Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

October 30, 2010

I think I’ve made it clear that borderlines are not heartless monsters. They are human beings who have been sentenced to a life of great highs and debilitating lows. And it is because of these intense emotions that we find BPs acting out in ways that sometimes hurt those closest to them. But let me say there are many things I love about borderlines.

Most BPs are highly intelligent and creative. And despite the shitty card they’ve been dealt with, many of them show great resilience and resourcefulness. There’s a survival instinct that borderlines have that I don’t see in the average person. There’s a reason why high-functioning borderlines are so talented. Because they have to be in order to overcome their handicaps.

BPs are passionate people. They live life like they mean it. They laugh with their entire bodies. On a good day, a borderline reminds me to fully embrace life. The BPs I’ve known are outgoing and charming. People gravitate towards them because they have a great sense of empathy and have compassion for other people’s suffering. This is a benefit to being super-sensitive.

But unfortunately things get complicated when you become intimate with a borderline. As one BP said to me, she makes a much better friend than a lover. When a BP’s fear of abandonment/rejection is triggered, that empathy shuts down. That charm can quickly turn cold. A BP who is hurt will become vindictive in ways that far exceed than what is called for. Their primal defense mechanisms take over and they can become extremely vicious and cold-blooded. I’ve witnessed some BPs grinning as they recounted some of the ways they’ve hurt people. But this is why a BP needs treatment if they are to have a fair chance at making a relationship work.

Many people accuse partners of BPs of being gluttons for punishment, suggesting they have low self-esteem. They chastise them for letting someone “walk all over them”. But they don’t get it. Partners of BPs are kindred souls. They may not have BPD, but they understand what it’s like to be over-sensitive and over-emotional at times. That’s why these partners are willing to put up with the BS that most people would not put up with. Given a choice, most partners would stick it out. A BP love bond is that strong. They would endure the suffering hoping for better days. They want to make it work. Most of them would ignore people’s advice to run away. But sadly, it’s not always up to them. Most BPs freak out or get frustrated and abandon the faithful partner, thinking a new partner and a fresh start will fix everything.

The stigma of BPD is there for a reason. It is not a pleasant disorder. Most BPs have left many jaded lovers in their wake. But that’s why we need to talk about it, to make people aware of it. Not to shame BPs, but to help everyone understand what’s going on. As with AIDS, the more people know, the less they will fear it. The more friends and family understand it, the more likely they will be to reach out. They will have the knowledge to help their love one get help, instead of trying to keep the disorder under wraps.

Many BPs don’t even know there’s a name to what afflicts them. These BPs need to be made aware of how much they are hurting the people who love them. They have not yet made the connection between their hardships and BPD. From just reading the comments on this blog, I can tell you there is a huuuge difference between these BPs and the ones who have been through treatment. Eventually, the stigma will lessen when more BPs are treated. Once a BP gets a handle on their emotions, it becomes more of a condition and less of a disorder. We live in a time where great strides have been made in understanding and curing BPD. But talking about it is the first step.

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