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When I Get Angry, I Get Really Angry – Part 2

Due to the high positive correlation between bisexuality and Borderline Personality Disorder, we are attempting to get a better understanding

DXM5 – Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity – Emotional liability  – Emotions that are easily aroused, intense, and/or out of proportion to events and circumstances.

So a trait does not have to develop into pathological thought and behavioral patterns. We can control it. The key then is to focus our powers of belief to take steps to create these new neural circuitries. To read more:

When I Get Angry, I Get Really Angry – Part 2

 

 

Bisexuality and Shame

We continue to look at the psychology of bisexuality and its link to borderline personality disorder.

Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity – Depressivity: Pervasive shame (DSM5).

            Over the years in writing this blog, I keep coming back to the role of shame in borderline personality disorder, and each time I get a deeper understanding of the role shame has played in my life. Even though I have learned to survive and even thrive with BPD, there are still moments when my mind recreates a moment of shame from my past and the full emotional load of that shame expresses itself throughout my body.  Unfortunately, most of my shame involves my same-sex tendencies and experiences preventing me from enjoying by beautiful mind and body. So let’s take another look at what science is now saying about shame.

            First of all let’s look at the neuropathways involved in shame. Michl and others (1) employed functional magnetic resonance imaging with 14 healthy subjects while using shame-related and neutral stimuli. They found that shame involved activations in the frontal lobe in the medial and inferior frontal gyrus. During the imagination of shame, frontal and temporal lobes were responsive regardless of gender. They concluded that frontal, temporal, and limbic areas play a prominent role in the generation of moral feelings. So why is this important? My take is that the human brain is designed to help us stay within the protection of our family and in line with our group norms. In other words, shame is part of the normal physical make-up of our human brain that helps us grow and take our place in society. Unfortunately our bisexuality can be a major source of shame if we let society’s biased norms affect our sense of shame. But we are no longer children; we are adults, and we can take control of our shame mechanisms.

            The question is then – what goes wrong with the normal shame mechanism in those of us bisexuals with BPD that results in a pathological trait? An overactive shame mechanism can take two paths – self-loathing and/or anger. Brown and others (2) looked at the relationship of shame with self-inflicted injury (SII) among 77 women with borderline personality disorder. They used self-reported shame and nonverbal shame behaviors involving recent episodes of SII. They found that self-reported state shame and assessor ratings of shame were associated with prospective SII, but not after controlling for other emotions. The last part of that is interesting. This suggests that shame by itself is manageable for those of us bisexuals with BPD as long as we do not allow it to activate the amygdala and other emotional responses. This suggest that shame that involves emotional episodes may be responsible for self-injury and suicidal behavior.  On the other hand, there is hope if we take steps to deal with the emotional overload.

            The other side of the shame-coin is uncontrolled anger where the person with BPD directs the shame outward instead of inward. Scot and others (3) focused on associations between BPD symptoms, shame, and anger-related behaviors (hostile irritability) in adolescent girls using ecological momentary assessment. They discovered that greater BPD symptoms of shame were associated with more hostile irritability but only in the case of girls of average socioeconomic status (not receiving public assistance). Again this suggests an interesting side-bar to this study. We can surmise that adolescents who receive public assistance may be getting support and counselling to help them deal with the emotional issues surrounding outbursts of anger. They concluded that shame may be a key clinical target in the treatment of anger-related difficulties among adolescent girls with BPD symptoms. When it comes us bisexuals, we often turn that anger inward.

            Fortunately, all is not lost. Recent studies have shown it is possible to reduce shame about a specific event over a short period of time. Through constructive psychology practices, we can bring attention to the event causing the shame and learn to dissect and cope with the event before it is emotionally loaded and locked into long term memory.

My five suggestions for bisexuals with BPD:

1. Embrace the shame. When shame occurs, instead of trying to fight it, let it flow. This will take you out of the sympathetic mode and give you time to process the circumstances involved with the shame.

2. In processing the shame, involve the body as well as the brain. Vocalize it with a mantra. I like to use the words, “There is no blame; there is no shame. There is only love for myself and for….” If you are having difficulty doing that, find a friend, someone you trust, who will listen without judgement and who will let you process the situation and the thought patterns without interrupting.

3. In cases of habitual shame, journal it. This adds another constructive body and brain modality. Enter a state of relaxation and let that flow into a state of mindfulness. Record your thoughts on paper as they are formulated in your mind. Be sure to continue the process until you come to the resolution where there is no blame; there is no shame.

4. If your shame leads to anger, first of all, let me say that anger is better than self-loathing. But it still needs to be addressed. Do not let your mind turn shame into anger at yourself. Again, get control of the feelings. Practice deep breathing until you feel calm. Then process the situation. If it involves anger because you have given in to your impulses, give yourself room to explore and enjoy your sexual impulses for what they are. Try to figure out where the shame is coming from. Remember you are an adult and you are free to make your own decisions.

