borderline personality disorder · sex and love addiction · Uncategorized

Dating and Dreams.

Ahem, I was saying. I have made the decision to start dating again. Not like tomorrow soon, but another month or 2 soon. I talked about it with my psych on Monday and we looked at the why’s and a little bit about how it used to go vs. how I want it to go now.

Some of it is because I think it’ll be a great chance to practice more of my skills I’ve picked up. I know I used some of my DBT skills in my last relationship and they worked well, helping me break up with very little self destructive or other-destructive behaviour. I treated myself well afterwards and my only regret was that I never told him how much the relationship meant to me and how great a person he truly is. My thoughts of him are very fleeting and rare now, compared to the times I thought of him everyday.

Another reason is, it helps me tackle my social anxiety. Now, there a lot of other ways to do that but first dates are one way. They force me out of my comfort zone bubble and get me talking. Once I’m over the nerves and  the – I’m going to turn back the other way and go home RIGHT NOW – moment I always have just before I meet them, I’m OK and it’s usually fun, or funny, depending on how it went.

I want to be able to practice all that I’ve been learning about boundaries too, it’s interesting to me how I’ve been out in the world dating without them. I mean, I did relatively OK, but it feels like I’ve been walking around with no armour. Now, I’m hoping I will be able to set much clearer, firmer boundaries a lot earlier and keep myself safer and if I’m not feeling safe, I am hoping I will have insight to look into the problem areas and then speak up. 

This is the first time I’ll be in therapy while starting the dating process too, so it feels reassuring to be in the process with my psychologist and it may well give us a lot more to work with. This ties into the fact that my BPD manifests the strongest in romantic relationships, my emotions are quadrupled too, so I feel like it’ll reveal a lot more to my psych and help me heal in a lot of ways.

My sponsor in the SLAA program is also going to help me make a ‘dating plan’ which makes me feel a lot safer. It’s like I’ll have a map to get me through the woods. I had to write ‘bottom lines’ in the program which are behaviours that are unacceptable to me and that I want to absolutely avoid (major no no – dating someone I don’t even like?!). Just having them written down means I have a clearer idea of what I do and don’t want to do when I start dating and when getting into a relationship. I can always call her when I’m stuck or in a really tricky situation too, so it feels nice to know I’m not going through it alone and can get guidance. Plus, I have you guys too who are all super supportive and wise 🙂 ❤

I’ve also been in recovery without major lapses for 16/17 months so I feel stable enough in my day to day as a single person. I want to push myself in recovery and see if I can add more relationships to my life through that. 

The most obvious reason is obviously that I really do hope to find someone who is loving, gentle, patient and who can understand and care about me – BPD and all. I will tell anyone who I resonate with about my BPD, if they can’t accept that or support me with that, then it’s ta-ta.

My psychologist said it seems I have put some thought into it and that I seem sensible enough about it. He pointed out something to be wary of – which I am grateful he did. It was about not attracting a ‘certain type’ of person – the dyfunctional type. He said with borderline personality, I have a kind of ’emotional charge’ and so I look for the same in relationships. When I’m interacting with people I am looking for an emotional intensity to match my own, so regular, ‘nice’ guys can seem kind of boring in comparison. Since regular, healthy guys are living day – to – day normal lives without major emotional highs and lows, when I’m talking to them I don’t get that same ‘rush’ or excitement so, I don’t take it further. But, those who do have that kind of emotional intensity, usually have some kind of emotional problems of their own. I hadn’t thought about it before but I am definetly going to pay attention to it. That’s not to say that I didn’t like one or two guys who seemed ‘stable’ enough, it’s just that life happened and we didn’t take things further.

I did have an unfortunate experience exactly like this so I know he’s right – but I’ll make that another post!

