Redefining family
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[Day 20] Redefining Family

Redefining family

It’s Day 20 of the 30 Day Blog Challenge. Here are my two topic choices:

1) Family of Origin vs Family of Choice. How has this affected your life? Do you still speak to your family of origin, or do you just “put up with them” when you have to?” How does this fit on your Spiritual Path? Who do you consider to be your family?

OR

2) Forgiveness and Reconciliation. How has this affected your choices about the people you surround yourself with, especially your family of origin?

Redefining family

Sometimes I forget it’s possible to be in a healthy, happy and fulfilling family.

There’s this part of me that wants to fight it.

Sometimes out of fear. Sometimes for the sake of familiarity. And sometimes I’m so stressed out I simply forget.

“Family” when I was growing up, meant constant screaming battles, fighting over who was right, possessiveness, control, manipulation, fear, blame, shame and judgment.

I literally cannot recall one moment of peace from my entire childhood. I was frozen in fear. I hoped and prayed I wouldn’t screw up or displease anyone. Everyone’s happiness depended on it. On me.

So I suppressed my emotions, my thoughts, my opinions. I believed what others needed me to believe. I spoke how others needed me to speak. I lost myself. Or more accurately was never given a safe space to find myself.

My time and energy were consumed by being forced to side with one parent or the other. It was “your mother this” or “your father did that.”

I felt invisible.

I grew to despise my family. I pushed everyone away to survive. In my mind, family wasn’t a source of joy, laughter and good times described in books and movies, it was the origin of my pain and deepest wounds.

And yet I longed for family, for connection, for belonging. It is, after all, a basic human need. So I spent years seeking out approval, validation and wholeness from outside sources.

I call it “looking for love in all the wrong places.”

Looking for someone to rescue me, love me. Someone who could save me from myself. My relationships were short-lived. And the ones that weren’t, I sabotaged.

I’ll spare you the horrific details of these lost years of my life because they don’t matter all that much. I simply wanted to paint a picture of my starting point and give you an idea about the way I was programmed to interpret family.

But most importantly, I wanted to let you know…

It’s never too late to forgive.

It’s never too late for a fresh start.

You are not your wounds.

You can:

  • Create a new family dynamic
  • Have healthy communication
  • Be respected and heard
  • Have your needs met without sacrificing who you are
  • Have supportive relationships

These shitty situations showed me all the things I didn’t want, which gave me the gift of knowing exactly what I did want instead.

I do slip back into default. I do get reactive sometimes. But I don’t  beat myself up about it. I just have to look to see where I’m not taking care of me. Or acknowledge I’m not coping.

That’s when I know it’s time to reach out to my other family: my friends, coaches, mentors, books, my journal.

family

This is a post-it note pasted to one of our kitchen cabinets. I do need reminders to act consciously and from love. Because like I said, sometimes I forget. And it’s okay. The concept is still relatively new and I have to recommit to what I want consistently.

Clarity, commitment and compassion (for yourself and others) are the three most important factors.

  1. Know what you want.
  2. Commit to doing whatever it takes to make it happen (don’t be afraid to ask for support).
  3. Be compassionate and forgiving if and when you get off track.

Repeat. Come back. Make it a habit.

Families love each other no matter what.
They take responsibility for their own feelings.
They support each other’s decisions.
They honor each other’s personalities.
They don’t try to change the other person.
They listen.

When I started digging deep into my healing and the work I do, my dad moved away. It wasn’t a conscious choice to not talk to him. He just wasn’t in alignment with my new picture of family. I still love him with all my heart, but I believe everything that happens is for the highest good of all.

I have a great relationship with my mom – she’s made so many positive changes over the years.

My relationship with my new little family changes and grows more beautiful every day. Just yesterday my son said with all of his heart “You’re a nice parent.” And I received it.

When you start doing the work, people will either change with you or the relationship will fall away. I’m now surrounded by people who love and accept me for who I am. Just as I love and accept them for who they are. If something isn’t working, we talk about it. We don’t stay upset. We sort it out.

