Emotion Regulation Deficits as Mediators Between Trauma Exposure and Borderline

Gaby

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In The Narcissistic Family by the Pressmans, it is discussed how narcissistic families often produce patients with borderline personality symptoms. Here is a relevant paper published in Cognitive Therapy and Research, June 2013, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 466-475.

In short, "cleanse my heart that I may know and love, the holiness of true existence".

Emotion Regulation Deficits as Mediators Between Trauma Exposure and Borderline Symptoms

Raluca M. Gaher,
Nicole L. Hofman,
Jeffrey S. Simons,
Ryan Hunsaker

Abstract

We tested a model of mechanisms linking the experience of trauma exposure with borderline personality symptoms via deficits in core aspects of emotion regulation. Participants were college students (N = 579). History of traumatic exposure and negative affectivity were positively and emotional intelligence inversely associated with borderline symptoms. These effects were mediated via alexithymia. Deficits in identifying and describing emotions, in turn, were associated with poor tolerance for emotional distress and an increase in acting rashly when negatively aroused. Finally, distress tolerance exhibited both direct, and indirect (via urgency), associations with borderline personality symptoms. Deficits in the ability to identify, describe, and understand emotion are related to intolerance for distress and impulsive behavior when negatively aroused. The effects of distress tolerance are consistent with theoretical models that posit that intolerance for distress contributes to deficits in behavioral regulation. Borderline personality symptoms reflect deficits in behavioral control when negatively aroused as well as a pattern of negative evaluations, poor self-efficacy, and emotional absorption contributing to marked interference with adaptive goal directed activity when distressed.

Traumatic Experiences and Borderline Symptoms

Trauma exposure (i.e., the experience of a threatening
event that produced intense fear, helplessness or horror) is
associated with a wide range of negative sequelae,
including internalizing problems such as depression and
anxiety (Dulin and Passmore 2010), and externalizing
problems such as substance use (Suarez et al. 2012). The
experience of traumatic events is elevated among individuals
with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Estimates
indicate that 75–90 %of individuals who have borderline
personality disorder also report experiencing potentially
traumatic events (Afifi et al. 2011; Bandelow et al. 2002;
Brune et al. 2010; Igarashi et al. 2010). Individuals diagnosed
with BPD report experiencing more potentially
traumatic events than healthy controls (Bandelow et al.
2002; Jovev and Jackson 2006; Horesh et al. 2008), those
diagnosed with other personality disorders.

Individuals with BPD report higher frequency of sexual
and physical abuse, as well as exposure to domestic
violence, verbal abuse, and neglect (Brune et al. 2010;
Igarashi et al. 2010; Martins et al. 2011; Johnson et al.
2005; Sansone et al. 2011; Yen et al. 2002; Zanarini et al.
2000; Zweig-Frank et al. 1994). Interpersonal trauma,
relative to other forms of trauma, is most closely associated
with the development of borderline symptoms

(Battle et al. 2004; Sansone et al. 2005; Helgeland and
Torgersen 2004).

Trauma and Emotional and Behavioral Dysregulation

Emotional dysregulation is a central component of borderline
personality disorder. Linehan’s biosocial model
posits that the emotional dysregulation among individuals
with borderline personality disorder manifests as high
emotional sensitivity, intense emotions that individuals
cannot regulate, and a slow return to baseline
(Linehan
1993). Developing effective abilities to regulate emotions
and tolerate distress is impaired by trauma exposure (Briere
and Rickards 2007; Kim and Cicchetti 2010; Cloitre et al.
2005, 2008; Ford et al. 2006; van der Kolk et al. 2005).
One possible explanation for the emotional dysregulation
associated with traumatic experiences is that trauma
hinders the development of recognizing and labeling
emotional states. The ability to identify and describe
emotions is essential to the processing and integration of
emotional experiences into daily life.
Alexithymia is a term
describing deficits in the ability to identify and describe
feelings. Alexithymia may interfere with effective regulation
of emotion (Taylor et al. 1997), contributing to poor
tolerance for distress and disinhibition when emotionally
aroused
. Identifying and understanding emotion is essential
for a variety of emotional regulation skills.
For example,
one emotional regulation technique, cognitive reappraisal,
involves
identifying the feeling state, the situational
determinant, and then changing one’s interpretation of the
situation in order to alter the emotional reaction
(Gross and
Thompson 2007). This process of identifying feelings,
describing them, and analyzing their cause allows the
individual to reflect on the situation and respond appropriately,
rather than act solely based on the immediate
emotional response.

Alexithymia is also associated with impulsivity (Suarez
et al. 2012; van Strien and Ouwens 2007) and generally
poor mental health and well-being
(Taylor et al. 1997).
Negative urgency refers to the tendency to engage in
impulsive behaviors when negatively aroused (Whiteside
and Lynam 2001) and is a factor in many risk behaviors
(Cyders and Smith 2008), including deliberate self-harm
(Arens et al. 2012), eating disorders (Anestis et al. 2009),
and substance use (Verdejo-Garcı´a et al. 2007). Both
alexithymia and negative urgency have been linked to
traumatic experiences (Kooiman et al. 2004; Arens et al.
2012). Metcalfe and Mischel (1999) proposed a twosystem
model of self-regulation in which a ‘‘hot’’ system is
characterized as emotional, impulsive, reflexive, and is
stimulated by stressful experiences. Negative urgency, the
tendency to act rashly when emotionally aroused, may be
considered a trait reflecting dominance in this hot system.
Chronic or severe stress is thought to affect the relationship
between the ‘‘hot’’ and ‘‘cold’’ system, contributing to
dominance of the ‘‘hot’’ system and reactionary behaviors,
thoughts, and emotions
(Metcalfe and Mischel 1999;
Metcalfe and Jacobs 1996, 1998).

