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Emotional Regulation

Most borderline individuals try to regulate emotions by instructing themslves not to feel whatever it is that they feel.

An emotionally invalidating environment mandates that people should smile when they are unhappy, be nice and not rock the boat when they are angry, and confess and feel forgiven when they are feeling guilty.

Masking Emotions

ALL emotions are useful. Good & Bad – Happy & Sad.

More Coming Soon. 

Letting Go Of Emotional Suffering

The best way to get rid of negative and painful emotions is to let them go. But having to let go is extremely difficult. Letting go of emotions is not the same as pushing them away. Fighting pain usually makes it worse. 

Painful emotions are part of the human condition. Once again, DBT assumes that there are valid reasons for negative emotions. Short of making tremendous life changes, people probably cannot get rid of a lot of them. Even then, negative emotions will always be a part of life. The trick is to find a way of relating to negative emotions so that they do not induce so much suffering. The way is through acceptance.

Accepting painful emotions eliminates the suffering, leaving only the pain. At times, acceptance even reduces the pain. Fighting emotions insures that they stay. This is simply a restatement of the principles of mindfulness and of distress tolerance, but these points are extremely important to get across. 

Skill 1: OBSERVE THE EMOTION – Step back and “get unstuck” from the emotion. This skill must be done without judging the observation experience or attaching meaning to the feeling for experience. Distance is crucial for figuring things out and for problem solving.  

Skill 2: EXPERIENCE THE EMOTION – “How is this emotion serving me?” Well, every emotion has a “wave.” As a wave, coming and going – try not to block or suppress the emotion. Open yourself to the flow of the emotion. Don’t push it away, don’t judge it or reject it. Do not try to keep the emotion around, don’t cling to it, rehearse it, hold on to it or amplify it. 

Skill 3: REMEMBER, YOU ARE NOT YOUR EMOTION – This too shall pass. You are NOT your emotion and the emotion will go away if you accept it and don’t try to fight it. Trying to build a wall to keep emotions out always has the effect of keeping emotions in. It also involves that you do not necessarily act on the emotion and reminf yourself there are times when you have felt different. 

Skill 4: PRACTICE LOVING YOUR EMOTIONS – “loving in the context means “acceptance.” Be willing to have them. This does not mean increasing or augmenting them. Don’t judge your emotion and practice willingness (it is what it is) and RADICALLY ACCEPT your emotion. 

Increase Postive Emotions - The Steps

Prior To The Experience

Imagine all the positive things the event might bring you. Experience those feelings in your body. If negative thoughts or feelings arise, notice them but use “Teflon Mind.”

Be Present In The Moment During The Experience

For instance, if you are participating in an event such as dinner with friends or someone’s wedding, etc, try to fully plug into the experience. Try to experience this event with all your senses. Notice all the positive feelings and sensory responses. 

After The Experience

Reflect on the experience and specifically focus on the positive aspects of the experience such as times you smiled and laughed during the experience, positive sensory responses you felt, certain things someone said or did that you experienced as particularly nice or positive. It is a good idea to journal about the experience or do some art work or something that captures the experience. Photographs may be useful here as well. 

Share The Experience With Someone Else

It is important to focus on the feelings, sensory responses and positive aspects of the experience. Communicate those things to the person you are sharing with. 

Several Days Or Even Weeks Later, Reflect On The Experience Again

Either read the journal or look at those photographs, etc. Really try to feel the feelings again that you experienced during the original experience. 

Triggering
Event

Inside & Outside.
The actual event occuring.

Interpretation
of Event

Perception & Thoughts
Brain Changes
Body Changes
Sensory Responses

Action
Urge

What I feel like doing to cope with the negative emotions.

Action
What I Do

After effects of the emotional experience.

Emotions

Primary & Secondary Emotions - within an invalidating environment, can be hard to figure out in the moment. It takes practice.

