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A key word that you will see:

Fragmentation: a mental process where a person becomes intensely emotionally focused on one aspect of themselves, such as “I am angry” or “no one loves me,” to the point where all thoughts, feelings and behavior demonstrate this emotional state, in which, the person does not or is unable to take into account the reality of their environment, others or themselves and their resources. This is a term that my therapist and I use and is on the continuum of dissociation.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Not Just For The Borderline

On Tuesday, I was having a difficult time with fragmenting.  I was feeling guilty on Monday as I am not able to do almost anything around the house, so I asked my husband if he would like me to do the shredding of our documents and private information (we have boxes and boxes and boxes...).  He gave me a couple of boxes and I ran out, so I found some more.

Unfortunately, I selected some documents, bills from last year, that he wanted to keep.  I was on the telephone with him and I could hear the slight tone in his voice change as he became frustrated that I shredded things that he did not want me to do so.  We worked it out and everything is fine by the end of the day.

This brought up an issue in therapy that I've never really wanted to look at so directly.  I am almost always being attuned to someones voice tone, voice volume, slight changes in facial expressions, a comment, lack of one, change in gait, and the list goes on.  It usually leads to me feeling like it is a criticism, that they don't like me, they are angry and I'm going to get hurt and again the list goes on.

I can immediately feel the drop in my stomach and the tightening of my chest, throat and whole body.  Just waiting for the criticism or going to be harmed.  It is automatic and I just fragment and "go away."  I realized that this is how hypervigilant I've been my whole life and how awful and terrifying life has been. 

My therapist indicated that I can't stop this as it is an automatic response that my brain cannot change especially when it comes to my reactions to men.  However, he can help me learn to manage it. 

During the whole session, I felt as if I was being criticised and was quite defensive and my therapist said that I looked terrified.  It is really difficult to admit and talk about how large of a problem this is.  I also do not want to go back to school until I have been able to manage this.  I went through school and work like this and it was and still is terribly painful.

My therapist also mentioned that everyone does this to some degree, but this is especially difficult for persons with borderline personality disorder.  Two things that must be present for the borderline personality to occur.  One is an invalidating enviornment and the second is a highly sensitive child (this is not a bad thing, just a fact).  My therapist told me that invalidating is not even close to describing my growing up.  He told me that my enviornment was no just invalidating, but rather it was damaging.

Now, if I don't get comments, I'm going to think....


Wanda's Wings said...

It's hard when you are always trying to please someone. Believe me I know. Therapy is such hard work. I almost always feel defensive to. You hang in there. You are a winner in my book!

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