Taking Responsibility For My Own Insecurites

There are times where I find myself feeling insecure about the smallest things. Only, these things aren’t so small to me in the moment. During these times, I see them as something that threatens my very happiness, sanity and survival.

For example, if someone doesn’t respond the right way to a text or email. Often though, there is no ‘right way’. I can find something wrong no matter what someone may say. I put them in a position where they can’t win. Being oversensitive is a common BPD trait. It’s not fun.

Another example is someone not responding to a text or email in the time frame that I think they should, in order to make me feel secure.

Both of these examples rang true for me yesterday with regards to my girlfriend. I’m going to call her Jasmine from now on. She went home yesterday to continue working on her thesis. She works on it when she’s here too, but there are more distractions… Me being one of them, of course.

A few hours later, my Rational Mind went offline. It was as if I had forgotten that Jasmine had work to do, and that was what she had to focus on. In those moments, I thought that it had to do with me. That maybe I had done something wrong, and she was angry with me. I was about to ask her whether she was mad at me, but then I realized something.

I can’t expect others to be responsible for my insecurities. They’re mine. They don’t belong to anyone else.

So instead of asking for reassurance this time, I decided to deal with it myself. I’ll never learn how to self-soothe and deal with my own emotions if I constantly expect others to make me feel better. Just because I didn’t get the care and reassurance I needed as a child and teen, I’m an adult now. And I’m perfectly capable of reassuring myself. It’s easier said than done of course, but that’s not going to stop me from working on it.

I started thinking about what I could do to deal with these insecurities, and came up with an idea. I took a piece of paper and made a few columns. And since I like making things as easy as possible (otherwise I just procrastinate), I made the same thing in MS Word and saved it as a template for future use. For the purpose of this post, I’ve put my exercise in as an example and made a screenshot.

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After doing this, I felt so much better, and could focus on my own activities. When those same insecurities would rise up, I would just look at my list. I’m the queen of catastrophizing. I don’t want to be this way anymore. And only I can change it.

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Being My Own Friend

During my therapy session yesterday, I was highly annoyed with myself. I told my therapist that I feel I should be better by now. That I should just get over everything and move on. She told me that I’m very harsh on myself, and set very high expectations. That’s very true. I’m my own worst enemy. My harshest critic.

Then I got to thinking. I’ve read articles before on treating yourself as you would treat a friend. Back then it didn’t make much of an impact on me. But now I get it.

If a friend tells me that she’s a terrible person because of something she’s done, what would I tell her? I’ll tell her something along these lines:

“I can understand that you feel like a terrible person. But you’re human. We all make mistakes. The good thing is that we can fix these things. And those things we can’t mend, we learn from them. Simply by you admitting to what you did and how terrible you feel about it, you’re actually showing me the opposite. If you were truly terrible, you wouldn’t have been feeling this bad about it. That tells me that you have a good heart.”

Now what does it sound like when it’s me that’s done something I’m not proud of? It goes like this:

“You stupid idiot. Once again you fucked up like you always do. You’re the worst person in the world. Can’t you ever do anything right? You deserve to feel terrible about yourself. You shouldn’t even be allowed to live.” Yes, that’s really how I talk to myself. Black and White thinking in full swing. I would never talk to a friend like that, so why shouldn’t I show myself the same courtesy?

I learned a valuable skill from my therapist yesterday, which works great in the context of this post as well. I was going through one of my insecure phases and wondering whether I really can trust her completely. “I don’t want to be here today”. “What if you don’t really want to work with me and you’re only staying because it would be unethical for you to drop me?” Those kinds of things. After 6 months with her, I had hoped those insecurities would be non-existent, but that’s not the case. Just when I feel closer to her than ever before, and am enjoying that wonderful connection, it’s not long until I find myself pulling away and falling into the insecure, negative place again.

Yesterday, instead of reassuring me the way she sometimes does, she made me work this time. I suppose there has to be a balance. She can’t just always reassure me without showing me how to change my own thought patterns and reach conclusions for myself. That being said, she still managed to sneak in reassurances, and didn’t leave me completely alone trying to work through this.

She asked me these kinds of questions for each of the negative thoughts I was having (she encouraged me to look at the facts):

What is the evidence that she’s trustworthy?
What evidence is there that she’s not trustworthy?

What evidence is there that she doesn’t like working with me?
What evidence is there that she does like  working with me?

This ‘little’ exercise took a while. She really makes me work hard, and sometimes it feels like my brain just wants to explode. Not to mention my rage at having to spend so much time on something that seems so trivial at the time. Afterward though, I see just how valuable it really is, and I’m grateful for it. I have so many cognitive distortions, and negative patterns and habits that I’ve developed over the years, so of course it’s going to be hard to train my mind to think differently. I need to be kinder to myself. I need to be my own friend.

I can use this skill to be a better friend to myself. When I start feeling like a failure, a waste of space, or whatever my mind comes up with, I can practice this technique.

