Saturday, May 9, 2009

Borderline Personality Disorder, again?

Gracias a todos uds quienes me han dejado sus comentarios en "BPD 1 parte". Cada vez que recibo un email en el que parejanoverbal me deja saber que alguien mas se ha interesado en este tema, me dan muchos deseos de retomar el blog. Sucede que el tin de tiempo que tengo lo he estado dedicando a terminar mi tesis de doctorado, en la que trato sobre la historia del psicoanalisis y la psicoterapia en los EEUU.

No se si esto ayudara a los que me han preguntado, pero mi consejo es que si tienen una pareja que padece de este desorden pues que busquen ayuda terapeutica, que sean vistos por un terapeuta de parejas con experiencia, con años de trabajo clinico en las costillas. Es super importante tambien que al menos la persona "normal" reciba ayuda individual o de lo contrario la frustracion de los altibajos se lo puede llevar todo por delante.

Hay que estar claro de una cosa, tambien, y es que toda relacion negativa que se mantenga en el tiempo sin mejorar puede llevar a la destruccion de la ilusion de estar enamorados y una vez que eso ocurre...el diablo son las cosas. Una vez que los "4 jinetes del apocalipsis" (criticismo, actitud defensiva, bloqueo emocional, y desprecio del otro a traves del uso de cosas como el sarcasmo) se imponen en el patron relacional de una pareja...el diablo son las cosas. Hay que atajarlo a tiempo. La terapia muchas veces solo puede hacer que la pareja se lleve mejor, y se queda muy corta en aquello de poderles hacer regresar a la ilusion de estar juntos.

De nuevo, muchisimas gracias a todos.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Una traduccion esperada

Un tiempo atras, hable de Yona Wallach y de su poema Fresas. En aquella ocasion, le tire una indirecta al poeta cubano Jorge Salcedo a ver si se animaba a traducirlo. A Salcedo se le da muy bien eso de traducir poemas, y tambien lo de las sorpresas. Aqui les dejo con su traduccion, seguida del original.

Jorge, no habia pensado en eso de las asociaciones eroticas a las frutas y su relacion con la cultura anglo...pero no se dice que Milton es el poeta de lo sensual?
Eso si, siempre he encontrado mucho parecido en el caracter israeli y el cubano. Y para que hablar de los dos "proyectos".

FRESAS

Si vienes a pasar conmigo alguna noche
ponte un vestido negro
adornado con fresas
trae un sombrero negro de ala ancha
decorado con fresas
y sostén una cesta de fresas en tus manos
y véndeme las fresas
con voz dulce y aguda
fresas quién quiere fresas vendo fresas
no lleves nada bajo tu vestido
luego
por hilos invisibles
o visibles
ascenderás y caerás
justo sobre mi verga.


Original:


When you come to sleep with me
wear a black dress
printed with strawberries
and a black wide-brimmed hat
decorated with strawberries
and hold a basket of strawberries
and sell me strawberries
tell me in a sweet high voice
strawberries strawberries
who wants strawberries
don't wear anything underneath the dress
later
strings will lift you up
invisible or visible
and lower you
directly on my prick.

El primer verso de mi versión en español es menos explícito que el de la versión inglesa, pero creo que al poema le conviene que así sea. Habría que ver qué dice el original. Gracias por pensar en mí para la traducción, espero que no sea por lo de pornográfico.

Y algo más, psicólogo. Esa cercanía entre lo comestible y lo sexual no se da tanto en inglés como en español—al parecer, se da también en hebreo. Creo que habría que explicar por qué los anglos no asocian el comerse una papaya o un melón bien colora'o a lo mismo que nosotros.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Mas sobre BPD (II)

Tambien gracias a Andres he dado con este texto, "Carta de una border", escrito por Ana. Muy elocuente, muy directo, capaz de transmitir no solo los "hechos border" sino el afecto con que se sienten del lado de los que reciben el trato "border". Por cierto, eso de llamar a las personas con BPD "border" es tan argentino...


