Bisexuality and Borderline Personality Disorder

ASHIRT & TIE [small] (final)s I was searching for something intelligent to write about, I revisited the research section on bisexuality. After reading yet another study on whether or not we exist, I asked myself why I was still looking at this stuff.  We know we exist, so where do we go from here? The answer, of course, is that we should be looking at the issues we face, so that we can somehow finally get past our sexual identity crisis and learn how to enjoy the lives we have been given.

Twenty years ago, I was having a mental meltdown, largely because of my bisexual orientation. I loved my wife and was very much attracted to her; we had a great sex life. But I also had developed an obsession and compulsion for engaging in gay sex. During one counselling session, my therapist conducted a survey in the DSM4 on Borderline Personality Disorder (the 5 had not yet come out). First of all, let me explain. Borderline Personality Disorder is not “borderline”; it is a dysfunction involving significant impairment of self-identity, the ability to relate to others, and difficulty with impulse control. When sexual identity issues are involved, self-loathing, feelings of emptiness and worthlessness, and unhealthy impulses are usually centered on our sexuality.  She looked up and said, “Amazing, you have all the symptoms except sexual identity issues.” She stared at me for a few seconds and said, “Oh my god, don’t tell me you are gay too.”  Well, I can now say I no longer have sexual identity issues. I know and understand my sexual orientation. I am not gay. I am bisexual.

Looking back, I think it is important to address the issue or borderline personality disorder.  In an analogue study[1], 141 psychologists evaluated a hypothetical client with problems that resembled borderline symptoms but were also consistent with a sexual identity crisis. In this study, client descriptions varied by sexual orientation and gender. Results revealed that male clients with bisexual attractions were more likely to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Therapists were more confident and willing to work with female bisexual clients and gave them a better prognosis. In other words, the clinical community believes that we bisexual males have severe issues in dealing with our bisexuality resulting in Borderline Personality Disorder. This means that our belief system makes it difficult to make changes through traditional therapy, and difficult to function in our society. Women on the other hand seem to be able to assimilate their bisexual desires into normal life patterns with or without therapy.

If we have indeed overcome our identity issues and we know and understand that we are bisexual, than what comes next? I think the answer may lie is taking a closer look at the borderline personality symptoms. In my case, I may still have a Borderline Personality Disorder, but I now understand it and have learned to live with it. Somewhat like in the movie, The Beautiful Mind, I now know when my disorder is throwing false information at me, and I can simply reject it and function with the truth: I know who I am; I love and care for myself, and I appreciate my mind and body with their bisexual desires. But that was a long and painful journey. The next few blogs will be devoted to the steps we can take to overcome our borderline personality symptoms.

My five suggestions for bisexuals:

  1. We accept the fact that we are psychologically and biologically bisexual. If we are sexually attracted to both males and females, then we are bisexual.
  2. We get comfortable with it. We keep telling ourselves its okay to be bisexual.
  3. We recognize our negative feelings, enter into a state of mindfulness, and allow our higher self to soothe our mind until we begin to see the amazing qualities we possess because of our bisexuality. It is truly a gift.
  4. We deal with negative thoughts. We don’t suppress them, we convert them to positive thoughts. We can do this by simply taking a negative statement and turning it into a positive. For example “I cannot control my sex drive” becomes “I can control my sex drive”.
  5. We look for ways to appreciate our bisexual body and brain. We keep an ever growing list of things we are thankful for. When we have doubts, we simply check out list and recite all the things we like about ourselves.

[1] Eubanks-Carter, Catherine and Goldfried, Marvin  R. . The impact of client sexual orientation and gender on clinical judgments and diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychology. March, 2006

Knowledge and Bisexuality

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)(This is the fifth in the series on applying Napoleon Hill’s principles for financial success to how we can shape our bisexuality into creating a life that we would truly love to live.)

“Knowledge will not attract (our desire) unless it is organized, and intelligently directed, through practical plans of action to the definite end of (living the life that we love to live)”.[1]

If you are reading this article, it is probably because you are seeking knowledge about bisexuality. But how much do we actually have to know in order to live the life we would love to live? What we are seeking is not knowledge but to actually educate ourselves. The Latin word educo means “to draw out or develop from within”. That knowledge on how to live the life that we would love to live is already there inside of us; we just have to draw it out.

According to Hill there are two types of knowledge – general and specialized. What you are seeking in this article is specialized knowledge. I am a psychologist and a bisexual; therefore, by processing the information I have gathered and applying it to my own life, I hopefully have some specialized knowledge to tell. In truth, yes, I do have some specialized knowledge, but my main goal is to help you educate yourself by helping you draw out what you already know and applying it to your own life.

First of all let’s decide on the sort of specialized knowledge we require and the purpose for which it is needed. Yes, it helps to know that we are not alone, and approximately five percent of men and 15 percent of women heterosexuals have at some time experimented with same sex relationships. If we do the math. one of every ten people may be considered bisexual. Knowledge will also help us know where we can meet other bisexual people for relationship, companionship, and just general support in developing new thought patterns. But what else is really necessary?

What we really want to do is develop our general knowledge. We need to somehow come up with a new thought about ourselves and how we can handle the circumstances of our present situation. If we are burdened with a bunch of negative thoughts and feelings about ourselves, we have to somehow change the way we think. We have to overhaul our general knowledge mechanisms. We need to think new thoughts.  This new thought then has to be nurtured and organized into a new self-concept that we are indeed worthy, powerful, and beautiful.

The place to start is with our discontents and dissatisfactions. What is impeding us from being the people we want to be? We need to take inventory. Every time we have a negative thought about ourselves, we have to challenge it. We need to apply some good old cognitive therapy. For example, “I hate myself,” becomes, “I have a negative feeling whenever I think about gay or lesbian sex”. Okay, we are making progress. Now we can challenge that thought “Why do I feel bad whenever I think of gay or lesbian sex?” The answer might be, “Because my friends make a lot of gay jokes, and if I want to be with my friends, I have to stop having these thoughts.” Aha! Now we are getting somewhere. Where do these thoughts come from? Well they come from our basic biological make up and have developed over time to being a core part of our being. We can therefore conclude, “If my friends are real friends, they will have to love me for who I am, if not they are not real friends anyway.” Whenever we challenge our negative thoughts, we should always come back to the essential core belief of generalized knowledge, namely, “I am in complete control of my mind; I can control and direct all my thoughts; I am powerful and I am beautiful; and my bisexuality is a gift to be nurtured and enjoyed”. All our thoughts have to be in harmony with this core belief.

We can then use the power of our imaginations to organize and put this new knowledge to work. The next step is to take action. We tell our friends how we feel and engage them in some honest discussion. They may respond with their own feelings and fears. Women do this naturally, we men have to work at it to make it happen. Above all, we make a commitment to ourselves to live honestly, walk tall, and speak from the heart. In other words we have “organized, and intelligently directed” our thoughts and formulated “practical plans of action to the definite end” of living the life we would truly love to live.

[1] Hill, Napoleon. Think and Grow Rich. Dover Publication, Inc. 2015. (Page 64).

My five suggestions for bisexuals:

  1. We challenge our negative thoughts and turn them into positive ones.
  2. We develop our self-concept by understanding ourselves, the way we think, and how we organize our thoughts. If our self-concept is negative we change it. If it is positive we celebrate.
  3. We refuse to accept anything that lowers our self-esteem. We actually should learn to admire ourselves for what we have accomplished and the hardships we have overcome or are in the process of overcoming.
  4. We put our new self-concept and our new self-esteem into action. We deal with issues and with our relationships with confidence. We do not fear criticism; we welcome it. It is our opportunity to grow.
  5. We plan our life and take steps to make it the kind of life we love to live.

Mindfulness and Bisexuality

SHIRT & TIE w.out white background (final)By definition, mindfulness is a meditation technique that involves present-centered awareness without judgment. Mindfulness practices are based on Buddhist meditation techniques that target both thoughts and behaviors. The goal is to change the context of our thoughts. Through mindfulness; we observe what we are observing. If our thoughts are maladaptive, we acknowledge them but change our relationship to them. We do not permit them to lead to negative emotions.

During meditation, or perhaps more accurately, contemplation, we let our mind experience disturbing thoughts and feelings without reacting to them. One important technique is called decentering. We simply enter into a state of meditation. We shut down our mind and focus on our breathing until we enter into a state of relaxation.  Our blood pressure will decrease, our heart rate will slow down, and our brain will gradually cease creating thoughts and emotions. We open our mind to experience the sensations that are happening in the now. Inevitably our mind, without our checks and balance, will begin to bring thoughts based on past failures and other negative emotional experiences. We simply notice, label, and relate to them as just passing events rather than letting them regress to negative emotions about ourselves. By increasing our mindful awareness of our thoughts, impulses, cravings, and emotions, we are less likely to act on them or be ruled by them.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has become an actual therapy practiced by present day psychologists. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was developed to treat major depressive disorder. Mindfulness training also includes therapies designed to treat substance use disorder and borderline personality disorder. One large, carefully controlled study found that MBCT was as effective as antidepressant medications in preventing relapse after an acute episode of major depressive disorder (Bieling & others, 2012; Segal & others, 2010). However, the actual practice is so simple that it can be practiced by anyone without professional help.

So how does this relate to bisexuality? I can only relate to my own personal experiences. After hiding my gay impulses from my wife and children for thirty-three years, I inevitably crashed and slipped into chronic depression. I sold or gave whatever was left after the divorce, took an early retirement, and fled to a mountain village in Costa Rica. I started to practice meditation each morning as I gazed on the warm forest and cities below. Inevitably all the blame, guilt and self-loathing would barge in on my meditation. With all these negative thoughts and emotion insisting on occupying my mind, I simply could not meditate. It was then that I decided to face my thoughts and feelings honestly and openly. I let them enter my mind, acknowledged them, wrapped them into a gift of love and sent them to the people they involved. I replaced self-loathing with love for them and eventually with love for myself. I realized that I had done the best I could under the circumstances to hold everything together until my last child and completed college. I was then able to move on, come out of my depression, drop all medication, and heal the personality disorder that I had developed by trying to live a double life. I realized that my trials had made me a beautiful person, thanked the universe for my gay impulses, and accepted my bisexuality as a gift and not a curse.

My five suggestions for bisexuals:

  1. Practice mindful meditation. It may be difficult at first but push through until you are comfortable living in the moment without anxiety.
  2. Once in a state on mindful meditation, allow your mind to bring whatever thoughts it wishes into the present where you sit relaxed and in control.
  3. Accept the thoughts and feelings that go with them but do not accept the negative emotions; in fact, convert them to positive ones. Thank your mind for presenting its thoughts and then release them. I like to visualize them wrapped like a gift and sent back to the ones I love, thanking them for the wonderful moments we had shared.
  4. Keep practicing this mindful meditation until these thoughts eventually cease to return.
  5. Give yourself a great big soul hug. You are a champ, a conqueror of the most powerful enemy you will ever face – yourself.

