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70-year-old woman with borderline disorder


I have been “treated”, but my complaints are now very present again. I’ve had about 30 years of therapy and yet another burnout. I’m very disappointed in the latest support from the practitioner and don’t want any more therapy. Is there any advice?

Answered by NiceDay Psychologist Wouter Schippers

It’s great that you’re looking for a way to deal with your complaints! I will do my best to provide you with some advice.

If you look at burnout complaints, you often see a skewed balance between tension and relaxation. Either we do too much, or we relax too little. This could be because of our characteristics, for example, if we tend to take on a lot of responsibilities or are afraid to say 'no'. If this happens occasionally, it’s not so bad, but in a long-term form, this can lead to chronic stress.

You can take the following steps:

  • Try to discover the reasons behind your bad and automatic habits. Often, we try to avoid something with these habits. For example, are you avoiding it to not burden others? Or do you avoid making mistakes? Do you avoid setting boundaries because of perfectionism? Or are you afraid of losing control?
  • Once you have an idea of what you're avoiding, you can start testing it. Stress involves several thinking errors, which make us extra careful.
    • We overestimate the probability of a disaster.
    • We underestimate our abilities to solve a disaster.
    • We underestimate our capacity to tolerate something unpleasant.
    • We take our mistakes personally because we only have 100% control over ourselves.
  • Now that you know this, you can start trying to do things differently. For example, do something completely different. Say no to everyone for instance. Or just do nothing for a day. You can learn things by doing things differently. Maybe you will learn that saying no is easier than expected, or that making mistakes isn’t as bad as you expected. Do you not like the new situation? Then you can always go back to your old habits!

I hope this advice helps you a bit to be able to challenge yourself and look for encouraging behaviour. It will be thrilling but remember that you are giving yourself the opportunity to learn something!



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