Friday, August 29, 2008

Poetry To Inspire

I am posting and sharing some poetry. Poetry is powerful for many reasons, but I think certain poems can reawaken lost parts of selves, lost layers of trueness, lost essentialness...dormant, but overshadowed by pain and layers of shame and uncried tears.

I'll start with Rumi.

The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere,
they're in each other all along.
Translator: Coleman Barks


Suddenly the drunken sweetheart appeared out of my door.
She drank a cup of ruby wine and sat by my side.
Seeing and holding the lockets of her hair
My face became all eyes, and my eyes all hands.
Translator: Shahram Shiva

Is that not beautiful?

I think love is an alchemy of souls. We all have this baggage, most of us. Survivors of sexual violence have more than usual. Love is transformative because it can help us peel away our layers of shame and pain.

Another from Rumi:

When the sweet glance of my true love caught my eyes,
Like alchemy, it transformed my copper-like soul.

Above poems from the books, Essential Rumi and Soul of Rumi both translated by Coleman Barks, and Thief of Sleep translated by Shahram Shiva.

As a teenage, I stumbled upon Rumi and Pablo Neruda, and within me a transformation began, and I remember standing at my window, looking out over the barn....I thought,"I want a man that is this, this poem, these words, this is the love I want." I wanted the personification of this love.

(I found it!)

I think this sort of poetic manifestation is a wonderful way to teach ourselves what we need to e looking for in a mate.

We are throwing back veils of shame and absorbed evil, perversion, and many generations(in most cases incest in multi generational) of painful legacies. My father altered my view of myself. His abuse of me was so overwhelming, on every level, I had to change my own eyes, my own perception in order to survive. We have all had to do this as survivors. How smart and resourceful we are! Yet now in the here and now it must be reworked. What good is our beauty if we refuse to FEEL it? What is our light for if not to illumine our spirit?

Osho --"Your whole idea about yourself is borrowed--
borrowed from those who have no idea of who they are themselves." Excerpts from this modern mystic.

After realizing the above, next comes this:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,
our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child
of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to
make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others."

Marianne Willaimson

It freaks the mind to think that we were precious children, innocent and angelic and beautiful, as all children are. We were humiliated and abused, so we tried in various ways to extinguish our light. Our light became a painful reminder of what was unseen, unacknowledged by our abuser. It taps into our rage. Where do we go with all of this rage? I feel direct anger and rage at my father. How do we know when we are feeling core feelings? I have felt myself literally releasing anger like tiny condensation from my skin, like a fog that my skin emits. I try not to avoid this when it comes. I try to surrender and let it seep out. The true self quakes when touched. Mine is, the truth collides into the self I had to create to survive. I can feel that little girl in me. I think we have to sit with and continue allowing the healing to come.

" as a flower blown out by the wind

goes to rest and cannot be defined

gone beyond all images-gone beyond the power of words "
From: Sutra Nipata

Of course I am going to keep trying to define verbalize and express! I have felt deeply the loss of who might I have become if not for the incest? I believe with all of my soul that who we could have been is still within, it is just a matter of finding him or her. Namaste, Sarah