I had a dream last night. I had re-married my ex-husband (not even if he was the last man on earth – Lord knows what got me to do that in my dream but hey, let’s roll with it). We slept in different beds for the wedding night and when I woke up I was asking him what he was up to. He was on his tablet, busy (something he did a lot). I kind of looked around, wondering what to do since he obviously wasn’t going to spend time with me ( a HUGE issue in our whole relationship ) bored and frustrated, I held my breath and realised he hadn’t changed at all and this is what it would be like, AGAIN. I sat alone, and noticed how he didn’t want to hold me either, nothing had changed there either. I felt hopeless and woke up.

I know the obvious meaning to this dream is that I’m afraid I’m going to find someone and end up in exactly the same position – feeling unloved, feeling like I’m with someone who doesn’t care or doesn’t want the same things as me. That I’ll be left on my own while he’s busy and I’ll be in that same hopeless position of wondering how I got here and feeling like it’s too late to get out (symbolised by the being ‘married again’ as opposed to dating which is a lot easier to leave).  But I’m going to talk about it on Monday anyway because dreams have a lot more to them than the obvious, I’m sure he’ll reveal more to me. Better that it all comes out now than before I start dating.

 

 

 

 

 

borderline personality disorder · bpd · mental health · Mental health culture · Uncategorized

Girl, Interrupted.

So the book finally arrived yesterday and I finished it by, well, yesterday. I want to share my thoughts about it, especially in terms of BPD recovery.

The book gripped me from the beginning, maybe because I enjoy books and films on mental health or those written off as ‘insane’. Anything that has anything to do with mental wards and psychiatry and you can count me in! The whole thing just fascinates me, but also because Susanna is a very talented writer. She adds a unique touch which makes the whole thing more relatable – snippets of her case notes from her time of admittance to discharge, between chapters of the book. I don’t feel so alone in my BPD anymore but something about seeing the ‘concrete hard’ evidence of her time made it seem so real. This is a writer who has lived it, and is still living it. This is someone who has ventured to a place I have not been and is back, writing this book. How awesome is that?

I wanted to read this initially because my psychologist told me her BPD manifested in terms of some psychotic symptoms (seeing things that aren’t there) and while she describes it a a little, I was hoping for more detail. I was also hoping for the slow progression to recovery which gives me a lot of hope, insight and determination to keep going. Rachel’s ‘Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder’ takes you through that journey and truly leaves you believing that if she can do it, so can you. I don’t think that was the purpose of this book which did leave me a little disappointed. It would have been nice to understand how during her 18 month stay at the hospital she started to feel better. Which therapists/nurses supported her? What activities made her change her outlook on things or did she leave feeling pretty much the same? All I was really left with was understanding that her time at the hospital did help, but on discharge she was in remission rather than recovery and the real work probably began once she left the hospital and began her adult life.

On the upside, Susanna has a very quirky, at times – sarcastic and witty outlook on things and, as if right on time in my life, she too questions the diagnosis.

‘What does borderline personality mean, anyhow?…to quote my post-Melvin psychiatrist: “It’s what they call people whose lifestyles bother them.”

“The person often experiences this instability of self-image as chronic feelings of emptiness or boredom.” My chronic feelings of emptiness and boredom came from the fact that I was living a life based on my incapacities, which were numerous.’

And what were the capacities she wanted to live her life based on you may ask?

“Boyfriends and literature: How can you make a life out of those two things? As it turns out, I did.”

There were also points during the book where she described her experience so accurately, in such a well-thought out and vivid manner that I just had to pause and contemplate.

“Something had been peeled back, a covering or shell that works to protect us. I couldn’t decide whether the covering was something on me or something attached to every thing in the world. It didn’t matter, really; wherever it had been, it wasn’t there anymore.

And this was the main precondition, that anything might be something else. Once I’d accepted that, it followed I might be mad, or that someone might think me mad. How could I say for certain that I wasn’t, if I couldn’t say for certain that a curtain wasn’t a mountain range?

I have to admit, though, that I knew I wasn’t mad.”

The whole thing does make me laugh at the same time. If not a ‘recovery’ book, it is entertaining, thought-provoking and proof that those with mental illness can live a fulfilling life outside the diagnosis. Susanna is proof of that.

