One thing I’m learning more and more in my recovery, especially without as much external support is – with BPD you really have to learn to hold your own. To be okay for yourself, to be your own best friend, to be your own supporter. Because damnit, no one else will be there to truly do it for you. They may show you compassion, help you when you’re down, but only you can truly be on your own side.
That is the toughest thing for me when I’m faced with other people making it even more difficult, especially when it’s the people closest to me, mainly (and sadly), my family. I really struggled on sunday, when after a day of motivating myself, cheering myself up, using all my healthy alternatives to have a good day, my mum had come in and decided to launch into a shouting attack about bed covers, yep, the bed covers I chose. At this age, I kind of can’t believe that’s an issue in my life, but so it is. I just felt like she had no idea about the kind of day I had had (she wasn’t in, plus I don’t tell her – she doesn’t really understand what BPD is) how much it took for me just to get through the day and then to be topped off with an argument about something so minor. I had to tell her that I don’t want to argue with her and to close the door and leave, just for it to end. By the end of that, I was in tears.
Today, I’ve had an Okay day, my manager pulled me aside and told me everyone’s really happy with my performance and I will be working there for longer than I thought. I’ve still applied to other positions but it takes the pressure off of me until the next year so that was welcome news. I got accepted onto the training for the suicide prevention charity and training starts in October so that was a double bonus. I have plans for the weekend and I’m looking forward to socialising and relaxing. All in all, it’s been swell.
That is until, while helping my brother write up an email for his college my younger sister, who kept interrupting us by telling him he doesn’t need to write one and over riding what I was saying with her own advice, I pressed on with helping him. To which she said I was being aggressive – my tone hadn’t changed, I had no intention of being aggressive, I wasn’t angry in the slightest. I have just learnt to articulate myself in a way that if I’m being interrupted, or a boundary is being crossed I press on with doing whatever it was I was doing. Which I feel everyone does. She told me to stop speaking to her aggresively to which I said I wasn’t aggressive and she decided to tell me I’m rude. I told her I refuse to tip-toe around her, and I can’t help it if she decides to take it that way. I will mention here that both of my parents give her undivided attention and both of them speak to her and engage her in a way of being extra soft, extra attentive and indulging her a lot more than the rest of us. I feel like that’s very much what has caused this.
Prior to therapy and my psychologist even suggesting that it sounds like she has her own – for lack of a better word – ‘issues’ I would have entirely blamed myself and believed her. Now, a part of me as I write this, still replayed this scenario and thought ‘perhaps I was being aggressive, perhaps she’s right, maybe it is my fault’ and then feeling shitty and a sense of abandonment until she talks to me again. But, I guess that’s what sometimes people want you to believe if you believe it. Sometimes, people don’t want to take responsibility for their own perceptions. You could be innocently looking at someone and if they decide you’re looking at them in a ‘rude’ way – are you really at fault? Were you really looking at them in a rude way? Should you really be taking responsibility for that?
With BPD, I feel like I looked for external validation and understanding of situations and would believe that and take it on. But now, I am trying not to. Especially since my psychologist told me that I can’t be responsible for other people’s emotions and perceptions. It’s that formula he told me: I can’t help it if ‘a + b = x’ to them. I’m kind of tired of trying so hard to be good with my attitude, my words, and really think about how I talk and putting in all of this effort, to then be accused anyway.
I am trying hard not to let it get to me, to worry about when she will talk to me, because that’s when the fear of abandonment kicks in, even if you haven’t done anything, you still want to ‘make up’ so things are ‘OK’ because I can’t take the limbo part. I used to do this in my marriage, regardless of whether I felt my ex was ever ‘wrong’ I would still rush to apologise or talk out the argument to try to ‘fix’ things, because I couldn’t handle being ‘left’ to it. It’s also hard to stay regulated, to not get really upset or angry. Hence, I’m writing on here to let out some of the emotion and thought patterns and am talking to other people to distract myself.
It’s hard to be your own best friend and your main source of support all the time. I don’t really have any ‘space’ in my relationships for any understanding of my condition. My family doesn’t think twice about how they talk or come across to me as someone with BPD, forget all that family therapy, or ‘effective communication with BPD loved ones’ or anything like that. I love them, I do, but it is difficult at times to feel isolated with this condition.
No one else, except for you, will truly know the extent of your own struggles, so I need to (and you as well, dear reader – ) have the most compassion for myself and not abandon myself when I feel heightened emotions or am going through a rough time.