Tag: social

Mental Well-being During Social Distancing

Managing mental well being is critical in times of uncertainty and unpredictability. One common coping mechanism is to connect in-person with friends or family because isolation can negatively impact those experiencing depression and anxiety.

Amid concerns over COVID-19, however, that recommendation conflicts with health and safety instructions on social distancing. Dr. Tonya Hansel and Dr. Maurya Glaude, licensed clinicians and researchers at the Tulane University School of Work, have the following suggestions to prevent increased at-home time from negatively affecting a person’s mental health.

  • Set up a routine and workspace dedicated to work. Use sticky notes, calendars, journals or other office supplies to help you stay organized and remember what you need to accomplish.
  • Email, message or call your colleagues or classmates. This will not only allow you to connect for mental well-being but also allow you to gain clarity and understanding about a particular assignment.
  • Recharge with fresh air, exercise and entertainment. This could include taking a midday walk or bike ride around your neighborhood, going on a nature hike or enjoying a snack on your porch. Allow more sunlight into your work space.
  • Maintain running, walking or cycling routines but bring your own water, avoid drinking out of public fountains and keep approximately 6 feet from others as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
  • Use the time you save from commuting to do extra things around your house, such as spring cleaning, cooking or gardening. Or create a piece of art or do craft projects with your children.
  • Feel free to allow small indulgences. Giving yourself or your children a little extra screen time is a way of practicing self-care.
  • Use technology — Facetime, Google Hangouts, Zoom or the phone — to keep up with friends and family and support one another. 
  • Access mental health resources such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. You can also call the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Hotline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.

To schedule an interview with Hansel or Glaude, contact Carrie Moulder at cmoulder@tulane.edu or Barri Bronston at bbronst@tulane.edu.

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

Few Effective Treatments

Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi

No single treatment stands out as especially effective for borderline personality disorder, a mental illness that can involve self-harm and suicide attempts, according to two new reviews of recent studies.

BPD does appear to respond more strongly to certain kinds of psychological “talk” therapies, British researchers found. However, the psychological treatments that showed the most promise were relatively new and supported by “too few data for confidence,” the authors write.

Because both are complex, intensive therapies that require long-term staff training, “we believe that such treatments will only be available to a select few patients,” said co-author Mark Fenton.

The team, led by Conor Duggan of the University of Nottingham and Clive Adams of the University of Leeds, conducted separate reviews on psychological and drug therapies for BPD.

The reviews appear in the current issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.

The team analyzed findings from seven studies on structured talking therapies, comprising 262 adult outpatients with either a formal diagnosis of BPD or at least three criteria for the illness.

People undergoing a treatment called dialectical behavior therapy appeared to have fewer suicide attempts or thoughts of suicide at six months compared to those in usual care. Introduced in 1991, the treatment involves individual psychotherapy sessions, telephone coaching, lengthy group therapy sessions and cognitive modification.

Treating patients in a day hospital unit geared to psychoanalytic treatment also seemed to “decrease admission and use of prescribed medication and increase social improvement and social adjustment,” the reviewers found.

Although both treatments are “difficult to apply to everyday care,” the researchers say that results so far suggest that “the problems of people with borderline personality disorder may be amenable to treatment.”

BPD is characterized by “an internal sense of emptiness and an inability to regulate emotion, going from high to low levels of emotion very quickly,” according to Scott Haltzman, M.D, a professor at Brown University. “These people tend to respond to the world with swings from rage to glee.”

Two percent of the general population and 20 percent of psychiatric inpatients have borderline personality disorder. Borderline patients are overwhelmingly female (75 percent).

“This group of people is often a challenge to health service providers,” said Fenton, who is also editor of the U.K.-based “Database of Uncertainties About the Effects of Treatments. He said that people with BPD have difficulty engaging in relationships, including relationships with therapists.

Unlike some other psychiatric conditions, there is no widely accepted drug regimen for borderline personality disorder.

“If offered medication, people with BPD should know that this is not based on good evidence,” the reviewers concluded.

The second review pooled results from ten small, short-term randomized studies on drug therapies for BPD. These studies involved 554 patients, both inpatients and outpatients

Studies of the various drugs used “show that antidepressants offered the best chance of improvement, but even here, results were not robust,” according to Fenton. “For ratings of anger, fluoxetine (Prozac) may offer some improvement over placebo,” the researchers say.

Although the antipsychotic drug haloperidol showed some improvement in symptoms of hostility, “the numbers are so small it is likely to be a false positive,” said Fenton. The reviewers do not recommend the use of antipsychotic drugs for borderline personality disorder outside of clinical trials.

Although the drug data were not encouraging, “that does not mean (medication) may not do considerable good, and there is no indication of significant harm,” the reviewers wrote. “People with BPD or their carers are in a position to lobby for and facilitate good research in this area.”

Binks CA et al. Psychological therapies for people with borderline personality disorder, The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 1.

Binks CA, et al. Pharmacological interventions for people with borderline personality disorder. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 1.

The Cochrane Collaboration is an international nonprofit, independent organization that produces and disseminates systematic reviews of health care interventions and promotes the search for evidence in the form of clinical trials and other studies of interventions. Visit http://www.cochrane.org for more information.

INTERVIEWS Contact Mark Fenton at 0044 (0)1865 517622 or at mfenton@cochrane-sz.org

Unattainable Standards of Beauty for Today’s Woman

Victoria Secret models shrink while average US women’s dress size increases

Photo by Tamara Bellis

While the average American woman’s waist circumference and dress size has increased over the past 20 years, Victoria’s Secret fashion models have become more slender, with a decrease in bust, waist, hips and dress size, though their waist to hip ratio (WHR) has remained constant.

