Life in a Bind – BPD and me

Borderline Personality Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and my therapy journey. Listed in Top Ten Resources for BPD in 2016 by goodtherapy.org. I write for welldoing.org under the name Clara Bridges.

Parts of me

33 Comments

[Warning – liberal use of the ‘f’ word, though purely for artistic purposes…..]

This is a landscape of parts – a landscape of me. We all have them – inner children, inner teenagers, inner parents – I’m just getting a little more acquainted with mine. Some of them are two sides of the same coin, like the terrible teenage twins; some tend to go hand in hand, like the ‘flat one’ who doesn’t feel much and ‘the scathing one’ who just invalidates those who do. I’m aiming to develop the ‘me’ in the middle – but I really don’t have a clear idea of who that is yet.

During and after my last therapy session I was way over on the left – and somehow this picture became my way of trying to process and understand that, while also attempting to keep the terrible teenage twins at bay.

If this all seems a little strange – well, it does to me too. Being part(y) to the conversations in my head is one thing – representing them by coloured blobs – “why are you drawing clouds?” my husband asked – is another. I hope someone finds it useful. Or at least mildly interesting. Perhaps someone will look at this and think, “phew, I am not alone”. In which case, no you’re not, in more than one way, it seems…..

parts

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33 thoughts on “Parts of me

  1. I found this so interesting. Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

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  2. AMAZING! Conceptualizing these different parts of you in this accessible visual way is so clever. I’m reblogging this and will have a go at doing my own drawing! I wonder what my drawing would look like πŸ˜†πŸ’™

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    • Thank you πŸ™‚ I would love to see your drawing!

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      • I will definitely show my own version, publish it on my blog 😁

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      • Excellent! If you get a chance, could you let me know when you publish it? I have far less time to read blogs than I would like to and so may miss it (though I have just read a couple of your own fantastic posts/pages – my computer was being incredibly slow at loading the ‘like’ and other buttons, but I will try and remember to go back and ‘like’ them another time ! πŸ™‚ ). Also, I have just realised I am now almost a whole month behind on replying to blog comments, so I’m so sorry if I still haven’t replied to some of your comments on earlier posts 😦 x

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      • Yes of course I’ll send you a link when I manage to come up with something, it may be a while though 😁 Don’t worry about getting behind with comments, blogging can be a full time job!

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      • I already have one of those! Two if you count the parenting one (which I think most parents would!) πŸ˜‰
        Looking forward to the link and don’t worry about when – will love to read it whenever it’s the right time for you to write it….

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      • I’m a parent too, though don’t work (on top of that) 😁 They’re going back to school tomorrow after half term holidays yay! πŸ™Œ

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      • Same here, back tomorrow πŸ™‚

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      • πŸ™ŒπŸ™ŒπŸ™ŒπŸ˜†

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  3. Reblogged this on I SING THE BODY ELECTRIC and commented:
    This is bloody AMAZING. How this writer has boiled down the different parts of her identity in simple visual form is genius- I am so gonna attempt to do my own version, so I have something illuminating to show my psychologist. Awesome πŸ˜ŠπŸ’™

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  4. That’s really very interesting. I’m still only exploring the Inner Child. I’m not aware of any teenage part just yet. My therapist is having a hard time with me regarding that part of myself because I’m fighting it tooth and nail for some reason. I’m struggling to understand that she is, in fact, ME. I can’t seem to reconcile my “parts”. I feel angry with that little part, sometimes indifferent, pushing her away, and struggling to acknowledge her role in my life. I had to write a letter to my Inner Child, as my first homework assignment for this. Once that was out of the way and we had spoken about it and read it out during session (which was excruciating for me to have to read it out loud – and I kept interrupting to judge what I had written), my second homework assignment was to write back to the adult me, as the child, using my non-dominant hand (a real challenge lol). I had a lot of conflicting emotions reading back what the child part wrote… She was feeling like no one wants her and she feels very alone and constantly scared, and asked me to please love her and be her friend. That she needs me. I had to read the letter in session again. And once again I kept throwing harsh words towards that little part. My therapist says I’m very judgmental and harsh towards that child, who had enough of that in her life and needs care. I failed to do my last bit of homework, where I had to write another letter back to the child part, because like I told my therapist, “_I_ want attention, _your_ attention”. She told me that I _am_ that child too, so by caring for myself I was caring for her too. But I’m still struggling to really “get” it. Or I get it, but maybe I’m just not ready to accept it. During our last two sessions we’ve decided to take a break from that, to be revisited when I feel more ready. Therapy is hard.

