December 3, 2013
A woman with BPD tells her side of the story:
I read all these comments, on this site and many others. I want to clarify. I am a borderline. I’ve spent years and years behaving in patterns that I, myself, could not understand. I have finally become self-aware enough, to see the problem, and to want to change my actions. I can’t speak for other borderlines, only for myself. But when I see people write that we are toxic, loveless, non caring, horrible people, I have to disagree. I rage, yes. I push you away, I will viciously attack you with my words. But it’s not about YOU, it’s because I am hurting so badly and I am so afraid you are lying to me and trying to trick me or hurt me or make a fool out of me, that I know of no other way to handle this pain. It’s horrible. It hurts me just as it hurts you. It feels like my brain is constantly racing, trying to stay 2 steps ahead of you trying to hurt me. I can’t trust my perceptions of your actions, and if I ask you I don’t know if I can trust your response. You did not ask for this, neither did I. But try for a moment to imagine living with no peace, with constant fear and turmoil inside your head. This is what it feels like to be a borderline, at least for me. It’s not about you, destroying you or ruining your life, it’s about preserving myself. That’s not to justify the actions, it’s just to maybe give the readers some insight, we are trying to save ourselves, we were never taught a productive way to do that.
November 26, 2013
Borderline Personalities are notorious for playing the victim. They have this notion that the whole world is conspiring to get them, that life itself is out to get them. Their lack of self compels them to seek out a feeling of self-importance.
What I found odd about my ex was that her accusations were more about her than me. If she accused me of being hostile it was usually because she was being hostile. She was always complaining that people were being overly intense or aggressive. But she would ignore the fact that she was usually the one being intense and overly aggressive. It was as if she was looking for a fight. She would provoke people just to get a rise. And then when they did respond, she would accuse the other person being abusive. If anything, people went out of their way to accommodate her moodiness.
My ex hated to be criticized, but often engaged in acts that called for negative attention. She would engage in abusive acts and wait for you to condemn her. And as soon as you did, she would then accuse you of abusing her. She was the victim, never the abuser. At least, in her troubled mind.
I thought this following article on borderline personalities was spot on. In particular, the observation that BPs will often play the victim to flatter their suffering egos:
Borderlines can be both very self-loathing and narcissistic at the same time. Some Borderlines see themselves as a victim to the entire world, a world which in their eyes wants to crucify them though they are nothing, and at the same time share the belief that it is because they are so “special”, that everyone around them is “hating” on them and wants to crucify them. For many Borderlines, the belief that someone doesn’t like them or wants to hurt them makes them feel significant, big, like they are somebody or else why would people want to diminish someone they thought of as small. Because most Borderlines thrive off of the idea of people wanting to victimize them, they often find themselves creating self-defeating situations around them, even when all the cards are stacked up in their favor.
Towards the end of our relationship I was skeptical every time my ex cried wolf, even when she complained about headaches or some other imaginary ailment. It got to a point where I assumed she was just looking for attention. Playing victim was her way of making sure no one would abandon her.
It only got worse when she split me black. I was already breaking my back to repair a relationship she had destroyed. And she was simultaneously pushing me away and stringing me along. One second, accusing me of harassing her and then, the next minute, calling me to meet her- to soothe her feelings of loneliness. And then discarding me, once she had found someone else to give her attention. She went back to playing the victim and I went from savior back to being a villain. Whatever was convenient for her at the time.
This victim mind game is abuse at its worst. It’s playing with someone’s mind and heart. It’s not caring about other people’s feelings, because you are so consumed by your own pursuit for attention. Borderlines surround themselves with people who are more than willing to feed this insatiable hunger for attention and expel anyone who denies them the satisfaction. The sad thing about my ex is she’s crying out for help, but nobody is listening. That’s what happens when you cry wolf too many times.
November 17, 2013
So I just recently confronted a woman who I had long suspected of having BPD. One of the redflags was the re-occuring false accusations. Let me make this clear- if anyone you know is making false accusations on a regular basis, this is a huge warning sign. These false accusations WILL escalate. This is someone who is obsessed with being victimized. She thinks the world is out to get her.
