Throwing Fuel onto the Fire

November 11, 2010

Borderline personalities who are in denial, are borderlines who are out of control. Chaotic relationships plague most BPs, but when a BP is unaware of their bad behavior it can only make things worse. Conflict resolution is not a BP specialty. They just don’t know how to play nice when emotions are running high. A BP that splits you black is not above making false accusations or ruthless threats to get their way. They lash out in reaction to emotional pain, but it only causes more pain. The hostility they use to scare off people only serves to antagonize people. Burning bridges is a way of avoiding the pain of rejection, but only leaves estranged love ones in their wake. They are either screaming at you or giving you the silent treatment. Both are forms of abuse. Neither does anything to ease tensions or promote good will.  Under these conditions, a small misunderstanding can quickly escalate to something much uglier. Let’s explore why untreated borderlines have a talent for blowing things out of proportion:

Family Feud Delve into a BP’s family history and you will most likely find abusive relationships. A BP is born into and out of conflict. It is hardwired into their system. From childhood, the line between love and hate has been blurred. They are conditioned to lash out at loved ones. Sadly, they are more likely to show hostile behavior to someone they love then a complete stranger. Which is why intimacy is always followed by conflict.

Touchy Touchy When an animal is wounded, it lashes out anybody that comes near, even someone who’s just trying to help. BPs share this same primitive instinct. Many BPs are survivors of abuse, this can only make a BP more volatile. When you are as sensitive as an untreated BP, everything comes off as an attack. They are reacting to deep emotional pain. Flying off the handle is their way of warding off potential threats to their well-being. Instead of calmly voicing their displeasure they often bite people’s heads off. Though this is a defense-mechanism, it has the effect of being offensive.

Strength in Numbers An insecure BP hates to stand alone, so they try to recruit people to their side. They do this by playing the victim, to elicit sympathy. With each person joining the fight, the hostility rises exponentially. When a BP recruits soldiers, a personal conflict can turn into a very public war.

Demonizing and Dehumanizing BPs actually feel a great deal of guilt and shame when they are on the rampage. To lessen the guilt, they will try to diminish you as a person. They portray you as the bad guy so they can feel better about treating you like crap.  But when you treat someone like the bad guy, then you run the risk of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Passive Aggressive BPs that find it difficult to control their temper, usually go to the opposite extreme and withdraw all together. They cut off all communication. For someone who fears abandonment as much as a BP, this is the ultimate weapon. Which is harmless if you are ignoring a total stranger. But when you are in an intimate relationship, where there has been significant emotional investment, the silent treatment is nothing short of abuse. It is a power play made by someone who knows they have a hold on you. By withdrawing their love and denying their partner’s existence, they are causing their partner a great deal of pain. And the BP knows it.

Sabotage BPs don’t know how to deal with intimacy. When someone gets close enough to affect the way BPs feel about themselves, a BP’s natural reaction is to push him/her away. The sad irony is this: the nicer and more loving a person is towards a BP, the more likely the BP is to respond with hostility. When push comes to shove a BP relationship can end with either infidelity or a smear campaign. Stabbing someone in the back is the ultimate act of sabotage.

Walking Away For someone whose life is filled with conflict, BPs have a low tolerance for it. So when things get tense, rather than dealing with the situation, they walk away (or run away).  This may seem like a sensible solution, but it is like two warring factions walking away from peace talks. It’s like walking away from a boiling pot. This is not to be confused with taking a breather. This is the BP abandoning their responsibilities and commitments. For a BP, out of sight means out of mind, but it also leaves the other person feeling tossed aside. If this seems like a cold-hearted act, it’s because a BP needs to shut off that part of their heart that feels compassion in order to walk away.

Arrested Development BPs can act very childish and more so when they are in the heat of a fight. Whatever trauma they were subjected to when they were very young, stunted their emotional growth. You might be dealing with a 20 yr-old BP, but it will feel like you are dealing with a 3 yr old.  A 3 yr-old that pouts, throws tantrums and calls you names when he/she doesn’t get his/her way.

Blame Game With an untreated BP, it’s always someone else’s fault. Everyone else is crazy, not them. They are the victim. Despite all the mounting evidence that they are the source of this never-ending drama, they always find a way of pointing the finger at someone else. Yes, it does take two to tango. But when a BP is leading, you better clear the dance floor. Because it’s about to get ugly.

Karma is a Bitch BP’s have a terrible stigma for a reason. And it’s not because they are filled with sunshine and rainbows. When you treat people the way a BP does, it catches up to you. When you badmouth people, stab people in the back, cheat on your partner, it is your name that gets dragged through the mud. Your reputation is soiled by your bad behavior. This is why you find a lot of BPs moving from city to city, they are running from their reputation.

Tit for Tat A BP has a way of bringing the worst out of people. When they pick a fight with you, they drag you down to their level. Secretly, they want you to behave as badly as them. Misery loves company. And when you give them a taste of their own medicine, they can point to you and say, “See, I told you they were a bad person”.

Flood of Emotions BPD makes it difficult for a person to regulate their emotions. This flood of emotions can make it very hard for someone to be rational or think clearly. It also makes it hard to empathize with another person, making the BP seem very selfish. When BPs become overwhelmed by their emotions, their only solution may be to shut off their heart. But this only makes them do and say things that seem cold-blooded.

Baggage to Boot BPD rarely exists on its own. An untreated BP is usually juggling alcoholism, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, an inferiority-complex and other personality disorders… just to name a few. Despite having all these troubling issues, a BP in denial is still able to fool themselves into believing that they are perfectly capable of maintaining a relationship.

Victim Complex When the BP is a survivor of abuse, it leaves the BP feeling like everyone is out to get them. From an early age they’ve learned they can get attention if they play the victim. But this means they have to find a victimizer. Real or not, it doesn’t really matter.

The point of all this is not to bash people with BPD or discourage them. The point is to encourage those, afflicted with BPD, to get help. An untreated BP is ill-equipped to bring about conflict resolution. And even the most patient lover is ill-equipped to deal with a rampaging BP. When you are talking about a disorder where people are unable to control their emotions, you are talking about a time bomb waiting to explode. An untreated BP can destroy relationships, tarnish reputations and ruin lives without even trying. This can spell trouble for the unwitting BP, because (as we all know) what goes around comes around.

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