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

Home

 

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.

Why Do Things Always Go Wrong

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 – b. Anxiousness: Worry about the negative effects of past unpleasant experiences and future negative possibilities;

Jacob and others[1] investigated the emotional responses of 26 female BPD patients, 15 patients with major depressive disorder, and 28 controls, immediately  after listening to stories involving various moods and then again after a delay of three to six minutes. Sadness was stronger with both BPD and depression patients; however, BPD patients showed stronger reaction to anger, joy, anxiety and shame. They concluded that extreme negative affectivity may be a defining property of BPD.

Baer and others[2] , in a review of the literature, looked at maladaptive cognitive processes in BPD patients. They concluded that BPD patients tend to focus on negative stimuli, have disproportionate negative memories, and tend to focus on negative beliefs about themselves, other people, and the world in general. They suppress negative thoughts and tend to run them over and over again in their minds.

The idea of thought suppression bears further investigation. Rosenthal and others[3] examined the histories of 127 patients and determined that  emotional negativity was a stronger prediction of BPD than Childhood sexual abuse and that thought suppression was a major factor in emotional liability.

So what does this mean in plain English? Well, simply put, 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. We often view our bisexual experiences as failure to control our impulses.  We tend to try to suppress them 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. So we hold these so call “failures”  in our minds longer thus giving our brain an opportunity to lock them into our long term memory. Therefore, our brain gets overloaded with all these negative memories and feelings that it hooks up to other memories thus creating  these huge negative mind states or beliefs. These beliefs  in turn create and control our thinking patterns and behavior patterns. This creates a locked-in negative predisposition. Our prefrontal cortex expects bad things to happen because of our same sex impulses.  We somehow create or attract these fears into the present situation. We enjoy the sex for the moment knowing it will be followed by feelings of shame and guilt. This forms a kind of compulsion where we seek the pleasure and then experiencing the pain.

Hey- it’s not hopeless. I will have some suggestions for you next week. So hang in there.

(For more information on this topic go to – In Search of the Lost Self- How to Survive and Thrive with Borderline Personality Disorder, by Lawrence J. W. Cooper, now available on Amazon)

 

[1] Jacob, Gretta A.; Hellstern, Kathrin; Ower, Nicole; Pillmann, Mona; Scheel, Corinna N.; Rüsch, Nicolas*; Lieb, Klaus. Emotional Reactions to Standardized Stimuli in Women With Borderline Personality Disorder: Stronger Negative Affect, But No Differences in Reactivity. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: 2009.

[2] ,Ruth A.; Peters, Jessica R.; Eisenlohr, Tory A.;Geiger, Paul J.; and Sauer, Shannon E.. Emotion-related cognitive processes in borderline personality disorder: A review of the empirical literature. Clinical Psychology Review: 2012.

[3] Rosenthal, Zachary M.; Cheavens, Jennifer S.; Lejuez, Carl J.; and Lynch, Thomas B..    Thought suppression mediates the relationship between negative affect and borderline personality disorder symptoms. : 2005, Pages 1173-1185

 

 

 

Highs and Lows

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. 

DSM5 – Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity  – Anxiousness: worry about the negative effects of past unpleasant experiences and future negative possibilities;

A study by Coffman and others[1],  examined  within –person reports from BPD individuals and controls over a twenty-one day period using multilevel modeling techniques. People with BPD had significantly greater polarity heightened by interpersonal stress. They also noted that this polarity led to impulsive behaviors such as self-injury and substance abuse.

When we look deeper into the concept of polarity, it simply means going to extremes from everything is great, to everything sucks. But this is not like bipolar where depression is followed by a manic state. There is no chemical component leading to depression with a yoyo effect to manic; it is a constant state of mind where the two extremes co-exist and surface based on the circumstances. There is always the underlying fear that the situation or relationship will turn from positive to negative.

When we look closer, this may be due to a mind set that is always present in the back of the mind so to speak that says this is too good to be true. So we enjoy, squeezing as much pleasure as we can out of the situation before it crumbles on us. This is a kind of predisposition that always prevents us from any lasting feelings of joy and acceptance. Again, these are usually based on past experiences, usually from early childhood. This is what leads to impulsive and at risk behavior. Enjoy it while you can and to hell with tomorrow.

So how does this apply to us bisexuals. It would appear that we tend to soothe our anxieties through same sex encounters. This tends to send our circuits through the pleasure centers of our brain. This is a great motivation; and it seems that once we engage in the fantasies, they trigger our drive system almost like an addiction. This brings on the high risk behavior knowing that this tryst could bring an end to our other relationships, the ones we depend on for nurturing, friendship, and love. It seems that we are willing to sacrifice these relationships for the sake of the pleasure with a feeling that we may as well get it over with because they will find out sooner or later and leave us anyway.