Your concept of family has its roots in the past, but starting today it can be whatever you want and need it to be.

Family to me is connection, acceptance, appreciation and of course love. It’s not limited to blood relatives, or even the human race (my kitty is family). It’s the idea that we’re all connected and we all play a role in each other’s lives and on this planet.

Journaling prompts
  1. How has my idea of family changed over the years?
  2. Who do I need to forgive to move forward?
  3. What are my top 5 favorite moments with my family? Why?
  4. What are my 5 least favorite moments? How have they helped me grow?

What does family mean to you? Leave me a comment down below.

Would you like to improve your relationship with yourself and your family? If you’ve  been looking for this kind of support and know you don’t want to go at it alone, I’d love to help you. Go here to sign up to chat with me for free.

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[Day 19] Cat Wisdom


image

Day 19. Today’s topics:

1) Your favorite Tarot deck and why

OR

2) A card you REALLY like or REALLY dislike, and why

I dabbled in tarot a bit when I was younger (still have the decks), but in recent years have loved using oracle cards.

Here is my favorite deck:

wisdomofavalon

The Wisdom of Avalon Oracle Cards: A 52-Card Deck and Guidebook

My hubby gave these to me as a birthday gift several years ago (along with a magic wand) and I love them.

I’ll pick a card for myself today and tell you my interpretation of it.

Here it is:

Meow

Not only did I just adopt a kitty (pictured above), but one of my challenges in life has been establishing healthy boundaries. As someone who has suffered greatly from borderline personality disorder, I made a lot of poor choices.

I don’t like to admit that I’ve allowed other people to take advantage of me. Nor do I like to admit that I’m anything, but perfect.

The illusion of perfection keeps me safe.

But at what cost?

We must learn to not only live with ourselves but love ourselves – our WHOLE selves.

The cat does this well.

  • She does her own thing.
  • She doesn’t actively seek attention or approval, but allows others to love her.
  • She unapologetically struts her stuff.
  • She has “9 lives.”
  • She always lands on her feet.
  • She lives freely.
  • Though she loves to spend time alone, she’s never lonely.

This card reminds me I can be all of me. I don’t need anyone’s permission to do what I truly want to do. It reminds me to:

Say yes when I mean yes.
Say no when I mean no.
Ask for what I need.
Know that I deserve to have my needs met.
Stop people pleasing.
Actively and unapologetically seek what brings me joy.
Have the courage to do things differently.

Admittedly I’ve been attempting to fit into models I just don’t fit into lately. But, from this moment forward (you have my permission to call me out on this) I am committed to being the total expression of who I am. Join me?

How can (and will) you apply the cat’s wisdom in your life today?

Or

What one thing can you eliminate from your life that has been dragging you down? Leave me a comment below.

Helen Keller quotes
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[Day 18] Fun.

Helen Keller quotes

Day 18. Here are my topics:

1) What do you like to do for fun?

OR

2) How can you incorporate more fun into your every day life?

I have to find a way to make my life fun and exciting.

When I don’t I can easily slip into boredom and eventually depression.

Sometimes I dance in the aisle at stores, climb up things just to prove a point, jump out of airplanes, go on roller coasters, drive with no destination in mind and laugh at absolutely nothing.

I enjoy playing at the park with my son. Really playing – going down the slides, swinging on the swings, chasing him around and acting like a kid.

Part of me thought I had to say goodbye to my playful side because I’m an “adult.” But that’s some hullaballoo.

Don’t ever lose that part of you.

Now I ask you: how will you incorporate more fun into your day today? Leave me a comment below.

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7 Gifts I Give to Others and Our World

7 gifts

Day 17. Here are the topics:

1) How do your Gifts heal others and our World?

OR

2) How do you use your spiritual Gifts to change lives and make a difference?

