Gonna Get Into It Baby. Down Where It's Tangled and Dark.

by Teresa LynneMarch 14, 2014

 

Those lyrics are from one of my favorite Bonnie Raitt tunes, "Tangled and Dark".  "Gonna tell the truth about it baby, and honey that's my favorite part". Getting to the truth takes some non-judgemental awareness, a practice I highly recommend if you truly value your relationships, even when the truth is unpleasant.  Heck, that's the good stuff and this week, I had the opportunity to dig in and shed some light on some tangled and dark parts residing in my daughter Chelsea.

She and I went to an insurance agents office to obtain the difficult to obtain insurance that is now available.  My normally friendly and jovial daughter was being pretty curt to both me and the agent.  She is very passionate (like her mama) about her holistic lifestyle. We believe in chiropractic as the key to good health. Of course the medical system, which focuses on an illness model does not view it that way and neither do the insurance companies, so we weren't getting covered for chiropractic.  She became very agitated at this news and got up and walked out for a minute which I found perplexing in the moment. My initial thought was, how can she behave this way in front of a total stranger and embarrass her mother?  My indignation was fueling my own negative emotions in the moment and I got sucked in  while at the same time the Obamacare system crashed and caused a delay which was going to mean she couldn't get to yoga class. As she began to blame me for the Obamacare website debacle, negative emotions were building within both of us (I marveled at the even keeled "handle the problem" steely nerves of the awesome agent) I went "oh yeah, I am a DBT coach".

So this is where I get to the point of my blog.  Behavior is merely a symptom of emotions, so the aware person who wants to do the most effective thing in the moment, will ask themselves, what is underneath this snarky, blaming, angry, you suck mom rant?  Well, let's see.  Think hard Teresa.  This child was sick with ear infections the first 18 months of her life, had a few events that led to the ER for things like shoving popcorn kernels up her nose while watching Beauty and the Beast until they where lodged in her sinus cavities.  At nine years old, she was a competitive wakeboarder.  During a practice session, she fell off her board and a drunk jet skier ran over her leaving a tomato sized lump as we once again rushed to the emergency room traumatizing all of us. As if all that wasn't enough, her doctor had her on accutane, a serious medication for treating acne at 16.  Soon after, she started seeing lawyers advertising with huge red letters on tv.  "DID YOU TAKE ACCUTANE?  YOU COULD DEVELOP CROHNS DISEASE!!!  LET US MAKE A BOAT LOAD OF MONEY HELPING YOU!!  

For the first time, if you can believe this, I realized just how terrified she is about something bad happening to her body and health and that any proximity to the thought of insurance and doctors triggers this anxiety which evolves into agitation and anger.  That realization helped me to have compassion, lowering my own emotional arousal.  At this point I could be sincerely validating and bring down her emotional arousal as well. "Honey, I just realized how hard this for you and that you get scared when you think about your health.  I'm sorry I was I was impatient and I agree that this process really does suck".  With that, she completely softened and relaxed.  Imagine, being afraid like that and not being able to express it as fear then having someone lecture you about your  behavior.  This is where we can really make the difference in our relationships.  When someone starts unloading on you, PAUSE.  That word pause has because a dominant member of my vocabulary because it allows me to stop screwing things up with my reactivity.  Follow the pause with a deep breath and ask yourself this question. "what is underneath this behavior"?  Now don't listen to the voice that says "pure selfishness and inconsideration".  Think fear, shame and pain triggers.  When someone is being unlovable is when they need love the most.  That goes for you too by the way.

Check out the tune!  http://youtu.be/0fdD7kwmw1Y

 

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Only Babies Can Be Abandoned and Lady, You ain't No Baby!

by Teresa LynneFebruary 26, 2014

 

This blog is for both genders but I am speaking to the women and for same sex couples, it's the feminine. They are ones I have personally been dealing with on this issue of which I have also struggled with mightily. This is not a holier than thou lecture but a hey, I’m a coach who studies this and I can’t wait to try this stuff on the next lucky man in my life blog. If you are more fortunate than I in this department and have a man to play with then maybe you can lead the way!

   Hey Ladies!  The space between winter and spring has a new name lately.  Judging by the temperature and storm surges I have been witnessing, it's massive fear of abandonment season right now.  Highly emotionally sensitive women who suffer  traits from emotion dysregulation disorder(also inaccurately known as borderline personality disorder) generally suffer greatly from fear of abandonment.  Out of the mouths of my awesome client babes:

“ I am sitting around angry at him  but can't figure out why.  He hasn’t really done anything”.

 “I get angry at him when he doesn’t give me what I need and I want him to leave, but when he gets up to go I get stricken with anxiety and panic so I cling to him”.

 “He said one thing that I take as an insult which proves he doesn't care and I get angry even after he just spent a week letting me know how special I am in his life, so I attack him for disrespecting me.  Now I feel ashamed and afraid he's going to get enough and leave me.”

