In this post, we’ll be going over ideas about inner work and shadow work for BPD, or Borderline Personality Disorder.
First, let’s quickly go over what shadow and shadow work is.
What is Shadow Self & Shadow Work?
Your shadow self, or shadow, is the side of yourself you have no awareness of. It holds all the qualities you disowned during your formative years.
Although you learned to repress these qualities and push them outside of your awareness, they still live underneath the surface.
They unconsciously guide your actions and are the unseen cause for many of the troubles in your life.
Shadow work is the intentional practice of becoming aware of your unconscious shadow and integrating these neglected qualities into your being—becoming whole.
This is a process of building self-awareness, self-acceptance, and universal Love.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”Carl Jung
Brief Overview of BPD
BPD is a mental health disorder that makes it difficult to manage emotions and impacts how you think and feel about yourself and other people.
Some Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms include:
- Intense Fear of Abandonment
- Impulsive Behavior
- Frequently Changing Sense of Self
- A pattern of Unstable Relationships
- Unpredictable Mood Swings
Shadow Work for BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)
A common trait among people who have BPD is a notable desire for connection.
Generally speaking, people with inner wounds from unmet attachment needs will gravitate, often excitedly, to anyone who can potentially fulfill that need.
However, this excitement can come off as very erratic and become maladaptive in adult life since “loud” emotions tend to be off-putting in modern society.
A person who has difficulty managing emotions may develop an underlying belief: “If I express my emotions, I will be abandoned.”
Another perspective is that a person with BPD may be dealing with very charged complexes that intensely affect a debilitated ego.
A complex is an unconscious bundle of expectations, beliefs, and emotions tied to a specific subject.
This makes it very easy for someone to overly identify with their emotions since emotional expression does have a cathartic effect on the mind and body.
However, this leads to a person being possessed by their emotions instead of possessing their emotions.
Example of one extreme case of a BPD episode
Understand that when someone is hyper-aroused, it makes it difficult for a person to remember what has happened and what exactly they have done or said.
An example of this would be a person who makes a scene and antagonizes somebody. Then leaves the room. And when they return a few hours later, they act as if they are on good terms with everyone and the incident never happened.
This can be a traumatizing experience for those who were antagonized. While also being a crazy-making, gaslighting experience.
What makes this even more difficult is that this “amnesia” quality prevents self-reflection.
How to Support Someone with BPD
Many people can feel shame after having expressed their emotions in an unregulated manner.
It helps to show the person acceptance and to not promote any shame they may already be having. As well as shed light on the emotional intent rather than the emotional intensity.
You can also consider hearing their perspective of events and help them determine if their responses are exaggerated or minimized.
Since there can be a bit of an “amnesia” effect, it’s helpful to enforce morality in the situation. So long as you carefully point out that the person’s actions are the issue, not themselves as a person or their feelings.
This assumes that they have no shame over a situation where it would be more socially beneficial if they did. Since there are real social consequences for unregulated actions.
There is also a BPD quality where a person can be distressed if they don’t see you or know where you are. So at least attempting to inspire them with confidence by clearly sharing your whereabouts may be helpful.
Tips to Help Manage BPD
One of the most problematic shadow beliefs that someone with BPD may have is “I am blameless.”
By consciously deciding to take more responsibility for your actions, you can integrate the part of your psyche that surrounds your personal power, despite the difficulties that come with it.
Tell the people whom you trust to be honest with you.
Make them understand that their authenticity is the most important thing they can give you. This will bring in an environment of truth that can allow for “healing” (more love and acceptance) and connection.
Over time this can help with your overall sense of trust.
Here are some resources I recommend:
Shadow Work for Beginners is based on my in-depth research and personal experiences with shadow work, projection, sadomasochism, inner child healing, triggers, and all things shadow. This resource gets updated at no additional cost.
A Light Among Shadows is a guide on self-love and being. This series goes over consciousness, spirituality, philosophy, and makes sense of why people are the way they are. Recommended for anyone dealing with resentment and self-hate. Learn more here.
Shadow Work for Relationships teaches you everything you need to know about attachment theory, practical inner work, and your dysfunctional behavior. By the end of this, you will have developed your earned secure attachment style so you can put an end to your cycle of bad relationships.
Shadow Work Journal: 240 Daily Shadow Work Prompts contains inner work exercises related to relationships, anger, anxiety, self-love, healing trauma, abandonment issues, depression, forgiveness, etc.
Self-Love Subliminal for self-hypnotism that will help you change your behavior and gain self-love, self-awareness, better relationships, greater health, and improve your creativity.
Shadow Play (or “DsR”) is a sister website that goes over “sensual” shadow work through BDSM experiences. If you are 18+ and are interested, go here.
Mindful & Mending is a small website that’s about self-hypnosis, affirmations, auto-suggestion, and more techniques & tools to help you shift your unconscious mind. Check it out here.