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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 BPD – Make a Plan and Stick to It

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) – Pathological personality traits in Disinhibition – impulsivity: acting on a momentary basis without a plan or consideration of outcomes (DSM5).

The Problem

                As mentioned in previous blogs, over 2% of the population have some degree of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and roughly a third of those with BPD are also bisexual. There are no stats for the reverse – the number of bisexuals with BPD – but my guess is it would be even higher. We often engage in harmful behaviours to ease distress in the short-term, despite the possible serious negative consequences in the long-term. Of the BPD population 8 to 10% of us eventually commit suicide – this rate is more than 50 times the rate of suicide in the general population and 10 times the rate in people diagnosed with Depression, and that does not even include those of us who depart because of drug overdoses. One of the defining traits that is connected with suicide attempts is impulsivity. In this blog we are going to take a look at how this trait of BPD affects us as bisexuals and we are going to focus on developing plans and strategies with due consideration of outcomes. First let’s take a look at the science to see what we are up against.

The Science

                Cackowski and others[1] used self-reporting to study 31 unmedicated women with BPD and 30 healthy matched women controls using measured response inhibition under resting conditions and after experimental stress induction.  Patients with BPD reported higher impulsivity under both conditions. They concluded that there is a significant impact of stress on self-perceived state impulsivity and on response disinhibition in females with BPD.

                So what is happening in the brain? Leyton and others[2] studied 13 medication-free men and women with borderline personality disorder and 11 healthy controls using positron emission tomography (PET Scans) during a survey of go/no-go commission error activities. In both men and women, negative correlations with impulsivity scores were identified in the medial frontal gyrus, anterior cingulate gyrus, temporal gyrus, and striatum. They concluded thatsynthesis capacity in corticostriatal pathways may contribute to the development of impulsive behaviors in persons with borderline personality disorder. In the male subjects, low trapping was also observed in the medial frontal cortex extending into the orbitofrontal cortex, as well as in the corpus striatum. These sites correspond to regions that seem to be involved in  mediating the planning, initiation, and inhibition of goal-directed behaviors, working memory, and emotional affect.

What it Means

                So what does this mean in plain English? Well friends, we have a problem. Not only do we engage in risky behavior, not only do we seem to intentionally neglect to plan ahead, but under stress we seem to forget all the plans that have been planted in our brains by past experiences and the good intentions of therapists. As bisexuals this is often connected to our sexual behavior. We tend to seek encounters to relieve stress and we tend to avoid safe sex to add a risk factor that adds a level of excitement and pleasure. There is a reason for this. It is the way we are wired. Because of our genetic predisposition to be over sensitive, and the environmental factors that have shaped our behavior patterns, we now have a brain that says run like hell from pain, indulge in pleasure, and to hell with the consequences. The brain scans indicate that both men and women have difficulty reacting to sensory information to controlling emotions (corticostriatal pathway). Women seem to rely more on an emotional response whereas men run into further difficulty when we try to organize that information for decision making (frontal cortex extending into the orbitofrontal cortex). We both end up in the same place with seeking emotional relief usually by avoiding pain and seeking pleasure regardless of the consequences (temporal cortex, limbic areas). This seems to be particularly relevant under stress. As bisexuals we actually seek the pleasure and stress that goes with is rather than try to avoid it. So how do we combat our natural reactions, especially under stress?

Here are my five suggestions for bisexual borderliners:

1. First line of attack is to control your stress and anxiety levels. To do that you have to learn to read your body signals and stop the anxieties in their early stages before they blow up and you lose control. After that – game over until next time.

2. The best way to relieve anxiety is to get out of your emotional mind (corticostriatal pathway). The best way to that is to shut down all thought because at this stage thought leads back to emotion. You can do this by deep breathing. By concentrating on your breathing you interrupt the flow of negative energy into your brain. I recommend the thirty second breathing activity (in the past I said eight for anxiety relief, but science now suggests thirty for healing and building new brain patterns). Take a deep breath and then slowly let it all out (I recommend a stop watch rather than counting). When there is no air left, hold that until the 30 seconds are up. Keep doing this until you feel a sense of peace, calmness and control.

3. Once you have achieved this sense of peace, you are now free to confront your emotions. Self-talk your way through the process. I recommend doing this out loud as this will engage more of your brain and bring some organization processes to the emotional center. Tell yourself why you are seeking sex. If it is for pain relief or to alleviate stress, don’t do it. Find a better way to deal with the pain. If it is for pleasure and you have considered the consequences (besides just pleasure) than go ahead and enjoy. Bisexual women are naturally good at this. They are usually more emotionally intelligent than men and allow themselves the freedom to explore their emotions with their sex partners resulting in an emotionally and physically pleasing experience (sorry for the sexism but there is some truth in it). Bisexual men tend to shut down their emotions all together and just focus on the physical pleasure and may miss out on the broader pleasures that come with intimacy.  

4. Now that your emotions are under control, you are ready to tackle the problem that caused the emotional reaction. This is where your orbitofrontal cortex comes in. You can do this in two parts. First see where the event fits into your life story. You may gain insight into what has happened in the past to cause you to react this way. You can then decide what it is you wish to build into your life in the present and future through your sexuality. By looking at the whole picture, the top down approach, you can see where individual decisions fit into the greater good for yourself. You can then bring your sexuality and the emotions connected with it into your bigger life picture thus adding meaning and purpose into your sexuality.

