Empathy and BPD: Overwhelmed vs. Can’t Access
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) can present a real dilemma when it comes to empathy. On one hand, individuals with BPD may experience an overwhelming feeling of empathy, which can be incredibly intense and difficult to manage. On the other hand, there may be times when accessing empathy is challenging, particularly when triggered in a relationship.
Fortunately, there are skills within dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) that can help individuals with BPD navigate these challenges. One such skill is the GIVE skill, which can be particularly helpful when it feels like accessing empathy is difficult.
The GIVE skill stands for Gentle, (act) Interested, Validate, and (use an) Easy manner. This skill teaches individuals with BPD to communicate with others in a way that is respectful and non-judgmental. By using the GIVE skill, individuals can improve their relationships and foster deeper connections with others.
However, when empathy becomes overwhelming, it’s essential to engage in self-care practices. Self-soothing, distracting, and mindfulness are all skills that can help when feeling overwhelmed by empathy.
Self-soothing involves engaging in activities that bring comfort and relaxation. This could include taking a bath, listening to music, or engaging in a hobby.
Distracting involves redirecting your focus away from the source of distress. This could involve going for a walk, watching a movie, or reading a book.
Mindfulness, on the other hand, involves becoming present in the moment and focusing on your breath and body sensations. This can help you to calm down and feel more centered.
In my latest YouTube video, I dive deeper into the topic of empathy and how to navigate its ups and downs when you have BPD. I discuss the GIVE skill in more detail.
Check out the video now and learn how to bring empathy back into your life, even when it feels elusive. With the right tools and skills, you can manage your emotions and build the relationships you deserve.
Thanks for reading.
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