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I Love Joe Biden

The Violence Against Women Act: Celebrating 10 Years of Prevention
by Pat Reuss, Senior Policy Analyst
On one of those perfect, early-fall days in Washington, D.C., in 1994, a handful of NOW Action Center staff members and activists trooped over to the White House lawn to witness the signing of a crime bill.
Tucked away in the omnibus crime bill of dubious merit was the long-awaited Violence Against Women Act.
Like obedient fans, we cheered at this bill-signing, even though no one mentioned this monumental act. While waiting for someone to acknowledge VAWA's existence, we reminisced about the intense four-year effort expended to make it a reality.
The feat began in 1990, when Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., and then Rep. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., submitted a preliminary proposal to address the issue of violence against women. The two senators pulled together the anti-violence community's 15-year efforts with hopes a national conversation about violence prevention and services would begin.
Advocates led by NOW and NOW Legal Defense Fund pulled together a working group and began the daunting task of helping draft the proposal.
More than 2,000 field experts, state and national organizations came together in what is now known as The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence.
The task force had no money at its disposal and few staff members to work on the bill. Without email or cell phones, curly-paper fax machines allowed us to trade ideas and successes, model legislation and Congressional target lists. After completing the process of drafting the bill, the largest obstacle—getting VAWA passed—still lay before us.
To do so, the innovative, comprehensive legislation needed a large grassroots movement pushing it forward.
We reached out to every progressive organization on the books that focused on target issues from women's rights to civil rights, anti-poverty to unionization. We also called in help from experts in medicine, law enforcement and public policy.
Many said this homogenization of groups "watered down the movement," but it was essential in getting the bill passed with bipartisan attention and momentum. Other critics said VAWA asked for too much money. Still more critics considered the right to sue in federal court and a battered immigrant women's provision ideas that went beyond all reason.
Keeping our goal in mind, we persevered with the help of dedicated Congressional staff and members of Congress (no more than 15 total, sad to say). In the end, the bill offered almost everything we requested and gained 226 House and 68 Senate sponsors.
In 1994, Congress allocated money to begin the prevention and healing efforts, funding VAWA at the full $1.62 billion over six years. However, a new Congress that swept in that fall (and elected Newt Gingrich as speaker), refused to release the funds.
NOW's massive rally against violence the following spring broke the log jam at long last, and the changes began.
Enforced by then Attorney General Janet Reno and Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, and promoted by former Iowa Attorney General Bonnie Campbell, VAWA brought sexual and domestic violence out of hiding into the midst of a national discussion.
VAWA broadened the range of services and counseling available to women who become victims of abuse.
While we laud these accomplishments, work remains to be done in areas of prevention and eradication. Data needs to be continually collected and analyzed. Cutting-edge pilot programs must be developed to take on these issues. Programs must further educate the community at large about ways they can prevent and rid society of rape and domestic abuse.
Both women and men can be empowered to grapple with these issues, by confronting established values and societal norms for women, reinforced by mainstream media, the entertainment industry and conservative religious groups—to name a few.
Reminiscent of VAWA's early days, an equally exhausting battle waged in 2000 when Congress reauthorized the expanded and improved bill. VAWA expires in 2005, so advocates have already started working on a draft.
While the outcome of the November 2004 elections will determine the scope and coverage of the new bill, it behooves all of us to get involved in a social, cultural and political movement.
We must demand funding and leadership from our political leaders and insist on measures that will lead to true prevention, accountability and the eventual eradication of sexual and domestic violence.
Without this, VAWA will be just another grants program subject to the political whims of those in charge of dispensing the money.
NOW credits the following key resources: - Ten Years of VAWA Strengthening Anti-Sexual Violence Work- Using VAWA to teach grass roots activism and national coalition building
Editor's note: Pat Reuss was the lead lobbyist for VAWA and crafted the strategy that led to its passage.


Just a dash of sultry for all my girls. Go celebrate your body, make love, dance, dress up, move your body, move your soul, you are a WOMAN, absorb your own bliss and remember to feel your beauty. FEEL it. Love you all, S

Friday, August 22, 2008

Are You Weak For Needing Medication?

My answer: NO! I can not stress enough vigorous sweaty exercise, healthy diet, no soda, and some form of releasing-therapy, yoga, and chakra work are my main tools for dealing with any ongoing anxiety issues/PTSD fun:) Also, animals and nature.

