About Randi

Randi Kreger has brought the concerns of people who have a family member with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) to an international forefront through her best-selling books, informative website, and popular online family support community Welcome to Oz.

 
 

Radical Acceptance Can Minimize Suffering


If you log onto any of the online support communities for people with a borderline or narcissistic family member, you'll read posts that go something like this:

Hello. I acted in a perfectly normal manner and my BP/NP put me in a no-win situation, blamed and criticized me, projected her own stuff onto me, accused me of cheating, made me do this and that, and otherwise acted in a typically borderline or narcissistic way. What do I do next time to assure this doesn't happen?

Does this sound familiar?

Most of the time, people will answer the question with a tool: something like validation or limit-setting. Or someone will offer a solution—just leave or go no-contact.

But before you can use a tool—and before you make a major decision, step back and try something called radical acceptance. Briefly, radical acceptance just means that you acknowledge reality for what it is. If you accept the reality of the situation, you can stop dwelling on situations you have no control over (and even those you do) and move on with your life.

I read a great definition of radical acceptance today on this blog:

Radical acceptance is not about "looking on the bright side" or "staying positive" — it's seeing exactly what is, even all the shit, and just... accepting the fact of its existence, and, yes, sometimes, seeing the beauty in the ugliness, and the teeny tiny sparks of light in the dark.

It's not about defeat or avoiding change, either, but rather makes the changes we're trying to implement SO much more effective, because we're not wasting energy denying what is, or making it out to be something it's not.

It's nothing more or less than observation without judgment, allowing for a deeper and truer and more awe-some observation than would otherwise be possible. Which is one of the most radical acts imaginable.

Once you radically accept that someone you care about has a personality disorder, you will stop being perpetually surprised that your loved one acts the way they do.

Radical Acceptance in DBT

Marsha Linehan, the psychologist who created Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), noted in her practice that there are two kinds of people: those who are beaten down by suffering and those who are not.

She began to look at the four types of reactions people have to misfortune and broke them down. When something bad happens to us or when something does not go our way, Linehan observed the following responses:

1. The person tries to change the circumstances.
2.The person tries to change his or her emotions toward the circumstances.
3.The person continues to be miserable.
4.The person accepts the circumstances.

Once you have truly accepted that your loved one acts borderline or narcissistic because they have BPD or NPD, you can get beyond it, anticipate it, and have a clear mind to use tools to deal with BPD and NPD behavior.

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