Finally, poor tolerance for distress is also associated
with post-traumatic stress symptoms (Danielson et al.
2010; Marshall-Berenz et al. 2010; Vujanovic et al. 2011)
and is one of the core features of borderline personality
disorder (Linehan 1993). Distress tolerance refers to the
extent to which a person can experience and withstand
negative emotional states (Simons and Gaher 2005). We
believe identifying and describing feelings may be important
for tolerating negative emotion. For example, the
inability to understand emotional experience may make
such experiences more threatening. Likewise, the inability
to reflect about the state may contribute to the sense of
being consumed by the immediate emotional reactions.
Finally, to the extent that lack of understanding of emotional
experience interferes with the ability to modulate the
emotional experience (e.g., via cognitive reappraisal or
other approaches), individuals may be predisposed towards
intolerance for the feeling state. Poor distress tolerance, in
turn, may contribute to disinhibited behavior when negatively
aroused. In support of this, Wray et al. (2012) found
that negative urgency mediated associations between distress
tolerance and alcohol related risk behaviors. Associations
between distress tolerance and borderline symptoms
may also be partially mediated by negative urgency. Individuals
who experience a traumatic event and endorse
lower levels of distress tolerance are more likely to experience
negative emotional experiences which manifest in
various mood, eating, substance use, and personality disorders

(Zvolensky et al. 2011). Thus, distress tolerance
may act to mediate associations between trauma and borderline
personality disorder.

Emotional Intelligence as a Resiliency Variable
in Trauma and Borderline Personality Disorder

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to know and
regulate one’s and others’ emotion, as well as utilizing
emotion through flexible planning, creative thinking, redirected
attention and motivation
(Salovey and Mayer 1990).
Alexithymia has been found to be inversely correlated with
emotional intelligence
(Parker et al. 2001). However, the
strength of association is moderate and suggests they are
distinct constructs.

High emotional intelligence has been related to good
social skills, self-monitoring, cooperative responses, closer
relationships, and higher marital/partner satisfaction
(Schutte et al. 2001). In contrast, low emotional intelligence
has been associated with more intensive smoking, alcohol
use, and illicit drug use (Kun and Demetrovics 2010; Austin
et al. 2005). Thus, emotional intelligence may play an
important role in interpersonal relationships, substance use,
and overall emotional regulation, all prominent features
among individuals with borderline personality disorder.

Individuals with borderline traits are deficient in multiple
facets of trait emotional intelligence, especially those related
to managing emotions (Gardner and Qualter 2009). High
emotional intelligence has emerged as a significant predictor
of decreased psychological symptoms related to traumatic
experiences (Hunt and Evans 2004). Emotional intelligence
is positively associated with affect regulation skills and
highly adaptive interpersonal functioning (Hunt and Evans
2004) and inversely associated with risky behaviors such as
alcohol consumption and problems (Austin et al. 2005; Riley
and Schutte 2003; Brackett et al. 2004). In a recent experiential
sampling protocol with underage drinkers, individuals
who had intense negative emotions were more likely to drink
if they could not describe their emotional experiences very
specifically (Kashdan et al. 2010). Emotional intelligence
may be considered an individual characteristic that may act
as a resilience factor for a variety of outcomes including
borderline symptoms, by possibly influencing the development
of more proximal variables such as alexithymia, negative
urgency, and distress tolerance.

Current Study

Although it has been demonstrated that environments characterized
by abuse, neglect, and other potentially traumatic
experiences are risk factors for psychopathology including
borderline personality disorder (Brune et al. 2010; Klonsky
and Moyer 2008; Martins et al. 2011), the joint contribution
of potentially traumatic experiences and emotional dysregulation
to the development of borderline symptoms are not
well understood. In addition, the role of resilience factors
such as emotional intelligence in the development of borderline
symptoms has been understudied.

We posit that traumatic experience, in conjunction with
negative affectivity and poor emotional intelligence, contributes
to deficits in the ability to identify and describe
emotional states. Deficits in the cognitive processing of
emotion, the understanding of emotional experience,
reduce the ability to tolerate aversive emotional experience
and increase the likelihood of impulsive behavior when
negatively aroused
. This combination of negative affect,
intolerance of negative affect, and negative affectively
driven impulsive behavior manifest in observed symptoms
of borderline personality.

Specifically, we test the following hypotheses: (1) There
will be a significant indirect association between trauma
and borderline symptoms via distress tolerance, alexithymia,
and negative urgency. (2) There will be a significant
indirect association between emotional intelligence and
borderline symptoms via alexithymia, distress tolerance,
and negative urgency. (3) The association between distress
tolerance and borderline symptoms will be partially mediated
by negative urgency. These effects will be significant
above and beyond the effects of gender and negative affect.

[...]

Discussion

The purpose of this study was to clarify the relationships
between trauma, aspects of emotional regulation, and borderline
personality disorder symptoms. Results supported
the theoretical model of borderline personality symptoms.
History of trauma is positively, and emotional intelligence,
inversely, associated with borderline personality symptoms.
These effects are mediated via impairments in the ability to
recognize and describe emotions. Deficits in identifying and
describing emotions, in turn, are associated with poor tolerance
for emotional distress and an increase in acting rashly
when negatively aroused. Finally, distress tolerance exhibited
both direct, and indirect (via negative urgency), associations
with borderline personality symptoms. The model
thus identifies mechanisms linking the experience of
potentially traumatic events with borderline personality
symptoms via deficits in core aspects of emotion regulation.

We discuss the findings below, organizing them around the
three mediating variables; alexithymia, distress tolerance,
and negative urgency.

