaction from your mother.  Your mother didn't make run over you with a bus. She didn't draw you into her world. 

b&M is process works.

Excerpt
Through boundaries and Wise Mind, you shifted your interaction.

Radical acceptance comes into play as you come to terms with this new situation. It might include observations such as:

*Real communication with my mother does not seem possible at this time.

*That makes me (sad, angry, full of grief--any (all) emotional reactions you have).

*By using boundaries and Wise Mind, I have more control over our interactions.

*By using these tools, I am acknowledging that my mother does not know me as a person. Perhaps she's not capable of knowing me.

*That makes me (emotional reactions).

Your life is better.  You are more healthy.  You're not being run over by the bus your mother is driving. Your not even getting on the bus.  You"re driving your own car! Smiling (click to insert in post)

immadone makes a good point.  My post is crossing with hers.
Logged
Cordelia
formerly salome
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Posts: 1465



« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2010, 10:11:49 AM »

Blackandwhite, thank you for the technique!  I have posted what I came up with in response below!

immadone, I do feel like my emotional responses are trapping me into repeating the same behaviors, and that I would also have to reach just a point of total exhaustion to stop them.  I think that somehow trying to fight my mom and change her have become a form of loyalty to her, and giving that up is truly giving up the relationship.  And I'm very reluctant to do that, of course.   :'( 

LivingWell, I love your analogy of stepping out of the way of an oncoming bus... .it's true, it's not a power struggle with the bus, we're not letting the bus "win" by not standing in front of it, we're simply behaving rationally. 

Today's list of facts to accept

1)   My mom is not able/willing see me for who I am.

2)   She is not able/willing to have a relationship with me that feels safe or satisfying to me.

3)   She has hurt me enormously, both by parentifying me and by outright betrayals, including losing her temper, putting us in danger, setting us sibs against each other as well as against dad, and distorting reality.  She was both an irresponsible parent, and outright malicious in her treatment of me and others in our family.

4)   This has made me very angry with her, in the past and still today.

5)   I cannot fix mom’s problems or make her happy.  She will likely always be unhappy and unsatisfied, whatever I do or don’t do for her.  Her feelings are the results of her history and her choices.

6)   Her history and choices have led to a situation where she is continually in crisis, she cannot be self-sufficient and she requires a great deal of help from others, help which is never enough for her to feel safe or satisfied.  This situation will not change based on others’ actions; it can only change if she decides that it will change, because the impetus for the situation comes from her.

7)   Today, her relationship with me is based on persuading me to pretend that the past has never happened.  This will help her pretend the same thing.

8)   She also seeks a caretaker. 

9)   Thus, our relationship will likely continue to be frustrating, as I seek to understand the past better, and she runs from this understanding, and I seek to detach, while she seeks care. 

10)   She is emotionally a child, unable to love or care for anyone else, not even able to care for herself, and desperately seeking someone to take care of her.

11)   I am not able/willing to take care of her.

12)   This will likely frustrate her, and cause her to break out all of her manipulative tactics to get what she wants. 

13)   In truth, much of the emotional energy I seem to be devoting to “our relationship” is really devoted to understanding myself better and making improvements in my relationships. 

14)   It is not my fault that mom couldn’t love me in a way I experience as love and we can’t have a relationship that is satisfying to me.  It’s simply not in my power to make that happen.

Logged
BMama
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
What is your relationship status with them: Married 18 years.
Posts: 2485



« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2010, 10:59:31 AM »

Salome, you have so much more clarity than you give yourself credit for.  With minor tweaks to fit my situation, I could copy your list and refer to it myself.  I might have to, if you don't mind.

I love the metaphors, LivingWell... .the bus, but more than that, the walking around barefoot at work.  I was struggling to put words to answer what Salome was thinking about not being true because of bending to fit her mother--that being dishonest and bordering on fake.  I think that's what you were saying, right?  The radical acceptance comes when you behave that way naturally and it doesn't feel dishonest or fake anymore.  It just is what it is.  Tell me if I'm on to something here.

Anyway, the idea is like different strokes for different folks but within ourselves.  I think the problem is that we don't trust ourselves to be oursevles, but act in different ways depending on the situation.  Does that make sense?  It's part of that parentifying programming, not feeling your own feelings, but someone else's.
Logged
Skip
Site Director
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 8061


« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2010, 12:22:45 PM »

I don't have any metaphors on this board - I'm feeling left out  Smiling (click to insert in post)

I think the problem is that we don't trust ourselves to be oursevles, but act in different ways depending on the situation.  :)oes that make sense?  It's part of that parentifying programming, not feeling your own feelings, but someone else's.

