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High functioning mess.

Waking up exhausted is the worst feeling in the world. I had a solid sleep, enough hours. Yet my body refuses to move. I cant do this. I cant do this. I’ve already had quite a bit of time off from being physically sick. How do I manage to get through the commute, work and the journey home when I feel like I can’t even get up from my bed? I lay there. Time’s ticking, I’ll be late if I don’t move. It still doesn’t stir me. Do I take a day off? I won’t get paid if I do. Plus, the guilt leaves me feeling worse and then the extreme side of my brain wants me to believe that I won’t be able to face them all when I do go in tomorrow. Then, I don’t want to face them tomorrow either. I should just give the whole thing up, quit. I want to work part-time, it hurts me to say that. Then I don’t have enough for all the recovery related things I do want. Books, therapy, times out. All things I can do now (just about) thanks to working full-time.

Just get up, just get up and get ready, I’ll work half a day if I can get away with it. I get up, go through the motions. I feel like shit. Nothings happened, I feel like shit. On the train, looking at me, no one would be able to tell, hell, I even managed to put on my favourite lipstick. I look out at the tall buildings, wonder what it would be like to jump off of one. Would it really feel freeing? What would be stopping me? I think of my sister, of my neice, my mum. But I’d feel like crap leaving them. What if I said sorry first, maybe leave a message? I decide I can’t do that to them. It doesn’t stop me imagining the scenario.

Why after over a year of therapy, is it still so hard? The one ‘symptom’ that doesn’t go away. I look out at the buildings, with their patchy paint, the litter on the grass, the grey clouds, the dull-looking houses, I’m unimpressed, I always have been. I feel like a zombie, I bite my lip and look around to stop tears on the train. I get into work, I smile, I say hello, ask my colleagues how they are. No one has any idea anything is wrong. I’m too good at hiding it. I get on with the meeting, I get on with my work. I used the script I wrote to put forward my position to my supervisor. She understands that my working differently, doesn’t mean I made a mistake, she says it’s ok. My mind had made it such a scenario once again, and once again the reality proves that with a little communication, it really wasn’t a big deal.

Having achieved all I could be bothered with, I sit at my desk, tempted to read more on BPD, on BPD survivors, it’s all I care about. I lie to my manager and say I need to go home early to babysit, I don’t, I just need to get out. It was a victory today just to manage to show my face.

Perfectly timed, my sister came round. I spent my evening with the family. I didn’t isolate, I enjoyed it, it relaxes me, I know it’s healthy, the ‘right’ thing to do. But I know the nagging feeling is still there, waiting for me. I’m still so exhausted, exhausted when all I’m doing is lying on the bed chatting. Looking at me, they too have no idea something’s wrong.

This is what it is, to be high functioning. To have a life as normal to others as it could seem. To want a normal life, and yet, to be a mess on the inside. A clawing, raw mess, wondering how it is that each week is like running a marathon. Exhausted on Monday morning through to Sunday, only to find on Sunday that the quiet down-time isn’t relaxing, it’s a time to be extra vigilant. To self-care and occupy my mind so that I don’t do anything stupid. I’m in pain, but my options are out, I know too much about my old coping strategies to use them. Sex? Maybe I could try that, he’s hot, he’s hot, why don’t I do that? Oh yes, because that would make you feel like double-shit afterwards. Cut? I remember how that feels, how brief the relief is and how devastating the after effect is, looking at it heal, realising you succumbed once again, to such a shitty coping mechanism. All I choose to do right now is blog, and read more, I read about BPD, I discovered a writer talk about using identity forming worksheets. My identity is a shambles. I don’t know if they will cheer me up or help me tonight but all I can do is face this demon head on. I’m fucking exhausted, but on the outside, it doesn’t show.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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The issue with my mum.

We discussed her some more today but over the past few days of being sick and what just happened to me tonight. I decided I am well and truly through. You see not everyone who has BPD had a bad environment growing up necessarily. But I do see a lot of people who have BPD have been neglected or made out to seem like they don’t have the handle on reality when the reality is, they’ve been outnumbered by family members and fooled into believing them. Their family supports them very little and/or make the situation worse.

Cue the situation with my mum and my post. I just woke up from a paralysing nightmare, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t wake up and I had no sense of what really happened. I dreamed my mum was in the room, so when I half-woke I was calling her, I wanted some assurance and to ask whether she had really been in the room. I called her twice she replied from her room and once again, but she didn’t bother to come by. I went to her room eventually seeing her awake and on her phone. So she hadn’t been asleep she just didn’t care to move. I know it was a very real nightmare and not a life and death situation but it’s just another incident where she hasn’t been there for me. Now I don’t even want to compare it to me to what I ‘would have done’ because well, she wouldn’t have had to call me that many times.

I was talking in therapy today about how I thought I was selfish and my expectations of those close to me might be high. We went on to dissect why I thought that. The past few days I’ve been sick Ive had a lot of comments from her along the lines of ‘youre all always falling around’ ‘youre always sick”go to work we’re losing money’ just anything but ‘hope you feel better,’ ‘are you ok?’ You know the type of thing you’d think someone, a parent, would say to their child. In the end I had to accept with the agreement of my therapist that neither are my expectations high nor am I selfish but that was truly a reasonable thing to expect from my mother, despite my age.

I’m done. I am done putting her up on a mother platform that she has never lived up to. Growing up it was my auntie that was my refuge, her loving home, the nights she sang me to sleep, brushing my hair in the mornings, spending time with me, telling me stories. I didn’t get that with ‘mum’ & On a psychological level I realised long ago that my mother figure was my auntie all along. I wonder if she were alive longer than she was or if I’d lived with her would I have had BPD?

I feel sad this is my next post after an optimistic one but such is life, I am OK. I have just made an internal decision that she is not the type of mum I need or have needed her to be nor the type of mother I want to be when I have a child. I will have to learn and be better for them. I am too old and experienced to keep or hold onto toxicity, I am letting the mum concept go.