Why “Space” Between Event and Reaction Means Freedom from Borderline Personality Disorder


**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

Before becoming aware that Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) was an issue in my life, I was living unconsciously. I had no idea that I couldn’t “see” the details of my disordered functioning. I had no idea that there was “no space” between the events of my life and my reactions to those events. Everything just seemed to be “happening.” My reactions to most life events were instant, reflexive and misguided, meaning I didn’t say and do things in ways that reduced struggle and stress, just the opposite in fact. The consequence of my lack of wisdom was to experience more suffering than joy and to frequently be left wondering why life had to be so hard.

Without having the benefit of “space” between event and reaction, and therefore, being without a way to be wise when making the daily decisions of life, chances are very good that those decisions (even the smallest of decisions) will result in unwanted outcomes, such as losing relationships, constant tension in relationships, or otherwise experiencing troubles solving problems and navigating life. By remaining stuck in this type of ineffective decision-making pattern, life gets harder and harder to deal with and more and more stressful, just because natural consequences inevitably happen and eventually pile up to the point of being overwhelmed.

To live without wisdom means to be without the benefit of useful information for in-the-moment decision-making. Useful information means anything from facts undiscovered to facts forgotten, potentially available through contemplation, observation, or conversation. Being without wisdom also means being without calmness and patience, both of which are needed to locate and apply useful information. If living without access to wisdom, it just makes sense that a person would be more prone to making ineffective decisions and that life would be harder to get through. Realizing this truth, having a way to develop and nurture wisdom becomes one of the most critical aspects of getting free from BPD.

If you are ready, this is the point at which words like “self-reflection” and “self-awareness” become essential to understand and apply. These are some of the most important keys for breaking free from the BPD pattern. Accepting or rejecting these terms can mean the difference between developing wisdom versus continuing to live life without the benefits of wisdom. Learning how to “see” oneself in action, in real-time, as life is unfolding, is part of the meaning of “self-reflection” and “self-awareness.” Self-reflection also means to have an ability to pause or delay choices to ponder and determine if the available information has informed the soon-to-be-made decisions.

Learning how to do this is challenging, and that is one of the reasons that people may give up on learning about BPD, and maybe even sometimes want to give up on life. That being said, learning how to self-reflect and develop self-awareness is entirely possible with dedicated effort in the right direction. Exposure to a combination of conversations, practices, skills and techniques, often through a therapy relationship, is a common avenue for learning to how self-reflect and become more self-aware. Other avenues for developing these abilities may include specific hobbies or sports that emphasize self-awareness. My personal belief is that developing these abilities requires ongoing contact and relationship with a knowledgeable other who have already developed these abilities.

In my own experience working through Borderline Personality Disorder, getting regularly mindful (observant) of my REAL emotional states – and sitting with the emotions instead of avoiding them – made a big difference in my self-awareness and ability to make wiser decisions. I have outlined more precisely all the mindful practices I discovered and practiced daily in “9-Steps to Mastering Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)” – my book available for purchase through the Breakaway MHE blog. Other activities that helped me develop further self-awareness were regular conversations with knowledgeable and caring mentors about BPD, doing thought challenge exercises, exploring breathing practices and affirmations, and reading as much about BPD as I could. I also made use of medication in small doses. It all helped.

Reading an article like this can only provide a spark of inspiration to begin searching for an opportunity to being learning self-reflection, self-awareness. To admit that there is a need to develop this ability is a step in the right direction towards more wisdom in daily life, and possibly even something enough to initiate “space” between events and reactions. In other words, if now you know that there is “no space” between events and reactions, that admission in itself may enter into your daily thought process when life “just seems to be happening.” If now you know better that decisions are being made every step of the way, then it may become more apparent that the key to a better life all depends on your learning how to make more effective (rather than ineffective) decisions overall.







photo credit: evoo73 balance via photopin (license)