Off with Her Head! – Punitiveness

Despite the hiccups of last night I will not be deterred from finishing this last schema. Yay the last one! Going through each one of these has definitely given me a lot of insight into the method behind my madness. I hope you’ve taken something away from it as well. Now. Onto the last (very appropriate) schema!
Typical Presentation of the Schema
These people believe that people – including themselves – should be harshly punished for their mistakes. They present as moralistic and intolerant, and find it extremely difficult to forgive mistakes in other people or in themselves. They believe that, rather than forgiveness, people who make mistakes deserve punishment. No excuses are permitted. People with this schema display an unwillingness to consider extenuating circumstances. They do not allow for human imperfection, and they have difficulty feeling any empathy whatsoever for a person who does something they view as bad or wrong. These people lack the quality of mercy.
This schema is a HUGE problem for me. However for me it is almost entirely self-directed. I forgive and allow for “imperfections” and mistakes in everyone around me…. But not for myself. Not ever. I have no mercy on myself. I absolutely allow for extenuating circumstances for others. After all, no one can control everything! Except I should have somehow foreseen these things and made contingencies in the eventuality that something went wrong. I allow for other peoples mistakes because I’m afraid of losing them. If I’m kind and understanding they won’t feel bad and need to leave me. I know I’m not going anywhere though. And if I don’t do things right, I won’t be good enough, worth enough, and that might be enough to make someone not want to stay. So I have to push myself. Sometimes that push needs to be more of a shove.  
Ok, one addendum. I can reach a snapping point with other people too (I mean obviously). Even I have my limits. When Evil-Ex would pull his manipulative, abusive bullshit I reached a point where I could no longer forgive him, and frankly, believed he deserved to be strung up by the balls. I don’t think this is undeserved though. It takes an extraordinarily long time for me to reach this point. I absorb a lot. Once I have though, the split is pretty complete and I have no more tolerance for anything they do at all.
The best way to detect this schema is by the punitive, blaming tone of voice these people use when someone has made a mistake, whether they are speaking about other people or about themselves. The origin of this punitive tone of voice is almost always a blaming parent who spoke in the same tone of voice. The tone conveys the implacable necessity of exacting punishment. It is the voice of the “fire and brimstone” preacher: heartless, cold, and contemptuous. It lacks softness and compassion. It is a voice that will not be satisfied until the wrongdoer has been punished. There is also the sense that the penalty the person wants to exact is too sever – that the punishment is greater than the crime. Like the Red Queen (Gah! This is wrong! The Red Queen and The Queen of Hearts are two different characters! It’s the Queen of Hearts that shouts this!) in Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland, shouting, “Off with his head!” for every minor infraction, the schema is undiscriminating and extreme.
My father would yell at me all the time ‘Girl! Watch that sharp tongue of yours’. He would tell me on an almost daily basis that my tone of voice was harsh and negative. I worked to successfully change this, but when I’m angry it slips right back into place.
Punitiveness is often linked to other schemas, especially Unrelenting Standards and Defectiveness. When patients have unrelenting standards and punish themselves for not meeting them, as opposed to simply feeling imperfect, they have both the Unrelenting Standards and Punitiveness schemas. When they feel defective and punish themselves for it, as opposed to simply feeling depressed or inadequate, they have both the Defectiveness and Punitiveness schemas. Most people with Borderline Personality Disorder have both Defectiveness and Punitiveness schemas: They feel bad whenever the feel defective, and they want to punish themselves for being bad. They have internalized their Punitive Parent as a mode, and they punish themselves for being defective, just as the parent used to punish them: They yell at themselves, cut themselves, starve themselves, or otherwise mete out punishment.
Trifecta! I have all three. Tell her what she’s won Johnny! Well Miss Haven, you’ve won a faaaaaabulous vacation to the depths of your own inner most hell … and because we like you so much we’ll throw in this box of razor blades as an added bonus!
Hey, at least I have a sense of humor.
Punishment. Punish myself. I feel the need to punish myself ALL the time. I’ve mentioned before that one of the reasons I cut and burn is because I feel like I have failed at something I believe I need to do. Or to keep me on track so that I don’t slip. I also cut because I believe I am a bad person and deserve to be punished. It is also motivation to be better. I berate myself, {used to} cut, starve, deny myself pleasurable activities, seclude myself from the supports I need, and I’m sure a number of other things that I just don’t have the mental capacity to recall at the moment.
