So if you have BPD, you’ve probably noticed that you may be easily “triggered” into very intense emotions. You may feel uncontrollable at times and even unable to hold back when an emotion hits, leading to impulsiveness. You may blurt things out that you don’t mean, or do something ‘crazy’.
If you know someone with BPD, you may have also noticed this. Though you may be wondering why they react with such intensity at seemingly small things. Or you may simply not understand why they feel so strongly about certain things. Their impulsive acts or “blurts” of words may hurt your feelings, seem misplaces, over-reactive, or just down right unnecessary.
So what’s the deal?
People with BPD have been described as severe burn victims with 3rd degree burns all over their body. We are like open wounds exposed to anything and everything, that even the smallest thing will will cause a reaction of sorts.
Often times our initial feeling is so strong that it sends us off on a tirade. The feeling itself is scary to us, because of it’s intensity, that it tacks on secondary emotions, or even more! Layer all of that together and you’ve got yourself a handful.
One thing to remember, is that we often don’t mean what we say or do. That doesn’t mean we can do whatever we want and you just have to deal with it. It just simply means that we, at times, don’t have control over ourselves. We are learning. Unfortunately, we are very emotionally immature and we need a little leeway, and possibly a lot of forgiveness.
One of the biggest words I throw around when it comes to dealing with a borderline, is VALIDATION. When we feel like our emotions or something about us is being invalidated, that can drive us mad. It may bring us back to childhood or past relationships where our feelings meant nothing. We go from 0-100 in under a second, we can hardly see it coming ourselves. I know for myself, once I feel validated, like someone has listened to and acknowledged how I feel about something, without any sort of backlash or contradictory opinions or thoughts, etc…just pure validation…I calm down. Sometimes we just need to know that someone is listening and understands that we feel x, y, and/or z.
You can’t reason with a borderline in the midst of an episode. So try validation.
Here are 3 great articles about BPD and Emotional Sensitivity: