The First Two Rules of DBT are…
The first two rules of DBT are:
1. Everyone is doing the best they can.
Both the BP and the family members are doing the best they can and are coping with the situation in a way they have learn how to. Some of the behvaiors of the BPs may seem “crazy” and directed toward us nons, but they are doing the best they can to cope with the emotional pain/turmoil they experience. I have seen this emotional turmoil up close and personal in the past few days. My wife is very emotionally dysregulated at this time (i.e. in “Oz”), but the reality is – she’s emotionally dysregulated MOST of the time (even in “kansas”) because she never learned the skills to regulate her strong emotional states. When you are in the grip of strong emotions, it is VERY unlikely that you will be able to see other’s points of view. Emotions can save our lives – when a car swerves in front of us, we can feel immediate fear and swerve the other direction. This emotion (fear) is short and intense. Our thinking (or rational) mind doesn’t even have to come into play in these circumstances. Instead, only our emotional state kicks in. When in the “refractory period” of an emotion (the time in which we are in the grips of the emotion), we act automatically. During that period, we specifically ignore indications that may discount our felt emotion. In other words, we may ignore things that are “evidence” that the emotional state does not reflect “reality”.
BPD is a state in which the “return to baseline” of an emotional state is VERY long. Therefore, during this period, you (the non) may wonder why your BP will not LISTEN to REASON – why, when faced with the FACTS, they can seem to “get it”? It is because, during this period, they CAN’T LISTEN to REASON – it is a completely natural reaction to strong emotional states. I would implore you guys (the nons) to read this last sentence carefully – it is a completely natural reaction to strong emotional states. Meaning, it is not about “the facts” during that period. It is completely about how they feel, and, it is not about you.
2. Everyone wants to get better.
Both you and your BP wants to get better. You both wish to have a more “fair” relationship and a more “sane” relationship. They don’t want to be caught up in extreme emotional states – it ain’t a fun way to live. Nons want to live a better, calmer lives well.