It is extremely common for those of uswho have suffered severe childhood trauma, especially if we’ve gone on to develop borderline personality disorder (BPD) as a consequence, to experience feelings of profound despair and emptiness – this involves feeling that life is utterly devoid of meaning or purpose and a general sense of being emotionally numb or ‘dead inside.’
Such feelings of emptiness are also symptomatic of clinical depression and anhedonia (a condition that prevents one from being able to experience any feelings of pleasure), both of which illnesses are associated with the person suffering from them having undergone early life trauma).
How We Attempt To Cope With Feelings Of Emptiness In Dysfunctional Ways :
Dysfunctional ways of trying to lessen feelings of emptiness include the following :
- drinking too much
- harmful use of narcotics
- overspending / compulsive shopping
- overuse of internet / social media
- overuse of computer games
- promiscuous sex
- inappropriately gaining attention of others (e.g. by getting angry, over-caretaking, being a compulsive ‘people-pleaser’, blaming others)
The Link Between Feelings Of Emptiness And Self-Abandonment :
Feelings of emptiness have been linked to the concept known as self-abandonment. Self-abandonment is characterized by extreme self-judgment, ignoring / not paying proper attention to one’s feelings and emotions, dissociation, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-compassion.
Developmental And Systems Approach For Reducing Feelings Of Emptiness :
Charles Wang M.D, developed a therapeutic system to address feelings of emptiness called the Developmental And Systems Approach.
Initially, this system was developed to help to quickly stabilize psychiatric inpatients.
The system focuses on five key areas :
- The patient is helped to understand that feelings of profound emptiness are at the root of many of his/her problems
- The patient is helped to form a more accurate sense of his/her relationship with others with whom s/he interacts
- The patient is encouraged to understand the underlying causes of his/her ‘acting out‘ behaviours
- The patient is encouraged to accept that s/he is in a state of deep emotional pain in order to help to motivate him/her to undergo treatment
- The patient is empowered to undergo this treatment
As well as helping to reduce feelings of emptiness, Wang’s Developmental And Systems Approach also seeks to help individuals develop feelings of trust and security.
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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).Click here for reuse options!
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