Bold Beautiful Borderline

I hate you, please don't leave me

January 24, 2021 Sara Amundson & Laurie Edmundson Season 1 Episode 9
Bold Beautiful Borderline
I hate you, please don't leave me
Chapters
Bold Beautiful Borderline
I hate you, please don't leave me
Jan 24, 2021 Season 1 Episode 9
Sara Amundson & Laurie Edmundson

Laurie and Sara discuss their experiences in unstable relationships and how they have used dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) skills to try and have healthy relationships with open and effective communication.

The DBT skill DEARMAN is used in examples like: when mother in laws are triggering and when people say they are leaving their girlfriends for you but then don’t…. 

This episode also features the best and most hilarious story of the podcast so far. If there was Bold Beautiful Borderline merch there would be absolutely be something that says “Don’t blow on my noodles Sharon!”

You can find Laurie and Sara on Instagram to follow their day to day lives even further @laurieanned and @saraswellnessway. You can also find the podcast on IG @boldbeautifulborderline

You can also find Sara's business as a Mental Health Clinician and mental health coach at thewellnesswayllc.com

If you like the show we would love if you could rate, subscribe and support us on Patreon.

You can find our Patreon channel at https://www.patreon.com/boldbeautifulborderline?fan_landing=true

For mental health supports:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat
SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline, 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727)
OR find a local warmline to you at https://screening.mhanational.org/content/need-talk-someone-warmlines 


Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/boldbeautifulborderline)

Show Notes Transcript

Laurie and Sara discuss their experiences in unstable relationships and how they have used dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) skills to try and have healthy relationships with open and effective communication.

The DBT skill DEARMAN is used in examples like: when mother in laws are triggering and when people say they are leaving their girlfriends for you but then don’t…. 

This episode also features the best and most hilarious story of the podcast so far. If there was Bold Beautiful Borderline merch there would be absolutely be something that says “Don’t blow on my noodles Sharon!”

You can find Laurie and Sara on Instagram to follow their day to day lives even further @laurieanned and @saraswellnessway. You can also find the podcast on IG @boldbeautifulborderline

You can also find Sara's business as a Mental Health Clinician and mental health coach at thewellnesswayllc.com

If you like the show we would love if you could rate, subscribe and support us on Patreon.

You can find our Patreon channel at https://www.patreon.com/boldbeautifulborderline?fan_landing=true

For mental health supports:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat
SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline, 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727)
OR find a local warmline to you at https://screening.mhanational.org/content/need-talk-someone-warmlines 


Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/boldbeautifulborderline)

Sara Amundson:

Hi, guys, welcome to the bold, beautiful borderline Podcast. I am one of your hosts Sara, and I'm here with Laurie and today we are talking about probably the topic we've put off as long as we possibly could because we have so very much to say, which is unstable relationships. This is one of the diagnostic criteria for individuals with borderline personality disorder, and arguably, one of the most common symptoms is a lifelong instability in interpersonal relationships. So, Laurie, do you want to start?

Laurie Edmundson:

I don't even know where to start to be perfectly honest with you. So just maybe I'll start with like a little bit of a caveat here. So unstable relationships does not necessarily just mean romantic relationships. So if you're listening to this, and going like, Well, me and my boyfriend or whatever, we're having a great relationship, and we don't have that much unstability it's not just that it's also friendships, family, work, relationships, all of these things. Like for me, at this point in time, my recurrent relationship is, as you've heard, in all the other episodes, pretty solid, and I don't feel like it's unstable. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you know, my friendships are not, or that my friendships are super stable. I don't know if Sara, Do you? How do you find it's more in romantic relationships or friendships for you?

Sara Amundson:

1,000% romantic relationships. In fact, if I am managing my lifestyle pretty well, I don't, I really don't feel like I need to be medicated. Unless I'm in a serious relationship. That doesn't mean that I don't have depression that pops up and whatnot. So again, that's why it's like, if I am not in a relationship, and I am exercising, meditating, doing journaling, and I'm getting in the sun, I don't need to be on 150 milligrams of Zoloft, throw in a romantic partner and it's like, Okay, I have I just have to be medicated, because there's just so much internal and external stimuli going on. When you add another person into the mix, for me, that doesn't mean that I haven't had a shitload of failed friendships as well. I'm, I'm like the first person to bail out of a friendship and, you know, like, go through a friend breakup. But I generally won't have like a ton of tension or conflict in my friendships, because I remain pretty isolated. Because I have a lot of shame about like, young Sara behavior, in friendships. And so I have just naturally become more isolated in that I don't prompt a lot of friendships or I am less likely to be as authentic in my friendships about how I experienced the world compared to in like, intimate relationship.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, it's kind of hard to hide that in an intimate relationship. Right? Not, Not that you need to hide.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, there is no hiding it.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, yeah. So when you talk about like, young Sarah, does that mean that your relationships in the past, like before you were diagnosed with BPD we're really, like, hurt by the symptoms that you were experiencing?

