Relationships are Hard, and Working on Them IPE Skills

Most people with BPD have a hard time in relationships; building them, expressing themselves in them, maintaining them, keeping them. For this reason, in DBT, one of the modules – Interpersonal Effectiveness (IPE) – is dedicated entirely to relationships.

The other day my friend and I had a slight argument. Actually it was not so much an argument, but I felt incredibly hurt by the way she expressed herself to me. In a way it would have been better if we had had an argument because people say things they don’t mean in arguments, right? The context in which she said it made me think it must be something she firmly believes.

I was trying to understand why she was acting cold with me, and she wasn’t being particularly forthcoming. Eventually, (and I won’t go into the background because it’s irrelevant,) the conversation ended with her saying this to me:

“I am just drained”, she said. “This is draining for me”.

Now, being one of my closest friends and knowing that ‘being draining’ is one of my biggest fears and core beliefs, I was taken aback. I experience her behaviour as draining sometimes (she also has BPD, yay us), but I would never in a million years have used those words to describe her, nor communicate my own feelings through.

Anyway, I haven’t lashed out, I haven’t used judgements, I haven’t mind-read or catastophised or engaged with any of the other cognitive distortions. I am not sure how well I have done, but I really am trying. I know she is trying too, but I feel like she is missing the point. Maybe this is just me?

This is the thing. I never know if my experiences in these situations are “all in my head” or not. I feel like I am being entirely reasonable when in them, but maybe tomorrow, or in a week, or month, I’ll look back and have a completely different perspective.

(Edit: I have removed the rest of this post which outlined our conversation for privacy reasons.)



5 thoughts on “Relationships are Hard, and Working on Them IPE Skills

  1. Interpersonal effectiveness is the hardest skill for me. It involves other people so there is less control which can be chaos!

    I think you two started out on the right track with your communication and then it seemed important to be right rather than solve the situation which as we know will throw off a conversation. This is just my interpretation based off of my experience and knowledge. No offense is meant. I am a self-identified right fighter and have had similar conversations.

    For myself, I have had to radically accept that not everyone will say things the “right” way and also that I sometimes am draining, mean, rude or insensitive. It doesn’t mean I am a bad person or that the relationship can’t work.

    I think it’s great that you shared this conversation and I think going back through conversations like this one could be a great guide and provide insight!

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s