Borderline Personality Disorder , Bisexuality, and Suicide

(Because of the high correlation between bisexuality and borderline personality disorder we are continuing to look at some of the traits that we may possess and ways to use these traits to not only survive but to thrive.)

Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity – Depressivity: Thoughts of suicide and suicidal behavior.        

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

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

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

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

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

Mt Five Suggestions for Bisexuals with BPD

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Bisexuality and BPD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Genetics? Maybe? Maybe Not

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

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

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

Bisexuality and Feelings of Inferior self-worth

Because of the high correlation between bisexuality and borderline personality disorder we are continuing to look at some of the traits that we may possess and ways to use these traits to not only survive but to thrive.

Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity – Depressivity: Feelings of inferior self-worth (DSM5)

Perhaps the most defining trait associated with BPD is a feeling of inferior self-worth. To get a better understanding of self-worth for us bisexuals with this BPD trait we want to take a look at two studies that show how our inferior feelings may differ from others.

                Lynum and others[1] compared self-esteem in patients with avoidant personality disorder (APD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD) using the Index of Self Esteem. Subjects from both disorders had self-esteem levels associated with clinical problems. Patients with higher levels of depression reported lower levels of self-esteem in both groups. Hedrick and Berlin[2] looked at the difference in feelings of self-worth with 18 subjects with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and 18 subjects with depersonalization disorder (DPD) using the Implicit Association Test. They discovered that BPD participants had significantly lower self-esteem and less self-directedness and cooperativeness. They also had higher harm probabilities and impulsivity.

The first study states the obvious; we share feelings of inferior self-worth with other personality disorder groups; however our low self-esteem is clinical in nature and often associated with depression.  When we apply this to our bisexuality we see an easy blame target for our inferior feelings. We are often consciously or perhaps subconsciously feeling we are somehow lesser human beings because of our bisexuality.  This feeling has its roots in low self-esteem that seems to be part of our sometimes warped and twisted self-concept and may have the potential to lead to dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns. The study by Hedrick and Berlin is particularly interesting as it sheds more light on the nature of this pathological trait.  It would appear that those of us bisexuals with BPD have a deeper sense of unworthiness leading to difficulty making good life decisions.  This lack of self-worth appears to make us more defensive often leading to conflicts with others. We tend to say to hell with caution and just barrel ahead with unsafe sexual experiences often leading to dangerous and self-defeating behaviors. If it goes unchecked, it may eventually lead to high risk and self-harm behaviors.

So what can we take from these studies? First and foremost, it places feelings of unworthiness and the core of our self-defeating behaviors at a clinical level. The flip side, again, is that at this point it is just a trait and traits can be changed by changing our thought patterns before they become behavior patterns. Secondly, it narrows our focus. Instead of looking at all the dysfunctional behaviors, we can focus on one issue – improving our self-concept.

I suggest the following:

1. Instead of letting your sexual desires dictate feelings of inferior self-worth, you can look at your sexuality as a gift. You have no inhibitions or limitations. You can find sexual pleasure with men or women.

2. Being bisexual is more than just sexual freedom. You can also look at the other aspects of your personality. As bisexuals we often are creative. Many of us are dancers, poets or artists. We can see the world in a different way and pass our insights on to our fellow human beings. Make a list of your gifts and post it somewhere to remind yourself just how amazing you are.

3. Meditate for at least fifteen minutes each day. During mediation focus your attention on a positive aspect of your body or your life and become mindful of how amazing this gift is. Do not rationalize it. Just develop a feeling of profound gratitude and appreciation and let that positive vibration occupy your whole mind and body.

4. Begin to see yourself as special. When you look in the mirror look yourself in the eye and keep looking until you feel appreciation for the person you are.

5. Beings gay or lesbian is not a matter of choice, but being bisexual is. We can choose whom we love and whom we want to be with. We can choose to have monogamous relationships with either a man or a women or we can choose to live alone or with an understanding partner and have different relationships with different people. Celebrate your ability to choose. Begin to structure your life to reflect this new self-concept. Determine what you really want and make a plan to create the kind of life you truly want to live.


