Because of the high correlation between bisexuality and borderline personality disorder we are continuing to look at some of the traits that we may possess and ways to use these traits to not only survive but to thrive.
Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity – Depressivity: Feelings of inferior self-worth (DSM5)
Perhaps the most defining trait associated with BPD is a feeling of inferior self-worth. To get a better understanding of self-worth for us bisexuals with this BPD trait we want to take a look at two studies that show how our inferior feelings may differ from others.
Lynum and others compared self-esteem in patients with avoidant personality disorder (APD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD) using the Index of Self Esteem. Subjects from both disorders had self-esteem levels associated with clinical problems. Patients with higher levels of depression reported lower levels of self-esteem in both groups. Hedrick and Berlin looked at the difference in feelings of self-worth with 18 subjects with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and 18 subjects with depersonalization disorder (DPD) using the Implicit Association Test. They discovered that BPD participants had significantly lower self-esteem and less self-directedness and cooperativeness. They also had higher harm probabilities and impulsivity.
The first study states the obvious; we share feelings of inferior self-worth with other personality disorder groups; however our low self-esteem is clinical in nature and often associated with depression. When we apply this to our bisexuality we see an easy blame target for our inferior feelings. We are often consciously or perhaps subconsciously feeling we are somehow lesser human beings because of our bisexuality. This feeling has its roots in low self-esteem that seems to be part of our sometimes warped and twisted self-concept and may have the potential to lead to dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns. The study by Hedrick and Berlin is particularly interesting as it sheds more light on the nature of this pathological trait. It would appear that those of us bisexuals with BPD have a deeper sense of unworthiness leading to difficulty making good life decisions. This lack of self-worth appears to make us more defensive often leading to conflicts with others. We tend to say to hell with caution and just barrel ahead with unsafe sexual experiences often leading to dangerous and self-defeating behaviors. If it goes unchecked, it may eventually lead to high risk and self-harm behaviors.
So what can we take from these studies? First and foremost, it places feelings of unworthiness and the core of our self-defeating behaviors at a clinical level. The flip side, again, is that at this point it is just a trait and traits can be changed by changing our thought patterns before they become behavior patterns. Secondly, it narrows our focus. Instead of looking at all the dysfunctional behaviors, we can focus on one issue – improving our self-concept.
I suggest the following:
1. Instead of letting your sexual desires dictate feelings of inferior self-worth, you can look at your sexuality as a gift. You have no inhibitions or limitations. You can find sexual pleasure with men or women.
2. Being bisexual is more than just sexual freedom. You can also look at the other aspects of your personality. As bisexuals we often are creative. Many of us are dancers, poets or artists. We can see the world in a different way and pass our insights on to our fellow human beings. Make a list of your gifts and post it somewhere to remind yourself just how amazing you are.
3. Meditate for at least fifteen minutes each day. During mediation focus your attention on a positive aspect of your body or your life and become mindful of how amazing this gift is. Do not rationalize it. Just develop a feeling of profound gratitude and appreciation and let that positive vibration occupy your whole mind and body.
4. Begin to see yourself as special. When you look in the mirror look yourself in the eye and keep looking until you feel appreciation for the person you are.
5. Beings gay or lesbian is not a matter of choice, but being bisexual is. We can choose whom we love and whom we want to be with. We can choose to have monogamous relationships with either a man or a women or we can choose to live alone or with an understanding partner and have different relationships with different people. Celebrate your ability to choose. Begin to structure your life to reflect this new self-concept. Determine what you really want and make a plan to create the kind of life you truly want to live.