Not everything that is faced can be changed, But nothing can be changed until its faced.

Not everything that is faced can be changed, But nothing can be changed until its faced.

It’s been a bittersweet month, I have had the saddest couple of weeks and the happiest, it’s a roller-coaster. I feel like what I can only relate to as a grieving process and it’s been exceptionally hard for me, although I have my partner and people around me I feel isolated, alone & misunderstood by  the people I love the most. It has been frustrating yet I have also had the most amazing time of my life with my partner who I finally a sense of belonging with, but my inability to cope with my BPD has become a huge burden.

I have recently been struggling and have relapsed, my family don’t know much about it or the extent of it or how it affects my daily life and I know they will never understand, I will never let them into that part of my life or show them those vulnerabilities. I feel sometimes when I do, it is used against me.  Other people seem to think everything is simple and I should just be grateful for what I have and not make things so complicated. I know it’s not as simple as that, my life with BPD and other mental heath problems, along with normal daily struggles &  everyday stresses is very complex.

I see things differently from others, I try so hard and I’m trying to learn how to accept not everybody loves and feels with the intensity like I do because of my BPD, not everyone has that intense empathy. I have come to realise my close relationships are no longer what I thought they once were, my place in my family isn’t what I thought it should be. I have always felt like I didn’t belong, I know they love me very much and If I needed them they would be there and I am grateful for this.

But realistically, I have come to see that they have totally different morals and priorities to me and how I thought we were meant to be with each other and that the loyalty and protection I offer, is sometime just one way.

I know that for myself I need to let go, to stop trying to be the one that is there for everyone as that way I will not feel let down when I don’t get the same treatment. I am trying to understand that sometimes my care and affection is not wanted nor my need to care recognised. I have had a false sense of my relationships and have struggled between what they are and what I want them to be. I definitely know that  I’m not the easiest person to love or to be around, but this confusion has caused me a lot of pain and more so recently, I am trying to learn how to deal with it.

As time has gone on and more things have happened with people I care about leaving me feel let down time and time again, or dismissing my feelings, putting other family members or loved ones before me but expecting me to put them first, I have begun to feel on the outside, invisible, sometimes excluded from the close bonds that formed between them.

They all seem to have some loyalty to certain others and hold them on a pedestal. No matter how much I go out of my way to try to keep them involved in my life, it is often thrown back in my face. If there is a problem, I will go out of my way to care for them and make them happy and sacrifice things, putting their feelings first, without them even knowing it because that’s just the way I was made, though its causing me more distress as time goes on.

Apparently because I have made an independent life for myself and put on a mask, some people seem to think I don’t need them as much as they need each other, which is hurtful. Sometimes this means I need them more. I know how pathetic that sounds but my need for reassurance and my constant craving to feel needed and wanted pains me and the loyalty I have for them is not returned.

I have  tried to snap out of feeling isolated, but kept noticing that they weren’t drawn to me at all, didn’t care about important occasions in my life, like they do for other members of the family and that my feeling, thoughts and needs didn’t seem to count.

Finally the dam broke on this trip away and I have spoken up about it a little bit to the family I am travelling with when there was a disagreement, but they reacted defensively, refusing to admit that when problems or misunderstanding arise that they were being unreasonable, accepting that their actions or reactions were a part of the problem or unnecessarily taking sides when it wasnt needed. I told them they were dismissing my feelings and I feel like they are pushing me out and protecting each other, it’s not always  me to blame though I wear my guilt on my sleeve and I take responsibility when I’m at fault.

This may seem a selfish way for me to react, but I feel for now, it is justified as it’s the final straw for me, everybody has their limits and to save my own sanity these issues need to be addressed. Expectation really has always been the root of my heartache.

But at home there is a lot that remains unsaid, I cannot carry on to always be the one that is always holding out the olive branch or trying to make an effort, whether right or wrong, ignoring my own feelings for the sake of someone else. Though I’m sure this will make me the bad guy when I do finally explode and I will then suffer from hearing the ‘typical her’ ‘ here we go again’ ‘just ignore her, she’s in one of her moods’

I have started to see things in others that I have chosen not to acknowledge before now. Selfishness, greed, ignorance and a lack of empathy and unwillingness to voluntarily help others. Which are things I cannot always relate to, because I tend to have the opposite of  these traits.

The dispute between my close ones has intensified as I continue to be defensive, I have felt evermore criticised and rejected. There has been a lot of things that have happened throughout my life, lots of rejection and situations that have led to this point.