5. You can then go on to making a plan and putting gates and strategies in place for when these kinds of situation occur in the future. Men are good at this; it’s the emotions that they cannot handle. Both men and women bisexuals with BPD need to build new thinking and behavior patterns. If your plan does not seem to be working, and if you seem to be sabotaging your own goals and happiness, you may need to seek professional help. Whatever strategies you put in place don’t give up on them. It took me sixty years to develop my self-defeating thought and behavior patterns and it took me two years of constant vigilance to change them. Just keep believing in yourself, learn to say you are sorry (including to yourself), learn from the experience, reset your goals and strategies if needed, and remember that you can do this. You are a beautiful and powerful spirit being. Your sexuality is there to bring pleasure, intimacy, and love into your life. Keep the goal in mind and work towards that goal one step at a time.  


[1] Cackowski, S.; Reitz, A.; Ende, G.; Kleindienst, N.; Bohus, M.; Schmahl, C.; and Krause-Utz, A.. Impact of stress on different components of impulsivity in borderline personality disorder. Cambridge University Press.  March, 2014.

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/psychological-medicine/article/abs/impact-of-stress-on-different-components-of-impulsivity-in-borderline-personality-disorder/E8AF2E2CB9606F30E1F3AA9EF7F12679

[2] Leyton, Marco; Okazawa, Hidehiko; Diksic, Mirko; Paris, Joel; Rosa, Pedro; Mzengeza, Simon N.; Blier, Pierre; Benkelfat, Chawki.  Brain Regional α-[11C]Methyl-L-Tryptophan Trapping in Impulsive Subjects With Borderline Personality Disorder. The American Journal of Psychiatry. Vol 158, Issue 5, 2001

Published Online:1 May 2001 https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.158.5.775

 

Bisexuality and Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Intelligence

                We are living in a world in crisis. Literally millions are dying from Covid 19 and as many or more are leaving this world due to drug overdose, depression, and suicides. We are asked to trust science and seek intellectual solutions; however, as we have seen, we humans tend to pride ourselves on an intelligence that is based on logical-mathematical reasoning even though it is so prone to errors due to our biases.

                Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner in his book, Multiple Intelligences[1], suggests seven different intelligences including: Linguistic, Mathematical and Logical, Visual and Spatial, Bodily Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, and Music. In recent years he has suggested an eighth, called existential or spiritual intelligence, which he defines as our capacity to reflect upon issues such as the meaning of life[2].

                Today I want to look at intrapersonal intelligence  which I believe is a combination of emotional intelligence and  spiritual intelligence and interpersonal intelligence, which I believe can best be  understood as emotional intelligence.  The two go together. I do not think we can have one without the other. Intrapersonal intelligence includes emotional skills like knowing how to relieve stress and to face and overcome challenges. Spiritual skills include self-awareness, living in the moment, acting on the basis of positive beliefs, and having the ability to stand back and examine our setbacks and learn from our experiences. Interpersonal intelligence includes emotional skills like communicating effectively and being able to resolve conflicts positively, and spiritual skills such as deep empathy for others, valuing and respecting differences, and understanding how our actions influence others and affect the greater good.     

                In order for mankind to survive these trying years ahead, we need to first have intrapersonal skills which basically means we have to understand ourselves and why we think the way we think and do the things we do. This means we have to first find peace within ourselves before we will have peace in the world. The first step is learning how to manage our response to stress. We have to get back to our premodern mind states where we used to spend ninety percent of our days just absorbing and responding to the world around us with gratitude and joy. Only in this state can we sense what is right and good; only then can we release our minds so that we can respond to our environment holistically and use the positive energy around us to heal our bodies and our minds. Once in this state, we can become aware of the power and beauty of our spiritual selves. We can live in the moment and deal with issues and conflicts as they arise with clear minds and positive intent. When things go wrong, we can step back and analyze the situation, see where we went wrong, and plot a new course while accepting and growing from the lessons we have learned.

                Once we take the beam out of our own eye, we can strive to remove the speck from our neighbor’s. We can empathize with others, understand why they are saying and doing what they are saying and doing, and not only set aside our differences but actually see that the differences can be used for a better understanding. We can then use this collective wisdom to find real solutions to real problems. In this way we will reinforce each other’s positive beliefs and use the power of our combined spiritual energies to make this world a better place to live.

Here are my five suggestions for bisexuals:

1. Develop your intrapersonal intelligence. Learn to know yourself. Why you think the thoughts you think and why you do the things you do.

2. Once you truly get to know yourself, accept yourself just the way you are, and begin the process of truly loving this wonderful person that you have become.

3.  Instead of rationalizing your sexuality, and labelling and classifying yourself as queer or bisexual or bigender, just accept your sexuality as part of who you are and allow yourself to enjoy being you and to experience the wonderful sensations that your body can provide.

4. Develop your interpersonal intelligence. Instead of random encounters try to really get to know the people you have sex with at an intimate level.

5. Be honest with yourself and intimate others. You can choose to have many friends for many different reasons. If it just for great sex that is perfectly okay. You deserve it. Enjoy it. If it is having intimate friends without sex that is okay too. Define your relationships and share your thoughts and feelings with those who are important to you. 