Here are the 7 Gifts I Give to Others and Our World…

#1 The gift of awareness

Because I am so sensitive, I’ve had to hone my awareness. When I first got clean, I started working with my coach with whom I learned all the “stuff” I was carrying around. She helped me clear all that so I could be conscious and aware of energies of people and places, blocks within myself and others, planetary gobbledygook, etc. This awareness, along with the necessary boundaries (physical and energetic) allows me to see, feel, know and appreciate things that can be easily overlooked by the untrained eye.

How this helps others: When I’m talking to someone or am in a session with a client, my awareness/intuition is my guide. It helps me ask questions that get people to the root of the problem, know what cues to listen for, when to speak and when to listen.

#2 The gift of empathy

The gift that nearly killed me might just be my greatest gift to humanity. When I was younger, my empathy was so strong I couldn’t tell where others ended and I began. I had no clear energetic boundaries so I absorbed the weight of the world. Without knowing what was happening, I turned to drugs to numb me. But when I decided to stop I also decided to face everything. In doing so I learned to honor this gift because I remembered, in my darkest moments all I wanted was for someone to understand.

How this helps others: The teens I work with tell me all the time. “I feel so alone. I just want someone to understand.” Because I’ve learned when and where to use my empathic abilities, I can give these young people the gift of someone who truly understands. Not only because I’ve been there, but because they can feel, in the moments we’re talking, that I’m tapped into their feelings at a deep level.

#3 The gift of knowing

With awareness comes knowing. I don’t know how I know things, I just do. It still surprises my husband sometimes. A few days ago he said, “you know what I would have liked to have done for a couple of years?” Before he finished asking the question, I heard loud and clear, “peace corps.” He asked how I knew that. To which I replied, “I just did.” And it happens a lot. When you’re aware you just know.

How this helps others: It shows others what’s possible and what they are capable of. It helps me know which direction to take a session, how to handle a situation and guide my clients out of stuckness gracefully.

#4 The gift of listening

I’m not much of a talker, but people love talking to me. Which is great because I love to listen. And not just with my ears, but with my whole being. When I’m listening, I’m also feeling and radiating love and acceptance. When I’m listening, I can hear what someone is really saying, beyond what their words are conveying.

How this helps others: My clients and people in general feel safe talking to me. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said, “I’ve never told this to anyone before…” Because they know I will listen without judgment and offer genuine feedback, support and guidance.

#5 The gift of communication

I have a way with words. I have been in love with language since I was a young girl and know how to clearly articulate exactly what I mean – especially through writing. As a small child exposed to constant fighting I learned that the words we use and the place from which we speak can either separate us or connect us. So often when people speak, they are unaware of themselves and can therefore not be aware of others. I can recognize this in a heartbeat.

How this helps others: I can tell when someone is not in alignment with what they are saying. By first helping them identify their true feelings, I can then help them speak from a place of openness and authenticity rather than judgement and blame. This in turn allows the lines of conversation to be open and the heart of the issue to be easily addressed.

#6 The gift of feeling

What I mean by this is I help other people feel. Whenever I am with someone I make sure they know they have the right to feel what they feel. As someone who has struggled with BPD, I know the importance of acknowledging, honoring and truly feeling the feelings. When we deny our feelings, we add another layer on top of them and never get to experience the true feeling – which is the only way to move past it.

How this helps others: If you work with me – I will make you cry (in a good way). I will get you to feel whatever has been eating away at you. I can call BS like no other and get someone into the deep stuff they don’t want to feel, but must in order to make real and lasting changes.

#7 The gift of light

Because of all the energy work I have done in the last seven years and how much I have cleared out, I can transmit A LOT of healing energy. I can feel it running through me, energizing me and helping me create miracles and awakening others to what is possible.

How this helps others: The love and light I emanate supports not just my clients, but everyone I meet. With this light comes safety, serenity, peace and courage for others to be all of who they are.

Journaling prompts

Write down and answer the following:

  1. How can I turn my biggest challenges into my greatest gifts to the planet?
  2. How have I used these gifts today?
  3. How will I use them in the future?