 

 

 

 

 

borderline personality disorder · bpd · mental health

BPD Resources

I want to share with you all, a range of things I have found, from Youtube vlogs, to insta pages, to research books written by clinicians in the field. Luckily, some amazing men have put themselves out there as well, so I’ve included that too. Of course, if you can add to this list, please do it will help me too 🙂

Let’s begin!

A site for free downloadable psychotherapy books, from this page I downloaded two recommended books (both of which give insight into the treatment of BPD by therapists):

http://freepsychotherapybooks.org/psychoanalysis/product/listing

The two books are (I haven’t read these yet but another blogger found them helpful in recovery.)

Borderline Pscyhopathology and it’s treatment – Gerald Adler

Six steps in the treatment of Borderline Personality Organization – Vamik Volkan.

The next ‘resource’ I will mention is a youtuber who isn’t as active now as he was before, but has really shed light on BPD, BPD recovery and relates his experiences in a really down-to-earth, light-hearted way. His channel’s called ‘MeAndMyBlackTable‘ what’s really interesting is that he has been for quite some time, in a successful LTR with someone who is also diagnosed with BPD – and they say it can’t be done! (Recovery tip: anything is possible).

Another great youtube channel: ‘Silencewithinme’ previously diagnosed with BPD (and other things) I found his channel helpful in the sense of feeling not so alone. He has also suffered from social anxiety and whilst not exclusive to the disorder, I know a lot of people experience this.

‘BPD transformation’ is another wordpress blogger who talks about how they recovered from BPD and also their views on the diagnosis. It was through this site I found out about the books.

Youtuber Daniz also blogged her recovery from BPD and various addictions. What I like about her videos is you can see the relationship between the desire to get well and relapsing, it is also inspiring to see her progression over time, giving others much needed hope.

For those who are mothers with BPD: Borderline mama is a wordpress blogger with amazing insight into BPD and really informative articles.

On instagram I follow: borderlineandbaby who also has a youtube channel and is also in a good headspace (as far as I know) from her recovery from BPD.

Recovery Mum on youtube also has a great amount of insight and talks about things not often spoken about (BPD and sex for example?).

dbtselfhelp allows you to access a whole bunch of dbt worksheets for free and a youtuber has made videos for free access explaining the modules for those who can’t access DBT – DBT Peer Connections.

Besides watching youtubers and following accounts, I read a lot and I’m waiting for my Girl interrupted book to arrive so I can give my thoughts on that.

I hope this helped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

borderline personality disorder · bpd · mental health · Uncategorized

BPD and Work.

So my crash last week lasted several days. I ended up calling in sick and going in later the day after that. So it took me about two – three days to recover from some inexplicable mental exhaustion. I spent some of Saturday looking up how to cope with working full-time when you have BPD in the hopes of learning something new and to post on here but sadly, there isn’t that much. In handling my other issues – I found a lot on distress tolerance, or handling emotions etc. but not many tips on how to work full-time and not struggle.

The most of what I got was, some people are just managing to do it, or like me, are taking a lot of time off sick. On the other end of the spectrum, those who do manage to perform well working full-time or even longer hours in demanding jobs don’t always have their symptoms under control outside work, in short, their lives are just unhealthy in a different way. This is not to say everyones experience is like that – I have read enough accounts to know it can be done and whilst living a healthy lifestyle, it’s just that I still don’t have enough information on how it can be done.