Fed up,  I have given in and have started to snap and make people aware of their behaviours and that they are hurting me.  The hypersensitivity that BPD has then resulted in outbursts as I have let things build up, the hurt and the from those close to me that don’t love or think like I do and leads to feelings of rejection and isolation and in turn the focus becomes on my frustration and angry outburst which makes it difficult for me to address the initial problem and makes it easier for me and my mental health to become the blame for all problems, this then sets the stage for further sadness, anger, and fears of abandonment, which perpetuate the cycle of rejection and hostility.

My initial reaction is to cut everyone off, but I love my family and I know they love me, so for now I need to take a step back and get to grips with the way they are, I don’t have to like the way they choose to live or be to love them and vice versa.

We all don’t have to get on all the time. The times they have been their for me and helped me through or supported me, do not go unnoticed, I have had more crisis’ to deal with than your average person and I know that being there for me can becoming tiring. I am not disregarding that and as I’ve said before, I love my close ones dearly and I am certain that they love me to, that has never been in question. I have been trying to understand splitting more in order to help me understand the difference in how I view certain relationships.

Splitting is a very common defence mechanism in people with BPD, leading sufferers to view others, themselves and life events in all or nothing terms. Because of splitting, it is difficult for individuals with BPD to recognise that good people sometimes do things imperfectly or make mistakes. The experience of splitting is very confusing and frustrating for people with BPD and their loved ones. Splitting can interfere with relationships and work life, and can lead to intense anger and self-destructive behaviours.

I’m not ashamed to admit I have sought more help, I am back in the service and I  have begun seeing a new psychologist and I am looking forward to working with her as It’s not often that you can find someone to work with, who you can trust and relate to. I wanted to pen (or type) the things that I will be working on, I used to research and write more often and it helped me make sense of my jumble thoughts in my head causing me so much suffering and confusion, I haven’t slept for the last 2 nights so I thought I’d come back to my blog to help me vent and to gain a better understanding of why I may be feeling this way and how I am reacting to certain circumstances and situations that I am currently struggling with in my life in order for me to move on.

I will be publishing a number of subjects which I will be working on, and publishing my finding, so that I can draw on them when I need them.

These are some of the subjects I will be looking into that will hopefully help me overcome my latest difficulty:

  • Guilt & Shame
  • Complex Trauma and Secondary Trauma
  • Splitting
  • Acceptance

 

 

Common Misconceptions And Myths Attached To BPD, Lets Get a Few Things Straight!

Common Misconceptions And Myths Attached To BPD, Lets Get a Few Things Straight!

I’ve always been quite open when it comes to my diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder but after it being repeatedly used against me I am finding it harder to be an open book, I mean, when is the right time to tell someone? When does it become their business? thus I decided that the next time I met someone I would try to keep it to myself so that they couldn’t pre-judge me before they got to know me.. which was all well and good, then I met someone who I thought I could trust, I thought would understand me because he also had a personality disorder and I understood that and I could relate to his feelings and behaviors .

It turns out I was wrong 😦  and the minute there was a bit of a problem, my disorder was to blame. because a man would obviously never be to blame when things don’t go his way would he? 😉  I don’t think he intentionally tried to hurt me by saying that it must be my disorder that made me think he was in the wrong, it was just the easiest explanation for him. But to me because of past hurt around my diagnosis being used against me, It was like a stab in the stomach, something I will not tolerate again.

True to my textbook Bridget Jones type lifestyle, the whole thing was a disaster and it didn’t go anywhere unfortunately, but there was definitely a valuable lesson to be learnt from it.

Not only this but I also had a conversation with an acquaintance, who is aware of my diagnosis, but uneducated on it.., I mentioned BPD in conversation in which my opinion differed from hers, and her words were ‘Yeah, that’s why I don’t always listen when you don’t agree with me coz youll probably change your mind in the next breath because of it’ AHEM no I wont, just because I don’t agree with you but still respect your opinion might not be the same, doesn’t mean its because I have a personality disorder and I would agree otherwise. If anything that is more of a reflection on your personality.

