Sanctuary for the Abused

Friday, September 14, 2018

Devaluation and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

The Slippery Slope (B.P.D.)

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) has at its root distorted cognitive interpretations. There is a propensity toward negative perception. This negative perception is aroused and or triggered by any number of things that take borderlines emotionally back to the unmet needs and the pain that sits there until faced, felt and healed.

One very central way to change this cycle of being triggered and then sliding (often subsconsiously) into cognitive distortions which that can lead to acting out and over-all child-like behaviour, demanding, push/pull, self-harm, feelings of rejection or abandonment to name just a few is to learn how to recognize and stop borderline devalution.

Devaluation is the lessening of someone or something. It often results from triggered-distorted thinking. It often takes the shape of negative, judgmental, critical and angry conclusions drawn in relation to someone in the here and now that has come to represent someone in one's past. It is yet another facet or extension of borderline-narcissism.

When one begins this cycle of devaluation there is great reason for concern. It is a slippery slope from the mental exercise of devaluation to behavioural reality of aggression or passive-agression. When one is devaluing another person who that person is gets blurred. It then gets easier to value one's own narcissistic and selfish expression which will over-ride the reality of the other person's entity.

In the act of devaluing borderline's often misinterpret reality as if events that have occurred are a conspiracy against them or are happening just to them and being done by others on purpose. This is a prime example of narcissism in action.

An example of devaluation:

You are with a friend who has helped you out a lot and who you believe cares about you. You like this person most of the time. Though there are those times when you think that they think (projection) that you are "less than". Your friend decides to change his/her mind about something that they had promised to do with you. Rather than just accept that at face value and accept his/her reason you suspect that it has more to do with you. You suspect and come to believe that they are doing something to you on purpose to hurt you. Chances are that the change in plans your friend has made has nothing at all to do with you. Here is the critical area in which you need to stop the cycle of devaluation before it starts.

If you get into devaluation it will begin with the thought that your friend is not being honest with you. It will proceed to your believing they really don't like you anyway. Then the next thought would be that they don't care about you so why should you care about them. Anger sets in as you feel hurt but don't deal with that. Next thing you know, this friend that you wanted to go to a movie with now seems like some stranger you've never known. The reason has nothing to do with him/her. The reason that your friend now seems like a stranger is because you have projected so much of yourself on to him/her that you are not seeing them anymore. So, in essence then, this devaluation of another person, is really an extension of your own self-hatred and how undeserving you feel. And all it takes to activate this trigger in the average borderline is a slight change of plan or routine that leaves anything in the borderline's experience feeling unpredictable or out of control.

It is when you devalue, and react to others as an extension of yourself (narcissistically), that the slippery slope sees you sliding down the triggered-reality toward what is tantamount to illusion and distorted thoughts. Any action that you act on that results from that illusion or those distorted thoughts has a great chance of being very damaging in any relationship. It will be experienced as controlling, manipulating and or punishing by the person on the other end of your devaluation of them. If you are unaware of the effect that you are having on others and if you are unable to take personal responsibility for the unfolding of this devaluing dynamic the chances are good then that you will feel rejected, and or abandoned, not understand why and then escalate your negative and controlling behaviour/defence mechanisms which will then only further alienate others from you.

Devaluation of others is a slippery-slope because it quickly leads to patterned responses from your past crowding into your relationships in the present. When you come to understand what devaluing others costs you, you may then decide that it is a cycle worth stopping. When you start your slide down that slippery slope it can be difficult to stop yourself before you have done a lot of damage to yourself and others and before you end up at the bottom of that cycle yet again.

No deserves to be devalued. When one is able to devalue another it dehumanizes them and leads to an inability to respect. This is often the precursor to violence.

There are thought-patterns which occur in patterned ways in each and every devaluing episode. The key thing is to learn what they are and how to recognize them. The way to stop them is to work through them and understand what they are attached to from your past. The best way to not fall into the pattern of devaluation is to remind yourself that everything is NOT about you. If you find yourself about to devalue someone just tell yourself to STOP. Just saying STOP can help you re-focus your thoughts elsewhere.


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shared by Barbara at 12:19 AM



This article makes very good points. The material about devaluation opened my eyes to a part of the experience of being bpd that I hadn't been aware of. However, at the very beginning, the article made a point that not only has personal meaning to me but also is factually incorrect. This was the phrase, "Since most borderlines did not have their needs met in developmental years,..." The factual truth is that current research shows borderline personality disorder is an inherited brain abnormality and not due to child abuse or neglect. This is a personal issue to me, as my only child is bpd. The best I can say at this point is that bpd is making the same sort of movement that autism has made. About 20 years ago, autism was regarded as the result of cold mothering in early childhood. Now it is understood as genetic. I have to say that the personal damage these two historical understandings of disease (bpd and autism) have done to loving mothers is painful.

9:01 AM  

Anonymous, thank you for pointing that out. I have only ever heard that being highly invalidated as a child can lead to BPD. My ex has never been diagnosed, but shows many signs of being BPD. I am so afraid of my eldest child also displaying BPD traits. I wonder what the recovery rate is?

