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Tag Archives: invalidation
Invalidation, how it affects our emotions and can lead to Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) « Amanda Green
Invalidation, how it affects our emotions and can lead to Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) « Amanda Green
By Dominic Sisti, PhD
There is an excellent chart in this article:
Excellent comment to a very stigmatizing article / blog post:
***POSSIBLE TRIGGER WARNING!*** for the article replied to.
We are not all exact cut-outs of each other. Everyone has their own unique individual personality. My mother-in-law keeps remarking about how our daughter and our son is so different, even though they were brought up exactly the same. But they are not the same people! She thinks that my brain works the same as hers, that I should do things the same way that she does, in the same time that she does, when she does, how she does. She thinks that what works for her when she’s kind of down or stressed out should work for me too. Sometimes it does, but not always. I took DBT several years ago and am more in touch with my emotions than I have ever been in my entire life. I know if something’s going to work for me or not. I appreciate her suggestions but if something was going to work for me, I’d be doing it. Obviously it doesn’t work.
For those of us with Borderline Personality Disorder, we are very different from other people. Our brains are wired totally differently. It can even be observed in brain scans. You can’t see it just by looking at us, therefore people have no idea how sensitive we are and don’t give us the compassion that we need. Instead, we get stigmatized and invalidated.
Just remember that you are not a cookie cutter cut-out! You are unique, you are beautiful, and you are you! You are perfect just the way you are!
As someone with BPD, I am overwhelmed very easily. It’s been an extremely difficult year for me. I have DBT skills that I have learned what works for me. I suffer from fatigue constantly. I need much longer to complete tasks than most people – eg. housework. My husband and mother-in-law do most of it. I feel extremely guilty because of it. This leads to depression. My mother-in-law offers “advice” which doesn’t help. All it does it make me feel worse. I can’t just “snap out of it.” I do the best I can, but I feel like it’s never good enough, like I’m never good enough. I feel so totally invalidated all the time. I wish they could understand but no one wants to talk about it. My mother-in-law says that they’ve read all about it and “know all about it.” What have they read about it? Is it from a reliable source? Or is it all misconceptions? They know all about it? Try living with it every day!
I haven’t really blogged in a long time because my daughter told my husband that “Mom’s writing all about us!” I struggled with whether I should continue or just reblog others’ posts. I really need an outlet where I can vent my feelings and not be invalidated or put down because of it. I showed them this blog when I first created it because I thought it might help them understand BPD and me better.
I have so much inside me that’s been dying to come out. I’m sure if it makes sense to anybody else or not. Our brains are wired differently than most people’s. But we are good enough the way we are, even though I can’t believe that right now. It takes me a lot longer to process my feelings than people without the disorder. If they interrupt that process, it takes even longer. When it happens repeatedly, it’s extremely damaging to my self-esteem. I feel like I have to have some alone time to distract myself from the overwhelming thoughts and feelings. If I don’t get that, or am made to feel guilty for it, it leads to depression.
Almost every day, I go to the local Peer Support Center. I attend several groups there. I am trying so hard to better myself and spread awareness of BPD. As soon as I get home, any good feelings I had earlier instantly disappear, replaced with dread and a feeling of impending doom, like I’m marching off to my death. Other people would call this overreacting, but I’m sure many people would agree with me. I feel it physically in my body. My husband and mother-in-law think that housework is more important. I think that my mental health is the most important thing, and that if they would stop invalidating me all the time, I would be so much better and could do the housework a little better. Probably not at the pace that they would like, but at a pace which I am capable of. To expect more than that from me is more devastating that they could possibly know.
My husband needs counselling as well but has had bad experiences with it in the past. He says he’s “too old.” I believe you’re never to old to get the help you need. If I’m in pain, I’m going to get help as soon as possible!
Anyways, sorry for the rant. Just tired of feeling so overwhelmed all the time. Thanks to anyone who actually finished reading this!
I’ve just uploaded a new profile pic. My old one was from about 15 years ago. I sat here crying, debating whether to do it or not. It brought up a lot of self-esteem issues, along with a million other things, all connected to each other. It’s been an extremely difficult year for me, and I’ve had a really hard time lately with feeling totally invalidated with everything, all the time. I suffer from fatigue every day. It’s been years since I’ve had any energy. I don’t even remember what it’s like to wake up refreshed.
If you have any comments please leave them below.
I make it a practice to never give unsolicited advice. I think that’s a great policy to have, especially with friends that like to discuss ongoing or new events taking place in their lives. I also try not to use the word should if I do give out advice, because that word means something different to me than it means to most people.
To me, the word should is akin to the word control.
View original post 167 more words
So many books, articles and blogs are very damaging to Borderlines. They have tips on things like how to “train your Borderline.” I’m not kidding! Here is a passage from one such book:
One analogy I have used around this issue is: “My H is really a good, law-abiding person. It’s just that every once in a while he robs a bank. But really, deep down inside, he is a good, law-abiding person.”
