This is a very interesting and helpful post on a subject that I think affects many people with BPD, and which, as the author highlights, can be very beneficial to be mindful of.
I have noticed that I am acutely sensitive to the facial expressions of my therapist, and interpret anything other than an outright smile, as a critical, disapproving or judgemental expression. This is particular true of her “I’m thinking” face, which is rather unfortunate, as she is quite a thoughtful person and takes her time to respond to things! I have similar difficulties with my husband’s facial expressions, which I also tend to interpret as harsh, unless he is actively smiling.
I think it can be very helpful to try and remain conscious of this tendency to interpret expressions more negatively and, as the author comments, to try and remind ourselves that our perception of how the other person is feeling or reacting, does not necessarily reflect reality. At the same time, it’s important to try and accept our own feelings about the situation, and not to judge ourselves for these tendencies or perceptions.
I have certainly found that ‘taking a small pause for introspection’ has been helpful in this, and in so many other situations where BPD has been playing havoc with my emotions!
I like this quote a lot. Often, throughout my day, I notice things about people. A certain way they smile at me, raise an eyebrow, roll their eyes; it could be any number of seemingly arbitrary things. Sometimes these little things can tell me a lot about that person’s internal state and helps me react accordingly and appropriately to whatever they throw at me. Other times, these things tell me absolutely nothing and I react anyways. This is true especially when speaking of negative emotions. As do most borderlines, I have a bias for picking out negative emotional states over positive ones. It even goes to the extent that if shown a neutral facial expression, I will be more likely to see something in that neutral expression that makes me believe that it is negative over positive or neutral (remember, us borderlines live in a world of black and white…
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