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What holds us back before we start – From When Hope is Not Enough

The skills I offer in this book are counter-intuitive. They go against many of the things that we have been taught to believe about relationships.

What holds us back before we start

Poor Attachment Leads to Misunderstanding One Another.

I often see on my support list “newbies” who are not teachable. They arrive at the list seemingly willing to listen to the experienced members, yet in reality they subconsciously feel they have it all figured out. The experience of the “old timers” is extraordinarily valuable. In fact, that experience is the greatest asset available on the list. It is why I decided to revise this book to reflect the teaching from the sharing of that experience. Many newcomers to the list are unwilling to listen to guidance from the experienced members. When someone is unable or unwilling to listen to wise advice, this person usually has one of the next few approaches as a hindrance to progress.


Willfulness is the opposite of willingness. If you have an open mind, you have the willingness. You’re teachable. Yet, if your mind is closed and unwilling to listen to suggestions, things will not change. I’ve heard it said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. To me, that’s a willful, close-minded approach to the Non/BPD relationship.

The skills I offer in this book are counterintuitive. They go against many of the things that we have been taught to believe about relationships. If a concept is alien to your current way of thinking, if you do believe that it will work, only willingness will provide the key to open the closed mind. Without a willingness to listen, to reflect and to experiment with concepts that you may think will never work, nothing will change.

I’ve also heard it said: nothing changes if nothing changes. Nothing changes without willingness and an open mind.

Continue reading What holds us back before we start – From When Hope is Not Enough

Why I called the book “When Hope is Not Enough”

In 2007, I wrote the first edition of When Hope is Not Enough. When considering the title, I landed on this one because it rings true to a person who is a supporter and loved one of a person who meets the criteria of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Back when I wrote the book, there were very few books on the subject (only about 2-3) and the most popular of the books – the one recommended by therapist across my country (US) and which had sold hundreds of thousands of copies – had been ineffective in my life. I just found that the skills offered in that book worked at first and then stopped working abruptly.

When I took at Dialectical Behavior Therapy Family Skills Training (DBT-FST – yes, I know there’s way too many acronyms in this area), I found a new set of skills that provided some additional hope – hope which up until then was absent from my life. Yet, that hope, as fresh as it was, was not enough to heal the hurt and navigate the difficult relationships in my life. Instead, I found I had to refine the skills to make them easier to learn. More importantly, I had to master the skills and actually apply them to my life. Skillful means were more important than hope.

I updated the book in 2015 with a second edition to communicate more skills that I’d picked up in the intervening years and to “structure” the skills to make them even easier to master. I am posting this today because it’s been 10 years since I started writing the book and, in those 10 years, the skills contained therein has radically improved my life and my relationships.

I hope that those skills can help you in your relationships as well.


Emotional Agility as a Tool to Help Teens Manage Their Feelings

Emotions are not good or bad — they just are.Emotions are not good or bad — they just are.

Emotional Agility as a Tool to Help Teens Manage Their Feelings

By Deborah Farmer Kris FEBRUARY 28, 2017

Navigating the ups and downs of the teenage years has never been easy, as young adults manage a lot of changes that are hormonal, physical, social and emotional. Teens could use help during this period; according to a recent study, the prevalence of depression in adolescents has increased in the last decade. One way teens can manage these experiences, according to psychologist Susan David, is by equipping teens with the emotional skills to “help them develop the flexibility and resilience they need to flourish, even during hard times.”

“Emotions are absolutely fundamental to our long-term success – our grit, our ability to self-regulate, to negotiate conflict and to solve problems. They influence our relationships and our ability to be effective in our jobs,” said David, author of the book  “Emotional Agility” and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. “Children who grow up into adults who are not able to navigate emotions effectively will be at a major disadvantage.”

In her book, David defines emotional agility as “being aware and accepting of all your emotions, even learning from the most difficult ones,” and being able to “live in the moment with a clear reading of present circumstances, respond appropriately, and then act in alignment with your deepest values.” She says emotions are data, not directions. Understanding that distinction can equip teenagers to make healthy decisions that are in alignment with their values.
David said that she would explain the concept to a teenager this way: “Emotional agility is the ability to not be scared of emotions, but rather to be able to learn from them and use emotions for all the things you want to do and be in the world.” In order to respond with agility to challenging or novel situations, teenagers need to strengthen their emotional literacy. David recommends helping them understand these key concepts about emotions.


Author sheds light on van Gogh’s illness

“Borderline personality disorder is a relatively new diagnosis, which was officially described for the first time in 1980,” she continues a little later. “It was first suggested as a possible cause of van Gogh’s condition in the late 1990s.”

Author sheds light on van Gogh’s illness
Reviewed by Aaron W. Hughey

“On the Verge of Insanity: Van Gogh and His Illness” by Nienke Bakker, Louis van Tilborgh and Laura Prins. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016. 176 pages, $30.

“The dramatic moment when Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear and his subsequent suicide are among the best-known events in his life and, for many, the most fascinating,” Nienke Bakker explains in “Van Gogh’s Illness: The Witnesses Recall,” her contribution to “On the Verge of Insanity: Van Gogh and His Illness,” the new book she co-wrote with Louis van Tilborgh and Laura Prins. “His self-harm marked the beginning of a series of mental breakdowns, which have prompted widely diverging interpretations and medical diagnoses.”

Like many readers, I have known about the troubled genius van Gogh since early childhood. His story, like many who have come to occupy a prominent place in the cultural lexicon, has an enduring quality that is simultaneously difficult to explain and undeniably self-evident. His portfolio includes more than 2,100 works of art, including about 860 oil paintings – most of which were completed in a little more than 10 years. He is so well-known today it is hard to believe he actually sold only one painting during a life spent struggling with personal demons in abject poverty, supported primarily by his younger brother Theo. He only achieved worldwide acclaim after he committed suicide at age 37. To this day, he remains the embodiment of “misunderstood genius.”