Alexithymia fully mediated the effects of trauma history
and emotional intelligence on distress tolerance, negative
urgency, and borderline personality symptoms.
The experience
of trauma may be associated with a wide range of
negative sequelae, including problems in interpersonal
functioning (Lamoureux et al. 2011), internalizing problems
(e.g., depression and anxiety; Dulin and Passmore
2010), and externalizing problems (e.g., substance use;
Suarez et al. 2012). Emotional intelligence is also associated
with a similarly broad range of positive outcomes
including decreased substance use (Kun and Demetrovics
2010; Austin et al. 2005), greater marital satisfaction, more
close relationships, and stronger social networks (Schutte
et al. 2001). The diverse benefits of high emotional intelligence
may stem, in part, from the strength of individuals’
meta-cognitive/meta-emotion abilities such as increased
awareness and understanding of their emotional experience.

In contrast, the results of the current study suggest
that trauma may interfere with basic abilities in the cognitive
processing of emotion
. Individuals who are then
unable to identify and describe feeling states are vulnerable
to diverse maladaptive outcomes. In the current study,
deficits in the ability to identify and describe feeling states
are related to both poor tolerance for negative emotion and
an increased tendency for impulsive action when negatively
aroused, two constructs associated with a range of
maladaptive behaviors.

Distress Tolerance. The results indicate that emotional
intelligence and history of trauma are indirectly associated
with distress tolerance via alexithymia. The association
between perceived distress tolerance and trauma is consistent
with previous research (Marshall-Berenz et al. 2010,
2011; Vujanovic et al. 2011). In addition, previous research
has indicated significant associations between distress tolerance
and meta-emotion constructs of mood acceptance
and mood typicality (Simons and Gaher 2005). The current
findings highlight the potential importance of being able to
identify and understand feeling states in supporting adaptive
tolerance of negative emotion. In addition to tolerance,
the DTS assesses being consumed, or absorbed, by negative
emotion. Thus, the process of identifying and labeling
feeling states may act to decrease the intensity and create
some distance between the self and the state of arousal. The
DTS also assesses shame, non-acceptance, and fear of
emotional experience. Thus, measuring perceived intolerance
of a variety of emotional distressing states via a selfreport
scale (i.e., DTS) is important for capturing one’s
internal experiences beyond just frustration tolerance in
response to task difficulty. The results of the current study
suggest that poor clarity regarding emotional experience
may contribute to heightened negative appraisal of aversive
emotional experience.


Distress tolerance exhibited a direct association with
borderline personality symptoms as well as an indirect
effect via negative urgency. Poor tolerance for distress is
considered to be a central aspect of borderline personality
disorder
(Linehan 1993). Perhaps this finding ties into
previous research that denotes experiential avoidance may
be a key process in BPD
(Iverson et al. 2012). Allowing
oneself to experience negative emotion might be necessary
for deliberative non-impulsive type behavior. Individuals
with borderline personality disorder are characterized by
heightened affective lability, unstable self-concept, deficits
in interpersonal functioning, and marked impulsivity.
Negative emotion is an integral part of human life and
although unpleasant, it has important functions and the
ability to tolerate and adaptively experience negative
emotion is important for affective and behavioral regulation
and adaptive interpersonal functioning. The findings
indicate that perceived distress tolerance acts as a proximal
variable, mediating the effects of several etiologically relevant
variables including trauma history, emotional intelligence,
negative affectivity, and alexithymia. The DTS
was significantly associated with borderline symptoms over
and above the effects of both negative affectivity and
negative urgency. The findings thus provide additional
support for the construct validity of the DTS.

Negative Urgency. Considering the status of impulsivity
and emotional volatility as major dimensions of borderline
personality disorder (New and Siever 2002), the observed
associations between negative urgency and borderline
symptomatology are not surprising. We suggest that the
ability to engage in deliberative action or engage in mood
regulation strategies that may be adaptive, yet not immediate,
when experiencing negative emotion requires tolerance
for the feeling state.
In this regard, we hypothesized
inverse effects from distress tolerance to negative urgency.
The results of this study are consistent with Wray et al.
(2012) indicating good tolerance for distress may reduce
the tendency to act rashly when negatively aroused. Negative
urgency, in turn, acts to partially mediate the effects
of distress tolerance on health outcomes (e.g., borderline
symptoms or substance-related risk behavior (cf. Wray
et al. 2012).

Like distress tolerance, negative urgency was significantly
predicted by alexithymia (and indirectly associated
with emotional intelligence and trauma history). Previous
research has identified associations between alexithymia
and other impulsivity measures (Larsen et al. 2006;
Ouwens et al. 2009; Strein and Ouwens 2007; Zimmerman
et al. 2005). The current study extends this to the negative
urgency facet of impulsivity. Some models of impulsive
action emphasize the role of emotion-based action tendencies
(Hirsh et al. 2010; Metcalfe and Mischel 1999;
Shen and Bigsby 2010; Yan and Dillard 2010). In addition,
neurocognitive systems underlying reflexive action are
facilitated by heightened arousal (Lieberman 2007). In
contrast, reflective processing is thought to facilitate
behavioral inhibition in part because engaging the ‘‘cool’’
system and utilizing cognitive representation of semantic
symbols provides a buffer or delay in which alternative
responses can be evaluated and selected
(Metcalfe and
Mischel 1999). The results suggest that the inability to
cognitively represent feeling states (i.e., alexithymia) may
increase the tendency to act rashly when negatively
aroused.
 

mb

The Living Force
Interesting. I believe that a narcissistic family was one of my ex's key issues, although not the only one, and one outcome was BPD, which made my life interesting for a very long time ("if only I knew then what I know now"). This seems to fill in more of the picture.
 

kujo

Jedi
I grew up in a highly narcissistic family dynamic with a psychopathic mother being the ring leader. As I've "come into my own" while dedicating focus to understanding the affects of psychological trauma- I recognize the importance of slowing down when dealing with "negative arousal." Specifically, with the breath and breathing as the most fundamental part of the "slowing down" process. I would liken it to Neo in the film the Matrix when time slows and he bends flexibly to avoid bullets. Calm and assertive.

Distress Tolerance. The results indicate that emotional
intelligence and history of trauma are indirectly associated
with distress tolerance via alexithymia. The association
between perceived distress tolerance and trauma is consistent
with previous research (Marshall-Berenz et al. 2010,
2011; Vujanovic et al. 2011). In addition, previous research
has indicated significant associations between distress tolerance
and meta-emotion constructs of mood acceptance
and mood typicality (Simons and Gaher 2005). The current
findings highlight the potential importance of being able to
identify and understand feeling states in supporting adaptive
tolerance of negative emotion. In addition to tolerance,
the DTS assesses being consumed, or absorbed, by negative
emotion. Thus, the process of identifying and labeling
feeling states may act to decrease the intensity and create
some distance between the self and the state of arousal.
The
DTS also assesses shame, non-acceptance, and fear of
emotional experience. Thus, measuring perceived intolerance
of a variety of emotional distressing states via a selfreport
scale (i.e., DTS) is important for capturing one’s
internal experiences beyond just frustration tolerance in
response to task difficulty. The results of the current study
suggest that poor clarity regarding emotional experience
may contribute to heightened negative appraisal of aversive
emotional experience.

The quote in red illustrates what I mean by slowing down as a way to deal. In "The Narcissistic Family" one of the suggested therapeutic practices is to harness Respectable Adult Communication when feeling negatively aroused. Using the words, "I Feel ________ I Want_______." Remembering this tool has given me time to think about how I feel and then helps to show me how or how not I am identified with the emotion or event.

Thanks for sharing this study Psyche.
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Reading this:

We suggest that the
ability to engage in deliberative action or engage in mood
regulation strategies that may be adaptive, yet not immediate,
when experiencing negative emotion requires tolerance
for the feeling state.

...makes me think that the ABILITY to do this is not necessarily common to everyone. That is, a person may be born with a particularly sensitive or unstable temperament and "mild" traumas might impact them way more intensely than they would impact another person with a different temperament. This may be why we have noted that there are individuals who just do not seem to be able to do "the Work" - their sensitivity/instability is fundamental to their natures. They may be only able to get therapy to deal with ordinary life situations better, but never achieve more than a semi-stable equilibrium under ordinary circumstances.

Have a look at this video, for example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=967Ckat7f98&list=PL2DCFC5816B97D2F9

It's interesting that they talk about increased activity in the amygdala and decreased responsiveness of the frontal cortex. The people interviewed all say that therapy helped them, but it is clear that it only helps them to cope with the most basic patterns of life; going further appears to be beyond them.

It reminds me somewhat of Lobaczweski's "paranoid characteropathy":

Paranoid character disorders: It is characteristic of paranoid behavior for people to be capable of relatively correct reasoning and discussion as long as the conversation involves minor differences of opinion. This stops abruptly when the partner's arguments begin to undermine their overvalued ideas, crush their long-held stereotypes of reasoning, or forces them to accept a conclusion they had subconsciously rejected before. Such a stimulus unleashes upon the partner a torrent of pseudo-logical, largely paramoralistic, often insulting utterances which always contain some degree of suggestion.....

We know today that the psychological mechanism of paranoid phenomena is twofold:

one is caused by damage to the brain tissue, the other is functional or behavioral. ... any brain-tissue lesion causes a certain slackening of accurate thinking... Particularly during sleepless nights, runaway thoughts give rise to a paranoid changed view of human reality, as well as to ideas which can be either gently naive or violently revolutionary. Let us call this kind paranoid characteropathy.

In persons free of brain tissue lesions, such phenomena most frequently occur as a result of being reared by people with paranoid characteropathia, along with the psychological terror of their childhood. Such psychological material is then assimilated creating the rigid stereotypes of abnormal experiencing. This makes it difficult for thought and world view to develop normally, and the terror-blocked contents become transformed into permanent, functional, congestive centers.

Lobaczewski also talks about how some of these types have an "enslaving influence" over others because of their "emotionality":

.... the power of the paranoid lies in the fact that they easily enslave less critical minds, e.g. people with other kinds of psychological deficiencies, who have been victims of the egotistical influence of individuals with character disorders, and, in particular, a large segment of young people.

An uneducated person may perceive this power to enslave to be a kind of victory over "intellectuals" and thus take the paranoid person's side. However, this is not the normal reaction among the common people, where perception of psychological reality occurs no less often than among intellectuals. ...

Nevertheless, paranoid individuals become aware of their enslaving influence through experience and attempt to take advantage of it in a pathologically egotistic manner.

This, of course, leads ultimately to "ponerization" if it is allowed to run its course:

One phenomenon all ponerogenic groups and associations have in common is the fact that their members lose (or have already lost) the capacity to perceive pathological individuals as such, interpreting their behavior in a fascinated, heroic, or melodramatic ways. The opinions, ideas, and judgments of people carrying various psychological deficits are endowed with an importance at least equal to that of outstanding individuals among normal people.

The atrophy of natural critical faculties with respect to pathological individuals becomes an opening to their activities, and, at the same time, a criterion for recognizing the association in concern as ponerogenic. Let us call this the first criterion of ponerogenesis. ...

Any human group affected by the process described herein is characterized by its increasing regression from natural common sense and the ability to perceive psychological reality. Someone considering this in terms of traditional categories might consider it an instance of “turning into half-wits or the development of intellectual deficiencies and moral failings. A ponerological analysis of this process, however, indicates that pressure is being applied to the more normal part of the association by pathological factors present in certain individuals who have been allowed to participate in the group because the lack of good psychological knowledge has not madated their exclusion.

