DBT Group: Week Seven – Part II – Accumulating Positive Emotions – Long Term

Module: Emotion Regulation

I’m going to split Week Seven into two parts because what we covered was the ABC Skills, and the first one, (A) Accumulating Positive Emotions: Short Term and Long Term, and I think each of these deserves its own post in order to more fully explore how important short term positive emotions and long term positive emotions are in helping us to reduce vulnerability, and towards living a more fulfilled, positive life.

Homework Take-Up:
Handout:
Emotion Regulation Handout 15 – Accumulating Positive Emotions: Long Term
Handout Reference:
Emotion Regulation Handout 18 – Values and Priorities List (3 pgs)
Worksheet:
Emotion Regulation Worksheet 11A – Getting from Values to Specific Action Steps

Emotion Regulation Handout 14 – Overview: Reducing Vulnerability to Emotion Mind – Building a Life Worth Living
(A) – Accumulating Positive Emotions
– Short Term
– Long Term
(B) – Building Mastery and a sense of competence
(C) – Coping Ahead to better manage emotional situations
(P.L.E.A.S.E. – Treating Physical Illness, Avoid Mood-Altering Substances, Balanced Eating, Balanced Sleep, Get Exercise) – Taking care of your health and well-being physically deserves as much attention as taking care of your mental health and well-being

Starting with:
Emotion Regulation Handout 14 – Overview: Reducing Vulnerability to Emotion Mind – Building a Life Worth Living
First Box (Overview): (A) Accumulate Positive Emotions – Long Term
Moving to:
Emotion Regulation Handout 17 – Accumulating Positive Emotions: Long Term
Emotion Regulation Handout 16 – Values and Priorities List (3 pgs)

In addition to doing what I can to accumulate positive emotions in my day-to-day life, I also need to consider long-term positivity, and building a life that I can be proud of, and feel good about.

I would have to figure out what are my goals? What are my values? What are my priorities? What do I want out of life? What do I want from life? What kind of person do I want to be? What kind of life do I want?

Starting with figuring out what is important to me? What are my values and priorities?

I was actually surprised to find out that I actually didn’t know what my values are, or my priorities. I have a pretty good idea of what my morals are but to actually name them, and identify values and priorities having the list helped.

Emotion Regulation Handout 18 – Values and Priorities List (3 pgs)
This list covers a wide variety of values and priorities, some may apply to you, some may not. There are 14 man Values/Priorities with either a few or several goals within each of the Values/Priorities.

These are goals that you would strive for in living a fulfilling and balanced life based on what is important to you. Some of these you may already be practicing, some may need work, and some may require lifelong effort.

Of the 14, there was something in each of them that I connected with. The one that stuck out for me the most was the last one on the list – Have Integrity.

Have Integrity
– be honest, acknowledge and stand up for my personal belief
– be a responsible person, keep my word to others
– be courageous in facing and living life
– be a person who pays debts to others and repair damage I have caused
– be accepting of myself, and others, and life as it is; live without resentment

This one really resonates with me for several reasons; being honest with myself and others is hard for me. Not because I like or prefer to lie, but I am not always honest about how I feel or what I want. I tell myself that no one wants to hear about my problems. I tell myself that people won’t understand, or want to. I worry that they might reject me if I show them who I really am.

Standing up for my personal beliefs is something I struggle with, and have for a long time. I worry that my opinion won’t matter, or might be mocked, or rejected. I stay silent and figure that is the safest thing to do. I need to learn that my opinion matters just as much as anyone else’s. I just don’t believe that. yet.

I am pretty responsible and for the most part I keep my word. Generally the only one I let down, when it comes to keeping my word, is me.

Being courageous in facing and living life; I am terrified of this one. That’s how I know it’s important to me. I am not very courageous. I actually used to believe that I was fearless but the truth is, I’m not. I’m not even close. I’m not sure where I ever got the idea that I was fearless because life has scared me in so many ways for so long that I am fearful. I want to be courageous.

I want to be brave and do the things that I want to do, even if I’m afraid, I want to try anyway. I want to try, so badly, but I am afraid. I am always afraid. Terrified, actually. Life scares the crap out of me. I know that’s no way to live but I can’t help it. I am so terrified of rejection and failure that it paralyzes me from doing a lot of things, most things, in fact. No matter what it is, I imagine a spectacular failure and rejection that only proves what I already believe of myself and then I’ll wonder why the hell I even tried in the first place. Whether it’s new things I want to try, tasks or project ideas I have, or things I would like to be a part of, I imagine the failure and rejection, and instead I just stay right where I am.
I need to work on this one a lot.

