Here's where the mainstream mental health view, and the holistic God-based view of how to treat personality disorders like BDP differ radically.
Mainstream secular science says broadly: no, but with one possible exception: Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), that's apparently had some notable success for treating BPD, and is being touted as a 'breakthrough'.
See THIS ARTICLE for more information and success stories about DBT.
Why I like DBT:
If you're going to go the Godless therapy route, DBT seems like your best bet by a long way, for the following reasons:
- It works, at least more than any other secular therapy.
- The founder, Marsha Linehan, is grounded, honest and realistic about the problems facing people diagnosed with BPD, as well as the limitations of the therapists trying to help them.
- Linehan also has a healthy attitude to the way therapists should approach clients with BPD, to avoid exacerbating their feelings of invalidation, rejection and being 'not good enough' - in her own words: 'All therapists are jerks!'
- But she also doesn't let BPD people off the hook for their own behaviour. The attitude promoted by DBT is one of BALANCE, acceptance of the client as they are now, with firm demands for change, improvement and growth.
Can BDP be cured? The God-based holistic health view
The God-based holistic health view for all illnesses, physical, mental or emotional, is that when God's in the picture, anything is possible.
This applies to terminal illnesses; chronic physical illnesses where the doctors have given up on finding a cure, or ameliorating the patient's condition; and especially for mental illnesses like personality disorders, which have a huge spiritual component to them that isn't usually even recognised by mainstream therapy and conventional medicine.
(I joked that I was writing a book on this subject, and I'm realizing that I've already half done it, in this post. So for the sake of brevity, I'm going to try to sum up the next points succinctly, and send you to other articles and references for further reading.)
In order to 'cure' BDP, you first have to have a full and honest assessment of the problem. Let's see if we can go back to the 9 criteria set out in the DSM for diagnosing BPD, and see how a God-based holistic approach could help to tackle each aspect of the problem.
RECAP: APA Diagnostic Criteria:
A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1) Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behaviour covered in criterion 5.
2) A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships, characterised by alternating between extremes of idealisation and devaluation.
3) Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
4) Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (eg, spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behaviour covered in criterion 5.
5) Recurrent suicidal behaviour, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behaviour.
6) Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (eg, intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours, and only rarely more than a few days.)
7) Chronic feelings of emptiness.
8) Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (eg, frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights.)
9) Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.
The essential feature of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a pervasive pattern of instability or interpersonal relationships, self-image and affects, and marked impulsivity that begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts.
A STRONG CONNECTION TO GOD AND WORKING ON THE SPIRITUAL ASPECTS OF THE PROBLEM WOULD HELP TO RESOLVE THE FOLLOWING:
1) EFFORTS TO AVOID ABANDONMENT - when you've got God to fall back on, to talk to, to rely on for comfort, you feel hugely less lonely even when you're completely alone. Which means you get much less desperate for 'people' to fill the loneliness gap.
5) RECURRENT SUICIDAL BEHAVIOUR - As mentioned earlier, BPD have had their fair share of suffering, and experience it much more deeply than others. Knowing that life, and even suffering, is purposeful and meaningful makes it much easier to deal with and cope with, and reduces the likelihood that a person will fall into despair and seek to kill themselves. When God's in the picture, there's always hope, because even if we ourselves can't 'fix' the problems we face (and that's a recurring theme for BPD people who are frequently overwhelmed by their life) - God can. And that thought is profoundly reassuring.
7) CHRONIC FEELINGS OF EMPTINESS - as explained above, this stems from existential angst, loneliness and a spiritual 'depth' and need for meaning in life that is felt much more strongly by people with BPD tendencies.
GENERALLY: God can help with all of the above, but first you need to ask Him to get involved. How? Talk to Him, and tell Him what's going on, and what you need, and why it hurts, and how you're really feeling.
For more details on how to do this, you can get a free e-copy of my pocket guide called: 'The How, What and Why of Talking to God' here:www.talktogod.today/ebook
WORKING ON STRENGTHENING AND BALANCING THE THREE FOUNDATIONS OF EMOTIONAL HEALTH (OR DBT) WOULD HELP TO RESOLVE THE FOLLOWING:
2) UNSTABLE AND INTENSE INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS WHERE YOU FLIP BETWEEN LOVING OR HATING PEOPLE - All three foundations come into play here, but particularly Healthy Compassion, where you learn how to empathise more with the other person's point of view, and see things a little less black-and-white.