Thus, whenever we observe some group member being treated with no critical distance, although he betrays one of the psychological anomalies familiar to us, and his opinions being treated as at least equal to those of normal people, although they are based on a characteristically different view of human matters, we must derive the conclusion that this human group is affected by a ponerogenic process and if measures are not taken the process shall continue to its logical conclusion. We shall treat this in accordance with the above described first criterion of ponerology, which retains its validity regardless of the qualitative and quantitative features of such a union: the atrophy of natural critical faculties with respect to pathological individuals becomes an opening to their activities, and, at the same time, a criterion for recognizing the association in concern as ponerogenic.
 

mb

The Living Force
Laura said:
...makes me think that the ABILITY to do this is not necessarily common to everyone. That is, a person may be born with a particularly sensitive or unstable temperament and "mild" traumas might impact them way more intensely than they would impact another person with a different temperament. This may be why we have noted that there are individuals who just do not seem to be able to do "the Work" - their sensitivity/instability is fundamental to their natures. They may be only able to get therapy to deal with ordinary life situations better, but never achieve more than a semi-stable equilibrium under ordinary circumstances...

I have been exploring in another realm for the last week or so, that of family trees, and I have been noticing some things. What I see in my own family tree is generation upon generation of god-fearing authoritarian followers, living out their lives according to "the rules" (their actual rules, not the stated ones -- there's a difference), with the women mostly staying busy producing a new child every two years or so and raising them all while helping with the farm, and the men staying busy with the farming.

I don't know much about the emotional climate and quality of relationships in the earlier generations, but I do have some insight into the situation with my parents, my grandparents, and to a small degree my great grandparents. These homes weren't great places to live, and many of the children of my parents' generation seemed to be in very bad shape, including my own parents on both sides, and that was before they were thrust into WW II where the damage was compounded.

My father had permanent emotional scars from the war (this is on top of an abusive childhood), and my mother lost her first husband (who was from her home town; they probably had known each other since childhood) in the war and never even mentioned it to me -- I can only infer that there was a lot of damage there too. When those two married, the result was a family situation that was miserable, and that's what I grew up in (and witnessed first hand, though I didn't understand why at the time). My mother never discussed any of it (or anything else for that matter), but my father did after she died and shortly before his death. He said they didn't really belong together.

A family built on an authoritarian follower view of life has got to have issues. I suspect that child abuse was rampant throughout the generations. Why not -- their god told them to do it.

This just doesn't seem to me like good preparation to do the Work, though it might not prevent it. I am not sure what I am doing here with my background, but I have to suspect that quite a few of those "followers" were actually more broad-minded people trapped in an impossible environment with no way to escape or develop, while I had no siblings and my parents died relatively young and escape was not much of an issue by then anyway. I have found maybe two or three people in my earlier generations reaching back to the 1600s that distinguished themselves in some way. (One was Dutch royalty; that's a whole 'nother pathological distinction!) Apart from that, the men were farmers and the women raised children (and helped on the farm). Cookie cutter people; cookie cutter pathology. (Perhaps they made good "cattle" for 4D STS?)

As a footnote, I will mention that in going through my family tree, I also see how the colonization of the "new world" enabled a number of generations of exponential (runaway!) population growth (and environmental destruction as described in The Vegetarian Myth), because the colonists killed off the indigenous people and took their land and other resources. This enabled the farm-and-raise-children way of life to go on for a very long time. It seems to have collapsed around the time of my grandparents, who were the first generation to have small families (my mother and father each had only two siblings).

Footnote to footnote: I suspect that the colonists in turn might have been the product of the collapse of a similar system in the "old world." A lot of the data is missing, but I see that some of my immigrant-colonist ancestors came from small families, which might be a clue.
 

kujo

Jedi
Informative video on BPD, Laura.

It comes to mind that those with Borderline Personality Disorder, Anti-Social Personality Disorder, Paranoid Character Disorder as referred to by Lobaczweski, and any number of psychological dis-ease / dis-order are often the products of contact / manipulation by a Sociopath or Narcissistic individual - That ponerization is the root in which all of these disorders stem from. Simply put it's manipulation of free will that is the motion towards chaos from order. From entropy to growth.

I find it interesting to consider the character similarities between soul-less psychopaths and those with personality disorders (likely affected by psychopathic environments) - There is much overlap, which to me, shows the direct infecting / parasitic nature of psychopaths. The distinguishing factor between them being the capacity to empathize.

Paranoid character disorders: It is characteristic of paranoid behavior for people to be capable of relatively correct reasoning and discussion as long as the conversation involves minor differences of opinion. This stops abruptly when the partner's arguments begin to undermine their overvalued ideas, crush their long-held stereotypes of reasoning, or forces them to accept a conclusion they had subconsciously rejected before. Such a stimulus unleashes upon the partner a torrent of pseudo-logical, largely paramoralistic, often insulting utterances which always contain some degree of suggestion.....

We know today that the psychological mechanism of paranoid phenomena is twofold:

one is caused by damage to the brain tissue, the other is functional or behavioral. ... any brain-tissue lesion causes a certain slackening of accurate thinking... Particularly during sleepless nights, runaway thoughts give rise to a paranoid changed view of human reality, as well as to ideas which can be either gently naive or violently revolutionary. Let us call this kind paranoid characteropathy.

In persons free of brain tissue lesions, such phenomena most frequently occur as a result of being reared by people with paranoid characteropathia, along with the psychological terror of their childhood. Such psychological material is then assimilated creating the rigid stereotypes of abnormal experiencing. This makes it difficult for thought and world view to develop normally, and the terror-blocked contents become transformed into permanent, functional, congestive centers.
 

Gaby

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Laura said:
Reading this:

We suggest that the
ability to engage in deliberative action or engage in mood
regulation strategies that may be adaptive, yet not immediate,
when experiencing negative emotion requires tolerance
for the feeling state.

That part stood out for me as well, especially since I've been giving these issues a lot of thought lately. It makes sense. I guess that several elements can combine and give rise to a garden variety of pathology and programs.