I wonder what ex would do if I gave him the article. I make it a point to remain No Contact for my own safety and peace of mind. But I feel so sorry for him because it seems like he is really groping in the dark. He has had a string of people try to help him and I can't understand why no one has been able to help him see that he needs to work on the roots of his cognitive distortion. Even his psychologist doesn't see it.

The fact that this article seems to be directed toward a sufferer of BPD must mean that the author assumes that a sufferer can be made aware and find change. At least there is hope for my ex-husband and also my child. That is, if they find therapists that understand.

7:09 AM  

Anonymous, I'm afraid you are incorrect in stating "The factual truth is that current research shows borderline personality disorder is an brain abnormality and not due to child abuse or neglect" Current research has only established a possible influence of genetics on the genesis of BPD, but the extent to which it actually contributes to the development of the disorder is still unknown. Research actually currently supports a biopsychosocial view of BPD etiology, meaning that it is not caused by either biology OR environment, but rather both in different ways . While certain biological predispositions are considered, child abuse and neglect is, in fact, still considered as a very strong factor in the development of BPD. Also, the statement of "Most borderlines did not have their needs met" is actually correct based on statistics which show that a good majority of people diagnosed with BPD have had a history of some form of abuse or neglect. Maybe not all have, but since, statistically speaking ,more have than have not, the original statement is correct.

5:01 PM  

I have BPD and I have come from an extremely abusive environment. No one else in my family has BPD and no one down the line has it either. In my case it is not genetic. Also, I have been in DBT classes and group therapy with other people that have BPD and they all had traumatic pasts. All of them. This comes from 15 years of group therapy with other people with BPD. Real experience. I don't know about the research, but it's wrong if it says it's mostly genetic. I know some may have it from genetics, but from my personal experiences with other real people and myself, it is not genetics, it is from an invalidating or abusive environment most of the time.

7:18 PM  

This confuses me. The "example" If one is dating a narcissistic partner, couldn't it be true that they are changing plans last minute, to in fact maintain a control over you or to perhaps bait you into a fight which will allow them to unleash on you? I dated a narcissistic person who had a long track record of confirming plans multiple times and would wait until I was picking up dinner, or had already left my house to let me know in that all familiar way "How mad would you be if we didn't hang out?" This person also cheated and the night they cheated used that same line. When this pattern would come into play where plans were cancelled I could almost predict it. It was when I was in a great mood and feeling great. It was a hot button and she knew it and she liked the fact she had that power to pull that card over me. I had communicated to her my unhappiness about these last second changes. I totally get that not everything is about me, but in a totally one way unreciprocated relationship it can be maddening to rush around town to get things done, pick up food for them, get ready, already tell friends that you have plans, only to get a call that they are "tired" This article makes it seem that given this track record of events that took place, that a reaction where your mind may jump the gun a bit makes someone being devalued? I never devalued her. I honestly and naively loved her. I gave up when after giving everything I had, realized that there was never going to be any object constancy. I was always going to be as good as my last transaction and the reciprocity was never there. For anything. Even time spent together.

11:09 PM  

This article is very well written and lead to me discovering that the devaluation my husband subjected me all the time we were together (8 years) wasn't actually directed to me. It is interesting that he would get very angry when I would say to her that he treated me like he hated me, he really couldn't understand that he had done that but maybe, because the hatred was not directed to me personally he managed to dissociate me from and therefore as far as he was concerned he loved me dearly. I hope that I am making sense because this is quite a complex problema. As there is little support for partners of BPD/NPD I have started a Facebook page where someone posted this very valid article so feel free to join us if you so wish: By the way, nowadays everything is supposed to be genetic in order to leave everybody off the hook, I am not sure whether this is the case with BPD or not.... I really don't know!

7:11 PM  

Just say "stop"? Omg. Why didn't I think of that before. -.- That does not help.

1:25 PM  

I have BPD and reading just "stop" is so frustrating to me.. It is not that simple.

3:00 PM  

Dear first commenter,

Please be aware that having a child with BPD does not make you a bad person, not even if you did not fulfill all your childs need. Nobody can fulfill all their childrens need, and sometimes a poor 'psychological fit', e.g. of a very calm parent that does not know, as they do not need, certain emotion-regulating techniques, and a sensitive child, who whould need such techniques. Some books about BPD go into more detail about this. The point I am trying to make is this: When you understand and lovingly accept that you have your own wounds from your childhood, and because of that, or other factors outside of your control (such as the 'fit'), while lovingly doing the best you could possibly have done, your child may still have had unmet needs, then you can go through those together and contribute to your childs healing. Listening and saying 'I'm sorry, I didn't know that that was an unmet need of yours' or 'I didn't know how to give you that' doesn't mean you are to blame. Even if someone, unknowingly to you should have abused your child in some way, they still didn't have their needs met, yet it's not necessarily your fault. If you can embrace this perspective, you may feel less compelled to paint a black and white picture of childhood experiences not strongly influencing the genesis of BPD, which, should you really have substantial evidence for that claim, I would be glad if you can pass us some scientific references about it. All the best to you and your child.

2:52 AM  

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