(I promise this is relevant to the board. Has to do with another thread, actually. Not a blog thread. An advice thread. I think this is where I'm coming from on the subject.)
I never did like DBT
For one thing, I associate a lot of that whole Buddhist/Zen woo with a chap I'll call "Zero". I was with him while I was working on a play called The Love of The Nightingale
. I was twenty-one and learning how to stand my ground, only he didn't seem to want that. He seemed to want me to yield. He saw fire in me and he wanted water.
I believe in balance, myself, so I told him where he could stuff his water. It was the beginning of the end of a not-very-good thing. We had some fundamental incompatibilities. He was into me dropping everything for the sake of love and following him where he wanted to go. Twenty-one being different from twenty-six, I was not in a position to see how I could accomplish this and still have the career of my choice. His lovely backwoods seemed not to have anything in the field I had then chosen (for the wrong reasons -- another post).
I still can't look back on the sex without feeling violated somehow. It wasn't rape. But it wasn't entirely consensual after the first couple of times, and the consequences of that have carried forward into my relationship with CdM. My blessed beloved has been patient with me while I worked it out in my head. CdM and I have worked within the boundaries of what I have needed to feel safe. They shift as I grow, but growth is as painful as it is beneficial sometimes.
Zero didn't care that I'd given up my virginity in the middle of putting on a play about rape. The significance of the act alone in this society is momentous; the significance coupled with a new understanding of consent pretty much blew my mind. Not his, for some reason.
The kicker is that he turned out non-monogamous like I did, only his wasn't entirely ethical. We would've fallen apart even if I hadn't felt he was silencing me.
And I hated group.
Nineteen or twenty years old, probably twenty (2007 was a weird year), sitting in a cold linoleum room with harsh lights that gave me headaches and people who had no clue what I was dealing with. People I didn't understand, either. It wasn't a group. It was ten-odd sad sacks thrown into the same day program for very different reasons, having so little in common that if I'd been in my right mind, I'd have written about it.
If I thought my will to live had been sapped before, man, I had not encountered group therapy. It isn't supposed to make the participant more eager to kill herself, is it? But you can only listen to so many "Drugs screwed my life" or "Divorce screwed my life" stories before you say to the facilitator, "I'm probably not supposed to be here." Brain chemistry screwed my life. Following the rules screwed my life. I hadn't had a relationship last longer than a few weeks and I had definitely never tried what the stoners on the church corner offered me.
Being Young and Rebellious, I wasn't in any mood to hear about regulating my emotions in order not to disrupt useless bloody group. To this day, regulating my emotions to satisfy some outside influence doesn't sit well with me. I'm not Vulcan. I was angry then, but I had good reasons to be angry, and looking back, I'll say no, it's not right to curb a person's anger because it's inconvenient. Self-soothing works great on panic, but anger? Anger is what you're supposed to turn outward so you stop hating yourself and wishing to die.
And yeah, while I'm at it, screw mindfulness. Screw burying the roots of what's wrong in order to live in the present, because I couldn't live in the present if I hadn't sussed out what made the present hurt. Screw viewing human beings dispassionately, especially ourselves. Screw cute acronyms (PLEASE MASTER? DEARMAN? Feminism?) and not judging life and not connecting all the dots that make up our stories. We are beautiful spiderwebs, made of so much more than now.
I haven't met the person yet who can just... let go of distress. Not without time. Not without a reason. I can do it now, but I'm many years away from what hurt me, and I have people in my life who aren't trying to perpetuate that hurt. I learned boundaries and I used those
to throw out what I didn't want around me.
There's too much to untangle before one releases pain and stops feeling triggered. Linehan makes it sound a lot easier than it actually is. As a tool for survivors of other people's shit, no, DBT won't work as well because the focus is so very much on one's own shit. I was covered in shit, all right, and it wasn't all mine. Once it was down to being all mine, yeah, I could work on it, sort it, own it. But when it wasn't? Fuck owning that.
For the record, I now feel as if I could comfortably go back to the people who covered me in said shit and have a conversation with them. It ain't a DBT thing. I had to unlearn what they taught me about my worth as a human being (i.e. "HA") and the broader adherence to a certain set of norms and values (i.e. "You are not a WASP. Assimilate.") before I could see anything but rage when I pictured them. Now, when I dream of them, it's just a dream. Not a nightmare anymore.
tl;dr Linehan can suck it.