 “He's going to like that girl he talks to because she is prettier, smarter, and of course she has her life together and why is he with me anyway?  He’s always looking at other women and he gets really angry when I accuse him”.

“He went out of town for the weekend. I handled it well without calling him every hour and when he got home, he didn’t even acknowledge me for it.  We got into a huge fight and now we aren’t speaking.  What if he leaves me?  I couldn’t blame him. I’m so difficult to deal with.”

  The distress we cause ourselves assuming the absolute worst out of every situation with our relationships is really avoidable if we just practice DBT skills and/or common sense.  And of course, we attract those high consciencious fixers so they can bring out what we need to heal.  Even the kindest man can get worn out feeling like he can never say or do what is needed in the moment.  Then there are the ones who HAVE to be right.  Ok, so how do avoid the landmines that push aside the Love Jones' and invite the Disconnectingtons to your party for two?

  1. State the facts.  He said "I can't make it tonight.  Lot's of work to catch up on".  That is the   simple fact ma’am.  If you are feeling negative emotions about it, it is solely and I mean soley because of what you are making it mean.  Generally, there is a shame trigger based on unworthiness going off and your critical voice is telling you it’s because you don’t matter as much as his work.  Well guess what?  He can care about you AND his work.  Give him the space he needs to have balance in his life between work and relationships. We all need that.
  2. Believe him when he reassures and validates you.  THE FIRST TIME.  If you have a man who is caring enough to take a moment to recognize you are sensitive and need a little reassurance and validation, then give him the gift of receiving the reassurance and validation.  If you refuse to and keep at him, he is going to decide it doesn’t matter what he says and give up and either shut down or come back at you in frustration which can cause a severe escalation in your emotions and then it's a gloves off screaming match.  Not good. 
  3. Realize that there are other women in the world and if you find your man appealing then it makes sense that someone else will too.  Accept that he may have aquaintances and even friends of the female gender.  I was laughing with a client this week who is threatened by her boyfriend talking to or  even looking at other women. I told her she could order some blinders and make him wear them while standing in front of her as a solution for her insecurity.   That visual can help you see how silly and futile it is to think you can control it, especially with accusations and threats.  Tell yourself that he is lucky to have you because he is! Your confidence will draw him to you.  If he is being blatantly disrespectful then that is another blog. It certainly is within the normal range for a man to notice another woman who is visually appealing to him.  It doesn’t mean you aren’t, so stop making it mean that! 
  4. See things from his perspective.  It’s not all about you.  Even when you are consumed with negative emotions, he has his feelings too.  If he says or does something that triggers you, ask yourself  “what are his intentions”?  To hurt you?    This is a blog about decent guys with good intentions so no is the answer. Figure out where the trigger is coming from. Understand that like you, he is always doing the best he can.  Find his need and fill it. That will get your mind off of yourself. 
  5. Learn to soothe and validate yourself.  He’s just not up to it sometimes and maybe he needs it as much as you do but just doesn’t outwardly express it.  What do you need to hear from him?  You are doing the best you can?  This will pass? You matter to me and I love you?  Say it to yourself!  Be your own best friend in those moments and take responsibility for your own emotional well- being.  It’s not his 24/7 job. Take over for him once in a while.
  6. Your feelings are fine.  Never judge them as right or wrong. Given your programming, they make perfect sense.  So observe and accept them non-judgementally without acting on them.  That’s the challenge.  Do not act on negative emotions trying to relieve yourself in the moment. Feel the feelings, name them, let 'em burn until they are ashes.  Burn baby burn but don't unleash them on him.   You will have a much bigger mess of shame and regret to clean up later plus the repairing of the damage.   Anger is love’s kryptonite.
  7. Focus on all the good things he does and all the beautiful moments you have shared. Spend a few minutes before you see him (especially if you are looking for an argument) thinking of a time when you were really connected.  Put yourself in that emotional space and breathe it in with a smile on your face.  Greet him with that emotion flowing from you.  Whatever insignificant thing you were ready to pounce on him for will melt away.
  8. Learn to laugh at yourself sometimes for your neediness.  It’s really quite funny when you mock yourself.  It will separate you from the attachment to your willful behavior.  Of course, you must have or develop a sense of humor to attempt this.  I have had to get a really good one for this very reason.  I have done a lot of things to make fun of myself for.
  9. Use that fiery passion to rock his world.  Emotionally sensitive women have a propensity to be very passionate and sexually driven.  Umm.  Men like that.  It is a giving thing.
  10. You are not a helpless child.  Only they can be abandoned.  Grown women CANNOT be abandoned.  These fears are based on historical events that do not exist anymore.  Integrate that little girl and understand that she needs your love and compassion.  Turn towards that man as the grown and capable woman within you.  You know you are in there. Let him see you!!
  11. GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD and into his arms!

