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How can you tell if you are overreacting or if you're being normal?

L

lemontree

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I have a lot of trouble with this and wonder if anyone has ways around this? As someone with BPD, I was constantly told I am overreacting to everything and it's lead me to believe that internally, even though people don't generally tell me this anymore as I keep my reactions under wraps (even if internally they are still extreme sometimes). The trouble is, I have also had a lot of instances because of this where people tell me I handled a situation well or didn't react as strongly as they would have. In all honesty, I can't tell when it is appropriate to show my reactions, how to gauge when a mentally healthy person would also reach their wits' end? So I generally keep on with composing myself and dealing with the emotions internally rather than getting outwardly upset.

This does cause problems when I am genuinely upset though, and I can't tell if it is something that should be brought to attention. For example, this morning my husband woke me up by opening the curtains in the room - he has never done this for the many years we have been together. So I asked him why he did that, in what I felt was an inquisitive but not angry or sad manner (I say that as it could have come across as something that I did not intend but I do not know - people misconstrue each other all the time). He got quite defensive and said to wake me up with an annoyed look on his face, and I said "oh, okay" and he told me he "wouldn't do it again if it means that much to me". I will be honest, I am not happy with the way he spoke to me as I feel it was a reasonable question - to me that is something you would do to your child, not to your partner. Furthermore, I have never seen him do it before, and it's not as if waking up has been a problem for me; often, I get out of bed not long after him and I don't have issues getting ready on time so it just struck me as odd behaviour. I don't understand his readiness to be defensive and get annoyed with me.

A small part of me wants to bring it up tonight and tell him that I am not happy with the way he spoke to me (I don't get angry in these situations, I just try to keep it short and objective so as to not turn it into an argument or something). But a large part of me is saying that it's nothing and I should let it go. What do you think? How can you tell if you are overreacting to something?
 
R

RockyMountainsGirl

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Messages
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Alberta, Canada
I have a lot of trouble with this and wonder if anyone has ways around this? As someone with BPD, I was constantly told I am overreacting to everything and it's lead me to believe that internally, even though people don't generally tell me this anymore as I keep my reactions under wraps (even if internally they are still extreme sometimes). The trouble is, I have also had a lot of instances because of this where people tell me I handled a situation well or didn't react as strongly as they would have. In all honesty, I can't tell when it is appropriate to show my reactions, how to gauge when a mentally healthy person would also reach their wits' end? So I generally keep on with composing myself and dealing with the emotions internally rather than getting outwardly upset.

This does cause problems when I am genuinely upset though, and I can't tell if it is something that should be brought to attention. For example, this morning my husband woke me up by opening the curtains in the room - he has never done this for the many years we have been together. So I asked him why he did that, in what I felt was an inquisitive but not angry or sad manner (I say that as it could have come across as something that I did not intend but I do not know - people misconstrue each other all the time). He got quite defensive and said to wake me up with an annoyed look on his face, and I said "oh, okay" and he told me he "wouldn't do it again if it means that much to me". I will be honest, I am not happy with the way he spoke to me as I feel it was a reasonable question - to me that is something you would do to your child, not to your partner. Furthermore, I have never seen him do it before, and it's not as if waking up has been a problem for me; often, I get out of bed not long after him and I don't have issues getting ready on time so it just struck me as odd behaviour. I don't understand his readiness to be defensive and get annoyed with me.

A small part of me wants to bring it up tonight and tell him that I am not happy with the way he spoke to me (I don't get angry in these situations, I just try to keep it short and objective so as to not turn it into an argument or something). But a large part of me is saying that it's nothing and I should let it go. What do you think? How can you tell if you are overreacting to something?
When someone doesn't understand appropriate behaviors, they're often referring to the fact that they don't know what their boundaries are. For example, what is the boundary for reacting normally? Is there one? How can someone tell if they are over-reacting or have crossed the boundary for reacting normally?

I feel I am the Queen of over-reactions because I am emotional and I suspect I have have BPD. I have CPTSD (Complex PTSD), a condition in which I, and others like me, have difficulty with emotional control and regulation.

But it's hard not to react because we all see and hear things and that trigger us emotionally.

Your husband may have over-reacted because he was groggy from just waking up and snapped at you after he opened the curtains.

But I really think it's time for us to let ourselves, and others, off the hook, especially since sometimes our moods are outside our conscious awareness and we have stress responses, such as feeling threatened or feeling challenged.

We can be angry at our brains, but I think you need we need to forgive them. We CAN'T always control our circumstances, moods, anxieties, and stress responses, and so we will react at times when we don't want to. We're not perfect and don't have perfect control. Impulses can feel almost like reflexes – strong tendencies to act.

But an article I read said that we can still selectively perceive and appraise situations when impulsive. And because the brain is neuroplastic, we can teach ourselves to be more objective and less reactive at times, which means learning ways to regulate our emotions.

I'm reading a World Psychiatry journal article published in May 2019 that is teaching me how to do this. It's called "Mental illness and well-being: an affect regulation perspective." It's tough to read, but I'll post again after I make sense of it.
 
