Emotional dysregulation and empathy

Hey!

So my emotional dysregulation impacts my life greatly. I mostly struggle with frustration. When I’m frustrated it’s very intense.
But anyway.
I’m also an empath. And recently I dove headfirst into vlogs about Dissociative Identity disorder (not cuz I have it, I was just interested in it) and I started disassociating and then my empathic abilities made me sort of “assimilate”? I say assimilate because I put myself so much in a person’s shoes that I start to experience feelings and thoughts as if I’m them. And then I can’t regulate those feelings…
This is a lot to understand, but I was wondering if anyone else has similar experiences with emotional dysregulation and empathy.

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Absolutely. I love learning about mental disorders but it can be really frustrating at times since I have to deal with the symptoms for a bit…

You wouldn’t happen to be talking about dissociatdid would you?

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Sounds like a superhero power you just need to learn to control the force :wink:

Especially when you work as an actor, what a huge skill to truly empathize this deep!

I have no idea if you already tried this but maybe mindfulness techniques could help. View emotions like a physical reaction to a thought, so when you have a reaction ask yourself: what am I thinking? And why would that cause a reaction? And then acknowledge the thought and let it go.

Also it helps to center yourself by placing your physical self in space and time by looking at the ground, surroundings (like walls inside or buildings/trees outside) and acknowledge the space between them and then try to feel your hands and feet without touching them, if that makes sense. It can happen sometimes that feelings of frustration or unwanted emotions just let go of you after you center yourself.

It might sound very new age-ish but it is not, it is Jedi :stuck_out_tongue:

You don’t have to believe in anything to do these things, you can just do them and practice. I hope it is helpful.

Warm Regards

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Hi Ellie!

Welcome to the forum! And yeah, emotional dysregulation like we have sucks…! I have something similar to yours, as well as some other situations that can get pretty ‘bad’. My empathy isn’t as strong as yours, though, so not that extreme or for that long, but yeah.:sweat_smile:

As for how to deal with it, I tried blocking out all emotions, but that’s not really a great wat to do it, and I managed a few years, then realized that emotions are important, so I should let myself have them. But I still have the same problems when frustrated, as long as you hsve emotions you have frustration, but learning how to handle it takes time, I’m still working on it.:sweat_smile:

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Yeah dissociaDID!

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Thank you for the tips!

And yes it’s a great skill to have as an actor, it’s one of my greatest assets. Definitely one of my biggest strengths most of the time.

And I’m thinking about mindfulness. I just came across Dialectical behavioral therapy, and I’m very interested in giving it a try. Going to ask my therapist about it.

Thanks so much for the response!

Yeah, I’m looking into DBT now because I think it would help a lot. When I watched the video about therapy for ADD and she was like “this therapy helps with emotional dysregulation” I was like “UHM thats what I’ve been wanting!”

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At my last therapy session, my therapist and I agreed that at our next session, we’ll start working on emotional dysregulation, being an empath, and being a people pleaser. Mindfulness is something she’s already recommended (and is a core part of Acceptance Commitment Therapy, which is basically what we do), but a lot of the time I can rationally understand that my emotions are more extreme than is warranted, but it’s difficult for me to physically calm down. And when I’m picking up on other people’s emotions and taking their emotions on because I think I need to show them I’m with them emotionally and I want to please them, it’s hard to really practice mindfulness. I think I need to work on setting boundaries and barriers to help protect myself. If that makes sense.

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I personally recommend DBT! I was diagnosed with Borderline personality disorder (and now after getting my ADD diagnose, I think the BPD was wrong), so I went through DBT and it really worked well on me and helped me a lot with my emotions and empathy! I will hopefully soon start a CBT especially designed for ADHD and see if that also adresses the emotions-part, but for now the DBT has really worked great for me. However it is a really intense therapy with lots of ‘homework’, just so you know :slight_smile:

absolutely can relate to this… and with some people i feel it’s gone on even many decades after those people are no longer in my life even… Sometimes i also find it hard to draw the boundary between preserving my own identity and looking to others for the solution…it’s definitely gotten better as i’ve gotten older but is still very much a problem…and one that i feel is perhaps more attributable to the ASD than a borderline personality…i feel when i do read into BPD it’s a shoe that just doesn’t quite fit with me… it’s not for instance that i don’t have a strong sense of self or a need to surround myself with people i perceive as stronger than myself for instance…it’s more that i find it hard to compete in certain environments and internalise a sense of worthlessness as a result and in effect end up clutching at straws in order to keep myself afloat in those situations (one of which might be trying to work out what other people are doing that works for them and then trying to imitate the behaviour). I also feel this is something that at least in the bast could be particularly triggered by people with narcissistic personality tendencies. I read somwhere that such people operate on some level by getting there “victims” to over-identify with them (and do things like even mirroring that persons behavior back etc). I feel that when i was younger this would get right under my skin very quickly, especially if there where also things i happened to have in common with the person and thus the over empathising and loss of self would begin… With age i do feel i’ve been better at avoiding those people and situations. Or i kinda have a system now for how to cut those people off, regardless of how i feel about them. Also understanding that liking somone or having them like me is not actually enough or even the only thing to consider in a friendship or relationship…that there are some things that i have to rely on my system to make decisions with… for instance i have certain red line behaviours that if a person starts to exhibit they basically get a first strike…i have a discussion with them about it…if they are able to talk it through with me things can continue but if there is a second strike i have to end it there and then…again not because i would want it to end but because i use the system to remind myself that the reason such things are a limit is because i know i do not have the resources to be in that situation without it severely impeding on my health (and perhaps the other person as well). So far there are only two people i’ve had to end something with as a result (one was a friend, and it was early on, the other was a relationship). I do still find it hard i think because my ASD makes me too trusting…and also i have a tendency not to want to run away from difficult things but rather to see first if they are challenges that can be overcome. Usually not an unrewarding experience but i feel sometimes that i would have a stronger sense of self and my own life if i was a bit more able to process these things… the problem is when someone does slip through the net (or has done so before it was even in place) i feel the consequences can be life long… I feel somehow ASD can hinder the grieving or adjustment process… I feel like things that other people may have processed and come to terms with within the space of 5 years have taken me much longer and seem to effect me more like somone coming back from a warzone with PTSD or something. It’s stupid and frustrating but so far the safety net system is the only thing i’ve found to at least reduce the frequency of such things.

Sorry for the long reply but hope it is usfull in some way. Also interested to read other peoples solutions n.n.