My suggestions

  1. We make a conscious decision on what life style we really want. It can be either gay or heterosexual or perhaps even have an open relationships where same sex encounters are permitted by our life partner.We want to take the high risk sensations and the subsequent addictions out of the equation.
  2. If we choose a gay life style, there is more likelihood that our partner will see it as normal if we wish to seek other encounters.
  3. If we wish to maintain our present relationship, we have some choices, all of them potentially disastrous.
  4. If we are choosing to try to live a straight life, we do not have to divulge. Sometimes the truth does more harm than good. We simply decide to live a straight life. However. we have probably been trying to do this and have probably failed miserably.
  5. That means we have to be honest with our partner and explain the nature of our bisexuality and see if they can live with an occasional encounter. Most likely they will not. In that case we have to let them go. We can then seek a new partner who may be okay with our dual sexuality.

 

 

[1] Coffman, karen K.G.; Berenson, K. R.; Rafaeli, E.; and Downey, G.. From negative to positive and back again: Polarized affective and relational experience in borderline personality disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 2012. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0028502

 

Living with our Emotions

Due to the high correlation between bisexuality and borderline personality disorder we will be focusing on the pathological personality traits listed in the DSM5 and how they affect our state of well-being as bisexuals.

DSM5 – Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity

Emotional liability: Emotions that are easily aroused, intense, and/or out of proportion to events and circumstances.

One of the traits of Borderline Personality Disorder is emotional sensitivity. This super sensitivity is thought to have biological origins and to be present from early life.  It consists of a heightened emotional reaction to environmental stimuli, including emotions of others.

Along these lines, Carlson, Egeland, and Sroufe[1] conducted a longitudinal study of 162 individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. They discovered that negative emotionality influenced by emotional sensitivity in early childhood and adolescence predicted later BPD symptoms. This included self-injurious behavior, dissociative symptoms, drug use, and violence in our intimate relationships. They also discovered that we people with BPD did not receive appropriate (and oft time even harmful) treatment.  They also found correlations with negative temperament and attachment disorganization. In other words, it appears we people with BPD are wired with a brain that is very sensitive to sensations from the environment, therefore, a genetic predisposition for BPD, we tend to be influenced more than others by our environmental experiences, and tend to have unstable relationships.

This leads us to a study by Greenough and others[2] on the role of the environment. They concluded that studies in neurology consistently confirm that there is a neural basis of experience-dependent learning. During childhood, as super sensitive children, we are very vulnerable to what’s happening around us. We are very aware of all negative stimulus surrounding us and we create thousands of synaptic connections each day in response to these events, thus storing the information in our expanding neural mind states as thinking and behavior patterns. In other words, this is a critical” or “sensitive period.” These mind states then become our thinking and behavior patterns that will guide us for the rest of our lives. These experiences form our implicit memories and thought patterns.

So what does this mean for us bisexuals? First of all, we bisexuals tend to be super sensitive with strong emotional feelings about what is happening around us. That’s why we are often poets, artists and dancers.  In this way we are like most people with BPD,  with one exception.  These feelings are also connected to our feelings about our sexuality. We super sensitive boys seem to experience a different comfort level with our sexuality and bisexuality than do our female counterparts. Somewhere between age two and three we all establish our gender roles.  For example, boys or girls tend to identify themselves as boys or girls as separate from those of the opposite gender.  However, there are exceptions. If dad wanted to have a son, he may treat his daughter like a boy and encourage her to act like a boy.   In our society, it’s okay to be a tom boy but not a sissy or a fairy.  Boys in a female dominated relationship are often confused. They know they are a boy and should act like a boy but want to be subconsciously like the female members of the family. As we advance into our teenage years, these gender issues become sexual issues. As young men we feel attractions to women like all the other boys, but as with our gender confusion, we also feel attraction to men, usually older men. Girls are comfortable with this. Bisexual women, in general, have no difficulty shifting from male to female attraction and back again. They seem to be comfortable with their sexuality. We men are not. This leads to emotional difficulties as we try to adjust to our sexuality. We cannot seem to do both. It is one or the other and we shift back and forth often with feeling of guilt and shame.

However, the good news is that the human brain also has a great deal of plasticity. We can refire and rewire our brain patterns, our thought patterns, and our behavior patterns. The old patterns are loaded with a lot of negative energy from the amygdala that is buried in our subconscious mind. However, we do not have to continue to live by these beliefs.  We can simply rewire them. We can do this by taking the buried feelings attached to the present incident and rewiring those feelings through the nucleus acumen’s and the other areas of the frontal cortex what we know as the pleasure center of the brain. We can access these through positive patterns like appreciation and gratitude. If we learn to appreciate and be thankful for our bisexual nature, we will begin to see all the wonderful possibilities of living a bisexual life.

 

 

[1]  Carlson, EA; Egeland, B.; and Sroufe LA. A prospective investigation of the development of borderline personality symptoms. Dev Psychopathology, 2009.

[2]  Greenough, WT; Black, JE; and Wallace CS.  Experience and brain development. Child Dev. 1987

 

 

Please Don’t Look at Me that Way

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. 

 

Trait 1: Pathological personality traits in: negative affectivity –

Anxiousness: Intense feelings of nervousness, tenseness, or panic, often in reaction to interpersonal stresses;   

The key here is that we are wired this way. Rather than rewiring and refiring and rewiring as a cognitive process, which seems to be a dead end issue for us, we should look more towards just taking in the information and accepting it, thereby blocking or not allowing the information to proceed on to the amygdala and the activation of the sympathetic system. To Read More:

Please Don’t Look at Me that Way