I don't know what constitutes an appropriate definition and classification of temperament, but I think that stable temperaments can become hystericized too a la borderline personality, especially when the caretaker was pathological. I guess this would be the congestive centers Lobacweski talks about, or crystallizing on a very wrong foundation!

From baby stories by family members, I think I would have been classified as a very stable temperament from my first years of life. But by the time "childhood programming" was accomplished, the "Narcissistic Family" end results has applied to me to a T. The same applies to my sister, but she was more hypersensitive as a baby and toddler. It was speculated that she was "spoiled" for being the first born. That is why family members were discouraged of spoiling me. As an example of the early days, I remember being given a baby bottle of milk and be left alone in my cradle for the rest of the night. My aunt later told me that she felt really pained to just leave me there the whole night. I personally don't remember it ever being an issue just as long as I had my bottle of milk ;)

My sister did managed to lead a more "dramatic life" than me. Despite this, as adults she did looked significantly more put together whereas I was significantly more neurotic and shy.

I don't know how temperaments would be evaluated in any practical sense though. But regardless of any appropriate analysis of a person's temperament, would there be very sensitive temperaments that become very stable and empathetic with time and maturity?

What would constitute emotional intelligence, as in an ability to see oneself and find that inner strength from higher cognitive functions that would enable a person to outgrow programs and learn from experience? The capacity of real external considering?

Despite the wide garden variety, I think current research is highlighting more and more precisely that.

It also makes me wonder if some people with heightened emotionality would have been able to see themselves better before a certain health issue. For instance, when Parkinson's disease manifests it is well after over 50% or so of brain cells are gonzeronii.

Laura said:
Lobaczewski also talks about how some of these types have an "enslaving influence" over others because of their "emotionality":

[...]

This, of course, leads ultimately to "ponerization" if it is allowed to run its course:

[...]

That makes perfect sense. As I see my programs better, people whom I would have considered "heroines" and "heroes" had lost that status on my eyes. More like drama queens and kings with no sense of respect for themselves or for others.

Megan said:
This just doesn't seem to me like good preparation to do the Work, though it might not prevent it. I am not sure what I am doing here with my background, [...]

From my background, the way I see it is that this is the sector of the Universe I can debug provided one makes the choice. That my higher self thought me capable of debugging THIS. Quite a honor to do this for the Universe regardless of the outcome. This quote seems appropriate:

"My wish to BE is a cosmic wish, and my being needs to situate itself in a world of forces. There is a cosmic need for the new being that I could become." -Jeanne De Salzmann [taken from someone's fb wall ;)]
 

aragorn

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m said:
I don't know much about the emotional climate and quality of relationships in the earlier generations, but I do have some insight into the situation with my parents, my grandparents, and to a small degree my great grandparents. These homes weren't great places to live, and many of the children of my parents' generation seemed to be in very bad shape, including my own parents on both sides, and that was before they were thrust into WW II where the damage was compounded.

Sadly, this seems to be a common pattern. Both of my grandparents had to go through the horrors of war, my grandfathers being physically on the battle field. War causes massive trauma, and it is clear that in my country, after the war, you weren't supposed to talk about it - seeking counseling was a shameful option. So everyone suppressed the trauma and "moved on", and not having properly processed the horrors of war (I don't know if one ever can completely do that), all sorts of "roughness" was applied in the upbringing of the next generation.

Adding some genetic inclinations towards narcissism and other pathologies, it seems like an impossible task for normal individuals to grow up unharmed during these kind of times. And these kind of times seems to have been going on forever, as e.g. Laura describes in her books.
 

Pashalis

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Laura said:
Reading this:

We suggest that the
ability to engage in deliberative action or engage in mood
regulation strategies that may be adaptive, yet not immediate,
when experiencing negative emotion requires tolerance
for the feeling state.

...makes me think that the ABILITY to do this is not necessarily common to everyone. That is, a person may be born with a particularly sensitive or unstable temperament and "mild" traumas might impact them way more intensely than they would impact another person with a different temperament. This may be why we have noted that there are individuals who just do not seem to be able to do "the Work" - their sensitivity/instability is fundamental to their natures. They may be only able to get therapy to deal with ordinary life situations better, but never achieve more than a semi-stable equilibrium under ordinary circumstances.

Have a look at this video, for example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=967Ckat7f98&list=PL2DCFC5816B97D2F9

It's interesting that they talk about increased activity in the amygdala and decreased responsiveness of the frontal cortex. The people interviewed all say that therapy helped them, but it is clear that it only helps them to cope with the most basic patterns of life; going further appears to be beyond them.

It reminds me somewhat of Lobaczweski's "paranoid characteropathy":

Paranoid character disorders: It is characteristic of paranoid behavior for people to be capable of relatively correct reasoning and discussion as long as the conversation involves minor differences of opinion. This stops abruptly when the partner's arguments begin to undermine their overvalued ideas, crush their long-held stereotypes of reasoning, or forces them to accept a conclusion they had subconsciously rejected before. Such a stimulus unleashes upon the partner a torrent of pseudo-logical, largely paramoralistic, often insulting utterances which always contain some degree of suggestion.....

We know today that the psychological mechanism of paranoid phenomena is twofold:

one is caused by damage to the brain tissue, the other is functional or behavioral. ... any brain-tissue lesion causes a certain slackening of accurate thinking... Particularly during sleepless nights, runaway thoughts give rise to a paranoid changed view of human reality, as well as to ideas which can be either gently naive or violently revolutionary. Let us call this kind paranoid characteropathy.

In persons free of brain tissue lesions, such phenomena most frequently occur as a result of being reared by people with paranoid characteropathia, along with the psychological terror of their childhood. Such psychological material is then assimilated creating the rigid stereotypes of abnormal experiencing. This makes it difficult for thought and world view to develop normally, and the terror-blocked contents become transformed into permanent, functional, congestive centers.