I did thankfully get some answers to why I might be more exhausted, in therapy. I know in my experience of borderline personality disorder my inner life is a lot richer. There is so much more going on, granted mostly negative at the moment but – I have so many more thoughts, so much more emotion, so many more reactions than other people do, and I don’t entirely hate it, (in fact, sometimes the extra emotion doesn’t feel like a disorder at all but just another way of looking at the world). Plus, in recovery I am learning to adjust, to control, to express, to release, to be mindful, to assert at the right times, to separate and connect with others. In other words, below the surface I am doing a lot more than other people are in any given day. This was true for me just yesterday, I spent the whole day out in the City and there were times, in the crowds I was met with angry, snarky women making comments or hushing under their breath, I could feel the immediate physical sensation of anger come up, the flush of heat in my chest, and my voice tone switched where I was about to become defensive, I stopped before I could finish my sentence, took a breath and explained the situation in a calm, impersonal manner, which suited me alot better. This is just one example from one day. I can go through several incidents in one day – no wonder I’m tired by the end of it.

But, all in all, I had to practice asserting myself in the morning and face reality, I can’t work 5 days right now. I calmly explained my being sick is caused by me pushing myself too hard to work 5 days at the moment and I’d like to try 4. I don’t want this to be a permanent thing, but for now, this is what I need.

borderline personality disorder · mental health

Scatterbrain/ed.

I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to address in my session today (my post on sexual boundaries) but ended up getting into things that have been happening at work. It’s nothing major but recovering from bpd is like a baby learning to crawl and then walk, you have to start small. I feel like this process has been one of starting from scratch, I am literally learning how to live.

My reading now is going to be taking the direction of boundaries, assertiveness and then practicing this in my life. I have to get more uncomfortable or I’ll stagnate. My therapist made the very real and valid point to me today that if I don’t practice in situations in my life now whilst I’m stable then when a demanding situation does come up in my life it’s likely to blow up in my face because the new, effective behaviour will not be familiar to me. We do what we know. 

I just wrote out what I’m going to say on Wednesday to handle a situation at work where I need to assert myself. In short, a supervisor assumed I’ve made a mistake which I’m about 70% sure isn’t the case and when my colleague told me about it today I was getting upset that the assumption was already there. I want to get to a stage where I’m able to in realtime communicate in a structured, assertive way (because making a written script for the rest of my life is not the way to go) but it doesn’t come so naturally to me yet. There is still irritation and defensiveness. I want to be able to put the defensiveness aside (I take my mistakes way too seriously and personally, as if they mean something about me, which I know is a lot of BS but hey, old thought patterns die hard) and yes, maybe some irritation will be there if I’m taken by surprise with it, but I’m not rude about it so I can live with that. I am grateful that life presents me with opportunities to practice, if nothing ever comes up then I can’t use these skills, so it is a good thing in that sense.

Sometimes therapy just kicks you in the ass when you go in with one issue and come out realising you have another one to add to the list. The added item on today’s menu was: separating ‘my stuff’ from ‘other people’s stuff’ (by ‘stuff’ I mean emotions, reactions, interpretations etc).

My therapist picked up in my frustrations with certain people and interactions I’ve described that I have difficulty in separating myself, I kind of intertwine the two as if I’m mentally ‘merged’.

I can behave in a certain manner, even if it is effective and healthy but that doesn’t necessarily mean that other people will react in kind and that is basically, their shit to deal with, not mine. I get a little tangled up and the lines are blurred for me. I feel way too involved with their reactions and take it onto myself or try to control it, or feel responsible for it. So for my supervisor what happened in her brain was A+B = mistake. That’s on her and is her perception, it’s nothing to do with me. I didn’t tell him but I thought like this in the morning as well. In a meeting with my boss she asked me how my work on a project is going, I explained that some parts are busier than others but I have other things to do so I am busy. She then said, if things are quiet then I can ask other colleagues who have extra work and I can support them. What did I think as soon as I left the meeting? ”She thinks that I’m not busy, maybe she thinks I’m sitting around, I didn’t say enough of the right things to give the impression that I am really working as much as I am” and got worried. After the session I can see so clearly now how I took that onto myself. – Even if she did interpret it that way, that is her interpretation in her mind, it’s not mine, it’s not up to me to control that, to feel responsible for that, to worry about it. 