I also witnessed a conversation where someone stated a girl was ‘acting all bipolar’ because the girl had recently lost her mother and was upset about it, which to me is just plain ignorant on many levels.. but that’s another blog post.

bpd

Upon reflection of the recent incident’s and how  things panned out in  the end, also remembering how others have reacted to my disorder and common misconceptions I have had to explain to people, I began thinking about the myths and stigma attached to  BPD, I wanted to iron out a few creases so decided I would do that in a blog post, I read a few articles but came across one that I couldn’t have put into words better myself, So here it is…

One of the hardest things about coping with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (other than the condition itself) is the stigma attached to the condition.  A lack of understanding coupled with misinformation, unhelpful content on the web and even the attitude of some professionals mean it can be hard for those of us with BPD to get access to the help and support we need as our label puts us on the trash heap of life. In this post I hope to dispel some of the top myths surrounding the condition…

I want to try to discuss some of the more negative traits associated with BPD, including being called ‘attention seekers’ ‘manipulative’ ‘deceptive’ ‘demanding’ ‘destructive’ ‘obstructive’ and ‘dangerous’.  It’s hard not to find these words bandied around to describe BPD sufferers, so-called experts and therapists supposed to ‘help’ us use these words themselves, and often will do ‘anything’ to avoid getting a BPD patient on their list as we are considered ‘un-treatable’ ‘uncooperative’ and ‘non-compliant’ for treatment.  Websites that are meant to help and support us even use the same terminology – is it any wonder we feel victimised and like ‘no-one’ gives a crap!?

Well excuse me just a moment,  for all you so-called ‘normal’ people out there, you don’t have the ‘reason’ or ‘excuse’ of BPD but excuse me, just how many of you are all of the words listed above!?  I can’t count the number of ‘normal’ people I’ve met that lie, cheat, steal, abuse, deceive, endanger, attention-seek, and manipulate others!  So, come on tell me why is it OK for you?  But, because we have the label ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’ attached to our behaviour we are to be ‘abandoned’ ‘disowned’ and thrown on the trash heap of life as useless wasters not worthy of help, support and compassion?  Please, I really would like to know why we are the bad ones.  After all, in the majority of cases the reason we have this diagnosis is because of the MISTREATMENT of all the above kinds and more we have received at the hands of others (abuse, rape, emotional, physical and mental suffering, bullying, torment, and psychological torture… the list goes on)

Okay, so now I’ve had my rant let’s examine these traits. Each of these could be a post in its own right as there is much more to say, this is just a brief overview of each myth with sources for further information

1.) Borderlines are attention seekers…

Dictionary definition: “seizing the attention”

There are many people with personality disorders; they may be considered attention seekers but let me ask you, if you had a cold, what is it you look for from your partner or friends? Isn’t it comfort, reassurance and attention? So why would it be any different for someone suffering from severe emotional distress? Self-harming behaviours may trigger responses from others but they are rarely intended as attention seeking, they are very real expressions of an inability to cope and desire to escape the daily torture of BPD, the intent is to punish oneself or relieve some pressure, attention from others is not the reason for engaging in these behaviours

2.) Borderlines are manipulative…

Dictionary definition: “To manage or influence skillfully, esp. in an unfair manner: to manipulate people’s feelings”

This is a very harsh comment to make about someone who is using the best skills they have available. Try to imagine what someone with a personality disorder has gone through, and then think about what extremes you would go to protect yourself. Isn’t it true that life is a fight for survival or would it be seen that way through the eyes of someone with a personality disorder?

3.) Borderlines are deceptive…

Dictionary definition: “designed to deceive or mislead either deliberately or inadvertently

This is linked to the discussion about manipulation, the borderline can be considered a convincing liar, who sets out to intentionally mislead others with their manipulative and deceitful behaviours. However, a Borderline is highly unlikely to intentionally do these things due to the knowledge and fear that such behaviours increase the risk of rejection and abandonment, which of course are to be avoided at all costs. In fact due to the childlike nature of a borderline at times of pressure they actually find it difficult to lie at all, except for lying by omission (not revealing something, but not denying it either)

4.) Borderlines are demanding…

Dictionary definition: “requiring more than usually expected or thought due; especially great patience and effort and skill”

Imagine having a broken leg, you know there is treatment and with a little patience you will be better before you know it. With a personality disorder you are likely to experience the problem for many years with no real hope of a cure but your symptoms are likely to lessen as you grow older. Unlike a broken leg, you can not exactly see what is wrong but you can definitely feel it. I am sure everyone will agree this would make anyone quite demanding and impatient.

