There Is A Cure – But You Must First Recognize The Condition

“Gas lighting” is just a symptom. It signals there may be a disorder which, once identified, may be treated.

If you read this far you might be wondering about a name or diagnosis that can dissolve the ‘problem’ – and that curiosity is healthy.  It suggests that you are interested in taking control – even if it is frightening to even entertain a thought that maybe you or a dearly adored loved one is afflicted.  There are tips to help, and resources to guide. Read on.

It began when your son married a woman who refused to permit him to call you.  (If so, click here) or maybe your brother now insists he can’t talk to you or even mention your name to his new wife because she is jealous, private or painfully shy. In fact, that is the reason offered for why they broke their plans on New Year’s Eve or couldn’t make it – at the last minute, to the family gathering.

It began as little hints that became clear only in retrospect. (Click here for additional information). As you review the pattern, you realize that the first step was: isolation and alienation of family members who asked too many questions.

Point: Until family members learn how to effectively help the afflicted member, they  typically tread very quietly and carefully around that person, don’t seek clarification, insist that nobody ‘rock the boat’ and basically behave as if they are prisoners in their own home.

In your case, you realize that, when invited to your home, they showed up late – more and more often until someone from that family was elected to ultimately call to cancel visits altogether. When asked about what happened, the elected representative offered what you now recognize to have been lies. (Click here for tools that may help).

For the next few years, that part of the family made only ‘social obligation’ appearances, then fabricated reasons why they couldn’t get together with the rest of the family at all.  They may have even gone out of their way to fill time slots during upcoming holidays or anticipated birthday or graduation events. They might have even offered to work special holidays or overtime, just so their excuse would be valid. Click here if you were no longer considered ‘nuclear family’ because you refused to walk on eggshells.

Your situation may have progressed to their refusal to accept phone calls, or they may ignore emails. You may believe they hope you just stop trying. You love them unconditionally, and may begin to think you did something wrong. Unfortunately, without the proper perspective and tools, if you reach out to try to find out what you did, the effort might not be fruitful. You might even be faulted for reaching out too much.

Perhaps this was the pattern, or perhaps you are experiencing pieces of it now.  Do you believe you might be in the middle of this nightmare?  If so,  help is available. You have already taken the first step:  recognition and questioning . . . read on. (Click here for advice on how to help a person suffering with this disorder).

This unfortunate scenario is a result of: Borderline Personality Disorder. Almost every family I know has at least one person with an extreme personality issue either in this or a related  category and, while we all experience occasional traits here and there, those afflicted with this particular disorder successfully surround themselves with enablers who sadly – even if well meaning, often become consumed by the toxicity.  The men in the lives of women suffering with BPD are traumatized and abused (as was indicated by a previous link).

Again, while we all relate to aspects of the villain/ victim/ savior scenario a few scattered times throughout our lifetime, people who suffer with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) function within this scenario as a daily routine.  It defines them and they default to defining others by it. They see the world through this distorted lens 100% of the time.

To those afflicted with BPD, every person must be placed in the role of either villain or savior while the one with BPD remains ‘victim’ – with an occasional redefinition to the ‘savior’ role, when absolutely necessary; for example, in the case wherein an enabler becomes a ‘victim’ during times of illness, accident or job-related difficulties, the person with BPD can become the ‘savior’.  While in this role, however, as ‘savior’ of the newly assigned ‘victim’ the person with BPD finds a way to reclaim the role of victim to those with whom communication is  secretly maintained. The person with BPD often states how difficult it is to care for or about the one recovering from injury or illness.  After all, the enabler was supposed to be the savior.  Now what?

Clues that help you figure out if you or other family members or friends are enabling the behavior:  enablers are the people who ‘excuse’ the one who has this disorder with labels such as ‘private’ and ‘shy’ – defending the ill person’s continued efforts to isolate, alienate, ignore & offend others.

Toxicity trumps all. If an enabler becomes injured or ill, that person has an interesting set of new circumstances to deal with. Click here to read more about that dynamic.  It is not uncommon for the enabler to become emotionally exhausted. If this happens, the enabler might refer to outside sources as ‘the villain’ so that the enabler and the one suffering with BPD can ‘unite’ against the common enemy as joint victims/ saviors.

The good news is that BPD can be successfully addressed, treated and maybe even cured by a skilled mental health professional, but only if the ‘patient’  is willing,  and has LOTS of family support and cooperation to set healthy boundaries. The supportive people learn how to not give in to unreasonable demands or tantrums by providing a gentle, consistent, reassuring and firm environment.  Family members can indeed help facilitate healing if they are willing and able to learn to accurately and non-judgmentally reflect the patient back to him/her self.

