Health Magazine

The Teflon Mind

By Lisaannjarrett @bpdblog

“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” –19th century American nursery rhyme

Growing up, how many times did we hear this nursery rhyme? The moral of this rhyme is that despite whatever someone may say about you OR to you, responding with anger and possibly even violence is not appropriate. Instead, we should just take it ‘with a grain of salt’ and move forward.

On the other hand, for people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), it’s not just sticks and stones that can cause the individual harm. Instead, words CAN injure a Borderliner just as badly.


Well, many people with Borderline Personality Disorder are very sensitive individuals when it comes to dealing with other people as well as with their own emotions. For example, one of my big problems is when I’m talking one-on-one with another person. If this person raises the volume of their voice and start to act snappy, I get freaked out and tears start to roll down my cheeks. While there are some situations where crying would be understandable, typical everyday conversations that go down this route usually don’t make our more “average”/healthy counterparts cry.

With that being said, let’s now discuss a skill that can help BPD sufferers deal with situations, such as the example I gave, in a more productive, pleasant, and healthy way.


The Teflon mind is an awesome skill which allows an individual not to get too “wrapped up” in their emotions so they can function better. As food does not stick to, say, Teflon skillets, having a Teflon mind keeps our worries and anxieties from sticking to us so we can then go on with life rather than getting “tripped up” by our emotions. When having a Teflon mind, an individual can get back into/stay in the present moment and be mindful.

Another way to explain the Teflon Mind is with this real-life example:

Yesterday, I was bored so I went to check out a handful of sites that I tend to look at on a daily basis. One of these sites was a blog that mocks a certain individual involved in the natural birthing movement and the many sarcastic, crazy things this person says and does.

Reading the latest post on this blog, I notice the comments that followed it. Having previously typed a few things myself into the comment section, I was anxious to see what other people had said. Reading along, there were a few replies that were positive and even constructive at times… but then I noticed a few comments which actually targeted me. One of these comments said:

I’d tell you to get professional help, but you are a classic case of the select few that are beyond any kind of help available.

I can’t say that I’m 100% surprised because as I’ve been VERY honest recently about my Borderline diagnosis ( in a way, it’s very much like wearing a scarlet letter “A” all the time). But by being honest, I’m also leaving myself open to immature name-calling and the such. Despite the fact that this is 2011, mental illness in general still has a horrible stigma attached to it. This means that many people will use another’s mental health diagnosis against them in the most juvenile ways in order to “prove” the point that they are trying to make. It’s just like grade school all over again.

But guess what? Amazingly, while I did get a tiny bit upset (anger/depression), most of what was said about me on that blog didn’t really affect me much. Yes, I read EVERY SINGLE WORD that was typed about me, but it didn’t eat at me like similar things used to. I’m totally serious.

My secret? Teflon Mind.

Instead of letting these negative comments penetrate and upset me, I just read the comments and then washed my hands of them. If this was last year, I would have probably read the comments, got upset, and then cried for a few hours, ruining my day and any chance of productivity there might have been…. but I know better now.

Dwelling on the negative comments made about me would not just ruin my mood and my day, but also, I would probably go back and defend myself– fueling the fire even more. Stretching the issue out is NOT a good idea. Instead, an individual who uses Teflon Mind does NOT leave any traces and moreover, they are able to go about their day and move on.

I’ll admit…. this might not be the easiest thing to do, but the key is to keep going at it. Eventually, things will click and the positive results will be very blatant to you. Just try it and see how it goes.

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