I have written extensively on this site about the link between the experience of significant childhood trauma and the possible later development of borderline personality disorder (BPD).
One of the leading experts on borderline personality disorder is Martha Linehan (who developed the treatment for BPD known as dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT) and, according to her widely accepted theory, those who have developed BPD as a result of their adverse childhood experiences are often affected by all, or combinations of some, of the following types of DYSREGULATION:
(If we are dysregulated in relation to a quality, it means, in this context, that we have difficulty controlling and managing whatever the specific quality may be.)
Above: DBT has been shown to be an effective therapy for helping people who suffer from BPD and problems connected to various types of dysregulation (see five types below).
The Five Types Of Dysregulation We May Experience If We Have Developed BPD As A Result Of Our Childhood Trauma :
1) Emotional dysregulation:
We may have very volatile emotions that are so powerful we can feel controlled and overtaken by them. We may experience particularly intense and fluctuating emotions in response to our relationships with others, particularly our closest relationships.
Also, we may have difficulty identifying what exactly we are feeling (ie. find it hard to name some emotions we experience) and have problems expressing and experiencing some emotions.
2) Interpersonal dysregulation:
This means we might experience significant difficulties both forming and maintaining relationships with others. We may, too, constantly fear rejection and abandonment, leading to us becoming ‘needy’ and ‘clingy’ which, most sadly, can often cause the very rejection we are trying so ardently to prevent.
We may, too, find our feelings for others often vascillate dramatically from idealisation one minute, to demonization the next, possibly apropos (objectively speaking) very little.
3) Cognitive dysregulation:
4) Behavioural dysregulation:
Our behaviour may become extremely self – destructive : we may self-harm, attempt suicide, have promiscuous and unsafe sex, take unnecessary risks (such as reckless driving), become addicted to drugs and/or alcohol in a desperate attempt to numb and temporarily escape from overwhelming mental anguish, or develop eating disorders.
5) Self – dysregulation:
We may feel confused as to who we are and have a very poor sense of identity. We may feel different aspects of our personality are not well integrated so we can find ourselves acting in rather one-dimensional ways.
Our self-image can be unstable as can our values. We may be confused as to who we really are and what are beliefs and principals are ( indeed, these may frequently alter).
This can leave us feeling lonely and empty.
To read my article on the therapy devised by Marsha Linehan called dialectical behavioural therapy, click here.
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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).
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