Sara Amundson:

Oh, even until probably like, two years ago, or Yeah, I would say two years ago, maybe even like 18 months ago, were where my symptoms really impacting my friendships. Um, I just couldn't, I couldn't stand the thought of like being left out of something. So I'd go to like, you know, what, what is it that what's the language like?

Laurie Edmundson:

Like extreme lengths

Sara Amundson:

Extreme lengths to avoid. Yeah, received abandonment? Correct. Yeah, so I did a ton of that in my friendships where I would like I distinctly remember my, I have a ton of shame about this. My childhood best friend. We've been best friends from like the sixth grade on until we were about 20 to 23. She started dating this guy I worked with and I was just really incredibly jealous. Like, I'd never experienced her in a relationship before. And this was her relationship. So this was a big deal for us at 22. And it was like she kind of disappeared to be with him, which of course she wanted. Of course, right?

Laurie Edmundson:

You would have done the same thing probably

Sara Amundson:

I would have done the same thing. I just wasn't diagnosed, medicated, regulated and wasn't in treatment, so I couldn't fathom it. And I, you know, ultimately, there was other factors at play, but that was the end of my childhood, best friend relationship. And you know, there was some other things going on in the friendship that like, I felt like didn't serve me, but I still, to this day, five years later hold a lot of like shame and sadness and, and hope for her that she's doing well, because we spent our whole lives together. And then I know it was my BPD that was the catalyst to the end of the friendship.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, I have so many thoughts on that, that I can't even like, start to verbalize them. I-

Sara Amundson:

The one thing I can say that I see on your face right now is like the whole, the whole relationship between mourning our friendship so that I could like see that on your face that maybe you were relating to an experience where there was a loss of someone because of your symptoms.

Laurie Edmundson:

Oh, oh my god, so many losses because of my symptoms. Like, I can't even count how many losses because of my symptoms. And you know what, even some of my like best friends now. I lost temporarily because of my symptoms. I like probably my best friend at this point. Right now, I remember when I was probably like 20. She just said to our other friends in our friend group, like Laurie is too much for me to deal with. I just can't, and I and she stopped talking to me. And that broke me inside. But you know what? Now? I mean, COVID aside, I live like I hang out with her all the time. Like she- I love her to bits. And she's like my best friend. So it i think that that's totally fair, right. Like, I also think that I seem to collect friends that have similar behavior patterns as me. And so what like not none of them have a borderline diagnosis. But there's definitely a lot of people in my life that have symptoms of borderline that are, I would argue a little bit above average. I mean, like, everybody has unstable relationships, what i'm talking like, like chronic unstable relationships, and suicidality and all these things. And because of that, I think it makes it even more difficult. So, of course, I'm not blaming other people for their symptoms, and that's why our relationships fail. But if you have two people in a relationship that are highly emotionally disregulated, it gets ugly, pretty quick.

Sara Amundson:

And then you add in the fact that we, I mean, how old are you, Laurie?

Laurie Edmundson:

27.

Sara Amundson:

Okay, yeah, we're the same age. So these years were early to mid 20s. A lot of us were using substances and alcohol, like a lot of us hadn't yet figured out like, Oh, shit, my attachment style to my parents was insecure and anxious and avoidant and was like, so all like, take a borderline out of it. And everybody was having unstable relationships, right? Everybody was, it's been a hot mess, and then adding in the borderline symptoms, it's like, of course, all this happened.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah. And if you don't know who you are, which I think is like what you're saying, right? When you're in your early 20s, you don't know who you are, I'm sure. People that are in their early 30s are laughing at us talking about the fact that we used to not know who we are. But I really do think that like treatment and and just self discovery has been a huge component to my wellness. And so I don't think that I would put myself in relationships like that anymore, or friendships, relationships, whatever you want to call them, that would be so unstable, that they caused me to stress, I definitely have friendships that I've had for you know, a decade that are unstable and caused me to stress. But I have kind of narrowed down to the people that I am willing to put the effort in to make those relationships work. And I'm very thankful that a lot of my friends are open about. They're not as open as I am. Because I just like talk about everything. Like all the time I'm like, So today, I don't even know I don't even want to go into it. But like they're they're at the point now, where I think that they've realized that I'm stable enough that they can come to me and say like, this is not okay. And like, I don't appreciate this, and then we can have a conversation about it. And yeah, I've basically just like ruled out the people that I don't care enough about to make that effort, if that makes sense.

Sara Amundson:

No, that makes perfect sense. And as I listened to you say that it feels like I wonder if people in my life are still hesitant about giving me that kind of feedback, because I don't feel like I get that kind of feedback a lot. In a like, I'm going to really sit you down and be like So Sara, I've noticed that when you do this, this happens and I'm wondering, you know, like I really like thoughtful conversation around symptoms. I haven't had anyone do that with me and I'm wondering if it's like my I'm not far enough into recovery. They feel safe doing that. I think maybe I need to explore this. But then there's something to be said right about, like having people in our lives that don't have the same level of skills that we have either.