Alternative Remedies from Ask the Mental Health Expert:
Q. I have always looked to alternative methods for dealing with my depression: yoga, meditation; holistic health practices. However, it's still there. (for years, decades). I feel I need a medication but feel disappointed that the symptoms have not been alleviated through natural remedies. I'm about to make an appointment with a psychiatrist to help me deal with this disorder. Any advice on getting past this hurdle and not feel as though I'm weak because I need medication?
A. First off, I hope you can give yourself some credit for seeking out a professional evaluation. I think that's an indication of your openness to new possibilities, and the realization that sometimes, even with our best efforts, we all need the help of others. This same kind of thinking may help you get over the hurdle of trying medication--but, first things first: I would not assume that you must take a medication for your problem, though one may be very useful.
Of the various alternative methods you mentioned, you did not say anything about getting into psychotherapy. There is excellent evidence that psychotherapy alone may be effective for mild-to-moderate cases of depression-and perhaps even some severe cases-particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Psychotherapy could certainly be considered, depending on the severity of your symptoms, with medication added on if things don't improve over 1-3 months. (Most of the evidence suggests that the most effective regimen for moderate-to-severe depression is a combination of psychotherapy and medication).
It would also be important to make sure there are no medical factors that might be contributing to your chronic depression; e.g., low thyroid function. Now, as to the notion that taking a medication suggests weakness, this is a fairly common attitude in our culture. I suspect it is a remnant of our Puritan heritage, and the notion that we need to "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps". This is fine, if you have boots, but not everybody does! Almost certainly, some of us are born with biochemical factors that predispose us to depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders. To a large degree, we may be able to think, or meditate, or exercise ourselves out of mild depressive states. But when depression becomes persistent or severe, and begins to interfere with our social and vocational function, medication may be necessary to restore the natural balance of chemicals in the brain. It would be analogous to your having too little of a particular hormone in your body, and needing a hormonal replacement for it. This is not to say that conventional antidepressants are natural body chemicals--but they may help restore the brain's natural balance.
By the way, there are some non-traditional and herbal agents that may have antidepressant properties, though I definitely do not recommend trying these on your own-they may have side effects that are not advertised. However, you can discuss these options with the psychiatrist. Finally, keep in mind this metaphor: medication is not a crutch, but a bridge--a bridge from feeling depressed to feeling better. You will still have to do the walking to get across that bridge. This may mean psychotherapy, or continuing to do many of the things that you already do, such as meditation and exercise. All those things together may be greater than the sum of the parts.
For more information, I recommend John Medina's book, "Depression: How it Happens, How It's Healed" (available through CME LLC). Good luck with your new path, whatever that turns out to be.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Expert Voices - Gavin de Becker

