Being Self-aware or NOT?


Personality disorders are a group of mental health conditions that involve long-lasting, disruptive patterns of thinking, behavior, mood and relating to others.
People with personality disorders often don’t realize their thoughts and behaviors are problematic. Self-awareness is arguably the most fundamental issue in psychology, from both a developmental and an evolutionary perspective. It allows us to see things from the perspective of others, practice self-control, work creatively and productively, and experience pride in ourselves and our work as well as general self-esteem (Silvia & O’Brien, 2004). It leads to better decision making (Ridley, Schutz, Glanz, & Weinstein, 1992).

It is one of the first components of the self-concept to emerge. People are not born completely self-aware. Yet evidence suggests that infants do have a rudimentary sense of self-awareness. Being self-aware all the time is hard. In fact, there are many human flaws – or cognitive biases – that keep us from making rational decisions. It’s these human biases that cause a lack of self-awareness. 

“Self-awareness is the ability to focus on yourself and how your actions, thoughts, or emotions do or don’t align with your internal standards.”

Internal self-awareness, represents how clearly we see our own values, passions, aspirations, fit with our environment, reactions (including thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses), and impact on others. External self-awareness, means understanding how other people view us. When it comes to internal and external self-awareness, it’s tempting to value one over the other. The bottom line is that self-awareness isn’t one truth. It’s a delicate balance of two distinct, even competing, viewpoints.

Self-awareness is a crucial skill to have when it comes to being a kind, compassionate and happy person. However, most humans are prone to do things or make decisions that don’t seem self-aware at all.

Disorders of self-awareness frequently follow frontal lobe damage. Patients with bilateral lesions of the premotor cortex often have poor self-awareness and finger tap slowly. Patients with orbitofrontal lesions also may have impaired self-awareness, but their speed of finger tapping is normal.

Although most people believe that they are self-aware, true self-awareness is a rare quality. Self-awareness seems to have become the latest management buzzword — and for good reason. Research suggests that when we see ourselves clearly, we are more confident and more creative. We make sounder decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively. We’re less likely to lie, cheat, and steal. We are better workers who get more promotions. And we’re more-effective leaders with more-satisfied employees and more-profitable companies.

  • Bodily self-awareness. T
  • Social self-awareness.
  • Introspective self-awareness.

There are 4 keys to self-awareness – being intentional, thinking differently, building skills, and changing your context – can make a vital difference in moving from passive self-awareness to dynamic action.

What disorder lacks self-awareness?

Individuals who have signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder or narcissistic personality disorder have one major thing in common, a lack of self-awareness. 
Why is self-awareness so important?
Being self-aware gives us the ability to end negative unhealthy patterns. If you’re in a relationship with someone who seems to lack self-awareness, whether they have signs and symptoms of BPD or NPD, we need to get to the core of the issues. When someone is lacking self-awareness, it will contribute to arguments within the relationship. A person who lacks self-awareness doesn’t have the ability to fully see how their actions and attitude affects another person. When we look closely into an unhealthy relationship, we find a lack of self-awareness.
Lack of insight also typically causes a person to avoid treatment. When someone rejects a diagnosis of mental illness, it’s tempting to say that he’s “in denial.” But someone with acute mental illness may not be thinking clearly enough to consciously choose denial. They may instead be experiencing “lack of insight” or “lack of awareness.” The formal medical term for this medical condition is anosognosia, from the Greek meaning “to not know a disease.”

It is also widely assumed that introspection — examining the causes of our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors — improves self-awareness. After all, what better way to know ourselves than by reflecting on why we are the way we are?

We need to be sure we are self-aware and apply it to ourselves in order to be more successful in every aspect of our lives. Self-awareness is key to mindfulness and understanding one’s self fully. Cultivating self-awareness requires an introspective approach, a system and a process to actively and consciously engage in the recognition of ourselves as an individual. This means focusing on all of our being — our beliefs (open or limiting), our physical state of health, our mental state of health, our spiritual state of health and more. It is an acceptance of all the good parts of ourselves and the areas that need improvement. It’s about who we are and what we do daily in each moment.




Self control, emotions and the ability to control your reactions

Learning self-control is one of the most important parts of growing up, right? We’re always trying to teach our kids how important it is not to let their feelings get the best of them. A lot of the time, though, when we try to reinforce self-control, we’re actually missing an opportunity to teach something much more important: self-regulation.

Self-regulation can play an important role in relationships, well-being, and overall success in life. People who can manage their emotions and control their behavior are better able to manage stress, deal with conflict, and achieve their goals.