La carta:


Soy Border; por eso, si pudiera definir mi forma de vida en tres palabras, estas serían: todo o nada. Un día la vida es para mi una eterna fiesta, llena de risas y bromas, donde nada es tan serio ni tan importante pero al siguiente me parece más cruel de lo que de verdad es.
Por eso no te preocupes si estoy riendo a carcajadas y al instante suelto el llanto... es "normal" y pasará.

No acepto relaciones a medias, a la gente que quiera estar conmigo le pido estar "conmigo o en mi contra", a cambio doy exactamente lo mismo.

A veces dudo de que mi existencia real, me pregunto si mi existencia es de verdad o soy parte de un sueño o una película... de la que yo no soy la protagonista....Soy capaz de cuidar mi salud hasta la exageración o llegar a lastimarme tanto, que te quitaré el sueño.

¿Qué quieres que sea? ¿con quién quieres estar? puedo ser lo que te de la gana: dulce o tosca; discreta como una tumba o la más chismosa que pueda existir. Precavida o bien, osada a tal punto que temerás por mi vida. Seré lo que te haga feliz... mientras quieras estar contigo.
Una canción, una novela, una frase me hacen soñar, me transportan a "otro lugar" si no quieres que me enfurezca, no me bajes de esa nube.

De un instante al otro me puedo volver violenta y agresiva cuando eso ocurre no entiendo razones, por favor no intentes calmarme, aléjate, porque de una manera u otra, puedo hacerte destruirte. ¿Sabes cual pregunta me hacen más frecuentemente? "¿Cómo puedes ser tan lista para unas cosas y tan tona para otras?". Un día me tiraría de un paracaídas, solo para que me veas, y mañana me escondería en un rincón de mi recámara, de ti y del mundo.
Puedo ser una grandísima mentirosa... o lastimarte con mi sinceridad.

Soy capaz de llorar con las películas y las noticias de la televisión... pero las tragedias de mis vecinos rara vez me producen algún efecto. Te sorprenderá saber – porque lo sabrás- que tu puedes tener una idea acerca de mi personalidad y otras personas una completamente distinta aunque ambos tengan fundamento. No tengo piedad, ni compasión y no doy tregua a mis enemigos... aunque daría la vida por quienes amo... mientras los ame.

Poseo una extraña y desarrollada facilidad de ver tus puntos débiles y también los fuertes, entonces cuídate, porque lo que digas o hagas muy probablemente algún día será usado en tu contra. Puedo convencerte de algo, aun cuando ni yo misma esté convencida de ello.
Siempre te daré una respuesta a todo. y con una extraordinaria rapidez pienso lo que tengo que decir para lastimarte.

Hoy quiero pasar el resto de mis días contigo, sin embargo mañana me puedo arrepentir.
Si un día te digo que no te quiero volver a ver no te sientas culpable, porque no lo eres también eso es frecuente. Algo puedo asegurarte, nadie sufre más que yo.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mas sobre BPD...

Andres, desde Chile, me ha dejado un comentario en el post de Borderline Personality Disorder que merece ser rescatado. Aqui esta:

"Hola. mi nombre es andres, soy de chile, vivi dos meses con alguien que estudiando el caso TLP, los mantiene muy derrollados, al punto que llegaba a golpearse o golpearme, tenia arranques sexuales perversos y mantenia una alta taza de impulsibidad en sus acciones y otras veces una disforia y melancolia, hasta sentimientos de culpabilidad.
Se trató de suicidar en mi casa una vez, claro que yo creo que en el fondso era una forma de manipulacion para que esté con ella, ya que yo andaba siempre fuera de casa; por otro lado tenia un selo crónico que cahia en la psicosis. esto me alejaba de ella casi en forma fulminante y luego de un rato, como por arte de magia me hacia sentir que necesitaba que la abrasara y entre algunos insultos y autocriticas por estar conmigo, cahia despacio en la completa dulsura."


Asi mismo es, Andres, ante la amenaza de que los abandonen, las personas que padecen de BPD se descompensan completamente llegando a estados emocionales muy pero muy cercanos a la psicosis total. Como bien dices, luego de pasado ese momento de crisis, se recuperan y quedan como si nada. Como diriamos en Cuba, los BPD "te sacan por techo".