I would love to hear from you. What do you feel your greatest gift to humanity is? Why? Leave me a comment!

Mutant and proud
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[Day 16] Mutant and Proud

Mutant and proud

See hefnatron.com for more incredible art by Blain Hefner.

It’s day 16 of the blog challenge. My topics to choose from are:

1) Favorite movie

OR

2) Favorite TV show

I love movies and comic books. Especially where the main character(s) must learn to accept they will never be “normal” and learn to embrace what the majority of people see as something negative.

I’m kind of obsessed with X-men for this reason.

My whole life I’ve felt like an outcast. I’ve see things that other people don’t. I feel EVERYTHING. And I feel guided to lead others who feel the same way and inspired to help two worlds co-exist.

I’m a mutant.

A lightworker who is fascinated with the darkness of the human psyche.

A hippie who loves playing video games.

Misanthropic one day.

Full of hope for humanity the next.

A loner, but never alone.

Mutant: an organism (usually otherwise human) who possesses a genetic trait called an X-gene that allows the mutant to naturally develop superhuman powers and abilities.

To the world, a freak of nature.

Born different.

Misunderstood.

Feared for being different.

“Mankind has always feared what it does not understand.” -Magneto.

What’s a mutie to do? When every person you meet and place you go tells you to conform. When all you hear is:

“Stop being so weird.”
“You shouldn’t feel that way.”
“Get a real job.”
“You can’t change the world.”
“You’re crazy.”

If it’s crazy to think all the fighting in the world is stupid, yes I’m crazy.
If it’s crazy to want to talk about dreams instead of the weather, yes I’m crazy.
If it’s crazy to believe I can make a difference without a college education (gasp!) then YES.

I am batsh*t crazy.

And for so long, I thought I had to apologize for it. I thought I had to hide it. I thought I had to deny it.

Screw that.

Mutant and proud.

Charles Xavier quotes

This is my favorite quote from the most recent X-Men movie. Future professor x goes back to talk to a previous version of himself – the one who had given up his gift because he had lost hope.

I feel this way often.

“Why should I even bother trying to help people who do the things they do?”
“Why would they listen to me?”
“I can’t watch the world do this to itself.”

This mutation called empathy, hypersensitivity, crazy – nearly killed me.

But I made a choice.

To stay on this planet. To be a leader. To help humankind evolve.

 

What’s your “mutation”? How do you embrace it when everything tells you to just “be normal”?

My story
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[Day 14] My Story

My story

Before I share a bit about how I came to do what I do and more importantly be who I am, I want to say this (it’s something I have to remind myself of often).

Your story matters.

And it is of equal importance to share your story in a way that feels good to you. If your intention in sharing your experiences is to get others to feel sorry for you, to make yourself sound better than other people or to sustain being a victim, look at that. Be honest with yourself and get crystal clear about your intentions.

I say this because the stories we tell ourselves become our reality. And if we continue to repeat the ones that make us feel negative emotion, we will continue to repeat the same things. Maybe not in the same way, but they will manifest in some form.

So, if you feel good when you’re telling it and if you know in your heart it will help other people, then share it.

End preach.

My intention in sharing my story is to help teens and parents alike know first and foremost, they are not alone. Secondly, that it doesn’t last forever. And third, because I know the route I went could have been a lot shorter had I known what I know now.

Legal disclaimer: The information provided below is not intended to replace the medical advice of a qualified health care professional or to be used as therapy. Carrie Leigh Sandoval assumes no responsibility for the results generated.

So when I was a teenager, I was a total mess. I was having panic attacks multiple times a day, using drugs, not eating and would hurt myself in any way I could – namely cutting myself with whatever I could find.

Why? Because it was the only thing that brought me relief, the only coping technique I had.

I felt alone, afraid and responsible for all the crap going on in my house. In a place where I felt so much and didn’t have a voice or a place to express my pain, cutting was the only way I could communicate how bad I was hurting and what the constant fighting and being put in the middle of it was doing to me.