Expert Voices - Gavin de Becker
Gavin de Becker, America’s leading expert on predicting violent behavior, has given Safer Child permission to print an excerpt from his second book, "Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane)." In "Protecting the Gift," he offers us ways to protect our children and to teach our children how to protect themselves – by learning how to size up a potentially dangerous situation, by responding to our intuition, and by reacting effectively should we be confronted with a threat.
Excerpt from Chapter Five ("Talk to Strangers") from Gavin de Becker’s
"Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane)."
"Never Talk to Strangers"
Somehow we believe that if we teach this to our children, if we’re certain they fully understand it, if they get it right every time we quiz them on it – if all that happens, they’ll be safe. With some urgency, we implore, "You understand, right? Never talk to strangers. Tell Daddy again, okay?" In the world we cannot control, we can control at least one thing: Our children will know The Rule. Really, however, all we can be certain of is that they can recite it.
Children are taught The Rule when young, but the very week it’s handed down, they see their parents violate it over and over. And they are themselves encouraged to violate it: "Say hello to the nice lady," "Answer the man’s question," "Tell Mr. Evans your name." What children actually learn is: Never talk to strangers unless they are wearing a clown suit or a uniform, or they work at the bank, or they’re registering us to vote, or they’re seeking signatures on a petition, or they’re handing out tasty samples, or they’re nice.
Never Talk to Strangers, it turns out, isn’t a rule after all, but a highly flexible and incomprehensible concept that only Mom and Dad really understand – if even they do.
Go to Top (Or Continue)
The list of violently inclined predatory criminals defeated because a parent told his or her child not to talk to strangers isn’t long enough to be called a list at all. More to the point, young children told not to talk to strangers do talk to strangers anyway. On a powerful segment of the Oprah Winfrey Show, children were successfully lured away from inattentive parents time after time. Ken Wooden, the author of Child Lures, is among the nation’s most effective advocates for children’s safety. He described his appearance on the program:
"Oprah’s producers and I approached several young mothers in a suburban park to ask for their cooperation with our experiment. Each mother emphatically insisted that her child would never leave the park with a stranger, then watched in horror from a distance as her youngster cheerfully followed me out of the park to look for my puppy. On average, it took thirty-five seconds to lure each child away from the safety of the park."
(This Oprah Winfrey program, aired on September 27, 1993, can be ordered through Burrelle’s Transcripts 800-777-8398. Title: "Child Lures.")
Clearly, the children lured away by this ploy were not ready to be on their own, and they were too far away from their mothers. I’ve observed people leave a small child farther away than they’d ever leave a purse or briefcase. Of course, a purse or briefcase isn’t expected to protect itself, and herein lies this huge fallacy at the center of The Rule. It assumes that a small child has something to contribute to his or her own protection, and that’s just not true.
Go to Top (Or Continue)
Reliance upon a child in such high-stakes matters is misplaced. Imagine selecting a five-year-old baby-sitter for your child. Many parents have done virtually that by placing part of the responsibility for a child’s personal security on the child. I heard one parent say about The Rule, "We’ve told her a hundred times, but she just doesn’t get it." Then think of that as your starting point: She doesn’t get it. Maybe because she’s too young, or maybe because she just doesn’t get it, but listen to that fact. When we assume that a young child will reliably do what we say in our absence, or that doing it will keep him or her safe, we are choosing to share our duty with the least qualified person available. We’d actually find a more reliable guard for our children by choosing a total stranger.
Even if I believed in the effectiveness of The Rule it would be hard to endorse the ways it is often taught. Here’s a passage from a children’s book entitled Never Talk to Strangers: "If you are hanging from a trapeze and up sneaks a camel with bony knees, remember this rule, if you please – Never Talk to Strangers." The book goes on to discuss grouchy grizzly bears, parachuting hawks, a rhinoceros waiting for a bus, coyotes asking the time, cars with whales at the wheel, etc. With all due credit to the author, whose heart was surely in the right place, how effective can this be? Some people might judge effectiveness by a child’s ability to recite the catchy rhymes, but that’s a test of memory, not a test of the ability to protect oneself.
Even if a child fully learns and embraces the rule of not talking to strangers, many kids believe a stranger is an unshaven man in tattered clothes; neither the nice neighbor nor the guy at the check-out counter is one of those.
In addition to the fact that it doesn’t work, The Rule actually reduces safety in several ways. One is that within the message Never Talk to Strangers (because they may harm you) is the implication that people you know will not harm you. If stranger equals danger, then friend equals safety. But the opposite is true far more often. First of all we are inherently more protected against a stranger; he must get around the defense systems of the parent and the child. The friend, conversely, is ushered inside the gates and given a pass. The friend has been gifted with what every predator must work to gain: trust and access. So, the issue isn’t strangers versus acquaintances; it is people who might harm your child versus people who won’t, people who deserve your trust versus people who don’t.
Go to Top (Or Continue)
Until a child is old enough to understand what predatory strategies look like, old enough and confident enough to resist them, assertive enough to seek help, powerful enough to enforce the word No – until all that happens, a child is too young to be his own protector, too young to merit any of your reliance, too young to be part of the defense system, period.
Presumably, The Rule is intended to provide protection in the event the child is alone somewhere, because if a parent is present, then what difference does it make if a young child speaks with a stranger? The irony is that if your child is ever lost in public, the ability to talk to strangers is actually the single greatest asset he could have. To seek assistance, to describe one’s situation, to give a phone number, to ask advice, to say No – all these interactions require the child to speak with strangers. If kids view talking to strangers as the threshold they mustn’t cross, then when they do cross it (and they will), they have no further tools. Talking is just talking, after all, but since what we really want to avoid is our child going somewhere with someone, that’s the thing to teach them about (more on this in Chapter 6).
Another way The Rule reduces safety is by providing unearned peace of mind; because of it, some parents don’t take other precautions. But there’s still another, more pervasive way The Rule reduces safety: Children raised to assume all strangers might be dangerous do not develop their own inherent skills of evaluating behavior. The Rule hurts all of us by producing generation after generation of people who fear people, mostly because they don’t understand them. Fear of people is really the fear that we can’t predict their behavior.
Recognize that for every person you encounter who might hurt your child, there are literally millions who will not. Does it make sense to treat everyone as if they are in the dangerous group? That’s exactly what modern Western society has done. Ironically, adults end up being more loyal to The Rule than children: We, unlike people in many cultures, pass each other on streets and in hallways without acknowledgment.
Yet communicating with strangers is part of the test human beings are built to use to confirm that strangers are of good will. Just like animals, we have a complex system for evaluating the intent of those we encounter. In less fractured cultures, strangers exchange signals as they pass each other, signals that usually communicate, I mean you no harm. It might be a nod, a slight smile, a wave, or a greeting that puts both people at ease, but millions of Americans don’t participate.
Go to Top (Or Continue)
That’s why being in the presence of a stranger can be uncomfortable or even frightening. You see, since we more than most species need to be reassured about the intent of others, that discomfort you feel in the elevator with a stranger is natural. Your body is waiting to be put at ease when the stranger passes a test. The tension is instantly broken when your nod solicits a smile, or when a comment initiates a cordial exchange of words.
Though this book focuses on violence, let’s recognize that human beings are perhaps the most cooperative species on earth. Most animals live within a herd, flock, or hive, resisting contact with outsiders in their own species. In contrast, we spend much of our time in the presence of strangers, far from our home tribe. This works only because we can readily determine who is safe for us to be around and who is not. Human beings predict dangerousness (and far more often predict safety) automatically and with astounding accuracy – but not if we avoid the very things that inform our intuition. It is an individual’s behavior, not merely his species, which might warn us of danger, and communicating is how we find our comfort and our safety.
Bottom line: The issue isn’t strangers, it is strangeness. It is inappropriate behavior that’s relevant: a stare held too long, a smile that curls too slowly, a narrowing or widening of the eyes, a rapid looking away. The muscles in the face are instruments of communication, resulting in an eloquent language that can put us at ease or give us the creeps.
About the Author: Gavin De Becker, best-selling author of "The Gift of Fear," is America’s leading expert on predicting violent behavior. A three-time presidential appointee, he’s advisor to such clients as the C.I.A. and the U.S. Supreme Court. He’s also the co-chair of the Domestic Violence Council Advisory Board, and co-founder of Victory Over Violence, an organization that assists battered women and their children.
(For more on protecting your children from attack, please see the Safer Child Protection page)