The sad news is, unless there are family members who are seriously dedicated to helping to heal this disorder, it can become a quicksand of toxicity capable of driving other family members to the brink of nervous breakdown.

Q: How do you know when you need to seek help so you can heal?

A: When it takes over aspects of your life, interfering with family gatherings etc., you need to pay close attention.

As  indicated above, we ALL have bits & pieces of many personality traits. The issue becomes apparent when isolation, alienation, teaming up, pitting against, splitting apart, turning others against, etc., are accompanied by that toxic villain/ victim/ savior (“us against them” or “me against you”) scenario, and when it is so deeply experienced that it breaks relationships apart.

Read more about how to help yourself and loved ones so that you can reclaim joy, comfort, peace and love:

Resource for help with BPD

How can I stop enabling this behavior?

Old Tapes That Need Review

Is Your Adult Child Borderline?

Here’s to your health, happiness, healing and balance of your mind, body and spirit.

Three Simple Steps To Write Your Own Life Script

Step #1  Identify what gives you joy & what blocks your joy

Step #2  Self-reflect honesty to discover your true potential

Step #3  Decide where you want to put your energy

Keep in mind that there are distractions along your journey to writing your own life script but YOU are in charge of the story.  It is the story of YOUR life.

Recognize that finding your center permits the Universe to channel wisdom that you already have inside of you.  Survival mechanisms are in place to save your life which, if misused, threaten your inner balance.  One example is described below:

Fight/flight vs. Meditation. While the fight/flight response helps protect us from physical danger, the meditative response protects us from spiritual attack.  Think about it.

The fight/flight response distracts from internal healing and resolution. It is as inappropriate a response to a bad mood as would be sitting in a lotus position in deep meditation on a train track when there is an oncoming train speeding in your direction.

Once you identify Steps #1-3, recognize that the secret to YOUR fulfillment is within you. Click here  for the LinkedIn version of a road map to tap into your wisdom and joy.

Namaste and continued blessings along your journey.

The Mind Is More Powerful Than Most People Realize

Contact:  (917) 716-6802

Even conventional medical practitioners recognize the strength of the intangible ‘mind’.  Just look at the placebo effect.  What was once believed to be ‘coincidence’ is now understood to be a useful tool . . . and the term ‘imagination’ is gaining new respect.

Once technology catches up with intuitive knowing, we will have means by which to satisfy all wellness professionals with  overflowing confirmation using  ‘evidence-based data’ to support what many, but not all, know to be truth.  At this point we have kirlian photography  and recognition of energy fields, Reiki,  and a wide range of holistic healing approaches that western medicine is beginning to embrace. Until we do have ‘hard evidence’ measured by scientific rules defined by our society, there is nothing to stop anyone from tapping into personal, internal power.  Begin here:

Creative visualization and imagery in health

For additional techniques, hints and tips, Holistic and Integrative Healing LLC is available. Dr. Iankowitz can facilitate your healing process by supporting and guiding you throughout your healing journey. She can work with or help you create a team of professionals, at your request.  Dr. Iankowitz can be reached (917) 716-6802 for consultation, by appointment only, so call in advance.

Your Adult Child Seems Lost. How Can You Help?

You are painfully aware that your parenting was not perfect. You may have failed to pay attention when your son or daughter needed it most. Before you can deal with the upset, you need to get a handle on what might be fueling the behavior. You know intuitively there are distortions that fuel negative emotions, but can’t quite put your finger on specifics. To get some idea of what may may be going on in your adult child’s mind, and for a few possible tips, click here.

As you soul search, you recognize that despite your blunders, you offered a loving, protective, supportive, safe environment for sharing as you encouraged self-reflection and, for the most part, provided the attention your child(ren) needed to make it through adolescence and early adulthood. You may be at a loss as to what went wrong . . .

Perhaps your offspring accomplished important goals, earned credentials necessary to become self-supportive in a healthy, positive career or occupation. Your child, now grown, doesn’t need to sell illegal drugs or his/her body on the street to make ends meet. And yet, something is more than ‘a bit off.’  Why does that self-sufficient individual continue to send mixed messages regarding his/her life?

You scratch your head in utter confusion because you are on an emotional roller coaster. One day you receive a text, phone call or email from your adult child stating how wonderful everything is, how enlightened s/he has become, and how much sense everything makes all of a sudden. S/he may even state, “I forgive you for all the errors you made in my upbringing. I now know you did your best,” but then, three days later, you receive another communication accusing you of dysfunctional parenting techniques 15 or 20 years ago which were/are “the reasons for” poor decision making/ unhappiness/ dissatisfaction today (on the part of the adult child).  What is going on?