 

 

  1. Siegel,Daniel,J. Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation: Daniel J … 2010.

 

Bi-gender and Transsexual Procedures

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)In a recent article in Newsweek[1], Borreli noted that sex change increased by 20 percent from 2015 to 2016 in the U.S., with more than 3,000 operations performed in 2017. She also reported that some male to female transsexuals felt they would never be liked or accepted as real women. Borreli also reported that there is a lack of pre and post counselling, and that a significant number of male to female trans wanted to reverse the procedure.

A group of researchers in Sweden[2]discovered that the mental health of transsexuals after surgery was not what we would expect it to be. In a follow-up survey of 324 sex-reassigned persons (191 male-to-females, 133 female-to-males), they discovered that the overall mortality, particularly death from suicide, for sex-reassigned persons was higher during follow-up than for controls of the same birth sex. Sex-reassigned persons also had an increased risk for suicide attempts and psychiatric treatment. They concluded that physically changing the birth sex may not be sufficient for treating transsexualism, and advocated for improved psychiatric care after sex reassignment.

With the increased frequency of sexual reassignment and the data on mental wellbeing after transition, one must take a long serious look at this life-changing procedure. Many of the people involved in sex reassignment have been previously married and in a heterosexual relationship. In my mind this makes them bisexual, or to put it more accurately, bi-gender. Many do not make the transition for sexual reasons with little or no desire to experience sex in their new sexually reversed bodies. Most of the issues are gender related not sexual. As we have seen, gender feelings come from a genetic predisposition and then shaped and molded by life and cultural experiences. Perhaps it is enough to be like the hijra and just take on the clothing and gender roles without the sex change.

More and more of the sexually reassigned are young people, many of them in their teens. This may not be a good time for a sex change. Sexuality seems to be quite fluid at this age with many, especially women, experimenting with bisexuality. They may need to resolve these feelings and explore their gay or lesbian nature before deciding on a sex change. They may also want to experiment with gender role change before starting hormone treatments.

Sexual reassignment begins with hormone treatment. One person Borreli interviewed felt it was the hormones that made him act impulsively and go for the surgery that he later regretted. Hormone treatments affect the whole body not just the genitals. They also serve as neuromodulators thus affecting the neural circuits of the brain causing a major shift in mental functioning. These dramatic physical and mental changes may lead to massive confusion in the creation and changing of neural pathways. This may lead to depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

 

My five applications for bisexuals:

  1. Look for clarity in our sexuality. We can define ourselves sexually as heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian. We can then seek sexual gratification based on this knowledge.
  2. Look for clarification in our gender roles. Are we masculine, or feminine, or are we bigender with fluid flow from male to female feelings of orientation? If we feel we are a man in a woman’s body, or a woman in a man’s body, or if we alternate from one gender role to another, we can explore and enjoy same sex and opposite sex relationships by changing our gender roles without hormones or sexual reassignment.
  3. If we truly want and need to experience sex, not as gay or lesbian, but truly as our transgender nature, than proceed with the sex change.
  4. If we are in a love relationship or we want to experience a love relationship according to our transgender nature, then have a sex change.
  5. Give it time. Be absolutely sure that this is how you want to live the rest of your life. Seek pre and post transition counselling. Make sure you have a professional and personal support system in place before starting the hormone transition.

 

[1] Borreli,Lizette. Transgender Surgery: Regret Rates Highest in Male to Female Reassignment  Operations. Newsweek. April, 2018.

[2] Dhejne, Cecilia; Boman,Marcus; Joohansson,Anna l.; Langston,Niklas; and Landen, Mikael. Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden. Plos. February 22, 2011.

 

The Bisexual Continuum

SHIRT & TIE w.out white background (final)In a survey sample of 1,784 individuals on Facebook, Vrangalovaq and Savin-Williams[1] argued that there is a continuous, rather than a categorical, distribution of sexual orientation.  They used a five category classification including heterosexual, mostly heterosexual, bisexual, mostly gay/lesbian, and gay/lesbian.  It is interesting to note that a majority of gays reported some attraction towards the opposite sex. According to my definition, that means we can include most of them as bisexual, or potentially bisexual, depending on the circumstances that they are experiencing.  In addition, a significant minority of heterosexuals also reported some attraction to same sex partners. According to my definition of significant, that means that there are a hell of a lot more bisexuals in the world than is being reported. Again, the survey reconfirmed that women are more likely to engage in bisexual attraction than men.

Let’s take a closer look at these results. Perhaps there are not really five categories of orientation but really only one.  We could possibly all be bisexuals on a sexual continuum rather that a sexual orientation continuum. That might be why there is no gay gene.  With about twenty-five thousand genes in the human genome, you would think that one of them could be the culprit. Perhaps there may be a predisposition but not necessarily a genetic orientation one, but one that might shape our overall sexual needs. There could indeed be prenatal factors involving the psychological and physiological condition of the pregnant mother. Perhaps the mother’s pheromones might be affecting the male pheromones of the male fetus after several pregnancies with male children. Perhaps stress during pregnancy does influence the development of the fetus thus creating a predisposition towards anxiety and the need for soothing and physical connection in the infant. Most research suggests that this predisposition continues on through childhood and forms lasting sexual orientation patterns by the age of five or six. Perhaps these predispositions result in patterns of need, soothing, and behavior with a great need for sexual gratification from male or female partners rather than a fixed orientation.