Laurie Edmundson:

Because just like to go back to those people that you're saying, don't necessarily come to you and ask you questions like that, or, or lay out the kind of groundwork like that to you. Most people in your life don't know you have borderline. And I think that for me, the people in my life that know I have borderline know enough about the disorder to know like, Okay, this is a symptom. This is just Laurie, this is whatever. And so they feel more comfortable having those conversations, because we're all kind of speaking the same language, if that makes sense.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, that does make sense. It'd be pretty hard for me to talk about this episode without trying to like understand my divorce from Tori. I can say that a big part of the divorce, I think is how I've perceived her behavior or lack of, you know, like, I don't know if I would be getting divorced if I didn't have borderline, I don't know. But I like being married to someone in law enforcement who spends, you know, 55/60 hours outside of the home a week. And like, away at nights and these kinds of things. My, I wrote a poem about this, actually, where it was, like, I said, like, you married someone with an intense fear of rejection, and you rejected her like, what the fuck did you think would happen? Right? I don't know.

Laurie Edmundson:

I love you. Please don't leave me. That's that's what that is. That's the tagline,

Sara Amundson:

Right? I don't know if I would be getting divorced if I didn't perceive her not being around as rejecting me. And it just goes to show that no matter how much work you do, like the work never ends. And I'm sure that that's the case for you and Aaron as well.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, sorry. I just also realized that I said, I love you. Please don't leave me no but, I hate you. Please don't leave is the tagline. So if somebody was like, that doesn't make any sense. Yeah, I don't think the work ever ends. I think. And I'm sure I've talked about this in other episodes, where Aaron doesn't have strong emotional reactions to things. And so I'm the unstable part of the relationship. And he's the like rock. And somebody explained it to me so well, one time, and I can't remember what they said. But anyway, something about me being the storm, and him being the calm. I think that was what it was. And it's so true, right? Like, he knows me well enough to know that I have unstable relationships, there's days where I love him more than anything. And there's days where I dislike him more than anything. And he knows that that will fade. And that if he waits enough time, and just gives me my space, then we're okay. And I think that's such a huge skill for people that are like, either in love with somebody with borderline, or just love somebody with borderline like a friend or whatever. Just knowing that we don't necessarily want to be feeling this, like black and white, I hate you, I love you. But it's really, really hard not to. And so if you can wait it out. And I realized that you like that would suck for you totally. But if you can wait it out a little bit, and just like, let us go back to regulation. It'll be okay.

Sara Amundson:

So, okay, feeling super validated over here. Good. So this is actually one of the things that Tori and I talked a lot about, and it was it, we still have a somewhat of a relationship, and I hope we always will. But it is really hard for her as someone who in law enforcement is trained to constantly be in control and to decision make, to feel out of control with my feelings, right? And my feelings are so big that they take over everything. Like that's just what happens. And so I spent like years trying to train her to to be like, so the quickest way we can get back to stable is for you to validate me and help me process my feelings like I need you to, even though it's not fair, even though I know you have feelings that need to be addressed and need to be validated Tori and need to be dealt with, like you have feelings too. And this the only way for me to get to supporting you and your feelings is for you to first support me in mine. And it sucks. But mine are just so big that they will take over and it's like, I mean, I'm sure you know Laurie, like any little thing when you're dysregulated feels like a missile being dropped into, like a shelter that you've gotten away out of.

Laurie Edmundson:

Like, yeah,

Sara Amundson:

Oh my god. Yeah. And I tried to explain to her like It's not fair, I get it, but I need you to help me first so that then I can come back to this and help you. And it was like her law enforcement brain just couldn't do it that way. And I think that was a big part of us ending our, our relationship, our marriage. And I feel for her because that's the thing, right? And I'm sure Aaron feels the same way. It's like, if you want to be in this relationship with me, I'm so worthy of being in this relationship with but you have to understand that there's some systems we have to put in place that look different than if you were going to be in a relationship with someone that's not as dysregulated.

Laurie Edmundson:

Like, the systems thing is interesting. Because Yeah, I think I do think we have that we don't necessarily like talk about it. I think he just inherently knows that. If Laurie is this dysregulated you say, No, you're not allowed to break up with me. And no, we're not selling our house, like, whatever, and then give it four hours or talk about it in the morning. Like, I think I always see that thing like never go to bed without resolving an argument or whatever. And yeah, I legitimately think that's bullshit. And I, I like, I'm surprised that that is still a thing that people say, and maybe like, it's a BPD thing that I think that that's bullshit. But I'm not necessarily going to be able to resolve all of my problems before I go to bed. And like the fact that that's kind of the, like, standard that you're supposed to have is so dumb.