I think this is because we have a hard time seeing ourselves.

I ski.  I can critique every skier on the mountain.  Leans to far back, doesn't complete turns, etc.  I see them.

But I was clueless about my issues.  I know they are there (otherwise I would be a better skier), but I really don't know what they are.  People tell me, but I still don't get it because they are using words that mean something to them - not me.  :)ancers, golfers, skaters all have this problem.

I would compare the mindfulness tool to the video camera's they now use to instruct skiers.  Mindfulness is about stepping back and looking at yourself, and the reality that surrounds you - almost like an outsider would - without a big emotional investment in what you see.  

Taking "I can't believe after all these years I can't ski better"  "Its humiliating that every one of my friends is a better skier"  "I've worked as hard as them, do I just not have it"  "I 'm embarrassed to go to the company ski event and ... ."

and making it... .

I don't complete my turns.  I have a lot of aganst about my skiing ability.  I'm not enjoying skiing because of my aganst.

Radical acceptance is about accepting all of this information like an outsider - in a matter of fact way - and then just hanging out with it.  The idea is that if you can hang out with these things you will get in touch with them and it will start to be obvious what to do.

Once you accept them (and it takes time)... .the solutions start to naturally rise up. As an outsider, its not too hard to start seeing options for making things better.

Logged

 
BMama
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
What is your relationship status with them: Married 18 years.
Posts: 2485



« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2010, 01:14:25 PM »

Postive self-talk as if you were an outside observer?  

Constructive and loving criticism?  

Maybe both?

They are hard because most of us weren't raised that way.

When this all started going awry with my family... .my D16 says, "Mom what would you say to me if this were some friend of mine treating me this way, dragging me into the drama?"  My first answer was, "Well it's different because it's family."  Smacks forehead.  It's easier to see when it's not directly yours to deal with.  She's so much better at smelling disordered people and those that are not worth her time... .probably TOO good for her age.  LOL
Logged
LivingWell
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 5598


« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2010, 01:41:26 PM »

I love the metaphors, LivingWell... .the bus, but more than that, the walking around barefoot at work.  I was struggling to put words to answer what Salome was thinking about not being true because of bending to fit her mother--that being dishonest and bordering on fake.  I think that's what you were saying, right?  The radical acceptance comes when you behave that way naturally and it doesn't feel dishonest or fake anymore.  It just is what it is.  Tell me if I'm on to something here.

Anyway, the idea is like different strokes for different folks but within ourselves.  I think the problem is that we don't trust ourselves to be oursevles, but act in different ways depending on the situation.  Does that make sense?  It's part of that parentifying programming, not feeling your own feelings, but someone else's.

Your statement brings me back to the way we were raised, ":)on't talk, don't trust, don't feel.  It can be very hard for us to trust ourselves.  We missed at least the first 20 years of learning to trust, talk and feel. We can get better, in fact we can get better than the average person.  Smiling (click to insert in post)  I refused to let my mother's behavior run me the rest of my life.  I will feel and think on my own.

About the barefoot thing and when we are being someone other than ourselves.  If my work environment requires me to wear shoes, I will.  If they require 5 inch heels and a mini skirt, they would be requiring me to change who I am.

Let's talk about changing who we are.  We are not one poster board cut out.  We are three dimensional.  Our personalities are like a prism.  We adapt.  We fit the circumstances. Do we respond to a 3 year old like we do to a 10 year old?  Not usually. Do we confide in our co workers, spouse, and children in exactly the same way about the same issues?

So we need a mother shield. We have to learn what not to talk to our mothers about. Most people do have a Mother shield. Ours may be higher than some other people.


Logged
blackandwhite
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
What is your relationship status with them: married
Posts: 3115



« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2010, 02:48:50 PM »

salome: That's an amazing list. It may take time, though--big stuff on there. How do you feel having gotten it out?

LivingWell and Skip: I love the metaphors too! (Is Skippy watching the winter Olympics?) I relate very much to the idea that getting out of the street and not letting the bus run you down is not selling yourself out, it's self-protection. 

immadone: I LOVE what you said here--

Excerpt
The only power this woman had in my life (as an adult) was the power I gave her and in doing so I was in a constant state of React, anxiety, hurt etc. Yeah (cringe) I gave away my power and allowed her to determine how I would feel, react and so forth; Radical Acceptance puts you-the mentally stable one-back in control of your own life. And that builds alot of self confidence and sanity in your daily life.

BMama: This is great--

Excerpt
The radical acceptance comes when you behave that way naturally and it doesn't feel dishonest or fake anymore.  It just is what it is.

I'd like to dig down a bit on that "feeling fake" question. I hope you and others will weigh in. It does seem a consistent theme that we often feeling like we're "giving in" or "being fake" when we use subtle strategies (like boundaries, Wise Mind, and radical acceptance) with our BPD relative(s). Stories, comments on that? Is the "fake" feeling because you're introducing an element of consciousness (mindfulness, the observer stance) into the relationship instead of just reacting? Or something else, a combination of things?

B&W
Logged

What they call you is one thing.
What you answer to is something else. ~ Lucille Clifton
immadone
**
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
What is your relationship status with them: Widow since '92-see above. I'm turning into a cliche'
Posts: 96


« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2010, 04:32:51 PM »

Interesting the feeling of "fake" or somehow "not genuine" comes up. I've thought about my interactions with BPDmother in exactly these terms alot recently. This may seem really strange but I'll put it out here: From the time I was about 5 or so I felt like all my interactions with my mother in front of others was like an act she was putting on. No one had to give me my script-I was being "trained" to react in a certain way. And because her interactions were so fake to me-again, particularly in front of others-I felt compelled to react to her in the same disingenuous way. By the time I was in my 20s and 30s I often felt like I was playing a role back to her that she initiated, for which she wrote the screen play, had all the dialogue and script and I was just a bit player in her B movie. No doubt my ignorance of her "movie" and my part, and my trying to please in my own clumsy way failed. I didn't even have the equivalent of Cliffs Notes for a movie.
Logged
BMama
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
What is your relationship status with them: Married 18 years.
Posts: 2485



« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2010, 04:33:36 PM »

Oh, that's tricky.

I think the fake thing comes from my mother, actually--she uses it A LOT  Any time someone puts up a boundary with her, and I've seen this from other relatives she's alienated, she calls them fakes... .that when they were being nice to her they were FAKING all along.  She can smell it from a mile away.  And she's sort of right... .maybe?  

I had been introducing boundaries slowly and steadily over the past year.  Her radar was VERY high... .she sensed with any little mm of movement that something was VASTLY different.  I think that's why it was so easy for her to throw me under the bus with uncle, then disown me.  Typical reaction... .fearing abandonment, one abandons.  She couldn't have me out of her control so she didn't want me at all... .black or white.

Is it being fake, or finally BEING REAL, though?  I would like to think that grabbing some self esteem and self respect, protecting yourself and your family (kids and spouse if you have them) is finally BEING REAL, that I was fake before.  It's almost like that discussion about turning your world upside down now.  It's not upside down NOW.  It WAS.  Now it's right side up.  Still a 180 turn, but not toward the negative, toward the positive.
Logged
Cordelia
formerly salome
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Posts: 1465



« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2010, 04:41:05 PM »

Right. Part of your list is intellectual-from the "head," part from the "heart." What would "giving up on the relationship" mean to your heart? How does remaining in this relationship help your "head?"

Yeah, I was trying to observe my feelings objectively and treat them as facts, rather than allowing them to color my perceptions, as Skip was talking about.  I'm not sure how much I succeeded.  I've been thinking today about all this, and I think my problem with giving up on the relationship in the sense of accepting it for what it is may have as much to do with ego as it does with the fear of rejection or abandonment.  At this point, it's clear that my mom is not going to give me what I want on her own, right?  So in a way I think I am sort of stubbornly stuck in demanding it from her almost because I think that if I try hard enough, I can get anything I want.  But of course, that's not really true, especially when it comes to other people's behavior.  The most difficult thing may be acknowledging my own limitations, that certain things, including fixing this relationship, are simply beyond me.  The hardest sentence to write was that last one "it's simply not in my power... ."

I was struggling to put words to answer what Salome was thinking about not being true because of bending to fit her mother--that being dishonest and bordering on fake.  I think that's what you were saying, right?  The radical acceptance comes when you behave that way naturally and it doesn't feel dishonest or fake anymore.  It just is what it is.  Tell me if I'm on to something here.