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

JK Rowling Commencement address at Harvard (2008)

"President Faust, members of the Harvard Corporation and the Board of Overseers,
members of the faculty, proud parents, and, above all, graduates,

The first thing I would like to say is 'thank you.' Not only has
Harvard given me an extraordinary honour, but the weeks of fear and nausea I've
experienced at the thought of giving this commencement address have made me
lose weight. A win-win situation! Now all I have to do is take deep breaths,
squint at the red banners and fool myself into believing I am at the world's
best-educated Harry Potter convention.

Delivering a commencement address is a great responsibility; or so I thought
until I cast my mind back to my own graduation. The commencement speaker that
day was the distinguished British philosopher Baroness Mary Warnock. Reflecting
on her speech has helped me enormously in writing this one, because it turns out
that I can't remember a single word she said. This liberating discovery enables
me to proceed without any fear that I might inadvertently influence you to
abandon promising careers in business, law or politics for the giddy delights
of becoming a gay wizard.

You see? If all you remember in years to come is the 'gay wizard'
joke, I've still come out ahead of Baroness Mary Warnock. Achievable
goals: the first step towards personal improvement.

Actually, I have wracked my mind and heart for what I ought to say to
you today. I have asked myself what I wish I had known at my own
graduation, and what important lessons I have learned in the 21 years
that has expired between that day and this.

I have come up with two answers. On this wonderful day when we are
gathered together to celebrate your academic success, I have decided to
talk to you about the benefits of failure. And as you stand on the
threshold of what is sometimes called 'real life', I want to extol the
crucial importance of imagination.

These might seem quixotic or paradoxical choices, but please bear with
me.

Looking back at the 21-year-old that I was at graduation, is a
slightly uncomfortable experience for the 42-year-old that she has
become. Half my lifetime ago, I was striking an uneasy balance between
the ambition I had for myself, and what those closest to me expected of
me.

I was convinced that the only thing I wanted to do, ever, was to write
novels. However, my parents, both of whom came from impoverished
backgrounds and neither of whom had been to college, took the view that
my overactive imagination was an amusing personal quirk that could never
pay a mortgage, or secure a pension.

They had hoped that I would take a vocational degree; I wanted to
study English Literature. A compromise was reached that in retrospect
satisfied nobody, and I went up to study Modern Languages. Hardly had my
parents' car rounded the corner at the end of the road than I ditched
German and scuttled off down the Classics corridor.

I cannot remember telling my parents that I was studying Classics;
they might well have found out for the first time on graduation day. Of
all subjects on this planet, I think they would have been hard put to
name one less useful than Greek mythology when it came to securing the
keys to an executive bathroom.

I would like to make it clear, in parenthesis, that I do not blame my
parents for their point of view. There is an expiry date on blaming your
parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old
enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you. What is more, I
cannot criticise my parents for hoping that I would never experience
poverty. They had been poor themselves, and I have since been poor, and
I quite agree with them that it is not an ennobling experience. Poverty
entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression; it means a thousand
petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own
efforts, that is indeed something on which to pride yourself, but
poverty itself is romanticised only by fools.

What I feared most for myself at your age was not poverty, but
failure.

At your age, in spite of a distinct lack of motivation at university,
where I had spent far too long in the coffee bar writing stories, and
far too little time at lectures, I had a knack for passing examinations,
and that, for years, had been the measure of success in my life and that
of my peers.

I am not dull enough to suppose that because you are young, gifted and
well-educated, you have never known hardship or heartbreak. Talent and
intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the
Fates, and I do not for a moment suppose that everyone here has enjoyed
an existence of unruffled privilege and contentment.

However, the fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests that
you are not very well-acquainted with failure. You might be driven by a
fear of failure quite as much as a desire for success. Indeed, your
conception of failure might not be too far from the average person's
idea of success, so high have you already flown academically.

Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes
failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if
you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure,
a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic
scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was
jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern
Britain, without being homeless. The fears my parents had had for me,
and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual
standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.

Now, I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun.
That period of my life was a dark one, and I had no idea that there was
going to be what the press has since represented as a kind of fairy tale
resolution. I had no idea how far the tunnel extended, and for a long
time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality.