Sara Amundson:

Okay, I'm sure this is some white hetero normative bullshit, so that like a man could get laid at the end of the night.

Laurie Edmundson:

Oh, maybe? Like this makes sense.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, then, because I couldn't tell you how many times I took all my shit out of the bedroom and slept on the couch.

Laurie Edmundson:

Oh, my God. Yeah. Yeah, we have a second bedroom. And like, the amount of times I'm like, I'm gonna go sleep in the second bedroom. And it makes Aaron so sad, so I usually don't. But it's like, sometimes I just need space. And it's not that I'm mad at you unnecessarily. I just need to be like alone. But yeah, I don't go to bed, resolving all of my issues. Because I often like I don't know if that is 100,000 times, naps are so important to my regulation. So sleeping is also important my regulation. So if I can fall asleep, the next morning, I'll wake up with like such a clear head, that likely the argument will either be resolved just like naturally or I'll be able to have a conversation to resolve that argument. And if I tried to resolve it in the night before, it would have been fake. I would have just been like, okay, fine, whatever, which is not how I want to resolve arguments.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, I can't even do that. Like, okay, fine, whatever. Yeah, no, that's gonna pop back up in about 47 seconds.

Laurie Edmundson:

In fairness, what I do do that I feel like it's mostly passive aggressive, like, it's one of those like, fine, like, if a woman says fine, she's not fine. Right? Yeah.

Sara Amundson:

So okay, so unstable relationships. I feel like it's important for us to acknowledge, like, why the instability occurs? Do you want to give your hypothesis, your experience?

Laurie Edmundson:

I mean, not really. But

Sara Amundson:

I think I can give mine then.

Laurie Edmundson:

Okay, go give yours give yours.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah. So I think for me, the instability in the relationship is an all of the symptoms that we talked about intersect, right? Like, for me, it is, this lifelong experience of self hate that I've constantly had to be working at, makes me feel like I'm not worthy enough of being in a relationship with somebody. And then, when I'm in a relationship, I'm like, constantly, like, Do you really love me? Or am I just like, passing the time for you. So I'm constantly fighting that like worth issue at the same time as like little things just naturally dysregulate me. So when you add those in combination with another person's person's like feelings, and life and whatever, it just seems to be like a clusterfuck for me of a relationship, even if I'm in and like, Tori is the only person I have ever been in a relationship with who's like very stable, very secure, very loving, very kind. And still, all the instability.

Laurie Edmundson:

It's really funny. That's not the approach that I was going to go when you asked that question. I was gonna go all the way back to childhood.

Sara Amundson:

Oh, let's hear it.

Laurie Edmundson:

And I don't like necessarily talking about my parents, because I know that it upsets them. And so I'll be vague. I'll be very vague. And I will also say, as we always say, parents don't know what they don't know. And they can't be perfect parents because they're not taught the things that we needed when are your kids, but one of my parents is very emotionally disregulated. And it is clearly a genetic challenge that we faced, we're very similar. And my other parent is very distant. And I think that the combination of those two things because my, throughout my entire childhood, I was getting this like abandoned feeling plus this like emotionally intense feeling coming together. And I just like didn't know how to live in a, like, quote, normal household. Does that make sense?

Sara Amundson:

Dude. Dude, I was just I was having this literal same conversation with my therapist on Wednesday. Um, my parents don't listen to this podcast. So we're Gucci to talk all about my life. But um, yeah, my dad is the kind of person that shows love in a very fatherly kind of way. So like he showed up at every single sporting event, he built a batting cage in my backyard, he traveled to every tournament every weekend with me out of state my whole life. When I like, wanted to go to college at 16, who fought for me when my mom was like, she's too young, we're not gonna let her do that, like, you know what I mean? Like, that was his way of showing love. But he didn't verbally tell me, he loved me. And he didn't like physically show love through like hug or touch or anything like that. And so now I know, of course, he loved me. But as a child, I didn't know that I didn't feel that because I needed to receive love in a different way. And then you meet my mom, and she, like, she was a teacher for 28 years. And her students would joke about like, Oh, Miss Walker cried in class again today, you know, just a very emotional. And so it was like I wanted and needed to feel loved by My dad, but he couldn't give it the way that I needed. And then my mom gave way more than I could tolerate.

Laurie Edmundson:

I honestly, I really think that that is a huge, huge component of a lot of people with BPD. And we haven't necessarily gone into this yet. And I'm sure we'll do an entire episode about like, where BPD comes from, and, you know, genetics versus invalidating environment and all these things. But having two very, very different parents with very different coping styles, parenting styles, I really think that that is a common thread of people who have BPD because it I think it almost gives you that black and white, you're like, Okay, well, if I'm with my dad, things are gonna be like this. And if when I'm with my mom, things are gonna be like this. And there's no in between, because they're completely different people. And my parents are divorced. So it's a little different. And thank God, they're divorced. That's not a problem. But I really do think that that is at the core is where my unstable relationships come from, is because a, I was in a family where my parents probably should have been divorced A long time ago, like before they got divorced. And because of these completely different styles of love that I was receiving, that I didn't-

Sara Amundson:

So confusing as a young person.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, I mean, it's still confusing. Like, it's honestly like, I am 27. And I still get confused. But it's it doesn't help.

