Borderline Personality Disorder and Mood Swings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are my five suggestions for borderliners

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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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

 

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.

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

 

 

No More Tittles

We continue to explore the correlation between bisexuality and Borderline Personality Disorder. We now understand our orientation and all the turmoil we create through our BPD disposition.

For those of you who are new to the site, you may be asking what all this has to do with bisexuality. You are right. This is not really about bisexuality. There are no exciting testimonies of sexual prowess and no articles on how difficult it is to be bisexual. In fact, we are also avoiding the term sexual orientation. We have known all along that we do not really fit with the rest of the LGBQT community.We simply recognize and embrace the fact that we have sexual inclinations that involve moth men and women. We do not really care if it is normal, or not normal, or what percentage is what. We do not identify ourselves as a subgroup within the human genome. We are men and women. We enjoy sex.      Period.       And we are not going to agonize on the details.

When it comes to BPD we are also walking away from that label. Science has demonstrated that there are no drugs that address our issues. They may deal with our anxieties, but they do not get to the heart of the matter. Science also shows that other forms of therapy are not very effective. So we are in the process of leaving the titles behind.   We are not only going to seek therapy to get rid of our BPD, but we are going to embrace it. When we stop looking at the impairments and traits, we can begin to see some amazing qualities such as sensitivity and emotional awareness. But we are not going to even celebrate being BPD. We are are just going to celebrate being you and me.

The emphasis on this blog will  is a collections of thoughts and strategies on being the best me we can be.   Here is the next in the series.

This week we will continue to build our powers of belief.  We leave the pains of the past and begin to build a life that we will truly love to live.

To read more: https://lawrencejwcooper.ca/the-power-of-belief-part-2/

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Bisexuality and Mental Wellness

As Bisexuals we spend way to much time labeling ourselves and trying to forge a scientific and sociological explanation for our sexual preferences. What really matters is how we perceive ourselves, and how we navigate these turbulent waters that we call life. The key is to find peace and contentment with who we are and what we do.

As we have discovered in the research, there is a high correlation between bisexuality and Borderline Personality Disorder, but that too is just another label.  The long journey through the pathological impairments and traits on  DSM5  has made it abundantly clear that most of us tend to have some serious mental issues. However, we will never overcome these issues by continuing to focus on our pathological traits and impairments. Neither will we find peace and contentment by focusing on our sexual preferences. They are what they are. We need to move onto building a better life through mental wellness so that we can then strive for what we all long for – loving relationships.

Therefore I wish to take you on the next stage of our journey to go beyond the limits of our sexual preferences and our pathological traits. We will strive for mental wellness and then go beyond that to building a life that we would truly love to live filled with inner peace and joy along with a strong and healthy sex life.

To do this we will look at the virtues.   We will begin our journey to mental wellness with the grounding virtues. Grounding is a spiritual term defining a process whereby we can become balanced and stable in our physical and emotional states. To read more:

Mental Wellness and the Grounding Virtues

Bisexuality, BPD, and Constructive Psychology

We continue to explore the correlation between bisexuality and Borderline Personality Disordfer. W e have pretty well come to the end of the road regarding the DSM5 as the impairments and traits seem to be a rehash of the same old, same old.  So let’s leave that behind for a while and look at our situation more constructively.  Instead of examining our pathological tendencies let’s focus on building a life that we would truly love to live.

To read more: https://lawrencejwcooper.ca/borderline-personality-disorder-and-constructive-psychology/

 

 

I Choose to Ignore That

 

Due to the high positive correlation between bisexuality and Borderline Personality Disorder, we are attempting to get a better understanding of this relationship so that we can learn to survive and thrive with our bisexuality. 

DSM 5 – Pathological personality traits in: negative affectivity – Anxiousness::Intense feelings of nervousness, tenseness, or panic, often in reaction to interpersonal stresses;

We now move into the field of anxiety and how it relates to BPD traits. The first concern in this area is related to how we react to interpersonal stresses. The dominant factor here is our response to perceptions of rejection.to read more:

I Choose to Ignore That

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