So, we’re all bank-robbers? Seriously? Not only that, apparently we’re all sociopaths/psychopaths too. Just check out these articles:
I’d love to know what your thoughts are on this. Please comment below:
Taking pills for unhappiness reinforces the idea that being sad is not human | Giles Fraser | Comment is free | The Guardian
I’ve had a very difficult weekend with our daughter. She had a temper tantrum because I wouldn’t give her any money. She did her usual behaviours, which she hasn’t for a while. Things were getting better – so I thought. My nerves were very raw all day. I cried my eyes out that afternoon, and went for a quick walk. I didn’t feel a lot better but I felt slightly better later. I waited until I got tired enough that I could try going to sleep. The next day was my DBT skills group. I couldn’t wait to get out of here. I went for a walk with my husband and son earlier that evening. I’m so out of shape! I wish I wasn’t.
We’ve been having problems with her and money. She keeps asking for money. We give her some, then she asks for more. We have to figure out an allowance for her. We can’t really afford it. We’ve tried in the past to be fair, and it hasn’t worked. She always wants more, and used to throw a temper tantrum if we didn’t give it to her.
We’ve also had problems with her curfew. She called us at 11:00 pm last night to say that she was staying at her friend’s for the night. We’ve told her to call before then so that we don’t worry. Then we heard banging on the door at 1:00 this morning. It was her with a different friend. They went to her room, giggling and talking loudly for a few minutes, then her friend left and our daughter stayed in her room. Then I had to get our son up for school, who was grouchy as usual. He just made it to the bus, as usual.
Life is so exhausting!
I was just trying to think of a way to describe to Non-BPDs how, the more us Borderlines try to fight our emotions, the stronger they become. I just realized that our feelings are like quicksand. The more we struggle against them, the worse we make it for ourselves. Maybe if they can imagine it this way, they can have more patience and compassion for us when we’re going through a difficult time emotionally.
What do you think? Is anyone going to try explaining it this way to your loved ones? If so, let me know how it worked. I’m very anxious to find out.
Till next time,
Last Tuesday, I met with my counsellor and my mother-in-law to try to help her understand my BPD. We had a very good talk and I think she’s finally beginning to understand it a bit more. I tried to explain to her how she was unintentionally invalidating me constantly. She told me that she wasn’t saying anything bad to me. I explained to her that it doesn’t matter what she says or how she says it, that to someone with BPD, especially with me, it always feels like criticising and that I’m not good enough. She asked what she could do to make it better and I told her “nothing. Just do your own thing. You can’t make this go away. I’m the only one who can help me.” She got a look on her face like she finally “got it.” Also kind of sad for me.
My counsellor thought that I was very articulate, and told my mother-in-law that I’m doing everything I need to be doing to keep myself as well as I can be. I’m seeing both of them again this Tuesday. It’s good practice for me for running a group or presentation on BPD to educate people on the disorder. I’m learning more about myself every day.
I was so exhausted afterwards that I had to lay down for an hour. People don’t realize how exhausting it is for those of us with BPD just managing our emotions every day. It just comes to them naturally.
I’ll keep you posted on how it goes Tuesday. Till then,
Not all abuse is noticeable. Sometimes it is very insidious, creeping up on you so slowly that you don’t even notice it. This article from PsychCentral explains how something as innocent as invalidation can wreak havoc on your life when you grow up and not even know why:
I have been trying to explain my BPD to my mother-in-law for months. At first, she had no idea what I was talking about. But she gets a little bit more out of every conversation we have. It’s such a complex disorder to try to explain to someone who doesn’t have it. I believe they can only understand it to a point. They don’t have to live with it every day of their lives. They can only try to imagine what it must be like. At least with depression or Bipolar, you can feel better, with either time or medication or therapy or a combination of them, and the symptoms go away. With BPD, it never goes away. You can learn how to manage the symptoms, your emotions and behaviour, but it’s always going to be there, for the rest of your life. It’s absolutely exhausting! People expect too much of you. They think that, if only you’d try a little harder. They’re seeing things through their own eyes, not ours. They don’t have our brains. They think that, if you were trying as hard as you possibly can, you’d be handling things just like them, and you’d be doing so much better. They don’t realize that, you’re doing the best that you can. You’re never going to be like them. That doesn’t mean that you’re any worse than them. It just means that since your brain works differently, and they have to realize that.
When people expect too much of you, its extremely invalidating. What they need to do is validate us by saying “I don’t understand exactly how you feel, but I know that you’re doing the best you can.” This will make us feel validated and then we can get better, at our own pace. When they push us to do things that we are not capable of, that just makes us feel worse instead of better. With me, I feel very overwhelmed and paralyzed and I can’t think straight or do anything. Then they get upset with me for not doing anything, which makes me feel even worse. I feel so many things so intensely, all at the same time – anger, guilt, etc. “I’m not good enough.” I just goes into a vicious circle of negative emotions. Every time I try to explain it to my mother-in-law, she says “Oh, that must be awful!” And it is. Sure, sometimes it can be a good thing, but it’s also extremely difficult to live with.
What are your experiences with trying to explain your BPD to others? Have you had any success or not? If so, what do you find helpful? I’ve included some helpful links at the end of this post.