 

 

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Shift Focus To Compassion.

by Teresa LynneJanuary 22, 2014

 

  A week before Christmas, my daughter leaned over me at 5:30 in the morning to softly kiss my cheek.  I woke up and saw the outline of her face over me in the light from the hallway.  “I’m leaving for the airport mom”.   She was on her way to Canada to spend Christmas with her dad and sister.  “I love you so much and I hate to leave you alone at Christmas.  I feel bad”.   I took a deep breath, knowing this moment was coming and wanting to handle it so that she could freely go off and enjoy herself.   We had both pretty much avoided the subject and I thought I was doing her a favor by acting like I was totally fine at the thought of spending the holiday by myself.  The truth was, I had been struggling with sadness over it and in moments, not wanting her to go.   As I became more coherent the answer came to me.  “Honey, it is ok for you to feel compassion that I am alone here but that’s a lot different than feeling guilty.  You are not responsible to make sure that I have company and I want you to enjoy yourself with your dad and sister.  They are excited to see you.”  With that, I sat up, we shared a long, lingering hug and she walked out the door on her way to a fabulous British Columbia Christmas.  It felt good to free her spirit.

As I pondered the thoughts of compassion and guilt,  I realized so much of the time that we will confuse the two when they are completely opposite.  One brings an open heart and acceptance and the other, resentment and recrimination.

I work with parents of young adult kids who are struggling with the fall out of their behavior caused by borderline personality disorder.   They are constantly in a pendulum swing between anger and guilt, acting on these destructive emotions and making things worse.  I know because I did it for years until I was able to truly see how healing that compassion is to both our own hearts and our relationships.

 

   One of my clients is married to a woman with BPD and he called me in desperation a few months ago.  “I just can’t tolerate this anymore.  I love my wife and we have kids, I am terrified of what’s going to happen if I stay but even more terrified if I leave”.  It’s like being in a prison with no parole.  He would have episodes with her in front of the kids and feel  a terrible sense of guilt afterward, knowing that his own lack of control was harming them.  He would mercilessly beat himself up and the cycle would continue.  While teaching him THE skill of validation with his wife, I also worked with him on having compassion for himself, his wife and his kids. Compassion motivates you to help and be kind.  Think of the pain someone is in when they are behaving in a destructive way.   How is he going to parent his children from a position of guilt?   We are all doing the best we can in any given moment.  Remember that next time you want to act on the urge to blame and shame either yourself or your loved one.  It’s highly ineffective in creating lasting change.   It just destroys intimacy and trust.  Intimacy and trust are the places of peace that we all long for.  Compassion is the way to get there.

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DBT | Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Falalalalalalalala. What Meaning Are You Giving This Message?"

by Teresa LynneDecember 18, 2013

It's the most wonderful time of the year.  With parties for hosting, marshmellows for toasting, etc. Constant images of big warm, huggy, happy families gathered around the fire with a Macy'sesque tree in the background.  This is how the holidays are defined for us by others and I, like most everyone else have bought into it, hook, line and sinker.  When my world was flipped on its ear a couple of years ago, it became the most miserable time of the year and marshmellows didn't help. I  spent 25 years married with children.  Having other people to take care of was a wonderful distraction to my often suppressed symptoms of complex ptsd and BPD and I gained good feelings about myself by taking care of them.  I was the chief shopper, chef, decorator and party planner and I reveled in providing the atmosphere for others.  Now, I am single, the kids are grown and gone for Christmas and I am left to redefine what the holidays are supposed to be like.  I know that I am not alone in this situation and I am here to offer hope that indeed, no matter what, we can make our own meaning and sail through this portal without having to suffer.  There are so many of people out there who do not have families surrounding them.  

Then, there are those whose families are quite dysfunctional so that no matter how many people you have in the "celebration", the feelings of despair can still sink you like a chunk of lead. I have experienced this on a number of occasions.  A lot of us did not grow up in a loving, nurturing environment and it doesn't magically change at Christmas. Sometimes even the thought of another disastrous family gathering can fill us with anxiety.  In this case, it's probably good to develop a sense of humor about the sheer lack of self awareness that your brother/sister/mom/dad or drunk, obnoxious uncle has about their own contribution to the family broken tree branches.  Here's something to remind you to put the fun back in dysfunctional. Warning: Only for people with good sense of humors! Saturday Night Live's Dysfunctional Family Christmas Music.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-JjME-XuGE   Chortle snort!

So my dear friends, comrades and cohorts, here are some strategies that I have used to stay out of a dark spiral of despair and keep me where the light is.

1.  Change your focus.  When I am thinking about who left me and what I have lost, I am making myself miserable and guess what, I have control over that! Who is in my life that didn't leave, who does care about me and accept me for who I am?  Who do I enjoy spending time with? Put my focus on them and revel in their love.

