borderline personality disorder · mental health

Unworthy of Love

Wow it’s been a long week! I have been journalling, researching, working over-time and at the same time grappling with some hard truths that have been uncovered by my work using the book: ‘Insecure in Love: How Anxious Attachment Can Make You Feel Jealous, Needy and Worried and What You Can Do About It by Leslie Becker-Phelps’ (4/5 – I definitely recommend this book). But first, a little bit of back story – I had a couple of weeks of online CBT sessions back when I was living with my ex because I would face daily situations where I felt threatened and misunderstood and due to my lack of resources I didn’t have the skills I needed to deal with them effectively. In my sessions, I’d talk about them to analyse what had happened, what my thought patterns were and/or what core underlying beliefs may be behind it all.

For those of you who may not know, CBT deals mainly with our thoughts/beliefs about situations, ourselves, others and the world at large as opposed to our feelings. This approach didn’t gel with me at all (hence, the creation of DBT). I remember one particular session in which we had mapped out a fight I had had that day and my therapist was able to deduce the belief that I thought I was ‘unlovable’.

Unlovable and unworthy. The core beliefs underneath it all. To say it was difficult to see on paper, or hear from a therapist is a gross understatement. I kind of worked through the rest of the exercise, hiding how profound that statement was for me and then soon quit the sessions. But, even after all this time, through this recent work, I have had to come face to face with the same inner demon.

I, on a deep, inner level (on an ‘invisible known’ level as Leslie puts it) – believe that I am unworthy of love. Of being loved, of receiving love, of having the time, energy and investment put into me by another. Between all my rushing around the office and journaling and family affairs, I have had to face that. And, thanks to a couple of exercises in the book, I am acutely aware of just how deep this runs. This belief has been a major reason why I have accepted poor treatment from my ex’s, why I am afraid of real intimacy, why I fear abandonment. My fear of abandonment and my belief that I am unworthy of love are so intertwined they’re practically having sex.  

The closer I get to someone, or the more I like them the greater the fear that they’ll ‘find out’ they’ll find out this ‘fact’ – the fact that I’m not really worth it. Once they’ve sussed out that I’m not worth it, they’ll obviously go running for the hills. Leaving me on my own, a wreck, with the nasty voice in my head telling me ‘See – I told you so!’.

Writing that down shows me just how dark, sad and untrue it is. That’s the thing with these darn core beliefs, they’re not always conscious and they’re not really that logical. You just kind of semi-consciously operate from this stance and then everything around you, all of your interactions are kind of ‘filtered’ to prove your belief is ‘right’. I know, on a logical level, that I am worthy of love – we all are. I’m just as worthy of love as whoever is reading these very words. But my brain hasn’t quite accepted that. Challenging it every day is proving laborious, uncomfortable and scary. But, I am doing it, thanks to a lot of reading and some practices I can put into place – the main one being Self Compassion. I hope this will ease up and I can turn it around for good.

Oh and if you feel me on this one – you ARE worthy of love, exactly as you are.

Advertisements
borderline personality disorder · mental health

Under construction.

I don’t know how much of what I’m going to say will make sense because truly I’m trying to just get out what I can while I have the time and energy to do it. The day of my last post I was back on shakey ground, getting too close to an ex where the relationship was headed nowhere, trying to make something out of nothing. The next day we swapped emails at work and he asked me if I had planned to meet him over the weekend to which I said yes. So he knew my intention but it hit me, he had probably guessed as much on the weekend and didn’t ask me to meet. He doesn’t want to meet me and he doesn’t want to go back there.

I had a kind of penny drop moment – I’m just so sick of relating in this way. I’m sick of seeking out, seeking out of myself. I have spent the last year under the illusion that he still loved me in some way as much I did and that we just needed the right circumstance, well the right circumstance has come about and guess what? He’s not here, it hasn’t happened. But ironically, maybe God designed it this way because that’s not the real issue here. The real issue is how I seek out attachment even when I’m single. I’m constantly on some level, pre-occupied with finding a partner or finding love, finding – what I have now realised the ‘attachment bond’ that will help me heal.

Now I’m trying to be really self-compassionate because it’s tough to accept that I have spent my entire life relating to people from this viewpoint, but I have. I also accept that it’s literally how my brain has been programmed and that this seeking is actually so that my brain can re-enact the trauma cycle and find a solution. It’s what happens in trauma backgrounds, we seek out what we know and are comfortable with and then we try to find a different outcome.

It has no longer become enough for me to no longer be ‘borderline’ or in ‘recovery’, I really needed to get to the roots of this issue. I am so done with this obsessive behaviour, with the checking of messages, with wondering whether this person will be ‘it’, with being afraid. With wanting a family but not having the relational skills to really get me there. I sought out my attachment style and I found I’m ‘pre-occupied’ the more I read, the less surprised I am, the more scared and stunned I am to find that it describes me to a T. I feel like this is really the seed that plants BPD and BPD is just the anguish and the response to attachment trauma.

