Catastrophizing – Exaggerating the situation, making it seem more catastrophic than it actually is.

This can be a scary experience for someone with BPD. Believing situations are worse than they are can cause anxiety. But also thinking that things like conversations are going to go terribly wrong and that the situation is going to result in an argument or that things are going to be said. Imagining the situation to go many ways, but focusing on the worst way.

An over reaction of the situation can cause those around you to react saying things such as “yeah what ever” “your looking too deep into it” “don’t be so stupid” “stop being so negative all the time” “gosh be positive will you”. Catastrophizing can take a lot of energy and time, as focusing on the worst means there isn’t any time to see the best case scenarios. This is exhausting for the person with BPD and the people around them.

The loved ones and those close to the person with bpd are often most attacked. Situations that arise that normally wouldn’t cause any reactions are blown out of proportion. Loved ones can be told that they are cheating even without any evidence, or just because their loved one spoke to someone of the other sex. Friends can be accused of ignoring the person with BPD and can come under attack because the person started off thinking that they are ignoring them, then that they don’t want to talk to them, then start texting said friend, without thinking of the consequences then thinking of what could happen in result of the text, then thinking oh god what if I’ve just ruined the friendship, and start thinking about rejection.

Catastrophizing can also come from small thoughts. For example, watching the news and someone got raped in a daylight attack, this can cause a person with BPD to then start thinking, one thought can lead to another which leads to another and before you know it, they believe that they are going to be raped, all within a few minutes. This can lead to fear and paranoia. Should I go out every again, and start judging every man around them. Even leading to shouting to all men, I know what you are and if you come near me I will scream.

Recognising a person with BPD that they are catastrophizing events and situations, that they are coming to conclusions that are very unlikely and quite possibly will not happen, is vital in helping them to deal with it with the support of those around them. Listening to their concerns and helping them work through what they are thinking, is it justified? If so then fine, but if not, work through the thought process without judgement.

There are many cognitive distortions, the few that are listed are often experienced by people with BPD.

Black and white thinking – All or nothing, splitting using terms such as always, never and every. no shades of grey.
Overgeneralisation – Making conclusions on a single bit of evidence, using this evidence to form new conclusions that if it happens once that it is going to happen again and again.
Catastrophising – Making larger conclusions about an event, that something worse is going to happen. seeing things on a larger scale and being unable to see the situation in any other aspect. Making experiencing the event most unpleasant as possible.
Emotional Reasoning – Believing emotions are facts. Basing the situation on negative emotions, thinking something is true because of the emotions.
Should Statements – “should” is doing or expecting others to do something whether or not it is a correct thing to do. A person “should” have been on time, no matter what.
Blaming – holding others personally for taking responsibility of the situation and not taking any responsibility of their actions and behaviours
Always being right – Putting self before others feelings.
Mind reading – Using another persons thoughts and actions to predict their own thoughts and beliefs. Expecting the worse without actually speaking to said person.
Fortune Telling – Believing that due to past events that the same is going to happen again. negative thoughts and events. Being sure that something is going bad is going to happen for anything happens.

I believe this post will be about rejection and associated fears.

This is the situation I have had today. I text a friend this morning asking if she would like to come over this afternoon. I got no response, so when I see that she is with her other friend, I got very upset and sent an angry text message to her. Instantly regretting it once I had sent it. At the same time my Care Coordinator arrived with someone else from the team shadowing her. We discussed what had happened, my care co was sure that things would be ok, I wasn’t so sure. I felt she didn’t want to be around me. Through the session I received a text message back, fearing what it would say I read it and it was a really nice message. My friend said about the signal in her home. Instantly I burst into tears. I had completely forgotten that she has rubbish signal. I felt and still do feel guilty. All I want to do right now is bombard her with texts saying I’m sorry. I don’t want to hurt her or lose her as a friend.

I know the skills so that this sort of incident doesn’t happen, but I didn’t use it, instead I let emotional mind get the better of me.

