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A Look at Emotions

The other day I was reading an article. I don’t remember if it was about a specific disorder or just in general, but it was about emotions. This article is written primarily based on traits related to Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and/or Bi-Polar Disorder.

It made mention of a very important thing to remember, emotions are normal we all have them. The difference between the ‘average’ person and someone who suffers from a disorder that involves emotional dysregulation is that we have trouble regulating our emotions. Our response to our emotions is something we have trouble with handling.

The following comes from a book on BPD; however, the concept can be applied to many other disorders that involve emotional dysregulation.

We all experience negative emotions to some extent. People with BPD just seem to experience stronger negative emotions than some other people do. ..Having intense emotions can be a plus in that it can make our live feel fuller, richer and more exciting.” (Chapman & Gratz, 2007, pp. 36-37) . Emphasis added.

It is not that we have emotions. Emotions themselves are normal. Not only is it normal to have emotions, it is essential to have them. When we try to block out and deny our emotions, to try to say that they are ‘bad’ and need to be repressed, we are doing ourselves more harm than good. We are denying part of what it means to be human.

When we try to deny ourselves the right to feel and have emotions we start to bottle up things like anger. When we bottle them up, we internalize our emotions. The more we bottle things up, the more the pressure builds up, the more intense our reaction will be when things become more than we can handle.  Eventually we need a way to release the pent up emotional pain. At this point, we risk self-harm as a way to release the emotions that we have denied ourselves for so long.

So don’t try to deny your emotions, don’t try to bury them and pretend they do exist, rather acknowledge them and the fact that is only the response to emotions that is the problem, not the emotions themselves. Acknowledging that is a step in the right direction, it will allow you to work on learning to gain control of them.

You can learn to control them. You can learn how to make use of them. Here I can speak from personal experience. I myself have bi-polar disorder and share some traits with people who have BPD. One of my biggest problems is emotional dysregulation, specifically when it comes to rage and depression.

I bottle them up and then one day they explode. I also at times just explode over the smallest things. However, a few years ago, I learned control over them. They did not control me, I controlled them, unfortunately in my case a very traumatic event set me back and I am once again working on regaining my control.

It has not been easy for me, but I know I can and will get there again. I accept my emotions and that I need to control them. I know I am allowed and need to have my emotions. It is not that I have emotions that is the problem, it is my response to them.


Chapman, A. L., & Gratz, K. L. (2007). The Borderline Personality Disorder Survival Guide: Everything You Need to know about living with BPD. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.


Posted: May 6th, 2011 under Thoughts on Mental Health.

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