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Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life © A.J. Mahari March 2010

Change Your Life - Change Your Thoughts Ebook by A.J. Mahari

Punishment and Revenge in BPD Ebook by A.J. Mahari © A.J. Mahari 2010

Punishment and Revenge in BPD Ebook by A.J. Mahari

Full Circle - Lessons For Non Borderlines Ebook by A.J. Mahari © A.J. Mahari 2007

Full Circle - Lessons For Non Borderlines Ebook by A.J. Mahari

The Power of Gratitude - Healing - Recovery - Wellness and Getting Unstuck © A.J. Mahari December 2010

The Power of Gratitude Ebook by A.J. Mahari

Quest For Self - Building Conscious Self Awareness - Ebook/Coaching Guide/Workbook and Audio © A.J. Mahari January 2011

Quest For Self - Building Conscious Self Awareness Ebook and Audio by A.J. Mahari



People with Borderline Personality Disorder need to learn how to soothe their pain and tolerate their emotional distress. Emotional dysregulation makes it difficult to self soothe. Often the choice then is to self harm. Self soothing is a major milestone in recovery from BPD.


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Self-Soothing and the Borderline




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Many borderlines at some point in their lives will self-injure themselves, attempt suicide, wrestle with addictions: drugs, alcohol, gambling and other compulsive high-risk behavior that includes; eating disorders, sexual promiscuity, compulsive spending etc.

The above mentioned behavior as well as the demanding neediness of borderlines, the desperate clinging or equally as strong pushing away and isolating are all defense mechanisms designed to keep the borderline's feelings at bay. Why? Because most borderlines do not know how to cope with feeling what it is that they actually feel. This leads them to try to live a life whereby everything they feel is externalized in some way, be it through self-harm, addictions and the like.

There is no one single answer for all borderlines as to the cause of this marked inability to soothe themselves. When I was in very intense therapy (the therapy that was the beginning of my finally breaking through the walls of BPD) my therapist would often say to me "You need to soothe yourself". "You need to hold the pain, feel the pain and work it through". Easy words to say. Much more difficult actions to undertake and maintain. Those words were and are very meaningful and very true but as one deals with BPD from the inside out hearing those words, at first, is like hearing a foreign language. The fear and anxiety that build when first you attempt to sit with and be with your feelings and to cope with them will likely be very intense. It was both very anxiety producing and intense for me. I had no idea what she really meant six years ago (from 1999).

I came to know and understand more over the course of the last six years as I continued to be open to change and to learning new ways of dealing with my feelings and new ways of thinking and consequently new and healthier (more "average" age-appropriate ways) of behaving and relating to others. I opened to this process in spite of the pain because I wanted to know who the authentic me was.

I wanted to find, reclaim and have my personhood. For me, I know that my initial inability to soothe myself or to even feel my feelings came from early childhood emotional neglect and sexual abuse. I was not held in a way that ever felt nurturing and safe for me. I would not know what that really felt like and I was not able to let my defenses down enough to experience this until I was 40 years old. From my own experience as important as it is to do your own work and to be able to re-learn and have corrective therapeutic experiences it is also vital to let others into your life. I found that in order to learn to love myself, soothe and nurture myself, letting someone else in enough to love me, nurture me and somewhat soothe me...was the corrective experience I needed in order to go on and learn how to do this for myself. From my childhood I had no experience from which to model from. Nothing to follow in this area at all.


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Soothing yourself begins with:


1 - A decision to STOP all self-harm and self-abuse. This occurs simultaneously with the realization/awareness that you do not deserve to be abused and that you are worthy of loving yourself and of being loved and of loving others. When you self-abuse you have taken on the role of your past abuser(s). You parent your inner child as you were parented as a child. This perpetuates your self-hate. This self-abuse is often the result of a fragmented and fractured self. Part of you wants love and wants to love yourself while other parts of you are still so angry at not being loved (safely, properly etc) by your parents or care-givers that those parts of your Self still seek to perpetuate your pain. This perpetuation of pain is actually a defense mechanism designed to keep your core self from integrating. To integrate your core self you will have to deal with the pain of each of your fragmented parts. (Note: Fragmented parts in BPD are not the same as full-blown alternate personalities are in the case of Dissociative Identity Disorder)

2 - A willingness to do the work.