This means this person has been traumatized. This person is mentally unstable. C-PTSD aka BPD.
So what do you think this woman did when I confronted her with her behavior and condition? She accused me of being abusive of course. She said I was the crazy one. Then she said if I was capable of verbal abuse, I was capable of violence. Warning. Warning. Red Alert!!!! A line has been crossed.
This was a woman I’ve been dating for the last year. I had treated her better than myself. I pampered her like a princess. We shared tender moments. I introduced her to my family. And now she was accusing me of being her abuser because I said she needed professional help. I told her that she needed help because she was showing all the red flags for BPD.
If a woman even hints that she is ready to accuse you of violence or rape. RUN! RUN for your life. Because she will. This woman is officially off her rocker and she will do it. Borderlines in denial do not like to be confronted with the awful truth. Truth equals pain. Telling her the truth was equivalent to physical violence in her troubled mind. It sounds crazy because it is.
DO NOT CONTACT this person ever again. And keep all records of emails and texts, because this has now become a legal matter. You are dealing with a crazy person.
Tell all your friends and family to stay far far away from this person. And do not associate with this person, no matter how close you were before. Your intimacy is the trigger for BPD. The closer you were, the more dangerous this person is.
November 1, 2013
This post could have also been titled, “Why do Borderlines Fear Love?”. A frequent contributor named CeCe had this to say:
As borderline, I would like to say she is trying to convince herself that you are not worthy because she crossed into that terrorizing place deep within her where if she falls in love, if she starts to become dependent on you for validation , if she starts to trust you than she can no longer breathe.
She is in a place of utter dark terror and its because she has fallen in love with you. It truly the most horrific place. Her hot white anger is at herself for having allowed you to get so close. Her hot white anger is coming from a child deep deep within her that is probably 3 years old and she is scared, she is so scared to the point where her brain is telling her she will die ( cease to exist) if she assigns you this much importance.
It’s primal, it’s primitive- this sounds so juvenile and so lame, but its not personal with the exception that she fell in love and, like all 3 year olds, hasn’t the skills to cope or the wherewithal to know why.
CeCe has shown that women with BPD can have self-awareness. They can explain that which seems inexplicable. Sometimes, they can do it better than Nons and psychologists. They can share what it looks like from inside the disorder. Their contribution here is therefore invaluable.
October 25, 2013
A commenter named Mar responded to a post about about borderlines and relationships:
I’m sorry for commenting on an old post, but I just found it and I completely agree with you.
I am mentally ill, severely depressed, in fact. And it’s really hard to accept that I can’t be in a relationship, at least for the time being. It pains me, but I know that it’s not something I’m ready to deal with, and I know I’d end up trying to use the other person as a crutch.
I wish people who are also ill stopped shouting “ableist” every time things like relationships are discussed, because it’s not ableism. We have to think about our own well-being as well as other people’s, and a lot of the time that involves not being able to do what we want. Seriously, that’s maturity 101.
Anyway, I’m glad I found this post, because people should stop repeating “everyone deserves love” just because they think it’s a good thing to say.
I found Mar’s maturity to be refreshing. I wish more people with mental illness saw things this clearly. Unfortunately, most Cluster B’s do not see things clearly. Many are carrying around feelings of entitlement that make it hard for them to see love as a responsibility. I recently had to end another relationship, because I felt neither of us was fit for a relationship. It’s hard to do the mature thing, but it’s the right thing to do.
October 22, 2013
A commenter by the name of Fortunate Fool reminds us why BPD is so hard to treat:
Smart move; and I hope all the readers pay heed. I too had my life turned upside down by a woman with borderline disorder.
The fact is the word borderline omits the second part of the diagnosis which is psychosis. And people who suffer from BPD can be every bit as deluded and psychotic as someone with schizophrenia. But it is insidious and hard to detect; sadly even for the persons themselves.
They provoke emotions in themselves and others because that is how they feel alive. It is basically a cancer of the heart (a terminal diagnosis).