These findings represent an ideal of beauty that continuously moves further away from the characteristics of the average American woman.

Quantifying female body attractiveness is complex. Perceived attractiveness is influenced by physical and nonphysical traits and is further guided by media exposure and sociocultural standards of the time. One of the more established parameters to evaluate female body attractiveness is the WHR, which measures body fat distribution. Interestingly, WHR has continued to be an ideal beauty trait that has stayed constant over time and cross-culterally.

In order to evaluate trends of physical body attributes, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) measured and compared Victoria’s Secret models from 1995 to 2018. The first Victoria’s Secret runway show debuted 23 years ago and since then has been viewed by millions annually, making it the most watched fashion show worldwide.

The data showed that over time, Victoria’s Secret fashion models have become thinner, with smaller busts, waist, hips and dress size, whereas their WHR remained constant. “Conversely, the average American woman’s waist circumference and dress size has increased and varies between a misses size 16 and 18,” explained corresponding author Neelam Vashi, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at BUSM.

According to the researchers, in parallel with this trend, the percentage of women seeking cosmetic surgical procedures has dramatically increased and may be due to the desire to achieve the ideal WHR, which is a narrow waist set against fuller hips. Buttock and lower body lift has increased by 4,295 percent and 256 percent, respectively since 2000.

“Our results represent a potentially changing weight ideal of beauty that is moving farther away from the characteristics of the average American woman; however, a constant idealized WHR remains intact,” added Vashi, who also is director of the Boston University Cosmetic and Laser Center at Boston Medical Center.

4 Tips to divorce a borderline woman

 

You are divorcing the Borderline mother of your children. Your dissolution of marriage action is getting now here. You are an entrepreneur who owns your own business or you are a middle-to-upper level corporate executive or manager. You are responsible for accomplishing the impossible everyday and you get the job done every day–no matter what. You are a resourceful, educated, creative, motivated problem solver accustomed to dealing with difficult people who has no patience for fools or incompetents and you only work with team players who share your drive to succeed. Naturally, you expect your divorce will proceed the same way you handle the rest of your life.

    Unfortunately, divorcing a Borderline is everything you hate most in life: delays; disruptions of your business routine and personal regimens; dramas bordering on bad theater; impossible, inflexible people; inconsistent demands and confusing signals; serial hurry-up-and-waits; every specie of verbal and behavioral deceit ever conceived by the human mind; physical, emotional, financial, social and psychological abuse; total chaos. All of this in a judicial setting designed to enable the Borderline to amplify and exploit both human and institutional weaknesses. It’s like swimming out into the ocean from the beach and then turning around to swim back to shore only to find nothing but water as far as the eye can see. No landmarks. No people. No boats. No help. Nothing but water to the horizons in all directions. In family law court, the very qualities that make you successful in business will prove to be your downfall in your Borderline divorce.

   You were trained to take charge and to adopt a “can do” attitude. You want non-issues resolved yesterday. You have no patience for people who have nothing better to do than to waste your time and money. But in a Borderline divorce, you can rest assured nothing will happen when you want or need it to happen. People who have far more issues than you will judge your life while lying to you, while engaging in passive/aggressive behavior, while paying lip service to the “best interests of the child”, and while employing “secrets” and codes of silence. They will not let you see the man behind the curtain, but they act like they expect you to know what the Great Oz is doing. As soon as you file your divorce your life starts being run by a remote control shared by everyone involved in your case, except you. The court, your spouse, opposing counsel, the custody evaluator and other retained experts are all making decisions directly affecting you and your future, but they rarely seek your advice let alone consent. You are not accustomed to having someone else tell you how to run your life, let alone someone who knows nothing about you and who (you get the feeling) could care less. You feel helpless because you are being judged by an institutionalized negative stereotype of what a “man” is that has little to nothing to do with who you are, namely: a physically violent, emotionally abusive, alcoholic, drug using, Monday Night Football couch potato, who doesn’t know one end of a baby from the other. After a while, you begin to feel overwhelmed, powerless, misunderstood.

     Eventually, you begin feel that you are the only person at the table who doesn’t have a say in your own life. And you are not far from the truth. You are being pulled in multiple directions. Your life unravels. Your health suffers. You are not eating or exercising or sleeping right. Your hard earned financial security is soon siphoned off. You don’t have time or money to see a therapist let alone start a new relationship. Your income drops. You see your children far less than you need and want to while you watch your career and future disappear down Alice’s rabbit hole. The dream is dead. Only after this new surreal reality sinks in do you begin asking yourself, “How will I survive this divorce? Will I survive?” You will survive. That is not the question. The question is who will you be after the divorce is granted, a custody plan is in force, support has been established, and the community property has been divided? The first steps toward salvaging your life when divorcing a spouse who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder (“BPD”) are, first, to understand what Borderline Personality Disorder is, second, to surrender to the dysfunctional American family law court system–a way of divorcing people that not even Niccolo Machiavelli could have envisioned–and, third, creating a new dream. A man without a dream is a dead man. Begin this process by assuming you have no rights and no life: You are a third class citizen. Objectively speaking, you have been repeatedly victimized by your spouse and the family court system, but you can never think or act like you are a victim. You must always be “at cause” in your own life no matter how strange things get.     This is the only way for a man to win any significant custody time with his children and to gain any say in this own life. If you so much as smell like a victim–you lose.

