The Ambassadors program began in October 2007. The presence of the Ambassadors has helped many new members, that might otherwise have passed by, to get oriented and engaged in the healing process. Those that engage say this place is a life saver.
The Ambassadors are nominated by the staff for their outstanding contributions to the community. The esteemed members are listed on the gratitude wall to the left (left margin).
The Ambassadors role is extremely important. They greet the new members and make them feel welcomed, help get them settled, and help them find a board where they can get the most appropriate help. The Ambassadors help make the board a safe place for everyone to share their experiences and thoughts by keeping the tone positive and constructive.
We still have a large number of the newbies make 1-10 posts and then are "gone". Some need only a little info; some leave because it just isn't a fit. But for many, getting started is hard. Ours is an overwhelmingly large and complex website - and new registrants are already defeated or in a state of anxiety when they arrive. The Ambassadors goal is to welcome newbies and take them through and intro-period of 10-15 posts.
The Internet information on BPD is depressing and hopeless and often filled with anger and negativity. People want hope and motivation - no matter how meager - not anger and hopelessness.
To reach all the newbies, the Ambassadors typically make 750 posts per month as a group with individual Ambassadors making 3-4 posts a day, 4-5 days per week. This ensures that the workload is spread as evenly and the message diverse.
Welcome a Newbie here
Why do we ask new members to write an introduction post?
We encourage new members to write an introduction post to help us understand their story and their needs. Members will refer to these first posts often during a member's tenure on the board.
How do we address the first posts?
Provide Hope and Understanding More than anything, newbies want to know that there are others who care, others who have been in similar situations, and most importantly, that there are answers out there. Most people in difficult relationships want to "stay in the relationship". This is surely true of couples and parents or children and it is important to show acceptance of their starting point.
Ask Questions. The first step is to engage newbies in a dialogue. We all know that it is the quality of those first interactions that connects new members to community. It really helps to ask questions to draw out new members. It gets them talking and it encourages a two-way conversation. Try to resist the temptation to post advice in the beginning or provide pat answers. At this early stage it's much more important to ask questions than to answer them. Get the basics - age, marital and living status, kids, length of relationship - and what they need or hope to get from visiting us. This is important to know - some people want support, some education, some perspective, some tools - its good to ask it in a simple way.
Direct Them. Once they are engaged, advise them of the directory (at the bottom of each thread) and give them names, descriptions, and/or links to the boards that will be most helpful. Keep this part very simple and direct. For example, "we have an community for members with BPD children. You can find it using the directory link at the bottom of the page".
Note: The directory provides full board descriptions and the links take the newbie to the 'About this Board" in each community. Most "About this Board" threads have a downloadable pdf primer. You may want to refer to this is specific situations.
We also have links in a sticky at the top of the Ambassador board to some of our best information, including our articles, workshops, boards and commonly asked questions. It is helpful to provide members with this information, especially new members, but they can be used anywhere on the board or even in a PM. Please do familiarize yourselves with them.
Be Open Minded Establishing trust and that we are not judgmental and that we listen is very important in the early days. There will be plenty of time to work through the issues once the trust and confidence has been established. We receive newbies from all walks of life.
What does a Newbie see when they register?
Hi Newbie 37463,
I see that you registered with us today. I would like to take a moment and welcome you to our community. You are among friends. Many of our 60,000 alumni and 5,000 active members have walked the same path as you. Together, we support and educate each other to face the challenges of BPD relationships. Our discussions are based on an excellent database of print and video interviews from the leading authorities in the field such as John Gunderson at Harvard University.
I encourage you to check-in and make a brief post about your situation in [L1] New Members Please Post Here First. Your fellow members will welcome you warmly and direct you to the subcommunity that can best help you.
Your username is Newbie 37463 and your password is grasshopper.
I'm Skip, the Site Director. After you've had a chance to look around, let us know if you have any questions - there are 15 volunteers/moderators here to help new members.
Newbie 37463, I look forward to seeing you on board.
Special Link for New members
What do I say to when the topic is not familiar?
Lets say you encounter a thread by a parent with a bpd child, and you simply don't have any experience with this kind of situation. Welcome them with compassion, ask questions - that gets them involved, mention the "[L3] Raising a Child with Borderline Personality Disorder" board if it's appropriate. It is better to say something, just a line or two, than to let the post sit idle.
What do I say to a person the has Borderline Personality Disorder?
As our visibility increases, so do visits from misdirected BPs. Most often its an honest mistake. We encourage you to give them the same warm welcome and encouragement for dealing with their disorder. Encourage them to visit Joy Jensen's site - BDP Recovery (www.bpdrecovery.com). Joy (or Ash as many know her) wrote Putting the Pieces Together - A Practical Guide to Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder
As our visibility increases, so do visits from misdirected BPs. We recognise that having BPD must be very difficult for BPD sufferers. Please do give them a warm welcome and encouragement for dealing with their disorder. Encourage them to visit the site below:
Resources for Individuals with BPD.
What do I do if a Newbie looks like trouble?
PM to the mods and advisors (see who is one online). We can track the person's IP and against prior problems. There are always spammers, trolls, shills, and significant others visiting the site - it's just the nature of what we do.
What do I do if a member is posting badly?
PM the member and PM the mods and advisors (see who is one online). Sometime members trigger on a Newbie or engage them in debate right out of the chute. The "Intro" board is filled with Newbies that posted 1 - 2 and left for good while members flogged a "dead horse". Newbies are a different breed - they need to be handled with care.
What do I do if a Newbie is suicidal or having suicidal ideations?
