The Final Borderline Zone: Excessive Need for Impulsive Gratification (Part 2)
Studies have shown parents who create a psychotraumatic developmental environment for their children generally are overstressed, deeply unhappy, poorly skilled, or suffer from addiction. Consequently, in addition to exposing their young ones to chronic stress, they become ineffective role models and teachers. The parents often lack the motivation or skill to be effective. They have difficulty teaching their children how to delay gratification and work toward time-delayed goals. The aversiveness of family life puts everyone on edge. Research has shown that exposure to stimuli that produce emotions such as fear and extreme anxiety disrupt a person’s ability to learn new skills (Perry et al. 1996). High levels of stress dull our mind’s ability to concentrate and to learn.
It is little wonder that many individuals in the borderline zone have not mastered the art of thoughtful decision-making. They suffer a double effect: they lack the skills required to make a thoughtful decision, and they become driven by intense feelings that they struggle to soothe. Individuals become haunted by their intense feelings, and in turn, drive them to make impulsive decisions. At the end of the day, it is their inability to soothe their emotions in a safe sustainable manner that keeps them from taking charge of their life. As a result, what is the impact of this perpetual cycle?
It has been estimated that up to 69 percent of people with borderline behavior become addicted to drugs or alcohol versus 9.5 percent of the general population (Miller et al. 1993; Reiger et al. 1993).
IF alcohol and drugs become your primary form of escape your behavior can quickly become enslaved by the reinforcement effects of these substances. As described in previous articles, when you set up your next high (or self-injury episode) that can become your only seeable purpose in life. The seductive core of the addictive activity is its ability to totally distract you from the mental agony and unhappiness of life. Each day becomes a game of attaining the necessary means to fuel your addictive activities. This process applies to all potentially addictive habits. Sex can become extremely addictive, as can cutting or mutilation. Reckless driving or gambling can also be used to pathologically escape from agonizing inner pain or external reality.
Some of our clinical experience at BlueSky suggests that nearly 100 percent of people in the Borderline Zone become addicted to one or more of these acts. The specific choice of addictive activity (drugs, alcohol, cutting, sex, etc.) is irrelevant. All that matters is the addiction.
If you currently struggle with addiction and want a chance to turn your life around, speak with a BlueSky Behavioral health professional today. Every day holds the opportunity for change, a change you do not have to undergo alone.