[1] Gardener, Howard. Multiple Intelligences. Basic Books. New York. 1983.

[2] Gardener, Howard. Intelligence Reframed. Basic Books. New York. 1999.

Bisexuality, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Impulsivity

Pathological personality traits in Disinhibition – Impulsivity: acting on the spur of the moment in response to immediate stimuli. (DSM5)

                Joel Nigg [1] in a comprehensive study on impulsivity defined it as “a rash response in situations where considerate response is more appropriate”. Nigg identified three factors contributing to impulsivity: not planning and thinking carefully (non-planning), not focusing on the task at hand (inattentiveness), and acting on the spur of moment (motor activation). In another review of the literature by Turner and others[2], they discovered that BPD patients demonstrated delays in discounting the dangers, an inability to make proactive adjustments, and evidence of altered brain activation patterns. However, according to Turner and others, there was less difficulty with motor activation, unless influenced by high levels of stress.

                So what do these studies tell us in plain English for us bisexuals with BPD? As Nigg suggests, there appears to be little preplanning to avoid high risk behavior, and there seems to be an inability to attend to the potential danger factors. As a result, we go ahead and engage regardless of the dangers involved. This is typical in our tendencies to engage in unsafe sex with strangers. Turner and others provided a direct link between BPD and impulsivity which included the tendency to not just ignore, but to actually discount dangers. Again, for us bisexuals, we focus on our same sex behavior to alleviate the stresses of   living a so-called normal life with our opposite sex partners. These studies suggest that if there is any thought involved it is used to rationalize and discount the risks. We give ourselves all the old excuses including that these are natural tendencies and that our behaviors will not affect our partners, that what they do not know cannot hurt them, and we ignore the mental and emotional damage it is doing to ourselves. These studies also indicate that there seems to be a mental buffer to actually engaging in the high risk activity itself. As a result, we may tend to live our normal lives and try to control our other life behaviors, usually attempting to control or eliminate our same sex encounters.

                Apparently under stress we may have an actual alteration in brain patterns, almost like something inside our BPD mind snaps and bypasses the control mechanisms of the frontal cortex and responds directly through the amygdala and the pleasure centers of our brain. It’s as if we actually gain a heightened sense of pleasure by shutting down our rational mind and setting fire to our nervous system through the engagement of our sympathetic system. This usually involves leaving behind our normal life to engage in the other life resulting in a heightened sense of sensory awareness and heightened sexual pleasure with same sex partners. In addition, we may actually seek out and create our own stresses so we can release our built up tensions. In other words, we use our same sex encounters as a way to relieve all the stresses in our lives that come from our BPD traits. We will trigger our heightened sense of pleasure perhaps to demonstrate to ourselves that we are in control of ourselves in spite of all the emotional downers we face that lead to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.

                This appears to result in some kind of fatalistic desire to engage in the activity knowing full well the dangers involved. It may be a means of escape from our relationship knowing that our partner will eventually find out and release us from the life we find so stressful. It would appear that there may also be a latent death wish. We seem to act upon a desire to experience the added rush from knowing that this activity may lead to STDs and possible HIV. It seems as though we may be nurturing a desire for suicide by risk.

My Five Suggests For Borderliners

1. Be proactive. Realize that you have these tendencies and make a commitment to change them.

2. Practice sound mental and spiritual wellness. Meditate every day. During these times focus of love for yourself. Let the feeling of love, well-being, and gratitude, flood your mind and soul. Keep telling yourself that you love yourself and you love the life you have been given. You can use these statements as a mantra during the day. When you feel one of your downers you can simply say “I love myself. I love my life”.

3. Do an assessment and make a list of the risk factors in your life. Then make plans on how to deal with each stress. When you find yourself involved with these stress circumstances and the feelings that go with them, activate your plan until you sense a change in your feelings.

4. Change your life patterns. Instead of being dishonest with yourself and your partner, make a commitment to being honest and working out the issues if and when they arise. Be sure you understand all the consequences and that you are prepared to live with them no matter what that may mean.

5. Instead of trying to fix your old life, plan to build a new one. This includes creating a low stress life style and finding new friends who will support you in your positive choices.

En”joy” the day


[1] Nigg, Joel T.. Annual Research Review: On the relations among self‐regulation, self‐control, executive functioning, effortful control, cognitive control, impulsivity, risk‐taking, and inhibition for developmental psychopathology. The Journal of Psychology and Psychiatry. 2016. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12675.

[2] Turner, Daniel; Sebastian, Alexander; and Tuscher, Oliver. Impulsivity and Cluster B Personality Disorders. Springer Link; Current Psychiatry Reports volume 19, Article number: 15.  2017.

Borderline Personality Disorder , Bisexuality, and Suicide

(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: Thoughts of suicide and suicidal behavior.        

                Black and others[1] in an extensive look at the data about the relationship between BPD, suicides, and suicide attempts, discovered that at least three-quarters of diagnosed BPD patients attempted suicide and approximately ten percent succeeded. The ones at greatest risk were those with previous suicidal behavior, depressive disorder, and substance abuse. They concluded that repeated attempts are not a call for attention but a genuine wish to die. A study my Brodsky and others[2] divided suicide attempts into two categories. Low lethal attempts were a triggered response to minor incidences, and high lethal attempts were more likely due to impulsiveness and comorbidity with major depression. People in the higher risk group made their first attempt at a younger age, responded more to negative social interactions, and demonstrated more aggression, hostility and impulsivity.