If we are indeed on a continuum, there are not really five categories but perhaps fifty, or five hundred, or perhaps even an infinite number of possible sexual preferences depending on how our minds find pleasure, soothing, and gratification. Perhaps  this search for soothing and gratification leads to our unique brain patterns and life choices. If that is indeed the case, let’s stop talking about orientation and let’s focus on how we can get the most pleasure out of these wonderful bodies that we are so fortunate to inhabit, without talk of orientation, blame, and shame.

Here are my five applications for bisexuals:

  1. Let’s look at ways we are alike rather than different.
  2. Let’s accept our unique sexual attractions and explore them whole-heatedly without worrying about whether we are gay, heterosexual, or bisexual.
  3. We are not QUEER. We are just different. We are all different. We are all unique.
  4. If we need soothing – so what? It just leads to the need for sexual gratification. What’s wrong with that? That spells pleasure in my vocabulary.
  5. Let’s not forget that we have desires for love not just sex. At the root of the need for sexual gratification is the more basic need of being accepted and loved for who we are regardless of our orientation or our unique place in the sexual continuum.

[1] Vrangalova,z. and Savin-Williams RC. Mostly heterosexual and mostly gay/lesbian: evidence for new sexual orientation identities. Pub Med Arch Sex Behav. 2012 Feb;41(1):85-101. doi: 10.1007/s10508-012-9921-y.(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22327566)

Energy and the Brain

SHIRT & TIE w.out white background (final)It’s time to take a closer look at physical and spiritual energy. We are energy beings. Right down to the atoms and molecules that make up our cells, we are in constant motion. We are constantly changing. If we are to truly understand our self as a physical and spiritual being, and use this knowledge to grow and expand, we have to understand the nature of the energy by which we breathe, think, and have our being.  There is no better place to start than with the human brain.

The brain uses more energy than any other human organ accounting for up to 20 percent of the body’s total energy requirements. The source of energy that powers the human brain is mainly sugar, more specifically – glucose. Glucose is a hydrocarbon that is broken down with the help of additional oxygen (which we get through breathing) to create ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is responsible for energy transfer in the human brain.

After reading the complex scientific information on ATP, it appears to act like an enzyme which is responsible for the binding of metals, predominantly magnesium, which then act as catalysts for the creation of protein strands and the breaking down of glucose. In the process, it creates an abundance of hydrogen ions which provides the energy for flow of information between neurons.  ATP supplies the energy required for these ions to traverse cell membranes thereby initiating many biological processes that keep our neurons firing.[1] When the accumulation of hydrogen ions increases the voltage in a neuron, the neurotransmitters are released firing an electrochemical impulse across the synapse to the dendrites of the neighboring neuron. The ATP then goes to work resetting the neurons to negative, through transfer of Sodium ions (which we get from salt) back across the membrane, making it more positive, and resulting in the uptake of the neurotransmitter back into the sending neuron. The neighboring dendrites where neurotransmitters are released do the same to the next neuron.

These chemical processes take a great deal of energy. During active mind activity, two thirds of the energy is used to fuel electrical impulses that neurons employ to communicate with one another. The remaining third is used for “housekeeping,” or cell-health maintenance.  When the brain is inactive, during sleep or relaxation (meditation), the process changes to about 50% for maintenance, thus resupplying the neurons with ATP and ions for future brain activity. This information indicates that we need to provide sufficient rest through relaxation periods throughout the day, especially if we are involved in high neocortex activity which includes most of us working in today’s information occupations in our western culture.

This is all fine in a healthy mind in a healthy environment where stages of brain activity are followed by brain maintenance; however, what happens when this does not occur. One study using brain scans showed the inferior parietal cortex (IPC), an area that helps us control the amount of energy we use, becomes deactivated when people felt they were being observed. In other words, if we feel comfortable with the people around us, the system continues to perform well, but if we’re concerned about how others are feeling about us, our performance deteriorates. This suggests that prolonged stress caused by unhealthy social relationships can affect our ability to employ and restore our brain energy systems. The brain will continue to employ its problem solving structures to restore balance, but if it is unable to do so, the mind will be unable to relax and restore the ATP and ions needed for thought and action.  Over an extended period of time this can lead to chemical breakdown and possible depression.

In another study, Cambridge[2] researchers found that when we are involved in intensive thought processes, the brain will place its own energy needs above the energy requirements of the rest of the body.  Again, over a prolonged period of time, this can create problems with the heart, which also requires a great deal of energy, and our immune system, which is responsible for healing and regeneration of other organs. This can lead to disease and the growth of cancerous tissue. In addition, the continued employment of the sympathetic nervous system creates high levels of salt in the blood stream which can lead to interference with ion transfer in the brain, and increased blood pressure in the body which is dangerous for heart failure and strokes.