5. If you find that you cannot control your shame mechanisms and that you are thinking of harming yourself, get professional help. Find a psychologist or psychiatrist that employs constructive psychology practices.

(1) Michl, Petra; Meindl, Thomas; Meister, Franziska; Born, Christine; Engel, Rolf R.; Reiser, Maxililian; and Hennif-Fast, Kristina. Neurobiological underpinnings of shame and guilt: a pilot fMRI study. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience; Vol 9. 2014. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nss114

(2) Brown, Milton Z.; Linehan, Marsha M.; Comtois, Kathryn Anne; Murray, Angela; and Chapman, Alexander L.. Shame as a prospective predictor of self-inflicted injury in borderline personality disorder: A multi-modal analysis. Elsevier, Behavior Research and Therapy, Vol 47. 2009.

(3) Scott, L. N., Stepp, S. D.; Hallquist, M. N.; Whalen, H. J.; Wright, A. G. C.; and Pilkonis, P, A. . Daily shame and hostile irritability in adolescent girls with borderline personality disorder symptoms. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment. 2015. https://doi.org/10.1037/per0000107

 

Bisexuality, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Pessimism

We continue to look at the psychology of bisexuality and its link to borderline ersonality disorder. Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity – Depressivity: Pessimism about the future (DSM5)

            There is a phenomena called the Law of Attraction. If we think positive thoughts, good things happen. If we think negative thoughts, we invite bad things into our lives. As bisexuals with BPD traits, our feelings are often based on a poor self-image and the belief that we are unworthy of attracting good things into out lives. Our feelings create our thoughts; our thoughts create our actions; and our actions create the pessimistic lives we inadvertently choose to live.

             Korn and others[1] designed a research study in which 21 BPD patients and 79 controls predicted the outcomes in 45 adverse life events. The BPD patients first demonstrated more pessimism, but like the controls, became more positive after receiving further information about the life events.

            Let’s break this down into the two aspects of the trait of pessimism for those of us with BPD. First of all it shows once again our tendency to view life negatively. This creates negative energy which places us automatically in a defensive fight or flight mental framework. This in turn causes us to see life as a threat filled with negative consequences for most of our actions. This can lead to a tendency to slip into the helplessness and hopelessness of depression. The good part of this study is that this is merely a trait, we can overcome our pessimistic outlook by learning as much as we can about ourselves, our traits, and the possible positive outcomes of future events in our lives. We begin to focus on the positive. We change the Law of Attraction so that it begins to work for us instead of against us.

            I recently read an article by Emily Esfahani[2] in which she refers to a series of studies by psychological researcher Shelly Gable and her colleagues where they brought young adult couples into a lab to discuss recent positive events from their lives (unfortunately I was unable to find the original articles). They found that couples responded to each other’s good news in four different ways that they labelled as: passive destructive, active destructive, passive constructive, and active constructive. They noticed that people who were focused on criticizing their partners missed approximately 50 percent of positive things their partners were doing and they saw negativity when it was not there. By interviewing these same people two months later, they discovered that people who deliberately ignored their partner or responded passively damaged the relationship by making their partner feel minimized and unheard. People who treated their partners with contempt and criticism destroyed the love in their relationship, but they also hampered their partners’ ability to fight off viruses and cancers. They concluded that being mean is the death knell of relationships. However, they also discovered that the more someone receives or witnesses kindness, the more they will be kind themselves, which leads to a mentally and physically healthier relationship. I think we can conclude that when we employ active constructive responding it frees us to change our outlook from pessimistic to positive which in turn lets us savor our partner’s joy and gives us an opportunity to grow positive bonds.

                I know it is difficult for those of us bisexuals with BPD to break these pessimistic outlook patterns, but by simply practicing Active Constructive Thinking, specifically generosity and kindness, we can begin to change and pour new life into our relationships. If we truly love the person we are with, we need to stop focussing on the probable loss of our life-partners and begin to appreciate them for who they are in the present. In reality we do not live in the past or the future; we live in the present. We need to keep our focus on what is happening around us and in our relationship in the now and begin to see, appreciate, and communicate our joy in their successes and our sorrow in their losses. Secondly we can stop beating ourselves up because of our same sex attractions. Our bisexuality is a tremendous gift that lets us see the complexity and beauty of sexuality and the role it plays in our sense of self and well-being.

Here are my five suggestions for Borderliners:

1. Embrace your pessimism. It is a part of your genetic makeup and your early life experiences. It is part of you. Recognize it for what it is. It is merely the tendency to see the possible negative outcomes of an action. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it can be a good thing that can keep you from doing things that could have disastrous consequences. In other words, think positively about your pessimism.

2. Think positively about your bisexuality. It is what it is. Begin to look at it as a gift instead of a burden. Begin to notice your feelings, your desires, and why you have those desires. This is mainly a desire to connect with another human beings and to share the joys of sexual union.