Ignore Your Feelings

We certainly share a lot with DBT, a kind of CBT for people who have intensely destructive feelings—dialectic behavioral therapy. Particularly because it started out with the idea that it was directly for people who were suffering terribly.

Ignore Your Feelings
A profanity-filled new self-help book argues that life is kind of terrible, so you should value your actions over your emotions.

Put down the talking stick. Stop fruitlessly seeking “closure” with your peevish co-worker. And please, don’t bother telling your spouse how annoying you find their tongue-clicking habit—sometimes honesty is less like a breath of fresh air and more like a fart. That’s the argument of Michael Bennett and Sarah Bennett, the father-daughter duo behind the new self-help book F*ck Feelings.

The elder Bennett is a psychiatrist and American Psychiatric Association distinguished fellow. His daughter is a comedy writer. Together, they provide a tough-love, irreverent take on “life’s impossible problems.” The crux of their approach is that life is hard and negative emotions are part of it. The key is to see your “bullshit wishes” for just what they are (bullshit), and instead to pursue real, achievable goals.

Stop trying to forgive your bad parents, they advise. Jerks are capable of having as many kids as anyone else—at least until men’s rights conventions come equipped with free vasectomy booths. If you happen to be the child of a jerk, that’s just another obstacle to overcome.

In fact, stop trying to free yourself of all anger and hate. In all likelihood you’re doing a really awesome job, the Bennetts argue, despite all the shitty things that happen to you.

Oh, and a word on shit: “Profanity is a source of comfort, clarity, and strength,” they write. “It helps to express anger without blame, to be tough in the face of pain.”


F*ck Feelings: One Shrink’s Practical Advice for Managing All Life’s Impossible Problems (Hardcover)

New York Times Bestseller

The only self-help book you’ll ever need, from a psychiatrist and his comedy writer daughter, who will help you put aside your unrealistic wishes, stop trying to change things you can’t change, and do the best with what you can control—the first steps to managing all of life’s impossible problems.

Here is the cut-to-the-chase therapy session you’ve been looking for!

Need to stop screwing up? Want to become a more positive person?
Do you work with an ass? Think you can rescue an addicted person?
Looking for closure after abuse? Have you realized that your parent is an asshole?
Feel compelled to clear your name? Hope to salvage a lost love?
Want to get a lover to commit? Plagued by a bully?
Afraid of ruining your kid? Ready to vent your anger?

In this brilliantly sensible and funny book, a Harvard-educated shrink and his comedy-writing daughter reveal that the real f-words in life are “feelings” and “fairness.” While most self-help books are about your feelings and fulfilling your wildest dreams, F*ck Feelings will show you how to find a new kind of freedom by getting your head out of your ass and yourself onto the right path toward realistic goals and feasible results. F*ck Feelings is the last self-help book you will ever need!

New From: $13.59 USD In Stock

Nasty Divorce: A Kids Eye View (An Excerpt)

Her mother was finally diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Meredith still deals with the aftermath of abuse and parental alienation.

Nasty Divorce: A Kids Eye View (An Excerpt)


Marina Sbrochi hopes to incite behavior change by sharing the experiences of children and damaging effects of high conflict divorce.


Meredith’s parents divorced when her older sister was three and her mother was pregnant with her. She had been told varying stories of why her father hadn’t been in their lives. It began with her mother telling her from as early as she can remember that her father denied fathering her and wanted nothing to do with them. The story would have varying themes on the original, but also included cheating and physical abuse. They were also told he was a “pervert” and liked little girls. The message sent to Meredith by her mother was this, “your father is a very bad man and a loser.”

Her mother remarried when she was five years old. He was a minister. He too had no problem trashing her father. Even though her mother had remarried, she never missed an opportunity to bash the father she had never met. Soon, they were told that their stepfather adopted the girls as his own. Meredith only learned that this wasn’t true after she moved out. The only reason he didn’t adopt the girls was because her mother wouldn’t get the child support. When the time came that they were adults — they “didn’t have enough money.”

Continue reading Nasty Divorce: A Kids Eye View (An Excerpt)

Nasty Divorce: A Kid’s Eye View (Kindle Edition)

Nasty Divorce: A Kid’s Eye View will open your eyes to the true life tragedy that comes with high conflict divorce.

Author Marina Sbrochi has been writing positive divorce advice for The Huffington Post for since 2012. It was her post, The Lasting Effects of Talking Nasty About Your Ex, that sparked a firestorm of comments.

Parental alienation, abuse and mental illness are a common theme in many of these stories. After reading this book, there will be no doubt in your mind, high conflict divorce is incredibly damaging.

You’ll read first hand things like:

“My mom trashed my dad all my life (I’m in my 50’s and he died in 2010, but she still tries!) The result was me going through self-hatred, suicidal thoughts, low self-worth, alcoholism, and always trying to achieve and “perform” enough, meanwhile dating ALL the wrong men–for a long time!!”
“The children (now adults) still go to therapy to deal with the loss of the relationship they had with their mother.”
If Colleen could summarize her parents divorce in one sentence, it would be this: “It was more about vengeance than actually about gaining custody of their children.”
“Do you know what it’s like to listen to one parent bash your other parent on a daily basis? It’s exhausting. Although, for the most part, my dad has stopped — our relationship continues to hang by a thread. Psychological damage like that just does not heal overnight, instead it lingers and persists, perhaps for a lifetime. I’m not over it yet.”

Sprinkled throughout the book are helpful tips and advice to help you have a better divorce for your children. It’s never too late to change direction. Your kids will thank you.

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