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 · 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.

 

borderline personality disorder · bpd · mental health

My therapist is a soothing balm.

After my intense, in-depth post about my family dynamics, I wanted to follow up what came about as a result of therapy. In the small self-important hope that it may help someone else who resonated with any of it. That, and I journalled about it but something about blogging it online seems to get it out better, ha.

After holding back tears from the ‘amount of things’ I know I still need to talk about (aka. pedos and creeps, let’s save that for another day, boy, he has no idea what’s coming). I sat and kind of sighed about the fact that I had to bring something up once again that I thought once I’d ‘cried about’ it would be done with but I was finding that it wasn’t working quite that way for me. Was I doing therapy ‘wrong?’ As usual, my therapist has a good explanation for me that satisfies and quenches my doubts. ‘Therapy is about your life experience and as you continue on in your life the same issue can come up in a different way, you’re changing as a person so the same issue may then need to be discussed taking that into account. Some issues also have many layers to them that need to be uncovered.’ Ah, makes sense. And from a different angle it was. It wasn’t the angle last year of getting the pain out, realising I can’t change my mum. It was from the angle of who I am now and the new dynamic in the house with my sister. 

I told him again of the comments she made when I was sick, of my experience last week of me calling her and her not coming to me. How she spends more time with one sister more than anyone of us. Of how I only learnt things were different for me once I got out into the world and made friends with people the same age as my mum and realised they actually hung out with their kids. After a while he asked me what is it that I used to do or feel like doing when I’m faced with these situations. ‘I feel like calling her out on it, not to start an argument, but to let her know that it’s not OK or normal, but if I do, I get called argumentative.’

‘And do you think you’re wrong?’

‘No, I don’t think I’m wrong, but I think it’s useless’.

He laughed and said I summed it up perfectly.

It felt nice to know that it’s not always BPD making me ‘think things’ or ‘act up’ and if there’s something I’ve learnt and am still learning time and again in recovery is that often, we usually have a damn good reason for feeling the way we do. It’s just what we do with it. I am starting to find that my dynamics with my therapist are good, I talk, bring up loads of shit and he always seems to have some miracle ‘psychologist trick or phrase or line of thought’ that helps me to totally see things in a new way and learn. In fact, he’s probably getting used to the sight of me going ‘ah’ then pausing and tilting my head, finger on chin, deep in thought – almost a little comically obvious in my demonstration that I am ‘pondering’ on what he’s just taught me.

‘I want you to think about how much of this has to do with her, with her as a person and how much of this you think has to do with you?’

After 50 minutes of hashing it all out, it dawned on me almost instantly. This has to do with her. It has nothing to do with me. All this time, I have been getting upset and reacting and struggled to realise that this isn’t my stuff.

‘Yes, it affects you, but it doesn’t have anything to do with you.’ His golden phrase that I made a mental note to write down once I got home so that I could use it to separate myself when/if I do get upset in similar situations.  The beauty of this, I realised on my journey home was, I could apply it to so many people in my life that manage to piss me off by way of association (you know like nugget head in-laws or annoying nitpicky colleagues, I’m sure your mind has already come up with examples of your own). I don’t need to react to their shit, to their life situations, I don’t need to ‘call them out’. Yes, maybe at times, I need to assert myself, but I don’t need to take on all the emotions because It’s not about me.

How freeing. 

 

borderline personality disorder · bpd · dbt · mental health

Family & BPD.

I haven’t been posting because there are about 4 or 5 things that all require at least several sessions each that I want to bring up in therapy all at once tomorrow. So I don’t want to just word vomit all over the blog about these intense things until I’ve explored them with my therapist and made some kind of sense of things. Otherwise, I’ve been good on a personal level. But, I have a big issue on a family level that I know is very BPD related and until I hash this out in therapy and try to come to some kind of resolution it will on the surface level continue to hurt me inside.

I decided to post about this because whenever I look online about having BPD and coping with family, I always see the reverse. Streams upon streams of information on how to ‘cope with’ ‘handle’ or ‘survive’ a borderline family member. Seriously, wtf. I am trying to survive myself, as are so many people with BPD, I didn’t realise there needed to be manuals of information about how to ‘survive’ me. More stigma, more negative BS streamed by people who don’t know the reality of the situation. So I want to put a little something out there. I have read entire blogs upon blogs, watched videos upon videos of people with BPD who have had difficult upbringings, who have had problematic family members, who have been undersupported, undernurtured and down right mistreated growing up. So where’s their support in survival? What about people like me who have had to grow up in this kind of situation and then cope with MH on top of that? I don’t see pages upon pages of actual help. You know for people like me, who actually want to break the cycle.

The thing is, I know all too well, the other side. The ugly side of BPD, the ‘surviving’ someone with BPD. My own father is an undiagnosed severe case of BPD who has only just calmed down from the age of 50+ (As it does with age). He’s still so triggering. Is it any surprise that as a child, he was separated from his parents young, abused by his auntie (he hasn’t even told us all the ways but I know it was definetly through labour and verbal abuse at the least). Is it any surprise he went on to get BPD? Maybe not. I can see how his childhood shaped him and yet, he didn’t work on himself. So there is one parental factor and environmental factor that left me in trauma before I was even the age of 1.