Lobaczewski also talks about how some of these types have an "enslaving influence" over others because of their "emotionality":

.... the power of the paranoid lies in the fact that they easily enslave less critical minds, e.g. people with other kinds of psychological deficiencies, who have been victims of the egotistical influence of individuals with character disorders, and, in particular, a large segment of young people.

An uneducated person may perceive this power to enslave to be a kind of victory over "intellectuals" and thus take the paranoid person's side. However, this is not the normal reaction among the common people, where perception of psychological reality occurs no less often than among intellectuals. ...

Nevertheless, paranoid individuals become aware of their enslaving influence through experience and attempt to take advantage of it in a pathologically egotistic manner.

This, of course, leads ultimately to "ponerization" if it is allowed to run its course:

One phenomenon all ponerogenic groups and associations have in common is the fact that their members lose (or have already lost) the capacity to perceive pathological individuals as such, interpreting their behavior in a fascinated, heroic, or melodramatic ways. The opinions, ideas, and judgments of people carrying various psychological deficits are endowed with an importance at least equal to that of outstanding individuals among normal people.

The atrophy of natural critical faculties with respect to pathological individuals becomes an opening to their activities, and, at the same time, a criterion for recognizing the association in concern as ponerogenic. Let us call this the first criterion of ponerogenesis. ...

Any human group affected by the process described herein is characterized by its increasing regression from natural common sense and the ability to perceive psychological reality. Someone considering this in terms of traditional categories might consider it an instance of “turning into half-wits or the development of intellectual deficiencies and moral failings. A ponerological analysis of this process, however, indicates that pressure is being applied to the more normal part of the association by pathological factors present in certain individuals who have been allowed to participate in the group because the lack of good psychological knowledge has not madated their exclusion.

Thus, whenever we observe some group member being treated with no critical distance, although he betrays one of the psychological anomalies familiar to us, and his opinions being treated as at least equal to those of normal people, although they are based on a characteristically different view of human matters, we must derive the conclusion that this human group is affected by a ponerogenic process and if measures are not taken the process shall continue to its logical conclusion. We shall treat this in accordance with the above described first criterion of ponerology, which retains its validity regardless of the qualitative and quantitative features of such a union: the atrophy of natural critical faculties with respect to pathological individuals becomes an opening to their activities, and, at the same time, a criterion for recognizing the association in concern as ponerogenic.

I'm also thinking about all of this, the last several days and weeks.
I'm kind of at loss, of how an individual or a group of normal people out to behave and approach such situations, when an individual seems to be unable (for what ever reason) to do "The Work" but at the same time has done much to help others of the same group, but clearly (or so it seems) has an "enslaving influence" and "manipulating" influence on others of the same group?

On the one hand when a group of people that mainly consist of normal people who have the capability of engaging in "The Work" and are seeking to do exactly that, on an individual as well as collective basis, is confronted with an individual who seems to be unable to do "The Work", but at the same time this person has helped others of the same group, as well as others outside of that group, but exhibits signs of "enslaving" and "manipulating" others of the group through his actions then I'm not sure at all how the group and you as an individual should handle such a situation...

Clearly there is no sure way to be certain if such an individual is naturally incapable of doing "The Work" (genetically born that way, or because of some sort of brain damage), or if this person is "normal" and in theory capable to do "The Work" and just ponerized by the environment and could get it through a mirror.

Therefore it seems to be the question how such a group should react and engange toward such a person in such a situation?
I mean almost every normal human being is more or less ponerized to a certain degree and as long as this person is not engaging at least in some parts in "The Work" within a group that is seeking exactly that, this person can be dangerous to the group and the higher purpose, if this person exhibits this "enslaving influence" onto others of the group and is not handled well by the experienced normal people of the group.

Clearly many of us, including me, would have never been able to be less ponerized and starting to engange at least in parts in "The Work" if it hadn't been pointed out to us by others via mirrors, sometimes very hard ones, from experienced members of this group...
So it seems to be the right approach that those people with a "enslaving influence" either because they are ponerized by the environment and are in theory capable to get it, so to speak, or are that way because they simply can not be otherwise, to be confronted that way?

There is a certain feeling that you always are walking on eggshells when you are confronted with such people and you fear that they could go off at any time. But as a human being you also feel empathic and therfore you are careful to not hurt this person, but what are you personally going to do and the group itself, if that person is exhibiting signs of "enslaving and manipulating influence" on others of the same group? Should you or others of the group not point that out, because of the sensibility toward that "enslaving" person? But then there is also the higher group aim to keep in mind at the same time and how such individuals can ponerize others members of the group or even the group itself. So it is a very delicate thing indeed and I'm not quite sure what the group or you as an individual should do in such a case?
 

Laura

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Pashalis said:
So it seems to be the right approach that those people with a "enslaving influence" either because they are ponerized by the environment and are in theory capable to get it, so to speak, or are that way because they simply can not be otherwise, to be confronted that way?

There is a certain feeling that you always are walking on eggshells when you are confronted with such people and you fear that they could go off at any time. But as a human being you also feel empathic and therfore you are careful to not hurt this person, but what are you personally going to do and the group itself, if that person is exhibiting signs of "enslaving and manipulating influence" on others of the same group? Should you or others of the group not point that out, because of the sensibility toward that "enslaving" person? But then there is also the higher group aim to keep in mind at the same time and how such individuals can ponerize others members of the group or even the group itself. So it is a very delicate thing indeed and I'm not quite sure what the group or you as an individual should do in such a case?

Indeed.

However, it is sometimes best NOT to be confrontational for a variety of very good reasons.