Example: When a child it hurt and runs to the parent for comfort and attention, the parent says "nothing is wrong... suck it up", it internally tells the child that it is not safe to go to the parent when hurt. It also teaches the child that their feelings are "wrong" and in the future - they will not understand their emotions and want to express them in a healthy way. This leads the child to either resort to anger or isolation.

Typically a quiet borderline will isolate instead of have an angry outburst, resulting in internal anguish and physical pain.

The primary emotion in this case is sadness and the secondary emotion is either anger or isolation.

Understanding Emotions

Emotions are very complex. Emotions involve body changes, such as tensing or relaxing of muscles, changes in blood vessels, flucations in heart rate, skin temperature, etc. The most important changes are in facial muscles. Researchers now think that changes in the facial muscles play a very important role in actually causing emotions. 

Emotions involve sensing. When people have emotional feelings, they are actually sensing their body and brain changes. This is usually what is meant by an “emotional experiance.” 

Thus, when people tell you to quit feeling something, this is kind of silly. It would be like telling you to quit feeling the rain come down on your head. The only way to “quit feeling” it is to divert your attention. Although that is sometimes easy to do, it is sometimes next to impossible. Telling a person with her foot in the burning fire to divert her attention would be kind of silly. 

Every Emotion Has An Urge

Emotions involve action urges. An important function of emotions is to prompt behavior (e.g., fight in anger, flight in fear). Although the action itself is usually not considered part of the emotion, the urge to act is. 

In the case of very complex emotions, interpretations, beliefs, and assumptions may be part of the emotions. For exampls, despair is sadness combined with a belief that things are terrible and will not get better. 

Expressions

One of the most important functions of emotions is to communicate. If it is to fo that, an emotion has to be expressed. The expression of primary or basic emotions is “hard-wired” into human beings. Research shows that in all cultures, the same facil expressions are linked to the same basic emotions. Many actions that express emtions are also hard-wired. 

People can learn to inhibit emotiona expressions or to express them differently. For complex emotions that are learned, the expressions are learned. 

Naming emotions

  • Prompting events & situation
  • Interpretation of the event or situation (i.e., thoughts, assumptions, beliefs)
  • Body responses that are sensed
  • Body language (i.e., face and posture)
  • Verbal Communication of the emotion
  • Action urges & actions taken

By learning to observe/identify your emotions, you learn to be seperate from (not identified as) your emotions and also be one with your emotions. In order to control, you must be seperate from your emotions so that you can think and use coping stategies. You also need to be one with your emotions, in the sense that you identify them as part of yourself and not something outside of you. 

Happy
  • Festive
  • Contended
  • Relaxed
  • Calm
  • Satisfied
  • Joyous
  • Glad
  • Cheerful
  • Surprised
  • Merry
  • Jolly
  • Elated
  • Thrilled
Sad
  • Sorrowful
  • Unhappy
  • Depressed
  • Melancholy
  • Gloomy
  • Quiet
  • Low
  • In the dumps
  • Out of sorts
  • Discouraged
  • Disappointed
  • Chocked up
  • Ashamed
  • Useless
  • Worthless
Afraid
  • Timid
  • Shaky
  • Fearful
  • Terrified
  • Panicky
  • Tragic
  • Alarmed
  • Cautious
  • Shocked
  • Insecure
  • Inpatient
  • Nervous
  • Worried
  • Dismayed
  • Soared
  • Cowardly
  • Threatened
  • Appalled
  • Petrified
Eager
  • Keen
  • Earnst
  • Intent
  • Zealous
  • Anxious
  • Excited
  • Proud
Hurt
  • Injured
  • Isolated
  • Offended
  • Distressed
  • Pained
  • Suffering
  • Afflicted
  • Worried
  • Aching
  • Crushed
  • Heartbroken
  • Despair
  • Lonely
  • Pathetic
  • Upset

Feelings Make Us Human

— and are all needed
Happy

Happy

Sad

Sad

Mad

Mad

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I am resilientsmartbravefierce

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