3. Avoid the one night stand, the rushed hook-ups, and the anonymous encounters. Have sex with a person with a face and a heart instead of just a genital organ. Seek out people with whom you can have regular heart to heart relationships. Do not be afraid of these relationships. They are probably having the same hopes and fears that you have.

4. Make a conscious positive decision on how you want to live your life. Focus on the potential joys rather than the possible fears and losses.

5. If you have a secret second life, do not let the one destroy the other. Enjoy each relationship for what it is. If you have a life partner, begin to listen to what they say and try to recognize the feelings behind their words. Just the fact that you are truly listening will begin the healing process. Pay special attention to their positive feelings and actions. Celebrate their victories. Invite them into celebrating the joy of the positive things in your life.


[1] Korn, Christopher w.; Rosee, Liobala; Heekeren, Hauk R.; and Roepke, Stefan. Processing of information about future life events in borderline personality disorder. Psychiatry Research. 2016, Pages 719-724

[2] Esfahani, Emiily. Sciencesays lasting relationships come down to – you guessed it – kindness and generosity. The Atlantic. 2014.


Borderline Personality Disorder and Mood Swings

Because of the high positive correlation between borderline personality disorder and bisexuality, we are continuing to explore the pathological personality traits as listed in the DSM 5.

Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity  –  Depressivity: Difficulty recovering from such moods (miserable and hopeless).(DSM5)

            Just to be clear, bisexuality is not a pathological trait; it is merely a sexual orientation. We are drawn to male and female sexual partners. However, we often have difficulty dealing with our sexuality, and we often have to deal with also having a borderline personality disorder. Unfortunately the two often go together.

            Law and others[1] measured negative emotions and borderline symptoms in 281 BPD participants over a wide spectrum of experiences. They found that BDP diagnosis was associated with experiencing more negative emotions and  that these moods often continued for three hours or more with some lasting for days. They concluded that negative emotions and several BPD symptoms continued to influence each other.

            An Article by Salters-Pedneault and Gans[2] adds some interesting insights which I will summarize here and add some of my own. While it’s normal to have our moods shifting from feeling good to feeling down, some of us with BPD may experience very extreme mood-shifting for minor reasons. We can go from feeling okay to feeling devastated, desperate, or completely hopeless within a matter of moments. While in our down moods, we may engage in impulsive behaviors such as substance abuse, binge eating, self-harm, or suicidal thoughts or behaviors. In the case of us bisexuals, this is usually when we venture out for another sexual encounter. Unfortunately, if we are married or in a partnership, instead of enjoying the experience, we often let it evolve into guilt and another deeper down-mood.

Those of us with BPD can have many mood swings in the course of a single day, whereas most people may experience one or two major emotional shifts in an entire week. Again in the case of us bisexuals with BPD, we tend to manage or delay the mood by letting anxiety build to the point where a sexual encounter with a new sexual partner will allow us to purge these feelings. We then go back to our other life and can manage to stay within our self-imposed boundaries until the anxieties build again resulting in another down mood. We establish a pattern of in again off again that works for us until we crash.

We can go on experiencing emotional ups and downs for years while seeming helpless to stop them. This usually results in an unhealthy relationship with our life-partner. We feel we must depend on them for our survival. This again adds to the feeling of hopelessness when we bow to our urges for sexual encounters. It can become an addictive behavior. The sexual experience then often does not meet our need to have the release and peace of a healthy sexual experience. Instead of experiencing the joys of our sexuality, it can become an avenue for hopelessness and another down mood.

            Very often our mood swing occurs as a reaction to an external trigger involving someone we love. The perceived rejection or abandonment may result in a fight-or-flight response. We may respond with a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness or we respond with anger which is usually out-of-proportion to the situation. For those of us with BPD, these mood swings usually result in unstable interpersonal relationships with loved ones and colleagues which just adds to our fears of abandonment and the deepening of the negative moods. For those of us who are also bisexual, we tend to try to preserve our relationship with our life-partner at all costs and direct our anger at ourselves resulting in self-loathing, high-risk behavior, and suicidal thoughts.

            So what can we do about it? As stated over and over again in these blogs, we often focus on our sexuality as the cause of our problems instead on focusing on our borderline personality traits. If we can deal with our BPD symptoms in a constructive manner, we should have no difficulty accepting our orientation and learning to enjoy our sexuality without regrets. Our problem usually stems from a feeling that we have to control our impulses instead of just enjoying them. They cannot be controlled as in suppressing them; however, we can learn to enjoy our sexuality as part of our whole expression of who we are.

Here are my five suggestions for borderliners

1. Do a self-inventory. Is this BPD symptom an impairment or is it merely a trait? If it has already advanced to an impairment, you should seek professional help probably involving medication. If it is still just a trait, you can take some steps to manage it.