2. Stop romanticizing the past.  Good lord, we all do that, don't we?  When I really think about some of those Christmases that I am now pining away for, I remember the stress and complete lack of appreciation I felt.   The rushing around trying to be everything to everyone and feeling like a failure at all of it. The having to sit at dinner with people I couldn't stand and pretend to be the charming guest.  Yuk.

3. Resist comparing your life to others you believe have it so much better.  First, we have no idea what goes on in the mind of another person.  They can appear to have everything but inside, they could be suffering just like you.  Heck, I was probably one of those people that some people negatively compared themselves to with my nice home, good job and beautiful family.  I just laugh at that notion now.  Even if what they appear to be is true, what good is it doing you to marinate in that vat of misery? Take the energy you are wasting on that and put it into how good you can make your own life, working on your own recovery and planning for the possibilities of the future.  

4. Think about the parts of the holidays that you do enjoy and do more of them.  For me, it's been the music so I have been going out to see live music and sing at open mics as much as possible.  Maybe there are holiday events you can enjoy like light shows and festivals.  If not, get creative and make your own event.

5. Let go of expectations.  Christmas is actually one day out of 364.  If you don't feel like drowning in it for 3 months like the rest of obsessed America then don't.  There are no rules about what you are supposed to do or get from others.  Take care of and be kind to yourself.  If that's all you can manage then good job! 

6. And this is a biggie.  Curb your alcohol and sugar consumption.  Yeah sure Teresa.  The booze and fudge  have opened up like a fire hose in every direction. I cannot emphasize strongly enough about the potentially catastrophic  effects on your well being.  I have experienced horrific depression and self loathing after over indulging myself during trying times and it was never, ever worth  the momentary "high" it gave me.  The crash is debilitating for some of us, especially if we are experiencing life changes that we need to adjust to.  Use mindfulness, decide ahead of time to abstain or restrict your intake and let others know that you are making healthy choices for yourself.  When the impulse strikes, delay and distract. Think of how you want to feel tomorrow and let that be your beacon for the best decision You will feel so good the next day, another experience I have on a regular basis.  Once I got through a couple of those, I was good to go!

7. Remember, that blood is the least indicator of family.  That quote was said to me directly by Martha Beck herself at a conference I attended while in her coach training.  I was sharing my sadness about my family abandoning me and she let me know that being blood related to someone shouldn't make them family.  Family are the people who love and accept you, who will take loving action when you need help. People who do not try to control you with criticism and threats of walking away. I have women who mother me, sister me.  I have men who father and brother me. I'd like a man to man me, haha plus of course I do have my beautiful daughters and I feel so grateful for them. All their friends are my kids as well and they give me lots of love as I give them.

8. Give to others.  That doesn't mean expensive gifts. It could be a gift of your time, a pot of soup, something home made that you are especially good at.  Last year, I made a bunch of salt scrubs with my favorite essential oils and handed them out.  It just felt so good to make something.  This year I have worked on songs with a piano player and we have volunteer gigs at assisted living homes.  Anything at all that puts a smile on someone else's face is a gift.  That could be a smile on yours.

Here is a quote that one of my wonderful clients  sent me that is really helpful so keep it in mind.   "Plans change. People disappear. Traditions expire. Release your expectations of the holidays and be open to surprises!"  What ever your circumstances, mine the grace and here comes January like a freight train so hold on!!

 

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The Power of Befriending Your Critical Voice

by Teresa LynneNovember 10, 2013

In my work with client/peers who are suffering from trauma and BPD, I have found one pervasive issue with all of them and that is the relentless ranting of the Critical Voice.  That thing in your head that beats you up all day and night, saying that things will never get better and reminding you of what an awful person you are.  The one that tells you what you are incapable of and that even the good things that happen your way are not enough to fill the emptiness.  EGAD!  Is it any wonder we can walk around feeling such hopelessness and despair?  If energy flows to where concentration goes, then it makes total sense that we feel stuck in the muck of emotional and physiological purgatory.

By the way, at some point everyone is subject to this naysaying little buzz killer because even in the most loving supportive families people are socialized as young children to believe that something is wrong with us in one way or another.  We are wrong to want something.  We are wrong to express anger.  My dear friend Mary is one of the most emotionally healthy people I know and once in a while she’ll get all over herself about perceived flaws that are holding her back from her dream of being a successful entrepreneur.  But then she’s quick to say “hey, we all get the blues, baby.”  The difference for people with high sensitivity, trauma and the related “disorders” and those without is that in the case of trauma, especially those of us with chronic trauma, the voice is literally in control of our lives.  The more trauma we endured, the more powerful the critical voice is, keeping us imprisoned in the belief that nothing we do matters.  I know this because I have lived it for most of my life.  It ain’t no fun, but it does serve a purpose that, believe it or not, is supposed to be helping us.  That, my friends, is the key to taming it.

