DSM 5 Impairment 6 – Compromised ability to recognize the feelings and needs of others.
My Happy Story
I am having a hard time coming up with a sad story so perhaps its time to compose a happy one. I was a great husband and father. I did my best to listen to their wants and needs and tried to understand and guide my children as best I could. I remember one day in particular when my daughter confided about her down feeling regarding a relationship with a nice young man. After listening to the sadness in her voice, I advised her that these moments are probably the best they will ever be and if it’s not fun now, it is probably time to get out. I should have taken my own advice. It wasn’t until after my crash that I realized that the main purpose in life is to find joy and wallow in it like a pig wallows in mud. just because it feels good. I have come to realize that empathy starts at home. We have to be honest and then kind with ourselves.
The key to living a happy and fulfilling life is to trust in our higher self. The body is neutral; if just follows its biological urges. The mind or ego does all the evaluation and judging and that is where the confusion and pain comes in. The higher self is who we are beyond mind and body. This part of our self has to be discovered and nurtured. It is the key to living a life of peace and joy regardless of the pains of the body and the anxieties of the mind.
In Search of a Higher Self
My search continues, season by season, moment by moment,
Seeking solutions to questions that I can’t understand,
Scanning the horizons of my world for enchantment,
Magic that will surpass the limits of time and mind.
But the answers are not in the magic of miracles,
Nor in the beauty that dwells in the folds of the mind;
The answers lie within the minute particles,
Of the substance of the energy of my inner soul.
Therein lies the essence of my fulfillment,
The higher portion of my sentient life’s purpose and goal.
Herein lies the mystery of peace and contentment,
The fragments of being and thought that make me whole.
Herein is my higher self, complete with just a piece of me.
Herein is the mystical self that longs for connection
With all that by chance is and all that will ever be.
Herein swims my essence in the glories of the eternal sea.
The Silver Lining
The fact that we have a difficult time recognizing the feelings and needs of others at the unconscious level simply means we will have to train ourselves to do it consciously. We train ourselves to watch for tone and body language and respond accordingly. We can get very good at it once we know the signs. The fact that we have to work at it and make it a conscious act means we will probably be better at it than most people. This procedure should also direct us to being more conscious of our own feelings and needs and we can insist that others treat us like they would like to be treated. We can then consciously work on building our relationship together.
My five suggestions for borderliners:
- We train our mind to read the voice tones, face expressions, and body language of others.
- We practice good listening skills. We stop what we are doing, turn our body square to the person we are talking to, and look them in the eye while listening to their words and studying their facial expressions and body language.
- We try to hear and read between the lines. We look for the subconscious feelings being expressed through tone and facial expressions. We try to understand the feelings behind the words.
- We can always double check for emotions by using the humanist therapy strategy of active listening. We echo back what they are saying and attach a feeling or emotion and affirm their right to have that emotion. For example, “I see that you are angry with me for going golfing when your mother visited us yesterday. I can see why you are angry. I just thought that the two of you might enjoy the day together alone. I realize now that it was important to you for me to stick around. Please let me know in advance next time what you expect of me”.
- Whenever we make important decisions regarding our life partners and/or children, we involve them in a thorough conversation giving everyone a chance to express their thoughts and feelings. When they have finished we check to see if we understand what they are saying at the conscious and subconscious levels, and affirm their feelings, their wants, and fears. We assure them that they are being heard. We also express our own wants and feelings on the topic.Then we make decisions together and check to see if everyone is comfortable with the decision.