Sara Amundson:

Can we just have a moment? So I'm 27, getting divorced out of my house moving into a van, right. Yeah, we all know this. In the interim period. I'm living with my parents for the first time in a decade. I shit you not my mother made me pho the other night. And she put the noodles on a fork and blew on them and tried to spoon feed me. I'm not joking. I s-, I looked at her and I said, Sherry, you put that fork down. Like she was like really worried because I was like, Oh, these noodles are hot. And she picks up a fork and she starts blowing on them. And I was like,

Laurie Edmundson:

I'm obsessed.

Sara Amundson:

So here we are. I'm 27. And my mom is still trying to give love like that. Right? It's like, Okay, I know the last time I lived in your house, I was a child but I can blow on my own damn noodles.

Laurie Edmundson:

Holy shit. I love that. Like, I would have been infuriated If I were you but as an outsider, this is the best thing that we've ever had a conversation about.

Sara Amundson:

So anyways, it just goes to show right that like the difference between like my mom still is like she is very attentive, attentive, you know? Like, she was always around. She was to shoot god she would email my teachers and be like, Is Sara talking too much in class? and then I'd get grounded for like, she was just a kind of a helicopter Mom, I think before that was really a thing. And I know it's because it was. She loved me so so much. That was all she could do.

Laurie Edmundson:

Mm hmm.

Sara Amundson:

And my dad was like, let go of the reins, you know. So just confusing messages.

Laurie Edmundson:

I'm so glad that you said that because I am glad that that resonates with you and I know that it resonates with a lot of other people. And I think in a way that is its own type of trauma, when you're a kid, just having no concept of regulation in terms of what life is going to look like tomorrow, or next minute or whatever. I really do think that that has a lot to do with the way that we end up. I'm just trying to think if there's anything else we want to like, talk about, about unstable relationships. Like, I want to talk about skills that-

Sara Amundson:

I was gonna say systems. Yeah.

Laurie Edmundson:

Okay. So before I say that, just like, I- all BPD symptoms are so related, right? So we've got the black and white thinking, we've got the anger, we've got the emotional instability, impulsivity, that's a huge one when it comes to unstable relationships, because we just leave, like Sara said before she ended an engagement over text message on a Wednesday afternoon or whatever, right?

Sara Amundson:

Sure did.

Laurie Edmundson:

And that's, that's unstable. Let's just call it what it is. That's not cool.

Sara Amundson:

There was.

Laurie Edmundson:

But like, we were so impulsive that like, we just make stupid decisions, like the amount of times that I now would like with a loving and stable partner, it's a little bit different. But like, the amount of times Aaron looks over my shoulder and goes, like, are you texting your friend, like ex friend, whatever that I'm arguing with? And I'm like, maybe he's like, should you put your phone down? And I'm like, Yeah, I would just like hand him my phone. Like, if I was to just give it like an hour, it would just come off a lot more chill than it did.

Sara Amundson:

So that is like the best transition into the skills because that's just like, having a cope ahead plan, right? Like, and I really, really, really want to make it clear, not for the sake of like, someday hope someone wants to date and love me. But that is a part of it. But like, we're not bananas, you know, like, these, these relationships in our lives are not completely marked by all of these things. But because this is the episode, we're only bringing up the banana stories, but like, just let it be said that most of our relationships and friendships are going pretty well. Right, Laurie?

Laurie Edmundson:

Totally. And also, there's a lot of, for lack of a better word crazy bitches out there. Men and women, I'm just going to put them all in the same category. And we have a lot of insight into our behavior. And I think that honestly, if I were to find like a new partner or whatever, the number one thing that I would want is to know that they have insight into how they react, because if they react badly in a situation, whatever, like we all react badly in a situation, but if you have no concept of why you're reacting badly what you'll do better next time and the ability to apologize, then that I just wouldn't have time for you.

Sara Amundson:

Dude, that's like the six pack abs of your late 20s.

Laurie Edmundson:

Totally, like honestly, I know people that say that they only date people that have been to therapy and I I totally get that Aaron's never been therapy but like if I had to find another partner I would that would be like contingent, like you have-

Sara Amundson:

Prerequisite

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah

Sara Amundson:

And none of this hypnotherapy bullshit! Cognitive behavioral therapy.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, seriously, like, if you're not at a full DBT or CBT program, by the time you're 20 I don't want anything to do with you.

Sara Amundson:

And if you don't do yoga on the regular, like these conversations are equally as important to me as like, have you been tested? And are we using condoms?