Then my mother, my mother was an orphan and she was raised by their auntie. Although she was raised well, and my auntie (her older sister) then went on to raise her and my mum lived with her. My mum had for the most part, an OK time growing up. But I do believe the lack of a mother figure meant she didn’t maybe learn the things she needed for when she was a mum, that and maybe just personality? I’m not too sure. I know she made a stupid decision sticking with my dad. Anyway, as part of her coping strategy she was always out. I know I didn’t get validation, I didn’t get time with her. I didn’t get what I needed.

I know this and yet in therapy, this has just meant I have had to deal with this isolating feeling. Here I am dealing with BPD and the very harsh reality that my parents added to it and have made recovering from it a very isolating experience. My mum’s not uncaring at all, she’s kind and giving and makes friends very quickly. But what I needed, and need I didn’t and will not get. So I have faced this reality. So many of the other blogs I have read, the individuals are going through a similar situation. Either being totally invalidated, or cut off, or refused support, or just treated as if their MH issues don’t exist, or that their emotions just aren’t important. Is it any surprise they have BPD? So where is their support?

I know I have this gaping hole of affection and I know I need to fill it inwardly, I just wish it didn’t have to be an isolating experience. I think before therapy, I had always been treated as if I was the issue, so I felt that once I’d worked on me I’d fit in with my family and all would be well, I’d have a good relationship and fit in. But, the reality is, I don’t fit in. I feel even more out of their world. When I lived out, I felt out of place there too. 

The issue I have in the present with this is, being able to accept the family dynamics I now have. There’s a character in ‘Reign’ (my most recent series obsession – last season finished this year, RIP. </3) called Leeza she’s the eldest daughter of the mother of the king of France, Catherine. She comes into the series wanting to destroy her mother’s work of keeping her son on the throne.

leeza

(Leeza’s probably revealing another scheme here). 

Catherine teams up and gets help from her younger daughter, Claude. Claude and her work as a team at some points and Catherine has shown to be there for Claude time and time again in the series. What Leeza later reveals is that her mother had neglected her growing up and Catherine admits to this. Leeza resents their teamwork and you can see the jealousy in her face seeing how her mother is now able to be there for Claude, care for her and support her when she never did that for her? This is so similar to what I feel and my situation. 

My father mainly treats my youngest sister as if she’s the only main child he has. (Like seriously, he doesn’t even try to hide the favouritism). We’re kind of all used to it and don’t really care much about being close to him anyway because he’s too draining. But, with my mother, she’s also catered to my sister in a way I have never experienced. My mum has been there for me in my tough moments but never in this way. My sister and her spend a lot of time together, my mum seeks her company, she’s there for her woes, at 21 my sister lives with my dad and my mum goes over to spend time with my dad and her, so she has the attention of both parents more than any of us ever have. I can’t help but feel, where was all of this for me? The massive difference between me and Leeza here is that, I don’t want to set out to ruin my mum’s life in some kind of grudge, on the contrary, I support my mum with the household finances, I help in the house, I try to schedule time to spend with her. And yet, we don’t have that bond. My mother has never even tried to have that bond with us. I have had to cut off from trying to get that emotional support and love from her because 1) its too late 2) I have learnt I will not be able to get that. Do I feel jealous? I like to think I’m not because I hate that emotion. And I know it’s too late, I am too old and my mum made her decisions. I am happy my sister is getting love and support but I can’t help but feel angry. Angry in the sense that, she can be that way with her but not me? Where was any of this for me? Why doesn’t she seek my company out? Why do I still care? I am left to deal with BPD when most of this is most likely a result of all the dysfunction in the household I grew up in, and then I’m left to heal and support myself. In the end thinking this way makes me a victim, and I’m not a victim. I don’t want this to be anyone else’s burden, it would just be nice you know?

When my sister comes around they spend a lot of time together, and I feel out of the loop. I feel like I’m watching their close bond and I am on the sidelines. I try to involve myself but they don’t always involve me. I want to give up feeling any way about this. I want to radically accept it all. I really do. I have tried, I have tried to accept that this is my family, this is the way they are. They will not change. I read another blog of a younger youtuber who was totally invalidated and emotionally abused even by her mother and elder sister who were totally disregarding her experience and all the while she is battling BPD and going to therapy and trying to get better. I know it’s not just me, which is heartbreaking too. But it just feels like one other difficulty to deal with. I want to live just for myself. I want to heal for myself and give myself what I wasn’t given. So today, instead of being angry at my mum, for not being home, not calling back fast enough, etc etc. (all BPD abandonment type of thing) I looked inwards and realised I’m actually sad. I’m sad and I need things that I know I can’t get from them so I need to give them to myself. At the moment when I ask myself this I think I need, some kind of comfort. Some kind of self-care. I am going to do something that I think is fun and that will make me happy and then maybe some positive self talk and connecting with God, which always makes me feel less alone. Other than that, I am just going to wait until I can talk about this in therapy tomorrow.