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nature vs nurture


Iona_Viona

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my doc keeps going on about this whole nature vs nurture arguement. and in his opinion both contributed to the onset and nature of my mental illness (bi-polar 2, borderline personality, self injurer)

i tend to think its about 85% nature, and the rest nurture and other things that happened around me the last 24yrs (i was never abused, relatively normal upbrining)

but i get so frustrated and angry that we talk about this, he says i need to accept this and live my life, not to other peoples expectations but to my own.

i think this is such a silly thing to say cause i get that i am supposed to be living my own life the problem is i have this big fat illness blob that shadows me, follows me where ever i go. its always there feeding me negative thoughts.

can i really blame my parents for this, seperate from their expectations, when really i want what they want for me, its not like they want horrible things to happen. they want the best for me i want that too.

sorry if this makes no sense. im just venting my rambled up thoughts. i dont feel like i have different expectations from my family (mum and dad) is that really such a bad thing?

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my doc keeps going on about this whole nature vs nurture arguement. and in his opinion both contributed to the onset and nature of my mental illness (bi-polar 2, borderline personality, self injurer)

...

can i really blame my parents for this, seperate from their expectations, when really i want what they want for me, its not like they want horrible things to happen. they want the best for me i want that too.

...

sorry if this makes no sense. im just venting my rambled up thoughts. i dont feel like i have different expectations from my family (mum and dad) is that really such a bad thing?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I was ranting about this yesterday after I had a fight with my Mom. The bottom line for me is that it's a chicken or egg argument. How is it relevant, especially to a client who doesn't have any particularly traumatic issues! Your doc sounds like he's barking up the wrong tree.

IMO, Suze

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Personality issues are primarily developmental, as the personality is developmental. There may be biological prerequisites to certain personality development, as with borderline which is thought to involve a high emotional sensitivity, but without the "right" experiential conditions, such traits won't automatically turn into a personality disorder (or all emotionally sensitive people would be borderline).

The "me vs. them" question is very aptly put, and is perhaps the biggest reason our culture as a whole buys into the biomedical models of mental illness -- it minimizes blaming the sufferer and eliminates blaming of the family. However there is a significant problem with putting too much emphasis on nature and ignoring nurture, which is that without the role of experience and lifelong development in mental health, healing would be impossible except by relying on drugs and medical approaches to correct this presumed biological problem. Even as the culture tries to embrace this nature-slanted view, the statistics on long-term treatment methodologies do not back up the idea that this approach actually heals people.

In other words, you may need to explore the problems in your upbringing and relationships with your family if you hope to really change the patterns that did result from how you developed. Many parents are willing to do anything in the world to help their children cope with mental illness, except admit any role they may have played. But that doesn't change the fact that no medication has ever been found to correct borderline personality traits, and untreated BPD kills more than 20% of those who have it.

I could say similar things about bipolar, but such views are far more controversial and it's a can of worms. My advice would be to consider what your therapist is trying to tell you before you move on to someone else (which is, incedentally, a primary reason therapists typically do not tell BPD patients that they are BPD).

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You are entitled to holding your own opinions, Iona. If you don't agree w/your doc, you don't agree, and I don't think there is anything "wrong" about that.

The important thing, I think, is not to discount that "nurture" can and does contribute many times to certain MI issues. Try to keep an open mind about the roles your environment may have played and continue to play in your life. If you already accept that much, maybe you should ask your doc why he feels that it is necessary that you must assign a certain percentage of "blame" to one thing or the other, rather than simply accepting that both contribute and going on from there?

~Faith

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my doc keeps going on about this whole nature vs nurture arguement. and in his opinion both contributed to the onset and nature of my mental illness (bi-polar 2, borderline personality, self injurer)

i tend to think its about 85% nature, and the rest nurture and other things that happened around me the last 24yrs (i was never abused, relatively normal upbrining)

but i get so frustrated and angry that we talk about this, he says i need to accept this and live my life, not to other peoples expectations but to my own.

i think this is such a silly thing to say cause i get that i am supposed to be living my own life the problem is i have this big fat illness blob that shadows me, follows me where ever i go. its always there feeding me negative thoughts.

it sounds like you and your doctor are having a communication issue.  (well, yes, otherwise you wouldn't be posting, heh.)  but to me it sounds like your doctor is asking you to do a radical acceptance thing about your illness, family, childhood, mental health caboodle. 