The attorney you choose will determine how you come across to the court. The Great Oz who hides behind the curtain is testing you to see if you are really a Man. You will be mercilessly tortured until you either break down from the systematic abuse heaped on you year after year, or you win primary custody of your children. There is no middle ground. Why? Because Borderlines know no middle ground and Borderlines force all- or-nothing resolutions. Courts and attorneys do not understand this about Borderlines. In fact, they do not know Borderlines even exist. Aristotle said, “Know Thyself.” To survive, you must know your heart, your strengths and weaknesses, your limits and potentials. If you know now that you are not ready, willing and able to endure endless psychological, emotional, financial and social abuse, you need to consider walking away and never looking back–whatever that means to you. If you do walk away, be absolutely certain that five or ten years from now, you will be able to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I did everything I possibly could to save my children.” This is one way to survive a Borderline divorce. There is only one other way. If you are a man who cannot walk away from his children and who is willing to risk and sacrifice everything for your children, you have no choice but to to be “all in”, no matter what, no matter how long.

 When Hawkeye tells Cora in The Last of the Mohicans to go–he will find her “no matter how far, no matter how long”–he meant it. And so will you. Because your children’s lives solely depend on you. When you resolve that you have no other options but to save your children, take action: Dream a new dream for your life. This is the necessary first step to survival.

  1. Seek out a good life coach or psychologist and get the help you need. 
  2. Read as much as you can about BPD. In time, you will learn how easy it is to manipulate a BPD. 
  3.  Find an attorney who either specializes in BPD cases or who is willing to consult with one does; and Accept that the court system is not only blind when it comes to BPD cases, it is also deaf and dumb–and then develop a plan that forces your judge to deal with reality. 
  4.  Your goal is primary custody of the children. In almost all Borderline cases in which the Borderline parent is moderately or severely Borderline, this is the only custody arrangement that will save the children. If your game plan is Borderline savvy and if you have the wherewithal to financially and personally endure protracted litigation against a Borderline, you can save your children and live your new dream.
 

Is Your Mother a Borderline?

Photo istock
Mark Banschick M.D.
 


By
 Mark Banschick

A Borderline mother can hurt a child in a heartbeat, and these wounds often co
tinue into adulthood. In this piece, Dr. Daniel Lobel shows us how this abuse occurs and what one can do about it.
                       ——
Conversations with people suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder (IBPDs) can deteriorate quickly.
It’s like stepping on a bee’s nest.
One moment you’re talking normally, and the next, the room shakes with rage, shaming, or hurt. And, for the children of such people, the results are ongoing trauma.
•    A Borderline parent can transform into a brutal parent in the blink of an eye.
Given this inherent instability, children—even, adult children—often find themselves unable to respond effectively to a triggered IBPD parent. This blog describes some common patterns of IBPD thinking, and what one can do about it.  After all, forewarned is forearmed.
Two important notes:

  • Borderline parents suffer as well. People don’t hurt their children naturally; these suffering souls often have their own past traumas. That being said, parents are not off the hook for abusing their children.
  • We are focusing here on the Borderline mother, but IBPD occurs in fathers as well. In future blogs, I hope to explore what it’s like to be the son or daughter of such men.

Predictable Toxicity:
Regarding the Borderline mother, being prepared for some predictable toxic patterns can help mitigate some of her disorienting pain. If you don’t understand what you are dealing with, the likelihood is that she’ll cause damage for years to come.
The thinking of a person with IBPD is distorted at many levels of processing but there are nonetheless patterns of thinking that can be identified. An understanding of these patterns can help to minimize conflict and damage to the self when relating to individuals so afflicted.
The Danger of Distorted Thinking:
Healthy thought processes must be based on accurate perception of the communication and feelings of others. This is where the problems begin for IBPDs. Persons afflicted with this disorder don’t listen to—they listen for.
•    They listen for confirmation that they are the victim.
•    They listen for slights.
•    They listen for hidden meanings.
•    They listen for any withholding of self or resources.
There is a pattern to this listening bias.
The Brutal Search Engine:
Like Google, the Brutal Search Engine is activated by questions. Whereas Google works best with direct and focused questions, the Brutal Search Engine is often driven by hidden agendas.
In the example below, the normal font represents what is verbalized, while the italics reveal the hidden agenda.
IBPD    “So what are your in-laws doing for Christmas?”
            Are you planning to spend the holiday with me?
Child    “They are visiting with us.”

IBPD    “What about your brother and his wife?”
             Am I the only one left out?
Child    “I don’t know.”
IBPD    “So you asked him?”
            Are you keeping something from me?
Child    “I don’t know what he is doing.”
IBPD    “I wish I never had children.”
            I will punish you for victimizing me by leaving me out.
In this example, the Brutal Search Engine was searching for evidence of exclusion and hence belittlement and victimization.
IBPD    “Can we go out to dinner tonight?”
            My friend Phyllis called her son before to have dinner and he said yes. I was                 wondering if you are as good a child as he is?
Child    “This is kinda short notice. How about next Saturday?”
IBPD    “Why, what are you doing now?”
            Can I convince him to give in?
Child    “We have company coming over.”
IBPD    “What company is more important than me?”
             Will you give in if I make you feel guilty?