Let’s take another cliche (imagine that’s the right e please, I’m too tired) example:

Guy texts on his phone and laughs. Girlfriend asks to see, he says it’s private. Girl thinks he’s texting his secret girlfriend, he’s cheating on her, how dare he (sorry guys, had to) she’s now upset. Instead of the guy thinking, well it was just my friend, I told her that, she doesn’t believe me that’s on her, she’s choosing to see it that way, he instead starts worrying and panicking, oh now she thinks I’m cheating, I have to prove I’m not cheating, oh how can I get her to believe me. Putting it in this example makes it so obvious to me it’s a little laughable, but that is actually how I feel in those moments. I feel like I have to do something to control how they feel, are reacting or thinking, when apart from expressing the facts, it’s not my job to do that, nor do I need to. Nor do I need to take on their feelings and feel bad or guilty or worry, but I do. There’s that space I need to learn to start developing.

If I can get a handle on this one it’ll make my interactions so much easier and less exhausting.

 

 

 

borderline personality disorder · bpd · mental health

The victim mindset.

It may have been because of all of that hoo-ha with my family last week but, on another uneventful day at the office doing some mind numbing coding work, I randomly wanted to look up information about the victim mentality and mindset. For starters, I know a lot of people use that term in an everyday way but I wasn’t even sure I understood it from an objective point of view. So I looked it up and found a helpful article about it. http://www.drshirin.com/victimme.htm

I wanted to share the first part here that explains what the mentality is.

”The victim mentality is characterized by pessimism, self-pity, repressed anger and a belief that life is beyond one’s control. Victims blame any and every available scapegoat (fate, circumstances, other people, even objects!) for their problems and disappointments. They often lead a crisis-ridden lifestyle, going from one trauma to another, never seeing the contribution they make in creating their own crises. According to them, nothing is ever their fault.”

I feel like there could be something here. I have spent the last year learning about BPD, how to recover, DBT, the causes of my BPD, exploring my childhood traditional psychodynamic style tears-and-all, and yes, it did help, but I know I have moved on from that. In a sense, what my therapist said to me last week about how others actions might have an effect on me, but are not about me, also goes to show that I control how I take things. There’s also so much blaming you can do. I can hate, and rage, and blame but it’s not going to take BPD away. I can cry and rage inside about how things are with my family but its not going to change them. I can complain about not being happy in where I am at in my life, but if I don’t do anything, it’ll stay that way and that’s what the site goes on to describe when it talks about moving beyond the mentality. So I wanted to examine and apply it to myself where I think I can. 

Moving beyond the victim mentality requires courage and commitment. Changing patterns learned in childhood is a risk, since it requires looking at the world in a new, more personally accountable way. (DBT, check). Victims must learn to see how they contribute to (if not create) most of their troubles. That means recognizing that it’s not bad luck or fate or your spouse or your boss or anyone or anything else that controls your life: only you do. This is a biggie, yes people around me may act a certain way, but they don’t ‘make me’ feel anything or do anything. That is not out of my control, yes I may feel a certain way as a result of what other people say or do, but that is entirely my perception and if I don’t like how I feel or what’s happened, I still have control over what to do next. With BPD untreated, you just react. Someone said this, so I did that. An example from my past – if I had an argument at night with my ex husband I would stay up for hours crying hysterically. Now, that was in my control. Yes, I can feel sad, but it is up to me, to choose to instead, go and do something to calm myself down or feel better, or try to sleep. Since moving on from this mindset requires personal accountabilty it means it’s up to me to make the effort to do something about how I am feeling.

Such a shift in perspective can be difficult to achieve alone. A therapist can help by acting as a mirror in which you can look objectively at the negative thought processes and emotional responses that fuel the victim mentality. For victims, therapeutic change begins with the question,How can I change my behavior and take responsibility for my own life regardless of what others do (or don’t do)?” So again, regardless of what others do or don’t do, sure, he could have done something that I then felt angry or upset about but regardless of that, it is up to me (the responsibility part) not him or anyone else to then take responsibility for my life, so in that moment, I choose how I want my life to go. Do I want to sleep/calm down/distract/regulate? I need to do that. I can’t stay up crying waiting for someone to ‘make me feel better’ (which was what would happen).

