FAQs & Conversation Highlights
My siblings don't have Borderline Personality Disorder
Last night I listened to Brian's podcast about siblings and why they don't "seem" to be displaying Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) issues, while another sibling is. I have one sister.
I loved this particular podcast, because even though my sister is not diagnosed with BPD, I've always felt that she was an unhappy, emotionally struggling individual.
I originally thought Brian was going to say that if I have BPD, my sister must also have the same diagnosis.
Nope. I loved the validation that she would have an emotional disorder, not necessarily the same as myself, since she experienced the same parenting.
Can you say more about 'boundaries'?
Brian Barnett's response:
Boundaries aren’t something you put on somebody else. They aren’t a way to control somebody else.
Boundaries are something you put around you, yourself.
Think of a castle and a moat. This is Boundaries. Only you control the drawbridge. This means you get to decide everything and everybody that gets to come in. If somebody or something does anything at all that you don’t want within your castle, you simply pull up the bridge and keep them, or it, out.
It’s that simple.
A couple days ago I spoke to a mother about money. She’s giving her adult child money, and her adult child is using the money to support her emotionally unhealthy choices.
The solution here is pretty simple: Explain what the money can be used for and what it cannot be used for, and if these conditions are not met, stop giving the daughter the money.
This is a boundary the mother can set, not on her daughter,
but on she,
herself: “I will stop
myself from continuing to allow others to use
my money in ways that I do not want it to be used for.”
The mother worried that this would be disrespecting her adult daughter’s right to choice. But
you choosing what to do with
your money has nothing whatsoever to do with another person’s choices. The daughter’s right to chose is the same as it always is. She’ll just have to do it without your money.
The mother can show genuine respect for, and recognize, her daughter’s rights:
“Daughter, I realize you’re an adult and you have full rights, just like any adult, to live any way you want and make any choices you want to make. I have no rights, responsibility, or authority over you now that you’re an adult. But, I get to choose where my money goes; that’s my right, responsibility, and authority.”
Your money is yours. Only you get to decide the conditions for handing it over.
What about other things, like text messages? Nobody gets to text message you unless you yourself are allowing it. Nobody gets to receive text messages, unless you yourself are choosing to send them. If you're getting communications from somebody that isn't contributing to the emotional health within your castle, you can always pull up the drawbridge, it doesn't matter who they are. This is especially easy on today's phones.
Nobody gets to hear responses from you - not in the grocery store, not from your home, not walking down the street - unless you yourself are allowing it. You have no control over what a person out in public might say to you - that’s their choices. But
you get to decide if
you will acknowledge them, or reply to them or not. That’s
Nobody gets to come into your house, except for the specific times you yourself allow it, or
if you yourself allow it, at all.
You have full control over what is allowed in your life, and you always have, whether you've realized this, or not. And if anything is being let into your life that you don’t like, or that isn’t good for you - guess what? It’s only because you yourself are allowing it.
What do you mean when you say 'insight' is part of the cure to emotional 'unhealth'?
It’s time for me to tell you about Nola May, the blue dinosaur. I just gave her this name, in honor of a great aunt of mine.
Nola May the dinosaur is in the picture attached to this post. Do you see her? Or do you just see a blue rectangle?
This is not a joke. She’s there, in full, glorious 3D imagery. These types of images are called ‘stereograms’, and they were popular in malls in the 1990s. As long as you do not suffer from any profound vision problems, such as color blindness, there is nothing at all preventing you from seeing her.
The blue rectangle with the pretty, wavy lines, is knowledge. Knowledge is looking and seeing the surface of something and understanding it well. Any person could study this picture, describe it, and even make detailed, mathematical measurements of it. Anybody could run this rectangle through a scanner and map every single shade and variation of color that is in it.
But none of these things will reveal Nola May.
Seeing Nola May is insight.
Unless and until you are able to see Nola May the blue dinosaur within this picture, none of the other knowledge that you can possibly extract from the picture matters.