Gottfredson and Hirschi define self-control as the differential tendency of individuals to avoid criminal acts independent of the situations in which they find themselves. Individuals who lack self-control tend to be impulsive, insensitive, nonverbal, short- sighted, and quick to anger. Those with low self-control are likely to pursue risky behaviors without considering the potential long-term consequences of their actions. So what then is the differences between self-control and self-regulation. Emotion regulation is the ability to exert control over one’s own emotional state. It may involve behaviors such as rethinking a challenging situation to reduce anger or anxiety, hiding visible signs of sadness or fear, or focusing on reasons to feel happy or calm.

Self-control is all about inhibiting impulses and emotions; self-regulation focuses on reducing both the intensity and frequency of those impulses.

It is important to understand that children are not born with emotion regulation capabilities. An infant is biologically immature and is therefore physically incapable of soothing himself during times of upset. This is why a nurturing relationship with a caregiver is so important to the healthy emotional development of a child. As the child grows, he or she learns emotion regulation skills from parents and other important adults such as teachers or close relatives. For example, the child may be taught helpful ways to think about problems rather than become overwhelmed when facing an emotional challenge.

A traumatised parent who is unable to control their own emotions is unlikely to have the ability to help their child. In some cases, the traumatised parent may escalate the child’s distress with angry or fearful reactions to the child’s problems. In these cases, the child does not have the opportunity to learn valuable emotion regulation skills while growing up. It can also be associated with an experience of early psychological trauma, brain injury, or chronic maltreatment (such as child abuse, child neglect, or institutional neglect/abuse), and associated disorders such as reactive attachment disorder.

Where does emotional dysregulation come from?
Some causes can be 
early childhood trauma, child neglect, and traumatic brain injury. Individuals can have biological predispositions for emotional reactivity that can be exasperated by chronic low levels of invalidation in their environments resulting in emotional dysregulation. People with a borderline personality disorder often experience emotional dysregulation and have greater emotional sensitivity, emotional reactivity, and difficulty returning to a baseline emotional level that feels stable.
Emotional dysregulation refers to the inability of a person to control or regulate their emotional responses to provocative stimuli. It should be noted that all of us can become dysregulated when triggered.

Symptoms of Emotional Deregulation:

  • Severe depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • High levels of shame and anger.
  • Self-harm.
  • Excessive substance use.
  • High-risk sexual behaviors.
  • Extreme perfectionism.
  • Highly conflictual interpersonal relationships.
  • Lying is really rooted in emotional dysregulation

The Difficulties lies in measuring emotion regulation when it comes to your personal responses. Following the measuring criteria’s to determine your ability to regulating your emotions:

  1. Nonacceptance of emotional responses
  2. Difficulty engaging in goal-directed behaviour
  3. Impulse control difficulties
  4. Lack of emotional awareness
  5. Limited access to emotion regulation strategies
  6. Lack of emotional clarity

Emotion Dysregulation may be thought of as the inability to manage the intensity and duration of negative emotions such as fear, sadness, or anger. If you are struggling with emotion regulation, an upsetting situation will bring about strongly felt emotions that are difficult to recover from. The effects of a prolonged negative emotion may be physically, emotionally, and behaviorally intense.

What is an example of emotional regulation? 

For example, an argument with a friend or family member may cause an over-reaction that significantly impacts your life. You can’t stop thinking about it or you may lose sleep over it. Even though on a rational level you feel it’s time to let it go, you are powerless to control how you feel. You may escalate a conflict to the point it is difficult to repair, or you may indulge in substances to help yourself feel better, thus creating further stress for yourself and others.

What are the 5 emotion regulation strategies?

The five strategies (see also Gross, Sheppes and Urry, 2011 – research which inspired this list) are as follows:

  • Manage the chimp (or ’emotion interrupt’) …
  • Suppress, mask or squash the emotion. …
  • Redirect your attention. …
  • Reframe what is going on positively. …
  • Change the context
How do I teach myself to be emotionally regulated?
There are a number of skills that can help us self-regulate our emotions.
  1. Create space. Emotions happen fast. …
  2. Noticing what you feel. …
  3. Naming what you feel. …
  4. Accepting the emotion. …
  5. Practicing mindfulness. …
  6. Identify and reduce triggers. …
  7. Tune into physical symptoms. …
  8. Consider the story you are telling yourself.
What are the 4 types of self-regulation?
Four major types of self-regulation strategies are:
  • Self-monitoring (also called self-assessment or self-recording)
  • Self-instruction (also called self-talk)
  • Goal-setting.
  • Self-reinforcement.

How do you fix emotional dysregulation? 