I was hospitalized, medicated, saw numerous doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, you name it. And while I am grateful these things exist and they did temporarily stabilize me, I continued to repeat the same unhealthy habits and patterns – never fully healing or learning positive coping strategies.

Everywhere I went, these labels defined me. I felt insane. Broken. Like I needed to be fixed. But all I truly wanted was to feel like a human being.

To be seen. Heard. Loved and respected for being myself, not just when I was being who everyone else needed me to be.

There was a whole lot of pressure on me to be the perfect daughter so everyone else would be okay. But it wasn’t until I started to accept myself and take my healing into my own hands that everything began to change.

It took me years and years of struggle and self-study to understand that I wasn’t broken or insane. I was just a young girl having a normal response to really insane circumstances.

Committing to showing up for myself is something I have to practice every day, but I’ve now been sober for over 5 years, haven’t cut myself in close to 6 and am no longer taking prescription medications.

I have a beautiful family, a job I love, but most importantly I no longer feel like there is something inherently wrong with who I am.

Having a mentor who got me and didn’t try to fix me inspired me to do this work.

I can’t tell you how badly I wanted someone to just say, “Hey, you’re not crazy. You’re alright. Everything is going to be alright.”

I love that I now get to share this experience and understanding with other young people, especially the girls, who feel the same way I felt.

And I love being able to help parents stop blaming themselves because really it’s not their fault.

Knowing these experiences can help others unlock their courage, strength and power of choice, gives me hope (and puts a smile on my face).

We are all here for a reason and you never know who you might help or the impact you’ll have by sharing your story.

There’s a lot more to mine, but this is all I’m going to share today. Now I want to hear from you.

What story do you share that reminds you of how amazing you are? Or what story keeps you going when you’re feeling low and need to be inspired? Leave me a comment below.

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[Day 13] Favorite Quotes

Today is day 13 of the blog challenge. After 12 days of really long posts, I’m going to give myself a little (and much needed) break.

My topics to choose from are:

1) Favorite Quote

OR

2) Philosophy of life – where it came from, how it’s different than what you were taught growing up.

I’m going to share a couple of quotes that’ve stuck with me over the years.

I have always had a fascination with dichotomy. Black and white. High and low. Dark and light. My life has been characterized by extremes and my personal mission has been to find and maintain a sort of equilibrium.

So first up, a quote by Marianne Williamson I read when I was just a teen and has sunk in more throughout the years.

Marianne Williamson quote

Here’s the whole quote:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson

And two, is by my favorite band of all time, mewithoutYou. What I appreciate most about this band is how honest and emotional their music is. This is from a song called “O, Porcupine.”

Mewithoutyou

That’s it for today.

I’d love to hear your favorite quotes and why you love them. Leave me a comment below.

Life lessons for teenagers
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[Day 12] 10 Things I Wish I’d Known as a Teenager

Life lessons for teenagers

I’ve had to learn a lot of things the hard way. Partly because I didn’t have any support and partly because I was too stubborn to ask for that support.

But had I known the following ten things then, I would have most certainly been happier, had more self-respect and felt confident enough to say no to the things that were hurting me.

These ten things are exactly what I teach and encourage the teens I work with to embrace through my coaching programs, so if at any time you’re feeling like you (teen or parent) are ready to take it a step further and get the support you need, you can go here to fill out the form for a free discovery session with me.

Now, the ten things.

#1 Getting other people to like me will never be a substitute for liking myself.

My primary motivating factor in my younger years was to get people to like me. I was able to feed off others’ love or infatuation for me, but the moment I was alone I would lose my mind. Had I known how to accept myself first rather than looking outside for validation, I would have been able to help myself. Instead, I gave other people the power to determine how I felt.

#2 My body is beautiful and sacred.

I did a lot of stupid things to my body because I didn’t really care about it. I thought I was fat and ugly and tried to numb myself in any way I could. Sex, drugs, cutting and starving myself were my (very ineffective) ways of dealing with pain. Had I known my body was sacred, I would have cared more about how I treated it and how others did too.

