Do people ever call you borderline?
We’re all a little borderline from time to time, and sometimes we’re a lot borderline, but does that mean we have Borderline Personality Disorder?
Not necessarily, but it does mean we have an active Outer Child – the self saboteur of the personality – the part that wears its heart on its sleeve, clams up when we should be asserting ourselves, shoots off its mouth when we shouldn’t, shuts down or storms off when we should be working through important feelings within a relationship.
Borderline: When we use the term colloquially, it just means we can become overwrought or over-reactive – that we let Outer Child get into the act and go overboard – that we let Outer Child get us to say or do things that put our relationship in jeopardy, or caused our loved one to feel undeserved duress, or caused a little destruction to self or others?
Going berserk once in a while or getting into arguments doesn’t mean we have borderline personality disorder unless these behaviors represent a pattern that occurs with some regularity and that interferes in the quality of life, goal achievement and our ability to sustain healthy relationships. Otherwise we can chalk up our isolated emotional outbursts to being human and in need of learning better ways to tame our Outer Child.
Outer Child is especially prone to acting out in our intimate relationships because we all share primal abandonment fear – a fear that can be easily triggered. Even during the best of times, seemingly small events can cause us to go into an emotional hijack. The raw abandonment can jangle in the course the day if we happen to feel rejected, criticized, excluded, misunderstood, overlooked, condescended to, unappreciated, taken for granted, ignored, dismissed, belittled, disrespected. And we’re not always prepared for it.
It is a universal dilemma. We react automatically, not always in ways that are in our best interests. We may overreact or under-react, express too much anger or not enough anger, become too demanding or feel too disentitled to ask for what we need.
When Outer Child gets in on the act, whether our reactions are aggressive or passive, we tend to regret them afterward.
Outer child can muddy the works even further by blaming the way we reacted on those who triggered us.
Outer Child loves blame and is quick to project its own foibles onto other people. In fact, it enjoys throwing the term borderline at other people. In Outer Child’s hands, borderline is an epithet. Outer likes to point its finger outward to take the heat off itself.
Whether our over-reactions stem from ordinary human stresses or are symptoms of borderline personality disorder, the way to overcome Outer Child self sabotage remains the same:
- Practice Radical Self Acceptance. Accept yourself for being human, warts and all. Displacing and projecting onto others delays taking the next step…
- Take Radical Self Responsibility – one hundred percent responsibility for your side of the equation which includes both your emotions and the way you reacted to them.
- Clean up your side of the fence by owning up to and making amends wherever possible.
- Get involved in the Outer Child program beginning with learning how to practice self calming methods such as breathing, meditating, mindful exercise, yoga – activities that help to lower your respiration rate, create calm, and allow your spinning emotional compass to reset.
- Mindfulness techniques are only a part of the abandonment recovery program, but an important component. Institute these self calming activities into a daily regimen so that you can more easily avail yourself of them under stress – when a triggering moment might arise.
- Review the emotional experience with an eye for learning from it. What were you feeling and where did you feel in within your body? Be sure to notice that they were but feelings – that they were temporary, fleeting and of the moment.
- Use the tools of the Outer Child program to make a healthy new connection within the self. The workbook and other books guide you step-by-step through these hands-on exercises
- The program helps you administer your inner child’s emotional needs directly so you won’t need to act them out toward other people. When you learn now to complete your own loop emotionally, you won’t need to lay your needs and insecurity at your lover’s or friends’ feet.
- Get to know your own unique Outer Child traits by making an inventory of all the ways you sabotage yourself, whether in your relationships, your diet, bank account, career, social life, or daily lifestyle. The program helps you develop healthy new habits to replace Outer Child’s self defeating patterns.
- When you catch Outer Child in the act, recognize that the overreaction is an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your Adult Self, and promote positive change in all areas of your life.
Never mind if the other person’s hard is has garbage. Clean your own side.
© Susan Anderson Dec 11 2014
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