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, legit. Honestly, I, I cannot be with people that are not able to talk about their inner shit. It's not a thing. And Aaron was not always like that, like I- he grew-, you know, he has a brother and whatever. And it's not necessarily a family that's just like, open about their emotions. But like, I snapped him out of that real quick. Like he is now open about his emotions, his family is now more open about like, you have to be able to have insight into your behaviors and talk about your emotions. It's just like, non negotiable for me.

Sara Amundson:

Right? Yeah. Because if somebody can't explain to you why they thought and why they did something, then you're going to spiral out of control. Right? I mean, that's the way that I see it is like, I really need to understand why things happen, why I'm receiving information from another person in order to stay regulated myself. And I'm selfish. So it always comes back to me, but I think like, I just don't want to spend a lot of time around people that can't tell me how we ended up here. Okay, skills so.

Laurie Edmundson:

So there's a whole section of DBT dialectical behavior therapy that is about relationships. It's called interpersonal effectiveness. And it's such a weird way of saying that I don't quite know why they call it interpersonal effectiveness but like holy, is that a module of DBT. I don't know if there's like specific skills in that module. I'm just like, trying to think I might look up a list while you're talking. But-

Sara Amundson:

I'll look up a list.

Laurie Edmundson:

Okay, so I know 'dear man' is a skill.

Sara Amundson:

God, That's a hard skill.

Laurie Edmundson:

It is a hard skill, but I really like it. And okay, so I can you just when you can you look up.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, I've got it right here. I had to do it dear man with my mother in law once. But-

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah

Sara Amundson:

I mean, like, I spent like three months in therapy, processing it before I did it.

Laurie Edmundson:

That's but that's what's so great about Okay, let's Can you read the like, the like definition of 'dear man', basically?

Sara Amundson:

Yes, man. I can. Okay, dear man, D, describe, use clear and concrete terms. For example, could we see another movie instead of I don't want to do that. E - Express let people know how you feel. A - assert. So you have to be like assertive in how you communicate your feelings? Not passive like, I don't know, maybe I feel like this like no, you have to really talk about your feelings. R - you have to reinforce I don't like the thing I'm looking at

Laurie Edmundson:

Reinforce what you're saying,

Sara Amundson:

Reinforce what you're saying. Yeah. M is being mindful about the point of the interaction, so saying objective. A - appearance. So if you're confident consider like your tone, your posture, your eye contact, and then the last part of this, my computer can't see. N - negotiate. So understanding that you can't have everything that you want all the time and being open to negotiating the outcome.

Laurie Edmundson:

So that may sound like a lot of information to just hear like verbally, but I highly recommend you looking it up because it's the way they call it dear man skill, at least the way that I've heard it referred to as like, a way of getting what you need. And sometimes I don't love that because there's this stigma about people with BPD being manipulative. And so it almost seems like, at least the way that I perceive how they describe it. It's like, helping us be more manipulative, which is not what it is at all. But no-

Sara Amundson:

It's helping us be objective and negotiate a better outcome.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, and get what we need.

Sara Amundson:

Instead of blowing up and going bananas.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, exactly. So I like that's, that's what they mean. But that's not how it comes across to me. So if you ever see it written like that, like, know that you're not the only person who is triggered by the way that that's referred to. But that's not what it is. So don't just like completely disregard it. So I don't know, Sara, like, for me, this was a really important skill, because I was not able to have hard conversations with people that I either cared about or like, hated at the moment without blowing up. And so I just like, it was not a thing that had happened. So for example, what I use this skill for, is I usually write letters using the skill. And I actually rarely send the letter, which is really interesting. I have a lot of these skills. Are these letters written on my computer that have literally never been sent? Nobody's ever read them,

Sara Amundson:

we should publish them.

Laurie Edmundson:

Oh, my God.

Sara Amundson:

That'd be so fun.

Laurie Edmundson:

I was like, that would be a Patreon thing. You got to pay us $100. Now,

Sara Amundson:

It'd be so fun.

Laurie Edmundson:

I probably shouldn't. But I could honestly if somebody is interested in like reading one as an example, I could anonymize it and make it better. So I'm just going to use an example that has happened in the past where I wrote this thing. So I had a very, very, very good friend who was also a co worker. And I, we worked together 40 hours a week. And we started hooking up, and,

Sara Amundson:

Oh,

Laurie Edmundson:

It's not a-

Sara Amundson:

Bad idea.

Laurie Edmundson:

He had a girlfriend.

Sara Amundson:

Sorry, girlfriend.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, so she was the worst. But that's not doesn't excuse the fact that he had a girlfriend. She was out of the country for a couple of months. And so we started talking up and I was clearly a better fit for him then this person just like on all levels, because we were super good friends. And so he had basically told me that he was going to leave his girlfriend when she came back from this other country. And you know, all good, whatever. So she came back. And that did not happen. And we still work together 40 hours a week. So as you can imagine, I was a little bit pissed.