#3 It’s okay to be angry, just make sure I know what I’m really angry about.

I was incredibly bitter and pissed off as a teen. It was my normal state. And while I had every right to be, I also took it out on myself and other people who crossed my path. I thought I was mad because of what other people did, but I was mad that I didn’t know who I was or how to express what I was feeling. I was mad because I was disconnected from my true self. Had I known how to connect with the real me, I’d have been able to process my emotions instead of adding another layer of “I shouldn’t feel this way” on top of the challenging emotions I was already experiencing.

#4 I have the right to feel everything I feel.

I thought I was just supposed to be happy. I thought I had to be happy so everyone else would be happy. No one validated my feelings so I learned to invalidate my own (classic borderline personality disorder). I was sad and pissed off, but because no one else thought I should feel that way I denied it and my behaviors became the only means of expressing my pain. Had I known I had the right to feel what I felt, I would have made better choices because they would have come from me and not my unexpressed pain.

#5 I’m not responsible for how other people feel.

Manipulation and guilt trips were used frequently in my home. I felt like because of me my parents were fighting, because of me my mom had to work her butt off after the divorce, I thought because of me everything was screwed up. With no one to tell me otherwise, I truly believed that I had to change to fit everyone else’s needs. Had I known I wasn’t responsible for how other people felt, I would have stopped carrying all the burden of other peoples feelings and been free to be more of who I was.

#6 I’m not the only one with problems.

With all this burden and thinking everything was my fault, I had convinced myself that I was the only crazy person. I would isolate myself from other people because I felt like a disease. I felt as if somehow being around me would ruin someone’s life. Had I known I wasn’t the only person with problems, I would have stopped trying so hard to fit in and embraced (and therefor accepted) myself and others more.

#7 The world does not revolve around me.

Because I was so isolated I started to become self-obsessed. My ego, in an effort to protect me, convinced me I was better than everyone else. I walked around like I was so cool, but felt like I was dying on the inside. I didn’t realize or understand how much others around me were struggling too. Instead, I made sure everyone knew how bad I was feeling. Had I known the world didn’t revolve around me I would have been much nicer to the people around me.

#8 My worth does not depend on anything outside of me.

With my inflated ego running the show, and no connection to my true self, everything became about what I wore, the kinds of cigarettes I smoked, the bands I listened to. I was constantly trying to prove my worth to other people – especially my peers. Had I known my worth didn’t depend on anything outside of me I would have never given up on the things that mattered to me. I would have been able to hear what my soul really wanted.

#9 Friends don’t make friends do drugs.

As you may know, I struggled with addiction. I thought doing drugs with people made them my friends. Not true. We were never friends. We were just lost teenagers trying to feel like we weren’t so alone. Had I known friends don’t make friends do drugs, I would have chosen better friends and not taken such a long time to overcome my addictions.

#10 I deserve to be happy.

During my teen years it never occurred to me that happiness was an option. Real happiness. I could chase the next guy, have adventures and be reckless to simulate happy feelings, but I was never really satisfied. Had I known I deserved to be happy, I would have stopped waiting for something to change to be happy. I would have set myself free.

As you can see, what we believe impacts how we show up in the world, the choices we make, the actions we take. All the things we have ever done are because of what we were believing about ourselves and the nature of the world. The good news is, with practice and support we can rewire our brains, change our beliefs and begin to have a say about what we will and won’t allow into our experience.

We have a choice in every moment.

What will you choose?

If you’re an adult, what are some things you wish you’d have known as a teenager? And kids, if a future version of yourself came to visit you today, what would he or she say? Leave me a comment below.

Help for borderline personality disorder
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[Day 11] Making Friends with Borderline Personality Disorder

Help for borderline personality disorder

A lot of young people I work with struggle to find and maintain healthy relationships – whether it be with friends, family or boyfriends/girlfriends – because they suffer from borderline personality disorder.