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

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

Bisexuality and Shame

We continue to look at the psychology of bisexuality and its link to borderline personality disorder.

Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity – Depressivity: Pervasive shame (DSM5).

            Over the years in writing this blog, I keep coming back to the role of shame in borderline personality disorder, and each time I get a deeper understanding of the role shame has played in my life. Even though I have learned to survive and even thrive with BPD, there are still moments when my mind recreates a moment of shame from my past and the full emotional load of that shame expresses itself throughout my body.  Unfortunately, most of my shame involves my same-sex tendencies and experiences preventing me from enjoying by beautiful mind and body. So let’s take another look at what science is now saying about shame.

            First of all let’s look at the neuropathways involved in shame. Michl and others (1) employed functional magnetic resonance imaging with 14 healthy subjects while using shame-related and neutral stimuli. They found that shame involved activations in the frontal lobe in the medial and inferior frontal gyrus. During the imagination of shame, frontal and temporal lobes were responsive regardless of gender. They concluded that frontal, temporal, and limbic areas play a prominent role in the generation of moral feelings. So why is this important? My take is that the human brain is designed to help us stay within the protection of our family and in line with our group norms. In other words, shame is part of the normal physical make-up of our human brain that helps us grow and take our place in society. Unfortunately our bisexuality can be a major source of shame if we let society’s biased norms affect our sense of shame. But we are no longer children; we are adults, and we can take control of our shame mechanisms.

            The question is then – what goes wrong with the normal shame mechanism in those of us bisexuals with BPD that results in a pathological trait? An overactive shame mechanism can take two paths – self-loathing and/or anger. Brown and others (2) looked at the relationship of shame with self-inflicted injury (SII) among 77 women with borderline personality disorder. They used self-reported shame and nonverbal shame behaviors involving recent episodes of SII. They found that self-reported state shame and assessor ratings of shame were associated with prospective SII, but not after controlling for other emotions. The last part of that is interesting. This suggests that shame by itself is manageable for those of us bisexuals with BPD as long as we do not allow it to activate the amygdala and other emotional responses. This suggest that shame that involves emotional episodes may be responsible for self-injury and suicidal behavior.  On the other hand, there is hope if we take steps to deal with the emotional overload.

            The other side of the shame-coin is uncontrolled anger where the person with BPD directs the shame outward instead of inward. Scot and others (3) focused on associations between BPD symptoms, shame, and anger-related behaviors (hostile irritability) in adolescent girls using ecological momentary assessment. They discovered that greater BPD symptoms of shame were associated with more hostile irritability but only in the case of girls of average socioeconomic status (not receiving public assistance). Again this suggests an interesting side-bar to this study. We can surmise that adolescents who receive public assistance may be getting support and counselling to help them deal with the emotional issues surrounding outbursts of anger. They concluded that shame may be a key clinical target in the treatment of anger-related difficulties among adolescent girls with BPD symptoms. When it comes us bisexuals, we often turn that anger inward.

            Fortunately, all is not lost. Recent studies have shown it is possible to reduce shame about a specific event over a short period of time. Through constructive psychology practices, we can bring attention to the event causing the shame and learn to dissect and cope with the event before it is emotionally loaded and locked into long term memory.

My five suggestions for bisexuals with BPD:

1. Embrace the shame. When shame occurs, instead of trying to fight it, let it flow. This will take you out of the sympathetic mode and give you time to process the circumstances involved with the shame.

2. In processing the shame, involve the body as well as the brain. Vocalize it with a mantra. I like to use the words, “There is no blame; there is no shame. There is only love for myself and for….” If you are having difficulty doing that, find a friend, someone you trust, who will listen without judgement and who will let you process the situation and the thought patterns without interrupting.

3. In cases of habitual shame, journal it. This adds another constructive body and brain modality. Enter a state of relaxation and let that flow into a state of mindfulness. Record your thoughts on paper as they are formulated in your mind. Be sure to continue the process until you come to the resolution where there is no blame; there is no shame.