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure
meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to
myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct
all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I
really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the
determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I
was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realised, and I
was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an
old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid
foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is
inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something,
unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at
all - in which case, you fail by default.

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing
examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have
learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more
discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends
whose value was truly above rubies.

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks
means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You
will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships,
until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift,
for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more to me than
any qualification I ever earned.

Given a time machine or a Time Turner, I would tell my 21-year-old
self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a
check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV,
are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older
who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond
anyone's total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to
survive its vicissitudes.

You might think that I chose my second theme, the importance of
imagination, because of the part it played in rebuilding my life, but
that is not wholly so. Though I will defend the value of bedtime stories
to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader
sense. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision
that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and
innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity,
it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose
experiences we have never shared.

One of the greatest formative experiences of my life preceded Harry
Potter, though it informed much of what I subsequently wrote in those
books. This revelation came in the form of one of my earliest day jobs.
Though I was sloping off to write stories during my lunch hours, I paid
the rent in my early 20s by working in the research department at
Amnesty International's headquarters in London.

There in my little office I read hastily scribbled letters smuggled
out of totalitarian regimes by men and women who were risking
imprisonment to inform the outside world of what was happening to them.
I saw photographs of those who had disappeared without trace, sent to
Amnesty by their desperate families and friends. I read the testimony of
torture victims and saw pictures of their injuries. I opened
handwritten, eye-witness accounts of summary trials and executions, of
kidnappings and rapes.

Many of my co-workers were ex-political prisoners, people who had been
displaced from their homes, or fled into exile, because they had the
temerity to think independently of their government. Visitors to our
office included those who had come to give information, or to try and
find out what had happened to those they had been forced to leave
behind.

I shall never forget the African torture victim, a young man no older
than I was at the time, who had become mentally ill after all he had
endured in his homeland. He trembled uncontrollably as he spoke into a
video camera about the brutality inflicted upon him. He was a foot
taller than I was, and seemed as fragile as a child. I was given the job
of escorting him to the Underground Station afterwards, and this man
whose life had been shattered by cruelty took my hand with exquisite
courtesy, and wished me future happiness.

And as long as I live I shall remember walking along an empty corridor
and suddenly hearing, from behind a closed door, a scream of pain and
horror such as I have never heard since. The door opened, and the
researcher poked out her head and told me to run and make a hot drink
for the young man sitting with her. She had just given him the news that
in retaliation for his own outspokenness against his country's regime,
his mother had been seized and executed.

Every day of my working week in my early 20s I was reminded how
incredibly fortunate I was, to live in a country with a democratically
elected government, where legal representation and a public trial were
the rights of everyone.

Every day, I saw more evidence about the evils humankind will inflict
on their fellow humans, to gain or maintain power. I began to have
nightmares, literal nightmares, about some of the things I saw, heard
and read.

And yet I also learned more about human goodness at Amnesty
International than I had ever known before.

Amnesty mobilises thousands of people who have never been tortured or
imprisoned for their beliefs to act on behalf of those who have. The
power of human empathy, leading to collective action, saves lives, and
frees prisoners. Ordinary people, whose personal well-being and security
are assured, join together in huge numbers to save people they do not
know, and will never meet. My small participation in that process was
one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life.

Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and
understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into
other people's minds, imagine themselves into other people's places.

Of course, this is a power, like my brand of fictional magic, that is
morally neutral. One might use such an ability to manipulate, or
control, just as much as to understand or sympathise.

And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose
to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never
troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they
are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can
close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them
personally; they can refuse to know.

I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way, except that I
do not think they have any fewer nightmares than I do. Choosing to live
in narrow spaces can lead to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that
brings its own terrors. I think the wilfully unimaginative see more
monsters. They are often more afraid.

What is more, those who choose not to empathise may enable real
monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves,
we collude with it, through our own apathy.

One of the many things I learned at the end of that Classics corridor
down which I ventured at the age of 18, in search of something I could
not then define, was this, written by the Greek author Plutarch: What we
achieve inwardly will change outer reality.

That is an astonishing statement and yet proven a thousand times every
day of our lives. It expresses, in part, our inescapable connection with
the outside world, the fact that we touch other people's lives simply by
existing.