Here are my five applications for bisexuals (and everyone else for that matter):

  1. First of all, we have to take good care of our minds with frequent periods of relaxation and mind rest. We can do this simply by learning to read the anxiety levels of our mind when the brain is overloaded. Once we become conscious of our mind states we can learn to provide it with sufficient rest.
  2. When we feel high levels of anxiety, we stop what we are doing and relax. Sometimes this will be a brief meditation where we concentrate on our breathing until the negative feelings dissolve.
  3. If the anxiety has transferred to the body through the sympathetic system, we may have to release this negative flow of body energy by physical exercise. A half hour brisk walk, where we concentrate on our surroundings and squelch our minds problem solving desires, usually does the trick.
  4. If this anxiety occurs whenever we engage in the same stressful activity or relationship, we may have to do an inventory and decide if this is the job or relationship that we really want to engage in. We must be prepared to make life changes to protect the energy system of our minds. If we are unable to make those decisions on our own, we may need to have someone help us through the process. We should take a leave of absence and find a good therapist.
  5. We need to pay special attention to our sex life as it can be a source of great pleasure and stress release or a cause of great anxiety. We have to be sure that our sexual behavior leads to and ends in the pleasure reward system without accompanying shame and anxiety. We may need to change our behavior or the way we think about it, or we may need to change our sex partners. Again, if we cannot seem to do this on our own, we may need professional help.

 

  1. Where Does The Human Brain Get Its Energy? Forbes – Whoa Science (https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/03/06where-does-the-human-brain-)
  2. Nikhil Swaminathan, Why Does the Brain Need So Much Power? Scientific America (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-does-the-brain-need-s/)

 

The Mind and Relationships

SHIRT & TIE w.out white background (final)As humans, we have a great need for intimate connections with other human beings. Somewhere around fifty thousand years ago, mankind saw the need to belong to a larger social group for the purpose of hunting and survival. Those who had the genetic and mental skills to adapt to social settings became alphas in the group and passed their genes on to the next generation. Those who did not were separated from the group and died out. Through natural selection, the human brain has developed a process where one mind can directly interface with another through the transfer of energy and information and thus create a super system between two or more individuals.

So how does this social ability work? At conception, we receive a genetic code that fashions a region in the brain known as the prefrontal cortex. At the center of this is the orbitofrontal cortex which is believed to be responsible for emotional and social processing. The right side of this region seems to be able to create an emotional state and then  send signals that  directly shape the emotional mindset of the receiver. This is perceived subconsciously through facial expression, voice tone, and other types of body language. This activates the emotion system of the receiver through the amygdala and the anterior cingulate thereby orienting attention and creating arousal. Through verbal response, the sender and receiver  begin to share information from one mind to another creating similar representational processes, appraising meaning, and influencing individual or group behavior.

This process begins during infancy. The function of the developing brain is shaped by the parent’s more mature brain. There is an alignment of states of mind between parent and child. When this attunement is conducted in a warm supportive manner, the child understands and feels what is perceived to be right or wrong. This process eventually leads to the child self-regulating its own behavioral impulses. Shame is the emotion evoked when the child’s arousal state is not confirmed or attuned to by the parent. When this attunement is accompanied by a parent’s anger or some other form of disconnection, the parent fails to soothe the child’s sense of shame thus resulting in a deeper negative sensation that we can refer to as humiliation. The way to cope with humiliation is for the child to experience self-loathing or to strike back in anger to protect the self.

I did not receive good parenting. I was neglected as a child because my single parent mother with nine children was unable to meet my need for loving and supportive attunement.  As a result, I  developed a personality disorder which made it very difficult to relate to others, particularly members of the opposite sex. On the outside, I was a handsome, athletic, and intelligent guy who attracted a lot of female attention, but I was not sexually aggressive or assertive. I was able to maintain heterosexual relationships and eventually married and had four children, but sexually, I found it much easier to relate to men.

In my case, the processes begun during childhood continued into adulthood. Because the emotions constitute the fundamental value system of the brain, I not only subjected myself to the positive or negative energy of others, but I also opened myself up to absorbing their value systems. This led to self-loathing because I could not control my gay impulses which were in direct conflict with my heterosexual and religious family relationships. I  lacked awareness of internal pain or dissatisfaction with my relationships which otherwise might have served to motivate change. I  became very skilled in providing what I thought others wanted, but I did not take care of my own wants and needs. This eventually led to a mental breakdown and divorce.

The good news is the orbitofrontal cortex remains plastic throughout our life time. We cannot change what we have received in the way of parenting, but we can change the way our brain works. The most important relationship we can develop is with our higher self. This creates an internal attunement with our own positive spiritual guide which will always be gentle and will never seek to shame or humiliate. Through the higher self, we can overcome early damage by being aware of our thinking patterns. We ask our higher self to verbally respond to the child within. This allows us to make left hemisphere sense out of right hemisphere emotional feelings and create a sense of order out of our own chaotic  processes. By focusing in on our pain and the cause of our pain, we can bring in the vibrations of our higher self to soothe and rewire those circuits.

By analyzing our relationships, we can then begin to function consciously instead of just reacting subconsciously. We avoid negative relationships and nurture positive ones. Because we are subject to an intense sense of vulnerability and loss, we learn to recognize these feeling and reconnect them to the higher self for soothing. Because we tend to over compensate and recreate ourselves to please others – the chameleon effect – we learn to recognize our own needs, and love, respect and defend ourselves. Because we may have a profound fear of annihilation or abandonment, we recognize our strengths instead of our weaknesses and take time to just be alone with ourselves.

I have learned to attune to my higher self.  Above all I have learned to parent the ego or child within. In the process, I have established the following guidelines that I would like to pass on to you.