Once in therapy, victims need to:
· Focus on themselves and what they can do to improve their lives now. I am going to be acting on this one tomorrow, I’m unhappy with my work location and the changes going on in the organisation so I’m going to be applying to places closer to my home. I hope it works out 🙂
· Be realistic. Even with the best therapists, change will not come quickly. Therapy requires a lot of effort on the client’s part and you will only get out of therapy what you put into it.
· Avoid the urge to blame the therapist or assume change is impossible when results don’t come quickly enough or when therapy becomes a challenge. Victims tend to be easily defeated, so blame is a retreat to hopelessness and passivity.

I’m not saying I necessarily had the victim mindset, I just want to make damn sure that I don’t stay stuck in the ‘I hate that I suffer with this issue’ mindset. Lots of people have struggles of their own. I have done enough work to now realise I am a stage where it’s up to me. Bored? go and do something. Feeling upset? try something that I know makes me happy. And I’m finding it’s working. I had a great day today because instead of letting my mind run, I’ve been doing things that make me smile and laugh and it’s been great and that was entirely my choice and I didn’t need a single person outside of myself to do that. In short, I don’t need someone else for that, it is not up to anyone else to do that and it is entirely up to me to take care of myself. If I’m unhappy in an interpersonal situation or don’t like the way an interaction is going (I mention interpersonal situation because this is THE arena for BPD) then what can I say or do to help that?

I hope that she doesn’t mind that I shared this but one of my favourite bloggers wrote about how she’s managing to stay well;

‘But most most most importantly, I check in with myself constantly; I invest a LOT of time and energy into making sure I never get to the point of depressed, and hopeless, waiting for somebody to say or do something to make it better – because this, to me, was the trademark sentiment of BPD, the mind frame, in a nutshell, that kept me feeling victimized and codependent, caught in borderline cycles of abandonment and anger. If I’m feeling like no one is meeting my needs, I go above and beyond to meet my own needs that day – and I try to do that with as little bitterness/animosity as I can towards the people that I believe have “let me down” (by not meeting said needs… I’m not great at that part yet, but I’m slowly getting better).’

To me all of what she’s put here is talking about personal accountability. BPD loves to victimize, to make you feel like the victim of what other people are doing or saying, or what you’re perceiving they’re doing (you’re going out with your friends and abandoning me you monster?! how could you do that to me?! I hate you, now I’m going to go and self-destruct in whatever way I see fit because of you! – do you see what I did there? very BPD). When you rely on other people this way, no wonder I’d be angry or resentful, it’s a 24/7 job of ‘making’ and keeping me happy. What I think we need to be looking at instead is something along the lines of ‘I’m feeling afraid of abandonment right now, I’m feeling anger/sadness because of this, what do I need to make it better? What can I do to get me through this moment?’ Maybe it does sound self-absorbed, quite frankly, I don’t care if it does, it sounds more to me like self-care and a healthier way of living than the alternative. Maybe with BPD it means I have to put in more work than other nons would have to on a daily basis, but, it is what it is. I am willing to do that if it means I stay well and happy. 

borderline personality disorder · bpd · sex and love addiction

Poor sexual boundaries.

This post is a bit TMI at times talking about sexual incidents in my past and since I don’t usually post in that much detail if it’s not your thing I would skip this one. I was hesitant to post this before therapy but I’m finding it difficult to try and bring this up on Monday so I’m hoping this helps.