Child    “Mom, these plans were made weeks ago.”
IBPD    “Never mind. I have other plans too. I just wanted to see if you had any                          interest in being with your mother. The answer is obviously no.”
            Here is your well-deserved punishment.
The final effort to pressure the child to give up his plans is abuse. If this does not succeed in breaking the child’s will, it sets up a sense of victimization. This entitles them to commit more abuse as punishment while also entitling them to be more entitled in the future because they are now wounded.
The Brutal Filter:
The IBPD hears only what they are interested in and only what they want to hear. This leaves them with only partial memories of what is said to them and even these parts may be distorted.
Child    “Mom, Jacob’s third birthday party is on Saturday at our house, and we would like for you to come.”
IBPD    “I would love to come. What time?”
Child    “It starts at noon.”
IBPD    “Can you make it a little later?’
Child    “This is when everyone else is coming”
IBPD    “Do I have to come when everybody else is coming?”

Child    “Well not exactly.”
IBPD    “OK then I will be there around 1:30.”
Child    “But the party will be winding down around then. Jacob naps around that time.”
IBPD    “Then I won’t come at all.”
In this dialogue the Brutal Filter filters out the following information:
•    The party has already been planned.
•    The time has already been set at noon.
•    Other people are invited.
•    This is a party for a 3-year-old—the child is the focus.
IBPD    “Remember when you were a kid and you liked to go to antique shows?”
Child    “I used to prefer going to antique shows than going to Sunday school.”
IBPD    “Why don’t we go to a show this weekend?”
Child    “I am traveling for work this weekend.”
IBPD    “That’s not what you told me yesterday.”
Child     “What did I tell you yesterday?”
IBPD    “Weren’t you even listening?”
Child    “You mean that we were going to Betsy’s soccer game?…I am going away for the weekend but returning early to see her play on Sunday.”
IBPD    “But you have no time to go to be with me.”
Child    “The show is on Saturday. I will be out of town.”
IBPD    “And you have no time for me on Sunday either, right?”
Child    “Mom, I told you that I am traveling on Sunday and returning just in time to get to the game.”
IBPD    “There is always a reason.”
Child    “Why don’t you come to the game?”
IBPD    “With the bugs. Are you crazy?”
This exchange illustrates how the Brutal Filter distorts communication only enough to adjust to the meaning that suits them. These distortions can be the basis for abuse without regard to their validity or departure from objective reality.
The Brutal Disaster Machine:
IBPDs tend to favor the worst possible interpretations of events as this supports their sense of being a victim. Though others may see the proverbial glass half full, they see it as more than half empty.
IBPD    “Have you seen the movie The Way We Were?”
Child    “Yes. I saw it a few weeks ago. It was wonderful.”
IBPD    “I guess it never occurred to you that I might like to see it with you.”
Child    “We never talked about going to a movie together.”
IBPD    “I just don’t exist for you”
Child    “That’s not true”
IBPD    “Then why don’t you ever ask me to do anything with you? You must hate me.”
Child    “Mom, I don’t hate you.”
IBPD    “Then why do you treat me this way? What was I thinking when I decided to                  have children?”
In this example the IBPD is not looking at the situation and history objectively, but rather looking to confirm that she is a victim. Neutral statements and events are thus turned into attacks and justification for abuse.
Child    “Mom, we are going to celebrate our anniversary in Hawaii this year.”
IBPD    “When?”
Child    “The second week in April.”
IBPD    “What if I need something from you while you are gone?”
Child     “Call 911”
IBPD    “What if both of you die in a plane crash? What will happen to me? You don’t                  care about me. Some daughter!”
Here, the IBPD is expressing feeling like a victim of something that has not happened yet. The IBPD is blaming the child for putting herself in the position of not being available in case something might happen and then using it to justify abuse.
Child    “Hi Mom, how are you today?’
IBPD    “I am not doing well.”
Child    “What is bothering you?”
IBPD    “I have to tell you again?”
Child    “You mean your arthritis?”
IBPD    “I could be dropping dead and you wouldn’t even know there was something                  wrong.”
Child    “Is it your hammertoe?”
IBPD    “Forget it. When I am lying on the floor dying, I won’t call you.”
In this example, the Brutal Disaster Machine has created a fantasy where she has an acute medical crisis and she is left to suffer and possibly die due to the child’s negligence. The negligence is abandonment in the form of not keeping the mother’s physical condition a source of constant focus.
The descriptions above are just a few of the patterns of thinking that are characteristic of some IBPDs. These particular patterns concern mostly perception, or the way that they look at the world. Profound suspiciousness can yield to frank paranoia under stressful circumstances.
Protecting Oneself From Abuse:
Without question, being the target of relentless abusive accusations is hurtful and damaging to the self. This is particularly true when it comes from a mother, toward whom children are naturally seeking nurturance and approval.
Absorbing these allegations, condemnations and criticisms can cause self-doubt, loss of confidence, self-hatred and, at the extreme, disintegration of the self. IBPDs often make those closest to them feel badly about themselves. And, often the children of these people either distance themselves or anxiously try to make things right.
Understanding some of the patterns of brutal thought may help to anticipate caustic reactions. This allows for strategic planning to minimize the damaging effects of the abuse. This does not stop the abuse. But, it does give son or daughter of the Borderline mother the tools to brace and or to duck.
Take Back Your Life:
To the adult child of the Borderline mother, it’s your life and she’s your mother.
Armed with insight, and perhaps psychotherapy, you can choose how you want to respond to her. You can distance, placate, or confront, or some combination of the three. But, let it be your choice. Differentiating successfully from such mothers may be the toughest thing you will ever have to do.
Sadly, she won’t make it easy for you.
—————————————————-
This piece is by guest blogger Dan S. Lobel, Ph.D. who is in private practice in Katonah, New York.  Dr. Lobel can be reached for consultation at 914-232-8434 or by email at: Katshrink@aol.com (link sends e-mail).
—————————————————-