Last night was the first time in a very long time that I had a nearly undeniable urge to cut (I didn’t. I restrained myself and didn’t give in to the impulse < — see,  progress). I should have known better than to let another guy into my life. Every time I tell myself I won’t allow it, won’t get close… and every time I forget. At least it’s not as bad this time. I haven’t let him get very close, and I’m not too attached yet. Believe it or not I still have a lot of distance between him and my heart. Everything just feels amplified with BPD. Sometimes a harsh reminder (read: punishment) is enough to keep that lesson clearly etched into my skin brain.
Goals of Treatment
The fundamental goal is to help people become less punitive and more forgiving, toward both themselves and others. To start it is important to learn that most of time there is little value in punishing people. Punishment is not an effective way to change behavior, particularly when compared to other methods, such as rewarding good behavior or modeling.
Each time a person expresses the desire to punish someone, it’s important to ask these questions:
“Were the person’s intentions good or bad? If the person’s intentions were good, doesn’t that count for something? Doesn’t the person deserve some forgiveness? If the person’s intentions were good, then how will punishment help? Isn’t the person likely to repeat the behavior when you’re not there to see? Even if the person behaves better next time, isn’t the cost too high? The punishment will have undermined the relationship and the person’s self-esteem. Is that what you want?” These questions guide people to discover that punishment is not the most beneficial approach.
People work toward building empathy and forgiveness for human beings in all their frailty and imperfection. They learn to consider extenuating circumstances and to have a balanced response when someone makes an error or fails to meet their expectations.
Ok, I have my abandonment fears theory. Why is it SO much harder to forgive myself than it is to forgive someone else? I’ve taken so much abuse from other people; you’d think the one person I could expect a little sympathy from would be myself.
Strategies Emphasized in Treatment
Cognitive strategies are important in building people’s motivation to change. The main strategy is educational: People explore the advantages and disadvantages of punishment versus forgiveness. They list both the consequences of punishing a person (or themselves) and of being more forgiving and encouraging the person to reflect on the behavior. Exploring the advantages and disadvantages helps the person accept intellectually that punishment is not an effective way to deal with mistakes. Becoming convinced on a cognitive level that the cost of the schema is greater than the benefit can help strengthen the persons resolve to battle the schema.
Because the schema is almost always the internalization of a parent’s Punitiveness schema, much experiential work focuses on externalizing and fighting the Punitive Parent mode. In imagery, people picture the parent talking to them in the punitive tone of voice. They talk back to the parent, saying, “I’m not going to list to you anymore. I’m not going to believe you anymore. You’re wrong, and you’re not good for me.” Doing imagery work with the Punitive Parent gives a person a way to distance from the schema and to make it feel less ego-syntonic. Rather than hearing the punitive voice of the schema as their own voice, they hear it as their parent’s voice. People can say to themselves: “This is not my voice that is punishing me; this is my parent’s voice. Punishment wasn’t healthy for me in childhood, and I’m not going to punish other people (or myself) anymore, especially the people I love.”
My problem here is, I don’t remember my parents yelling much at all; at least not until I was in middle school and high school. Then we SCREAMED at each other almost every day. My self-punishment started well before this. But when I was younger I just can’t recall. I don’t have a lot of memories from that age though so maybe. I do remember being spanked as a kid every now and again, but that was pretty rare and only for the bigger transgressions. I don’t think that would be enough to spark this. Then again, I can’t say either way.
The aim of behavioral strategies is to practice more forgiving responses in situations where people have urges to blame themselves or others. By practicing this they can compare whether the consequences match their dire predictions.
I don’t know how to forgive myself. I always feel like it’s my fault if something goes wrong because I put myself in that position. If a bad thing happens I have no one to blame but myself (even if it was someone else that hurt me < — I know this is faulty logic). I’m not even sure I see the point of forgiving myself. Will that help me make better decisions in the future? No. It would just feel like I’m not taking responsibility for my actions.
Special Problems with This Schema
This can be a difficult schema to change, particularly when it is combined with the Defectiveness schema. The person’s sense of moral indignation and injustice can be very inflexible. Maintaining the person’s motivation to change is the key to treatment. It’s important to stay focused on the costs and the benefits of the schema in terms of improved self-esteem and more harmonious interpersonal relationships.
My inner monologue is a capital B-I-T-C-H. < —- This is the more polite word I was thinking of actually. As bad as some people believe Borderlines are to others, that’s nothing compared to how bad we can be to ourselves. The way I treat myself is magnitudes worse than how I treat anyone else.

