Validating and empathizing

But thanks to an explosion in research on infancy in the last 30 years, we now know that babies and toddlers are deeply feeling beings.

Starting in the earliest months of life, well before they can use words to express themselves, babies have the capacity to experience peaks of joy, excitement and elation.

The more a person seeks reassurance that their relationship with another is "safe," the more likely they are to push that person away, sabotaging themselves in the process.

For example, if hearing a tragic news story makes you feel almost as if the story concerns you personally, you have the ability to empathize.

When you sympathize with someone, you have compassion for that person, but you don’t necessarily feel her feelings.

One major obstacle in doing this which I see quite often in my work with parents is that they are operating under the assumption that (Something I still have to keep reminding myself despite the fact that my children are in their twenties!

) Muscling through difficult experiences, mastering struggles, and coping with sadness and grief builds strength and resilience, and is ultimately what brings children a sense of contentedness and well-being. Our children’s emotional reactions trigger our own emotional reactions, which can lead to a knee-jerk need to rescue or “fix” whatever is causing our child distress.

Since the fear of abandonment can be so strong and pervasive, people with BPD often engage in behaviors meant to provide reassurance that the other person still cares about them.


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