Those who develop BPD often (not always because genetics are also a factor) were raised with an exaggerated, more punitive version of CEN, and often in an intensely emotional family. The person with BPD’s parents not only ignored her feelings, but also actively invalidated them. Sylvia’s parents actually rejected and punished the normal feelings that she had as a child. Since her feelings are the most deeply personal, biological part of who she is, Sylvia received these messages loud and clear:
Your feelings are bad and unacceptable.
YOU are bad and unacceptable.
The 5 Effects of Extreme CEN
- Your learn that your feelings not only don’t matter; they are bad
- You learn that you not only don’t matter; you are bad
- You do not learn the emotion skills that other children learn naturally in their childhood home: how to identify, tolerate, manage, express, or use your emotions
- You actively reject your emotional self; this leaves you feeling empty, since you’ve rejected the most deeply personal part of who you are.
- Your identity, or your sense of self, becomes fragmented because you have rejected important parts of yourself
So Sylvia learned not only to push her emotions away; she also learned to punish herself for having feelings. She has no choice but to actively reject her true self. She feels uncomfortable in her own skin, and doesn’t like herself very much overall. She has not learned how to soothe her own emotional pain. This leaves her far more vulnerable to depression and anxiety.