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    • This was so interesting, thank you for sharing it! You are amazing to have written those letters and even more so to have read them out – I can definitely imagine how excruciating that must have felt…..I’m not sure I could have done that homework, or at least, I think it’s only been within the last few weeks I could even contemplate it. I know what you mean about being angry with her, and I used to feel as though I hated my inner child and just wanted to get rid of her. That changed quite suddenly just before Easter and I now find myself being able to have compassionate conversations with her and it feels as though we have formed an alliance. Having said that, I have begun to wonder whether I simply ‘split’ her – into the ‘good’ ‘little one’ and the ‘bad’ teenage one. If I _have_ done that, I don’t know how much of a problem it is – it feels really helpful to be able to have this new relationship with the ‘little one’, but I don’t like the idea of there being this other part that I’ve simply focused all that enmity on…it’s all so confusing!
      I also find it really hard to ‘get’ that by attending to other parts I’m also attending to myself, and vice versa. And that the same applies to my therapist’s attention. I remember early on in our therapy I used to feel ‘jealous’ because I thought she was more interested in the ‘child’ me than the ‘adult’ me. More recently it’s been the other way around, or rather, the child has been feeling that my therapist is more interested in responding to the adult, than to her. What I also find hard -and I absolutely HATE this – is that parts of me find it hard to tolerate talking about my marriage/husband or my parenting/kids in therapy, even though I absolutely need to, and on some level want to. But it feels like taking the focus off me, and therapy feels like my space. I feel incredibly self-centered for saying that, but after so long of feeling as though my needs and wants were secondary and had to conform to someone else, it’s really triggering to bring ‘others’ into the space which is ‘unconditionally mine’. Even though my therapist has said that when talking about others the focus is always on me, and that that helps both me and the others, and that that in turn helps me again….Therapy is definitely hard! Thanks so much again for reading and sharing! πŸ™‚

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  5. Have you heard of Schema Mode mapping? This is very similar, I have a similar diagram of my “parts/modes” that I did in schema therapy. They are called schemas. Might be of interest because you’re on a similar track here. x

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    • Thank you so much for your helpful comment! I think I came across it ages ago, when I was fairly new to therapy and was bewildered by all the different kinds! I haven’t been back to it in ages, but this is encouragement to do so, and I will definitely do some ‘googling’ on the subject soon. I found it a really helpful exercise, and I think my therapist found it useful too, so I would definitely be interested in any other tools the mapping might suggest…Thanks again! x

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  6. I just named mine. And they all argue and take control at times. Seems I have no control over them.

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    • I’m resolutely refusing to give mine ‘proper’ names, but I’d love to know more about the names of yours, if you’re happy to share (please don’t worry if not!). In fact there was a bizarre car journey where I was sort of having a conversation with ‘the little one’ and ‘the stroppy one’ in my head, basically telling them no way was I going to name them and they had to just put up with being the little one and the stroppy one πŸ˜‰ I don’t know, maybe it’s just my way of reminding myself that they’re all parts of me, even when they feel as though they’re taking me over and I can do nothing about it. As for control, I think for me, an awareness of their ‘separateness’ and their existence somehow helps me feel that control is more possible. And I think sometimes I subconsciously ‘give over’ control to the more self-destructive parts and by the time I want to claw my way back, it really does feel as though I’m trapped by that part, and can do nothing to shift it…..Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

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      • In my blog I talk about them all. I haven’t really gave them proper names either. I relate so much to what you’ve said. Makes me feel so much better knowing I am not alone.
        The statement “they’re all parts of me” speaks volumes to me. Anyway if you want to know details check my blog out but the skinny is, Mother, Emo girl, the little girl, and Super bitch AKA Nikita or Angelica. The two names for Super bitch were given to her by ex lovers.

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      • Thank you – I will go and investigate! One of the things I really regret it not having as much time to read blogs as I would like, but I will definitely have another look around soon (I’ve just done so a little, and will go back soon πŸ™‚ ). Also, I’m really sorry I haven’t yet managed to reply to earlier comments – I’ve just realised I’m almost a month behind on replying to blog comments, which is pretty terrible as I really appreciate interaction, discussion and comments and aim to reply to each and every one! Thank you for having patience with me!

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  7. Integration is never easy. Think adolescence and all the roles we try to meld together. Good luck.

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    • That’s the interesting thing….I don’t know about adolescence, and roles. What roles? I was never a ‘traditionally’ rebellious teenager though my mum and I had plenty of disagreements. As for my role – it had one dimension, to excel in school. It was clear that all other roles were to be on the back burner until I’d entered the world of the university student….That’s not to say that there weren’t other sides of me, but they were just for me, if you see what I mean, and there was no sense of attempting integration…..As for now – interestingly it almost seems helpful to be able to be aware of these parts as ‘separate’ and to be able to be aware of their thoughts and conversations, because it helps me to stay more on top of triggers, potential self-sabotaging, trying to exercise a bit of control or self-compassion. In that sense, it almost seems as though integration would be a back-wards step – if I don’t see them as separate, I feel as though maybe I wouldn’t have the same awareness of them. Though maybe the goal is to keep that sense of separateness between them and their different characteristics, while still fully owning them as parts of me….I don’t know, I find it all very confusing….

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