Sara Amundson:

Like cube city like you sat right next to each other?

Laurie Edmundson:

It was a retail environment but but yeah, like I said, like it was all day every day we talked, and we're working together. So I did use dear man or else I was going to murder him. Pretty much. So I wrote this letter, and I described the situation. So, you know, if, for example, the situation was, hey, I've been like hooking up with you for the last six months, and you said you were gonna leave your girlfriend and you never did. And then you refused to acknowledge the fact that you never did, despite the fact that I see you every single day of the week. Express, express my feelings and opinions about the situation. Hello, Sir, I am very angry. And I feel very hurt and upset that you took advantage of me for the last six months and then didn't do what you said. Assert, asking what I want or saying no, clearly. So hey, sir, I would like you to break up with your girlfriend or tell me that this is done and that you're not going to break up with your girlfriend cuz I just don't want the in between. And then to reinforce, I basically said like, in summary, here's what I just said to you. Here's what I feel, here's what the situation is without emotion. And here is what I would like the resolution to be. And I didn't ever send the letter. But I wrote it and I spent hours on it. And just the process of going through that and going like, okay, here's what I want. Here's what I need. Just for some reason, it was like so incredibly helpful for me. And I've done this in other situations as well. I don't, I don't think I've ever sent one of the letters. just writing it over process. I don't think so.

Sara Amundson:

Oh, wow. I am. I didn't do my dear man with my mother in law, ex mother in law in person, but I did it by text message. And it was pretty effective. So

Laurie Edmundson:

it is it really is.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, she did. I was I was pretty impressed with her ability to respond, and to hear it and honor the need.

Laurie Edmundson:

Do you mind if I ask what the situation was?

Sara Amundson:

Oh, yeah. Um, so everybody knows by now that I've struggled with an eating disorder for years. And my mother in law, my ex mother in law is this really beautiful person who really cares about her appearance, which is awesome, good for you. And for the first couple years of my And when I got the invitation, I was mortified. Like, I thought relationship with Tori, she would make comments about her body or about other people's bodies and about their- how much food they would consume. And it all kind of came to a head for me, like I have never said anything to her over the years. But on our- she hosted our bachelorette or not our bachelorette but our um bridal shower. And she asked me for my measurements, which I thought that she asked me for my measurements because she wanted to purchase me something I- she did not ask if she could put my measurements, so like my bra size, and my underwear size on the invitation that was sent out to all of these people, and one of them being like my Mormon grandmother, and my mother who was like raised Mormon and like, that it was the worst thing in the entire world that somebody so my mom and I don't like talk about sex or bodies or anything like that. And so my mom got the invitation and was just like, oh would ever know that there's 38 inches around my chest. Like I my god on the back of this invitation that says Sara wears like a 30-36c or 38 C, whatever t was. was devastated. I was so upset. And I also was like, I didn't So I found myself being like, I'm not going anywhere that your consent to this. Like I did not consent to my body measurements being put out for people. And I am like, still in the process of becoming okay with my body. Super triggering really upset. I'm never said anything to her. It took months of me being like, Fuck, I fucking hate this bitch, which I didn't, right. But tha was like, I couldn't address th shame and the sadness about m relationship with my body bein so triggered by this thing tha she did. And by the statement that she made, that internalized it as shame and i came out as anger. mom is that it was just hard on my relationship with Tori and Tori was just like, you need to figure this out. And so yeah, so like probably like three months in therapy. I'm sure we spent like a solid six sessions around how to develop a dear man and I was just looking at my phone to see if I still have the message, which I don't, I could pull it probably at my iCloud I'd be interested to see. But basically I said, like, hey, Debbie, I'm sending a message that I wish I would have sent earlier, I want you to know that this is something that I really need you to consider. And so I said, like when you make comments about other people's body and food, and when you put my measurements out, like that was incredibly triggering to me, and it wasn't acceptable for me. And moving forward, I need you to not make comments about food and about bodies around me. And if you do, I'm going to remind you that this is a conversation that we had, please let me know if this doesn't work for you. So super clear, like very objective. Like I was like, when I am around at like Thanksgiving or Fourth of July, or whatever, random Sunday parties, you will not make comments about food and about bodies around me. And the first time I saw her again, afterwards, she received the message. Well, she apologized. I think she did some sort of sneaky bullshit, kind of to not have to acknowledge the full impact of her behavior, which I would have also because it was a pretty assertive message. But um, eventually, like, she never said anything about food or bodies around me and I, by the end of our my relationship with Tori, you know, this, all of this happened in over the period of four years. I was like, God, Debbie, I really love you. So the dear man worked, but it really had to address my fear of like, she doesn't know I have an eating disorder. So she doesn't have this background to understand the significant impact of this.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah. Okay. So that's, I have a similar story. That's a very great example of using dear man in like a concise way instead of my like, long three page letter to somebody that I never sent. And I think just using Sara story, for people that don't necessarily have these unstable relationships, and don't feel intense emotions and anger, like we do, maybe you can just naturally have that conversation.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah. Wouldn't that be great? For me? This was like four months of stress going into this one text message.