Compulsive lying

By F.Guzzardi

People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) often have trouble relating to other people, causing instability in their interpersonal relationships. If you have BPD, you may feel as though you need to secure extra assurance from others to help you maintain your relationships, which can result in the impulse to lie. Compulsive lying, or mythomania, can be common in people with Borderline Personality Disorder. This is because people with BPD are often very afraid of abandonment and disapproval, and will do whatever it takes to make sure neither of those things happens.
If you have Borderline Personality Disorder and have been at fault, perhaps for a car accident or mishap at work, you may have tried to pass the buck or rationalize the mistake while you are desperately trying to avoid being viewed in a negative light. Many Shades of Lies Manipulation can take many forms.
You might think of compulsive lying as the fabrication of elaborate stories that are easily debunked and taken to be ridiculous among peers. However, compulsive liars can be much more subtle and trickier to figure out. If you have Borderline Personality Disorder with a habit of lying, you may have found that others have lost their trust in you by degrees instead of after one particular incident of dishonesty. Some forms of lying prevalent in people with BPD include the following: Faking a medical condition in order to reduce responsibility Carrying on close personal or romantic relationships strictly for personal gain Blaming tardiness on children, a faulty car, or other fictitious circumstances Contributing imaginary information to a friendly conversation Avoiding embarrassment by giving incorrect but convenient answers to simple questions (for example, telling someone you parked in the lot they told you about when in fact you couldn’t find the lot or forgot about it) It’s All in Your Brain The tendency to compulsively lie may be attributed to the structure of your brain. A recent study conducted at the University of Southern California (USC) shows that if you have a history of lying, your brain might actually be structured differently than that of a person who is generally honest. White matter in the prefrontal cortex (the front part of your brain) is responsible for masterminding a lie, which includes weighing how the other party will respond and suppressing your own emotions to limit or eliminate the appearance of nervousness.

Gray matter is the substance that curbs the impulse to lie to make things easier and holds people to their principles. In the USC study, compulsive liars showed a higher percentage of white matter and a deficit of gray matter. Is Honesty the Best Policy? We uphold myths of George Washington confessing to chopping down the cherry tree and Abraham Lincoln walking miles to return something that didn’t belong to him as symbols of our cultural principles. While it is true that very few people go through life being completely honest — and there are times when a fib can save lives or help children cope through difficult times — compulsive lying can ruin your career, relationships, sense of well-being, and self-esteem. The key is to learn to tolerate the stress that being honest can bring on, particularly the uncertainty of whether the other person will still like you if you confess to the truth. For people with Borderline Personality Disorder, these are skills that can be worked on in therapy, especially with Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), which strengthens these very abilities.

Compulsive lying

By F.Guzzardi

People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) often have trouble relating to other people, causing instability in their interpersonal relationships. If you have BPD, you may feel as though you need to secure extra assurance from others to help you maintain your relationships, which can result in the impulse to lie. Compulsive lying, or mythomania, can be common in people with Borderline Personality Disorder. This is because people with BPD are often very afraid of abandonment and disapproval, and will do whatever it takes to make sure neither of those things happens.
If you have Borderline Personality Disorder and have been at fault, perhaps for a car accident or mishap at work, you may have tried to pass the buck or rationalize the mistake while you are desperately trying to avoid being viewed in a negative light. Many Shades of Lies Manipulation can take many forms.
You might think of compulsive lying as the fabrication of elaborate stories that are easily debunked and taken to be ridiculous among peers. However, compulsive liars can be much more subtle and trickier to figure out. If you have Borderline Personality Disorder with a habit of lying, you may have found that others have lost their trust in you by degrees instead of after one particular incident of dishonesty. Some forms of lying prevalent in people with BPD include the following: Faking a medical condition in order to reduce responsibility Carrying on close personal or romantic relationships strictly for personal gain Blaming tardiness on children, a faulty car, or other fictitious circumstances Contributing imaginary information to a friendly conversation Avoiding embarrassment by giving incorrect but convenient answers to simple questions (for example, telling someone you parked in the lot they told you about when in fact you couldn’t find the lot or forgot about it) It’s All in Your Brain The tendency to compulsively lie may be attributed to the structure of your brain. A recent study conducted at the University of Southern California (USC) shows that if you have a history of lying, your brain might actually be structured differently than that of a person who is generally honest. White matter in the prefrontal cortex (the front part of your brain) is responsible for masterminding a lie, which includes weighing how the other party will respond and suppressing your own emotions to limit or eliminate the appearance of nervousness.

Gray matter is the substance that curbs the impulse to lie to make things easier and holds people to their principles. In the USC study, compulsive liars showed a higher percentage of white matter and a deficit of gray matter. Is Honesty the Best Policy? We uphold myths of George Washington confessing to chopping down the cherry tree and Abraham Lincoln walking miles to return something that didn’t belong to him as symbols of our cultural principles. While it is true that very few people go through life being completely honest — and there are times when a fib can save lives or help children cope through difficult times — compulsive lying can ruin your career, relationships, sense of well-being, and self-esteem. The key is to learn to tolerate the stress that being honest can bring on, particularly the uncertainty of whether the other person will still like you if you confess to the truth. For people with Borderline Personality Disorder, these are skills that can be worked on in therapy, especially with Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), which strengthens these very abilities.

Personality Disorder Diagnoses : Pros and Cons

Recently, I received an email asking about the significance of an actual personality disorder diagnosis in a divorce or custody case:

How helpful are psych evaluations in custody and divorce cases? Does it matter if you can get a personality disorder diagnosis, or is it ultimately irrelevant—unless it’s accompanied by severe acting out (e.g., hitting the kids, drugs, arrests, suicide attempts, etc.)?

The short answer to the question is: It depends, but with or without a diagnosis, it is critical that the Judge be informed of the disordered behaviors in detail.
Divorce

Dr. Tara Palmatier

1. No-fault divorce. The disordered behaviors are typically much more relevant in the context of a child custody case, as opposed to a divorce without minor children. Although jurisdictions vary in terms of the grounds for divorce and the extent to which “fault” influences a property division, the trend is towards “no-fault” divorce, which translates roughly to an equal division of property as a starting point. Most, if not all, people who are in the middle of a divorce could make a long list of their spouse’s faults and deficiencies. Presumably, there’s been some bad behavior on all sides. Judges know this and they have heard it all. Therefore, most judges, in my experience, tend not to be too persuaded by tales of misbehavior when it comes time to divide property.
There are exceptions, however.
2. Impact on marital property division. If there has been a pattern of severe physical abuse, that is a circumstance that could influence the Judge to award a disproportionate share of property to the victim spouse. This happens very rarely as far as I have seen.
If one spouse has been a serial cheater the whole marriage while the other spouse made a lot of sacrifices for the marriage, that could also affect a property division. If one spouse squandered marital property or ran up an unreasonable amount of debt because of a gambling habit . . . you get the idea. Really bad behaviors towards one’s spouse could give a judge a reason to give a disproportionate award of marital property, but this is not common, at least in the jurisdiction in which I practice.
Child Custody Determinations
1. Cluster B behaviors are relevant. In a custody battle, abusive Cluster B behaviors are very relevant to the decision of which parent should be the children’s primary caretaker. Up until very recently, custody was nearly almost always automatically awarded to the mother, irrespective of her behavior. Overall, there  is still a bias in favor of mothers, but it’s not as automatic as it once was.
In my practice, I see a fairly even split between mothers and fathers being awarded primary custody. While there are many other factors  that influence a custody determination, including the age of the child, the child’s preference, special needs, parents’ work schedules, flexibility, and a parent’s willingness and ability to work jointly with the other parent, the determining factor typically comes down to the bad behaviors of the parents.
2. Proving your case (with or without a psychological evaluation). If your children’s mother has a variety of Cluster B traits, then there is likely plenty of bad behavior that you’ll want to make known to the Judge. The problem is, evidence of bad Cluster B behavior is too often left to a He-Said-She-Said presentation in court. That simply won’t work!
If  your kids’ mother exhibits Cluster B behaviors, you absolutely must document them as they happen, save every email and text message, record phone conversations, if that is legal in your jurisdiction (check your laws or speak with an attorney), and always have another person with you when you have to interact with her face to face so you can call that person as a witness to testify about outrageous behaviors witnessed.
3. Psychological evaluations: a double-edged sword. Aside from documenting, recording, and having witnesses to your interactions, you may wonder also if a psychological examination is your key to proving what a crazy ***** your wife/ex-wife is. If her psychological functioning is an issue in a custody battle, you can almost certainly have a psychological evaluation ordered by he court (you will probably also have to submit to one).
Psychological evaluations can be a double-edged sword. First and foremost, I would caution you guys that you should never expect an outright diagnosis of a personality disorder from a court ordered psychological evaluation. Very, very rarely is a diagnosis of PD given as the result of a court-ordered psychological evaluation.
This may be because the criteria for the diagnosis are not very well defined, and there’s also an unstated presumption that people are always a little crazy when they’re involved in that kind of litigation. Additionally, there seems to be a  pretty pervasive reluctance for professionals to use those labels even when they’re warranted. More typically, the evaluator might say that someone exhibits borderline “traits” or narcissistic “traits,” if they even go that far.
If you are relying on a psychological evaluation to prove your ex is “crazy,” you’re likely setting yourself up for defeat. Without solid proof of the bad behaviors, the psychological evaluation could actually hurt your case. If you have an evaluator who either doesn’t find a personality disorder or is reluctant to label it as such for the reasons discussed above, then you end up with a psychological evaluation that seemingly portrays your crazy ex as mentally and behaviorally stable and healthy. There goes your whole case.

 

Even if a psychologist does give an actual diagnosis of a personality disorder, in and of itself that is pretty meaningless to a Judge. You are going to have to tie the diagnosis to the particular conduct that has caused problems and you’ll need to have your own expert to testify that the history of these behaviors reliably predicts that the behaviors will continue into the future, thus putting your kids at risk if they are left in her primary care.
4. Paint a complete picture for the Judge. The fact is, the diagnosis is not really important. It’s the behaviors themselves that are important. The behaviors do not have to be as extreme as hitting the kids or severe neglect in order for a Judge to be influenced. If a stable and pervasive pattern of the bad behaviors is proven, that’s what matters and that’s what will make an impression on the Judge, even if  the individual behaviors are not that significant on their own. The reason it’s important to have a psych expert at trial is not so much to interpret or reveal test results, but to put this pattern of bad behavior in context and give a professional opinion about the effect it will have on the kids.
Consider this example: If you have a mother who forgets to pick up her kids from school fairly regularly and the school has to call Dad to come get them; and Mom sends the kids to school without lunches and with dirty or ill-fitting clothes; and Mom can’t get them to school on time pretty regularly; and doesn’t go to their football games or dance recitals; and breaks promises and leaves the kids disappointed; and refuses to allow any flexibility in scheduling Dad’s time with kids; and talks bad about Dad to the kids; and “forgets” to tell Dad about doctor appointments; and leaves kids at home while she goes out drinking; and moves three times in one year; and refuses to get a job; and doesn’t monitor homework or make sure the kids are prepared for school; and introduces the kids to a new “serious” boyfriend every other week (allowing the kids to get attached to someone they’ll never see again after week 3); and so on and so forth.
Any of these behaviors in isolation may not be enough to persuade a judge to change custody, but when you add them together, you get a whole way of behaving across the spectrum that’s harmful to the kids. Whether you call it “irresponsibility” or “borderline personality disorder,” an expert will be able to describe the predictable effect these behaviors will have on the child’s emotional development if it is allowed to continue.
Personality Disorder Diagnoses in Family and Divorce Court: Pros and Cons A Judge will recognize the pattern as one of instability, which equates to harm for the child.
Check Yourself
A word of caution about psychological evaluations: if the Judge orders her to undergo an evaluation, he will more than likely order you to undergo an evaluation as well. No problem, you say? Think again. If you have been terrorized by an abusive wife for years, it has affected you. You have had to develop some kind of coping strategy just to get by; your thinking has likely become distorted; and you may have lost perspective about what “normal” really is. Maybe you’ve even developed a complex stress disorder as a consequence of the hell you’ve lived through—it’s not uncommon. You’re getting healthier now, but it takes time to recover from repeated trauma.
There’s no telling how this may reflect in a standardized psychological battery of tests, but the standardized test won’t tell the real tale or apportion responsibility and it won’t tell the judge that your psychological functioning is understandable and even predictable in view of the extreme treatment you’ve been subjected to. In this manner, court-ordered psych evaluations for both parents might be more harmful to your case.
In addition, “normal” people do not react well to the stress of ongoing litigation. Sometimes the litigation compounds or even causes a PTSD-like response. But HCP’s enjoy and thrive on the conflict — while you’re crumbling, your ex is in her element and cool as a cucumber. These unfortunate realities could very well reflect poorly on you and favorably on your crazy ex on a standardized psychological test.
For these reasons, you should be very cautious and deliberate about a request that the Judge order psych evaluations.
Bottom Line
1. A diagnosed personality disorder will likely have little or no impact on a divorce without minor children.
2. In child custody litigation, Cluster B behaviors are relevant and must be proven with evidence supporting your testimony (e.g., journals, recordings, emails, phone logs, text messages, other witnesses, etc.)
3. Psychological evaluations are risky and could end up hurting your case.

The renewal of the changing things

 

By F. Guzzardi
Are the things that change, they have the sense of memory, they feed on illusions and the things he stay, are the genetic ego appendices, that brings us to always to err. This is an extract of a memories of Italian emigrants in America but it could be another people, one at random, Syrian, Palestinian or otherwise. It is a piece of an old story, too old, already forgotten and renewed in other sauces, more modern, adapted to the cycle of life.

In history and geography (for school use) written

by a Hendrick Villen Von Loon published in Philadelphia

in 1922, we read: “The Greeks had their rivals. We call

Romans these rivals. Now you see them every day. They will not win

over the world as their ancestors, but they are dirty and work on the railways or sell bananas and hazelnuts. “

   A teacher from “Western Review” gave his students the following theme: “Tell me the reasons of the inferiority of Italian Americans.”

An official of the city of Cleveland, invited to speak

a church said: “The violators of the law of prohibition (of

alcoholic beverages) are for the most part Italian. I would put

these people on boats and drown them in the open sea. “

And similar examples can be cited to hundreds!

To all this is added the deep ethnic reason of envy,

and many times of hate, which surround the Italian

American, and that goes back to the cosmopolitan character of the same population

of the country.

The United States can not encamp

its own breed. Only now van doing cyclopic efforts to form

a typical nationalities, all its own. Peoples of all races and

nation have come here, and they keep coming. So far the country has

status field of huge competitions races. By the various unions

is the present generation of this country where the population,

Americanized by the Government‘s efforts, it has so far

tried to devise laws and dictate orders such as to maintain

the national team and at the same time, not to hurt

interests, susceptibility and sentimentality of the peoples

from various races.

 In a population so made of mixtures, the stronger

one who wins and dominating. The imposition until now was dictated

mostly by the Anglo-Saxons; For some time the Irish

a looked down upon daily (like today are the Italians) have

advanced followed immediately by the Germans; even the Polish overlook

horizon of public life; on of all, then, extend

the tentacles of the Jewish race that, in this country, has finally

found the Eldorado of her miseries.

Of course, the racial prejudice, jealousy, fear,

overt and covert hostility of other nations who fear our

genius and who see in us a strong race are the influences

always ready to exaggerate our faults, to expose ourselves in the most

light left, in that while, with deliberate malice, it ignores or

misrepresents what we back to the glory and honor.

 It ‘a continuous work of devaluation” of all things, or firm,

or high Italian event, which will work, however, and

anywhere, against us.

The life of Italian in America, therefore, in the last fifty

years or so, it was all very sad odyssey.

This our poor emigration not recorded in the book of

his story of pain pages. The most violent explosions

xenophobia of the indigenous population (which usually moves

to delirium for the suffering of a dog, a cat or a horse)

They beat on stray scions of our race. IS’

amazing the barbaric persecution who often were made

sign, the drunken mob of hatred and revenge, to the smallest,

insignificant, silly pretext, the Italians.

 It ‘a fact that our derelict, eternally wandering population

It was a victim of savage persecution, relentless, unremitting:

by criminal events in New Orleans, where several

tens of Italians were killed, the poor worker harassed,

insulted, beaten, killed, in the mines, for the campaigns,

in factories; by lynchings newspapers in the Southern states,

the cowardly assaults against the derelict “guinea, the ferocious fighter

the victim “dago” in the streets of populous cities,

up to stunning, tragic events Ides West Frankfort, Illinois

Recently when a whole Italian Cologne (mostly

composed of Emiliani and Marchiggiani) he had to leave

his roof, his bread, his cattle, all the precious things of

his new life, raising arms to his patients, his women,

his oldest, her children, and go up the street of the Calvary, in the dark,

into the unknown, leaving behind a trail of blood, poor

bodies torn to pieces by the furious rabble, who urged even,

relentless! … The same thing happened – very recently – in Beaverdale,

Pa. 

 We remember that in 1915 a whole honest and industrious colony

It was in danger of terrible punishment if they did not let

Bedford, Indiana; in the State of Mississippi our workers in

1913 were themselves the object of cruel torture and the Italian children

It was even forbidden, as the Japanese and the Chinese, in California

and elsewhere, to attend public schools. countryman

who dared to raise his voice, protesting, it was hanged!

Letter to my best friend

alexander-krivitskiy-engFJfR1YhQ-unsplash
Screenshot_2020-01-20 Giusi Giu Nigro
by Giusi Nigro

I know you since you were a child, I saw you getting bigger and I noticed the sadness in your look, the tearing eyes of who remembers things you would want to forget. They pulled your hair and they forced, you to do something that you, incredulous, struggled to understand, in that dark corner, where traces of blood, cleared by the rain, are no longer there even if you still see them and that rip you inside when you re-think about the scene. During the night, you do not dream anymore to be grabbed with force and troughed on the ground, and being dominated by two monsters, you dream now to be strong and combatant: one night you shoot, armed with shot gun, the following night you cut them with a kitchen knife and yet you stab or you tie them with a rope.

During the night, in your loneliness, you are strong, not impotent like that evening, you announce victory, then you wake up in tears and the reality vehemently slams just in front of you impudently. Another shower delete, like to wash from your body that smell, those dirty hands which infiltrate between the underwear, and you leave the water running on the stolen innocence.
Many years of “why me?”, and why you? You will never find an answer, you will never understand, there is no why, it was your turn, everything just to dominate, like the savage instinct of somebody without breaks in front of the weak, like the temporary victory which gives you the title of a champion for a moment, like the forever losers which try to get even and act in group to recharge, to feel better, those sick in their head collecting trophies, fake trophies, imaginary, earned only due to the physics’ strength against a fragile person, and weaker. You were not the target but your skirt.
The suffered humiliation, and the silence, have been like a boulder for you, carrying it on your shoulders for many years. The judgement of people who did not know. Those severe accusations which yet resound: “she was easy!” told by who was not there but wanted to believe to the story of the trophy. The popular judgement of the small town there to protect the predators and strike the victim. You were young and innocent, afraid, defenseless, you could not know you were going to regret the silence, that if you had a guide, you could have sent them to prison. You believed the treats: “if you speak, you are dead! “and you were dead anyway.
Living without existing, feeling invisible and less than nothing, believing to be wrong, abandoning yourself to cheap thoughts, cowardly take the blame: “I deserve it, I trusted the wrong people”, I do not deserve anything good, I choose always the wrong because I am wrong, refusing the good things. No, you are not wrong, you needed that therapist to make you understand. You or somebody else did not make difference to them. Do not be ashamed, do not let them win, they have to be ashamed of their committed crime, those fouls ex-cons. You did not report them, not to be an accomplice, but for fear, for irresponsibility, because nobody teaches to a young girl in her early teens how to deal with these cases.
We are thought to be ashamed, to the mocking of the truth, in a small town where it is possible to perpetrate violence and they all will be from the side of the strong, even if the strong is not in the right side.
You cannot erase the past, I know it, and it will be your burden forever, but you can make this weight you carry around, as a good luck holder. Look at your inner side, you are not like them, you are a lot of more, you are sensitive, deep, and you are what they would like to be, you know how to dance, to dance under the rain, to look at the stars and shine with them, you know how to look at the horizon and create more joint lines, you can inspire. Look at them and ask yourself: “What are they good at? Who do they hang with?”.
You are the living success that you can heal from the pain. Look at your eyes now, shining, look at them inside, they are the reflection of a balance you asked from so long, they scream loud that the past is behind and need to move forward, they sum the price you paid, overpaid, but paid off. Now it is your turn to live, do it, do not hesitate, stand up to change everything you do not like it, stay far from pointless people, laugh!
Remember when you were laughing to void to cry? My dear friend, it will not be the same anymore, I see the light in your eyes, the strength of a healed after a terminal disease, the grit of a fighter winning against a bear. Their witch laugh which still echoed in your ears, is now your smile of happiness, calm, quiet, understanding that the torment is not a drug to be addicted of, but it is a victory against the pain, it is strength, it is putting the soul. The rest do not matter. He who laughs last laughs best!
I am so proud of you
Your friend,
Giusi Nigro