Mind wrangling

For a long time I believed that my mind and body were two separate beings.  I believed that the mind was in control and that my body was weak.  I believed that my body needed to be punished in order to remind it that it was so weak.  I also believed that I was a third separate being who watched this tug of war as if from above.  mind wranglingMan that sounds all so bizarre when I read it back.  It doesn’t feel logical, but that is the trouble with mental illness, not much is really logical.  One of the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder is an unstable sense of self and the beliefs of the separation of mind and body was most likely how this manifested it self for me.  I still have an unstable sense of self, but it has manifested itself in different ways.

Currently in therapy I am working on core beliefs and unhelpful thinking habits.  One of the things that I struggle with the most is having control over my thoughts.  Now, this isn’t 100% possible, because we have 1000’s of thoughts a day.  However, we do have control over the thoughts that we pay attention to.  That is the part that I struggle with.

Instead of paying attention to the positive thoughts in my mind about myself and my surroundings, I cling to the negative.  I let them fester under my skin and collect them like they are prizes, instead of the rotting corpses that they are.  My psychologist was impressed (well that’s not quite the right word, but everything else seemed too negative) that I could remember things I had done or said from over ten years ago, that my mind was filled to the brim with these memories.

I hang onto these thoughts because they affirm my core beliefs, these beliefs are negative at the moment (fear of failure, of looking stupid, of people thinking badly of me) and that is why we are working to create new ones for my mind to default to.  My psychologist likens our thought processes to an unsupervised toddler.  If we let our minds run rampant, and don’t bring back the focus to the positive and the reality (it’s ok to have negative thoughts, but they need to be in line with the circumstances, rather than all you think) then you create a mess.

We are working to make challenging these unhelpful thinking styles become normal, that my focus won’t just be on the negative.  It’s my hope that I won’t default to dwelling on the past and running through scenarios.  There is no use berating myself over something I did 10 years ago, it won’t change the outcome.

Do you struggle with negative thoughts?

Have you done any mind wrangling?

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17 thoughts on “Mind wrangling

  1. Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me

    It must bring you a great sense of relief that you have a good psychologist that you can work with to attempt to change/turnaround your core beliefs. I can imagine how hard it would be to turn around years of practicing negative self talk and learning how to turn this around. I most definitely can be negative at times and dwell on bad things that have happened to me in my past. I push them out of my head and focus on the good. Easier said than done though.

  2. Jodi Gibson (JF Gibson Writer)

    We all struggle with negative thought from time to time, some more than others. I’ve learned that focusing on me, rather than others helps. I’m not a negative person but not an optimist either, but I have an all conquering mind over matter type view. Which for the most part is good, but it also comes with a flip side too.
    It sounds like you are making progress. Kudos xx

  3. Amy @ HandbagMafia

    For a few bad years, negative thoughts were my default. That was probably because everything that could go catastrophically wrong in life did so- deaths, rifts, outside influences and so on. It’s hard to turn it around. I’m glad to see you’re seeing a light at the proverbial end of the tunnel!

  4. Vanessa

    I live most my life through unhelpful thinking. Most mornings as consciousness begins as I wake I’m going through in my mind what I’ve committed to do during the day then I go over all the various scenarios of how I could get out of those commitments.

    Instead if tackling things I don’t want to do I work myself into a mess of thinking “I can’t! I won’t!” Like a toddler as you say.

    On good days, if I just stop overthinking things and get on with it, life is so much easier. On these good days I always wonder why I don’t stop the overthinking everyday.

    Sounds like you are getting some really great advice. Well done tackling this stuff.


  5. Deborah

    Oh yes, I struggle with negative thoughts. I also remember stuff from years ago – which sometimes I need to move on from! I’m not quite sure though how to ‘learn’ from past stuff, but then file it away.

    Sounds like you’re doing some good work with your therapist.


  6. Gael - The Vinyl Edition

    Hi Tegan. Negative thoughts, worry, anxiety, whether they amount to the same thing or not I’m sure they are at least inter-related. I always find it interesting that I have far fewer negative thoughts on days when i feel like i’ve achieved something – whether it be tackling something that’s been niggling at me, creating something I’m pleased with, doing a spot of good parenting or whatever.
    Pretty sure you and your therapist are on a very productive and life-changing journey!

  7. Chantel

    Challenging negative thoughts is the hardest thing I have to do each day. Some days they win and get the better of me, but on good days, I know that i am in control. Good luck with your journey!

    Hello from #teamIBOT

  8. EssentiallyJess

    I will occasionally remember a fault from being a kid, and feel guilt over my failure in that moment. I find myself cringing outwardly, and feeling bad, and it’s crazy really. Because you can’t change the past, all you can do is learn from it.
    I love what you’re learning Tegan and that you share it. I’m amazed at how much power our minds have, and yet we can still actively change them.

  9. Dani @ Sand Has No Home

    I can get caught up in negative thoughts, but they are more in the nature of fear and dread or imagining the worst (in detail), I have had to learn to turn that thought process around by coaching myself that if I am capable of imagining the worst, than it is also within the realm of possibilities to imagine the best instead.
    This is actually where the idea of the story/book that I am writing derived from.
    Good luck with changing your negative thoughts, it is such a valuable tool.

  10. Bec @ Seeing the Lighter Side

    Good on you for powering through. I find writing things down a great way to try to pick out the positive things – especially with an audience in mind that I like to cheer up. I don’t think I could stop blogging – it’s my therapy! I used to be really bad at dwelling on the negative but my mind has cleared a fair bit in recent years, which is a huge relief (helped along by medication!).

  11. Kathy

    I think we all get caught up in negative thinking – it is just the extent of the patterning and the damage it does. To me it sounds like you are very self-aware through your therapy and I don’t think it is unhelpful to think in terms of mind, body and spirit – our spirit being that witnessing third person you speak of and our mind and body being two elements of our self. What isn’t helpful of course is one aspect of ourself waging war on the other (as in your mind berating your body).I think if you can keep with the awareness to get in control of your negative thoughts then you are doing well.

  12. Lisa

    I find when my mind is occupied eg, work, with the kids or concentrating on a task. then any negative self-talk is not there. When I have too much time on my hands, it is harder to switch off.

  13. Katie

    Love your post. Gives me some good things to think about. It is always hard to let go of the negative happenings in our lives, but we much try!

  14. Erica

    I currently am in therapy myself. we are also working on controlling thoughts and mindfulness. Tough stuff to let a thought enter your mind and don’t judge it.


  15. Lacey Charrene

    Congratulations to you in all your progress to a healthier you. My grandmother had Borderline personality, but we were never able to get a diagnoses until just a few short years before she past away. I wonder what a difference things would have been in her life had she recognized her illness earlier on and was able to get the help she needed. No looking back there are so many things I would have said and done differently if I had realized how she perceived herself and others and the world. Much love to you and continued wellness on your journey. I look forward to the fulfillment of Isaiah 33:24. (((HUGS))) #laceyslegacy

  16. Katrina Phelan

    Another wonderful post. I really enjoy your writing because I always learn a little more about a topic that so many people misunderstand, including myself!

    I think any person who tells you they have not/do not struggle with negative thoughts is lying to you. Everyone has negative thoughts its just easier for some people to push past them and push them away. I have times where I’m in that group and I have times where try as I might those negative thoughts are going to take over my day.

    Thank you for sharing!

  17. Marina

    I think we all have some negative thoughts from time to time, but it’s important not to let them win over us. It’s hard sometimes..


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