                So what can we take for this data? First of all let’s remind ourselves once again that we are looking at traits rather than a full blown pathological disorder. If we are in this category, that means it has not yet descended into major depression and we can still cope with the stressors in life; however, we also have to admit that we are at risk. Three out of every four of us who have allowed our traits to get out of hand have attempted suicide. We have to recognize that one of those traits is to become overwhelmed to the point that we have a tendency to wish to end it all.

                So what should we do about it while we still have the resources to prevent it? Let’s take a look at the three leading triggers: impulsivity, depressive disorder, and substance abuse. First of all impulsivity. The question is – why are we so prone to engage in high risk activity without considering the consequences? Why are we bisexuals willing to risk everything including our relationships with our life-mates and children or even our lives for a few moments of pleasure? Why do we sometimes engage in unsafe sex with people who are practically strangers?  The obvious answer is that we do not value our life and we place no value on ourselves. That pleasure has become all-consuming offering us a few moments way from all our fears and pain.  We are willing to risk everything for an emotional high that can take us out of the stresses of the life we live. We have to somehow change that. We have to begin to see life as a gift. We have to see our bisexuality as a gift.  We have to find a way to get past feeling sorry for ourselves, begin to see the positives, and learn to appreciate the gifts we have and the gifts around us provided my nature and the spirit world of our souls.

                If we do not try to fight it, most of us bisexuals with BPD traits will eventually experience depression. We can fight depression by exchanging hopelessness for hope and helplessness for power. Hope is readily available once we start changing our perspective. When we begin to see ourselves as being capable of loving and being loved, we can then allow others into our lives without fear of abandonment and rejection. We avoid one-night stands and encounters with strangers and find real people to love us so we can in turn love them. These people are out there. All we have to do is make a commitment to go out and find them. We surround ourselves with positive people. We allow positive people to love us. We allow ourselves the sensations of feeling loved.

                The third area is substance abuse. We have to face the fact that our mind is fragile but at the same time powerful. We do not need chemical crutches. We acknowledge that others may be able to enjoy drugs but our brain is predispositioned to be profoundly affected leading to drug abuse and psychological and physical dependence. It is a path that we cannot risk walking. We have to look at our brain as being capable of providing all the highs we need just by breathing and becoming conscious of the beauty and the positive energies around us. We find out what makes us tick; we avoid drugs because we know they will lead to depression and suicide; we accept our bisexuality as one of our greatest sources of pleasure, and  we diligently seek this pleasure in all the right places.

Mt Five Suggestions for Bisexuals with BPD

1. Begin to think positively about your bisexuality. Every time you experience a negative feeling recognize where it is coming from and reject it knowing that these feeling will eventually lead to disorders and suicide. Surround yourself with other bisexuals whom you know care about you.

2. Turn self-loathing into self-love. Get into the practice of stopping and taking a deep breath whenever you recognize self-hate. Go to a mirror, look yourself in the eye, and repeat “I love you” over and over again until you actually feel it. If your self-loathing is associated with your sexuality – stop it. Tell yourself that it is a gift and you have a right to seek pleasure through it.

3. Avoid impulsive behavior. When you first become aware of that negative powerless feeling stop it immediately before it becomes a compulsion. Talk to yourself, telling yourself all the reasons you should not do it. Make a conscious rational decision not to engage.  Give yourself permission to seek out a pleasure activity with a person who loves you or for just some good heart to heart talk.

4. Avoid all drugs. Remember that all drugs are attractive because they promise release from anxiety and a path to pleasure. Acknowledge the pleasure but realize that they are mind altering drugs and that your mind is not capable of dealing with the consequences. Make a conscious decision to love and protect your beautiful mind. If you want a cold beer on a hot day or a glass of wine with a special meal give yourself the pleasure of having it but know your limits and your reactions. Make a commitment to stay within your limitations. In the case of Mary Jane and other drugs, know that these are indeed mind altering drugs and the only reason you are taking them is to alter your mind or enhance your sexual pleasure. Your nervous system under control of your mind can reach all the levels of pleasure you can stand without any help from drugs.

5. If you find yourself slipping out of control, get help. Remind yourself that the path through depression for those of us with BPD will probably lead to suicide attempts and possible death.


[1] Black, Donald W.; Pfohl, Bruce; and Hale, Nancy. Suicidal Behavior in Borderline Personality Disorder: Prevalence, Risk Factors, Prediction, and Prevention. Gilford Press Periodicals. 2005. https://doi.org/10.1521/pedi.18.3.226.35445

[2] Brodsky. Beth S.; Groves, Maria A.; Mann, John J.; and Stanley Barbara. Interpersonal Precipitants and Suicide Attempts in Borderline Personality Disorder. Guilford Press Periodicals. 2006

Two Sides of Heaven – Two Sides of Hell

Lets Leave the science of bisexuality behind for awhile and share the true life story behind my struggles with sexuality. For the next few months, I want to tell my story. This is the first chapter in the biographical novel that I am presently putting together. Comments welcome.

