*The ideas contained in this post are the opinions of the writer and communicated without reference to supporting documentation. The writer also recognizes that BPD is a disorder that affects both males and females, and uses of “she” or “he” in the communication of ideas are not intended to covey sexual bias. Breakaway MHE Disclaimer
At the time of writing this last (100th) article in June 2019, the BreakAway MHE blog has been active for 5 years and includes all the knowledge I have gained in the process of working through Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). The complete sphere of information about BPD that I have documented and shared is available through the combination of all 100 BreakAway MHE blog articles and my book “9-Steps to Mastering Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).” This article will act as a summary of the core of my learning about BPD and what I believe are the essential “ingredients” for anyone interested in the topic and who is serious about making changes. The ending point for my journey in all this writing about BPD could perhaps be the ideal beginning point for others learning how to approach this incredibly challenging mental health condition.
In the summary points that follow, I will attempt to be brief in my wording but will also provide a few links to BreakAway MHE blog posts that elaborate upon the ideas. As you read through these points, please bear in mind that while I have done my best to provide “key instructions” for breaking free from BPD, I am not the ultimate authority on the subject. My ideas and “instructions” are based on my subjective experience working through BPD, the books I have read, the professionals I have consulted, the individuals I have assisted in therapy, and my evolving understanding of BPD. Locating the most suitable online BPD information is no doubt similar to locating a fitting real-life therapist with whom you can connect and learn from. If BreakAway MHE isn’t sufficiently helpful for you, please continue seeking out other resources!
People suffering from BPD share similar environmental and genetic circumstances…
One of the main points I have reiterated several times (and in various ways) throughout my writing is that people suffering from BPD do not want to be unwell, and never did want to be unwell. In many instances, person having BPD don’t even know that they are unwell. Borderline Personality Disorder develops through years of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral conditioning as the events of early life unfold, and is particularly influenced by the quality of parent/child relationship and attachment. Individuals who develop BPD are also typically prone to naturally higher levels of anxiety and emotional sensitivity due to genetically inherited neurology. It is the very unfortunate combination of families knowing very little about mental health, mental illness predispositions in children, and the commonly unrecognized errors in relationship development/attachment formation that eventually result in full-blown BPD.
Getting Hung Up On The River Ride – A Mental Health Analogy – http://breakawaymhe.com/getting-hung-up-on-the-river-ride-a-mental-health-analogy/
Misplaced Guilt and Shame in Borderline Personality Disorder – http://breakawaymhe.com/misplaced-guilt-and-shame-in-borderline-personality-disorder/
Being Emotionally Invalidated and Developing Borderline Personality Disorder (How it happens…) – http://breakawaymhe.com/emotionally-invalidated-developing-borderline-personality-disorder-happens/
Culture plays a significant role in the environmental circumstances that contribute to BPD…
After diving very deep into my learning about BPD through the avenues noted above, my developed belief is that the cultural framework (one that is inescapable during childhood years) has a profound impact on brain and personality development. In western culture, where the emphasis and priority is incessantly money-making and materialism, the overall effect is much reduced emphasis and priority on health-related issues. In particular, my observation after peering into the histories of many therapy clients is that mental health is at the “bottom of the health barrel.” In other words, individuals and whole families very often live in complete mental health ignorance, not because they are dumb or uncaring, but because they are caught up in the culture of their birth. The net result of living in ignorance, of not having essential information (know-how and skill)s when they are needed, is break down and disorder.
Borderline Personality Disorder – You Can’t Correct What You Don’t Understand – http://breakawaymhe.com/honesty-about-illness/
Learning to Function in the Dysfunctional “Real World” (Escape from Borderline Personality Disorder) – http://breakawaymhe.com/learning-to-function-in-the-dysfunctional-real-world-escape-from-borderline-personality-disorder/
Why Going to Church Can Make You Mentally Sick – http://breakawaymhe.com/why-going-to-church-can-make-you-sick/
Regulating emotions is essential to mastering BPD, but hardly anyone grows up learning how…
The greatest realization I made while learning about BPD was that most people don’t know how to work with (and work through) emotions. After digging into the details of your life and observing the connecting patterns between thought, emotion, and behavior, it typically becomes apparent that life is being lived so as to avoid certain types of feeling states (e.g., guilt, shame, rejection, worthlessness, abandonment). Once it is known that there is an emotional avoidance patterns (or set of patterns) happening, a very predictable question is then uttered: “how do I deal with that emotion I work so hard to avoid?”. Thus, on one hand there was no emotional awareness to begin with, and on the other hand there is no developed knowledge for how to work through the emotions. I believe this emotional inability is comparable to a person who has grown into adulthood without having learned how to use their arms or legs, or having learned how to speak. Yet, there are many who grow into adulthood and develop full-blown BPD because there was no orientation to skillfully managing emotion.