5.) Borderlines are destructive…

Dictionary definition: Causing or wreaking destruction; ruinous

This is true, if you consider it as ‘self-destructive’ rather than destruction aimed outwards. Reports of people with BPD  destroying the property of others or other destructive behaviours aimed at others are rarely true.  A person with BPD is likely to act impulsively when triggered, this includes a variety of self-destructive behaviours from unprotected sexual promiscuity to destruction of owns own property (punishment as you ‘don’t’ deserve these ‘nice’ things). Rachel Reiland describes how she burned her childhood awards, certificates and high school diploma in ‘Get me out of here: My recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder’ as she felt they did ‘Mean anything’ and this is typical of what can happen when a Borderline loses ‘control’ our achievements can become devalued and we can destroy things once held dear.

6.) Borderlines are obstructive…

Dictionary definition: “To impede, retard, or interfere with; hinder”

People with mental health issues have been often through mental health services for years. People with a personality disorder are likely to be involved with services for much longer than the standard mental health patient. They are offered so many services and therapies that have different names but often mean the same; they often end up feeling like a bit of a guinea pig, and reluctant to continue with another service or therapy.

7.) Borderlines are dangerous…

Dictionary definition: “Being able or likely to do harm.

The few films and TV representations of people with BPD tend to portray us as violent and at high risk of harming others. This is completely untrue, we are more likely to do ANYTHING to avoid hurting others, at great risk to ourselves.  Borderlines will sacrifice their own needs to try to make others happy and avoid any possibility that they would leave or reject us.  The only way in which we are dangerous is to ourselves, directing our anger inwards rather than outwards – this actually distinguishes BPD from Antisocial Personality Disorder, where sufferers anger is more likely to be directed outwards. For many BPD sufferers our own experiences on the receiving end of danger, violence and anger mean we avoid such expressions at all costs having witnessed the damage it can cause first hand.

8.) Borderlines are un-treatable…

Dictionary definition: “Incapable of being treated; not practicable.

Until recently mental health professional struggled with treating people with BPD and concluded it was untreatable, in fact it was just that the treatments used were ineffective and with improvements in research and understanding (particularly the work of Marsha Linehan) people with BPD now have a greater chance of recovery than those with Bipolar disorder – so long as they can get access to treatment, which is still the biggest barrier for most BPD sufferers.

9.) Borderlines are uncooperative…

Dictionary definition: “unwilling to cooperate.

If you were faced with a professional whose job it is to help you, but who has prejudged you (based on the BPD label) as all the words defined here, and additionally ‘needy, time-consuming and difficult’ how would you feel?  You would be able to sense those negative attitudes even if they were not verbally expressed, and they would become apparent very quickly in the relationship. Would you feel able to cooperate with someone who clearly doesn’t really want to be around you? of course not! Well this is what people with BPD experience all too often. we are not deliberately uncooperative, any more than the next person, but it is hard to cooperate with something when you can tell that your best interests are not at the heart of the issue, that getting rid of you as quick as possible is the key priority.  Given a chance the majority of people with BPD are willing to try ANYTHING to get better, how can that be uncooperative?

10.) Borderlines are non-compliant…

Dictionary definition: “a person who refuses to comply.

Linked to the previous definition this is about the notion that people with BPD are unwilling to comply with treatment, not taking medication prescribed, not turning up for therapy sessions etc.  As before it is hard to comply with something that does not feel aimed at helping you, but in fact due to the intense need to recover, avoid abandonment and rejection a person with BPD is actually more likely to ‘overdo’ it creating the ‘boundary’ issues that sometimes come up instead. Arriving too early for therapy sessions is one of my personal issues. All these things can lead to a person with BPD believing they are untreatable, beyond help and become filled with shame and self-doubt to the extent that they become non-compliant due to feeling the obstacles to change outweigh the possible benefits and chances of success. Thus, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and for the BPD  sufferer to be able to change the attitudes of others needs to change.

Source: showard76.wordpress.com

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A Letter from Non BPD’s from a sufferer of Borderline Personality Disorder.

Dear Non BPD,

You may be frustrated, feeling helpless and ready to give up. It’s not your fault. You are not the cause of our suffering, you may find that difficult to believe because we lash out at you, switch from being loving and kind to non trusting, nasty & unbearable, we may even blame you from time to time, but it’s not your fault. You deserve to understand about this condition, what we wish we could say, but we may not be ready.

It is possible that something that you said or did ‘triggered us’ A ‘trigger’ is something that sets off in our mind, A post traumatic event maybe or something that causes us to have distressing thoughts. While you can attempt to be sensitive with the things you say and do, that’s not always possible and it’s not always clear why something sets off a trigger.