Chapter  1 – Setting the Stage

Growing up on the Canadian Prairies in the 50’s and 60’s, I was aware that society expected people to conform to the rules of normalcy and religion. There was religion in my life but not much normalcy. I was the ninth child but had no father as a role model. My mother was too worn out to take an interest in my life; my eight siblings were all much older than me, so I basically brought myself up.

Counting mon, we were a family of ten living in a two-bedroom six-hundred-square-foot shack. It was a small house with ten cold bodies and ten cold minds, feeding off the heat of the friction of ten fragile egos and ten angry souls. My oldest brother left to work as a teacher in a small Saskatchewan village. That left eight of us still at home. The twins, who worked and helped support the family, had one of the bedrooms. My three brothers who were now teenagers had to share the hide-a-bed in the living room. I shared a bedroom with only one bed with my mother and my two sisters. It was a small bed sleeping between a cold mother and two hot teenaged girls who snuggled for warmth in a cold barren room in a cold barren house. It was a small space for a young child caught between the sheets with those who care and nurture, a lost, cold child who will forever seek to share the same comforting warmth of four like souls in a bed.

Around the age of five my two twin brothers shamed me into moving into the other bedroom with them. I still remember the feeling; it felt so unnatural.  Some of my earliest memories were about being aroused by the sight of my twin brothers’ adult male penises as they dressed for work. It was like I was all alone watching by older brothers live. My young life was like living in a desert. The struggles of desert life lay hidden to those who only view it from a distance. It was dry and lifeless, with all its passion stored under rocks and sand, emotion hidden like serpents in pockets along the trails into the wilderness ready to slither out and strike. My life suffocated under the motion of the wind that dried out the last drops of courage in a blast of hot air aimed to destroy and kill. Naked, burning, isolated, insulated, my life waited for the right moment, to dare to spread my limbs in the hot sun, to make the sap flow up to the surface, so that my own life could begin. There was no self-love. No self-identity of being a boy. No self-identity period.

Living with so many hot-blooded teenagers, I had a sense of sexuality from a very early age. I had an absolute fear of taking my clothes off in the presence of other boys in the change rooms at gym or the swimming pool. I felt like I was a girl trapped in a boys change room trying to hide my sexuality.  I also had an unnatural response to being hugged or touched by older males. It was like I was experiencing a latent sexual response that made be recoil in fear and disgust.

When I look back at my life, I cannot separate the past from the present. All that I am in this moment is seen through the pain of the past. I was young when I took responsibility for raising myself.  I was finger printed when I was five. My next oldest brother, Ivan, six years older than me, that would make him eleven at the time, got together with another guy (I forget his name) the same age who lived down the block from us and they stole a bunch of batteries from a salvage yard. My brother’s friend also had a brother my age, Robert Sinclair, who had become my closest friend. The two mastermind criminals got Robert and me to load up the batteries in our wagons and go sell them back to the same salvage yard. The haul would be seventy-five cents a battery, for a total of three dollars, a fortune at that time. That would provide the funds for thirty movies at ten cents a shot or sixty ice-cream cones from the corner store at five cents a pop.  Needless to say, that plan could only end in disaster. The salvage yard called the police and I wound up in the police station. They carried out a very skilled interrogation by which I spilled the beans and confessed in tears to what had transpired. In order to scare the hell out of me, they took my fingerprints and then called Victor, one of my twin brothers, to come and pick me up. Ivan disappeared for three days before daring to come home.

I was drunk when I was seven. I remember that night as though it was yesterday. There was a party at my house with the young guys and couples letting off some steam. Mom had vacated the premises, and unable to sleep, I was left to navigate the party as best I could. Beer was flowing liberally and I saw my chance. I got a glass from the cupboard and went from brother to brother for a sample. I was soon feeling like I owned the night. I remember jumping on the bed and feeling the bounce like I was floating in air and then coming down again only to rise one more time. My oldest brother, Rene, noticed what was happening and realized I needed some fresh air. He got me on my trusty steed and I pedaled around the community in the night pushing my bike as fast as it would go up and down the streets feeling the rush of the air slipping past my face.

I set my own hours of coming and going when I was eight. I grew into a powerful young man that no one fought with, fearing the cold, latent anger percolating just below the surface. I lived in an impoverished community with single or incapable parents trying to raise large families. One family, the Roblins, had seven boys being raised by an alcoholic father. Two others boys were being raised by tired grandparents because their daughters could not raise them by themselves.  We terrorized the community. But somewhere around the age of eleven I found competitive sport, hockey and baseball, largely because of the guidance of my brother, Vic, who was trying to be the father I never had. He worked in a Sporting Goods store and kept me supplied with sporting equipment. He attended all my games and I set out to make him proud of his baby brother. I made new friends. We golfed together and kept score on how life was progressing. As we moved into our teen years, my old friends got arrested one after another for crimes, ranging from car theft to rape, and eventually armed robbery and murder. It could have been me if I had ever let the smoldering emotions out of the bag.