My five applications for bisexuals:

1. We look in the mirror each morning and establish loving eye contact.

2. We use our tender voice for self-talk, never condemning or being disappointed in ourselves.

3. We only allow good touches from others.

4. We practice focused attention with ourselves by choosing some activity each day just for us. We create our own sense of purpose and set aside time and space to do the things we really want to do.

5. Above all, we shape our own present and future by developing prospective memory which allows us to imagine, create, and remember a set of future feelings and goals and then set our will or sense of purpose to creating the life we would love to live.

Self-Regulation, Bisexuality, and the Mind

SHIRT & TIE w.out white background (final)I am back in Costa Rica for the winter, a place I came to for refuge twelve years ago. I had had a mental breakdown, got divorced, had to leave the work I loved (but was killing me), took an early retirement. I sought a place of peace, not to put my life back together again because that part of me was dead, but to find the courage and resources to start over again. It has been a long journey with a lot of traumatic ups and downs, but this time in Costa Rica, I know I have arrived.

Self-regulating processes and mindsets are a result of leaning on the parent for attunement and guidance during infancy. This results in a resonance of states of mind by which the parent guides the infant into understanding and regulating their own emotions. As the child advances into early childhood, the reliance on the parent gets replaced by self-regulation with guidance on the side from the parent as needed. For the lucky ones who come through childhood with healthy mental processes, the mind is free to battle through negative emotion, create goals, and pursue them with focus and purpose. The healthy mind can think, act, and evaluate thus modifying mindsets to solve new problems and storing the new strategies in memory to solve similar problems in the future.

But what happens when the parent is abusive or negligent? I was born into a single parent family with nine children and a mother who did not have the resources to help me regulate my emotional needs. I grew up lost and neglected. Because of my childhood, I had no means to resolve the feelings associated with my emotions, so I suppressed them except for an underlying feeling of shame and self-loathing. Due to the power of a very skilled and creative mind, I managed to survive for fifty years until I was overwhelmed by the negative energy in my life. When I crashed, I was diagnosed as having a borderline personality disorder with a sexual addiction related to my suppressed gay side, a clinical depression, and an acute anxiety disorder. I was a mess. Eighteen weeks of intensive therapy at a psych outpatients hospital clinic along with medication gave me renewed energy and a few new coping mindsets. However, it did not solve the problems that were buried in my implicit memories. The shame and self-loathing continued.

The emotionally damaged child continues to face emotions the only way that it knows how, by denial or repression. It is then unable to use the energy from primary emotions to find new ways to resolve the problems it is facing. Again, the old patterns are reinforced and the child believes that negative problems filled with negative emotion cannot be solved. When faced with negative energy, it can only react through fight (anger), flight (fear) or freeze (withdrawal) because it has not learned to involve the left brain rational processes to solve the right brain feeling problem.

The only way out of these dips and dives is to seek a high level of arousal through pleasures such as food, sex, or chemical highs from drugs including our old friends alcohol and marijuana. For a wounded mind, this will inevitably result in addiction or lead to mood disorders like depression with dysfunction in perceptions, memory, beliefs and behaviors. On the other side of the equation, it may result in chronic anxiety with excessive sensitivity to the environment with ever present signals of impending disaster. This person may seek someone to defer control and responsibility and enter a dependency relationship. Again, this is usually a one way street and the significant other tires of the great need for love and acceptance and leaves, thus reinforcing the feelings of isolation and self-loathing. On occasion, he or she may enter a co-dependency relationship which seems to work until both partners are depleted of their energy producing resources.

The common solution is psychotherapy. A skillful therapist provides the external system of processing or restraint for the person who lacks positive sets of self regulating processes. Sounds good but it is far from fool proof. We all go through stages that seem to be cyclical. In other words, our ability to cope will fluctuate. Whenever we feel overwhelmed, the depression or anxiety will reoccur. If we were children we could run to mama or papa for a hug and all would be well again. But as adults we run to our therapist thus creating another cycle of dependency. Medication provides some relief in restoring chemical balance, but it does not lead to a new set of mindsets where we seek purpose and joy.  It simply dulls the pain for awhile and it too can lead to chemical or psychological addiction.

After indulging in these dark and dreary mindsets, I think it is time we look at real solutions. Twelve years ago in a mountain cabina in Costa Rica, I found the way to soothe my mind without therapy or medication. To do that, I had to go beyond the cognitive strategies of my brain and learn to soothe the emotion and right brain processing centers of my mind. Because my mind was still dysfunctional, and because I had no one to run to for attunement and soothing, I had to step outside my mind and seek attunement with the self within my self; the self that was always there ready to listen and hug the child within. When confronted with a negative thought, energy, or feeling, I simply stilled the mind and traced the feeling back to its nonverbal source. I waited there with this feeling until I began to sense a soothing from within. I eventually found a presence there. I let the feeling of my ego flow into this presence thus forming an attunement of my wounded ego with my higher self. I experienced an infinite source of positive energy. I just let it flow. No thinking.  I did not restructure my mind sets with thought but infused them with this positive feeling of well being. I could sense it flooding through my neural pathways connecting the spiritual self with the physical self through the pleasure center of my brain.