The Mind is very complex, A certain song, sound, smell or words, can quickly fire of neurological connections that brings us back to a place where we didn’t feel safe and we may respond now with a similar reaction. (think of a military person who fights in combat – a simple backfiring of a car can send them into flashbacks This is known as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) This can happen a lot too us too.

But Please know at the very same time we are pushing you away with our words or behaviour, We also desperately hope you will not leave us in our time of desperation and despair.

This is Extreme ‘black and white thinking’ (Black and white thinking  is when someone is only able to see the extremes of a situation, and is unable to see the “gray areas” or complexities of the situation)  We will learn how to deal with this in therapy, but until then we may not have the proper tools to tell you this or ask for help and support.

We may do very dramatic things, such as harm ourselves in some way (or threatening to do so) going to hospital or something similar,  While these cries for help should be taken seriously, we understand that you may feel worn out from worrying about us and our repeated behaviour.

Please trust us. With professional help, and despite what you may have heard or read or have come to believe, we CAN and we DO get better.

These episodes get father and fewer between and we can experience long periods of stability and regulation of our emotions. sometimes the best you can do if you can muster up the strength in the frustration and hurt is to grab us, hug us and tell us that you love us and are not leaving.

One of the Symptoms of BPD is intense fear of being abandoned and we therefore (often unconsciously) sometimes behave in extreme, frantic ways to avoid this happening, even our perception that abandonment is going to happen can because us to become frantic.

Another thing that you may find confusing is our apparent inability to maintain relationships. We may jump from one friend to another, going from loving and idolising them to despising them- deleting their numbers and un-friending them on Facebook. We may avoid you, not answer your calls and decline invitations to be around you- and other times, all we want to do is be around you.

This is called ‘Splitting’ its another part of the disorder, sometimes we make the first move in order to protect ourselves, by disowning people before they can reject or  abandon us. Were not saying its ‘right’ We can work through this destructive pattern and learn how to be healthier when it comes to maintaining relationships. It doesn’t come naturally to us, it WILL take a lot of time and effort.

Its difficult, after all, to relate to others properly when you don’t have a solid understanding of yourself and who you are.

In BPD many of us experience identity disturbance issues, we may take on attributes of people around us, trying to find out who WE really are. sometimes we may even take on mannerisms of other people, We are one way at work, another at home, another with friends, this is how we got our nicknames as Chamelions.Some people work differently at home and work anyway, but you may not recognise us from the way we are at work to the way we are at home. it’s THAT extreme.

For some of us, in Childhood we experienced times with parents, caregiver, or other grown ups who could suddenly switch from caring or loving to abusive. We had to behave in ways that would please the caregiver at any given moment to stay safe and survive. We havent outgrown this.

Because of all this pain, we often experience feelings of emptiness. its smart for us to stay busy and distract ourselves when boredom starts to come on.

On the other side of the coin, we might have outbursts of anger that can be  scary. its important that we stay safe. It’s important that we do not hurt you or ourselves. This is just another manifestation of BPD.

Through Therapy we can learn how to regulate our emotions, so that we do not become out of control. We can learn ho to stop sabotaging our lives and circumstances. And we can learnt to behave in ways that are worrying or hurtful to you.

Another thing you may notice, is the spaced out look on our faces, this is called ‘dissociation’. Our brains literally disconnect and our thoughts go somewhere else, as our brains are trying to protect us from additional emotional trauma. We can learn grounding exercises and apply our skills to help during these episodes and they may become less frequent as we get better.

Remember that your words, love and support go a long way with helping your loved one to heal,even if the results are not immediately evident.

Not all the situations described apply to all people with BPD, a Person must only have 5 symptoms of 9 to be diagnosed, and the combinations of symptoms are seemingly endless. This post will just give you a typical understanding of BPD.

My Hope is that you will gain insight into your loved ones condition, grow in compassion and understand for both your loved one AND yourself. This is not an easy road but it CAN and WILL get better.

Do NOT read the negative  BPD forums or BPD hate forums, unfortunately there are people out there that don’t understand and are not willing to try. I would refrain from taking to going to these forums and bashing someone based on their mental health diagnosis.

WE ARE NOT MONSTERS. Everyone of us  is doing our best with the tools that we have.

Thanks for Reading.

BPD.

I originally found this letter on a website ‘Healing from BPD’ I felt it explained it quite well and I used some of the original and added a few items and words I felt were relevant to myself and my personal diagnosis. I hope you enjoyed reading it, I will post the original letter & blog site it came from when I set up Friends of Bridget Of The North’ Page 🙂