At the same time I found pleasure in academics and read extensively and wrote my first novel at the age of twelve. I was academically gifted scoring perfect 100% scores in both English and Mathematics on the provincial exams in Saskatchewan during my grade eight year, in preparation for moving on to high school for grade nine. I had an unquenchable desire for perfection. I was a talented athlete in every sport I attempted. I was pretty, sought after as a trophy by the girls. I was the most popular boy in my school not only with the girls but also with those who lived on the outside. I would not allow bullying in my school yard. If I saw someone being picked on I would jump in and defend the one who needed a helping hand. But I did not stop there. I made sure they were included in the workings of the group. When I think about my motivation now, I am sure that it was based on my own feelings of being isolated and alone. By saving them I was saving myself.

As I entered my teen years, I rebelled against the sculpturing of my older siblings. I rejected the masculine brutality, the drive to push myself, my thoughts, and my desires into the fight fought by alpha males. I rejected the anger and coldness aimed at my sisters and mother. I rejected the feminism that manipulated in the guise of weakness. I became a reconciler, a mediator, a seeker of peace, a lover of justice, a poet who watched from the outside, and in the process rejected and ignored the poet on the inside.

As I reached puberty, I realized I was different but didn’t quite know how. I know the day it started. At the age of fifteen, I had the impulse to try on women’s clothes and experienced an erotic arousal. It just happened one day. I was visiting my brother, Ivan, and his wife in Edmonton during the summer holidays after my Grade 9 year. While they were away at work, I decided to try on his wife’s panties and panty hose. It was like another side of me had said to my masculine self to “butt out for a while and let the other me take over”. It was like a dissociative experience but I was totally aware of who I was and what I was doing. As I felt the silk panties slip sensuously over my penis, I had an immediate erection. As I buried my throbbing body into my pillow. I had my first conscious ejaculation. Oh I had ejaculations before, but they had occurred during wet dreams. This was different. It was a masculine moment clad in a feminine identity. That was my first experience in bisexuality. 

I had no one to talk to who could help me understand what was happening to me. As I struggled to figure myself out, the stage was set for a life based on guilt, anger, and shame. It was all so confusing. It was like Loki had played a cruel joke on me and put my female mind into my male body. But that was not the funny part, the real joke was that I was completely comfortable as a male and at the same time completely comfortable as a female. I was bi-gender. It was just a matter of time before my bi-gender would turn to bisexuality.            

                Back in North Battleford in the fall, I went to the all boy’s Catholic college and again excelled in all subjects. Catholic boys went to the college and Catholic girls went to the convent. The wisdom of the priests and nuns determined that it was safer this way. It did not do much for my social life but it sure made a difference academically. I made no attempts to have any relationships with girls in the other high schools but I did not have any desire for sexual contact with boys either. I was able to disguise the feminine side of my identity and not worry about dealing with dating.

                Around this time, I discovered an erotic novel, Last Exit to Brooklyn, that stoked my fantasy life with frequent journeys into masturbation and release. It was like my gay sexual desires were now a part of a fantasy world that was just that, a fantasy world. I looked at the gay world through my limited knowledge of what I thought it meant to be gay. It was just these weird people in the big cities that dressed up as women and went to special bars to solicit sex from men. I did not see my own experience as being any part of that. I was content to live sexually in my fantasy world and devote all my conscious energies to sports and academic excellence.

                It was during that year that I decided to join the priesthood which delighted my mother. She told me I was the seventh son and the seventh son was special; that’s why God had selected me for the priesthood. I informed the priests at the college of my decision and they begin to monitor my school progress. Father Gokarts, the regional recruitment priest, visited me often during those years. Because of my academic excellence, he informed me that I would spend one year at the novitiate in Ottawa and then it would be on to Rome to finish my education. My future was laid out for me. I could relax, forget about my sexuality, and just go with the flow. When I play the game of imagining what life might have been like, I wonder if I would have perhaps lived a life of peace, contentment, and purpose instead of the one that resulted in so much pain. However, looking back, I now realize that this was my attempt to escape the turmoil of my suppressed sexuality. Here I would be close to god and god would protect me from myself and forgive me for my perceived perversion and sin. But it didn’t work out that way. My teenaged sexuality was suppressed and bound to force its way out regardless of what I did to stop it. In desperation I took the six inch metal crucifix that hung above my bed, attached a chain, and wore it around my neck to fend off the evil spirits of my bisexual fantasy life that I seemed powerless to control. Meanwhile I kept the confessional busy.

                One day during one of his visits, I got up the nerve to tell Father Gokarts about my sexual problems. He immediately assumed that I was experimenting with masturbation and assured me that this was not a game-changing problem and that all boys eventually will struggle to come to grips with their sexuality. I accepted what he said lock, stock and barrel but did not tell him about the nature of my sexual fantasies. During these years I experienced deep levels of guilt and shame and suppressed any confusion and pain related to my same-sex fantasies. It never occurred to me that I could be gay. I simply was male. A popular male. I was asexual in all outward aspects of my high school life. I was a man’s man in a boy’s world.

                Between academics and sports I blissfully made my way through high school. We had a terrific sports program at the college, but sports were a weird thing for me. I was highly skilled but I lacked the aggression needed to take it to the next level. I dropped out of junior hockey in my grade twelve year and concentrated on other less aggressive sports.  I represented the district, skipping my high school boys curling team to the provincial finals, and won the Northwest Saskatchewan Junior Golf Championship.     

