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

Building a New Life

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. in. We are now  embarking on building a new life. We can start by believing in ourselves and believing we have the power to create a life that we will truly love to live.

 

To Read more: https://lawrencejwcooper.ca/hi/

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/

 

 

Yesterday I Was Angry, Today I am Sad – 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. 

DSM 5 – BPD – Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity – Emotional liability –  Unstable emotional experiences and frequent mood changes.

The common emotional yoyo effect for those of us with BPD is between anger and regret. There is a tendency to lose control and blurt out extreme reactions in perceived verbal conflicts (we may be the only one that perceives it as a conflict) with loved ones. This is usually followed by shame and regret leading to sulking and moping that sometimes can last for days. However….  (read more at:)

Yesterday I Was Angry, Today I am Sad – Part 2