As a person with BPD, how did DBT therapy help you deal with your abandonment issues?
It didn’t actually address them, directly • which is something I would’ve expected. After my first round, when they gave me a feedback form to fill in, I said as much.What DBT does is give you a toolkit to resolve and tolerate any and all emotions, wherever they come from • it is a lot more ‘practical• than ‘theoretical’, it is BPD-specific therapy but it is based on CBT, plus some eastern philosophy, some western philosophy, aesthetics, Marsha Linehan being cool AF, etc.It has specific things surrounding interpersonal skills and emotional regulation skills, but nothing really surrounding A+R • as I recall, anyhow.The thing is• Honestly• I think A+R fears are a secondary symptom, not a core trait as might be predicted by Object Relations models, and I think the fact that DBT doesn’t address it directly —yet resolves the issue at hand (in my case, at least)• speaks in favor of a thing called Transactional Analysis, which can be briefly summed up as such:(Images courtesy of DuckDuckGo • a socially responsible search engine for the 21st Century)This isn’t a BPD-specific model, it is a widely applied school of psychological thought • if you think about it, I think you’ll be able to see these kinds of dynamics in a lot of different interpersonal scenarios, work, school, social scenes • even Quora!How I think it relates to BPD is that basically when we have BPD-ish vulnerabilities surrounding cognitive empathy deficits and emotional dysregulation issues —and the problematic surface psychology implied by that• as sufferers we spend a lot of time in the ‘child• position, and really before self-awareness and self-actualization it cannot be any other way.Unless you’re a goddamn existentialist philosopher with a doctorate in psychology (like Marsha), nobody with BPD can understand BPD from the perspective of BPD, and we struggle • we ask for help, we become dependent not just because of our vulnerabilities but also because of dependency (which I’ve written about elsewhere • whole other post) and ensuing emotional enmeshment issues, sometimes referred to as ‘emotional codependency’, and • we end up in the ‘child• position.This flies in the face of theories that state that we’re essentially self-serving narcissists addicted to love like whoever it was Robert Palmer was singing about back in the day (though he wasn’t far off • ‘closerrrrr to the truth• than some psychological grandees, anyhow i.e. Masterson, that other guy• little bald fellow• what’s his name • begins with an ‘O’, I think• little help, anyone? • Edit: Otto Kernberg • thank you Clarissa Paige!)What DBT does is give us the tools to resolve those vulnerabilities that were keeping us in the child position.ALL OF ‘EM.It allows BPD folks to self-actualize in BPD ways • and it is my observation that there are in fact optimal ways for BPD folks to self-actualize (sans therapy) with regards to a high affective/somatic empathy paradigm, but not all of us get the opportunity to grow in those directions and even those who do can have pretty big blind spots due to the same problems expressing themselves differently.DBT sets us on the right track.Once we’re out of the ‘child• position, and we know how to deal, with self-guided self-compassion, honestly……sh*t just doesn’t hurt as much as it used to, and everything makes a lot more sense.I mean, trauma is trauma —and abandonment and rejection can be a big part of BPD life• but my thinking on this is that it is incidental, not causative, because BPD vulnerabilities keep us in a (relativistic) ‘child• position compared to 94–99% of everyone else. I feel it, sometimes, but now it’s more of a ‘bump in the road• rather than the total gut-punch it used to be, because • doesn’t matter. I know how to rationalize and resolve the emotion compassionately with DBT skills.Something else that I’ve noticed (albeit on an anecdotal i.e. Quora basis) is that the (approximately) 14% of BPD cases with some ASPD/NPD/HPD/SPD adaptations —whom are considered the least symptomatic and highest functioning• don’t struggle with A+R fears as much as the rest of us.To me this speaks to the role of relativistic ego positions being far more important than some imagined formative experience (from a time NO-ONE CAN ACTUALLY REMEMBER) as implied by Object Relations theory • I get O.R., it’s very smart, well done Melanie Klein et al, but the relationship between childhood experiences and adult cognitions in this regard is correlatory not causative (IMO).So, to my mind, that’s how it does the thing it does. By ignoring it, and treating A+R fears like any other amygdalically (—?) dysregulated emotion.There is a core biological attachment vulnerability to BPD, but that is more to do with the role of (bonding hormone) alleviating over-production of cortisol by an over-active hypothalmic-pituitary-adrenal axis which was set into overdrive by stressful childhoods • but, guess what?That’s just another emotion, and one we can neutralize or even turn into something positive by practicing DBT skills.That is ‘selfhood’, that is ‘adult mode’, that is ‘ownership• of things that none of us know how to take responsibility for at first • and it doesn’t involve anyone else telling us who we are or aren’t but ourselves.That is self-actualization. That is sustainable emotional security.That is seeing through to the core code of the goddamn Matrix.That is self-reliance, and only ever dropping down to the relativistic ‘child• position with the possibility of then growing into that ‘adult• and then ‘parent• position as we go through our lives (btw • hey kids, d’you like psychology? Lolz• sigh.)For the rest of everything and sources for the information in this answer, see: Borderline Personality Disorder by Asbjorn Magnussen on BPD Science StuffImportant question • hope this answer does it justice :)