2. If you are experiencing these deep mood swings frequently, it is time to get help. At the core of your reaction is that you are probably in a state of generalized anxiety. A serotonin enhancing medication can do wonders. It can allow you to stay calm long enough to resolve a potential misunderstanding.

3. If you are responding with anger, you may benefit from some cognitive based counselling that will help you manage your anger.

4. If you are constantly slipping into feelings of hopelessness and self-loathing, you may need to learn to manage these thoughts and feelings through some form of constructive cognitive counselling that will give you strategies to work your way through the hopeless feelings before they lead to clinical depression.

5. When these moods are still manageable traits, you may need to develop some cognitive strategies to rationalize your feelings before they become behaviors. In the case of conflicts with loved-ones, let the person know you need some time to work things out and then make a promise to come back and resolve the situation rationally. A quiet walk or some time alone working on a project may be all you need. When you are ready, you can approach the loved one and work it out calmly and lovingly.


[1]  Law, Mary Kate;  Fleeson, William; Arnold, Elizabeth Mayfield ;  and Furr, R. Michael r. Using negative emotions to trace the experience of borderline personality pathology: Interconnected relationships revealed in an experience sampling study. HHS Public Access. 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4547903

[2]  Salters-Pedneault, Kristalyn Medically; and  Gans, Steven. Mood Swings in Borderline Personality Disorder. Verywell Mind. 2020.

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Bisexuality, Borderline Personality, and Hopelessness

We are continuing to explore the relationship between borderline personality disorder (BPD) and bisexuality.  I realize that many of you have accepted your sexual orientations and are very comfortable with it. Enjoy. However, research suggests that 30% to 50% of us have BPD issues. So when you meet someone who is struggling with their bisexuality, this may help you understand them better.

Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity – Depressivity: Frequent feelings of being down, miserable, and/or hopeless;

In one study[1] about 83% of patients with BPD also met criteria for major depressive disorder. People with major depression disorder typically have feelings of sadness or guilt whereas depression in people with BPD seems to be associated with feelings of anger, deep shame, loneliness, and emptiness and is often triggered by interpersonal issues.  In the case of bisexuality and BPD, people often put on a positive front when they are with other people from the LGBQT community or with their families but suffer extreme guilt and shame when they are alone with their own inner feelings. This can lead to depression and suicidal behavior.     

This trait from the DSM 5 sounds hopeless doesn’t it? Literally. However at this point it is just a trait and not an impairment. I think it is safe to say that most of us have difficulty with mood swings and when we feel down we usually feel the situation is hopeless. Some of us have learned to control this trait and have learned to take steps to get us out of this mood before it becomes a disorder. I think the terms being down, miserable and hopeless need some further explanation.

Being down is defined as “being in a weaker or worse position, mood, or condition.” Interestingly the dictionary also includes “express strong dislike of a specified person or thing”. First of all, let me say that in the case of those of us  bisexuals with BPD, the down with phrase usually is referring to ourselves and usually because or inability to cope with our sexuality. We are so ready to devalue and blame ourselves for not being able to control our impulses. The second part is also telling. We definitely feel inferior because of our gay or lesbian tendencies so we assume that our sexuality is to blame for everything that goes wrong.  We often overreact by harboring huge amounts of guilt.

Miserable is an entirely different kettle of fish. It refers to being extremely unhappy or uncomfortable. It again is usually based on our sexuality. We often feel small or inadequate. Hopelessis closely related to being miserable. It is a feeling of despair about having these impulses and not being able to control them. We feel inadequate and incompetent in meeting the expectation of being good husbands or wives, or mothers and fathers, resulting in shame or self-loathing. Hopelessness sets in. So what can we do about it?

My Five Suggestions for bisexual borderliners

1. First of all acknowledge that you are a bisexual with this borderline personality trait. You accept it for what it is. It is a predisposition to feelings of being down, being miserable, and hopelessness. Your bisexuality is also part of your genetic predisposition. This is who you are. You can’t change it. You accept it for what it is.

2. You also realize that you are no longer that child. You are an adult in complete control of your emotions and feelings. Your brain, by nature, has a lot of neuroplasticity. You can change your brain patterns by changing your thinking patterns. You can learn to accept your sexual tendencies and make conscious decisions on either exploring and enjoying them or just recognizing these tendencies without acting upon them.  Remember it is always okay to enjoy your sexuality. It is always a choice you can make without guilt and shame.

3. If you have a life partner and children. You have some difficult decisions to make. Make them rationally. Do not let feeling of guilt and shame affect your power to choose what is best for the whole you.

4. Do a self-analysis. Every time you feel down, miserable, or hopeless, because of your bisexuality write it down and look at the situation that brought about these feelings.  Then use your active imagination to go back into that situation and handle it by being in charge emotionally and resolve it with the positive approach and outcome. Then, if possible, go back to the situation and do it right this time.

