If you have not yet read the article, “The First Steps on How to Avoid Dead End Motives” we highly encourage you to do so prior to proceeding. As discussed in the early written article a dead-end behavior implies a stagnant outcome in which one becomes stuck in the Borderline Zone. At first glance many of the behaviors in which we label dead-ends seem appropriate. When in actuality all the behaviors do is stunt one’s ability to enter the Free Zone.
In this article, we will explain five different dead-end motives, and why said actions greatly hinder an individual’s ability to exit the Borderline Zone.
- Pretending to dissociate: Dissociation is a psychological state in which people lose contact with their environment or identity for a period of time and may withdraw into their minds or into uncharacteristic behavior patterns. Their sense of who they are becomes disrupted. Typically, they do not clearly remember the dissociative episode and may even become unresponsive to external stimuli during the episode. In some cases, dissociation can become the prelude to a behavior pattern that reenacts past, often traumatic, events or to the development of multiple personalities. Multiple personalities are best described as separate identities sometimes with their own names and lives. Individuals who experienced early and severe psychotrauma are more susceptible to dissociative states. They learn to dissociate as a way of escaping from their pain.
- Merging with your environment: An acceptance-seeking and identity-seeking strategy. While in the Borderline Zone, people have a strong tendency to take on the behavior patterns of others. This is especially true when they associate with people who have other types of emotional setbacks. In these circumstances, the person in the Borderline Zone will “catch” their symptoms. Such symptom-catching serves to distract the person with Borderline Personality Disorder from the real issues and, if he or she is in treatment, serves to mislead the therapist.
More positively, if an individual in the Borderline Zone associates with healthier people, they tend to function better. This is yet another important reason why positive support systems are crucial for recovery.
- The rebels without a clue: Individuals who rage against the machine without any idea of why. They are driven by anger to attack all symbols of authority and control. They do not understand and act as if they do not want to understand the causes of their rebellion. In turn, their feelings are numbed by addictive outrage, and like-minded acquaintances. They dress to look the part of a rebel. They act cool and feel horrible. They blame others for all of the negative consequences their actions create. They live to rebel, and rebel to live. They want to be misunderstood. They want to be loved, They want to stop, but do not know how.
- Playing mind games with professionals. Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder often only reluctantly seek professional help. The sense of reluctance is caused by others pushing them to get help. Without personal commitment and trust, psychotherapy has little chance of being helpful. It becomes another relationship lost in the emotional storms of the Borderline Zone.
During psychotherapy, it is common for individuals in the Borderline Zone to use defensive actions or mind games to maintain virtual walls that prevent them from openly conversing with a therapist. Typically mind games include threats to harm themselves or to emotionally push their therapist if their therapist does not do what they want. Sometimes the motive for playing games is power tripping. Disempowered by the Borderline Zone, it becomes tempting to exert control over others by deceiving and misleading their therapist. In this way, they can feel they got even with “them.”
Do these behaviors sound familiar? A skilled therapist can help you move past these defenses and act in a way that encourages you to gradually trust him or her. You can help this process by choosing to talk to someone and by choosing a therapist you want to work with.
- Defeat, failure, hopelessness, and selfishness: The cumulative impact of these dead-end motives is to feel trapped in a selfish and self-defeating cycle of failure. Individuals stuck in this cycle might appear to be very selfish to those around them, because they are completely preoccupied, albeit in a negative way, with themselves.
Once you have realized you are trapped, it is easy to lose all hope for a way out of the Borderline Zone. Fortunately, humans are fundamentally optimistic beings. It takes a long history of failure to reach the point of utter hopelessness. If you have made it through this article and several others you probably feel positive enough to make it through the Recovery Zone to freedom. If you are not there yet, that is okay. There is no better time than this moment to reach out to someone with countless hours of experience and a strong desire to guide you along the way. Make the change you know you need to make, and connect with a BlueSky Behavioral Health professional today.