12 comments on “Off with Her Head! – Punitiveness

  1. From someone on the the receiving end…"She has a mental disorder, and you certainly can't fix her or persuade her to get fixed. To her, her mind is normal and everyone that causes her grief has the problem. If you meant that much to her, she would ensure she never lost you, but the sad fact is she never felt as much love for you as you do for her, and continuing your life with her in it only causes pain, pain for you only.She doesn't give a f*ck about you or anyone mate, she just uses people to make herself feel happy. Stick around with her and you'll never find someone that loves you back.I am going through the same sh*t just now my friend, I have gone back to her a few times and I just get lied to and hurt again. Only when she has no-one to use will she face her demons, and that will probably be never."

  2. " She's a scared child, with the privileges and life of a woman. She wants to go back and be nurtured, so she longs to nurture. But she deeply wants to be strong and able, proud of herself, she wants to be somebody and she wants somebody to believe her, she wants somebody to guide her…" – a BPD

  3. "I mean why when we are the ones that hurt the most in the first place do we also have to be the ones that has to work so hard. …well because…dealing with someone else' constant idiocy…tends to make the non sick of their BPD partner. Wouldn't you think that healthy individuals would have more of a capacity to think clearly and fairly would encourage each other to continue thinking clearly and healthily and be SUPPORTIVE?!!! Exactly what the non is often wondering about their BPD freaking out over nothing. How do you suggest to support blatant idiocy? WTH is wrong with people? Nothing…just sick and tired of dealing with the DENIALS of personal RESPONSIBILITY of the BPD partners CHOICES of BEHAVIOR and ACTIONS….does it REALLY give you a wonder?? No wonder so many of us fall apart so often and so severely. That is the BPD's problem, not the Non's. Most Non's enter into a relationship with their BPD mate without a CLUE as to the INSANITY that comes with it. WHO on EARTH would want to deal with an overgrown baby screeching and raging at them like rabid ape? YOU? All I want to do is join their site and tell them all off. Of course this is against their "rules" etc. and I won't but I want to! Why does it feel like everyone on that site has NPD?! (and of course I don't mean that comment literally, I'm just really frustrated and don't have a better smart-alec comment to make). I am so done with unsupportive people. It frustrates me that my natural instict is to bully the bullies but that I know the world can't be a better place if we perpetuate this hatred. I want to punch somebody but I guess I'll just cry from feeling helpless instead. Tell "them off" for WHAT? For not crying in their shoes all sorry for the person who CHOOSES to DO nothing to HELP THEMSELVES?? Not gonna happen….not WORTH THE EFFORT. If the BPD cannot even get it together enough for themselves….how on EARTH do you suppose to justify it that the NON is supposed to do that for them? Really…would love to hear the answer to that! BPD's don't give a rats butt about anyone else's feelings but their own. That is a blatant FACT. Then their all"woe is me", when people get sick of dealing with the drama and chaos. You want to "punch somebody"….try smacking yourself FIRST. More than enough partners of BPD have suffered at the hands of the "uncontrollable rages" and assorted malarkey…." I LOOOOOVE YOU…I BEAT YOU"….then they are all stunned and amazed when their partner LEAVES!!!!…Get a grip on reality why don't you? LOOK IN THE MIRROR for the ANSWER to your "problems" and own YOUR CRAP for maybe the first time in your life…and DO something about it."