Growing up one of my self sabotage methods was sexual activity, tied in with relationships. My poor boundaries means I have been hurt and treated in ways I really wish I hadn’t been and are things I need to process til today. I need to explain, I guess, that I have had the fair share of attention growing up. I would have friends who were male and they would admit at some point or another that they had feelings for me, but it wouldn’t go anywhere. Some of the problems kicked in when I would date people I didn’t like and engage in sexual behaviours with them. At the time I didn’t feel bad because I knew they had genuine feelings for me me but looking back, I really wished I had a greater sense of being okay with being alone. It’s okay though, I try not to beat myself up about it, it was all I knew at the time. I did cheat on my ex at the time with them though, despite us being together for 2 years and being ‘serious’ (as serious as you can be from 16-18). This was partly because I didn’t know how to break up with him and the pain of being in a painful relationship meant I took it out in this way. It’s like I knew it was wrong but I just hid it, and would do it again. 

We broke up and it got worse when I got to uni, although I had a great relationship in the beginning of my second year, we broke up for reasons out of our control. I then stayed single for a while until I met a douchebag of an ex I spent 3 months with (M) where he only bothered to see me about 4 times in total. I didn’t like him, we had nothing in common, and yet not only did I date him, we slept together (yes, it was awful), it’s like I didn’t know how to say no or that I could say no to sex, or that I don’t have to date people I don’t like. I just gave him a ‘chance’ and paid for that. He lost complete interest in me as soon as I slept with him, probably thought it meant I was ‘easy’ (yeah one of those guys) and would see me as little as possible except once when he did decide to see me, he called me over to his house for more terrible sex and the preceded to watch a show on his laptop. He eventually broke up with me (he broke up with me, how I wish it was the other way around) but man I’m glad he did. I just hated that he felt he had a ‘one up’ on me because he slept with me. Of course guys can do that, but when the girl does she’s (insert whatever derogatory names they want to use). I moved on, enjoying my lectures, my times out with my friends. My BPD at the time was a lot more impulsive so I wasn’t in ‘pain’ so to speak, and when I was due to the issues at home, I had a good support network including a great best friend at the time. My Bpd was manifesting in parties, drinks, weed, so to be honest, I was having a whale of a time I fit right in with the ‘wilder’ Uni crowd.

I then met my next ex at a house party. He just happened to be a friend of M’s, they weren’t too close but in the same friend group. This ex I spent about 18 months with. Looking back now I see he was one person who was able to deal with very borderline moments despite neither of us knowing I even had BPD. I would struggle with fear of abandonment and get into arguments but he would always be there trying to apologise/make sense of what the heck I was actually fighting about. I would spend all my time with him which I know now is part of the disorder but he didn’t seem to mind because he was really soft as a person and being an introvert himself he loved being around me all the time too. He had some trust issues with me though, it wasn’t helped by the fact that he couldn’t get over my history with his friend. I was faithful and didn’t even have the desire to look elsewhere as my needs were met and I was truly happy.

But the way his friends spoke to me at times, just makes me wonder. Why did I let people speak to me that way? Treat me that way? I remember clearly sitting with one of them on a pavement once, him pointing to a hotel across the road and asking me if I wanted to go with him. Now a part of me gets so angry remembering this, what the hell did he think I was? But at the time, I stayed quiet. I suck at sticking up for myself in those situations. I had told him when I was single that he was nice and I had dated the wrong guy (M). So I guess he used that against me. This came from a habit that if I found a guy remotely nice as a person and in some way attractive I would start to get feelings for him and want to pursue something with them. I know it was just me trying to find love and care from someone that I thought could potentially give me those things but it just meant I was scoping anyone I thought I could get something from and it puts you in dangerous situations. What I hate the most about this kind of impulsivity is that you end up putting your welfare in someone else’s hands. They can talk to you in that kind of way, (or worse) and you’re just left to deal with it.