4. If your shame leads to anger, first of all, let me say that anger is better than self-loathing. But it still needs to be addressed. Do not let your mind turn shame into anger at yourself. Again, get control of the feelings. Practice deep breathing until you feel calm. Then process the situation. If it involves anger because you have given in to your impulses, give yourself room to explore and enjoy your sexual impulses for what they are. Try to figure out where the shame is coming from. Remember you are an adult and you are free to make your own decisions.

5. If you find that you cannot control your shame mechanisms and that you are thinking of harming yourself, get professional help. Find a psychologist or psychiatrist that employs constructive psychology practices.

(1) Michl, Petra; Meindl, Thomas; Meister, Franziska; Born, Christine; Engel, Rolf R.; Reiser, Maxililian; and Hennif-Fast, Kristina. Neurobiological underpinnings of shame and guilt: a pilot fMRI study. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience; Vol 9. 2014. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nss114

(2) Brown, Milton Z.; Linehan, Marsha M.; Comtois, Kathryn Anne; Murray, Angela; and Chapman, Alexander L.. Shame as a prospective predictor of self-inflicted injury in borderline personality disorder: A multi-modal analysis. Elsevier, Behavior Research and Therapy, Vol 47. 2009.

(3) Scott, L. N., Stepp, S. D.; Hallquist, M. N.; Whalen, H. J.; Wright, A. G. C.; and Pilkonis, P, A. . Daily shame and hostile irritability in adolescent girls with borderline personality disorder symptoms. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment. 2015. https://doi.org/10.1037/per0000107

 

Bisexuality, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Pessimism

We continue to look at the psychology of bisexuality and its link to borderline ersonality disorder. Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity – Depressivity: Pessimism about the future (DSM5)

            There is a phenomena called the Law of Attraction. If we think positive thoughts, good things happen. If we think negative thoughts, we invite bad things into our lives. As bisexuals with BPD traits, our feelings are often based on a poor self-image and the belief that we are unworthy of attracting good things into out lives. Our feelings create our thoughts; our thoughts create our actions; and our actions create the pessimistic lives we inadvertently choose to live.

             Korn and others[1] designed a research study in which 21 BPD patients and 79 controls predicted the outcomes in 45 adverse life events. The BPD patients first demonstrated more pessimism, but like the controls, became more positive after receiving further information about the life events.

            Let’s break this down into the two aspects of the trait of pessimism for those of us with BPD. First of all it shows once again our tendency to view life negatively. This creates negative energy which places us automatically in a defensive fight or flight mental framework. This in turn causes us to see life as a threat filled with negative consequences for most of our actions. This can lead to a tendency to slip into the helplessness and hopelessness of depression. The good part of this study is that this is merely a trait, we can overcome our pessimistic outlook by learning as much as we can about ourselves, our traits, and the possible positive outcomes of future events in our lives. We begin to focus on the positive. We change the Law of Attraction so that it begins to work for us instead of against us.

            I recently read an article by Emily Esfahani[2] in which she refers to a series of studies by psychological researcher Shelly Gable and her colleagues where they brought young adult couples into a lab to discuss recent positive events from their lives (unfortunately I was unable to find the original articles). They found that couples responded to each other’s good news in four different ways that they labelled as: passive destructive, active destructive, passive constructive, and active constructive. They noticed that people who were focused on criticizing their partners missed approximately 50 percent of positive things their partners were doing and they saw negativity when it was not there. By interviewing these same people two months later, they discovered that people who deliberately ignored their partner or responded passively damaged the relationship by making their partner feel minimized and unheard. People who treated their partners with contempt and criticism destroyed the love in their relationship, but they also hampered their partners’ ability to fight off viruses and cancers. They concluded that being mean is the death knell of relationships. However, they also discovered that the more someone receives or witnesses kindness, the more they will be kind themselves, which leads to a mentally and physically healthier relationship. I think we can conclude that when we employ active constructive responding it frees us to change our outlook from pessimistic to positive which in turn lets us savor our partner’s joy and gives us an opportunity to grow positive bonds.