Here’s a breakdown of the major symptoms from Psych Central:

  • They have turbulent and stormy relationships, making it difficult to keep a job or maintain a close relationship.
  • They have frequent emotional outbursts, often expressing their outrage with verbal abuse, physical attacks or acts of revenge.
  • Though they’re acutely sensitive to being abandoned and rejected, they’re harshly critical of those closest to them.
  • They view others as “good” or “bad.” A friend, parent or therapist may be idealized one day, yet viewed the next day as a terrible person for failing to live up to their expectations.
  • They may act out with self-destructive activity (i.e. reckless driving, compulsive shopping, shoplifting, cutting, binging with food, alcohol, drugs or promiscuous sex) as a way to fend off feelings of unbearable emptiness.

As a teen, I was diagnosed with BPD and struggled with all of the above. Over the past 10 years I’ve worked hard to understand it, accept myself and shift my behaviors. This post will tell you everything you need to know to start the healing process.

Legal disclaimer: The information provided below is not intended to replace the medical advice of a qualified health care professional or to be used as therapy. Carrie Leigh Sandoval assumes no responsibility for the results generated.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. Nothing changed until I was ready and willing to recognize I needed help.
  2. In order to make changes, acknowledging the problem is the first step.
  3. Next, increase awareness.
  4. Then, accept what is.
  5. Then, and only then, take steps to change the behavior.

Tips for communicating with someone with bpd:

  • Be straightforward.
  • Come from “I feel…”
  • Don’t validate the victim mentality. If they go into a story about how someone did something to them, validate the feeling, but not the story. “It sounds like this hurt you” instead of “I can’t believe he did that to you.”
  • Be consistent.
  • Don’t try to rescue the person.
  • Don’t let yourself be manipulated.
  • Don’t put everything on them because “they’re the one with the disorder.”
  • Be willing to learn from the experience.

What you can expect a friendship or relationship with someone with bpd to look like:

I’m not going lie, it’s turbulent and unpredictable, but there is much to gain in having a relationship with someone with BPD. Here’s what you need to know.

  • It’s never going to look normal.
  • There will be a lot of misunderstanding.
  • You may never get why the person with bpd reacted the way he or she did.
  • He or she often doesn’t understand the reaction either.
  • You can cooperate with someone with bpd. You may not be able to reason with this person initially, but with practice and the right skills you’ll be able to get along.

If the relationship is becoming too toxic, one of the best things you can do is walk away. Make sure he or she is safe, if safety is a concern, but sometimes it gets so bad that the only choice is to walk away. He or she will have to reassess and ultimately deal with what’s happening. It’s the hardest thing when it’s someone you love, but sometimes feeling the pain is the only thing that can set this person free (and you too).

BPD is no one’s fault. It is a combination of genetic causes, environmental factors and an individual’s biochemistry.

The most critical thing to understand when dealing with borderline personality disorder is that the person experiencing it cannot regulate their emotions. It takes a long time, a lot of patience and understanding to relearn or possibly even learn for the first time appropriate responses and boundaries. DBT has been found to be most effective in the treatment of borderline personality disorder. What I love about it vs the traditional cognitive behavioral therapy is that it’s main goal is teaching the patient how to accept what is rather than saying, “this behavior is wrong and it needs to be fixed.”

Behavior is simply a way to communicate. The person who is doing these things is not a bad person, they just never learned how to express their feelings in a healthy way. And remember, the more you react to their negative behavior, the more it reinforces the same behavior.

While I am not a therapist, my approach is based on the same principals as DBT in that my goal is to teach emotional regulation through self-acceptance as well as teach the skills necessary to both the teens who have been affected by this as well as the adults in their lives. If this sounds like what you’ve been looking for, I encourage you to sign up for a free discovery session with me.

If you’re a teen, you can do that here.

Parents, go here to sign your son or daughter up.

Do you have a question or comment about this post? Share it with me below.

Perfectionism and self-harm
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[Day 10] Perfectionism and Self-Harm

Perfectionism and self-harm

It’s day 10 of the blog challenge. Have a blog and want to join? Go here.

