Do you ever refrain posting things you really want to say on your blog because you’re afraid certain people you know will read what you’ve said? Happens to me all the time — I’ll have something that I’d love your feedback on but would like to keep private from my flesh-and-blood acquaintances. It’s happening now, in fact, but I’m going to do my best to vent here anyway.
At my counseling internship (which in itself is frustrating because I’m not getting what I need), I help lead a group for women with borderline personality disorder. It’s a really interesting group and I find that many of the techniques and principles could be better applied in my own life. For instance, people with BPD typically spend a lot of time in “emotion mind.” What is that, you ask? Well it’s pretty self-explanatory:
A goal in our group is to be in wise mind for the majority of the time, and man is it hard! I find myself bouncing between emotion mind and reasonable mind, although I’ll admit to being predominantly in emotion mind. My emotions are what often guide my thinking, what I say, what I do, and how I treat others. It can be a real problem, because many times these emotional feelings are not positive ones and can lead to me lashing out on others and on myself as well. I’m incredibly hard on myself and I know it, but breaking the cycle is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever worked on. Some people say that you get into wise mind more the older you get, but that’s not necessarily true — there are plenty of older ladies in my group who struggle with this too.
Another thing we try to focus on is not letting anyone/anything outside of ourselves “make us” feel a certain way. For instance, your boyfriend didn’t make you angry, you worked yourself into anger when you reacted to your boyfriend. You could have responded in a completely different way if you had chosen to, so really you and only you are in control of your emotions. Once you get it, it’s really empowering, but at this point in my life I’m not doing so well at it. I get mad and upset about things that I wish I would just let go of instead. You have to be super-aware of your thoughts and reactions and be able to direct them in the way you want them to go.
Do any of you struggle with this? I’m honestly amazed at how well the ladies in my group are doing with this — have you overcome something similar? Do you have any tools or tricks you use to stay in your wise mind as much as possible?
Working to change how you think is incredibly hard and frustrating. I just keep telling myself “you’ve had 24 years to get into these dysfunctional patterns of thinking, so it’s gonna take some time to get out of them.” One problem is that when I’m in those emotional states, I’m definitely not thinking “oh, look, it’s happening now and I need to apply this cognitive behavioral technique.” I wish I could just cover my arms and legs with sticky notes to remind myself of these things that I need to remember in upsetting situations.
I did do some work on my knitted cardigan today, but it’s so few rows of progress that you wouldn’t be able to tell much of a difference if I showed you a picture. Sorry this post is so wordy and picture-less. I could actually rant on and on about my psychological issues and all the things that make me frustrated (or I guess I should say “all the things that I react to by making myself frustrated”), but I’ll leave it at that.
I’m about to do some wing chun practice, so hopefully I can work off some steam doing punches and kicks and stuff. This martial arts stuff is really great — I really do feel much better physically and some mentally too (although you couldn’t tell from this post, haha).
Sorry, I’ll shut up now. Thanks for stopping by!