Dr. Lynn Mary Karjala, a practitioner in the cutting edge field of Energy Psychology.  I had the good fortune of teaming up with for my recovery.  In her easy to read book, which I highly recommend, “Understanding Trauma and Dissociation, A Guide for Therapists, Patients and Loved Ones” she says that the critical voice has a positive purpose.  It has the role of the protector and in some cases it really does help guide us to improve ourselves, our work and our behaviors.  In the case of unaffected people, it is a gentle and firm leader, helping them to achieve their dreams and desires.   The problems start when in the name of keeping us safe, it becomes a brutal master, whipping us until we are powerless.  The twisted logic protection mechanism in this case is that it won’t hurt as much when someone criticizes us if we are already saying it about ourselves.  The reality is that we actually are creating something that the outside opinion can match up to so it becomes the truth about us.  I totally believe I am a good singer and I know it’s true, so if someone says I’m not, I just don’t believe them and it doesn’t affect me.  I have also mercilessly beat myself up and held shame over my poor time management skills and lack of focus due to dissociation so that when someone points out that I have the brain of a sieve, I can fall deeply into despair, Because I have created a match in my own mind and for me it becomes an indisputable fact that I go about proving to myself over and over.  The mistake that we make with the Critical Voice is that we fight it as an enemy so it continues to attack us back as an enemy does.  We try running form it, drowing it out with food and drink, distract from it with work.  Meanwhile, we are giving it more power, more fury.  We hate it.  We want it to go away.  The despair is not because I have trouble with time management.  It’s because the Voice has convinced me that it is a hopeless, unfixable situation.  Is that true?  Of course not.

My former husband constantly said to me that I had a demon within me and I had no power over it and I believed him.  Who hasn’t listened to the ramblings of the ignorant?  Well, that demon is really a wounded little girl who has been made to believe she doesn’t matter, isn’t worth protecting and that she is unacceptable as she is, so she works very hard to stay safe from the crushing blows of rejection by having a weak sense of identity and not risking pain for the possibility of freedom.

That’s the Critical Voice within us.  Now we can start to shift our thinking about ourselves.  Every time she opens her mouth to help me, I try to remember this and just notice that she’s there.  I turn toward her and smile lovingly.  I thank her for trying to help me and give her a tender hug.  I tell her that she is safe and that I, the adult am now in charge of the situation.  I tell her that I am perfectly capable of achieving what I want.  I soothe and comfort her and she settles down.  She will try again.  When she says you can never get better, I answer that I have everything within me to be and whole and healthy.  When she says you are worthless, I say I have so much to offer.  I have a purpose for being here.  When she says that I can’t be like the other people, I say, I have no desire to be like the other people.  I love being me!

When I love and accept her, she fights me a lot less. I encourage everyone to practice compassion and acceptance of their Critical Voice.  Go back and look at that word again. PRACTICE.  Just knowing this information does not make the transformation.  It is apphing it every time you hear the VOICE.  It is the only way to free yourself from the grip it holds on your life.  It shines a light on the darkness and leads you on a path to freedom.  Is it simple? Yes.  Is it easy? No.  Not at first.  Is it worth it?  That’s a big yes!

 

 

 

 

 

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Language and Emotions. Like Apples and Peanut Butter

by Teresa LynneOctober 06, 2013

Inseparable.  At least at my house.  Who hasn't heard the old phrase "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me"?  That's a rhetoric question.  I really don't want to know who hasn't heard it actually.  My point is, that old saying from the 1800's referenced words coming from another person to yourself.  What about what YOU say to yourself and others?  Listen to THIS stunning information.  According to Compton's Encyclopedia the total number of words in the English language is somewhere around 750,000.  Of that number the average person uses 500 to 2,000 at the most, unlike the very not average Shakespeare who used 27,000, apparently 5000 once.  My God! Who keeps track of this?  They would DRIVE ME NUTS!  I mean, I would find them boring.  In Roget's Thesaurus there are more than 3000 words describing emotions and two thirds of those are for negative emotions! Man, that makes fe feel cross, cranky and morose!  I just can't feel upbeat, exhilarated and peaceful when I think of 2000 negative emotion words.

I am a student of Tony Robbins coaching and he says that Transformational Vocabulary is taking control of your habitual language patterns to change the quality of your emotions thus your life.  For us drama loving, highly sensitive types this is a tall order which is only a problem in the negativity department.  I WORSHIP being GIDDY and IMPASSIONED so don't make me dial down to mere satisfied and happy.  Folks with BPD tend to marinate in negative thoughts as a habit and haven't strengthened our resilience muscle so we really need to work it out.