Through the delusions and paranoia and even sometimes outright hallucinations, they can slowly eat away at who you are, shaping you to become a monster to their needs. People with less control or empathy, it can basically trigger deep seated human aggression and cruelty, thus the stories/experiences of repeated taunting, rapes, and violence.
Whether you fancy yourself a player or just a “normal guy”; this is not something you can fix!
I am one of those fools who always tries to fix a borderline. Multiple borderlines. So far, I have had a zero success rate.
Unless the borderline is fully aware of their disorder and highly motivated to change (which is rare), you are looking at an uphill battle that you can never win. You can try but you will come out the other end emotionally beat down. When the borderline is done with you, she will have ruined your reputation, your outlook on life and your hope of finding true love.
As the above quote states- delusion, paranoia and outright hallucinations are very real possibilities when dealing with a borderline in denial. A borderline stays firmly in denial to avoid the PAIN of self-realization. If you try to pull them out of denial, they will go kicking and screaming. Once they have clawed your face and kicked you in the crotch, they will run back to self-delusion and lock the door. I have seen this over and over again.
You think you’re doing them a favor by “enlightening” them on their condition. But to them, it feels like you are beating them up. They will accuse you of abusive behavior and harassment, because they truly believe this. The borderline in denial knows only two responses: fight or flight. And if you choose to fight back, they will play the victim and label you the abuser.
It’s easy to walk away if you’ve only been dating for a few weeks. But a year with a borderline feels like a lifetime. It’s an intense whirlwind relationship that simulates love. It’s an addiction. It’s a tractor beam that won’t let go of you.
You will feel like the only way to resolve this situation is to fix the borderline. You will do exhaustive research. You will compile a mountain of evidence. You will formulate thoughtful arguments. But if you think all this will affect a borderline in denial, you are kidding yourself. See the previous posting.
If the borderline doesn’t want to be fixed, then you are just digging yourself further into the hole.
September 27, 2013
When confronting an untreated/unaware borderline with his/her behavior, you will encounter irrational hostility. It is always your fault. Never theirs.
Criticism equals rejection equals feelings of abandonment. As we have all learned, a borderline will do anything to avoid feelings of abandonment that have haunted them since childhood.
This includes making you the bad guy aka devaluation. Discrediting the critic makes the criticism hurt less. Blaming you for their irrational rage, justifies otherwise unacceptable behavior. In their minds, their rage is always justifiable.
Instead of accepting their condition and taking responsibility for their bad behavior, they will project undesirable qualities onto you. This is the maddening scenario where they accuse you of doing all the things they do. They will accuse you of being the one with the issues. They will say you are the one who is being irrationally angry. They will pick a fight with you aka bait you. And when you fight back (take the bait), they will accuse you of being hostile.
This is how a BP keeps you disoriented and fighting for air. They are sacrificing your emotional well-being in order to stay deep in denial. If you allow this to continue, it will cause you to lose your mind.
So, how do you handle such irrational rage? Here’s a NY Times article on the topic. Below, I have posted advice from the comment section of that article:
I’ve dealt with this extensively in people close to me, and what I can tell you is, the best approach is a combination of separating from the person with BPD, so she can’t disturb your own serenity; and firmly directly her toward DBT. You can’t help someone who is in denial, but what you can do is corral her so that she can’t act out to make you miserable.
If her phone calls or visits to your home make you feel stressed and angry, don’t take her calls and don’t have her over. Erect boundaries and stick to them. Yes, I mean it. Don’t put up with the behaviors. Just cut off interaction when they begin and don’t allow opportunities to arise. Because it’s through these behaviors that BPDs externalize their distress and blame it on others.
If they don’t get their way in doing that, and enough people refuse to allow them to, they may eventually decide to seek help. But what never works is “trying to help”, because they feel threatened and act defensively and then, a split second later, often offensively. So you can’t do that much. But what you can do, while protecting yourself, also can work to help them if they choose to take it. As the airline attendants say, Put the oxygen on yourself first.