This is the one and only lesson that I want to impart through these blogs. Whenever we feel the old feelings return, we can address them immediately before they take root. We can experience a high that results from the flow of our own brain and body chemistry. That’s what the prescription and hard drugs do, but we can get those same feelings without the addiction and side affects. We simply flood our whole minds with this beautiful flow of positive energy until the old negative feeling disintegrates and is replaced with the new. Then, while are brains are clear and overflowing with positive energy, we instruct our minds to seek a solution to the problem at hand. All of a sudden, the solutions with be clear and ridiculously manageable. We will automatically know when and how to pursue or when to walk away without guilt or shame.

If feels good to be back in Costa Rica, much better than the first time. I now live a life of gratitude for my wife of three years, my present flow of abundance, and yes, even for the dark days that brought me here. I have learned to control all the negative energy that comes from negative emotions, and in fact, I have learned to find the positive in, and be thankful for, every negative event that occurs in my life.There is no self-loathing, there is only peace, beauty and the power to live a life that I can love.

My five applications to bisexuality:

1. Our sexual impulses are not a mental illness, a dysfunction, or even a faulty thinking pattern. There should be no negative energy associated with our sexuality. We can turn these negative thoughts over to our higher self. We will find no judgment there.

2. We can enter a state of meditation and go back into past negative  experiences and recognize the positive gift associated with these experiences. We can then experience a feeling of gratitude and bless the people involved.

3. If we have feelings related to neglect and abuse, even to trauma, we do not have to feel gratitude for the actual experience, but we can feel gratitude for the support of our higher self which has allowed us to survive these experiences. We can ask our higher self to reveal the lessons we have learned. Once we get beyond the hurt and pain we can begin to see that we are more than just survivors. We are now more powerful people because of our experiences.

4. We do not stay there locked in the past. We acknowledge the powers that helped us survive and we move on. After this healing process, when triggers bring back the old feeling, we thank the ego for its diligence, and acknowledge that we are now superior to those events, feelings, and the people who caused them, and move on.

5. We learn to live and enjoy. We design the life we want to live and use the power of our beautiful minds to make it happen.

Emotion, Three Types of Energy, and the Self Function of the Mind

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)In this blog, we continue to search for the self within the mind. Neuroscience suggests that the answer may lie within the emotional energy of the brain which is a function of the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex. I am suggesting that the answer lies in “the mind within the mind” that I have been referring to as the higher self, or what others may refer to as soul or spirit. The question we have to ask is, “What is the energy source that drives the mental functions of the mind?”.  I believe that this is probably the most important question we can ask ourselves. When we discover the source of this energy, we can then develop a paradigm that will direct all our beliefs and subsequent actions.

According to neuroscience, the flow of brain or mind energy is generated by the hind brain and mid brain which then flows through the thalamus, hypothalamus, and amygdala. It is then regulated by the orbitofrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate which direct the flow of energy to various neural networks that manifest as states of mind. Importance at any point in time is assigned through emotional intensity thereby regulating the number of neurons that fire and the amount of neurotransmitters released. In essence, this energy then attaches meaning, focuses attention, and activates the appropriate mindset to deal with a given situation, thus creating consciousness. With each new experience the energy is directed into combining this new information into the mind state through an increase in complexity, or an expanded neural network. In other words, this flow of energy directs the self, or it is, in fact, the “self” itself.

This flow of energy through and in the mind is known as emotion. The first type of emotion is primary emotion which regulates arousal and controls the flow of information. The second type of emotion is called categorical. It is what we commonly recognize as the typical emotions like fear, anger, joy etc. These emotions are now at the conscious level and we can name them and describe their associated feelings. We can categorize all the emotions as positive of negative. They seem to operate on a continuum. For example, at one end you may have despair, at the middle primary emotion, and then at the opposite end joy.   The negative emotions involves the sympathetic system which activates the hormones of the body, chief of which are adrenaline and cortisone. The inability to regulate the emotions through the activities of the brain is the source of most of our mental and physical problems.

This takes us to the question of the nature of mind energy itself. The negative energy that comes from negative categorical emotions is destructive and paralyzing. The positive energy that comes from primary and positive categorical emotion is enjoyable and constructive. According to neuroscience, these two sources of energy control and regulate all the other functions of the brain. We seek the positive (joy) and avoid the negative (pain). On first glance, this seems preposterous, that brain energy, the mere transfer of electrochemical impulses, could be the essence of self.  I am suggesting that this emotional energy based function of self does indeed exist within the mind sets of the brain, but it does not function on its own. I believe there is an third type of energy that controls this energy.

Recent scientific studies using space age technology have identified  a low frequency electromagnetic energy (similar to light and sound waves) that emanates from the whole body.  I believe that this energy is the essence of life itself. I believe that this energy controls the electrochemical processes of the brain including the flow of emotion and information. I believe it is the mind within the mind  that activates the conscious state of mind that seems to control and regulate the other states of mind. Above all, this flow of energy is the essence of “will”, the desire and ability to choose. It is not just the brain combining states of mind to forge new pathways, it is the energy of self directing the brain to choose new courses and to make new choices that the brain can then encode in the neural pathways for future reference.

Now the question is, “Why is this so important?’ if we believe that the self is merely an electrochemical flow of energy and information then we are extremely limited in our ability to expand. The idea of self then is a bottom up approach. We are a result of our previous experiences and resulting mindsets, which become rigid and limited over time. We have to battle with those previous mindsets and hope for semi-random combinations regulated by emotion to expand and grow. However, if we believe that we have an energy based spiritual self beyond the confines of the brain then the sky is the limit. We now have the ability to create new neural pathways and to make choices based on our  highest feelings and dreams.

