Develop your wise mind

In response to my blog last week a reader commented:

I am a (borderline personality) BPD in love with a sociopath, I want to share the depth of sadness and emptiness that occurs in my soul knowing, I will never know the love and security that regular people have, Imagine how long life would be knowing you are not equipped with the same emotion’s as everyone else.

I have never understood why there is no compassion for those of us who were abused when we should’ve bonded. I did not ask to be this way and every day watch and listen to what others do in their relationships so I can do it too ( not that I have been successful , but I try).

It is not that I can’t love, it’s the opposite actually, that I am so consumed by not being loved that pushes me to that bored space that propagates my self destruction. I just feel that most socio/bpd’s wish that they had the same emotions as others, it is exhausting pretending and I wish I could go back and be my own mother and love me in a way that created a secure human not a scared , detached one like me. Bless”¦

PS , I pray every night for healing of my heart and my emotions”¦ still I am who I am.

I debated on whether to respond as a comment but the above is so well written and so touching that it deserves more visibility.

The scientific literature has documented that it is common for women with borderline personality and psychopathic personality traits to hook-up with males who are more pathological than they are. These hook-ups drag already vulnerable women down a path of terror and destruction. In speaking with many victims, I too have noted that a subset have borderline personality disorder.
To make matters worse, relationships between women with BPD and sociopathic men typically begin when the women are in their late teens and result in early pregnancy. The pair is unprepared emotionally and financially to be a couple and to care for their children, who are also then exposed to domestic violence and the sociopath’s “friends.”

Please consider that treating borderline personality in young women will reduce/prevent sociopathy in the next generation for two reasons. Treatment will reduce partnering with sociopaths and also improve parenting ability.

Why do women with BPD and sociopathy have such a high rate of partnering with sociopaths? I think the answer lies in their anxiety and in dominance motives. Sociopaths portray dominance and so are sought after as a source of security. Men who have lower levels of dominance and anxiety themselves are a turn off for insecure women. However, it is those more normal men who have the best chance at helping a borderline woman recover.

Also many women with BPD have a high level of power/dominance motivation themselves, so if they do get into a relationship with a less pathological male, they quickly make mince meat out of him. A dominant woman with BPD has the ability to destroy a normal man psychologically, just like a sociopath can.

If I had no hope I wouldn’t bring any of this up, because what is the point of spreading gloom and doom about human nature. I write this week because I don’t believe these scenarios have to play out in this way. As humans, we not only have the primitive brain with its unconscious motives of fear and dominance, we also have a “wise mind.”

If you have borderline personality (or sociopathy for that matter), your life challenge is to find your wise mind and work to connect with it. Your wise mind should dictate your actions not your primitive brain.

To discover your wise mind, you have to learn techniques of anxiety management. Anxiety interferes with the functioning of the wise mind.

Having a wise mind means deciding on values based on facts, not how I feel in the moment. For example, as I raise my son I am teaching him to have a wise mind. He knows that if left to his own devices at the age of 6 he would eat unhealthy food, not get enough sleep and entertain himself in a way that harmed him.

My son says, “I want to be the boss of myself!” Well to the extent that our primitive pleasure/fear brains choose our actions, whatever feeling of being the boss of ourselves we have is an illusion. It is only when we use our wise minds to make thoughtful decisions that we are really the boss.

Disordered parents are unable to impart the wise mind to their kids. This failure to teach impulse control is just as bad as a failure to teach love. In fact as you see by this writing, poor impulse control leads directly to an inability to love.

That gets me to the pleasure balance. In order to experience pleasure we have to be relatively free from anxiety. Thankfully, there are also medications for that.

So starting from a relatively low anxiety state, we have social and non-social pleasures. People with borderline and antisocial personality disorder also have trouble with non-social pleasures. They never learned to manage their entertainment/recreational needs. Most turn to substances for this purpose.

The wise mind knows that exercise, playing music, doing art, having hobbies and intellectual interests are important for personal growth, mental and physical health. The wise mind can choose to do these things.

The wise mind can also choose to do work to earn a living.

Social pleasures come in three forms, sex, power/dominance and affection. To the extent that sex is tied to affection and a healthy relationship, that pleasure can be fulfilling. Dominance/power that robs another person of autonomy never brings fulfillment. Love is the only real healthy social pleasure.

Our pleasure balance is not fixed and can be modified with time and practice. So my friend you can “go back and be my own mother and love me in a way that created a secure human not a scared , detached one like me.”

To start you have to use your wise mind to understand your own pleasure balance. Begin by developing healthy non-social pleasures. Every person needs a healthy diet, exercise and meaningful hobbies. Stop using recreational drugs. These things will not feel good to you when you first start them, but over time as you apply yourself you will feel better.

Then really look at your social behavior, not how you feel. Most sociopaths and people with BPD think they do feel “love.” If you dominate and control others, no matter what your reason for this is, you have to stop. As long as your relationships center around dominance you will never experience love.