All suicidal ideation should be taken seriously. Many of our members are depressed at one time or another. Suicidal ideation is not uncommon in clinical depression. The Journal of the American Medical Association has reported that 95% of all suicides occur at the peak of a depressive episode.
Often there is a progression over time from harmless ideations all the way to the act. The earlier we intercept someone in this progression, the more likely harm can be averted.
Our goal in such situations is to talk openly about the subject (tips on what to say) and to gently guide the member to "live local help" in a calm and non threatening way. Local telephone counselors are best - they can do everything from just answering simple questions and being a friend, to suggesting places to go for immediate / low cost assistance, to dispatching emergency assistance in the rare event that it is needed.
Lookup Your Local Hotline Numbers (enter area code, or state, or and state/county)
Note: There is an Emergency link at the bottom of every thread - please test it out and become familiar with the resources there. Better to know this ahead of time for when an emergency arises.
What do I do if a Newbie is involved in domestic violence?
Abuse is a pattern of coercive control that one person exercises over another. Abuse is a behavior that physically harms, arouses fear, prevents a partner from doing what they wish or forces them to behave in ways they do not want. It includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation.
Each year, intimate person violence results in an estimated 1,200 deaths and 2 million injuries among women and nearly 600,000 injuries among men. Domestic violence is sometimes confusing as the perpetrator is not necessarily a bad person or unloving or even badly intentioned - nontheless, what they are doing is very wrong and needs to be stopped. Behavior often starts modestly and then escalates, so it is helpful to recognize then signs early in the cycle, to get a safety plan in place, and to get help to bring it to end one way or another. There are many ways to resolve an abuse problem including anger management courses for the abuser, to temporary separation, to permanent separation, and others. Members should not keep it a secret or "in the family" - they have a much better chance to resolve an abusive situation if they have help.
Lookup Your Local Hotline Numbers (enter area code, or state, or and state/county)
Our goals as a community - if an argument is in process, encourage the member to leave the scene and contact a domestic violence hotline to chat (cool down) or for information. Local telephone counselors are best - they can do everything from just answering simple questions and being a friend, to suggesting places to go for immediate / low cost assistance, to dispatching emergency assistance in the event that it is needed.
If there is no dispute in process, our goal is to focus the member on developing a safety plan - this is the number one priority. Discussions about other considerations should be delayed until a detailed plan is in place.
DO NOT ENCOURAGE A MEMBER TO LEAVE THE RELATIONSHIP OR THREATEN TO LEAVE THE RELATIONSHIP WHEN THEY ARE EMOTIONALLY DISTRAUGHT
Often, leaving the relationship or threatening to leave the relationship escalates the abuse as the controller feels they are losing control. Also, a poorly planned exit is likey to fail (financially, second thoughts, etc.) Leaving the dispute is one thing, but leaving the relationship requires serious planning and we should encourage members to contact domestic violence agency for professional assistance in doing this.
People in abuse situations are often timid and feel they have no voice. Care should be used not to humiliate the member by making them feel inadequate for being in their situation or for not being decisive or for not wanting to leave. The nature of these realtionships can be very complex, It is best not to say inflamatory things about the abuser, rather focus on building a seafety plan and then on ending the abuse.
For Women: Safety planning should occur regardless if you are remaining in an abusive relationship, preparing to leave the relationship, already out of the relationship, or deciding to return to it. It is relatively easy to do, and if you ever need it, you will be glad it was in place.
For Men: In addition to safety planning, it is important to protect yourself against false domestic violence charges that can result result in jail time and can be used against you in a future divorce or custody disputes. When arguments get heated, if you restrain your partner (even if she is kicking, throwing things) or if you push or hold her (even if she is blocking you from leaving the room or a te house), you are at risk of a domestic violence charge if the police are called - even if you call them. If it becomes "he said" "she said" the male is more at risk of being arrested. If you responds to stress by drinking, your risk goes up as it is harder to control your emotions, and the police will be less willing to listen to you.
Safety planning involves the following:
Behavior often starts modestly and then escalates. It is helpful to recognize then signs early in the cycle and be prepared.
||Reading information about local domestic violence resources and legal rights.
||Developing detailed plans in case a dangerous situations occurs
||Developing detailed plans for leaving the location before early, before a fight escalates (men only)
||Identification (notification) of safe friends and safe places
||List of essential items to take should one need or decide to leave home
||Supports (emotional and financial) in place
||Plans for obtaining a restraining order
||Plans for what to do if there is unexpected contact
What do I do when the board gets busy
When the board gets busy, please post a thread here and ask for help. It is not a problem. Sometimes spending 10 minutes or so is all it takes to respond to the members who have not received many or any responses. Those first impressions really count and we want them to feel welcome and at home. If you haven't got a lot of time to write a post, a few welcoming words will help a lot as well.
What do we do with minors?
One of our membership requirements is that members are 18 years or older. This is to prevent anyone taking legal action against us but aside from that, many of our posts and threads are just not appropriate for under-aged children. We wish it could be different for these children but unfortunately it is not.
What if it all becomes too much?
You may be making it harder than it needs to be. The key is facilitate the newbies and member to engage in dialogue and getting questions up really helps. There are several shortcuts - let a staff member know if the workload is burdensome.
Remember, this is a voluntary role and all of you are members as well. Please do look after yourselves during your time here as Ambassadors. It is a very rewarding and enriching role, but self-care is very important. Step back as and when you need to. We really appreciate what you are doing and we want to ensure that you are happy during your time in this role.
How do I install my Welcoming Ambassador icon?
The instructions are below!