In my coaching and in my life, I am constantly hearing really dramatic words that describe negative feelings, including out of my own mouth.  "When he says that, it makes me INSANE" or "it was DEVASTATING to find out about my daughters drinking".  These words evoke stronger body sensations and are not at all helpful in keeping ourselves in wise mind. Words affect our emotions and as we all know, emotions affect our behavior.  The words we attach to our experience become our experience.  It makes sense that if we want to change our behaviors and our lives then we need to listen to our grandmas and think before we speak.  So how about being CONCERNED about your loved ones drinking?  Or you could be BOTHERED by your husbands' inconsiderate comment.

Here are some examples that Tony uses to turn good into great.  I'm feeling" all right to energized, awake to raring to go, confident to unstoppable, content to serene, comfortable to smashing, curious to fascinated.  Now let's dial down some dramatically negative words to just plain old negative ones.  I'm feeling: miserable to I'm a bit under the weather, crushed to disappointed, god-awful to not what I would prefer, anxiety ridden to a bit nervous.

You get the gist here and you can really have a fabulous time practicing these.  So look up some positive emotion words and practice til you are ECSTATIC or just blissfully peaceful.

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Showing Up is Half the Battle

by Teresa LynneSeptember 20, 2013

So, have you ever bought a book about healing and recovery or signed up for a class and felt instant relief at having just made that effort?  Yeah, me too.  Feels momentarily wonderful doesn't it?  Momentarily being the key word here.

I have been in DBT skills classes with others and now have been coaching DBT skills for over 2 years now and I have noticed nothing new and here it is.  If YOU don't work, IT doesn't work.  It can't. Only you can.  Here is something else not new.  There are no shortcuts and there is only one way to the other side to the core of inner peace we so long for and that is through the fire by consistent practice. 

One of the lovely people who was in my class was in the there with me from almost the beginning with Tami then stayed with me when I took over for 6 months.  We stay in touch and recently we were discussing how far we have come in our quest for more inner peace and emotional stability. Is it because we are smarter, better or have some discernable force filed around us?  Uh uh.  No.  What we did was show up to class come hell or high water every week and then we did the homework and were prepared for class.  Why?  Because we didn't want to live with BPD wrecking our lives and relationships anymore.  We were committed to doing something different in order to make something different and it is happening for us. We called ourselves old faithful because we knew we could count on each other to be there and support each other.  That's the beauty of classes.

She told me that she maintained a meditation mindfulness practice everyday.  I know she did the homework because I was there.  Recovery is her commitment because without that, nothing else you do matters as much.  

On the other end of the spectrum, there are people struggling mightily with their symptoms, who get swallowed up by their fear and anxiety who continue the spiral and they have something in common.  They quit.  They quit coming to class, they quit their private sessions, they quit doing the work an worst of all, they quit believing that they have any power over their illness.

Listen, I have strayed at times and even recently, was ignoring my well being and had to struggle to get back on the horse.  No matter where you are with BPD and whether or not you have strayed from your recovery, it isn't too late to recommit and get back on track!  No matter what, I promise, it is worth every bit of effort!  Stay with it and never give up!! YOU CAN DO IT and you are worth it.  Don't let your lying, 2 bit tramp mind tell you an different.  Your heart knows better and so do I.  

 

I OFFER DBT and Beyond Classes along with private coaching.  Please call 770-974-9010

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Classes

DBT Classes and Coaching. Is the Phone and Internet as Effective?

by Teresa LynneSeptember 13, 2013

When I was speaking in Waco Texas at a conference last year on the joys of my journey through the mental health maze, I was asked by a number of people afterward if coaching and skills training were as effective on the phone and internet as being at an office in person.  Well, according to the highly educated researchers at John Hopkins University, it certainly is.  Not being a highly educated researcher myself, I can only speak of my own experience and that of those I have worked with and in my case, it was MORE effective for many reasons.  First, I strongly dislike traffic in Atlanta and it added 1 1/2 hours to each session, not to mention the gas.  I also found that sitting in the waiting room was a pretty awkward event as I pondered the issues of  people around me and thought they were doing the same thing.  Oh, why couldn't I just be at lunch with the girls having a fun, easy, breezy day?  Also, in the DBT skills class training, I found the other people around me were very visually distracting and I felt so out of place. I found it interesting that even knowing that people with BPD are sensitive to bright lights they put us under intensely bright flourescent lighting. 

What about being able to see someone's posture and body language?  For me it's not that important because the voice is very useful in detecting a person's emotions and since I have been doing this either as client or a coach for a very long time now, I have become very adept at it.  Advantages, far outweigh any perceived disadvantage and your getting the same useful skills and tools in your own environment.

A list of advantages:

Less distraction- Visual distractions and sound in a room full of people are not there.  You can set your very own environment and ambiance.  For me, it was essential oils and candle light.  So romantic going to class.

Information retention- It's been documented that we are able to retain our skills more efficiently when we are learning them in our home where we are generally more affected by our emotions and negative thinking.

Time efficient- You can be in your jammies if you want with your hair in a mess and only you will know.  There is also not the travel time, stress of driving in traffic.  I live in the Atlanta area and that was a huge problem for me.  It added almost 2 hours to my sessions.