To learn more about the wise mind, enter a DBT treatment program. If anyone has used a good self-help DBT book, please give us the title.

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131 Comments on "Develop your wise mind"

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I just did a little snooping around on the other links and found you same people talking about this video. I watched it, who the hell is Janna st. James? What a bleepin fraud. Her name sounds familiar. Did a search on the Google and seen that she has her own blog in her name…… I didnt even click it to give her the satisfaction that someones looking.

Thanks again all, Guess I should hit the rack here soon. Sundays can really be hard days for people, and they suck. Don’t be discouraged if I dont get back soon to you if you write. I’ll get the hang of this soon.

p.s. is there a way to just reply to an individual, or does this stay all public? Not that matters that much, sometimes I get anxious spelling out to the world. Oh well, made it this far….Mr.


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Your post described exactly how I feel. I want nothing more than to love and be loved and to have a loving relationship. I just don’t have the right skills. I am sad and alone and I try to make positive changes in my life but they only last so long or while I’m working on one area of my life another falls apart. I do have a professional job – I have a masters degree. I have worked at my position for 10 years and am good at it. It is a struggle though. I make my own schedule and sometimes I take advantage of the fact that I am not expected to be in any certain place. I do have a work ethic but sometimes I feel too depressed or I’m hung over so I don’t put in the hours. I am very efficient and I do get the work done but I still feel guilty for not doing what I’m supposed to. I feel I am fairly high functioning but am going through a bad patch right now so I don’t feel I’m functioning well at all. I don’t completely hide my struggles from others but no one knows the full extent of the mess my life can become. People who have known me for a period of time know that there is an issue but they just chalk it up to bad luck or the carefree attitude I pretend to have. I can and sometimes do have good people in my life but I don’t have the skills to nurture long term friendship so these relationships never flourish. I tend to make friends with others who have similar difficulties and that only leads to disaster. I chose those who want to drink with me or take drugs – minimal effort and superficial attachment.

I have never had trouble attracting men and can be quite seductive. I have had a few long term relationships but I picked emotionally unavailable or disorder men. I am one of the overly promiscuous types and have had countless flings. I don’t use sex or manipulate men with sex and have always chosen those who are more promiscuous than myself – I have a strong conscious and have no desire to hurt others especially in that way. I also don’t lie about my sexual history which has caused a lot of conflict. I would say that I did at one point in my life enjoy that because the men who were angered by it were immersed in the double standard and I did get some pleasure in throwing my torrid past in their face. I got over that compulsion years ago though. I really take no pleasure in hurting others. I just want to meet someone and have a normal loving relationship. I just know that I am broken and it affects my self esteem. I think I have trouble having a consistent personality and more recently when I’m dating someone more normal this is off putting. I also just really have no life of my own right now. I pretend to because I have in the past . I draw from those experiences but it is really the new guy in my life that is filling my time. People pick up on these things. I just don’t think it will ever happen for me.

I have made the choice to not have children. There was no way I would have been a good mother and the rest of my family is disordered so I just could never have brought a child into the mess I grew up in. This saddens me because I love children and as I have gotten older and made some improvements there have been moments where I think I could have done it – but I can’t erase the gene pool and that is loaded. I have just made the worst choices. I was nearly destroyed by a malignant narcissist I dated for two years and soon after became bonded to a psychopath that I have been unable to get away from for 12 years. In one way I am more comfortable with him than with anyone else I’ve ever known. He does not know that I have bpd but he knows I am emotional and have struggles. He has to have some idea though because he was very insistent on me watching the movie young adult with him. He joked that I was like the main character but I don’t know if he knew she had bpd. In any case, I by no means believe that he has true concern for me and in the past he has done very hurtful things on purpose as psychopaths do. However, he has never abandoned me or thrown me aside as they tend to do. In fact I am the one who always loses it with him, blocks his number and shuts him out for periods of time. I have said horrible things to him, I have hurt him and brought him to tears (I didn’t think this was possible) inadvertently, and yet he always picks up the phone.

As is to be expected I have overly intense emotions that drive people away – regular people cannot handle being around me when I’m in my most heightened states – it freaks them out. A boyfriend broke up with me after my friend died because he could not understand how I could possible cry so hard for so long. He told me he was afraid of what else might be inside me. But not the psychopath. I think he actually enjoys it. Regardless he has been there for me through a horrible break up, the death of a friend, the death of my father and an incident where my father threw my up against a wall and threatened to bash my face in at the age of 31. Yes I did experience consistent emotional, mental and physical abuse as a child and into adulthood. It makes me cringe when I read the skepticism non bpd’s demonstrate for this well known fact. I’m this way for a reason. I had a very sadistic family – they used to like to make me cry and then would either laugh at me or comfort me. I was also probably sexually abused – most likely by my mother if you can believe that but I just don’t remember. I don’t remember a lot of things. Anyway, here is this man who can deal with my emotions, has never left me even when I have said the most vile (but truthful) things to him, and takes my call even after I’ve blocked all emails and phone numbers (which he says hurts him greatly). Over all these years he always picks up my call without question and if I have an issue unrelated to him he has always been there.