Teaching Emotions – A Gift More Valuable Than Anything Money Can Buy – http://breakawaymhe.com/teaching-emotions-a-gift-more-valuable-than-anything-money-can-buy/
The Importance of Validation in Borderline Personality Disorder – http://breakawaymhe.com/the-importance-of-validation-in-borderline-personality-disorder/
Beginners Guide for Helping Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder (Using Validation) – http://breakawaymhe.com/beginners-guide-for-helping-someone-with-borderline-personality-disorder-using-validation/
Learning mindfulness is non-negotiable…
There is no making changes to BPD unless self-awareness/present moment awareness is developed. In order to develop self-awareness/present moment awareness, a type of practice (or exercise) is needed that can facilitate developing the desired ability. Practices of this nature often involve non-judgmental observation of mind/body content (thoughts, feelings, sensations) as it arises and refocusing attention to a single focal point (e.g., the breath). Other mindfulness practices follow similar but different formats, but produce the same outcome of leaning to “see” and “let go” of patterns of thought, emotion, and behaviour that do not offer a benefit to daily life. Mindfulness practices are not complicated, although they do not result in any benefit unless they are practiced regularly. The most powerful benefit of mindfulness practice is acquiring more and more capacity to manage thoughts and feelings, and more freedom to choose how to act/behave, thus creating a different reality.
Oh So Common… Male Borderline Personality Disorder (and why we need Mindfulness) – http://breakawaymhe.com/oh-so-common-male-borderline-personality-disorder-and-why-we-need-mindfulness/
To Break Free From Borderline Personality Disorder, You Must Develop This Skill – http://breakawaymhe.com/to-break-free-from-borderline-personality-disorder-you-must-develop-this-skill/
How “the Present Moment” Gets You through Borderline Personality Disorder – http://breakawaymhe.com/how-the-present-moment-gets-you-through-borderline-personality-disorder/
There are patterns to disorder that can be identified…
The fact that there are patterns to disorder is some of the best news that a person with BPD could ever become aware of. It is the best news because it means that awareness of patterns can be developed, skills can be applied in moments of difficulty, and adjustments to thinking, feeling, and behaving can be made. It takes time to learn to see the patterns and how to apply the skills, but it absolutely can be done! In fact, one of the main reasons that BPD develops in the first place (and often goes on unrecognized for many years) is because these patterns happen quickly and are beyond conscious awareness. In other words, if you don’t know what to look for then chances are very good that you will not be able to see it, and then subsequently attribute experienced difficulties to unrelated issues. Much of this false attribution is what makes up a large percentage of the conflict between people, and is also what keeps disorder going and going indefinitely.
Why Borderline Personality Disorder is like “The Perfect Storm” – http://breakawaymhe.com/borderline-personality-disorder-like-perfect-storm/
Insecurity Issues in Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) – A Vicious Circle – http://breakawaymhe.com/insecurity-issues-borderline-personality-disorder-bpd/
Self-Judgment Plus Self-Invalidation in Borderline Personality Disorder (A Highly Destructive Pattern) – http://breakawaymhe.com/self-judgment-plus-self-invalidation-in-borderline-personality-disorder-a-highly-destructive-pattern/
Every life experience can be an opportunity to practice and strengthen…
A major shift in paradigm I experienced along the path to improved mental wellness was when I started viewing my life experiences (and all the emotions that go along with) as opportunities to practice using my learned skills. Not to suggest that I fixate so as to try and make every life experience a matter of mental health development, but I do use many experiences for this purpose, and have even developed an openness to mental health challenges. At the beginning of learning about BPD and making changes, it is hard to adopt this type of perspective, but it becomes easier to do so after greater understanding of mental health develops and confidence for using skills deepens. The comparisons between gaining mastery over BPD and enjoying other life challenges are too numerous to mention, although I sometimes make comparisons to enjoying the challenge of sports or the performing arts.
Why Borderline Personality Disorder is About “Learning to Ride the Big Waves” – http://breakawaymhe.com/borderline-personality-disorder-learning-ride-big-waves/
The Borderline Personality Disorder Journey… From External to Internal – http://breakawaymhe.com/the-borderline-personality-disorder-journey-from-external-to-internal/
Becoming Dialectical – The Biggest Borderline Personality Disorder Challenge – http://breakawaymhe.com/becoming-dialectical/