“I’m a failure.”

What evidence is there to suggest that I’m a failure?
What’s the evidence that I’m not a failure.

This stuff can be used for anything. Thank you psychology. Thank you therapist.

I’m going to practice being kinder and more gentle with myself, and talk to myself the same way I would to my friends, and other people in my life. If I find myself being harsh, I will re-frame it and ask myself what would I tell someone else if they feeling the same way.

We deserve to be our own best friend.

The Challenge And Necessity Of Being Good to Ourselves

My psychologist shared this quote online, and it’s been at the back of my mind since I saw it.

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I was approached by one of my male friends a few weeks ago. Someone I’d known for a number of years. We’ve never been close, but the friendship had its merits.

He asked me to take on a personal project for him. It would require a lot of time and work on my part, and the only thing I would get out of it would be the satisfaction of having done something for a friend. As usual, I agreed. However, since my break up and move, I don’t have the large amount of internet data it would require. I had unlimited WiFi access, but in this new place, there’s a limited amount of data available every month and it has to be shared by six of us. This project has been causing me a lot of distress lately. To say I’ve been dreading it would be an understatement.

This quote came into my mind again yesterday, and I knew what I had to do. I was nervous telling him I couldn’t do it anymore. I also told him that I’m going through a really hard time and I have so many other things on my plate at this time, and am already overwhelmed. That I need to be kind to myself now too. It took a whole minute for him to tell me he never wants to hear from me again. Thanks, and fuck you too.

I’ve never been good at handling stress. I get overwhelmed easily, and it used to result in panic attacks. I’ve since learned how to stop it turning into a full blown one. But a lot of it was my own fault. Always taking on too much. Never wanting to disappoint or offend anyone. Never standing up for myself and taking people’s crap. In all the jobs I had, I spent many moments in the bathroom hitting the walls or cutting myself where no one could see. Then walking out, the picture of calm and control. There was only one job where I allowed myself to express my frustration and anger. My boss and I would often have screaming matches with one another, swearing included, which would end with him going into his office and slamming the door. I’ve never been able to fight with anyone like that, not even with my ex. But I felt comfortable letting this man have it. Everyone else in the company was terrified of him. But the bastard loved me. Would always bring me chocolates or flowers afterward or the next day. Ah, the good ol’ days. 😛

I recently became obsessed with Jennifer Lawrence. It was her performance in “Silver Linings Playbook” that really got my attention. I watched it a couple weeks ago with my family. They thought she was crazy… I was fascinated and loved her character. Who I’m pretty sure has BPD by the way. Anyone else happen to think so?

Just as a side note: That scene in the restaurant was epic. I played it back a few times when everyone else had gone to bed. It made me feel so satisfied. What can I say? I’m messed up.

Anyway, in one scene, Tiffany (Portrayed by Jennifer) tells Bradley Cooper’s character, Pat:

I do this time after time after time, I do all this shit for other people, and then I wake up and I’m empty. I have nothing. I always get myself into these fucking situations. I give everything to other people and nobody ever… I don’t get what I want okay?

Those words really hit me hard. A lot of us are in the habit of doing things for others, even at the expense of our own needs and desires.

Being good to ourselves also means taking care of our own needs. It’s okay to ask for what you want. This concept is something I struggle with. I’ve realized that a few times in my life I’ve offered others hugs simply because I wanted or needed one. Manipulation much? I send my apologies out into the universe to those people, wherever they may be. The other day I followed the example of Tiffany (who asked Pat to help her with her dance), and told a friend that I need a hug. And you know what? She was more than happy to give it to me. It was terrifying to ask, but I felt good afterward. Proud of myself for a change. We need to be proud of every step we take in a positive direction. No matter how small or seemingly insignificant.

It makes me feel good doing things for others, as I’m sure it does for you too. But sometimes there are things you don’t want to do, aren’t comfortable doing, or that go against your values or beliefs. We need to learn to say “no” and become comfortable in doing so. I don’t like hurting or offending people. But I think I need to learn to balance being kind and good to others and myself at the same time. This won’t always be possible of course, but I’m sure most situations will enable me to do just that.

I’m currently reading a book, ‘Coping With BPD’.  After this experience with my “friend” I was trying to get the situation off my mind and decided to read a little. I opened up to the next chapter in that book. Surprise… The title? ‘Saying No’. Funny how these things happen, isn’t it? I read about the FAST skill of DBT. FAST is an acronym for:
F – (be) Fair
A – (no) Apologies
S – Stick to values
T
– (be) Truthful
They don’t go into too much detail in the book about it, so I found this article that explains it really well. Will definitely need to practice this skill.

People won’t always treat you well. But whenever you remember, and whenever you can, treat yourself well. You deserve to be good to yourself. You’re worth it. The saying “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you” is true. But you know what’s also true for those of us in the habit of always putting others first?

“Do unto yourself as you do unto others.”