Borderline Personality Disorder,  Emotions

Emotional Independence

When new members “wash up on the shores” of the ATSTP list, they are confused, angry, helpless and exhausted. One thing I also noticed is that new members are emotionally entangled with their loved ones with BPD. Sometimes when people speak of “boundaries,” they use the phrase “where you end and I begin.” The word boundary has many meanings, and have talked about effective boundaries a lot on this blog. Yet, this idea of “where you stop and I begin” is very important when you’re entangled in another person’s emotions. A Non-BPD must learn to heal, to unpack emotional baggage, to acquire the emotional skills to help  to detangle the morass of emotional issues that may be keeping him/her in confusion and pain.

If your emotional well-being is dependent upon a loved one’s behavior, you’re in a difficult and painful situation – one in which you have  little control over. This leads to a feeling of helplessness because you have no ability to direct your emotional life since your feelings are dependent on another person’s words or actions. Instead, you can state: “My emotional well-being will be whatever it will be no matter what he/she does/says.” Easier said than done, I know, especially when the other person is telling you you’re a loser or a failure or whatever other insults that may have been foisted upon you. Ask yourself: Is my emotional well-being dependent on his/her behavior?

Here’s a quote about this subject from the I-Ching which a member of the ATSTP list posted on this subject:

Here the source of a man’s strength lies not in himself but in his relation to other people. No matter how close to them he may be, if his center of gravity depends on them, he is inevitably tossed to and fro between joy and sorrow. Rejoicing to high heaven, then sad unto death-this is the fate of those who depend upon an inner accord with other persons whom they love. Here we have only the statement of the law that this is so. Whether this condition is felt to be an affliction or the supreme happiness of love, is left to the subjective verdict of the person concerned.

One Comment

  • Kathy

    I wish I had heard of “boundaries” when I was a kid and young adult. I keep quoting Janice Cauwels’s book “Imbroglio,” in which she says that everyone involved with a person with BPD sometimes feels “bewildered, anguished, furious, and helpless.” I like those four adjectives.

    My memoir and website concern having a mother with BPD.

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