3 - A determination to feel YOUR feelings.

4 - Having reached the place where staying the same hurts more (and is more fear-producing) than the changes that you need to make.

5 - The ability to provide yourself with safety in the middle of the pain (to be able to *KNOW* that the pain will not kill you and that it is your pain and not some outside force/monster outside of you that has control over you)

6 - As you get to number six here after you've achieved 1-5 you will begin to believe in yourself and find new ability to care for yourself. Enter -- wanting to take care, self-care and not wanting to add to your pain in anyway anymore.

7 - An understanding of your wounded inner child and how much that child needs you to set new, healthy limits and be a loving parent to him/her. Nurturing this relationship with your inner child will build trust within yourself as you continue to identify more who you are.

8 - The realization/understanding that in order to have and maintain healthy relationships (as opposed to those that are emotionally enmeshed) it is vital that you take care of your own needs and especially your own emotional needs.

9 - A desire and readiness to let the past go and to work at living in the here and now.

10 - A willingness to "OWN" your own stuff. You need to learn how to own your own feelings, think your own thoughts, be your own person, to not blame others for what you feel, or what happens to you.

11 - Taking personal responsibility for yourself - always! Being an adult.

12 - Setting and maintaining boundaries and responsibly holding those boundaries. Differentiating who you are from who others are. Learning to be inner-directed and not outer-directed. Validate yourself as opposed to looking to others to tell you that you are okay.



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What does one do to soothe themselves?

Soothing oneself may take on many different forms/activities for many different people. The main thing about self-soothing, (whether you are just beginning to experiment with or whether you are clearly past self-injuring yourself etc) is that you don't consider self-harm or acting out an option. Whether there are impulses to self-harm or to act out or not you make a clear choice to NOT go there. At first this is very difficult. I was able to do this on my own. Many people though, will need to work very closely with a therapist and contract to achieve this. That's okay. The main thing is getting the results you want and learning to not hurt yourself anymore.

Once you have made the decision that you are not going to self-injure or act out or "use" any of the many other "borderline" things one can do to avoid self responsibility soothing yourself means essentially:

NOT HARMING YOURSELF

NOT ACTING OUT

NOT DOING WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET INSTANT GRATIFICATION

LEARNING TO ACCEPT A DELAY OR LACK OF GRATIFICATION

BEING KIND TO YOURSELF

BEING UNDERSTANDING TO YOURSELF

BEING PATIENT WITH YOURSELF

LETING GO OF YOUR UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS OF OTHERS

LETTING GO OF EXPECTATIONS (AT ALL) OF OTHERS

LETTING GO OF TRYING TO CONTROL WHAT YOU FEEL OR DON'T

FEEL THROUGH TRYING TO CONTROL OR MANIPULATE OTHERS

DO NOT PUNISH OTHERS FOR THE MISTAKES (WRONG-DOINGS) OF PEOPLE IN YOUR PAST

LEARN TO TRUST YOURSELF

DO NOT DEVALUE OR BE CRITICAL OF OTHERS OR YOURSELF

TAKING PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR HOW/WHAT YOU FEEL

BEING ABLE TO BE ALONE

LEARNING TO GIVE AND TAKE

LEARNING THAT IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE INTIMACY YOU HAVE TO

BE ABLE TO GIVE SPACE AND TAKE SPACE

SURRENDER CONTROL AND LEARN TO GO WITH THE FLOW

TELL THE TRUTH -- LIVE THE TRUTH

BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF IF YOU BACKSLIDE OR MAKE A MISTAKE



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What are some actual things I can do to soothe myself?

