Borderline Personality: The Paranoid Shadow Boxer

August 12, 2010

The Borderline Personality is always fighting imaginary threats. A man recounts his 15 year relationship with a BP and her paranoia. Here’s an excerpt:

Regrettably, the very nature of BPD — the paranoid ideation, the instability of self-image and mood, the constant eruption of intense anger, and the wilfull non-cooperation borne of that paranoia and anger — is such that that person, by definition, is going to mistrust us, misunderstand our intentions, respond inappropriately, strike out in irrational antagonism in self-defense against non-existent threats, and otherwise respond the the unique and idiosyncratic nature of her experience of the world through the filter that is BPD.

In moments when a BP is driven by irrational fear and uncontrollable insecurity, primitive self-preservation instincts kick in. Once a BP identifies a loved one as an emotional threat (real or not real) to their fragile well-being, the LO becomes the enemy and loving memories no longer exist. At first, BPs will employ passive-aggressive measures like avoiding you or shutting you out. But if cornered, BPs lash out like a wounded animal- hurling vicious insults and outlandish threats.

As the stress level rises, paranoia and desperation emerges. It is not uncommon for BPs to react to emotional threats as physical threats. Don’t expect them to be compassionate or understanding. Reasoning with the BP in this fight/flight mode is nearly impossible.They are not thinking. They are reacting.

Oddly enough, this type of emotionally violent treatment is usually reserved for people they love. If the BP has experienced a traumatic past, then loved ones become the lightning rod for all their pain and fears. If a casual acquaintance or stranger inflicts pain upon the BP, confrontation is usually avoided. A BP who is mugged doesn’t even consider prosecuting the mugger. A BP in an abusive relationship comes back for more. A BP who is raped avoids confrontation for fear of embarrassment. BPs might even avoid confronting an offending family member for fear of unraveling the family unit. All that collective pain is then buried and reserved for an unsuspecting loved one. The abused has now become the abuser.

Intimacy and dependency raises the stakes and the threat level. Intimacy then becomes the trigger for anger.  Hostility is their defense-mechanism. They are not pushing you away, they are pushing intimacy away. When it is too much to handle, BPs break off a relationship only to jump into another. Now that the past lover is a threat, they need a new one to be the protector/savior. And the cycle of push/pull repeats itself.

As much as partners of BPs want to return the vitriol, they know it is pointless. Attacking someone who is this damaged would only leave the partner feeling guilt as well as frustration. Untreated BPs are loose cannons packed with a lifetime’s worth of emotional gun powder.

6 Responses to “Borderline Personality: The Paranoid Shadow Boxer”

  1. Shane said

    This small article may have saved my life,I am a non BPD and everything in this piece resonated with me

  2. […] posts. My first thought was that it would be another angry enabler giving me a piece of their mind. But instead, I found this: This small article may have saved my life,I am a non BPD and everything in this piece resonated […]

  3. Been there said

    Insightful. Explains an important part of BPD behaviour perfectly.

    /Been there…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: