Saturday, January 9, 2016

You're Right, It Is Just A Game

One of the core concepts of BPD is the level of intensity we feel emotions. Marsha Lineman, creator of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy said the following about people with BPD.

The other aspect is the dial vs the switch. Most people have an emotional dial, and the dial goes up and down and adjusts to whatever is going on in that person's life. However, people with BPD have an emotional switch. In other words, their emotions are either at a 0 or an 11. This goes along with our black and white view on life and our difficult seeing the gray. 

This emotional switch extends to our view on people. One if my favorite quotes is, "imagine people complexly." It's extremely simply, but one that is very difficult for me to remember. As someone with BPD I see people in very black and white terms. If I have a friend, "John", there is "good John" and "bad John". The two are separate and cannot and do not coexist. Obviously this view on people is more prolific the better I know/closer I am to a person.  An extreme way I view people is called, "splitting." The DSM lists the following as a trait of BPD;

-a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.-

 The level of intensity of the relationship depends on how close I am to a person or if a person is my FP. Splitting is a defense mechanism used to protect myself when I feel hurt by someone I care about. If my FP says something to hurt me they will go from being on a pedestal to being the scum of the earth. Unfortunately because people with BPD are so emotionally sensitive, we often view the smallest slight as monumental and often create scenarios that don't even exist ("frantic efforts to avoid real or imagines abandonment). Yes, it is possible for splitting to go back and fort (and I often do it). Imagine a person being repeatedly put on and knocked off a pedestal.  A website says the following about splitting;

-Relatively underdeveloped personalities, most especially borderline personalities, have a hard time incorporating into consciousness seemingly contradictory aspects of the same person or thing. So, they unconsciously separate or “split” objects into two categories, seeing the “good” side of a person or thing as the part they find acceptable and the “bad” side of the person or thing as the part they find painful or unacceptable. And, it’s much more than just seeing both a good and a bad side to everything. They actually “split” a single entity into two opposing realities, conceptualizing for example a mother who has both a gentle and a terrifying side as alternately “good mommy,” or “bad mommy.” As a result, they will often alternate between over-idealizing and devaluing the same person. Underdeveloped and poorly integrated personalities not only separate difficult to integrate external “objects” or persons this way, but they also “split” into disparate parts aspects of themselves that are hard to integrate into a cohesive whole. So, extreme degrees of internal splitting can result in a fragmentation of the self through such mechanisms as dissociation or even multiple personality formation.-

With all this being said, something that may seem like not a big deal or a minor annoyance is amplified to a person with BPD. Another defense mechanism for people with BPD is projecting. This brings me to my fears for Sunday. Don't get me wrong, I love my Packers and I am a loyal fan, but people sorely lack an understanding of what is really the underlying issue. Notice how the times I get extremely upset with are when there is a connection with people. For example, with Patriots fans (because I connect them to the bullying of my past). You have to admit though, I have gotten much better in recent weeks with this. This is my way of projecting my anger, and hurt over what happened to me onto other people that had nothing to do with it.

Now I come to this Sunday. Many people just will look at the surface and think I am emotionally invested in a game, but it has nothing to do with that. Yes, I would be upset if they lost the first round of the playoff's, but not knowing anyone who is a fan of their opponent, the risk of splitting on someone is eliminated. However, that isn't the case here. In this situation I have someone who is an FP who's a fan. So think about everything I said. Think about how people with BPD can make up scenarios ("he's going to rub it in!" "he's laughing at me, I know it!"), remember how people with BPD can slip easily in emotion mind and become paranoid; and as a defense of this will project and split on a person. It's not as simple as, "just not doing it." That's like telling someone who just broke their leg to, "just walk." Obviously it's difficult to understand, but remember that mental illness is not a choice. Remember that it's not about a game, and you really need to look past the surface to the emotional agony I feel every day and fight every day, I work to progress against every day. Remember, I am an emotional burn victim.

Coping ahead is preparing myself for that. It's a DBT skill that's pretty hard to do, mostly because I can slip into emotion mind if I'm not constantly vigilant. Remember, what comes emotionally easy for a neurotypical I have to work extra hard for.

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