Today’s topics could not have arrived at a better time. They are:

1) What goal have you failed to reach, and what did you learn from it?

OR

2) How does perfectionism affect your life (now or in the past)?

I’ve chosen to add my own spin to this by writing about the link between perfectionism and self-harm.

First, let’s take a look at what self-harm is. Here is a blurb from Rader Programs:

Self harm is defined as the act of causing self injury to one’s own body. Self harm is also referred to as self injury, self abuse, self inflicted violence, self mutilation and para suicide. Similar to eating disordered behavior, the self harming behavior is participated in to help the individual cope with, take control of, block out and release unwanted feelings and emotions. The most common act of self harm is cutting.

If you’re interested in learning more or know someone who has been affected by self-harm, please go here to view all my articles on this topic.

Legal disclaimer: The information provided below is not intended to replace the medical advice of a qualified health care professional or to be used as therapy. Carrie Leigh Sandoval assumes no responsibility for the results generated. If you are feeling triggered, please stop reading and call 1-800-DONTCUT immediately.

Perfectionism – it stands over you, watching, judging, waiting to critique. It stalks your every word, every facial expression, every action and reaction.

It reminds you of one thing all the time:

“You will never ever be good enough.”

Perfectionism is the comparison queen, the never ending stream of “how can I be better?” which really just means…

When will I be good enough for someone to love me?

I used to associate love with not being criticized. “If I just do everything right and make everyone happy then maybe I can be happy too.”

Wrong.

Perfectionism itself becomes an additive cycle of self-abuse – whether or not there is physical harm involved. Self-harm just happens to be the extreme version.

Perfectionism + the inability to cope + the inability to express the pain =  self-harming to find relief.

It takes over your life if you let it. It becomes your reason, your motivation for doing things.

But it doesn’t have to.

7 Important Truths Every Perfectionist Must Learn to Accept
  • Not everyone is going to like you – and no one is going to like you if you don’t like yourself.
  • You are not your mistakes.
  • Tweet: Making mistakes does not make you a failure.
  • Mistakes = opportunities to grow.
  • You don’t have to get it right the first time.
  • Your worth does not depend on anything outside of you.
  • You are enough. Right now. And always.
3 Things You Must Master to Stop Being a Slave to Perfectionism
1. Question the validity of your brain’s claims

Be aware of the lies your mind tells you. Is the world going to end if you don’t do xyz at the exact time you said you would? Probably not. Will someone be upset? Possibly. Are you responsible for their reaction? Nope.

If you notice your thoughts hijacking your emotions, stop, breathe and ask yourself, “is this really worth freaking out about right now?” It’s okay to have the thoughts and emotions you have, but often “freaking out” becomes a natural response because we think we have to. But freaking out doesn’t change anything.

2. Have outlets for perfectionism

If perfectionism is infiltrating every area of your life, find some places where you can get it all out. A hobby, if you will. A place where you can obsess about the details without it controlling your life. Because the more you try to suppress it, the more it’ll show up in different areas.

I find great peace and satisfaction building with Legos. The way the pieces fit perfectly and everything is symmetrical is very pleasing to my noggin.

Some other things that comes to mind are:

  • Crafts – woodworking maybe?
  • Cleaning – not really a hobby, but I know I feel better after I clean
  • Making music
  • Puzzles

The key is: the minute it stops being fun, just walk away.

3. Celebrate mistakes + thank your perfectionism for trying to help you in the best way it knows how

Here at the Sandoval residence when someone makes a mistake we say, “Yay, I made a mistake!” We’re not robots and I’m pretty sure even robots aren’t perfect. It’s what makes us beautiful. It’s how we learn. And it’s all good.

Find the gift in every “mistake” you think you’ve made.

And thank your perfectionism for all the ways it does help you. Because really this part of you is just looking for a little love and you’re the only person who can give it to yourself.

How has perfectionism affected you? What practices help you keep it in check? Leave me a comment below.