But how much more are you, Harvard graduates of 2008, likely to touch
other people's lives? Your intelligence, your capacity for hard work,
the education you have earned and received, give you unique status, and
unique responsibilities. Even your nationality sets you apart. The great
majority of you belong to the world's only remaining superpower. The way
you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring
to bear on your government, has an impact way beyond your borders. That
is your privilege, and your burden.

If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on
behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only
with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to
imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your
advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate
your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you
have helped transform for the better. We do not need magic to change the
world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the
power to imagine better.

I am nearly finished. I have one last hope for you, which is something
that I already had at 21. The friends with whom I sat on graduation day
have been my friends for life. They are my children's godparents, the
people to whom I've been able to turn in times of trouble, friends who
have been kind enough not to sue me when I've used their names for Death
Eaters. At our graduation we were bound by enormous affection, by our
shared experience of a time that could never come again, and, of course,
by the knowledge that we held certain photographic evidence that would
be exceptionally valuable if any of us ran for Prime Minister.

So today, I can wish you nothing better than similar friendships. And
tomorrow, I hope that even if you remember not a single word of mine,
you remember those of Seneca, another of those old Romans I met when I
fled down the Classics corridor, in retreat from career ladders, in
search of ancient wisdom:

As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is
what matters.

I wish you all very good lives.

Thank you very much."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Response to Salcedo

Thank you all for your comments on the previous posting. In particular, I'd like to thank Salcedo for addressing an issue that has kept me thinking for ever, not quite able to come up with a solution. I will try now to engage with Salcedo's point.

Salcedo, I've thought about it many times, about the how could we possible channel out the pent up anger, built over decades of abuse. Anger, as you well put it, that spits out in whatever interaction we see that touches on any sensitivities. Let's see how far can the therapy setting get us in terms of possible solutions: When there is hurt in a relationship the only way to avoid the anger is by letting the other person know that what they are doing or have done has caused pain in us. It's not a small feat, however. It takes a lot to expose our vulnerability, to appear to the other as someone "weak", it can be embarrassing to some and just simply unbearable to others. If by any chance this hypothetical person has done this in the past and received further attack or abuse, the chances of exposing such vulnerabilities in the future will be slim.

Here is a situation I have thought about many times and I even have the vague recollection of having mentioned it before on this blog, bullying. Those of us who live in North America and who have children in the school system know how sensitive this topic has become over the last 10-15 years and how the focus has switched from the victim to the victimizer. From "what's wrong with this kid who is picked on" to "what's wrong with this kid who is so mean and abusive". I think you can appreciate how momentous this switch is and what profound implications it has in terms of what you have asked in terms of resolving the built-up anger in Cuba. If anger is avoided by talking about pain, then it will take a society where pain and vulnerability are not sources of shame for it to happen.

In Cuba (and by extension, in any macho society) going to someone and saying this person wronged me by cheating on me, by hitting me, by sexually molesting me, by making fun of me, by humiliating me, by degrading me is not conceivable because you will get no compassion but rather disdain and rejection. You will automatically become a "trajin", a "tarru", a "penco", a "maricon" and a social outcast, laughed at and taunted to "do something about it", something violent that will definitely redeem your value as a man, or a woman. In a society where vulnerability is a source of shame there is barely a chance that anger can be averted. Cuba's is such a society and, sadly, it is a place where empathy is a word never used, let alone understood.

In a couple where letting your partner know that what they have done has caused you pain is used as ammo for further attacks, there is barely a chance of averting anger and withdrawal. It happens for example when you open up to your partner, you tell them about your past, your growing up, your relationship with your parents, your siblings, your peers, and so on, and what you get is either unresponsiveness or laughter or such information is dutifully stored for further used during an argument ("no wonder you are like this, this is what your father was like too") there is barely an opportunity for soothing intimacy. Hurt will trigger anger; anger begets anger. All done to avoid the shame associated with being weak. We will show ourselves to others as mean, powerful and vengeful not as vulnerable and in need of emotional repair.

With that in mind, Salcedo, I look with doubtful eyes but also with hope to where in time and how could we in Cuba begin such necessary process.