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To become active


I can summarize in three words what I have learned from life.

It goes on.

(Robert Lee Frost)

How is your day? You learn to decide!


I liked that very much, it was an input at a TED talk. A monk asked two questions:

1. How are you?

2. Why?

And the second question is key. If we are doing well because we have passed a test or if we are doing badly because the car is broken, then we react to external circumstances . The goal would be to have a positive inner attitude.

External triggers in borderline personality disorder:


This is a big issue with borderline personality disorder. Through the inner emptiness that we often feel, through the "not-feeling-yourself", "no feeling of identity", we mainly react to external triggers .


Triggers are mostly subconscious . In a matter of seconds, we react to statements, looks, and gestures of others. We are so sensitive that we often even perceive the mood of the other person and feel or act accordingly.


I illustrate this:

  • Trigger: Thoughtful look from teacher - I interpreted it as an evil eye thinking that I had done something wrong  (Anxiety).

  • Trigger: Woman looks at my jeans (could be curiosity) - I interpreted it as devaluation (hate).

  • Trigger: Someone says with a wink that I am very hungry because I scoop up while eating - I interpret that this person thinks I am too fat (shame).

  • Trigger: A man smiles at me, maybe looks at me "suggestively" - it's "more" than just a look - I am disgusted  (Contempt) .

  • Trigger: A good friend looks sad - I think I did something wrong again and that it hurts him. (Anger at myself)

  • Result: So it tears me  from mood to mood without resistance - because I usually don't even notice it.


It often takes so long to get mine  internal tension from triggers and mood swings is so great that I explode.

Hier sieht man zwei mystische Bäume, zwischen ihnen scheint die Sonne durch

Learning to feel how I am doing, regardless of the outside world

Now what if I could manage to have this relaxed, own inner attitude ? To feel independently of the outside how I am and thus not to react to triggers, but to act consciously and independently. I could probably pause for a moment and question my train of thought:


Why should Teacher be angry with me too? Why shouldn't the lady think my jeans are good - and even if she does, it must bother me? Maybe I'm really hungry, can I just laugh along?


It could be much more relaxed (by the way, "normal" people also struggle with such insecurities). Above all , I control and decide myself + consciously how I react to circumstances.


I can still feel the feelings, but I notice: I am not my feelings . Instead of an "I am sad" - identification and complete takeover of the feeling - I know: There is a part in me and it is sad , I see it and give it space. Still, I feel myself in the here and now and don't let myself get carried away.


That is the aim of therapy , which exercises from dialectical-behavioral therapy, for example, strive for.

What happens to me when I am very tense and how do I learn to organize my feelings

I noticed that the word "control my emotions" sounded so tight and stressful - that's why I write "organize feelings" .


That's how I always imagined it in my head: I saw my feelings like a spice cabinet. If I was completely out of the wind and just tense, the cupboard fell over. Now I had to set up the cupboard and pick up every spice (every feeling), look at it and put it back in its place .


For example: "Ah, there is some grief - why am I sad? Maybe because that was ... or that ... and if I can't find anything, it doesn't matter - grief may be allowed. Hello, grief, I can feel you ... "And after a while, she is allowed to take her place in the emotions cupboard again.


Observe what is going on to change destructive patterns

I observed a lot what was happening to my body and slowly got to know it . I felt when something pressed me and realized, whoops, I need something now. Something is bothering here. In this process I learned to recognize my feelings , ah - that is grief. What do i need now What do i need when i'm sad? I learned that sometimes I have to go to bed in the fetal position, cuddle with my cuddly toy and howl. Give space to feeling.  

That  Take my feelings seriously  taught me to be more loving with myself. I learned to take responsibility for myself by seeing what I needed and when. Sometimes I met people who hurt me very much. Then I felt a painful stitch. Over time, I realized that this feeling is anger. Before it turned into pure aggression, I learned to say: " Wait a minute, I don't want that!" And every time I did that, another part of me healed because I stood by myself and took myself seriously.  

Every feeling has its justification - accept & accept what is

In this process I realized: I am not abnormal, I am not insane. My feelings are justified, there was actually a trigger - I just didn't recognize it immediately. I accepted that feelings come that are sometimes not so easily felt. This always requires pausing and checking: "How do I feel?"


Marsha Linehan developed an exercise called "radical acceptance" in the DBT. When we are very tense, we very often think, "What's wrong with you now? Pull yourself together! Just be normal for a while".


These thoughts increase our tension. Radical acceptance allows everything that is there: "I'm tense and that's fine." By naming what is and giving the state authorization, we take away its power. That worked wonders for me!


Try, practice, fall, get up, carry on, another: your life with BPD

It will get better, and sometimes difficult again, and then good again, and then difficult again. But you will see that the peaks of your feelings (high tension, deeply hopeless, depressed, in a good mood) decrease . At some point the day will come when someone will ask you: How is your day? And you can say: good! Because it's good, even if your car is broken or a lady looks at your jeans strangely. Because you know there is a part that is sad because of / angry because of - but your basic mood is good. 

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