5. Chart your progress and celebrate your successes. As time goes by you will find that you are getting better at dealing with your feelings. Be patient with yourself. It probably took twenty plus years to develop these patterns so give yourself the right to make mistakes and slip back into old patterns from time to time. Reassess; make amends; and keep on going.


[1] Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault; and Steven Gans, MD . A Guide to When BPD and Depression Occur Together. Verywell Mind. , 2020.  https://www.verywellmind.com/bpd-and-depression-425421

Borderline Personality Disorder – Fear of Dependency

              In this article we will continue to explore the relationship between borderline personality disorder and bisexuality. As mentioned in a previous article, about one third of patients with BPD are bisexual. We do not have the data on the reverse of that; we do no know how many of us bisexuals also have BPD, but I guess it would be much higher. Today we will look at fears of dependency and loss of autonomy.

Trait Eight – Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity – Separation insecurity: Fears of excessive dependency and complete loss of autonomy. (DSM5)

            In my search of the literature, I found one article that indirectly dealt with fear of dependency and loss of autonomy by alluding to it as part a subtype associated with dependent personality disorder[1]. According to this article, discouraged borderline is marked by noticeable clinginess and a passive follower type of mentality. While on the outside this person might just seem indecisive or weak-willed; they normally experience internal turmoil about their lack of leadership and bitterness toward those whom they feel are controlling them. This type of borderline disorder in a person often leads to self-harm in the form of self-mutilation or even suicide.

            This diagnosis is seen more in women than in men, perhaps due to possible disturbed estrogen levels or part of systematic sexism. However, some research suggests that this tendency affects men and women equally, but women are more likely to seek treatment or to be officially diagnosed as BPD.        

            Descriptors of discouraged borderline includes excessive dependence upon others. They are often compliant and easily swayed by others, even when it goes against their own desires. They have low self-esteem, feel continuously insecurity, and appear to be vulnerable. They may feel hopeless, helpless, powerless, and depressed. There may be a reliance on fantasy or substance abuse as a means to escape.

            The cause is thought to involve many different life factors. These include PTSD, childhood trauma or neglect, a smaller hippocampus or amygdala, genetic predispositions involving genes DRD4 and DAT and chromosome 9, neurobiological factors like estrogen levels, family and social stability levels, and negative social experiences as a child. People with the disorder often have other illnesses including major depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse, or antisocial personality disorder. People suffering from this BPD trait make up a large chunk of suicides on an annual basis. So if you or someone you know is at risk for suicide because of this trait, it is important that you get help as soon as possible.

            Psychotherapy is the primary method used for managing and treating discouragement BPD. Depression and anxiety are among the two most common conditions that can be treated with medicine while the patient is treated for general BPD with psychotherapy. Antipsychotics might be used to reduce anger or suicidal tendencies as well as impulsivity, psychotic paranoid symptoms, anxiety, and depression. It is important to understand that these medications cannot treat BPD, but that the treatment of concurring conditions can help clear the way for a more successful treatment of BPD through psychotherapy.

            So how does this apply to those of us who are also bisexuals? I do not see it as a direct correlation; however, we can make some interesting comparisons. We usually do not fear losing our autonomy in our heterosexual relationship; in fact, we want to wallow in it. We often depend on them for our sense of security and sanity. In fact, we are afraid of losing it. On the other hand, when it comes to our same-sex relationships, we mostly avoid dependency at all cost. We do not want to become dependent and do not want anyone to become dependent on us. We prefer casual. We mainly want to relate just for the physical pleasures we can get. In other words we seek dependency with our life partner and avoid dependency with same sex friends. What we do fear is dependency of the fix and we fight it because we fear it will ruin our lives.

MY Suggestions

1. Come to terms with your sexuality. It is what it is so you may as well relax and enjoy it. You can realize that your impulses are natural urges of your body and your mind. You are not sick because of your bisexuality. You do not need therapy for your sexual impulses but you may need therapy for your BPD.

2. Be honest with yourself and deal with your fears. Discover the worst case scenario and come to terms with it.

3. If your love relationship with our life-partner is essential to your sense of well-being, try to develop the will and power to do without your same sex experiences (this may be near impossible to some of us).

4. If you wish to continue with a secret life, accept it as it is and go on with our secret life,  but you need to be able to do this without anxiety or fear. You have to be willing to accept and live with the consequences.

5. Most of us cannot live with the stress that comes from feeling that we are being dishonest with our life-partner. If that is the case, we have to be honest with them and tell them about our bisexual desires and needs. Once again, we have to be willing to accept the consequences. If our fears and shame are causing us anxiety and pain, we have to be willing to give up our life-partner in order to live lives free of shame, regret and chronic anxiety. If we continue living with these stresses, they will eventually kill us.


