DSM 5 Impairment 10 – Significant impairments in personality functioning: Intimacy: marked by mistrust, neediness.
A Sad Story
Getting tired of these sad stories? So am I. I would like to tell you the sad stories of other people, but unfortunately that would go against the trust they reluctantly shared with me. So we will just have to dig in the garbage can once again and cough up another example from my colorful past.
During most of my life, I had a fear of being alone. I went from high school to college, choosing to go to the University of Alberta in Edmonton where I could live with my brother, instead of the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon where I had a scholarship but had to live in a dorm. After graduation, I returned home to live with my mother for a year while I worked as a news reporter and announcer at my local radio station. I went from there directly into marriage where I lost myself in my work, my role as a dad, and my life with my ex-wife. This took care of the business of needing and being needed for thirty-three years. It wasn’t until our sudden divorce at the age of fifty-four that I had to live for the first time on my own. I was terrified at first and suicidal, not so much from the loss as from the terror of being alone. It wasn’t until I healed myself through the process recorded in my book/workbook, The Grounding Virtues, that I learned to love and trust in myself. That was when I realized that I could not only meet my own needs, but that I could feel proud of who I was and what I did. I did not need anyone to be happy and content, and any future relationship would not be based on need but on sharing myself, giving instead of just taking.
The Silver Lining
Our great need to feel loved and accepted will eventually lead to frustration and feelings of being rejected by those we love. This leads to feelings of hopelessness which leads to suicidal thoughts and behavior patterns. It is at this point that we are forced to make a decision, not only to live, but to really live, to live a life of being conscious of who we are. Once we make that decision, we realize our own power and beauty and that we not only do not need anyone to be happy, but we have the power to live on our own and to meet someone else who is conscious of their own beauty and power. No more co-dependency; instead, we have co-independence, co-spiritual awareness, and co-support for creating the lives we each would truly love to live.
A Creative Moment
(From my Book, The Room)
And in every tragic play the hero dies. I was suicidal. One evening as I danced around my living room with thoughts of driving my beloved Lincoln Sport into the concrete wall that I passed each evening on my way home from work (one last chance to redeem myself and leave an insurance policy as a legacy), I made a decision to try to live, not just to live, but to really live.
Dance with Death
And having given all,
Having left nothing in the arena,
I stand exhausted, panting for breath,
Waiting for my heart to stop,
Letting my struggling mind slip into unconsciousness,
Releasing my tortured soul to give up its will to survive.
Having only the desire to stand up one last time,
I dance the Dance of Life and Death.
I reject the rhythm of the unknown drummer;
I reject the solitude and the silence of the dark;
I refuse to close my mind to its fear and striving;
I refuse to seal up my soul and run away and hide;
I choose to dance the dance of my own soul;
I choose to let my feet flow
With the rhythm of my own music.
The dance comes on the wings of violence.
It begins with the girding up of loins,
By taking up the sword of truth,
By facing the monsters of the mind,
Matching blow for blow, breath for breath,
Smashing Disillusionment, laughing at Fear,
Meeting Self-Hatred with righteous anger,
Disarming the Black Knight of Nothingness.
Then the dance seeks its own rhythm.
There, in the moment of defeat and surrender,
I dance, and I dance, and I dance
To the rhythm of the beating of my heart.
There, in the moment of defeat and surrender,
I dance, and I dance, and I dance,
Moving my feet to the eternal beat,
That guides my soul along the golden path of life.
My Five Suggestions for Borderliners:
- Regardless of where we are in life, we make a decision, not only to live, but to really live. We don’t wait for our feelings to degenerate into suicidal thought and behavior; we do it now. We record the day and time we made that decision and we repeat it and stick to it every time we feel that hopeless feeling coming on.
- We recognize that we are beautiful and powerful creatures, not only capable of meeting our own needs, but with the ability to create a meaningful and powerful life, one that we will truly love to live. Every time we feel that feeling of worthlessness, we repeat, “I am better than that. I am a beautiful and powerful being, I am sufficient unto myself. I have no needs that I cannot meet by myself, for myself.”
- Every time our wounded mind tries to fill us with thoughts of dread and hopelessness, we stop and recognize that this is coming from our wounded child within, that part of us that was damaged even before we had a chance to defend ourselves.
- We practice positive visualization. We recognize that we are no longer that wounded child. We are now our own adult. We thank the child for its courage just to survive, but we tell it we are in charge now and that it has nothing to fear. We are here to meet its needs. We soothe the child within and then we give it a big warm hug.
- We now become the adult. We take charge of our own lives. We set our own course without the support of anyone else. We take the responsibility for systematically recognizing and meeting our own needs.