                I know it is difficult for those of us bisexuals with BPD to break these pessimistic outlook patterns, but by simply practicing Active Constructive Thinking, specifically generosity and kindness, we can begin to change and pour new life into our relationships. If we truly love the person we are with, we need to stop focussing on the probable loss of our life-partners and begin to appreciate them for who they are in the present. In reality we do not live in the past or the future; we live in the present. We need to keep our focus on what is happening around us and in our relationship in the now and begin to see, appreciate, and communicate our joy in their successes and our sorrow in their losses. Secondly we can stop beating ourselves up because of our same sex attractions. Our bisexuality is a tremendous gift that lets us see the complexity and beauty of sexuality and the role it plays in our sense of self and well-being.

Here are my five suggestions for Borderliners:

1. Embrace your pessimism. It is a part of your genetic makeup and your early life experiences. It is part of you. Recognize it for what it is. It is merely the tendency to see the possible negative outcomes of an action. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it can be a good thing that can keep you from doing things that could have disastrous consequences. In other words, think positively about your pessimism.

2. Think positively about your bisexuality. It is what it is. Begin to look at it as a gift instead of a burden. Begin to notice your feelings, your desires, and why you have those desires. This is mainly a desire to connect with another human beings and to share the joys of sexual union.

3. Avoid the one night stand, the rushed hook-ups, and the anonymous encounters. Have sex with a person with a face and a heart instead of just a genital organ. Seek out people with whom you can have regular heart to heart relationships. Do not be afraid of these relationships. They are probably having the same hopes and fears that you have.

4. Make a conscious positive decision on how you want to live your life. Focus on the potential joys rather than the possible fears and losses.

5. If you have a secret second life, do not let the one destroy the other. Enjoy each relationship for what it is. If you have a life partner, begin to listen to what they say and try to recognize the feelings behind their words. Just the fact that you are truly listening will begin the healing process. Pay special attention to their positive feelings and actions. Celebrate their victories. Invite them into celebrating the joy of the positive things in your life.


[1] Korn, Christopher w.; Rosee, Liobala; Heekeren, Hauk R.; and Roepke, Stefan. Processing of information about future life events in borderline personality disorder. Psychiatry Research. 2016, Pages 719-724

[2] Esfahani, Emiily. Sciencesays lasting relationships come down to – you guessed it – kindness and generosity. The Atlantic. 2014.


Bisexuality, Borderline Personality, and Hopelessness

We are continuing to explore the relationship between borderline personality disorder (BPD) and bisexuality.  I realize that many of you have accepted your sexual orientations and are very comfortable with it. Enjoy. However, research suggests that 30% to 50% of us have BPD issues. So when you meet someone who is struggling with their bisexuality, this may help you understand them better.

Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity – Depressivity: Frequent feelings of being down, miserable, and/or hopeless;

In one study[1] about 83% of patients with BPD also met criteria for major depressive disorder. People with major depression disorder typically have feelings of sadness or guilt whereas depression in people with BPD seems to be associated with feelings of anger, deep shame, loneliness, and emptiness and is often triggered by interpersonal issues.  In the case of bisexuality and BPD, people often put on a positive front when they are with other people from the LGBQT community or with their families but suffer extreme guilt and shame when they are alone with their own inner feelings. This can lead to depression and suicidal behavior.     

This trait from the DSM 5 sounds hopeless doesn’t it? Literally. However at this point it is just a trait and not an impairment. I think it is safe to say that most of us have difficulty with mood swings and when we feel down we usually feel the situation is hopeless. Some of us have learned to control this trait and have learned to take steps to get us out of this mood before it becomes a disorder. I think the terms being down, miserable and hopeless need some further explanation.

Being down is defined as “being in a weaker or worse position, mood, or condition.” Interestingly the dictionary also includes “express strong dislike of a specified person or thing”. First of all, let me say that in the case of those of us  bisexuals with BPD, the down with phrase usually is referring to ourselves and usually because or inability to cope with our sexuality. We are so ready to devalue and blame ourselves for not being able to control our impulses. The second part is also telling. We definitely feel inferior because of our gay or lesbian tendencies so we assume that our sexuality is to blame for everything that goes wrong.  We often overreact by harboring huge amounts of guilt.

