I wish I’d have learnt this sooner. Seems, I have had misplaced loyalties. I have been having issues with my relationships with other, some are unhealthy or toxic relationships, and some just need more boundaries. I’m trying to work out the best way to move forward with my life, cut out the negative and surround myself with the positive in order to survive with my personal issues and my Borderline Personality Disorder.
I have always felt that I needed to put up with people because I am related to them or because I have a strong sense of loyalty. Since last year I’ve slowly realised that the people who you love the most are the people who can easily hurt you. I feel I am misunderstood, my mental illness has never been took seriously and has been used against me time and time again. It is never took into consideration, yet I have to be considerate of others. Triggers have been used constantly despite my warnings and me practically begging the other party not to make me feel any worse during disagreements that spiral out of control due to their lack of understanding or their stubborn ways and refusal to see from other points of view. I have constantly been told ‘ I will not walk on eggshells around you because of it’ Though this is a misunderstanding of what I am asking, I have never expected that. I only expect people to be gentle around my mental health triggers and not to tread all over my heart and my emotions, when I’m upset, please recognise this is dangerous for me and understand that it is a struggle for me to recover from this without being in harm’s way. Especially when its clear that I am just trying to diffuse the situations and do whats best for me.
Recently I questioned a family member about a situation in which they had compassion for someone else in my family that has depression and has acted in a bad way because of coming of her meds. She was forgiven instantly and I was told we should all forget about it and move on and feel sorry for her. (despite that I was really hurt in the process) I asked ‘Well I am mentally unwell too, I’m having a really hard time and I am the one that has been let down and have had a lot of stress because of it, it would be nice if you could think the same for me and treat me with the same compassion for my mental disorder’ The reply I received? ‘Yes but your used to it’
If someone had epilepsy for example, would you say ‘ I’m not going to stop flashing my strobe light in case you have a fit, why should I?’ or If someones arm is broken, every time they knock it would they say ‘Oh you get knocked all the time you should be used to that pain by now’
MENTAL ILLNESS IS REAL, EVEN THOUGH YOU CANT SEE IT.
Certain people close to me often make me feel guilty when they help me with something as if im not appreciative enough, and I have felt that I have to put up with it, because they love me, because they helped me sort something out, because they listened to my cry, because sometimes they have been their to support me. But in reality, that doesn’t mean that I have to put up with all the negativity that comes with it. I should not be made to feel like I owe them, so have to put up with the way they treat me when they are in a mood or when they say hurtful things or are not careful with my feelings. 80% good doesn’t outweigh the 20% bad. It’s the same as being in a violent relationship.. for an example If someone is nice to you and treats you well and says nice things to you for 365 days of the year, does that make it OK to beat you up once? does it work like that? because of all the times they have been there for you, are all the sleepless nights, tears, anxiety and panic attacks and self harm deemed as OK? because you owe them for the times they did help you? I now see clearly that this isn’t right. I do not have to put up with that and should not be made to feel like I should feel more worthy of their company.
I have realised most of my anxiety, hurt, stress comes from the people closest to me and without that in my life I can cope much better. Luckily despite these constant knocks, criticisms and misunderstandings of my personality, I feel stronger than ever.
Finally I’m saying enough is enough, I really don’t have to put up with this shit any longer. No-one has the right to make me feel bad about my decisions and the way I live my life. If I am upset with someone, I am always made to feel guilty and apologise first, I accept when I am wrong but I am also the one to hold the olive branch out as if I don’t, I come under harsh criticism and it’s not worth being made to feel the bad person for. I have to forgive when I am not ready, which makes me upset further and makes it more difficult for me to handle mentally.
I have always felt this way,like the bad egg whose always in the wrong, as that is how I am perceived. I am then told ‘Oh its typical you’ ‘always feeling sorry for yourself’ ‘here we go again’ but sometimes, believe it or not I am not always to blame for everything. Other people seem to be excused for how they act and are allowed to be upset and angry and want to defend themselves..and that’s perfectly normal. But when its me, I’m selfish, I’m a horrible person, Its my mental health to blame. I sometimes wish no-one knew about my problems, the stigma is real.
I have given my situation much thought, I have discussed it with the people I trust and that have my back no matter what and understand my mental health issues and how it affects me. i.e my therapists, my husband and my close friends, who agree that I am in a vicious cycle with other members of my family & friends and I will never win or be enough to them. They see the same as I do, I am not alone in how I feel about this, they see that there is no compassion or understanding or effort made for me and my life. I will do 100 good things, but the 1 time I react in a way that someone doesn’t like because of the constant put downs and inability to bite my tongue again.. and I’m persecuted for it.