What IS worrisome, however, is the following:

... the power of the paranoid lies in the fact that they easily enslave less critical minds, e.g. people with other kinds of psychological deficiencies, who have been victims of the egotistical influence of individuals with character disorders, and, in particular, a large segment of young people.

This suggests that one should observe those who are "enslaved" or see such an individual in a "heroic light" without balance because they are basically exposing their weaknesses. In other words, such a dynamic can be useful for data collection.
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
Some research indicate that BPD sufferers have reduced volume of hippocampus especially if they have PTSD related to childhood abuse. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2702446/). There seems to be a higher bias in the left hippocampus. The hippocampus is believed to play an important role in the formation of new episodic memory ( autobiographical memories based on experience of context, emotions etc) and it is possible that this is linked with confabulation seen in BPD symptom sufferers.

There is some research (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12609265) that show that BPD symptoms are similar to temporal lobe epilepsy. Like in BPD, epilepsy sufferers have their hippocampus affected. It is speculated by some that BPD can be a result of seizures in the limbic system (emotional brain) - thus more of a physiological rather than a psychological problem. The ketogenic diet has long been used as a treatment for epileptic seizures in children; so if the above hypothesis is correct, people who suffer from BPD symptoms should benefit from the ketogenic diet.


Another interesting thing came up in relation to the hippocampus. Synesthesia apparently has a predominant left hemispheric bias and the hippocampus is regarded as a key structure in its experience.
(http://webpub.allegheny.edu/employee/a/adale/p108/Synesthesia%20Phenomenology%20And%20Neuropsychology.htm)

Synesthates are said to have good memories due to the enhanced but uneven cognitive skills and learning difficulties like dyslexia, even autistic symptoms. Non-right handed females predominate. There is a tendency towards unusual experiences like "deja vu, clairvoyance, precognitive dreams, a sense of portentousness," etc. The author states that seizures in the hippocampus can produce synesthetic experiences in those who are not otherwise synesthetic. When these seizures spread to the temporal lobe (like in temporal lobe epilepsy), the experience becomes more elaborate.

In natural synesthetic experiences, cortical metabolism plummates to a degree that is not achievable through drugs and the limbic system fires up. This means that cognitive pathways which are also associated with impulse control and emotional regulation are shut down.

[quote author=Synesthesia: Phenomenology and Neuropsychology]
MWs cortical metabolism dropped so low during synesthesia that he should have been blind, paralyzed, or shown some other conventional sign of a lesion. (Left hemispheric flows were nearly three standard deviations below our lab's acceptable limits of normal.) Yet his thinking and neurological exam were unimpaired.
[/quote]

I did not find any studies that directly correlate unusual experiences like synesthesia with BPD but the common factor between the two seem to be seizures in the hippocampus and temporal lobe. For someone who is genetically predisposed to a condition which leaves susceptible to limbic system seizures (BPD, synesthesia and epilepsy each independently are supposed to have genetic correlates) when traumatized by early childhood experiences could develop in a way where the emotions are dominated by the unusual instinctive faculties and part of the intellect (neo-cortex) which exercises control over impulses, doubts one's thinking etc (the negative half of the intellectual center which says "no" in 4th Way terminology) is suppressed. If this development progresses to a high degree, then such a person can exert an influence on others. Mouravieff mentions the more extreme results of such a development in Gnosis part 2.
 

Gaby

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obyvatel said:
Synesthates are said to have good memories due to the enhanced but uneven cognitive skills and learning difficulties like dyslexia, even autistic symptoms. Non-right handed females predominate. There is a tendency towards unusual experiences like "deja vu, clairvoyance, precognitive dreams, a sense of portentousness," etc.

This bit of information reminded me of this article:

Those resistant to 'love hormone' may also be easier to hypnotize
http://cassiopaea.org/forum/index.php/topic,31207.0.html

Where we read:

People with genes that make it tough for them to engage socially with others seem to be better than average at hypnotizing themselves. A study published today in Psychoneuroendocrinology1 concludes that such individuals are particularly good at becoming absorbed in their own internal world, and might also be more susceptible to other distortions of reality.[...]

Psychologist Richard Bryant of the University of New South Wales in Sydney and his colleagues tested the hypnotizability of volunteers with different forms of the receptor for oxytocin, a hormone that increases trust and social bonding. (Oxytocin's association with emotional attachment also earned it the nickname of 'love hormone'.) Those with gene variants linked to social detachment and autism were found to be most susceptible to hypnosis.
[...]

The researchers used a questionnaire to test the participants’ ability to become absorbed in internal and imagined experiences, and tested them for variants of the oxytocin-receptor gene at two places in the gene sequence — rs53576 and rs2254298 — that that increase the risk of social detachment and autism. Participants with these variants scored highest for hypnotizability and absorption.

Bryant suggests that as well as being more hypnotizable, such individuals might “be influenced to have a range of experiences that more reality-based people cannot”. For example, this capacity might help to explain why some people respond better to placebos, or are more likely to accept paranormal or religious experiences.

“At this point we do not know anything about genetic bases of suggestibility per se,” says Bryant. “The current finding does provide some direction for exploring this.”

Aleksandr Kogan of the University of Cambridge, UK, who works on the genetics of social psychology, says that the results fit well with what is known about the oxytocin-receptor gene, particularly for variants at site rs53576. Among white people, these influence an individual’s sensitivity to social cues, he says. “That this would reflect a difference in internal experiences makes sense.”

It is as if a cognitive function is "sacrificed" in order to favor "synesthetic" experiences. Talking about dissociating!

It seems to me that higher cortex integration in these processes through Éiriú Eolas reconnects a person with reality and makes him or her able to regulate emotions from "above". It balances up the brain provided a genetic glitch that codes for a certain brain wiring is not "set on stone". Just speculating.
 

Laura

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Possible. But the lowered activity of the frontal cortex combined with the hypersensitive amygdalae, may be a hard nut to crack.
 
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