The worst part is, my own ex-husband did this to me, maybe it’s not the worst part because it happened even after my ex-husband. Near the end of my marriage my ex had at some point decided that all we should have is a sexual relationship. Probably because my ‘crazy’ was too much for him. It hurts that I continued to engage him in that way because I was trying something, anything, to keep us together. That’s the problem with BPD, you can at times, do the stupidest things to save losing out on someone. Even when it’s a damn good idea that they leave. This is pretty TMI now so if anyone doesn’t want to know Id suggest not reading the rest of this…….We had spent a night over at a hotel during a weird period where I had moved back to my mums and I didn’t know whether our divorce was truly going to go ahead or if things might get better. We slept together and DURING the act the man I had spent 3 years told me, still inside, that ‘the next man to marry me will be so lucky’. Well, thank you for the compliment on my sexual prowess, whilst also making it clear you are so over me that you are able to tell me in the moment that you’re already wondering who will get to be next and how he’s going to be getting a good thing, sexually, only of course. What the actual fuck. The worst thing is, it did happen again after that, me hoping that he was coming over to see me because he had feelings for me. Our last ever conversation with our divorce finalised was him telling me that he can only give me a sexual relationship with sexual advancements because he can’t commit to anything. Lovely. He wasn’t like that before, I truly feel like something morphed in him and he thought he would just use me because my BPD meant I wouldn’t see it clearly and would let him, and it’s true, because I did. I’ve even read threads with men posting that a guy shouldn’t get involved with a BPD woman emotionally but just ‘sleep with her’. It’s horrendous and it is out there.

Cue 2015 and only three or two months after this. I hadn’t learnt my lesson and was again out there looking for something meaningful. Forget time to heal, because BPD doesn’t look at that. It just looks for another person to latch onto. This is TMI again. I was seeing a guy I again wasn’t attracted to and he slept with me without my permission promising he wouldn’t. Next thing I know he was inside me. I didn’t even realise I was crying afterwards because a serious boundary had been violated. I should have been angry, I wasn’t, because I just don’t see it. I just don’t realise that I can say no, or get angry.

I still find myself realising some guys are nice and then wanting to impulsively tell them so hoping they will take it further, despite them not being a good match for me. The only reason a lot of this has happened is because I let it happen. We teach people how to treat us and what they can get away with. I can’t get upset that things like this are happening if I keep repeating the same behaviours. Luckily, I don’t anymore. I don’t tell them because I know it’s just that part of me seeking care and comfort. In a way my last ex was healing for me because he was so respectful of boundaries and so caring. Now I’m single, I really don’t want a bad experience again.

Underneath all of this, and the thing I really need to talk about in therapy is, apart from sex I don’t understand what else a man could need or love about me. That if they knew the real me, the BPD me, about how crazy I can get or dysregulated, they will either jump ship or just stick to sex. I don’t know if that makes sense. I guess my underage cam girl days taught me that, when I was seeking comfort I was being exploited and I allowed myself to be so maybe I learnt that that’s all I am good for? I don’t know but it’s a horrible core belief to have. I have just experienced that too many times. A part of me also knows sex is a tool to keep someone from leaving so yes, they do stay, but it ends up only being for that. This warped belief has also led me to accuse guys who are emotionally involved with me as ‘just wanting me for sex’ because my mind jumps to that fear. It’s like once anything sexual is involved it means they can’t possible have feelings for me too. I am really afraid. I am terrified of going through things like that again. Not of those kinds of men, but of my own inability to say no, or to realise when I am in a bad situation, or to not act out. What if I don’t stick up for myself again? What if I get emotionally involved and try to use that kind of tactic to keep someone again? What if they realise they don’t want to be with me but that they can use me because I will have trouble saying no?

I know I have a lot of DBT under my belt now and I had no such shennanigans with my last ex as I stuck to my values etc. and I was able to break up with dignity but he also made it really easy for me because he knew a lot about my BPD, I had told him from the get go. But not all guys are understanding or thoughtful, not all of them will want to help me even when we’ve broken up. Some like to take advantage or make you feel worse because they have issues of their own and I really don’t want a run in like that.

I chose a male psychologist so that I could talk about this and feel safe in the knowledge that I won’t be taken advantage of, that a man can care about me and help me get better without exploiting my weaknesses so I really hope I have the courage to bring it up and I really hope sharing it will help me process it. Gah, I just wish it wasn’t so deep-rooted.