                As I moved into my grade 12 year, I focused on my studies, sports, and my hopes of becoming a priest and withdrew from genuine relationships. I created a fantasy world with imaginary lovers. Sexual impulses became fantasies of women without souls. This led to fantasies of men without faces. As time went by, all feminine images disappeared, and I was left with the loveless eroticism of faceless men. My self-concept was based on the faceless person I had created. I had no self-esteem, just the unattainable drive to be perfect so that I could feel worthy enough to be loved. I detached myself from the confusion and pain. I had no self-identity; so I continued to stand by and watch myself live. As I grew into a man I lost my way. I wanted to please them all. I wanted to submit, to just let go of my responsibilities and struggles and be taken care of by a man, by the father I never had, or by a woman, the mother who was never there.  My sexuality became just a tool to be used to please, a means to make others love me. My life became a life of pain without tears.

                 Looking back at my childhood now as a mature adult, I think I now understand what was happening to the confused child in me that was becoming a confused young man. I was conceived by a single mother with nine children. After her husband had left her to raise the family by herself, she was lonely and needed comfort and someone to want her so she had an affair. She got pregnant and went through the anxieties of having to nurture another child, her eleventh birth having lost two girls in childhood.  I was born unwanted. I was the evidence of her sorrow and sin.  Following the fearful death of my infant sister, who had been born a few years before me and died a few months before I was born, with no resources, skills, or energy left to give me the essentials of life, my mother raised me loving, but never daring to feel or show love. So I grew up feeling unloved.

                 I was guided by two half-sisters and six half-brothers determined to make me into the man I could not be. Rejecting their scorn, betraying my mentors, I took responsibility for raising myself, growing into a man with no identity, neither male nor female.  I fluctuated in the void. Caring and loving, thinking and absorbing, longing for completion into something, someone, that I could respect and accept, I found only my own failures, and broken relationships, and inadequacies, and unachievable goals. In my fantasies I found masculinity in the arms of soft young women; I found femininity in the strong arms of faceless men, but they could complete me only in the ecstasy of the climax. When the details were consummated, and the lights turned on, I was alone again in my own darkness, incomplete and broken. I had no identity, except the one I had created for himself, forged fearfully in the fires of hell. I had nothing real to face the world in the moment of truth.

Bisexuality and BPD

          During this Christmas season it may be particularly difficult for some of you in dealing with the borderline personality symptoms that many of us bisexuals have to deal with on a daily basis. If you are like me, this pandemic is making it even more difficult to get the support we need to keep on going. Today I just want you to know that you are indeed special. Hang in there. You have the potential to live a life beyond your wildest dreams.

            I have borderline personality disorder (BPD). If you do not have BPD, you may not understand where I am coming from. Let me clarify. For most people fear, anger, and the other emotions protect the person from harm. For me my emotions do not protect me from harm; if I let them, they will destroy me. There is no middle ground. If I give into fear, any fear, it will immobilize me. Having BPD means that those fears are not just fears, they are potential catastrophes. Life threatening. Likewise my anger is not just anger. It is an explosion; IF I LET THIS CAT OUT OF THE BAG, IT BECOMES A MOUNTAIN LION that will consume me and anything or anyone in its path. Likewise shame is not just shame, it takes over my whole body with a depth of despair that leads me down the path of self-loathing and self-destruction where the only escape is drugs or death. I can’t entertain these thoughts because they will reconnect me to the old feelings and that path leads back to depression and suicidal thoughts. There is only one way for me to experience the joys of life and that is to focus only on the joys of life. The only way to keep that focus is to take complete control of my mind and live continuously from my heart and soul. So to me mental health is not about changing my thoughts and beliefs, it is about finding a whole new way of life.

I have walked this path back from the edge of self-destruction. It started with intense therapy – five hours a day, five days a week, for eighteen weeks, along with heavy medication. It restored my chemical balance and gave me some strategies for dealing with my self-destructive thoughts but it did not deal with the pain that existed just below the surface. It took me two years in a mountain village in Costa Rica with daily meditations that took hours a day but I have eventually healed the wounds behind the pain. No anger. No fear. No anxiety. No chemical imbalance. No medication. No negative thought and behavior patterns. No dysfunction. No disorder. No symptoms of BPD. No therapy. I am living proof of the power of miracles that quietly waits to be awakened within each one of us.

Bruce Lipton in his book, The Biology of Belief, made an interesting comment about physiology and treatment of so-called disorders through medication: “they identify deviations in physiology (psychology) from some hypothetical norm as unique disorders or dysfunctions, and then they educate the public about the dangers of these menacing disorders, and then they medicate the symptoms.” Bruce has a point about how BPD is treated; however, I disagree with the underlying premise that  many people have that there is no real problem and we just have to get over it or learn to think better thoughts. In the case of those of us with BPD, we have been led to believe that the leading cause of our BPD is a combination of anxieties, and the best way to deal with these anxieties is through medication. There is a problem with that; it does not address the cause of the anxiety. Cognitive therapy has an answer to that, a better one, but still based on the premise that our BPD is a combination of dysfunctional thought processes and the answer is therefore cognitive therapy. These strategies come from people who may have experienced other disorders like PTSD and depression, but they do not understand BPD. It is much more complex than that.

