What causes BPD? Linehan theory Part 3

Up next we have: Active passivity vs. Apparent Competence

Active passivitythis is defined as: the tendency to be passive when confronted with a problem and actively seek a rescuer. 
 No. Not even a little. When confronted with a problem I confront it right back. I don’t run away from anything. I’m not afraid of people’s reactions in the way that is typical of BPD. I’m hate the thought of negative outcomes but I also believe that as long as a problem can be worked on, talked through, and people are willing to communicate it is possible to get through a problem and not have a devastating outcome. I suspect my Dissociative Disorder acts up in this arena as well. When faced with conflict my emotions turn off completely and I argue with pure logic. I can talk about emotions but not feel them. Then if it becomes inevitable that a situation can not be resolved I go numb to the negative emotions that should come of it. This doesn’t always work. However, I don’t need a white knight, I’ll save myself, thanks.
My personality tends to be too dominant, independent to rely on other people. I can see where some passivity comes into my life, and I guess if I’m really honest, I do hope for someone to come along, see me, and accept me for all that I am. Save me from a lifetime of loneliness. But I’m also not willing to latch onto every shmuck that falls my way. I have standards after all.
Apparent competenceappearing to be capable when in reality internally things are falling apart. Sure. Because I actually am extremely competent. I worked my ass off to be intellectually, logically, mentally competent in some of the hardest fields I could have chosen to pursue. Not to mention some very useful creative fields. I read constantly and I know A LOT about a great many things. That doesn’t mean that internally things aren’t still falling apart for me though.
After a lifetime of rollercoaster emotions I’m disgusted by my own lack of control in this arena. I’ve worked hard to control my emotions. I learned to mask my inner turmoil, not display it, so I always appear calm and rational. In my defense, I am rational. But sometimes it’s too hard to get past the overwhelming emotional upheaval to think straight. I often have the impulse to lash out and say things that reflect how I feel, but I’m sick of being ruled by my emotions, so I hold in my reactions. It doesn’t stop me from experiencing them, but it stops the expression of them. I try very hard not to unleash my emotions publically because the repercussions would only act to alienate me from the people around me. When this happens, I try not to be around other people. I hate anyone seeing me like this. I’d rather them continue to believe the calm, friendly façade. However, underneath the surface little by little it builds up until I can’t control it and I have to either physically vent my emotional frustration or have a self inflicted melt down, alone.
I’m learning how to deal with this though. Through therapy and my journaling I am learning to recognize the emotions that are not … for a given instance. Once you can recognize that a situation is not beyond your capacity to handle, can take a step back and analyze why a feeling is so intense it becomes easier to understand it and thus, manage it and learn to respond more appropriately in the future. It’s not easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight, but it does work. So maybe this field isn’t quite a ‘yes’ for me either because I actually am learning to competently deal with my emotions.

As a side note: I HATE considering myself an emotional person. Anyone that meets me and gets to know me a little would tell you I am one of the most rational women you’ve ever met. Not emotional at all. Just like one of the guys. Crude, funny, outgoing and witty. These certainly are parts of my personality, but they’re parts I put into focus in order to mask everything else beneath the surface.

3 comments on “What causes BPD? Linehan theory Part 3

  1. I find that meditating and the ideals behind Buddhism help a lot with riding an emotional wave out. I get so stuck in an emotion, that I fear it may swallow me, and it becomes my reality. Through meditation, though, I've learned that emotions are much like the waves on the surface of the ocean. Sometimes they are calm, and sometimes they rage in torrents. But deep beneath the surface lies the bulk of the ocean, which is a steady, calm flow. This deep steadiness is what I try to focus on when the storm above rages. Then it becomes a waiting game to get through it.I absolutely abhore this in myself. In fact, I validate everything my 2 year old daughter feels! If she's mad, I tell her in words she is not yet capable of saying: "I know baby, you are so mad right now." Suprisingly, this validation calms her. If she cries, I confirm her sadness. I don't always give in to her demands, but the fact that she feels validated by the person she loves the most, often takes the wind out of the storm.I wish I had been raised with such strong validation.As a side note, your blog is remarkably insightful. I am finding it much more useful than the dozens of books I've read on this subject. No criticism here, so believe it at your own peril. ;o)

  2. Wow. Yes. Meditation plays a big role in my personal grounding and centering. I have a keen interest in Chinese and Zen Buddhism and especially Taoism. One of my favorite Taoist verses to reflect on is: Thirty spokes converge upon a single hub;It is on the hole in teh center that the use of the cart hinges.We make a vessel from a lump of clay;It is he empty space within the vessel that makes it useful.We make doors and windows for a room;But it is these empty spaces that make the room livable.Thus, while the tangible has advantages,It is the intangible that makes it useful. It reminds me that no matter the loss or emptiness I feel, in that place now hollow place there is room to fill it with greater things. There is potential to fill my sense with a greater warmth and calm where the void may sometimes consume me… I could go on and on about this passage but it means a lot to me. You sound like a really wonderful parent. It most certainly would have been helpful to me to have that kind of validation.And thank you. I put so much of myself into my writing here, I'm so glad that it reaches out to people.

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