This picture does not exist simply so we can look at a flat, 2D surface of blue, squiggly lines. Yes, the blue squiggly lines are pretty. But they do not hold a match to Nola May.
Knowledge without insight is like looking at a flat 2D surface, where the important stuff is all hidden to you.
So I urge everybody to pull this blue picture up on the biggest screen you have, and stare at it until you are able to see Nola May. I’m not joking, she is in there, and she is in full 3D. You do not need any special glasses or any other thing except for your own two eyes to see her.
I will give you two hints:
1. Your vision must relax before Nola May will be visible to you. Sometimes people are able to see the 3D image by making the image as large as possible, and then pressing your nose to the screen. Relax your vision with your nose pressed right up against the screen, and then slooowlly move your head back while keeping your vision relaxed. Nola May just might become visible to you this way.
2. Nola May the blue dinosaur is a brontosaurus.
When, after the frustration of not seeing what is hidden right here in plain sight, you finally manage to see the 3D image of Nola May the brontosaurus, you will experience the exact same feeling of exhilaration that one feels when they experience a true epiphany, or revelation, on the path to genuine recovery.
Brian Barnett's reply:
My adoption of oranges originates with an article I wrote entitled
Intimacy, Oranges, and Fish Eyeballs. It involves the story of two people - a British couple - who were lost at sea on a life raft for 117 days in the Pacific, in 1973. For those interested in genuine recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder, the imagery of oranges, as well as its meaning, is rich and profound in the context of the story, and my reasons for telling it.
This article is available
here in my
Article Library. Another option is for you to listen to
Episode 2 of The Last Symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder podcast, where I told the story again.
If you can progress to the point of finally no longer blocking yourself from the emotional nutrition that you need, and subconsciously crave, then you will be, authentically, emotionally healthy.
So oranges represent
emotionally-healthy nutrition and
well-being; genuine recovery from emotional unhealth.
The Primary Tenets of The Last Symptom
1. Borderline Personality Disorder is not a 'mental illness'. It is an emotional disorder.
2. Borderline Personality Disorder does not have
'multiple possible causes'. There is only one authentic cause for it, for everybody.
3. The entire disorder and every symptom of it springs from one unhealthy, distorted subconscious perspective, adopted in early childhood.
4. The distorted, underlying 'belief', or subconscious certainty, at the foundation of Borderline Personality Disorder is this:
My feelings are inherently irrelevant and shameful, devoid of worth.
5. Borderline Personality Disorder itself is entirely curable.
6. The professional community in general does not help their clients distinguish the
symptoms of the disorder from the actual
problem - or
cause - and this is unacceptable.
7. Brian Barnett is not against the professional community. He simply does not hold back from discussing their failures when the subject is relevant in regards to genuine recovery.
8. The process of acquiring
education and insight are the cures to Borderline Personality Disorder.
9. Borderline Personality Disorder is not
'genetic'. It is
inherited. These two terms do not, in any way, imply the same thing.
10. Parental, or immediate caregiver, emotional neglect and abuse in early childhood was involved in every person's development of Borderline Personality Disorder.
11. Your current inability to perceive the subtleties of how your parents are responsible in this way is proof only of your current inability to perceive it. (This involves denial, ignorance.)
12. Whether your siblings specifically have Borderline Personality Disorder or not is irrelevant. They received the same emotional education as you did, from the same two emotional teachers. Therefore, their erroneous perspectives of life are built upon the same distorted emotional foundation that yours is. Their ability to 'blend' into society does not change the reality of this.
13. The popular, yet false, concept of 'triggers' is a total fiction, and an enormous obstacle to genuine recovery. There is no such thing as 'triggers'; that is, of external things being responsible for your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. There is only you,
triggering yourself. Only you yourself, a self-contained machine, generating everything you feel, think, and do, yourself.
14. There is no such thing as having a 'little bit'of Borderline Personality Disorder. People are either emotionally healthy, or they are emotionally unhealthy. In reality, there is no 'spectrum' area. One can't 'sort of'have distorted foundation beliefs upon which they base their every interaction with life. You either do, or do not. Anything short of genuine emotional health is emotional unhealth, period.