Laurie Edmundson:

Exactly. And so that's, that's the difference, right? Not everybody needs to use this skill, because some people can just have a conversation like that. But the alternative if there hadn't used to dear man would likely have been Fuck you, you fucking bitch. I'm not gonna marry your daughter, because you're a terrible person. Or-

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, or Yeah, you're not coming to Christmas dinner?

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah,

Sara Amundson:

Yeah. And the reality is like, she's a good person.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, and so you dealt with that situation, like, exactly how it needed to be dealt with. And I think the part that's also really important to keep in mind is that she didn't know you had an eating disorder. And that's not her fault.

Sara Amundson:

Not her fault.

Laurie Edmundson:

And also, like, I think, I mean, even though I'm sure you and I both find ourselves in that spot, where like, we have been so ingrained to, like, judge other people's bodies that it's really hard to not. And I find I catch myself often, like, I need to stop doing this, like, it's really hard to do. And so how can we expect somebody to just know that without being in that situation? And I know, one time I was very, very offended by somebody that was close to me. And it was a situation that like, they didn't know that basically what happened was, they asked if I wanted to sleep over, and I said, No, I don't have any medication. And it was mostly, it was mostly an excuse, like, just because I didn't want to sleep over but I didn't have my medication. And they said, Oh, what are you gonna do like kill us in the middle of the night or something?

Sara Amundson:

Your playing

Laurie Edmundson:

And yeah, and I was so devastated. I couldn't,

Sara Amundson:

Yeah. And so the other part of this too, right. I could not deal I said, I'm never gonna see this person. Again. I can't be involved in this. But when I started thinking about it, and I was talking to Aaron about and all this stuff, I realized that they didn't know that, like, I had had family members say that they were scared to sleep in the house with me because they thought I was going to kill them in the middle of the night. Right. So like, to them it was a joke. And to me, it was like, everything in my life that had ever come mean, there's, it's there's such a dichotomy between these, the up. That was like, so devastating that like even thinking about it is sad to this day. And this was like two years ago, right? But yeah, it's not people's fault that they don't understand where where you're coming from with your reaction. And so that's where like describing the situation without emotion in the dear man, which is the first step is so important, like describing the situation could be, hey, you said this, and I know that you don't realize that this is what I've been told my whole life. So like, I just need you to know that when you said this, this is how I felt. So helpful ways that you can approach this like I didn't have the trust established with my ex mother in law to say, three months before I met your daughter, I was hospitalized for an eating disorder that was potentially going to ruin my graduate school career. Like, they were talking, pulling me out of graduate school and putting me in patient with a fucking feeding tube in my stomach, like, so depth. So I didn't have the trust established with Debbie to give her that background information. And when we're setting boundaries with people, which is essentially, essentially what we're doing in a dear man, it's like, you don't have to give people you don't owe people the story about why you own these feelings. But it can be helpful and how you communicate insight to them. So it's just this, like, how willing are you to give some of the background that explains the experience without like, feeling like you're completely exploiting yourself in order to get your needs met, because my need was, I need you to stop fucking talking about bodies and food around me, right? Like, that makes me want to starve. That was my need. But I don't need to justify this need by telling you that I once was starving myself for years, I don't need to exploit myself to get this need met, I need you to be a person that can hear me say I'm triggered by this and honor that and hold that and create space for it. And it's just this, you know, everybody is gonna do it differently. I don't try to justify my feelings by giving a ton of backstory. Unless I feel like I want to tell people that much. And I don't often feel like I want to tell people that much. And everybody's gonna figure out their own path, I guess.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah. And I honestly in that, in that last situation I described with the medication thing. I was so incredibly upset that I actually didn't have the conversation. Aaron had the conversation with the person. And for Aaron. Yeah. And it was not easy for him to do. But he did it. And he knew that it was incredibly important. And the person apologized, and it's been fine. They listen to this podcast, so I just need to be very careful. What I say. But yeah, I don't I didn't they didn't need to know why that was so triggering for me. And I they probably won't until they listen to this episode. why it was so triggering. But it honestly almost destroyed me inside. Because that's all I had heard my whole life and I just couldn't deal. Hi, friends. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the bold, beautiful borderline podcast. Laurie and I are so grateful that you're here with us on this journey. And we can't wait to dive into more topics in the future with you all about borderline, and even have some more fun and exciting guests to join us on the podcast. If you really enjoyed this episode, we would love if you would rate review and subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen. We would also love to see you interact with us on social media and on our Patreon page, the links to that are included in the show notes. So check us out there. We would be incredibly honored to get to know you all as you get to know us and our recovery stories. We love you and we'll see you next time.