I pay my debts, and will do what I can to repair any damage I have done. My BPD sees to that, thank you very much.

The last one, accepting myself, and others as they are; to live without resentment. This is a BIG one for me too. I don’t accept myself as I am. I forever believe that who I am is fundamentally flawed and broken. I feel that I need to do more, and be more. I feel that I need to do better, and be better, and until I do, I am unacceptable.

I have no idea what the precedent is that I must meet, I just know that I have to meet it, and until I do, I am unworthy, and unable to accept myself as I am.

As much as I hate to admit this, I also don’t accept others as they are. I have a standard or expectation of others, to be honest they are ridiculously arbitrary expectations, of which I have no idea where they came from. But I hold people to a certain standard, that they are never made aware of, and I fully expect them to meet this standard. If they happen to fall short, I not only hold it against them, but I also let it affect how I perceive the, how I treat them, even to the point of questioning whether I stay in a friendship, or relationship with them. When they fall short of the standard I have for them, I am deeply critical of their shortcomings, it doesn’t matter if it’s a big or a small one, and the friendship or relationship is tainted until the equilibrium has been reinstated. The equilibrium is also an arbitrary point. And what might be okay for one to do to “make it up” to me, may not be the same for others. Every single friend and relationship I’ve had has been subject to this, and I have lost friends because of it.

I know that part of this is due to my BPD, but not all of it. The rest of it is my twisted, skewed perception of reality and other people. Either way, it’s a problem that I need to work on. I don’t want to hold anyone, including myself, to some arbitrary expectations, of how they, or I should be.

The homework was to pick one of the values, and one of the goals within it to work on. I had a hard time picking one goal I really wanted to be honest, acknowledge and stand up for my personal beliefs, but I also really wanted to be courageous in facing life, but then I also really wanted to be accepting myself, and others. How do I choose? They all felt important. I needed to work on each of them but I knew it would have to be one at a time.

If I’m honest (see? I need to work on it.) the one that I knew I should start with was the one I hated the most about myself, and would probably be the hardest – be accepting of myself, and others as they are.

So that’s the one I chose.

In order to work on this I needed to identify ‘ACTION STEPS’ that would move me closer to my goal. The only problem I had was how to go about it. How, pray tell, do I take “action” to accept myself, or others? I had no idea how to do this. How does one become more accepting? What actions could I take to be more accepting?

I asked the group for help with this one, and it was suggested to me that I take it up in my individual therapy. I had nothing, and it seemed so did they. I have yet to fully explore this one in individual therapy yet because we’ve been working on other things.

I’d like to tell you I was able to figure this one out on my own but to date I haven’t been able to.

If anyone out there has any suggestions, please feel free to share.

This was the first time I was unable to complete my homework, and in true BPD form of all or nothing, I felt like I had failed. I still do because I haven’t figured it out yet.

That was the first of the last two steps, the first was to identify the “ACTION STEP”, and then the second was to act on it, and describe what you did.

This Worksheet can and should be used when working towards any of the goals that you may check off, one at a time, of course.

I am tempted to move to another goal that I can take action towards but my stubbornness and a little of my BPD won’t let me leave this undone, and move onto something else.

Moving on here though…for the sake of ending the post and getting to the next one, this one will have to wait to be resolved.

The second half of the group, the lesson was about the (B) and (C) of the ABC Skills, and the P.L.E.A.S.E. Skills.
(B) – Building Mastery
(C) – Coping Ahead
(P.L.E.A.S.E.) – Treating PhysicaL Illness, Balanced Eating, Avoid Mood-Altering Substances, Balanced Sleep, and Get Exercise

The P.L.E.A.S.E. acronym feels like a stretch, but it actually does work in helping to remember.

This is what I like to call Marsha Linehan’s Alphabet Soup. As anyone who knows DBT is aware of what a HUGE fan Ms. Linehan is of the acronym.

That’s it for now!

See ya next time!

Skills, Handouts, and Worksheets from DBT Skills Training Manual, Second Edition, by Marsha M. Linehan. Copyright 2015 by Marsha M. Linehan. 

 

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