  4. Yes we get it you are angry and fed up, your BPD has been difficult to deal with and probably hurt you over and over again….. However most people on this site are actively seeking help for the problem, and looking to get better so we don't do the things that cause all of the problems….. You are not aware of the insidious nature of this illness, you are not informed of what the causes of this are, and how difficult it is for the BPD in the middle of the illness to see the forest for the trees…. If it were so simple as to "get it" we would have gotten it by now….. The BPD mind cannot see clearly enough to see how much drama and chaos they create….. The BPD mind is that of a teenager in an adult body, there are physiological reasons for the immaturity of the mind….. The BPD brain is under developed, they need medications to slow down thinking and to clear up wrong thinking…… Its not fair to the non but it is also not fair to the BPD….. There is a reason there are medical professionals interested in treating this illness, it is a medical illness not some idiocy, if it were merely idiocy there would be less research done on the subject….. Believe it or not the BPD can get better with time and significant treatment….. We do eventually see how we create the drama and chaos, however it usually takes medication, lots of therapy, and a stable set of relationships to heal the damage that was done to us as children….. Unfortunately we were victims who keep living as if we are victims, and yep we create more victims along the way…. Eventually we get it….. I am of the opinion that we should stay off of your site and let you have your space to vent and heal from this thing, and I think you should show us the same courtesy so that we also have a place to heal from our own damage….. I don't agree with those who have been tempted to post on your site, please don't post negative things on ours….. You have every right to be angry and frustrated….. I suggest seeking therapy to deal with that anger and frustration…. Q

  5. @Twosidesofthesamecoin … People with BPD probably don’t think they’re ‘freaking out over nothing’. They probably have a history of unresolved problems that they need to come to terms with and work through so they can be functioning, healthy adults. It is not the responsibility of the Non to heal the Borderline. Borderlines have to take responsibility for their own actions. This is the point of my blog. This is my journey of trying to understand my actions, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for them, and heal myself so that I can be a better person, stop hurting, and stop hurting those around me. It sounds like you’ve had an awfully hard time with the borderline in your life, but please do not take out your anger on me. I didn’t do this to you. Thank you for the rant, but I have been punching myself. You clearly have not the slightest ability to grasp that someone with a characterological personality disorder does not even think the same way that you do. Our brains work differently. This isn’t an excuse, but it needs to be taken into consideration that we can’t just ‘snap out of it’. “LOOK IN THE MIRROR for the ANSWER to your "problems" and own YOUR CRAP for maybe the first time in your life…and DO something about it."”This is what my entire blog is about. Taking a deep look at myself, at my issues, taking responsibility for them and healing from them. I have been working on myself every single day for the last year. Maybe you should take your own advice and look at yourself when you feel the need to invade someone’s space and rage uncontrollably at someone that did nothing to you.

  6. @Q … Are you talking to me or Twosidesofthesamecoin? I’m confused. I agree though. You seem to be very aware and educated on BPD so for now I’m going to assume you were talking to the previous commenter. If I’m wrong, let me know, and I’ll discuss whatever you like to talk about. For now though, thank you. All I’m trying to do here is heal, and hope that my journey might possibly help someone else.

  7. There is some element of post traumatic stress sydrome when you hit the bottom of a dramatic and turmoil-loaded relationship with someone you love that suffers from Borderline. I can attest to that. It's confusing, the pain makes you dizzy. But gawd people, talk about random ranting and ass-chewing? This is a blog that this girl has dedicated soley to recovering herself from this illness and making herself better. Your borderline ex that lied, cheated on you and beat you—talk to them like the bitch you think they are, don't pick a random site and make idiotic statements. By doing so, you are just as ugly or uglier than what you're criticizing. You have no idea so either move one, or educate yourself on the variations of the disorder. It's not a fucking christmas tree cookie cutter. gawd people. Emily

  8. A person w bpd usually severely hurts those close to her. If you love deeply it is devastating beyond any pain you've ever imagined. But…she's showing you the pain she feels constantly; she's showing you how she was abused by those in her own life.You are responsible for your own choice to engage. It's not for the faint of heart; if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen. –chicadina (hugs to haven)

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