Coping ahead of time for difficult situations is an important skill to develop for those who struggle with intense emotions. The holidays are particularly difficult for people with mental illness which makes this a perfect time to master a process that can make a significant difference in your experience of the holidays whether you are a family member of or a person who feels empty much of the time.
The holidays may contribute to feeling sad, dissatisfied and financially strained, loneliness, too much pressure, and unrealistic expectations. Many find themselves remembering happier times in the past contrasting with the present, while unable to be with loved ones. The good news is that there are many things that we can do to make even the most difficult holidays more tolerable.
A schema is a pattern that is activated during childhood and adolescence and is activated again and again in your life. Since a schema gets more rigid over time, the reactions become less flexible. One result of this is that our schema based reactions don’t really fit the requirements of many present situations.
Mila was self-harming, stealing, abusing drugs and alcohol, failing school, and stretching all the limits her parents tried to set. They spent literally ALL of their money getting her treatment, until they couldn’t afford it anymore, and things slipped right back into hopelessness. Through the skills they learned, the support they received from me as their coach, and the community they built with other parents in the program, they were able to transform their situation and their lives.
At age 18, Dominique had been self-harming and throwing temper tantrums for much of her life. Her parents had tried everything. Nothing was working. They were beginning to feel hopeless. But they began working with me and now Dominique rarely self-harms, has a steady job, lives on her own, and her parents have a great relationship.
I’ve lost count how many times a parent with a child who has borderline personality disorder has come to me in horror because their son or daughter has told the school officials, their friends and their friend’s parents that they are being abused and/or that the family is now being investigated by child protective services. Here, I break down why people with BPD lie and what you can do.

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