You can be anywhere in the world and attend your classes and sessions! It is one of the things I really love about it.  I have clients who are as far away as Europe and Hong Kong.  I have to be mindful of time zones but hey, speak English, I'm there!

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Life Coaching

Is it Personality or Pathology?

by Teresa LynneSeptember 04, 2013

So many of my clients, well ok, ALL of my clients who suffer from emotion dys-regulation disorder (formerly known as BPD) including myself, have yearned to be thought of as “normal”, to think of themselves as “normal”.  Oh the longing, the yearning.  It reminds me of when I lived in San Diego and would drive into Tijuana, Mexico towards Rosarita Beach for cheap lobster and beer with friends. Driving up a winding, narrow mountain road I would see these poverty stricken people standing outside of their shacks looking beyond the chain link fence on the other side of the road.  That sad yearning on their faces tugged at my heart as I shared their view of this sparkling, silver city rising between the shimmering Pacific Ocean and the mountains that from a distance seemed full of wealth and the promise of possibility.  The reality of what they could see but believed they could never touch or experience ripped at the fabric of their daily goal of mere survival.  They could not see that up close, things were not all utopia.  Even in a place like San Diego.

We, at times, experience that feeling of outside looking in at the party we can’t go to.  The normal people party. It’s all in Technicolor.  We see them all bedecked in quality attire and dazzling accessories. We imagine that they are regaling each other with tales of their latest success, fabulous vacation and romantic adventures, while we stand on the outside in our drab, black and white world, peering through the imaginary wall, fully believing the lie that what we see is real and that we can’t be a part of it.   As long as we are focused on that, we are less likely to work to make our lives into what we want.

Wait a minute!  Am I being dramatic?  Why, yes I am!!  I scored an 89 on that in the test so it makes complete sense, doesn’t it? I am being normal.  I also scored high in self-sacrificing and mercurial so putting others needs in front of my own and blowing like a feather in the wind is also normal.  For me.

I am constantly working with my clients to help them see that just because someone else wouldn’t think, feel and respond the way they do, it doesn’t make them somehow abnormal.   According to Dr. John Oldham in his book,"The New Personality Self-Portrait: Why You Think, Work, Love and Act the Way You Do," these traits that we are born with are biologically determined.  You are dealt a hand at conception and life experience determines which genetic cards will be turned up.

If you are dramatic and mercurial, you have a plethora of qualities that are very appealing!  You will recognize yourself in this and realize that the parts of you that you constantly fight and criticize are just normal behaviors for your personality style.   What we don’t recognize is that the reason we fight the rules is because we naturally don’t like them.  We are free spirited and spontaneous. Don’t tell me that if I feel like it now, I have to feel like it later, in other words, I can’t change my mind.  For us, it’s important that we slow down a bit and before acting or answering a request, pause and think ahead, so that we can make choices that lead to lower stress levels.  Very important!

We may be initially drawn to high conscientious styles since they possess what we lack and then we are shouting YES! I don’t have to balance the checkbook!    Soon after we wish we never let them have the checkbook, while you try to remember every dime you spent or insist that the budget is not reasonable but you can’t show why. They need to become aware of their tendency towards logical responses to emotional expressions.   Learning validation skills is very important in this situation since it is definitely not natural for this fixer.  They practically can’t help themselves. Be patient with this one.

These are the rule makers because they need order. Seems unfair that us sensitive, free-spirits are forced to feel bad about ourselves because we just don’t care what day you are supposed to wash the car.  What’s a little dirt when there is there are so many other things to consider? 

Take the personality test and read the corresponding information in the book.  You may be surprised to find out that you have a lot of great qualities and some behaviors that are just part of your personality and not something that needs fixing.  If we want to understood, we must seek to understand!

 

Are you tired of being seen as a diagnosis and not being validated for the sensitive being that you are? For a perspective that values you, sees you as more than a diagnosis,  validates and addresses the stress and struggles that you deal with, and believes in your potential for healing, contact me today for a complimentary consultation at: 770.974.9010.   You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter or email me at Teresa [at] essencehappens.com.

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General

Grim Fairytale

by Teresa LynneAugust 30, 2013

Ok ladies. This issue has been coming up a lot lately in my life, friends’ lives, clients’ lives, and it was begging me to write about it: how we cling to a man as if he is a life raft in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  If you are a lesbian, this is an equal opportunity issue but for this blog, I am going to refer to the masculine.  When something is going wrong in the romantic arena, we are so dramatic about it and feel like we are incapable of anything until we have that man with his arms wrapped around us, assuring us that all is well and that he will make sure we are blissful ‘til kingdom com.

