Hallmarks of BPD
Being a borderline feels like eternal hell. Nothing less. Pain, anger, confusion, never knowing how I’m gonna feel from one minute to the next. Hurting because I hurt those whom I love. Feeling misunderstood. Nothing gives me pleasure. Wanting to die but not being able to kill myself because I’d feel too much guilt for those I’d hurt, and then feeling angry about that so I cut myself or take an overdose to make all the feelings go away.
Following are hallmarks of borderline personality disorder:
Intense fear of abandonment, real or imaginary.
I have BPD. One night I called my girlfriend and she said she would call me back because she was watching TV. She didn’t call for two and a half hours. It hurt so bad because the day before, I had started to believe that she really loved me. By the time the phone rang I had decided to get rid of her before she could get rid of me. It turns out she had still been watching a movie. I felt so ridiculous, but the pain, the fear, and the gut-wrenching poker in my gut were very real.
Having intense relationships with lots of conflict, and seeing the other person as “all-good" or “all bad."
When we first began dating, my borderline girlfriend told me I was the very first guy who really loved her for what she was. Everything was fantastic. After a few months, she started criticizing me and everything I did was wrong. She would break up with me and then want to get back together—sometimes in the same day.
Feeling unsure about one’s identity; a lack of “personhood" or non-existence. Feeling empty, like one has a black put inside them that can never fill up.
Like a lot of people with BPD, I have a chameleon-like ability to take on the coloring of the individual I am with. But the act is done more to fool me than to fool them. The process isn’t even really conscious. I feel unreal—like a phony. When other people aren’t around me I feel invisible.
Engaging in impulsive “pain management" behaviors, such as going on spending sprees, having promiscuous sex, driving recklessly, abusing drugs or alcohol, binge eating, breaking the law, threatening suicide or making attempts, and engaging in self-harm.
Parenting my borderline daughter with is a twenty-four-hour-a-day job. She comes in my bedroom at midnight, crying and bleeding from self-inflicted cuts. She has sex with men she barely knows and doesn’t use birth control. Her current boyfriend sells drugs, and I think she is using them too.
Being emotional unstable: frequent and fast mood changes; uncontrolled, intense anger and rage; and intense sadness and irritability.
When in a rage, it seemed like my BP partner was channeling an evil spirit. Her eyes had no life in them: just a blankness. She didn’t see who I was or how she was hurting me. There was no way to negotiate, no way to reason or argue. She did not understand rational arguments.
Her voice would become more rapid, accusatory, demeaning, patronizing, irrational, and paranoid. Her tone was very fast—rat-a-tat-tat—like she was firing at me. She would pace and become very menacing, growing closer and closer as I became more and more afraid.
Paranoia in very stressful situations; episodes of numbness or “zoning out" or “dissociation" (feeling numb or "zoned out").
After we separated, my borderline wife and I sorted out a time when she wouldn’t be home when I would come to pick up my belongings. At the agree-upon time, she went into some kind of real panic and told me she thought I was coming there to rape her.
Assumptions held by BPD sufferers
When you're interacting with someone with BPD, it's crucial to understand that their unconscious assumptions may be very different from yours.
Their assumptions may include:
- I must be loved by all the important people in my life at all times or else I am worthless. I must be completely competent in all ways to be a worthwhile person.
- Some people are good and everything about them is perfect. Other people are thoroughly bad and should be severely blamed and punished for it.
- My feelings are always caused by external events. I have no control over my emotions or the things I do in reaction to them.
- Nobody cares about me as much as I care about them, so I always lose everyone I care about-despite the desperate things I try to do to stop them from leaving me.
- If someone treats me badly, then I become bad.
- When I am alone, I become nobody and nothing.
- I will be happy only when I can find an all-giving, perfect person to love me and take care of me no matter what.
- But if someone close to this loves me, then something must be wrong with them.
- I can't stand the frustration that I feel when I need something from someone and I can't get it. I've got to do something to make it go away.
Keep in mind that these do not reflect the thinking of every person with BPD. You must judge what is pertinent in your individual circumstances.
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