One of the most effective methods of treating emotional dysregulation is dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT. DBT is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy in which patients are taught skills and strategies for managing emotions, handling conflict, and building tolerance for uncomfortable feelings. It is common for those suffering with emotion dysregulation to experience difficulty with interpersonal relationships. Extreme emotional reactions and difficulty resolving conflicts, adds stress on personal and professional relationships. Given that successful emotion regulation is a key aspect of personal well-being, difficulties in emotion regulation are theorised to be a transdiagnostic risk for the onset and maintenance across psychopathologies.

Emotion regulation is essential for healthy functioning.

What is severe emotional dysregulation?

Emotional dysregulation means that an individual has difficulty regulating their emotions. They may feel overwhelmed, have difficulties controlling impulsive behaviors, or have angry outbursts. These intense responses can cause trouble with relationships, work, school, and daily life.

Emotional dysregulation refers to difficulty in regulating emotions. It can manifest in several ways, such as feeling overwhelmed by seemingly minor things, struggling to control impulsive behaviors, or having unpredictable outbursts.

There are many different types of emotional dysregulation, and each person’s experience is unique. Typically, emotional dysregulation means an individual has excessively intense emotions in response to a trigger. Therefore, an individual may feel their emotions are out of control. They may also have difficulties recognizing their emotions and feel confused, guilty, or stressed about their behavior.

If you feel that you do not have the coping skills and think this may be something you need to explore in your journey to being mentally stable and emotionally aware of your impact on relationships in your world.  Kindly contact Christel Maritz. She is a psychologist (clinical psychologist) operating from her Somerset West Office in Somerset West.

Coping through life isn’t living life

BWRT® is probably unlike any other therapy you’ve encountered.If you need a coping meganism, BWRT® is the way forward. It doesn’t use hypnotherapy or NLP techniques, nor does it involve tapping or touching. It is therefore ideal for those people who feel uncomfortable with some elements of other therapeutic techniques.

BWRT® has proved successful with more than just obvious areas such as stopping smoking or stopping unwanted habits. They have also been shown to successfully treat physical issues as well.

What can BWRT® help with?

BWRT® can provide relief from a wide range of problems:

  • Irritable bowel Syndrome
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Acne
  • Weight management
  • Insomnia
  • Migraines
  • Pain management
  • unwanted habits,
  • irrational phobias or fears
  • behavioural
  • emotional problems

In my practice as a Clinical Psychologist it is necessary to utilize a range of techniques to deal with different types of problems and disorders.

BWRT® has been designed to remove emotive responses from memories that are deeply troubling and to create new pathways that do not have the old emotional responses attached to it.  BWRT®  therapy extends the neural pathways so that the patient’s brain knows the new patterns to use in future.  Every new experience creates a new pathway. In fact, immediately after the therapy is finished, the client no longer experience any negative response to the usual trigger for their presenting symptom, no matter how hard they try to.

I recommend BWRT® Therapy. Coping through life isn’t living life—it is coping which takes a lot of energy and focus. Energy and focus that could be spend on living the life you want, coping more effectively and being happy.  If one prefers to use coping strategies rather than healing the root cause of the symptoms, BWRT® does the job.

Isolation and Mental Health

Most of us experience feelings of loneliness at some point in our lives. It might be because we live in isolation, or spend more time by ourselves than we want, or because we feel disconnected from the people around us.

Isolation is when we are separated (or feel separated) from the people and things around us. We may be isolated because we choose to be separated from others or because of a situation we can’t control (such as moving home or bereavement).

It is possible to feel lonely and isolated when surrounded by other people. All kinds of things can set you apart – your sex, your colour, your height, your weight, being serious about school, or just looking different. You can also feel isolated because of how you think and feel, if you believe others don’t feel or think the same.

Everyone feels lonely at some point in their lives. The novelist Thomas Wolfe called loneliness the “central and inevitable experience of every man”.

Stay connected

If you are struggling with isolation, you might feel like just giving up and cutting yourself off from other people. This is likely to make the lonliness and isolation worse. Try to stay connected with your community or to find activities where you can meet people who have the same interests as you. Doing things with others can really help – the more things you get involved with and the more people you get to know,  the less likely you are to feel less isolated and alone.

If you have no family or friends living nearby or have lost touch over the years, this can be a source of isolation and loneliness. Why not take action to get in touch, even if it’s been a long time. Pick up the phone, write a letter or send an email. The good news is that others may benefit from your call too!

Everyone feels a bit lonely at some stage or other – you can change this by making the first move. The key is to not wait on others to get in touch.

It’s an issue that many people find difficult to talk about. But, ironically, allowing others to see our vulnerability can be the root to finding deeper connections with others.

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