This is where our BPD mind comes in. Our conscious mind is our rational self, and our subconscious mind runs the programs we have developed since we were babes. Our conscious mind creates negative energy in the form of negative thoughts and our subconscious mind creates negative energy in the form of negative feelings. These together form my negative mind states. Another name for these mind states is beliefs. My beliefs are complex bodies of neural pathways that involve multiple parts of my brain including the amygdala (emotion) and the hippocampus (memory) and as such contain a hundred times more energy than my individual thoughts. When it comes to an argument between my conscious mind and my subconscious mind, my rational mind, even with all the new cognitive strategies, will lose every time. Getting rid of symptoms of BPD and other mental disorders is not just learning to think good thoughts. To truly live a life free of anxiety, I have to change my subconscious mind that is saying I am not good enough, or I can never do anything right, and I am unworthy of anything good happening in my life.

How do I do this? It is a simple one-step process but one that is so hard to do. There is comfort in wearing a label and just letting ourselves flow with conventional thought. We have a reason and perhaps an excuse for our thoughts and behaviors but it does not heal the pain that is inside us. To have true healing, I have to accept that I have a third level of consciousness beyond just my rational and subconscious mind – a super consciousness, my higher self, my soul – where I can experience a world full of love and joy rather than a world of fear, anger, and shame. Whenever I experience powerful negative feelings attached to my subconscious beliefs, I do not argue with them; I accept them for what they are. In my new reality there is nothing to fear, no Sabre toothed Tiger. There is no real danger out there that can harm me, except my own thoughts. There is no battle that needs to be fought except the one created by my own mind, created by negative thoughts fueled by negative feelings. I simply turn over the situation to my higher self. I do not suppress; I accept my fears and shame; I embrace them; and I thank my mind for its due diligence. Then I reconnect the present situation to new feelings powered by my heart which has an electromagnetic energy a hundred times more powerful than the energy of my conscious and subconscious minds combined. This creates a powerful surge of energy that activates the pleasure center of my brain producing feelings of elation throughout my whole nervous system resulting in tears of joy. I use this joy to create the building blocks of a new mind state. I fill this mind state with the belief that I am a truly powerful and beautiful creature. I use these feeling of joy to reattach the feelings of fear to feelings of power, to reattach feelings of anger to feelings of compassion, to reattach feelings of guilt and shame to feelings of pride and love for who I am and for the person I have grown to be. At first it is not easy, but if I am consistent, daily, and sometimes moment by moment, seeking the good in what seems hopeless, I begin to build and reinforce these new pathways until they become the automatic response of my subconscious mind. Then my brain gets the message and voila! Homeostasis. Peace.

By believing that we have a higher self that is in complete control of our lives, we get complete control of our lives. By believing that life is good and we have the power to enjoy it without changing it, we begin to appreciate the life we now live. En”joy” the day.

Genetics? Maybe? Maybe Not

                Since the mapping of the human genome, the LGBQT communities have been searching for the gay gene. They have not found it. The next genetic supposition was that we may have a genetic predisposition created by a combination of some of the twenty-five thousand genes in every nucleus of every one of the trillions of cells in our human body. Again there has been no solid evidence to support that theory. Perhaps it is not about genetics after all. Bruce H, Lipton (Lipton 2010) in his book The Biology of Belief, makes a strong case for the role of the environment in shaping our beliefs which in turn shape or genetic expression. In the relatively new emphasis on epigenetics, we see the human being as a complex set of pieces of information contained in our genes that express themselves in a trillion different ways through the production of strands of one hundred thousand different proteins that are combined in different ways to shape our response to the environment. In other words we are not bisexual because of genetic predisposition, but rather due to a set of circumstances and beliefs that has shaped our genetic expression.

                Why is that so important? Because our beliefs shape our feelings and our feelings shape our thoughts and our thoughts shape our actions. In other words, let’s admit it, we indulge in our sexual references because we want to and we prefer some expressions of our sexuality over others. We want certain kinds of sex based on the pleasure we experience rather than some form of genetic predisposition. We have formulated that expression of pleasure for a thousand different reasons, many of them based on the situations we experienced as children and teens in our environment. This also means we have the power to control our sexuality and how we express it. If you prefer same sex pleasure that go ahead and enjoy it. If you prefer opposite sex pleasure than go ahead and enjoy it. You do not have to explain yourself to anyone including yourself.  As a bisexual, I may prefer to have sex with a man at certain points in my life and at other times I may prefer to seek the love of a woman. I refuse to beat myself up because of the inconsistencies of my preferences and choices. I refuse to have to justify those preferences and choices to anyone.

                Our sexuality is what it is. Why fight it? Why try to label it? Why look for a cause? Why try to justify it? Why indeed. It is a source of pleasure and this world knows there is so little of that these days.

Bisexuality and Feelings of Inferior self-worth

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[1] 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[2] 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.


[1] Lynum, L; Wilberg, Theresa; and Karternd, Sigmund. Self-esteem in patients with borderline and avoidant personality disorders. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. 2008.

[2] Hedrick, Alexis N.; and Berlin, Heather A.. Implicit Self-Esteem in Borderline Personality and Depersonalization Disorder. Frontier Psychology. 2012

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.