 

We become Aurora the princess from Sleeping Beauty, unable to get out of bed until our prince rides up on the white stallion, leans over us with steel blue eyes, taking in our angelic faces and tenderly kissing us into a reality of happily ever after.  Or maybe the stallion is a Ford pickup, but whatever, same story.  By the way, did you notice they never made a sequel to any of these films?  Seems the fairytale wedding is frozen in time as how it all ends.

I would love to see someone do an animated reality show featuring the life of a Disney princess 5 years later, surrounded by whining kids, the prince off slaying dragons all day every day.  She feels ignored and not appreciated wondering what in the world she wants to do with her own life.  To make it more interesting and dramatic, we could throw BPD into the scenario. I mean, look at Cinderella.  That could easily have happened.  Given the trauma she endured, she must have had major abandonment issues, shame, and low self-esteem.  Being asked to do the dishes would probably trigger huge anxiety.    

 

It’s been a couple of years since my divorce, and since then I have had one romantic entanglement which I knew was not going to go anywhere due to age difference and geographical locations.  Oh yes, there was this little thing about him being self- centered.  But oh, I was so moved when he kissed me.  Oh the sweet drama of it all! I was speaking with a colleague and friend about it.   She said “Teresa, this is taking your focus from what is most important in your life right now, your independence and self-reliance.”  I knew that she was right and yet when the phone rang and he wanted to see me, I would find myself jumping in my car, ignoring that I had plenty of studying to do for my latest coaching course or that I could enjoy dinner with one of my daughters.  I was sacrificing my long term wellness to feel good in the moment which was starting to not feel good in the moment.  Yet, here I was going back for more.

 

I have a client who is sweet, very attractive, has a good job she likes and is self-sufficient.  Like a lot of us, she has had pretty destructive relationships in the past, but right now she has had a nice boyfriend for a few months.  All is well, right?  Except the incessant worry about how he feels and why he doesn’t want to see her as much as she wants to see him and what if she ruins the relationship with her sensitivity. The fact that he is taking his time and not swearing undying love after the first 3 dates is in her mind, an indication of his lack of feeling, instead of what it more likely is.  Him taking his time. So when she dwells on her worries, how is she going to treat him? 

 

I have a fellow coaching student in my transformational coaching class who has everything you would think anyone would want in life to be happy. Young and attractive, wealthy family, involvement in meaningful projects, lots of friends, and travel.  She’s a sweetheart so I like her anyway, haha.   So what do you think she is consumed with?  The misery of this on again off again- relationship with a man she just can’t seem to do without. She’s getting nothing she needs from him, unless he needs something from her and yet she hangs on, beating herself up for it and feeling helpless to change it. Here, she has everything you and I might dream of and she’s sad and feels bad about herself. 

 

My point is no matter whether you have some diagnosis, many of us tend to have this feeling that we cannot survive or at the least be happy without a man. We rob ourselves of all the other possible joys in life while we are at it.  If you do have abandonment issues, it is magnified greatly. When my husband walked out the door with his suitcase right in front of my eyes, I thought that I literally would not survive it. Even though it was a terrible and abusive relationship, all I could think of was begging him to come back and how I would just accept how he treated me and quit wanting validation, appreciation, and respect. 

 

Depending on where you are in your recovery, the man in your life can be the support you need to get through the first couple stages especially if you are unable work and take care of everyday responsibilities, provided of course that he is a compassionate participant.  If he is blaming you for all the problems and telling you that he is fine and it’s your BPD that is causing you to think he should be nice to you, then he is a hindrance that needs to be skillfully dealt with. If you are with a compassionate, supportive man, which is what you deserve, then let the gratitude fill you with the motivation to keep working and never give up.  You will get there. Together.

 

For the rest of us, the key is to completely accept that this is where we are in the moment.  If we beat ourselves up for being needy and dependent, then we will feel hopeless.  When does anything change from the place of hopelessness?  We must start to observe our thoughts of helplessness and recrimination without judgment.  We must stay in wise mind as often as possible.  Then and only then can we start to see the habits we have created in the name of self-preservation that are no longer serving us.  We can begin to think of our long terms goals of self-fulfillment and self-reliance and ask, is this current thinking and behavior going to serve that goal or take us farther from it? It takes time to get to this place.  Carl Rogers said “The curious paradox is when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.  If I want to be the woman brave enough to chart my own course with or without a man, then I have to accept today that I have a habit of believing that I need a man to want me and take care of me to feel like I matter.  Once we really get this, like all the skills, we go back again and again, noticing and accepting, then an unsticking will take place.  A sense of curiosity will replace helplessness and the possibility of a you that was once only a distant dream will start to take form.  If you can spot it you got it sister.  Believe!

 

 

Need support in this process? For a perspective that values you, sees you as more than a diagnosis,  validates and addresses the stress and struggles that you deal with, and believes in your potential for healing, contact me today for a complimentary consultation at: 770.974.9010.   You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter or email me at Teresa [at] essencehappens.com.

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General | Inter-personal Effectiveness

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