Anyway, the idea is like different strokes for different folks but within ourselves.  I think the problem is that we don't trust ourselves to be oursevles, but act in different ways depending on the situation.  :)oes that make sense?  It's part of that parentifying programming, not feeling your own feelings, but someone else's.

BMama, certainly, feel free to borrow and adapt as necessary!  Smiling (click to insert in post)  Yes, I think what I felt when I was having this phone conversation was on the one hand, better - because I was saving my breath (literally) and my emotional energy for other things - but also extremely strained, almost like a job interview, where you have to think about how everything you say is going to sound before you say it.  It was very guarded - but in the end, I didn't feel good about protecting myself, I felt frustrated that I couldn't just be open and genuine.  It didn't feel dishonest per se, because I wasn't lying about anything, I was just holding myself back, and that's frustrating because I feel that I should be able to express myself freely with the people close to me.  I guess what I have to do is redefine this relationship as a distant one.  I certainly don't feel I have to spill my guts to the postman, or my neighbors.  And even in close relationships, of course there are times when you withhold certain information that would hurt the other person unnecessarily or cause conflicts.  I just really resent the many times over the years that my mom has communicated that my feelings are wrong or cruel and should be silenced out of regard for her.  From an early age, I determined never to suppress my feelings but to say whatever I felt, and if she felt bad, it was her problem - that was how I owned my voice.  It's ironic and frustrating that the way to finally declare freedom from this kind of repression is apparently to accede to it - at least with her!  But perhaps what Radical Acceptance really is, is not saying that you will actually accede to the unreasonable demand that you suppress your feelings at all times, it's simply saying, this person cannot handle hearing information that is going to challenge her reality.  So I will only relate to her on terms she can handle (in my mom's case, that is small talk, superficial chit chat is fine with her.  It's only anything genuine or anything that demands some sort of emotional or practical response from her that causes her to lash out).  And when I need to handle these other topics - emotional topics, serious topics, when I need someone who has my back and I can trust - I will turn to others.  Is that right?  

Logged
random
*****
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 636


« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2010, 04:55:16 PM »

Excerpt
It was very guarded - but in the end, I didn't feel good about protecting myself, I felt frustrated that I couldn't just be open and genuine.

I think acknowledging how different ways of interacting with your parents make you feel is also part of this whole acceptance deal. Just because you accept that the BPD folk are [fill in the blank], doesn't mean that dealing with them will get any less upleasant or scary or frustrating. I think it's really good that you paid attention to how the conversation felt as you were doing what you were doing.

I know for me, that's what I try to do, stay with feelings of discomfort at whatever, so that I can decide what to do about those feelings. In your case, talking to your mother means being guarded and closed-off from intimate contact, which is not so great, so now that you know this and are not denying it, you can think what you want to do about it.

For me, no amount of accepting that my mother is a narcissistic witch is going to make interacting with her a pleasant experience, or one in which I am safe from assault. So, accepting that next fact, I don't interact with her.
Logged
immadone
**
Offline Offline

What is your sexual orientation: Straight
What is your relationship status with them: Widow since '92-see above. I'm turning into a cliche'
Posts: 96


« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2010, 05:13:41 PM »

I don't think it "has to be in (your) power" right this minute. You feel as you do and there's not a thing wrong/unusual with that. But it seems you're really taking as hard a look at yourself at this time as you have of her. It seems you see your intellectual acceptance of certain "facts" (head) regarding this situation. This doesn't mean at all that your feelings/heart have to be in the same place. For me, getting the two together was a process that took place over years (sloowly!) But coming face-to-face with the "facts" (head) allowed me to access the pain in my heart. And get as real about that as my head-set understanding of my reality. For me, Radical Acceptance started with my head and facing all of my "checklist" items, and my failure to comprehend fully the deficits in this relationship regardless of how often they/she presented them to me. That's how the process bought me to ME and my feelings/responses instead of always focusing on her.  Mon Dieu, I hope this makes sense. Anyone?
Logged
Skip
Site Director
***
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 8061


« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2010, 05:28:01 PM »

I was trying to observe my feelings objectively and treat them as facts, rather than allowing them to color my perceptions, as Skip was talking about.  I'm not sure how much I succeeded.  I've been thinking today about all this, and I think my problem with giving up on the relationship in the sense of accepting it for what it is may have as much to do with ego as it does with the fear of rejection or abandonment.  