Gavin de Becker
Gavin de Becker is widely regarded as our nation's leading expert on the prediction and management of violence. He is the best-selling author of The Gift of Fear and Protecting the Gift.(Read what people are saying about this important book for parents.)His work has earned him three Presidential appointments and a position on a congressional committee. He was twice appointed to the President's Advisory Board at the U.S. Department of Justice, and was a principal advisor on the federal research project into mentally ill people who stalk public figures. He served two years on the Governor's Advisory Board at the California Department of Mental Health. He is currently co-chair of the Domestic Violence Council Advisory Board and a Senior Fellow at the UCLA School of Public Policy.
As a consultant to many major media figures, government agencies, Fortune-500 companies, and universities, he has overseen the assessment and management of more than 25,000 cases. Clients include the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Los Angeles County District's Attorney's Office, and many others.
Mr. de Becker has appeared as an expert on every major news show and has been interviewed several times by Oprah Winfrey, Larry King, Maria Shriver, Sam Donaldson, Mike Wallace, and Ed Bradley. He's been quoted and profiled in TIME and Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, the New York Times, and many other publications. He is also a Contributing Editor for USA WEEKEND Magazine. As a regular speaker to law enforcement, government, and victims groups, he has addressed such topics as stalking, mental illness in America, workplace violence, public figure safety, crimes against women, and protecting children from violence.
Mr. de Becker's first book The Gift of Fear was an instant #1 national bestseller, and spent four months on the New York Times bestseller list. It has now been published in fourteen languages.
Return to Protecting the Gift: Keep Your Children Safe!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

You Keep On Pushing Me Over the Borderline: Personality Disorder, That Is

You Keep On Pushing Me Over the Borderline:
Personality Disorder, That Is

Borderline Personality Disorder, a controversial mental disorder, is one of the major personality disorders. The first significant psychoanalytic work to use the term "borderline" occurred in 1938. The term Borderline was first used to describe a person who seemed on the “borderline” of neurosis and psychosis, or nearing a schizophrenic state. Personality refers to an ongoing, continuous pattern of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that form who we are. When elements of someone’s thought patterns, feelings, or behaviors are pervasively negative, causing significant interpersonal issues in life, the possibility of a disorder exists. Because personalities form and are developing throughout one’s early life, the condition is not usually diagnosed until later on.
Borderline Personality Disorder: those three words can strike terror into the heart of anyone, therapists and psychiatrists notwithstanding. There is a copious amount of stigma associated with BPD. The controversy surrounds the idea that given this diagnosis, the whole person is pathologically flawed and problematic, rather than just a part of said person. Other synonymous names for BPD include Emotional Regulation Disorder which is very commonly used along with Emotional Intensity Disorder. It is seen in 10% of psychiatric outpatients, and 20% of psychiatric inpatients.

