I wanted to get this down because in therapy we learn the importance of values as a way of finding out more about your identity (which in BPD people with struggle with identity and I still don’t know much about who I am) but also because I have made some changes to my values throughout the last year of therapy. In a way as I’ve been learning new patterns of behaviour and noticing old thought patterns I’ve realised that some of my old beliefs have changed and that some ‘default’ thoughts were actually things that I disagree with and so I made new values that I feel much better about. Some of them should be a no-brainer really but when you grow up with BPD in a domestic violence home they’re not really a ‘given’ as some people would think. So here are some of my values/beliefs/ideas which I want to align myself with from now on.
I don’t think I am responsible for my siblings as much as I once thought I was. I want to be there for them when they need me and be supportive and caring but they are not my responsibility particularly as they have grown up and it is not up to me to push my ideas and beliefs onto them. They are their own people and they are not my children. They can be who they want to be and prioritise their lives in terms of their own values and as a big sister my role is to be there when they need me – not push my ideas and judgements about ‘right and wrong’ and ‘teaching’ them values. They have to discover their own. This new idea is very freeing to me and I feel much better about this. They are allowed to disagree with what I think just as I am free to advise and they are free to choose not to take my advice and do what they want to anyway. They are responsible for their own decisions in life and will have to learn from their own actions and experiences.
Being physically violent is not okay, with my future children (if I ever have any) or anyone younger than me no matter how angry I am. I did used to get the occassional ‘spanking’ when I was growing up that old school parents used to dole out when kids were naughty and I used to think this would be harmless for my children too but I disagree with this now, particularly knowing that I have BPD. I have decided it is not an option, period. There are many healthy ways of disciplining children and I do not want my children to be afraid of me. I want them to respect me but I also want to respect them as their own individual selves, no matter how young they are. Young people from the day they were born are entitled to respect too, it is their God given right. Yes they will make mistakes, yes they will enfuriate me and yes they will do things that I don’t agree with. I will teach my children what I think is right or wrong but I expect them to disagree with me at times especially as they grow and that is part of their growing up experience too. I would like to think I can be aligned with that and tolerate the distress and anger at those times. I want them to grow up to be healthy and assertive, not afraid to speak their minds. I lack assertiveness and am still learning that myself and I don’t want the same for them. I want them to have the courage to speak their minds in a confident (not rude) manner – even if that is to me. This includes verbally threatening to be physically violent. That’s an intimidation tactic and it’s not OK. I don’t want to say anything to anyone like that suggesting I will be physically violent even if it’s as a joke. I don’t want to motivate people this way.
Just because someone is swearing at me (yes it’s happened to me and to most people I assume) I’m not going to swear back or name call (at least as much as I can) I’m pretty good with my anger now but I still want this down in writing. I don’t need to reduce my values because someone else is doing that to me. I don’t agree with swearing at people and name calling so I am not going to do it.
I’ve given up self-harming for a year but I had a 5 year stint before that too. So I want to reiterate the self-harming point too. Self harming is not the answer and it can not be used as a manipulation tool in a relationship no matter how distressed I am. It has never made the situation better it has only ever made me feel worse after I’ve done it wracked with guilt and shame and regret. I will use the DBT skill of FAST and stick to my values to keep self-respect and this is one of those ways I will keep my self respect. Self harming does not make me feel good about myself, the times I have wanted to self-harm and haven’t done it I have been glad I did that.
I am not going to enter a relationship until I feel good in my life and am ready. I am going to work on my love/sex addiction in therapy, address my issues regarding men and co-dependency and then consider a relationship. Until then I am going to assume my desire to be in a relationship/be with a man is part of my addiction. I try to use relationships as a distraction and regulation technique and yes everyone feels lonely at times but I don’t want to use that as a way of making me feel good about myself or secure. It hinders my progress. I want to have a life outside my relationship. I don’t want to be co-dependent as much as I can as it’s not good for me and doesn’t set a healthy example for children. I am currently 1 month free and want to try to reach 6 months of singledom without looking (ideally a year but I never reach this so I am starting smaller).
I also don’t want to have children unless I am in a stable relationship and feel mentally as stable as I can be. I leave it up to God as to whether I ever reach that stage but I decided many months ago that I refuse to bring children into the world if I can’t be a healthy mother to them. I want children so I do hope I reach this stage but I am content if I don’t. I never want them to have to experience the struggles I did because of my parents and my development of BPD. I may have BPD it doesn’t mean I want to repeat the cycle in my children. I want them to have a stable father and be brought up in a stable environment as much as possible. That will take a lot of work on my part but I know it is achievable with dedication. I want them to be able to talk to me, to feel safe and have happy childhoods, a childhood that I didn’t have and if I can’t do that then I have no business bringing children up. I also want a partner who understands and is sympathetic with regards to my BPD and who knows from early on that children is not something I can guarantee and will not be pressured into having because of this.
Unfortunately I have had issues with my mother growing up too and her parenting style isn’t always what I agree with. There are certain things she did/does that I have actually read in a blog of another woman who recovered from BPD that sounded identical so it leads me to believe it is definetly part of the invalidating environment that can cause BPD. So – I will not ridicule my children or other people’s children for that matter (I have a niece so I am including her in this) to other adults whether it be family members, friends, or people in the public I am conversing with. Children have their identity and are learning self-esteem they are not my ‘property’ they are a gift. They are individuals too and understand more than we give them credit for. Joking with them is different, ridiculing them in front of others is shaming them. I am not going to take credit for their individual talents (my mum always did this, e.g. if someone said I am pretty she would immediately say it’s because their mum is so obviously I would be thereby taking the credit for herself). I want them to be recognised for their individual talents and for them to feel good about themselves and if they are complimented that compliment is for them. If they tell me something in secret I will keep it a secret not share it to friends or other family members (something my mum and the other lady’s mum also did). It violates trust and causes feelings of shame. I want them to feel safe to tell me secrets and will keep it between us unless it is harmful for me to do so.
They are entrusted to us to be taken care of in the world and to learn how to develop into healthy adults not to do our bidding. Yes I can ask for things from them and ask for support when they are adults but that is not their primary role in life they have their own lives and needs and desires. They don’t need to worry about taking care of me because I can’t take care of myself. I have to take care of myself throughout my life (unfortunately my dad with uBPD has my younger sister as his little caregiver right now). I have to have my own hobbies and aspirations even when I am older and I am primarily responsible for myself – no one else. My husband could be there for me as I would be there for him but that also isn’t his primary role it is up to me how I spend my days. I am not entitled to being taken care of, they are not here to be enslaved to me with a sense of duty. Or to ‘worry about mum’ because mum has BPD or is being emotional or triggered or whatever else BPD can cause me.
Whenever I do get into a relationship I don’t want to cling or allow my fear of abandonment to cause issues. I don’t know if it will ever 100% go away (as it’s caused by emotional flashbacks from the past) I want to use my DBT skills (and others) and open communication to handle it as well as possible. I don’t want to lose self-respect and act out or cry or cling to stop myself from feeling the pain of the flashbacks (I have done this in the past). I will continue therapy if need be – if that will help me or have a supportive therapist who I can email during those times who will support me and hopefully through therapy this can lessen. I want them to feel free to go out with other people, have their own hobbies and spend time by themselves without worrying about me freaking out or having to ‘stay home’ with me all the time because I can’t handle being alone. I do however want them to understand this may not come naturally and so easily to me as it may do for other women because of my past and all the trauma I endured. (I’m not expecting miracles here). I also want someone who naturally doesn’t go out a lot and is loving as that is something that BPD aside, I am like.