[1] Discouraged Borderline Personality Disorder, Optimum Performance Institute. https://www.optimumperformanceinstitute.com/

Wives of Bisexual Men – Part 2

The following is an except from the book my dear wife has written called When Life Has Other Plans. In it she describes her feelings when I told her I was bisexual:

 

Lawrence and I emailed regularly and he lamented about his situation. We also occasionally talked on the phone when he was out of the house. Because the reception was so poor where he lived, it was more stressful than helpful. The decision to start a new life was his. I had decided I was going to be fine one way or another. No more screaming at the Universe in my hallway…

Then Lawrence announced he would come back for the month of September and live with his daughter while we would clarify things. I was delighted because his efforts told me that he was getting serious about moving forward. After I had picked him up from the airport, we went for a walk along a beautiful beach. In this romantic ambiance he announced that he had a gift for me and pulled a little white box out of his pocket. I started to panic because I wasn’t yet ready for the big question. To my relief I found a beautiful little necklace with a shiny blue glass heart. “The colour reminded me of your eyes!”, he told me. I was touched.

On our walks I found out more about bisexuality which is the most secretive of gender issues. Bisexuals often live a normal life on the outside to satisfy their need to fit into society, yet have to hide their same-sex tendencies. When Lawrence’s guilt feelings created a deep depression and he confessed to his wife on the suggestion of his therapist, she immediately divorced him. It broke up his ‘perfect’ family life and, at the time, cost him the love of his children.

His life was in shambles, and after trying to continue working in his career, he gave up his teaching job and went to Costa Rica for a few years to find inner peace. This stay was the beginning of his ‘pruning’ stage, of letting go of the past and making room for new experiences to show up.

It seems that many of us have to go through some drastic shakeups first (from chaos to order), so we can reach a higher level of consciousness. When I was able to see the parallels between his and my life, my heart really understood. I, too, had had to break up my family to become free to follow my path.

 

For more information about how my wife handled the situation I recommend you read her book:

 

 

You can check out her website at

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Wives of Bisexual Men

The following is an except from the book my dear wife has written called When Life Has Other Plans. In it she describes her feelings when I told her I was bisexual:

 

Unexpected Circumstances

Then one day Lawrence disappeared without saying good-bye. I received an email stating that he was on his journey back home to the East coast. Crossing Canada by car, in March, seemed a bit crazy to me and thoughts of having been conned, again, started to creep into my mind. Didn’t I know our connection had been too good to be true? I had a precognition about some kind of trauma coming my way.

Sure enough, when Lawrence was back home, he sent me an email with the first chapter of a book he was planning to write. The contents hit me like a ton of bricks: Lawrence indicated that he was bisexual and living in a platonic relationship with another man. Just my luck! I had fallen in love with gay men before, but they had all been honest about it. Lawrence claimed he had been afraid to bring it up during our wonderful time together and that I would have rejected him for it. A thought he couldn’t bear because he cared so deeply for me!

I was left to struggle with all this information and no opportunity to clarify many of the questions I had, such as how come he had been married to a woman for 33 years, had two children with her – when he was gay. (In those days I didn’t know anything about bisexuality.) He asked me not to phone the house, so as not to make his partner suspicious, therefore we could only email. 

Feeling inconsolable and bereft I didn’t know where to turn with this delicate information. I called some friends who were a lesbian married couple. I wanted their input, but they could only recommend to keep calm and encouraged me to see what would develop. I was shaken to the core to have found someone so compatible and now out of my reach again. 

That’s when my spiritual practices and personal growth work started to pay off. I noticed that I could no longer sink as low as I had in the past, since I now had solid ground under my feet and contact with my Higher Consciousness. I wasn’t going to give my hard-earned power away again.  

***

As a bisexual man I still have gay desires from time to time but I have learned to control them for the sake of the love I now share with this woman. Honesty is at the core of our relationship. I can share all my thoughts and feelings with the woman I love. My advice to other bisexual men and women is to first be honest with yourself and then with all the important people in your life.

For more information about how my wife handled the situation I recommend you read her book:

Dorothea L. Gordon B.A. M.Ed.

    

Bisexuality and Separation Insecurity

Due to the high positive correlation between bisexuality and Borderline Personality Disorder, we are attempting to get a better understanding of the pathological traits listed in the DSM 5 and how they affect our lives as bisexuals.

DSM5 – Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity – separation insecurity: fears of rejection by – and/or separation from – significant others

We have already looked at fear of abandonment as a pathological impairment. In other words, the fear of being abandoned impairs our ability to function normally in society or may lead to mental disorders. When we look at this as a trait, we are still functioning but we have a tendency to consider abandonment or rejection in our decision making; that is, we have a neurological pathway or mind state or belief that we automatically pass through as part of our decision making. So let’s take a closer look at this as a trait.

