As a person with BPD, how did DBT therapy help you deal with your abandonment issues?
It didnu2019t actually address them, directly u2022 which is something I wouldu2019ve 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 u2022 it is a lot more u2018practicalu2022 than u2018theoreticalu2019, 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 u2022 as I recall, anyhow.The thing isu2022 Honestlyu2022 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 doesnu2019t address it directly u2014yet resolves the issue at hand (in my case, at least)u2022 speaks in favor of a thing called Transactional Analysis, which can be briefly summed up as such:(Images courtesy of DuckDuckGo u2022 a socially responsible search engine for the 21st Century)This isnu2019t a BPD-specific model, it is a widely applied school of psychological thought u2022 if you think about it, I think youu2019ll be able to see these kinds of dynamics in a lot of different interpersonal scenarios, work, school, social scenes u2022 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 u2014and the problematic surface psychology implied by thatu2022 as sufferers we spend a lot of time in the u2018childu2022 position, and really before self-awareness and self-actualization it cannot be any other way.Unless youu2019re 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 u2022 we ask for help, we become dependent not just because of our vulnerabilities but also because of dependency (which Iu2019ve written about elsewhere u2022 whole other post) and ensuing emotional enmeshment issues, sometimes referred to as u2018emotional codependencyu2019, and u2022 we end up in the u2018childu2022 position.This flies in the face of theories that state that weu2019re essentially self-serving narcissists addicted to love like whoever it was Robert Palmer was singing about back in the day (though he wasnu2019t far off u2022 u2018closerrrrr to the truthu2022 than some psychological grandees, anyhow i.e. Masterson, that other guyu2022 little bald fellowu2022 whatu2019s his name u2022 begins with an u2018Ou2019, I thinku2022 little help, anyone? u2022 Edit: Otto Kernberg u2022 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 u2018EM.It allows BPD folks to self-actualize in BPD ways u2022 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 weu2019re out of the u2018childu2022 position, and we know how to deal, with self-guided self-compassion, honestlyu2026u2026sh*t just doesnu2019t hurt as much as it used to, and everything makes a lot more sense.I mean, trauma is trauma u2014and abandonment and rejection can be a big part of BPD lifeu2022 but my thinking on this is that it is incidental, not causative, because BPD vulnerabilities keep us in a (relativistic) u2018childu2022 position compared to 94u201399% of everyone else. I feel it, sometimes, but now itu2019s more of a u2018bump in the roadu2022 rather than the total gut-punch it used to be, because u2022 doesnu2019t matter. I know how to rationalize and resolve the emotion compassionately with DBT skills.Something else that Iu2019ve noticed (albeit on an anecdotal i.e. Quora basis) is that the (approximately) 14% of BPD cases with some ASPD/NPD/HPD/SPD adaptations u2014whom are considered the least symptomatic and highest functioningu2022 donu2019t 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 u2022 I get O.R., itu2019s 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, thatu2019s how it does the thing it does. By ignoring it, and treating A+R fears like any other amygdalically (u2014?) 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 u2022 but, guess what?Thatu2019s just another emotion, and one we can neutralize or even turn into something positive by practicing DBT skills.That is u2018selfhoodu2019, that is u2018adult modeu2019, that is u2018ownershipu2022 of things that none of us know how to take responsibility for at first u2022 and it doesnu2019t involve anyone else telling us who we are or arenu2019t 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 u2018childu2022 position with the possibility of then growing into that u2018adultu2022 and then u2018parentu2022 position as we go through our lives (btw u2022 hey kids, du2019you like psychology? Lolzu2022 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 u2022 hope this answer does it justice :)