If I may speculate... .this sounds as if you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself very early in the process.  You don't need to do that.  You made the list.  Excellent. You are mulling it a bit.  Great.  

Now forget about it for a little bit (a day, 3 days, whatever) and then sit down and look at the list again and update it, edit it, make it more accurate.  Mulling it over for a bit.  Then set it aside again.

The idea of "hanging out" with our reality without forcing ourself to net it out is important. If you force it your may trigger that will cloud it - if you feel that - its probably a sign to set it down and come back.  You may see inconsistencies that need to be resolved, or trade-offs that need to be made, etc. - for now, don't worry about it - just let it sink in.

xoxox

It will come.
Logged

 
LivingWell
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 5598


« Reply #26 on: February 18, 2010, 05:58:57 PM »

I've been wondering at what level and in what way comfort is involved. Most of us edit what we say. My cousin and I were just talking yesterday about holding our tongue with our adult children.  If we want to be supportive of our children we sometimes have to hold our until we feel pain. (Metaphorically speaking) Then we can say the second thing that comes to mind, NOT THE FIRST!

She edited to  D & SIL:  You're having a baby. You have three in college. And you don't have medical insurance.

I edited to D & SIL: My sister and all my cousins have grandchildren.  I'm the only one with no grandchildren.

As close as we come to saying those because our job is to love our adult children and emotionally support them.  They get to make their own successes and mistakes.

Our Mothers are incapable of editing.  We have to do all the editing for both people in the conversation.  It gets easier when you radically accept that you are the only  adult in the conversation.   Smiling (click to insert in post)
Logged
UKannie
*******
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Parent
Posts: 1029


« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2010, 06:01:45 PM »

I just wanted to say how much I have learnt from this thread since I posted on it earlier in the week... .I totally relate to salome's conversations with her BPD mother, and I also finally get, really get (thanks to b&w) how the concept of acceptance translates to that situation.

Thanks folks, collectively you have done some important thinking on my behalf that has moved me on a long way xoxox

Annie
Logged
diotima
********
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Posts: 2808


« Reply #28 on: September 19, 2011, 11:27:56 PM »

Good interchange about what "acceptance" means. It does not mean being a victim and it does not mean ignoring one's needs: it means seeing reality for what it is (very Buddhist, the first requirement of the eight-fold path--"right view". the only way anything can change is to see it clearly for what it is, and that may bring up some painful feelings. At that point, knowing what we are facing we actually have options, as Linehan makes very clear. While we are mired in pain, we feel trapped--as though there are no options and maybe for a time there aren't any except feeling the pain. As we make friends with our pain, hold it and recognize it and its causes, we begin to have options we might not have had before. This stuff is hard but she is correct.

Diotima
Logged
Surnia
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
What is your relationship status with them: 8 y married, divorced since 2012-11-22
Posts: 3901



« Reply #29 on: December 06, 2011, 03:21:08 AM »

There was a thread in the staying board from Randi about Radical acceptance, now I found by accident this great article from Marsha.

Thank you so much. It answers a lot of my questions.  Smiling (click to insert in post)
Logged

“Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up. Stand on your sacred ground.”  Brené Brown
Pages: [1] 2  All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Links and Information
CLINICAL INFORMATION
The Big Picture
5 Dimensions of Personality
BPD? How can I know?
Get Someone into Therapy
Treatment of BPD
Full Clinical Definition
Top 50 Questions

EDITORIAL DEPARTMENTS
My Child has BPD
My Parent/Sibling has BPD
My Significant Other has BPD
Recovering a Breakup
My Failing Romance
Endorsed Books
Archived Articles

RELATIONSHIP TOOLS
How to Stop Reacting
Ending Cycle of Conflict
Listen with Empathy
Don't Be Invalidating
Values and Boundaries
On-Line CBT Program
>> More Tools

MESSAGEBOARD GENERAL
Membership Eligibility
Messageboard Guidelines
Directory
Suicidal Ideation
Domestic Violence
ABOUT US
Mission
Policy and Disclaimers
Professional Endorsements
Wikipedia
Facebook

BPDFamily.org

Your Account
Settings

Moderation Appeal
Become a Sponsor
Sponsorship Account


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