Zanarini (2009)[1] obtained data from 77 female subjects with acute BPD, 15 with remitted BPD, and 75 healthy controls. They were assessed using the Rejection Sensitivity Questionnaire, the short version of the Borderline Symptom List, the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Zanarina discovered that all the BPD patients, including those in recession, had higher scores on rejection sensitivity, which correlated with lower self-esteem. Childhood maltreatment did not appear to be a factor. She concluded that rejection sensitivity is an important component in BPD, even for remitted BPD patients, and that the level of self-esteem appears to be a relevant factor in the relationship between rejection sensitivity and BPD symptom severity.

So what does this mean in plain English? First, we must realize that this study equates “real or imagined abandonment” with “rejection sensitivity”.  In other words, we are hypersensitive to any indication of possible rejection from significant others. Secondly, we can conclude that these fears are related to our low self-esteem. Thirdly, stepping outside the boundaries of this study, we can conjecture that these negative thinking patterns are possibly connected to some genetic predisposition coupled with early childhood social-emotional experiences, rather than physical maltreatment. We can further conjecture, based on past studies of the human brain (Michl and others, 2014)[2], that these feelings are possibly related to mechanisms of shame located in the anterior cingulate cortex and the parahippocampal gyrus both found in the temporal lobes. Again, with further conjecture, we see that the temporal lobes are responsible for the processing of language and the emotions attached to the delivery of words.

Sorry, that was not plain English, was it? Let’s try again. In other words we are wired to be sensitive to signs of rejection. We particularly look for body language and verbal tones to see how things are going. If our partners show any sign of disapproval we immediately experience levels of anxiety. It is important to us that significant others continuously demonstrate approval. We aim to please. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on the levels of latent shame and anxiety. At this point, it is still a trait but if we do not deal with this trait it can become an impairment and lead to a warped relationship. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. We create a situation where our worst fears become a reality. We may behave is a way that will result in being  abandoned so that we can bring closure and an end our anxieties.

Now let’s apply this to our bisexuality. As bisexuals, especially us male bisexuals, there is an obvious problem here. We hide our gay and lesbian tendencies because we fear rejection and separation from those who are important in our lives. This begins with a low self-esteem; we are basically insecure. We need the affirmation of others to provide us with a sense of security. This begins with our parents. If they show any sign of disapproval for gay or lesbian activities, we then have to hide our same-sex impulses. That means we seek what appears to be “normal” friendships with same-sex friends, and pursue heterosexual relationships to hide our gay and lesbian tendencies. We usually end up married in what appears to be a ‘normal” heterosexual relationship. Because we are bisexual, there are no problems having sexual relationships with our spouses and we end up as mothers or fathers and a complicated life style. We cannot risk being rejected by those we love so we continue to hide our tendencies. If we cannot control our same-sex desires, we are a tragedy just waiting to happen.

The obvious solution is to get rid of the anxieties related to our sexual desires and our need for security.

My Suggestion for Bisexuals

  1. Be honest with yourself and your loved ones. Dishonesty is a major source of anxiety. Living with constant anxiety and negative energy from your emotions will literally kill you.
  2. Do an inventory of your impulses. Do your same sex desires come from an unhealthy need or are they based on honest and healthy expression of your heart and body?
  3. Above all stop living with constant fear and anxiety. Get rid of the need to please others. In order to live a healthy life, you have to learn that you are the most important person in your life. You are the only one you really have to please. You may have to make some difficult decisions about your sexuality. Whatever you decide, make sure it is for you and not to please others.
  4. Remember you are bisexual. You can go either way. If your joy truly comes from your family situation, make a deal with yourself. Recognize that you have both desires. Give yourself permission to have both desires and make a conscious decision to choose your heterosexual situation.
  5. If your same sex desires are so powerful that you do not want to live without them you will have to make a deal with your life-partner. If they cannot live with your bisexuality you have to be prepared to separate.

[1] Zanarini, Mary C. Reasons for Change in Borderline Personality Disorder (and Other Axis II Disorders). HHS Author Manuscripts. Psychiatry Clinic North Am. 2008

[2] Michl, Petra; Meindl, Thomas; Meister, Franziska; Born, Christine; Engel, Rolf, R; Reiser, Maximilian; and Henning-Fast, Kristine. Neurobiological underpinnings of shame and guilt: a pilot fMRI study. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2014,

 

Fears of Falling Apart

Due to the high positive correlation between bisexuality and Borderline Personality Disorder, we are attempting to get a better understanding of the pathological traits listed in the DSM 5 and how they affect our lives as bisexuals.

DSM5 – Trait Seven – Fears of falling apart or losing control

What We Know

I haven’t been able to find any research data on this trait so I am just going to wing it using the case study of one – myself. Losing control can mean many things to people with BPD. The obvious one for those of us who have anger issues is, of course, losing control of our anger and hurting someone. To others, it may be going over the edge of sanity and never coming back.  Mine is much simpler than that. It was fear of losing control of my life.

