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 Post subject: New here
PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:56 pm 
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Hi, I just wanted to introduce myself. I am 28 years old, self-diagnosed and cannot afford to see a mental health proffesional at the moment as Im unemployed.
I hope to do this soon.
My biggest problem is a lack of an identity or sense of self. I tend to base myself on others , using them as blueprints for who I want to be. I tend to become obessed with people and places and centre my life around one certain aspect or person for a long time or a short time, before becoming dissallusined and moving on to something else.
I suffer from depression which has peaked since I turned 28 as I now feel old and like I have wasted my life, which indeed I have.
Thats enough for now,

Pleased to meet you .
Glitter


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 Post subject: Re: New here
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:42 am 
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Welcome Glitter! I think you'll find quite a few folks here who understand. I hope the tools we provide and the support of the community help you on the road to recovery.

Trinity

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As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live. -- Goethe


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 Post subject: Re: New here
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:50 pm 
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Glitter, welcome to BPDR - we're glad you found us!

I think that there is some merit in using other people as blueprints or rough sketches for the things we'd like to use as the basis for the construction of our Genuine Selves. It's when we attempt to mimic other people down to their core and when we try to act as if we are them instead of incorporating those fundamental traits into our own selves that it becomes a problem.

I can be inspired by any number of people (for instance, those on the dedication page of my book) but if I try to BE one of them, it's a problem. When faced with a difficult situation, I can ask myself "How would Megan handle this?" or "What would Al say about this?" but at the end of the day, it has to be ME that responds to the situation. I have to decide if I would take the calm, logical, Socratic approach Megan would take or if I would take the decisive, no-questions-asked, gut-instinct approach Al would take. Sometimes I end up doing both - starting with calm logic, asking questions to get deeper insight and then end up being decisive because my gut is screaming at me to do so.

Does it help any to think of people as those disco-style mirror balls? They are one thing - a mirrorball, a person - yet they are made up of hundreds of tiny pieces that reflect all sorts of different things and ways depending on the light hitting them at any given moment? One person may provide you an example of "calmness in a storm" when faced with the chaos of daily living but then may breakdown into tears when faced with a hangnail. Becoming disillusioned with the person is a common BPD-trait because we've assumed that the "calmness in a storm" is steadfast and rock-solid under every single circumstance so when we see a tiny chip in the armor, such as the hangnail, we write-off the entire person.

The healthier approach to these role models in our lives is to focus on the things that help us define our Genuine Selves. If someone provides the example of "calmness in a storm" then just find someone else who can provide an example of "dealing with the tiny catastrophies, like hangnails" and use BOTH of them as role models as situations arise. No one-single-person can be a complete-and-total role model for all things in the entirety of life for another person.

This is why we pick and choose the aspects of those around us to be role models in certain situations. We select components of others to be the building blocks of who our Genuine Selves become. I might select Megan's calm and Al's decisiveness and Don's forgiveness and Luke's creativity to be the foundation of my Genuine Self but there is probably no other person in the entirety of the history of humanity who has ever put those components together the way I have, using the proportions I've selected, invoking specific aspects in certain situations the way I do. I value & cherish each of them in my life and they each travel with me every day but I am no defined by them. I've used the same basic ingredients other people have used but I've combined them in a recipe that's completely unique - that makes ME into the Genuine Self I have become.

Does that help?

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 Post subject: Re: New here
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:17 pm 
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Thank you both for the replies.
Ash, yes that does help and I am trying to to that. The issue is that I have no idea who my "genuine self" is. I don`t feel I have a genuine self. There is nothing there until I mimic someone else and take on their personality. I think its also a desperate need to be accepted. I was rejected by my family and have no friends and have spent my life trying to find a "group" or I suppose a substitute family to belong to. Pathetic but I must admit it.
I suppose immitating others is another way i go about trying to fit in and be accepted, ut it never works, because I am a fake at the end of the day and I dont feel like I am real sometimes.
I m trying to invent a personality--based on various parts of others that resonate with me anyway, and on parts of my self that remain from when I felt I still existed.
Writing these down to try to make a persona of my own, and then sticking to this persona even when someone comes along that swings me in another direction.....is this a good idea? One way or another, I have no self as it is so it has to be invented.


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 Post subject: Re: New here
PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:49 pm 
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Glitter, that's the hidden beauty of having BPD: we get to decide who and what our Genuine Self is.

This process happens naturally for those without BPD and by the time they're adults, the process is pretty much done - with spots here & there for growth, of course. But someone with BPD has never settled into "the person they are" because they've always tried to be other people. So now that we're aware of our lack of a Genuine Self and aware of our BPD as a root cause, we have the unique opportunity to define who we want to become - with all the awareness of an adult, rather than simply stumbling into it as a kid.

So when you say that you have no self so it has to be invented, that's exactly what we're talking about when we say "define your Genuine Self." You're not being asked to describe or outline an existing person; you're being asked (by yourself, as part of your quest for recovery) to decide who and how you want to be. And part of this process means you get to try on various hats to see what feels right or comfortable to you. Perhaps the decisive approach doesn't feel right to you and you would prefer to emulate someone who takes a methodical approach, weighing the pros & cons. Perhaps the Socratic method (asking questions of another person to help them reach the answer & understanding you're after rather than presenting the answer on a silver platter) is too tedious and time-consuming for you so your preference is to ask first if they want feedback & then gently couch the answer so that it seems less like they're being beaten over the head with a club.

For the time being (maybe the next two or three weeks), maybe you can approach your emulations with that awareness in mind. Instead of beating yourself up for trying to mimic someone in your life and feeling fraudulent for it, maybe a simple shift of perspective can help you use these things as learning and growth opportunities. When they stop feeling right, stop using them without recrimination and begin looking for something that does feel right.

The link I included for the Genuine Self (above) might be a good place to start. Another good place to start is looking back at some of your regrets. In any situation where you regret the outcome or the way you behaved, use that situation as a tool to apply your role models - what would Role Model A have done in that situation? Would Role Model B have done anything differently? What about Role Model C? Of those assessments and visualizations, imagine yourself having behaved in that manner and figure out which one feels right or 'the best' for that situation. The more past-regretful-situations you do this for, the more likely you are to determine who and what your Genuine Self is all about. By visualizing or imagining how you might have handled things better (based on a Role Model in your life) you are actually training your brain to think differently. That doesn't mean that if you sit down and visualize Role Models in ten different past experiences that tomorrow you'll be able to handle a similar situation flawlessly. It will take time to put into practice the things you visualize. It's like Jell-O - it takes a while to solidify in the refrigerator; until then, it's a soupy mess!

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