I am always told that I need to cut this negativity out of my life, its hard for the people who live around me on a daily basis to see the upset and hurt caused by people and things from my old life. My family members who do not know the real me, because they refuse to accept me.. yet are quick to assume I’m the same person that was a terrible teenager or a troubled child perhaps. I will never grow out of being that person to them, even now when I’m approaching my 30th birthday. I’m still the bad guy, and the efforts I have made, love I have given and the things I have overcome..will still never change their perception of me. My opinions don’t matter, my emotions are sensitive because of the BPD but this is never taken into account.
I feel like I live a totally different life to the people I left behind in Middlesbrough 10 yeas ago, I don’t feel the same, I don’t have the same morals, worth ethics, priorities. I don’t live my life the same, my home routines are different, my parenting is different. And you know what, that’s OK too. Its time to accept that I’m holding on to a part of me that makes me feel negative and drags me back down. I sometimes get brought back to the person I was before, the feelings I had growing up. I’m not that person any more, I do not have to have those ties and certainly don’t have to be made to feel that I am wrong because of the way I choose to live my life. Everybody is not the same.
To be perfectly honest I don’t like the way other people live their lives sometimes, I don’t like their choices. But I respect them and understand not everyone thinks the same way as I do. I deserve that respect back. I’m always made to feel guilty and wrong because I like things done in a certain way, I know what I want and how I want it to be done. and I now have realised that I shouldn’t be ashamed of that or made to feel bad. That’s the way I choose to live my life, everyone else is entitled to do things their own way and so am I. If I choose to have rules and boundaries surrounding my life, in order for me to limit my anxiety or better manage my mental health then that’s exactly what I will do. I will no longer feel bad about this. Maybe I need to be more stubborn, trust my own judgement and not give in to every criticism. There’s only me that knows how to handle my own head.
When it comes to certain people I have been close to and that I care for, I feel that these are my biggest downfall, my biggest critic and where it all goes wrong for me, these toxic relationships are my biggest trigger. I feel I am on high alert, waiting for the next outburst or put-down. The more beliefs time I spend with these people leaves me feeling apologetic, unworthy, unlovable or timid – and these pervade every area of my life. The effects of a difficult people who do not understand, are unreasonable, set on their ways & cannot see their own flaws are profound.
Fortunately, there are ways to manage your adult relationships with the people around you that can help minimise their negative influence.
• Acceptance. You cannot change them. You cannot fundamentally change the relationship especially if these people are family: it is as long as your life. The toxic people will either be in denial or so skilled at deflecting your needs or justifying your relationship that you are unlikely ever to talk them round. They are not willing to see from your point of view. You need to stick to your guns, trust your own judgement and realise its OK to be me, its OK to know my own feelings and know what I want.
• Focus on what you can control, which is your reaction. Instead of getting into further arguments, be strong and frame your complaints as your own feelings: simply tell them ‘I don’t like the way you have treated me. You’re making me feel unwell and I must look after myself for the sake of my children, my husband and myself.’ They may still dismiss your feelings, but you have sent out the signal that you don’t accept how they make you feel.
• If your health is actually suffering,end face-to-face contact. As sad as this sounds, despite what is culturally entrenched, you do not have to see these people often. Sometimes its necessary, it doesn’t mean you don’t love them. You can still love them and be there if they need you, but you don’t have to spend too much time with them in order to live your life.
• If cutting off contact is not an option, try to control the circumstances in which you do see them. It’s common to spend entire weekends with family & friends. But why, if you know it will end in an eruption? A catch up or lunch in public with others and they are less likely to end in disaster or bad feeling. Even asserting control over the venue will make you feel better. The less you speak to them, the more positive things you will have to talk to them about when you get together. It could be good for your relationship.
• Use their own techniques and refuse to take on board their moods by asserting your own, positive response to any goading. ‘I will do it this way, it works for me’.
• Sometimes, threatening to leave is the only way to make your point. ‘It’s not working out today. I’m going to leave a little earlier, or ‘I don’t want any negativity. I’ll see you when you’re in a better mood.’
In summary, I refuse to be someone I don’t want to be anymore..the best thing is. I don’t feel guilt. I feel relief I am in charge of how I feel, If I want to be upset then I can be, If I have to live my life in certain ways and be fussy about how I want to live, in order to survive and stay sane..then I will. and I am entitled to cut someone out of my life or distance myself if I feel they are a constant negative presence or if they put my happiness or health in jeopardy.
Most importantly If someone treats me badly or hurts my feelings, I have every right to defend myself and not tolerate that shit.