I have come across a well of information, including hope that an insecurely attached individual can ‘earn’ secure attachment (earned secure attachment) and live just as happily as those who have always been securely attached from birth. For this, I am so grateful, but this week has been hard and I’ve only just started. It has included a lot of journalling and reading, where at times it becomes too much to take in and to process and it hits part of my soul and emotions where I have to take breaks from it.

I have so much to say already about what I’ve found and I want to share the journey of this new process of growth that I am about to embark on but I’m not entirely sure when. I just feel a bit raw, and tender and entirely aware of the enormity of the work I have ahead of me. But it must be done. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

borderline personality disorder · bpd · mental health · Uncategorized

My favourite person – BPD and FP

This is another strange phenomenon of BPD that I didn’t know I had or was a ‘thing’ until The Mighty site contributors brought it to light for me and I realised, this really is a thing. I’m really so grateful for the people out there sharing their stories and experiences when it comes to mental health, it makes me feel a little less alien, and a lot more understood.

FP’s (favourite person aka the person the BPD individual is the most attached to) – I’ve usually always had one. They’re usually always my romantic partners, that is, until they haven’t been. I realise now, quite painfully that ex-love is my current FP – which is weird because we haven’t really spoken much the past year at all. But, there is an emotional bond one has with their FP that cannot be easily broken by time or circumstance. That, and I haven’t fallen in love since then. 

I do feel like in a weird way, it might be a good thing that someone who cannot be my lover is my FP, then when I do get romantically involved with someone (the logic is anyway) that they cannot be said FP as the spots already been filled. I haven’t really experienced having more than 1 at any given time because you only have emotional space for that one person. They consume you in a way no one else can, ”favourite” is putting it mildly, heart filling, obsessive, powerful, those are the words that really come to mind.

When things are going well with FP, the sun is shining, all is right in your world, you could be no happier. When things are not going so well, it’s like you’ve been floored, your whole world is collapsing, hours can pass in tears. That’s what my marriage was like, that is what I truly am afraid of happening again.

To  love and to be loved is a beautiful thing, but to give complete control and hand over the keys to your sanity to another person who is probably only just managing their own, is playing with fire. You are at their mercy. If you must have an FP please choose wisely.

 

borderline personality disorder · mental health · Uncategorized

Sick of people being so damn selfish

I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. Ironically, whenever I start a healthier lifestyle routine, I always fall sick. Luckily, I’m stubbornly clinging to the changes despite that fact. I’ve had to bumble along to work because we have deadlines and because I manage to cheer myself up and socialise at work I’m not entirely sure people believe me when I say I’m ill (there’s this thing called make-up, it does wonders…).

But I’m also a little done on a personal level, I really need a few days away from everything and everyone but with the wedding preps, that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Only, there’s a lot of toxic family drama added to the mix.

I know I have to talk about this in therapy but I need to vent before then. You see, I was dubbed the ‘black sheep’ growing up (interestingly enough, research on BPD has found that we usually are the black sheep, or the scapegoats of dysfunctional families), but now, through maturity, life experience and recovery I’m just not that way inclined. I don’t see the point in destroying my own life because other people are in pain or trying to cause me pain.

And now, over the course of the last year, something started to shift….I’m fine, dandy…getting on with what I have to get on with, not arguing with anyone, not really sharing my opinion when I know it won’t change things. I always knew deep down my own dysfunction only came about as a result of my parents own unhealthy life choices and coping mechanisms but it became so much more apparent. My younger sister also has had her own share of mental health struggles but on top of that, attitude problem for the past year. I really tried to support her over the past year but there is a serious triad of dysfunction in my family and it’s making me want to get out. My sister does what she wants, makes my mum cry, makes my dad obsess about her in a freakishly unhealthy way, he fights with mum, mum cries more… it’s all just a mess, and a really stupid, irresponsible one at that.

The annoying thing is, I try to keep a mutual relationship with my mum and sister and not get too involved, when I took sides growing up I would end up the outcast the ‘bad cop’ for saying what I really thought (another fun fact: bpd individuals are usually the ‘truth tellers’ of the family, calling out the bs they see). It’s working out for me so far, only:

I feel like they are so damn selfish. Either they are, or I am and I don’t know it yet.

I messaged my sister telling her to choose a cake and I’d pay for it as a gift, and she didn’t reply. Like at all. No thanks but no thanks, no oh I saw your message, nada. It’s like it never happened.

Now call me crazy but I know if someone offered to do that for me I’d at least acknowledge the message?

And earlier this evening I can tell my mum’s been down because of what’s happening with my sister, so I give her a call and ask her if she managed to choose a phone cover (she was looking earlier) because I wanted to pay for it for her. She just said no kinda mumbled and hung up without asking why.

..Cool. (Of course, these are only today’s examples, there’s been a lot of other things before this).

Maybe I’m making it about me and they’re going through too much to realise, but then, really? I’ve been through a lot the past year and I haven’t had anyone buying me anything. Maybe I’m just starting to see the dynamics for what they really are. Maybe me being so selfish is really the way to go.