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2

2Much2Feel

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Good question, lemontree. I have BPD as well, so maybe not the best person to answer this. Wait, def not the best person as I don't know the answer. I guess we are extra sensitive not only to our label and to our intense emotions, but also to those of others and we often "mind-read" or take on someone else' feelings as if we are responsible for them when in fact it could be all on him, could be he overreacted (imagine that, it isn't us???). I usually go to the negative space w people's reactions, and we don't know what's going on in their heads, so we take the blame or whatever. But if it's bothering you like it is, it may be worth bringing up. Being so sensitive to emotions can def mess w us.
 
R

RockyMountainsGirl

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I didn't answer your question earlier, but I would say something to him, and you are saying you want to do this in an objective way, which is great.
 
R

RockyMountainsGirl

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Messages
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Alberta, Canada
Good question, lemontree. I have BPD as well, so maybe not the best person to answer this. Wait, def not the best person as I don't know the answer. I guess we are extra sensitive not only to our label and to our intense emotions, but also to those of others and we often "mind-read" or take on someone else' feelings as if we are responsible for them when in fact it could be all on him, could be he overreacted (imagine that, it isn't us???). I usually go to the negative space w people's reactions, and we don't know what's going on in their heads, so we take the blame or whatever. But if it's bothering you like it is, it may be worth bringing up. Being so sensitive to emotions can def mess w us.
I agree with your suggestions and thank you for supporting others in this forum. Like you, I go to the negative place in my head. I really want to get help for that from a good psychologist, which I'm trying to track down. It's tough for me to control my emotions in cases where I'm triggered. I have major depressive disorder -- I can't sleep and get really depressed unless I take antidepressants. I also have C-PTSD.
 
2

2Much2Feel

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Messages
720
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I agree with your suggestions and thank you for supporting others in this forum. Like you, I go to the negative place in my head. I really want to get help for that from a good psychologist, which I'm trying to track down. It's tough for me to control my emotions in cases where I'm triggered. I have major depressive disorder -- I can't sleep and get really depressed unless I take antidepressants. I also have C-PTSD.
Totally. Me as well. It's a rough pill to swallow getting diagnosed with it, but I have come to terms w it. Major depression and sleep issues as well. I'm really glad it's helpful for you, and hope you continue to reach out. We need to. It does help to know others go through it and won't judge. :)
 
2

2Much2Feel

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Messages
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I agree with your suggestions and thank you for supporting others in this forum. Like you, I go to the negative place in my head. I really want to get help for that from a good psychologist, which I'm trying to track down. It's tough for me to control my emotions in cases where I'm triggered. I have major depressive disorder -- I can't sleep and get really depressed unless I take antidepressants. I also have C-PTSD.
Have you searched for therapists who practice DBT? Even a virtual one as a start may be a good place to go. I feel for you. Hard to find when you're feeling so low as it is, I think I scared the hell out of my therapist on our last zoom...haven't had my hair done in more than a year, total Pandemic Look.
 
R

RockyMountainsGirl

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Joined
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Messages
110
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Alberta, Canada
Yes, you're right, I need to see someone who's a DBT expert. Thanks for your suggestion. I don't really know if I have borderline (BPD). I've been referred to a new psychiatrist who may know of a good psychologist with skills in DBP. Today I picked up a book called "Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder" by the author who largely developed DBP. Her name is Marsha M. Lineman. I know it's not good to diagnose oneself. I can also see someone to take a personality test to confirm whether I do or don't have BPD. I also have C-PTSD and the symptoms are the same. One can have both C-PTSD from childhood trauma, along with BPD, but with BPD there's also a fear of abandonment.
 
A

AppleJacks99

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May 4, 2021
Messages
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Arkansas
I have a lot of trouble with this and wonder if anyone has ways around this? As someone with BPD, I was constantly told I am overreacting to everything and it's lead me to believe that internally, even though people don't generally tell me this anymore as I keep my reactions under wraps (even if internally they are still extreme sometimes). The trouble is, I have also had a lot of instances because of this where people tell me I handled a situation well or didn't react as strongly as they would have. In all honesty, I can't tell when it is appropriate to show my reactions, how to gauge when a mentally healthy person would also reach their wits' end? So I generally keep on with composing myself and dealing with the emotions internally rather than getting outwardly upset.

This does cause problems when I am genuinely upset though, and I can't tell if it is something that should be brought to attention. For example, this morning my husband woke me up by opening the curtains in the room - he has never done this for the many years we have been together. So I asked him why he did that, in what I felt was an inquisitive but not angry or sad manner (I say that as it could have come across as something that I did not intend but I do not know - people misconstrue each other all the time). He got quite defensive and said to wake me up with an annoyed look on his face, and I said "oh, okay" and he told me he "wouldn't do it again if it means that much to me". I will be honest, I am not happy with the way he spoke to me as I feel it was a reasonable question - to me that is something you would do to your child, not to your partner. Furthermore, I have never seen him do it before, and it's not as if waking up has been a problem for me; often, I get out of bed not long after him and I don't have issues getting ready on time so it just struck me as odd behaviour. I don't understand his readiness to be defensive and get annoyed with me.