Miserable is an entirely different kettle of fish. It refers to being extremely unhappy or uncomfortable. It again is usually based on our sexuality. We often feel small or inadequate. Hopelessis closely related to being miserable. It is a feeling of despair about having these impulses and not being able to control them. We feel inadequate and incompetent in meeting the expectation of being good husbands or wives, or mothers and fathers, resulting in shame or self-loathing. Hopelessness sets in. So what can we do about it?

My Five Suggestions for bisexual borderliners

1. First of all acknowledge that you are a bisexual with this borderline personality trait. You accept it for what it is. It is a predisposition to feelings of being down, being miserable, and hopelessness. Your bisexuality is also part of your genetic predisposition. This is who you are. You can’t change it. You accept it for what it is.

2. You also realize that you are no longer that child. You are an adult in complete control of your emotions and feelings. Your brain, by nature, has a lot of neuroplasticity. You can change your brain patterns by changing your thinking patterns. You can learn to accept your sexual tendencies and make conscious decisions on either exploring and enjoying them or just recognizing these tendencies without acting upon them.  Remember it is always okay to enjoy your sexuality. It is always a choice you can make without guilt and shame.

3. If you have a life partner and children. You have some difficult decisions to make. Make them rationally. Do not let feeling of guilt and shame affect your power to choose what is best for the whole you.

4. Do a self-analysis. Every time you feel down, miserable, or hopeless, because of your bisexuality write it down and look at the situation that brought about these feelings.  Then use your active imagination to go back into that situation and handle it by being in charge emotionally and resolve it with the positive approach and outcome. Then, if possible, go back to the situation and do it right this time.

5. Chart your progress and celebrate your successes. As time goes by you will find that you are getting better at dealing with your feelings. Be patient with yourself. It probably took twenty plus years to develop these patterns so give yourself the right to make mistakes and slip back into old patterns from time to time. Reassess; make amends; and keep on going.


[1] Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault; and Steven Gans, MD . A Guide to When BPD and Depression Occur Together. Verywell Mind. , 2020.  https://www.verywellmind.com/bpd-and-depression-425421

Wives of Bisexual Men

The following is an except from the book my dear wife has written called When Life Has Other Plans. In it she describes her feelings when I told her I was bisexual:

 

Unexpected Circumstances

Then one day Lawrence disappeared without saying good-bye. I received an email stating that he was on his journey back home to the East coast. Crossing Canada by car, in March, seemed a bit crazy to me and thoughts of having been conned, again, started to creep into my mind. Didn’t I know our connection had been too good to be true? I had a precognition about some kind of trauma coming my way.

Sure enough, when Lawrence was back home, he sent me an email with the first chapter of a book he was planning to write. The contents hit me like a ton of bricks: Lawrence indicated that he was bisexual and living in a platonic relationship with another man. Just my luck! I had fallen in love with gay men before, but they had all been honest about it. Lawrence claimed he had been afraid to bring it up during our wonderful time together and that I would have rejected him for it. A thought he couldn’t bear because he cared so deeply for me!

I was left to struggle with all this information and no opportunity to clarify many of the questions I had, such as how come he had been married to a woman for 33 years, had two children with her – when he was gay. (In those days I didn’t know anything about bisexuality.) He asked me not to phone the house, so as not to make his partner suspicious, therefore we could only email. 

Feeling inconsolable and bereft I didn’t know where to turn with this delicate information. I called some friends who were a lesbian married couple. I wanted their input, but they could only recommend to keep calm and encouraged me to see what would develop. I was shaken to the core to have found someone so compatible and now out of my reach again. 

That’s when my spiritual practices and personal growth work started to pay off. I noticed that I could no longer sink as low as I had in the past, since I now had solid ground under my feet and contact with my Higher Consciousness. I wasn’t going to give my hard-earned power away again.  

***

As a bisexual man I still have gay desires from time to time but I have learned to control them for the sake of the love I now share with this woman. Honesty is at the core of our relationship. I can share all my thoughts and feelings with the woman I love. My advice to other bisexual men and women is to first be honest with yourself and then with all the important people in your life.