(i'm guessing this based upon your dx, his opinions about nature vs. nurture and that he's using the word acceptance and urging you to move on from acceptance.  and, if he's not telling you about this, he probably should)

radical acceptance is rooted in buddhism.  it's about trying to cut the ties that bind us to suffering. in radical acceptance you accept your life at this moment as it is, without judging it, and move forward from there.  you can change your future, but dwelling on what you or others have done wrong only ties you to suffering. 

Radical Acceptance

Freedom from suffering requires ACCEPTANCE FROM DEEP WITHIN OF WHAT IT IS.

Letting yourself go completely with what it is. Let go of fighting reality.

ACCEPTANCE IS THE ONLY WAY OUT OF HELL WHICH MUST NOT BE INTERPRETED AS APPROVAL OF THE DISTRESSFUL SITUATION

Pain creates suffering only when you refuse to ACCEPT the pain.

Deciding to tolerate the moment is ACCEPTANCE.

ACCEPTANCE is acknowledging what it is.

To accept somethng is not the same as judging it to be good.

By stopping your self from fighting, the rage or anger your feel within your self will dissapate as long as you continue to accept your condition as a BDP and your faulty perceptions to events or interpersonal communications difficulties. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel when you are able to "accept".

from: http://www.borderlinepersonality.ca/dbtdistress4.htm

can i really blame my parents for this, seperate from their expectations, when really i want what they want for me, its not like they want horrible things to happen. they want the best for me i want that too.

sorry if this makes no sense. im just venting my rambled up thoughts. i dont feel like i have different expectations from my family (mum and dad) is that really such a bad thing?

it's not about blame.  blame isn't a useful thing to dwell on. 

but, separating yourself from your parents and their expectations is a part of growing up, and your doctor may feel that you are overly imposing your parents wishes for you on yourself in a harmful manner.  being overly critical of yourself for not meeting them, for example.  which is not to say that one should not have high expectations for one's self.  but you also have to be able to accept the differences between expectations and reality and not judge yourself for that.  doing this is a step in the process of getting that blob of mental illness off your back.

let me know if this didn't make sense or if you have any questions.

radical acceptance was one of the hardest stages of therapy for me ever.  i sobbed for months over the idea... but in the end it has really helped me focus on the now and not dwell in pain. 

take care,

penny

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thanks for all your replies so far.

what reallu bugs me about what he is saying is that i "believe" he is applying that i do not have sepreate goals from my parents. i do have seperate goals from them, but it is hard because i have always been very vocal about what i want in life and my parents are supportive. i think maybe he sees this as me living up to their goals but really its what i want and they are supporting me.

i feel like i have a serious mental illness. my doc sees that this is only one part of my life and the rest is pretty good. i see a 24yr old on the verge of total melt down, someone who is holding on so tightly afraid to let go as the most likely outcome would be death by my own hands.

my parents are my carers. and i am so scared to go alone without them cause what if its to much and i slit my wrist or take an overdose, give in to the urge i have.

this is how my friend committed suicide so i know being disconnected from your family when u r sick can make u worse, can add to the reasons why u would take your life.

i just get angry and upset when people aka my doctor tell me to move away from my family like my life isnt really that bad.

who cares if it is nature vs nurture when i am hanging on by the skin of my teeth.

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That sounds more like a dependent personality disorder when you describe it that way, in which case getting some separation from your parents could help. Or that could be what your doctor is talking about -- you're not really giving a lot of info about why he's saying whatever he's saying, so anything people here might comment is just guesses.

If you're near suicidal you definitely need to do something to feel better. It sounds (?) like you are maybe wanting this doctor to just give you some pill that will make you not feel so scared or hopeless, rather than talk to you about where your problems may have originated. That makes sense (if that's what you're saying), but he may still have reasons for not treating it as an acute problem that can be solved this way. In my own story (which isonly my own, I know), I have *never* been given a drug that took me out of a suicidal period, and have in fact become suicidal to the point of actual attempts after being given new meds that are known to sometimes trigger suicidal thinking. My point is not that drugs cause suicide, but that they aren't necessarily the best way to intervene when your feelings and thinking have gotten to this point, unless you are in a hospital where you can be closely monitored for your safety.

Why are you so close to killing yourself? What's wrong in your life? It seems a little odd that you're not mentioning this. As for "who cares about nature vs. nurture?" -- you titled the topic.

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