This does, of course, require that you be willing to be vilified as the Bad Guy. But you can handle that, because you are a sane adult. Get counseling support in dealing with this if you need to. And really, what’s the difference in her being furious with you? Isn’t she furious with you most of the time anyway? Pretend you are dealing with a teenager and it will all make sense.
What I’ve seen work is DBT, mood stabilizers and antipsychotics (ie, medications standard for bipolar), and psychotherapy that works with the DBT. Clients love DBT, btw, because it helps them feel in control and calm.
And the argument, “it’s not me, it’s the world that’s horrible to me”—so what else is new? Lots of us feel that way a lot of the time. But we can’t do anything about the world, only ourselves. To find sanity in a crazy world is the task of most humans. Unlike other people, BPDs just never learned this on their own. But with specific help, they can.
The author is right. You can’t help someone who is in denial. Furthermore, they will demonize you if you try. They will accuse you of being manipulative and controlling. Because this is what borderlines in denial do.
September 23, 2013
A commenter, named Rose, responds to a previous post- Can a Borderline Sustain a Relationship?:
As I read your article I was in tears. I am a recently diagnosed BPD. I have been dealing with it since I was 16. I lived a life of competition, winning, being on an adrelaline high since I was 3.
When my sister was diagnosed with bipolar, I was left to pick up the pieces of of a life my sister had smashed to pieces. Mind you, I was the only person who was able to get through to her when she was depressed to the point she was about to kill herself. I was 15 and expected to look after my emotionally fragile mother, be their for my sister, and deal with the aftermath of her manic phases mostly by myself. I had no help or therapy, and was told to keep my mouth shut. The needs of one child were more important than those of another. Despite this, I got excellent grades and was a model student.
After the 20 year adrenaline rush of school and my achievements passed, I got married and had a baby. I suffered very bad PND. I felt like it never left me. i have been in therapy for a long time, not for BPD, but because I was simply “depressed”. None of this therapy helped. Throughout the years I have tried different ways of self medicating. As a result I have become an alcoholic and codeine addict. You would not think it to see me as I have maintained my studies and climbed the corporate ladder. Only those close to me know of my condition.
I now have two kids and have been married 8 years. I have only just found a therapist who has properly diagnosed me. I am selfish, self destructive, and keep everyone at a distance unless I am in control of the relationship. I crave intimacy but cannot stand it with the person I love the most.
I realised only the other day that after stripping off the layers in my life, spitting out the venom I had for those I felt had contributed to my condition, that I realised that the real problem is me. The problem is that I hate myself. I am jealous of my former high achieving self that I will never be again. I feel that everyday is a battle.
I have been off the codeine for about 9 months now. Alcohol is now in moderation. Mostly. My intimacy problems are another thing. I never know if I will be able to become the person I want to be. That my family deserves. They do not deserve this. They do not deserve a mother who has been in hospital multiple times in the past year for self harm.
It is not an easy road, at times I just want out. For it all to stop. Your article brought tears to my eyes because I could see what destruction I am causing. I’m afraid I couldn’t read past a point in one of the comments that I am effectively an abuser. It cuts way too deep. I know it is true, and I know I too have been abused. I would not have ended up this way otherwise.
I feel for all those people supporting those with BPD. It’s horrible and life draining. It is a double edged sword. For those who choose to stay and support someone with BPD, I wish you all the luck in the world. If not, you are no lesser a person. You need to do what is right for all involved, yourself included.
September 6, 2013
Recently this comment was left in my inbox:
I randomly came across this. I suffer from BPD severely. I’d love to help you understand it better and why it is we do the fucked up things we do lol. It isnt right no… but there is a reason. I’ve hurt many… I hate it… I cry about it I always admit I am wrong though sometimes its too late. Anyways if you’d like some understanding email me.
My grammar sucks .. its late.
I always invite borderlines to share their side of the story. I think most Nons are especially grateful to hear a BP who offers sympathy instead of bile, sincere regret as opposed to hostile denial. Instead of justifying her past missteps, she has taken full ownership. It is BPs like Alyssa who humanize BPD and lessen the stigma.