15. Borderline Personality Disorder does not grant its sufferers anything positive. Your good qualities are your good qualities,
despite the disorder, not
because of it.
16. Feelings are never good or bad, right or wrong. The same way it isn't good or bad, right or wrong, that grass is green. Grass just
is green. There's nothing good or bad, right or wrong, about it.
17. Genuine emotional health requires that one be able to distinguish clearly and concretely between guilt and shame.
18. Guilt is
always constructive, shame is
19. Genuine emotional health requires that one be able to clearly and concretely understand the
Principle of Forgiveness Vs. Acceptance.
20. Genuine emotional health requires that one be able to clearly and concretely understand the
Law of Individual Inherent Rights, Responsibility, and Authority, and to live by it daily. Everybody else is the weather to you, and you are the weather to them. (A broader, more-comprehensive understanding of the reality of 'free will', as well as everything it implies.)
To be continued...
Common Falsehoods & Lies surrounding Borderline Personality Disorder
1. Borderline Personality Disorder is a 'mental illness'.
2. Borderline Personality Disorder is a 'mental health' issue.
3. Borderline Personality Disorder has 'multiple possible causes'.
4. Borderline Personality Disorder is something you will probably be dealing with for the rest of your life. ("It's incurable.")
'Trauma' causes Borderline Personality Disorder
'Fear of abandonment' causes Borderline Personality Disorder.
7. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is the solution to Borderline Personality Disorder.
8. You must learn 'to live with' Borderline Personality Disorder.
9. The solution to Borderline Personality Disorder is 'soothing' symptoms, 'learning' empathy, 'managing' behaviors.
10. Borderline Personality Disorder is 'genetic'. ('You're just born that way...')
11. Your parents were emotionally healthy.
12. "My parents 'did the best they could'."
13. Your parents were the exception:
"They never abused me. They were great parents.." (Involves ignorance, denial.)
"I have Borderline Personality Disorder but my siblings don't." (Implying that they are the very definition of good emotional health, even though they had the same emotional teachers as you.)
15. That you, as somebody with Borderline Personality Disorder, have the ability to identify if others are genuinely emotionally healthy or not. That you are able to recognize emotional unhealth.
16. People can have 'varying degrees' of Borderline Personality Disorder. (The lie perpetuated by the professional community that there is such a thing as a 'spectrum'.)
Triggers. The lie that
external things can generate
your feelings, thoughts and behaviors for you.
18. Borderline Personality Disorder grants its sufferers positive side-effect superpowers.
"Because of my BPD, I'm an 'empath'."
"I'm really artistic because I have BPD."
To be continued...
The Nuance of Shame & Borderline Personality Disorder
Last Symptom Student:
"Hi... I finally came to the complete understanding of the nuance of shame as it has to do with Borderline Personality Disorder. Having known that it deals with the natural state of my [naturally-natural] self has birthed breakthroughs for me, and it truly wasn't difficult seeing and knowing what I truly am, and rejecting what needs rejecting. I [was so] frustrated, given how long it took me to understand it, [that] I almost gave up on myself. But I'm grateful for your style of responses to me, because even your silence is educative. It helped me [do] what need to be self-done. I'm truly grateful."
Brian Barnett's Reply:
"When I was learning Spanish, I remember being very confused by the idea of the Subjunctive Tense of verbs. Because we don't often use such a tense in English, it was a concept beyond my ability to grasp easily. It was a foreign concept to my way of thinking up until that point. I still remember the night it clicked for me, and the great awareness that came over me about why the Subjunctive Tense has to exist, as it relates to the Spanish language, and its purpose. When I was recovering from BPD, the revelation that my attitude toward my feelings, and sense of self, involved their 'inherent' nature, rather than just some superficial attititude, and what this implied, was also a huge revelation like that of finally understanding fully the purpose of some strange feature of a language that was not my own. To progress at anything, it requires us to really think hard and long and patiently. I'm glad you've done this and that it is paying off for you."