3) IDENTITY DISTURBANCE - Particularly focussing on the area of Appropriate Kindnesses, which teaches you to differentiate between WANT and SHOULD, and helps you to develop your own free choice about what YOU really want and believe.
4) IMPULSIVITY - Particularly focussing on the area of Sensible Accountability, which encourages you to recognise behaviours that are destructive, without letting yourself off the hook (and consequently ignoring the consequences of your behaviour), OR excessively beating yourself up over it (which guarantees that you'll repeat the behaviour again in the future - more on this in the energy section, below.)
6) AFFECTIVE INSTABILITY - Working across all three foundations of emotional health, to work out they underlying reasons WHY you are being triggered, WHO is contributing to the problem, and WHAT you are telling yourself subconsciously, that you then react to emotionally without being aware of what's really going on.
(NB: Talking to God can also help with all these issues, too, especially if you start to feel scared, overwhelmed, despairing or stuck.)
WORKING ON THE ENERGY PSYCHOLOGY / BODY / ENERGY MERIDIAN ASPECTS OF THE PROBLEM WOULD HELP TO RESOLVE THE FOLLOWING:
8) INAPPROPRIATE, INTENSE ANGER: This can't be done in a vacuum. You also have to work out WHO you're angry at, and why, and that's where the 'Talk to God and Fix Your Health' stuff comes in.
But to sum up a very long story in a nutshell, Borderline Personality Disorder people have an over-reactive Triple Warmer energy meridian, which is the meridian responsible for the 'fight-flight-or freeze' response.
Fight = you get angry.
Flight = you run away (or 'disassociate')
Freeze = when you don't do either fight or flight, sending your energy system into internal paralysis.
The more you can do to calm down Triple Warmer, the less reactive and angry you'll feel, and the easier it will be to keep your emotions in check.
See this article for more information about the Triple Warmer, and how it's affecting your mental and emotional health.
Again, let me state again that trauma, and PTSD, keeps Triple Warmer permanently switched 'on', and keep you permanently on edge and ready to tip over into fight-flight-or freeze.
But Meridian-based Energy Psychology techniques like EFT (tapping) and TAT can defuse PTSD and take the trauma out of your system very fast.
For more information about Energy Psychology and how it actually works, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book:
The Promise of Energy Psychology
For more general information about the body's 9 energy systems, including energy meridians, I highly recommend you read this book:
Energy Medicine, Donna Eden
You can also find a whole bunch of free resources about how energy meridians are connected to emotions, and how to work with them yourself using easy acupressure techniques in the 'Body' section of the Knowledge Base section of the JEMI website.
9) PARANOIA, STRESS AND DISASSOCIATION
A lot of what I've written for number 8, above, also applies to this, with another addition, namely:
Holding the Neurovasculars.
The Neurovasculars govern what happens to blood and energy under stress. As well as being all over the head, they are also behind the knees, and in the centre of the throat.
Each neurovascular point is associated with a different meridian and its associated emotion). Gently holding the neurovasculars with the finger tips is a simple, but powerfully effective tool for lessening emotional intensity, and removing the 'charge' from negative emotional reactions.
Why this is particularly relevant to BPD people is that regularly holding the neurovasculars brings blood back to the frontal lobe, that regulates the emotional response.
To put it another way, it calms down the fight-flight-freeze response, and enables you to think instead of react.
You can find more information about holding the neurovasculars here, and also on the JEMI website, here.
PULLING IT ALL TOGETHER
By working across body, mind and soul, you can utilise a number of techniques to tackle BPD multilaterally, and every improvement you get in one area will automatically lead to further improvements in other areas.
I could carrying on writing about BPD for hours (clearly…) but I'm going to stop here and invite you to get in touch if you have any comments or questions. I'm figuring out a lot of this stuff as I go along, and I want to invite you to join me in this journey of discovery, and of looking at different ways to understand and overcome things like Borderline Personality Disorder.
Let me leave you with this: Don't despair! God loves you unconditionally, and He can help you to turnaround even the more dire circumstances, and most difficult problems.
Yes, BPD is a huge challenge, but by adopting a God-based holistic health approach, I believe you can see some dramatic improvements in your quality of life and outlook, and much faster than you might believe is possible.
From the spiritual perspective, mental health issues usually come about because a person's soul is too big for the body it's been squished into.
Let that thought give you some comfort, and also, a lot of hope.