1- Take a nice warm bath

2- Listen to up-beat music that usually assists you to feel better

3- Watch television

4- Moderate/Reasonable exercise

5- Journal your thoughts and feelings

6- Pet your cat or dog if you have one

7- Walk your dog, if you have one

8- Any hobby that relaxes you and keeps you busy: crocheting, reading, sketching, painting, playing an instrument, writing poetry, needle-point, wood-working, leather-crafts and so forth

9- Crying, allowing yourself to just be while you feel sad. Sometimes we do just have to let our sadness out

10-Play a computer game or video game -- do puzzles

11-Clean your house or apartment

12-Do things that soothe your inner child like watch cartoons and or hug a teddy bear. Colour in a colouring book.




The main thing when one feels agitated or very bored or empty is to get busy. Taking the focus off of yourself is the best thing you can do for yourself. You may have issues to deal with/process but this is best done when you are not agitated. I didn't include any activity above that you would do with others because over the years I have learned that whenever I was in a "borderline" place it was best to take care of myself by myself and then to seek out a friend's company when I felt better. It is also important for the continuing success and health of your friendships/relationships to take this space and time and take care of yourself as opposed to looking to others to do it for you or being demanding of others. Being an individuated authentic person is what you are aiming for. Nothing short of this can keep you from continuing the old enmeshed patterns of dependency or co-dependence. Learning to soothe oneself makes being independent possible. Being independent is essential before one can learn interdependence.

The core of self-soothing really sits in your desire, willingness and ability to face and feel your pain. It is the facing, feeling, grieving, and letting go (in healthy appropriate ways) of that pain that is the road to not only self-soothing, but healing. It is also the pathway that one must travel from self-hate, to self-acceptance and then self-love. Remember the measure of your self-acceptance is the degree to which you can accept others.

Learning to self-soothe, to stop self-harming, acting out and looking to others to take care of me, which effectively ended my projective identification and transference onto others. I am no longer looking for anyone else to fill me up, soothe me or nurture me. I no longer need a "parent" figure with whom to be enmeshed and from whom to demand that my expectations/needs be met. I can now take care of myself and my own emotional and social needs. I have reclaimed my identity/personhood and matured to an age-appropriate emotional maturity in my adulthood. It is when this happens that you can both accept and cope with your pain and the feeling of that pain as well as soothe yourself.

"The child thus neglected develops no coherent, enduring sense of lovable self. Instead she feels an inner void that must constantly be filled with external sources of support. But the relationships she so desperately needs don't satisfy her. She develops no capacity for evocative memory to stabilize and sustain her through periods of solitude, fluctuation, and other stress. The borderline therefore uses other people to help evoke soothing images or perform other functions she does not have built in." (Book: "Imbroglio" by Janice M. Cauwells Ph.D. Page 197)

According to Drs. Adler and Buie; "The patient who has learned to comfort herself in solitude, ... is no longer borderline." (Book: "Imbroglio" by Janice M. Cauwells Ph.D. Page 198)

Learning to soothe myself in solitude and all on my own was the most powerful turning point in my entire healing from BPD.

© Ms. A.J. Mahari - August 24, 1999


Click Here To Purchase A.J. Mahari's Core Wound of Abandonment Ebooks packaged together, with or without audio programs.

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BPD Coach A.J. Mahari



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BPD - Feeling Alone



The Legacy of Abandonment in Borderline Personality Disorder © A.J. Mahari 2006

The Legacy of Abandonment in Borderline Personality Disorder

The Abandoned Pain of Borderline Personality Disorder © A.J. Mahari 2006

The Abandoned Pain of Borderline Personality Disorder

Mindfulness and Radical Acceptance for Non Borderlines © A.J. Mahari 2006

The Lost Self in BPD



Break Free From the BPD Maze - Recovery For Non Borderlines Audio Program © A.J. Mahari 2006

The Lost Self in BPD

5 Bundle Set Ebooks - Core Wound In BPD © A.J. Mahari 2006

5 Bundle Set Ebooks - Core Wound In BPD

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A.J. Mahariís Thought Changing Affirmations 5 Volume Set © A.J. Mahari 2006

The Lost Self in BPD