Borderline Personality Disorder is generally characterized by impulsive actions, rapidly shifting moods, and stormy relationships. This instability often disrupts family and work life, long-term planning, and the individual's sense of self-identity. “Distortions in cognition and sense of self can lead to frequent changes in long-term goals, career plans, jobs, friendships, gender identity, and values. Sometimes people with BPD view themselves as fundamentally bad, or unworthy. They may feel unfairly misunderstood or mistreated, bored, empty, and have little idea who they are. Such symptoms are most acute when people with BPD feel isolated and lacking in social support, and may result in frantic efforts to avoid being alone”, states the National Institute of Mental Health.

Specifically, symptoms include self harm, such as cutting oneself, or repeated attempts or hints about committing suicide. Frantic attempts to avoid real or imagined abandonment occur, as in threatening to harm yourself if someone leaves, or threatening to hurt them if they leave you. Alternating between idealizing a person and demonizing them is also common. Borderlines tend to have a very shaky sense of self. They tend to fluctuate in confusion over sexual identity. Compulsive behaviors are common, such as gambling, overspending, abusing drugs and alcohol, driving recklessly, and risky sex, and binge eating. Another element of the disorder is known as splitting: friends, family, loved ones are viewed as "all good" or "all bad." There is no middle ground, no in-between.
The affected might form an immediate and intense attachment to a person, at first idealizing them, only to jump to extremes of anger and resentment if any perceived or actual separation happens. For example, a patient whose therapist goes on vacation may freak out and feel hatred at the therapist for “abandoning” them. The DVSM says of the issue of anger, “The anger is often elicited when a caregiver or lover is seen as neglectful, withholding, uncaring, or abandoning. Such expressions of anger are often followed by shame and guilt and contribute to the feeling they have of being evil.” They try to deal with feelings of emptiness and rage by acting out toward those around them-blaming, criticizing, abusing verbally or physically, accusing them of things that are often outrageous. Attempting to set boundaries with a person with BPD can be excruciating as they are capable of great maliciousness. Often, loved ones feel they must “walk on eggshells” in order to avoid the outcome of crossing said affected person.
A person diagnosed with is extremely sensitive to rejection and has trouble with what is known as “object constancy”. He or She feels difficulty with emotional connection to important people when they are physically absent. The psychic infrastructure, the emotional skeletal system as it were- within the disordered person is dysfunctional, thus they are unable to seek comfort in an internalized image of another person. For example, through the repeated consistent comings and goings of mother , AND through the toddler’s genetic ability to adapt (ego endowment), a new image of mother begins to shape internally. The toddler’s capacity to internalize his mother through traces of memory serves as a source of comfort and security when she is not available in a physical sense. The nurturing and soothing mother is internalized as a constant object. This is known as object constancy.
One woman diagnoses with BPD said, "One day I would think my doctor was the best and I loved her, but if she challenged me in any way I hated her. There was no middle ground as in like. In my world, people were either the best or the worst. I couldn't understand the concept of middle ground." People who love and care for a person with BPD usually feel like they are walking on egg shells, and try to avoid horrible rows by hiding their thoughts and feelings. You may feel blamed for everything that goes wrong, even when it is not logical. You may not know who you are living with, the loving person you fell in love with seems to be replaced with a tyrannical rageaholic. People with BPD are in pain, as are the people who love them. When one has BPD, one has difficulty with emotional control. They are often in a state of upheaval, seemingly forever involved in drama and chaos — perhaps as a result of harmful childhood experiences or brain dysfunction.
With borderline personality disorder one’s image of oneself is extremely distorted. The resulting feeling about oneself is that of worthlessness and intrinsic badness. Sometimes, one with BPD feels as if they don't exist at all.
This drama, anger, impulsivity and frequent mood swings push others away, though paradoxically there is yearning for loving relationships.