My five applications to bisexuality:

1. Our brains are definitely influenced by past states of mind, many of them containing negative reactions to our gender realities. These reactions have tended to control our ability to a accept ourselves the way we are and to expand and grow. We now have an opportunity to bring our higher self into the picture for healing. We attune with our higher self which is always gentle and supportive.

2. We ask our bodies and our minds to bring up old issues. We then call upon and ask for the support of our higher self. We rest there until we feel the positive energy flow into those memories thus rewiring them with positive feedback. We keep doing this over and over again until those old vibrations of negative energy disappear and are replaced by the positive energy of our higher self.

3. We dream new dreams. We plan a life that will fulfill all our hopes and desires. We make this plan real by providing the minute details of what this life will look life.

4. With the help of our higher self, we allow ourselves to feel what this life will feel like. We hold that feeling and rehearse it daily until the dream becomes a reality.

5. We but aside the old patterns of the brain. I am powerless becomes I am powerful.  I am a worthless failure becomes I am am a beautiful being and I deserve to live the life I want. And above all, I loathe and hate myself becomes I love, and yes, I even like myself. We keep reminding ourselves that we deserve to live the life of our dreams.

Self-Reflection as a Function of the Human Mind

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)Much to my chagrin, I have discovered that science has coined a name or term for my way of thinking, and here I thought I was being creative and original. They call it the homunculus, or the mind within the mind, or by definition, the ghost within the machine. Not a very flattering term, but rather than being insulted, I have chosen to take this opportunity to do some “self” reflection.

According to neuroscience, this process of third thought, which I refer to as the higher self, results from the construction of states of mind that continually evolve according to the nonlinear principle of the Complexity Theory. It is believed that the human brain has constructed a wide variety of saved and stored states of mind. Once a collection of these states are activated by triggers in the environment, they interplay with one another in a random series thus creating new patterns of thought. According to the emergent and recursive principles of complexity, these states are then regulated by a system of internal and external constraints which allows the brain to evaluate, sort, and choose significant elements to build more complex structures within that state. The brain then rebuilds the state by forging new links within the billions of neurons of the brain with its trillions of possible connections. In other words, it is continually refiring and rewiring thus creating greater complexity of thought. The self then is merely a continuous shift in states of mind at any one moment in time. According to these theories, my belief of a higher self is merely an interplay of my own brain’s states of mind fueled by my desire to find purpose beyond the constraints of my brain. There is no overall me, it is just a collection of me’s that are responding simultaneously to my environment. I am not real; I am merely the ghost in the machinery of my brain.

And that is the age old question, isn’t it? Am I merely a biological computer employing a collection of programs simultaneously to somehow arrive at biological intelligence, or am I something more than that? Is every thought I think and every action I undertake merely a response by my brain to the environment? Is it merely creating a state of mind that is seeking for something beyond the horror of living a meaningless life ending in a complete and final death? Honestly, I have to admit – “maybe”. You see, I cannot be positive that I have a spiritual higher self because the scientific evidence is just not there. If I am honest, I have to admit that it is really only a theory. However, if the neuroscientists are honest, they have to admit that all of their intellectual gymnastics can only produce a theory as well. Then we both have to do what all theories require and that is look for evidence to support the theory.

I am suggesting that there is more evidence to support the existence of a pure energy higher self than there is for the brain theory of complexity. There is something inside of me that screams, “I am not just a ghost in the machine!” I am real. I am the presence, the being inside of but also beyond the neural pathways. I can feel me there when I put my brain to rest. I am not a state of mind because I exist outside the mind. I am a powerful energy-based, spiritual being in complete control of my life and yes, to all the naysayers, I am the presence within my brain.

My five applications to bisexuals (and everyone else for that matter):

1. We believe. I am not speaking of a religion; I am referring to believing in and experiencing the power of the energy within us. Whenever we feel that the pressures of this life are overwhelming our tired brain, we just stop the madness of the mind for a moment and just feel the power of that presence within us. We will sense a powerful peace-filled entity there that is the “me”, the “self”.

2. We allow the inner me to be present in our life. We awaken it during meditation each morning, and acknowledge its presence there throughout the day.

3. When we feel an anxiety based tension, we know it is our brain or mind overworking to solve make-believe problems. This is different from the energy tension we need to accomplish the necessary life and work tasks. It is a restlessness. It is the brain that is searching for meaning and purpose. It does not matter how hard we try, the brain cannot solve the problem that itself has created. It will just keep on building more and more complex states of mind. We now simply turn this feeling of restlessness over to the higher self and wait for a response. It will be in the form of a feeling of peace and contentment.

4. If we are struggling with our gender issues, this is merely the brain working over previous states of mind and trying to reconnect them with other mind states that may be stored in implicit or explicit memory. There are no brain based answers to these problems. We merely refer them to our higher self. The gender issues will dissolve immediately. We will feel the contentment of knowing that our bodies need for sexual gratification is merely a biological urge. We can either ignore or act upon it. We do not have to process our actions through the judgment of previous states of mind. That one just goes round and round through the brain without a solution.

5. We seek like-minded sexual partners or mates with whom we can interact without the constraints of states of mind related to blame and shame. We meet the biological needs of our bodies and allow our minds and higher selves to mingle and enjoy each other and allow the positive feelings, and yes, love, to enfold us.