In my last article, I wrote about how borderline personality disorder (BPD) sufferers are especially likely to suffer from intense, tormenting, psychological pain, a condition known as algopsychalia. Why is this?
What Are The Possible Causes Of This Pain?
The causes of this pain are highly complex; however, one interesting theory put forward by Schneidman is that algopsychalia comes about as a result of unfulfilled and frustrated psychological needs.
What Are These Unfulfilled And Frustrated Psychological Needs?
According to Schneidman, these include :
– affiliation / meaningful connection with others
– personal autonomy / a sense of control over one’s own life
– the need to avoid shame
Also, associated with such unfulfilled and frustrated needs, sufferers of BPD experience particularly intense, negative emotions. Indeed, all negative emotions felt by BPD sufferers are, in general, more amplified, and, therefore, generate more psychological pain, than is the case for the ‘average’ person.
Examples Of Amplified Negative Emotions In BPD Sufferers Contributing To Psychological And Emotional Pain :
- instead of becoming annoyed or irritated the BPD sufferer may well, instead, fly into an uncontrollable rage and fury from which s/he is not easily able to calm down.
- instead of mild or moderate embarrassment, the BPD sufferer may experience an overwhelming and profound sense of shame
- instead of feeling mildly apprehension, the BPD sufferer may experience a severe, full-blown panic attack, complete with hyperventilation and fear of imminent and impending death
- instead of feeling sadness, the BPD sufferer may suffer a sense of deep and intense grief.
To make the adverse effects of these terribly painful emotions worse still, those suffering from BPD find it very difficult indeed to self-comfort or self-soothe when experiencing such feelings due to early life disruption to the development of certain critical brain regions. (To read my article entitled: ‘Three Critical Brain Regions Harmed By Childhood Trauma’, click here).
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)