 

 

borderline personality disorder · mental health

You know it’s serious when you’re listening to Avril.

I don’t know who you are but I’m, I’m with youuuuuu.

We are at that stage guys.

The narc ex emailed me again after a year.

Surprise, his attempt with his ex-wife went bust.

Now he remembers me and wants to try again. ‘I’m divorced, give me one more chance’ the email reads. I take a couple of deep breaths and reply ‘Sorry to hear that, although it’s not surprising. I hope it gets easier for you. Thanks, but no, I don’t want to talk to you about that anymore, nor do I see a good reason to, All the best’.

This is (perhaps, obviously) followed by 2 more emails. Please give me one more chance, please just one more conversation.

Now, no-one ever said doing the right thing would be easy. No one ever said self-love and self-care and mental well being was all about laying in bed with your cat and some tea (ahem….). No, sometimes self-love is damn hard. It stings, it hits your gut in the form of random emails from random ex’s. Sometimes it’s about mentally catching up with your past reactions, realising they weren’t healthy and choosing to do something new no matter how many emotional reactions you go through in the space of a 3 minute indie rock song.

Today, I’m doing something new. No is a complete sentence.

Love yourself so hard, that whoever wants the chance to love you has some damn competition.

 

borderline personality disorder · mental health · Uncategorized

The gap between who I am and who I want to be.

I’m sure everyone does this to some extent but I have these re-runs in my mind, take this morning for example, I imagine myself getting up with more energy than what I have, doing things I want to do that I know will be good for me (having water, eating a healthy breakfast, exercising, tidying up – you get the picture) but the reality is something quite different.

What I was doing instead was staying in bed thinking about how I want to be ‘more’ everything that I feel like I’m not right now – or at least to the standard that I want to be. Healthier, prettier, more vibrant, more active, more positive, more accomplished.

There are two issues here that I feel are at play: self improvement and self acceptance (Anna Akana explains this beautifully on her Youtube video about self acceptance, just sayin’). I LOVE self improvement, I don’t enjoy being around or particularly feel close to people who complain but don’t take steps to move forwards, I also feel like we only have so many years on this earth and part of that should be spent doing things to become better, to evolve, not in the way I think you should, but in the ways YOU want to, whether that be spiritually, physically, in character….whatever!

The downside to all this self improvement work are the types of thoughts that run in my mind and the lack of self-acceptance that comes hand in hand with my efforts. It’s one thing to self-improve because you want to and you enjoy it, and it’s quite another to do it because you’re not happy with who you are – you feel fundamentally not ‘OK’ or ‘worthy’ or ‘worthy of being loved as you are’. I’m sure on some level all three are wreaking havoc on my mental state. As cliche as it sounds, but I have spent the beginning of the year really observing and recording over the mental tapes that are running in my mind – but that’s another post for another day. I realise now that yes, it’s great that I am trying to self-improve but it has to come from a place of self love, not self hatred. I have to work both on improvement and acceptance.

Sadly, I feel like there are a few things about who I am now that I don’t quite care for in the long run. There is a gap between the person in my imagination and the one in reality. For one, the person in these day dreams doesn’t smoke and well, I hate to admit it, but I have been vaping for most of 2017. Which really sucks considering the fact that I was never addicted to smoking growing up and spent the better part of 7 years not smoking, there really is no need for me to continue this habit it makes no sense.

So today, I bridged that gap just a little, I chucked it in the bin, had some vitamins, sipping some green tea and having some damn water.

I just got to figure out this self-acceptance thing.

mental health · Uncategorized

What I need to hear this week.

Trying is not failure, trying is in itself an achievement. 

Your worth is not determined by your achievements.

All you can do is your best, and you are doing just that.

You’re not just trying to succeed, you are trying to succeed whilst battling voices that have put you down for decades. There is strength in that alone.

You can do this, and if you don’t do it this time, there is another time and you can do it the next time, too.

You are not your struggles, your struggles are just blips on the journey.

You do not need to agree with everyone all the time, including the people you love.

Not everyone will understand you are struggling, or when you are struggling, especially when you’re coping with it.

You do not need to people please, and you do not need to say yes to everyone’s demands.

Some days people will think you haven’t done something to ‘standard’ the next day you can be their ‘hero’ – don’t take either too seriously.

Sometimes people will misjudge your abilities – that’s OK, you know what you can and can’t do, and what you do well.

You can do whatever you dream of doing, it’s all a process of trial, error and effort.

It’s OK not to get it right the first time, or third time, or fifth time.

Life is not a race.

Everyone reaches different stages at different times, but your time will be perfectly timed for you.

You will get there, even if it is one baby step at a time, you are still moving forward as long as you do not give up.

Quitting is the only type of failure there is.

It’s OK to rest and re-group.

Some days people will like you more than on other days.

It’s OK to have an ‘off-day’ as long as you are not hurting anyone in the process.

Difficult times are temporary.

Your best is enough.