This is what I should have done.

-look at all possible scenarios and reasons, like she hadn’t received the text, that she was busy and had read the text but forgotten about it, that she didn’t have signal.
-not send the text that I did, instead asking if she had received the text this morning and if she was up to coming round
-radically accept that the possible scenarios do happen and that even if she didn’t want to be around me, that that is ok too.

This is what I am doing now.

-writing this post so that others can see my mistake and my workings through using a mini chain analysis.
-not bombarding my friend with texts
-accepting that what happened, happened.
-using mindfulness to help reduce the strength of some emotions I am currently feeling.

Why is it that we feel guilty for doing something good about ourselves, whether it be doing something simple as getting bathed and dressed in the morning even pushing to put a little make up on, or whether it be going out with friends. This past weekend I went out with friends on our boat. I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the time. But now I’m feeling guilty.

We can accept all the negative emotions, everything bad, after all that is what we believe we deserve. But having something good happen to us and we are out of our comfort zone. How can someone be nice to us. We don’t know how to respond. Not being judged and being allowed to be ourselves seems a dream to us, so when actually that dream does come true your left thinking that its not going to last, and thus the rejection fears become strong.

Feeling emotions that are positive in nature can feel somewhat alien to ourselves. Its scary to feel something good. We know crying and sadness, but happiness and laughter, they can be strange. A day where we actually feel good about ourselves, we wish would stay but we know that the likelihood is that the happy feeling wont even last the day where our moods can be so volatile.

Taking some time to step out of the situation has helped me, so try to look at the situation through someone else’s eyes. Ask yourself why shouldn’t I be happy? I deserve to be happy. I am good, people do like me, I am a likeable person. In DBT this is part of cheerleading exercise. Thoughts are not facts, so next time your mind jumps to a conclusion do this exercise and see how it helps you.

What this represents to myself.

As many with BPD, I suffer with black and white thinking. I struggle to see the whole picture, at least not until its too late.

I put people on very unrealistically high pedestals. These people are then never going to reach my expectations and of course when the realisation of this occurs I am left feeling rejected, even though this perceived rejection is completely unfounded, the whole situation has been made up in my head. but I cant see that, not until someone tells me or I realise it afterwards.

So I’ve placed a friend on this pedestal. I think they are the bee’s knees, there is nothing they can do wrong…. oh but then they did, its something small in reality, but to me its the worst thing ever they could have done. Now I hate them, I never want to speak to them again. So I avoid all contact, ignoring them in every way possible. Then some how some way contact is made, and just simple words can change my whole perspective on the person… and now I back to liking them again.

What my reaction would be. I would tell said friend to leave me alone, not to talk to me. I wouldn’t reply to texts, calls, social networks. I would hope that they would just disappear.

So I’ve made plans with a friend but they’ve had to cancel… the thoughts are, they don’t like me any more, bet they cancelled on me because they want to do that plan with someone else better. I hate them, what can I do to make them see I am worthy of doing things with. Its because of me, they know that i’m mental so that’s why they don’t want to be around me. I can get angry too either they like me or they don’t, which is it.

What my reaction would be.. Well I’d kind of attack this person verbally, well via text, saying all the things I was thinking and how I was hurt and why wasn’t I good enough to go out with.

what would the reactions be of the people I’ve been talking about. One has quite simply put it as whatever, get on with your messed up head. I’ve had one friend call me a psychotic little bitch. Others have been more sympathetic, allowing me time to sort things out in my head. Or reacting in a nice manner, explaining things for me.

When I’ve had these thoughts and then gone through the whole black and white thinking and come out the other side if by some miracle I still have a friendship at the end of it. The words that they say to help and support me, result in me crying my eyes out and screaming inside, why cant I be normal, I don’t want my friends to feel they have to be like this around me. Usually crying comes after a lot of things BPD related. For me it is the number one go to reaction, whether I like it or not.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: