Oct. 11, 2022

You've been looking at identity disturbance and BPD all wrong (why your search for a "self" is pointless)

Out of all the traits of borderline personality disorder (BPD / EUPD), one often referenced as the most difficult to tackle is the feeling of lacking a sense of self – also referred to as “identity disturbance.” Individuals who identify with traits of BPD often try to find themselves in other people, places, and things, only to continue feeling empty and stuck. Some feel like if only they could “heal” their trauma, they could figure out who they really are. This is the core of identity diffusion.

Struggles with identity can also lead to imposter syndrome. Others may find themselves constantly questioning their needs/desires (i.e., "do I *actually* want this, or am I doing it just to impress others?")

In this episode, we’re diving DEEP. To truly overcome the pain of an obsessive search for a sense of self, we may have to face the possibility that maybe we need to abandon the search altogether. Perhaps THAT is where healing has been hiding all along. To understand what I mean, listen to the end of the episode. I can't promise that you'll be "cured," but I CAN promise you’ll never look at the concept of identity the same way again. 

​​💡 Questions answered in this episode:

■ How the BPD “Favorite Person” ("FP") phenomenon represents a maladaptive attempt to wrap our identity around another person

■ The connection between identity disturbance, BPD, and imposter syndrome

■ What is identity disturbance? (BPD and the question “Who am I?”)

■ Are common therapeutic goals in the West (improving self-esteem and developing a sense of self) harming us more than helping us?

■ How the Buddhist concept of “anatta” (roughly translated as “non-self”) could be the missing piece of healing BPD identity issues

■ Why the idea of a sense of self is an illusion that is keeping us stuck and overly identified with our suffering

■ Why mindfulness can be so difficult to practice when we are overly identified with our sense of self

📝Recommended resources: 

■ Article: “The Fiction of the Self - The Paradox of Mindfulness in Clinical Practice” by Ronald Siegel

Disclaimer: information contained in this podcast episode is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for treatment or consultation with a licensed mental health professional. 


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