For more information about how my wife handled the situation I recommend you read her book:

Dorothea L. Gordon B.A. M.Ed.

    

Bisexuality and Separation Insecurity

Due to the high positive correlation between bisexuality and Borderline Personality Disorder, we are attempting to get a better understanding of the pathological traits listed in the DSM 5 and how they affect our lives as bisexuals.

DSM5 – Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity – separation insecurity: fears of rejection by – and/or separation from – significant others

We have already looked at fear of abandonment as a pathological impairment. In other words, the fear of being abandoned impairs our ability to function normally in society or may lead to mental disorders. When we look at this as a trait, we are still functioning but we have a tendency to consider abandonment or rejection in our decision making; that is, we have a neurological pathway or mind state or belief that we automatically pass through as part of our decision making. So let’s take a closer look at this as a trait.

Zanarini (2009)[1] obtained data from 77 female subjects with acute BPD, 15 with remitted BPD, and 75 healthy controls. They were assessed using the Rejection Sensitivity Questionnaire, the short version of the Borderline Symptom List, the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Zanarina discovered that all the BPD patients, including those in recession, had higher scores on rejection sensitivity, which correlated with lower self-esteem. Childhood maltreatment did not appear to be a factor. She concluded that rejection sensitivity is an important component in BPD, even for remitted BPD patients, and that the level of self-esteem appears to be a relevant factor in the relationship between rejection sensitivity and BPD symptom severity.

So what does this mean in plain English? First, we must realize that this study equates “real or imagined abandonment” with “rejection sensitivity”.  In other words, we are hypersensitive to any indication of possible rejection from significant others. Secondly, we can conclude that these fears are related to our low self-esteem. Thirdly, stepping outside the boundaries of this study, we can conjecture that these negative thinking patterns are possibly connected to some genetic predisposition coupled with early childhood social-emotional experiences, rather than physical maltreatment. We can further conjecture, based on past studies of the human brain (Michl and others, 2014)[2], that these feelings are possibly related to mechanisms of shame located in the anterior cingulate cortex and the parahippocampal gyrus both found in the temporal lobes. Again, with further conjecture, we see that the temporal lobes are responsible for the processing of language and the emotions attached to the delivery of words.

Sorry, that was not plain English, was it? Let’s try again. In other words we are wired to be sensitive to signs of rejection. We particularly look for body language and verbal tones to see how things are going. If our partners show any sign of disapproval we immediately experience levels of anxiety. It is important to us that significant others continuously demonstrate approval. We aim to please. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on the levels of latent shame and anxiety. At this point, it is still a trait but if we do not deal with this trait it can become an impairment and lead to a warped relationship. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. We create a situation where our worst fears become a reality. We may behave is a way that will result in being  abandoned so that we can bring closure and an end our anxieties.

Now let’s apply this to our bisexuality. As bisexuals, especially us male bisexuals, there is an obvious problem here. We hide our gay and lesbian tendencies because we fear rejection and separation from those who are important in our lives. This begins with a low self-esteem; we are basically insecure. We need the affirmation of others to provide us with a sense of security. This begins with our parents. If they show any sign of disapproval for gay or lesbian activities, we then have to hide our same-sex impulses. That means we seek what appears to be “normal” friendships with same-sex friends, and pursue heterosexual relationships to hide our gay and lesbian tendencies. We usually end up married in what appears to be a ‘normal” heterosexual relationship. Because we are bisexual, there are no problems having sexual relationships with our spouses and we end up as mothers or fathers and a complicated life style. We cannot risk being rejected by those we love so we continue to hide our tendencies. If we cannot control our same-sex desires, we are a tragedy just waiting to happen.

The obvious solution is to get rid of the anxieties related to our sexual desires and our need for security.

