Most people enter therapy when their personal or professional life becomes unmanageable. All the pep talks and maneuvers they've tried in the past that worked for 'em each time they fell into a hole in the road, no longer work. This can at first feel confusing, then disheartening, then anxiety provoking.

Many of us grew up with a fierce determination to rely on our own recognizance, because there was nobody else we could depend on for soothing, reassurance or useful guidance. We had to figure out how to surmount our pain and setbacks all on our own. Many of us became brilliant at surviving~ in fact, we turned into the very people our parents could never be for Us: Helpful, dependable, selfless, generous, strong and utterly determined to survive, no matter what challenges life threw our way! 

Survivors are just that. They may even frequently put themselves to the test while trying to surmount what appears to (more objective) others, as insurmountable conditions. But why is this?

When we're very young and faced with painful or dire circumstances, our fight or flight reflex is triggered each and every time we are tested, and feel hopelessly trapped by our present reality. Some of us are forged into being warriors when this happens, and others resign themselves to being victims of circumstance. Warriors gear up for a fight. Victims invariably find reasons to flee.

Warriors don't just get good at coming to their own aid, they relish taking on others' battles as well~ in fact, the passion they feel in the process of helping others out of their conundrums typically trumps taking good-enough care of themselves. This issue is extremely common among psychotherapists, who never realize they're surrendering their vibrancy and health, by continuing to work with a client who has no capacity to improve (at least, under their care).

The only ethical move at this point, is to refer the client out to another who may be better suited to effectively assist them. It's often egoistic and/or financial considerations that prevent psychotherapeutic 'professionals' from prioritizing a genuine concern for the client's needs and well-being, over their own. 

Relatively healthy, normal folks may occasionally hit a speed-bump in their interpersonal or professional life, and benefit from a short course of ruddering from an older/wiser professional~ but those with BPD or Borderline Personality Disordered features are somewhat addicted to chaos, drama and crisis. This means, crises of various types will consistently undermine and derail their sense of contentment, serenity and joy.

People with narcissistic and/or borderline personality traits often fantasize about "Happily Ever After," but routinely engage in subtle, self-sabotaging choices and behaviors that perpetually keep contentment and happiness at bay. While it's true that real joy and glee are elusive commodities, one has to risk wanting to experience these feeling states on a fairly consistent basis, in order to do what's necessary to capture and keep them.

Growing pains always come with this deal, because true healing, growth and change cannot happen in a vacuum. Most of us resist change (even when it's good for us) because it feels destabilizing for a little while. When we've worked hard all our lives just to feel safe, we literally must be willing to step outside that comfort zone and learn how to experience a litany of new feelings, other than episodic psychic and emotional pain. 

This feels awkward and uncomfortable to many... anxiety provoking, even. It's kind of like growing up in a black and white world and observing nothing else about your environment, and one day upon waking, you open your eyes and suddenly see everything around you in technicolor. It's a shock to the system! 

Both Narcissists and Borderlines are survivors. They both started dissociating from difficult emotions around the age of two. The concept of THRIVING is foreign to them, and while they may become relatively successful in their chosen careers, they rarely have happy, calm and harmonious home lives. The survivor instinct is so deeply entrenched in these individuals, they're frequently compelled to find a fly in the ointment or make mountains out of molehills in their relationship dynamics. 

In truth, they thrive on conflict and dissatisfaction, so they need at least one zone in their life that's disharmonious, in order to ward off anxious sensations, and feel at ease. When life feels too good, they'll throw a monkey wrench into the works, just to create a little emotional drama or chaos, which enables personality disordered folks to feel a sense of homeostasis. If you think of homeostasis as 'sameness' that can be counted on, while giving one a sense of predictability (always being able to anticipate what's  coming next), perhaps you can understand more fully why Borderlines and Narcissists must maintain even a minor level of discontent in their world, or their foundation cracks and they feel wobbly and unsafe. 

Emotionally well-developed, healthy people are hyper-vigilant about making self-constructive choices and decisions, even when these fail to satisfy their immediate wishes or agendas. They can trust in the efficacy of these choices, and can tolerate delayed gratification they know will surely reinforce their foundation and keep their 'home' intact, long term.

Personality disordered people on the other hand, are like very young children. They lack circumspection (ability to see the Big Picture from numerous vantage points) and are tragically short-sighted. They make self-destructive choices and decisions based on immediate, superficial needs for instant gratification. The problem with this, is they episodically step into various holes in the road, and need 'emergency assistance' to climb out of 'em. 

I've always been "an ounce of prevention's worth a pound of cure," kinda dame. I'll go to the ends of the earth to avert setbacks and disasters, because I intimately understand my threshold for handling stress is probably much lower than yours. I'll do everything in my power to head trouble off at the pass, because I'm enamored with calm, serene and joyful feelings, and I'm not about to let anyone or anything mess with these. 

I'm not suggesting it takes a whole lot to knock me out of my orbit, but I've worked hard on constructing a solid foundation for myself that's given me a sense of grounding and centering during adverse events, that many seem to lack. It's been my life's mission to instill within others, this inner fortitude as well. 

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