The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health describes Borderline Personality Disorder as “an illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior. People with borderline personality disorder may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety that can last from a few hours to days.”
If you are reading this you probably already know that.
Being criticized, marginalized or otherwise treated negatively can easily trigger strong emotions and behaviors in people who have BPD.
Conversely, being treated in a supportive, understanding and caring manner can help calm and even prevent negative emotions and actions.
Krissy, who has lived experience with BPD, describes what that’s like:
Supportive acknowledgement of a person’s emotional difficulties is a key element in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Marsha Linehan’s innovative approach to treating BPD, She calls it validation.
The Good News Network (GNN), an online provider of positive news and information, recently reported the results of a study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University that looked into whether validation could improve negative emotional states like anger, loneliness and depression and promote positive states of mind instead.
The team found that validating responses were, in fact, effective in soothing heightened arousal, reducing emotional reactivity, enhancing self-respect, and building closeness in relationships, They also noted that Invalidating response can cause the exact opposite to occur, giving rise to dysregulated emotions and extreme behaviors, two hallmark traits associated with BPD.
In the article study leader Jennifer Cheavens, PhD, points out that “We have underestimated the power of positive emotions. We spend so much time thinking about how to remedy negative emotions, but we don’t spend much time thinking about helping people harness and nurture positive emotions.
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