Neurobiology is a factor in BPD. Studies show that people predisposed to impulsive aggression have impaired emotional regulation, the neural circuits that modulate emotion are not working properly. A small almond-shaped structure deep inside the brain, the amygdala, is an important component of the circuitry regulating negative emotion. It marshals fear and arousal, and if dysfunctional, may explain why BPD sufferers are so hyper sensitive. A plausible explanation is sexual abuse in childhood. Forty to 71 percent of BPD patients report having been sexually abused.
The primary treatment for BPD is psychotherapy. This can be tricky however, as some with BPD are extremely resistant to getting treatment. They tend to see therapist’s as threatening, and harbor deep hostility of which they may or may not be aware.
Symptom-targeted pharmacotherapy is another useful treatment option.
If you or someone you love are in need of help, do not hesitate to seek it. Keep yourself safe, have compassion but do not be a doormat. Set boundaries and fortify yourself against the inevitable “borderline bait” as I call it, where the affected possibly responds malignantly and spitefully.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “If you notice these things in a family member or friend, talk to him or her about seeing a doctor or mental health provider. But keep in mind that you can't force someone to seek help. If the relationship has you unduly distressed, you may find it helpful to see a therapist yourself.”

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Art of Mirroring by Sophia J. Wien-Kim, M.A. Drs

The Art of Mirroring
A Communication Skill To Faciliate A Healthy Sense Of Self For Your Young Child And Much More......
By Sophia J. Wien-Kim, M.A., Drs.
There's a book in every book store these days, which is called "Are You Somebody". It is a memoir by an Irish woman named Nuala O'Faolain. In the book she describes a lifelong, deep yearning for a gratifying connection to the world around her and a longing for love so deep, that it brings tears to your eyes. This is a woman who is successful in her career and became famous. But none of this ever eased her pain of not feeling loved and her struggle to develop a sense of self.
Nuala grew up with a mother so overwhelmed by the task of rearing her nine children that she took comfort in drinking, severely neglecting them. Her father was continuously absent too and used shame and punishment as a way of keeping the children in check.
It is clear that this is the root of Nuala's wounding.
All of her significant relationships failed, she never had children and is in pain about that too.
We are grateful that our children have had a better start in life. Yet we all struggle with questions like: what does it take to provide your child with a healthy and strong sense of self? How do I avoid making the mistakes my parents made? How do I provide the basics, the safety, support and structure (boundaries) my child needs at each stage in her development?
No matter how much you struggle or how confused you might be, there is an approach with which you never fail. It is using a communication technique called "mirroring", which originates from the Imago Relationship Theory developed by Harville Hendrix, PhD.
Mirroring is literally and accurately reflecting back what the other is telling you. The purpose of mirroring is to let the your child know you are willing to put aside your thoughts and feelings for a moment to really listen and understand her point of view.
When you mirror your child, you make it clear that she (or he) is getting your undivided attention. It is a way to honor your child's reality - to respect her in her feelings, awareness and the expression of both.
When you mirror your child, you will convey that she is allowed to communicate what she needs and that you will always respond. It is a way of letting your child know that whatever she is experiencing makes sense, ambivalent feelings and all, and that it is your task to decode, to translate, to understand.
By mirroring, you make your child feel safe and protected. Mirroring promotes "moments of oneness", ongoing experiences of connection and bonding - experiences that are extremely important for the child's confidence.
Through mirroring you let the child know she is acceptable, adequate, valued, worthy and treasured. Your child will, over time, start thinking about herself in those terms. She will grow strong, resilient and be able to manage her life, her emotions and her tasks - and have healthy relationships with others as well.
Whenever your child seems demanding or difficult, whenever you see behavior that you don't understand, keep mirroring and say to yourself "stay with it" and then mirror again if needed. You will see that when you take the time to mirror, your child will relax when frustrated or in distress. When you need to set boundaries your child will inevitably be upset, because she is confronted with something she wants, but cannot have. Mirror the fact that she wants what she wants and that this makes sense and then mirror the frustration of not getting it. Ultimately your child is going to quiet down and be okay - validated in her emotions, so that she will learn to trust her inner life and develop a secure sense of self.
Mastering the "Art of Mirroring" will break negative patterns of communication, and will redirect and strengthen the parent-child relationship. Mastering the Art of Mirroring will also have a profound effect on your child's life, the way she will think about herself and the way she will progress in the world.
Note: I used the term mirroring as opposed to dialogue with respect to communication with the young child , because it needs to be absolutely clear that it s about the child's and not about the parent's needs.
Sophia J. Wien-Kim, M.A. Drs. has been part of the Imago Community since 1991. She is a certified Imago therapist with Advanced Clinician standing and has private practices in New York City and Port Washington, Long Island. Sophia can be reached by Tel. (212) 721-6660, ext. 2, Fax (516) 767-4247 and