In order to survive in this world, I had to cross all the ‘t’s and dot all the ‘i’s. As a child, I had no father and my mother was emotionally absent. That meant I had to nurture and take care of myself. I was a perfectionist, not so others would admire and love me, but so that I could have a plan and work to the plan. I was taking care of myself. During childhood, I compartmentalized myself. In my sports activities the goal was to be better than everyone else. Same applied to academics. Same applied to love. Whatever I did I had to master it, to control it.

The fear behind it was not specifically losing control, it was falling apart. Because I did not have a firm foundation of being loved and therefore loving myself, I was always on shaky ground. That meant conforming to not only the expectations of others but also to the god I had created.  There was no room for error. I not only could not commit adultery but I could not even think about committing adultery. I could not just get a 90% on a paper; it had to be 100 %. If I could not live up to my own impossible expectations then that meant I had failed, and failure meant I was no longer in control. Not being in control meant my world would fall apart.

And what does falling apart exactly MEAN. It meant never being able to complete those circuits in my brain. Never feeling the serotonin soothing after the dopamine rush. It meant never being able to experience the feeling of my accomplishments, activities, and relationships going through the pleasure center of my brain. No endorphins, no healing from that pain that was deep inside my soul. Falling apart meant giving up. It meant that suicide was always there as a possibility. It was the ultimate solution if I could not eventually break through to the other side.

So how did this affect my bisexuality? Well that’s a long sad story.  Because of my feeling that the person I had created needed to survive, that meant I could not risk exposing my sexuality to the people in my life. That meant I had to keep it all secret. If anyone found out, then my whole world would fall apart, the world that I had built as a straight successful human being. That meant that I had to hide in a heterosexual world with a heterosexual wife and heterosexual children. This life was the only life I knew. I felt it was the closest I would ever get to that place of contentment and safety. I had determined in my mind that if this secret would ever come out, that would be the end of life as I knew it, that I would end the miserable life once and for all.

The good news is that when my life did crash, I did not have the courage to kill myself. That meant my old life was dead but I was still alive and free to build a new one, the one I have now. Yes, there is a good life just waiting to be discovered after this old life comes to an end. When we become conscious healthy human beings, sexuality is just there for pleasure. Coming out or being thrown out is not the end of the world. It is the beginning of truly being alive. It is the end of the fears of falling apart.

 

Stay tuned to the next blog for lessons I have learned and my suggestions to cope with this pathological trait.

Why Do Things Always Go Wrong – Part 2

Due to the high positive correlation between bisexuality and Borderline Personality Disorder, we are attempting to get a better understanding of the pathological traits listed in the DSM 5 and how they affect our lives as bisexuals. 

Last week we looked at the pathological personality traits in negative affectivity related to  anxiousness, specifically  worry about the negative effects of past unpleasant experiences and future negative possibilities. it was a pretty bleak picture but it does not have to end there. Today we will look how to beat this thing.

  1. First, we have to deal with the anxiousness.  We seem to be doomed to have a never ending procession of anxiety disorders because we cannot stop thinking about all the negative things that have happened to us in the past, and worrying about what might happen in the future. . So how do we fix that? Quite simple, we stop focusing on all the negative thoughts from the past. When they occur we stop the cycle in our mind and say, “No, I am better than that. That is in the past. There is no past. There is only my thoughts about the past and I will control my thoughts. I will refocus on the present and find something positive to view today.”
  2. We often view our bisexual experiences as failure to control our impulses.  We have to come to the point where we accept our bisexuality. This was not a failure and let’s not even consider it as an impulse. It is a decision we made to seek and enjoy sex. Period. No judgement necessary. We simply give our bodies permission to enjoy something beautiful and let it enrich our minds and souls. This is who we are. This is a gift from the universe to be enjoyed. It is a precious opportunity to have physical and emotional contact with another human being.
  3. However, even though casual same-sex sex has its place, let’s not stop there. Let’s find gay or bisexual people that we can relate to on a human level, as fellow human beings. Let’s enjoy the whole person and take our focus off their sexual organs.
  4. We tend to try to suppress our desires because we either do not want to face them or the consequences, or we are afraid we will be exposed leaving us to deal with shame and guilt. If that’s the case, it’s time to face the reality of our situation. We can not keep suppressing our natural wants and desires. That may mean seeking an agreement with our life-partner about our needs for same-sex relationships within the partnership or we may have to face the fact that we have perhaps changed and our needs are now different. We may have to consider leaving the partnership.
  5. The third alternative is to go on expressing and enjoying our sexual needs but keeping them separate form out partners. The truth is not always the best solution; often it just leads to really hurting someone else. However, we can’t let “the  secret” destroy us. We have to come to terms with when and how we enjoy this part of our lives, give ourselves a conscious permission to have these experiences,  and still meet the wants and needs of our partners for love and companionship. Again, the guilt and the shame are all in our minds. We can control our minds. We simply tell our mind that we will not feel shame or guilt. We reject it.