Is this a true borderline personality disorder (BPD) [click here for details about that] or something that can be easily handled by a heartfelt email?

Consider BPD if the following email approach, (with words that reflect YOUR situation), doesn’t encourage more consistent positive, open, heartfelt communication and/or help the adult child seek help from a well trained mental health professional:

Dear (daughter or son),

So far, you have already accomplished a great deal in life.  You are:

  • living your dream (in the mountains, with monkeys in trees, cats in the wild, on a lake, an exotic island etc)
  • a professional in your own right; respected by colleagues (if true)
  • self supportive; able to pay your own rent, lease a car etc. (if this applies)
  • healthy  (if this applies) or
  • on the road to recovery (etc . . .)

You have:

  • parents (and/or siblings, grandparents etc – whatever applies) who love & respect you (hopefully this is true, if not, perhaps hold off on the email for now and self-reflect regarding your true goals for this relationship)
  • a full time career that you enjoy (if this applies)
  • an open mind that embraces . . . (list whatever applies, or just leave it out)
  • the potential to be a (wonderful electrician, mechanic, powerful healer, carpenter, surgeon etc . . . whatever applies)

Life has taught me:

  • Adulthood is a process – not a destination.
  • Happiness is not a station we arrive at; it is a manner of traveling.
  • We live & learn. Personal choice: perpetuate or let go of toxic patterns
  • We grow    (a) when centered and      (b) only if we are able to hear the inner wisdom that guides us.
  • Degree of wisdom is demonstrated by choices we make.
  • Maturity is not age related.  It is spirit related.

Your last email to / correspondence with (whatever applies) me/us reflected:

  • spitting of venom; tremendous pain
  • words that were harsh on yourself and on your parents (or siblings, aunts, uncles, etc.  whatever applies)
  • a wonderful awakening: you clearly identified WHY you have made certain choices. Now, you need to decide how you are going to use the information.

Healthy, happy people:

  • embrace centered people who love them unconditionally
  • do not alienate people who truly love and respect them
  • surround themselves with other healthy, centered people with whom they are patient, and share as well as demonstrate mutual respect
  • spend time with people by whom they feel valued and respected
  • draw boundaries to keep toxic energy sucking/ venom-spitting people OUT while inviting those who create safe spaces for honest ‘non-victim sharing’ IN
  • don’t see themselves as victims; they ‘rise above’ once they discover answers to “why did/ why do I . . .?”
  • spread spiritually peaceful positive energy to ALL they encounter 
  • don’t unite with people by splitting or speaking ill of others
  • do not invite, join or live the villain/ victim/ savior scenario
  • self-reflect fairly; avoid harsh judgment; recognize there is a lesson in all we experience (and apply the lessons to present and future life)
  • are generous of spirit – forgiving others and themselves while keeping toxic, destructive, dysfunctional words & behavior OUT of one’s energy field

Bottom lines:

  • Once aware of WHY we made/make certain choices, we can use that awareness to defend errors OR use the awareness as inspiration to get over and dissolve toxicity to make healthy, productive, joyful choices in the future. 
  • Decisions and choices are always up to the individual.
  • Healthy adults keep the gems and toss the burdensome stones.
  • Life is a gift to be appreciated and enjoyed with positive energy. 
  • You deserve to be peaceful, centered and happy. So far, you have found happiness in spurts. (state this only if this is true)
  • I’m confident that as you continue to embrace a healing path, your correspondence will reflect more consistent joy and less venom.

It seems you confuse “reaching out and attacking your (list what applies . . . parents, brother, aunt . . . )” with “reaching out and creating a safe space for sharing.” This deserves your attention so that you can have healthy communication with friends, a spouse and your children in years to come. I hope you find your joy.

I trust you will see all the answers once ready, as you continue your healing process at your own pace.

You are loved and blessed with so much to be proud of.  I am very proud of you for the person you are deep inside. (Again, only if true; if it is not true, reevaluate your personal goals for this relationship)

I love you,
(Your relationship position: Uncle Joe, Mom, Grandma, Dad etc. You get the idea)

About the Author: Dr. Iankowitz is an ANCC board certified advanced practice nurse, Director of Holistic and Integrative Healing LLC, a certified Reiki practitioner, editor and author of several articles and books, and founder of Universe’Secretary.