However, he can be mean and exacerbates my state of mind when I get into neediness – he abhors that part or me. He has that other side of his behavior that is so dysfunctional and serves only to reinforce that I am not worthy of anything truly loving. A kind, loving, respectful relationship with him I will never have. I know he will never be there for me in the way I want or need, he is a sex addict to the extreme and a compulsive liar. He leaves a path of destruction in his wake and takes pride in the fact that he has no problem doing exactly what he wants with no thoughts of anyone else. He actually sees this as an attribute. While he is incredibly intelligent he can’t manage his life and in no way would make a good partner. He is manipulative, he likes to control me sexually (which I for the most part enjoy) and he does things with me that most people would find demoralizing. This is a new behavior that took time to evolve. I sometimes can’t fight the need to do things that are out of line and he knows that about me and has found a way to indulge it. In the past this compulsion has placed me in some unsafe situations so I guess what I do with him is a better alternative. Of course he gets his own thrill out of it too and that’s kinda sick. I’m not going to go into detail but I assure you the reader that most people would find what we do very dysfunctional and disordered. So yes in one way he is the perfect match but he is the perfect match to keep me sick.

There is no way I can improve myself when he’s in my life. Things get worse when I see him, I get more unhinged – he will eventually began to mess with my feelings. I am a challenge to him which is why I think he has not discarded me like they do but once he senses a softening in me he becomes cold and hard and does what ever he can to escalate my fears. I am sure most will think me naive but I do believe he does care for me as much as he is capable. I have known him for 12 years and I’ve seen the way he is with others as compared with me. Of course I know it’s based on the fact that I am a reliable source for a variety of his messed up needs but I do know he tries to control his nastiness much of the time.

I ask myself, is this my lot in my life – is that the best I can hope for. A psychopath that only hurts me some of the time. It would be easier if I could better tolerate being alone. I recently put myself out there and had two very negative experiences. One was due to my lack of judgement and my inability to trust my feelings and act on my instincts. I moved way to fast with someone to find out they were lying to me about dating other people. It was a big fat lie and I of course felt bad. I then met another man who I dated for four months. We had fun, did a lot of things together, things seemed to be progressing but then they stopped. After telling me he wasn’t seeing anyone else he without pause began pulling the fade away. We were seeing each other every weekend – sometimes the entire weekend. Went on weekend getaways, overnight trips, day trips. Cooked dinners together, went out to eat, went wine tasting. He made a big deal out of Valentine’s day. I was getting attached and very closely monitoring my emotions. I let him initiate, I didn’t show any neediness, and to be honest for the first time I felt kinda calm and normal. It wasn’t that hard to allow things to progress. I didn’t ask where things were going – he told me on his own volition he wasn’t seeing anyone else. But right after that he told me he was sick and couldn’t see me for two weekend (he did go to work), then his family was visiting so I didn’t see him the next weekend, then he had deadlines for work and he cancelled a couple weekday dates. I still didn’t freak out – I was pretty proud of myself. But then on a Wednesday I sent two texts – one didn’t really require a response the next one I sent did – I didn’t hear from him until Sunday and it was just a “Hey, how goes it”. I chose not to answer. A couple days later I got a “hello stranger” That weekend I completely lost it and went into a bpd fit – it was bad enough that things changed so quickly but the fact that he didn’t make the effort to break up with me after all the time we had spent together – it was just too much. So right back to the psychopath and right back into doing behaviors that make me feel degraded. That’s it – that’s my story. I undoubtedly have a lot of work to do on developing my wise mind – or my wise heart. My mind knows these things happen – I just don’t have the tools to manage the overwhelming feelings of rejection.

Melanie, thank you for sharing this because I feel very similarly about myself. I am 33 and was in a horrible relationship for 4 years and was VERY self destructive and literally went MAD. I kept going back to my spath over and over losing more of myself. The last altercation we had ended physically and we haven’t spoken since. HE has blocked ME from all forms of communication making me feel like I was the crazy one!!

Through this site the one thing I have learned is that its important to figure out who YOU are and WHY we let these people into our lives. It looks like you’re doing that so keep it up.

I was DEVASTATED that my ex blocked me 3 months ago but I am beginning to heal and the devastation is subsiding. I am by no means healed. I’m still alcohol dependent and have been engaging in “flings” but If he hadn’t stonewalled me I would keep going back and getting worse and worse.

I keep saying this to myself and it seems to be helping “If I have no one to nurture me I must nurture myself” I repeat that mantra over and over and try everyday to do things for me. Like today I’m going to go for a run after work and not stop at the wine store. I’m taking care of me… You MUST love and respect yourself. I am trying hard to do that….

i loved this post, i’m a borderline too…i feel so helpless, lost and confused…i feel like i’m my own worst enemy

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