My Suggestion for Bisexuals

  1. Be honest with yourself and your loved ones. Dishonesty is a major source of anxiety. Living with constant anxiety and negative energy from your emotions will literally kill you.
  2. Do an inventory of your impulses. Do your same sex desires come from an unhealthy need or are they based on honest and healthy expression of your heart and body?
  3. Above all stop living with constant fear and anxiety. Get rid of the need to please others. In order to live a healthy life, you have to learn that you are the most important person in your life. You are the only one you really have to please. You may have to make some difficult decisions about your sexuality. Whatever you decide, make sure it is for you and not to please others.
  4. Remember you are bisexual. You can go either way. If your joy truly comes from your family situation, make a deal with yourself. Recognize that you have both desires. Give yourself permission to have both desires and make a conscious decision to choose your heterosexual situation.
  5. If your same sex desires are so powerful that you do not want to live without them you will have to make a deal with your life-partner. If they cannot live with your bisexuality you have to be prepared to separate.

[1] Zanarini, Mary C. Reasons for Change in Borderline Personality Disorder (and Other Axis II Disorders). HHS Author Manuscripts. Psychiatry Clinic North Am. 2008

[2] Michl, Petra; Meindl, Thomas; Meister, Franziska; Born, Christine; Engel, Rolf, R; Reiser, Maximilian; and Henning-Fast, Kristine. Neurobiological underpinnings of shame and guilt: a pilot fMRI study. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2014,

 

Fears of Falling Apart

Due to the high positive correlation between bisexuality and Borderline Personality Disorder, we are attempting to get a better understanding of the pathological traits listed in the DSM 5 and how they affect our lives as bisexuals.

DSM5 – Trait Seven – Fears of falling apart or losing control

What We Know

I haven’t been able to find any research data on this trait so I am just going to wing it using the case study of one – myself. Losing control can mean many things to people with BPD. The obvious one for those of us who have anger issues is, of course, losing control of our anger and hurting someone. To others, it may be going over the edge of sanity and never coming back.  Mine is much simpler than that. It was fear of losing control of my life.

In order to survive in this world, I had to cross all the ‘t’s and dot all the ‘i’s. As a child, I had no father and my mother was emotionally absent. That meant I had to nurture and take care of myself. I was a perfectionist, not so others would admire and love me, but so that I could have a plan and work to the plan. I was taking care of myself. During childhood, I compartmentalized myself. In my sports activities the goal was to be better than everyone else. Same applied to academics. Same applied to love. Whatever I did I had to master it, to control it.

The fear behind it was not specifically losing control, it was falling apart. Because I did not have a firm foundation of being loved and therefore loving myself, I was always on shaky ground. That meant conforming to not only the expectations of others but also to the god I had created.  There was no room for error. I not only could not commit adultery but I could not even think about committing adultery. I could not just get a 90% on a paper; it had to be 100 %. If I could not live up to my own impossible expectations then that meant I had failed, and failure meant I was no longer in control. Not being in control meant my world would fall apart.

And what does falling apart exactly MEAN. It meant never being able to complete those circuits in my brain. Never feeling the serotonin soothing after the dopamine rush. It meant never being able to experience the feeling of my accomplishments, activities, and relationships going through the pleasure center of my brain. No endorphins, no healing from that pain that was deep inside my soul. Falling apart meant giving up. It meant that suicide was always there as a possibility. It was the ultimate solution if I could not eventually break through to the other side.

So how did this affect my bisexuality? Well that’s a long sad story.  Because of my feeling that the person I had created needed to survive, that meant I could not risk exposing my sexuality to the people in my life. That meant I had to keep it all secret. If anyone found out, then my whole world would fall apart, the world that I had built as a straight successful human being. That meant that I had to hide in a heterosexual world with a heterosexual wife and heterosexual children. This life was the only life I knew. I felt it was the closest I would ever get to that place of contentment and safety. I had determined in my mind that if this secret would ever come out, that would be the end of life as I knew it, that I would end the miserable life once and for all.

The good news is that when my life did crash, I did not have the courage to kill myself. That meant my old life was dead but I was still alive and free to build a new one, the one I have now. Yes, there is a good life just waiting to be discovered after this old life comes to an end. When we become conscious healthy human beings, sexuality is just there for pleasure. Coming out or being thrown out is not the end of the world. It is the beginning of truly being alive. It is the end of the fears of falling apart.

 

Stay tuned to the next blog for lessons I have learned and my suggestions to cope with this pathological trait.