A small part of me wants to bring it up tonight and tell him that I am not happy with the way he spoke to me (I don't get angry in these situations, I just try to keep it short and objective so as to not turn it into an argument or something). But a large part of me is saying that it's nothing and I should let it go. What do you think? How can you tell if you are overreacting to something?
I start to notice when my pitch gets higher. I used to not notice it, but when I get really stressed and irritable I notice that I sound whiny. When I was younger I would it was harder for me to notice until people started pointing it out. I still have meltdowns over everything, but I know when I'm being irrational just have trouble controlling it. It kinda feels like veins popping out of my head and I get a migraine.
 
R

RockyMountainsGirl

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Messages
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It's great that you recognize that in yourself. What is your diagnosis? I start to sink into depression, and I read that anger can trigger the depression. I think my depression is biochemical, though. At the end of the day when my medication starts to seep out of my system, I get depressed, like now. At other times it's connected to my C-PTSD and upsetting incidents. Lots of times when you get upset, you're not being irrational; you have a legitimate reason to be upset. Mind you, we can all be sensitive at times? What do you do for your migraines?
 
B

Bobbyewing

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Apr 9, 2021
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There are a number of perspectives. In marriage its best to leave a lot of stuff go. If you are generally happy with your husband let it go. Move on
As to the broader issue of whether you over react or not.. It's the human condition.
What I mean is we all are bombarded with situations daily and have to judge quickly what to do.
As I have gotten older I preserve my energy.
I tend to be as neural as I can and buy time.
That way I can evaluate what is appropriate or not at a later stage. 24 hours makes a huge difference.
There is nothing wrong with saying I will talk to you later or tomorrow.
I read a lot of articles about suffering of people. Why? So I will keep my problems in perspective. Read one today about a man of 50 in a nursing home. He had a stroke age 48. They have no were else to put him in Ireland. Shit service.
I don't always show perspective. But I'm trying
 
B

Bobbyewing

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Just to add there are many legitimate reasons to feel angry. But by leaving it awhile you are better placed to evaluate.
Humans have fight or flight tendacies.
We are geared to be aggressive because in the past we might have died in the wild.
If after 24 hours still angry go for it.
 
A

AppleJacks99

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Joined
May 4, 2021
Messages
24
Location
Arkansas
It's great that you recognize that in yourself. What is your diagnosis? I start to sink into depression, and I read that anger can trigger the depression. I think my depression is biochemical, though. At the end of the day when my medication starts to seep out of my system, I get depressed, like now. At other times it's connected to my C-PTSD and upsetting incidents. Lots of times when you get upset, you're not being irrational; you have a legitimate reason to be upset. Mind you, we can all be sensitive at times? What do you do for your migraines?
BPD/BP...I still have breakdowns, but I at least recognize it now, and then I feel really guilty. Sometimes I'm not able to control it. It's a few times a day over what most people perceive to be small things, but to me it causes me a lot of distress. Especially if there is a break to my routine, or I have to explain myself, or ask something more the once over a span of time. I take a lot of IBuprofen.
 
Nutsy

Nutsy

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I generally find that if you think you're overreacting then you probably are.

We're the last to realise usually.
 
2

2Much2Feel

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Apr 24, 2021
Messages
720
Location
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Yes, you're right, I need to see someone who's a DBT expert. Thanks for your suggestion. I don't really know if I have borderline (BPD). I've been referred to a new psychiatrist who may know of a good psychologist with skills in DBP. Today I picked up a book called "Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder" by the author who largely developed DBP. Her name is Marsha M. Lineman. I know it's not good to diagnose oneself. I can also see someone to take a personality test to confirm whether I do or don't have BPD. I also have C-PTSD and the symptoms are the same. One can have both C-PTSD from childhood trauma, along with BPD, but with BPD there's also a fear of abandonment.
Good you're on top of it. Marsha Linehan taught at my university and lives nearby. She's amazing, has BPD herself and yet is able to develop DBT, the most useful therapy for strong emotions. It's hard to not only take a step back and try to not act impulsively, which I always regret, and try to take the emotions down w DBT skills, which I'm just now relearning.

Another thing I don't trust that is really bothering me is my judgment in general, thinking one minute that I am totally up to something like volunteering, then the next minute wondering why the hell I thought I could do it. Hesitate too much now, don't trust what I'm thinking in the moment. Again, mindfulness can help w that, DBT skills, and I need to learn this again. I flip flop constantly and just don't trust my feelings and judgment from one minute to the next. And too often I let people down cause I end up crashing. So, I think we can all relate to the intense emotions you may feel in the moment or when ruminating on something we have no control over. I really hope you find a good DBT therapist, it's super helpful, and good for you for starting w the book. Really helps.
 
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