Truth Be Told

December 27, 2010

My newlywed ex seems determined to prove to the world that her life is perfect. Perfect job. Perfect city. Perfect marriage. Perfect parents. The only problem is she has borderline personality disorder. And that’s a pretty big problem. It makes it hard to believe anything she says. She is her own PR agent and, right now, she is trying way too hard. She is determined not only to fool the public but herself as well. But if you listen to enough of her stories, you start to notice glaring inconsistencies. Ironically, she’s a journalist. I guess fact checking doesn’t apply to her life story.

The question is- Does she believe her own BS?

I believe the answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no. While it may seem like she is a compulsive liar, I believe her lies have more do with self-preservation. She is a trauma survivor, which means facing reality brings more pain than most people can imagine. That means telling lies is essential to preserving her sanity. I believe that BPD is first and foremost a survival instinct. To understand a BP, you have to understand that they are fighting to survive. They will do anything to survive including telling boldfaced lies.

My ex use to tell me god-awful stories about her family all the time, stories of betrayal, abuse and alcoholism. Exactly a year ago, she called me while she was in Toronto for the Holiday break. She seemed very distressed. She was whispering because she didn’t want her family to hear her. Her mother had just told her that she caught her father kissing another woman. Not just any woman. The woman my ex was engaged to at that time (back in her lesbian days).

Was this for real? Or was her mother telling lies as well. With borderline families it is always hard to know what is the truth. To me, it seemed unreal. What kind of parents act this way? But for her, this was the reality she grew up with. This is the type of screwed up drama that can only happen in a borderline family. She hated her father so much, she concluded that “all men are scum”.  And now, she’s blogging about how much she adores her family and how much she misses them. Is she out of her mind? Possibly.

What we are probably seeing here is a dissociative state. Sometimes BPs detach from reality, their thoughts and their feelings when they are feeling overwhelmed. Their memories are linked to unbelievable pain (trauma). This is why it is so hard for some BPs to recall the past. To survive they must sometimes re-write their history.

Then there’s the issue of abandonment. No matter how awful a family might be, it is the only family a person’s got. My ex was constantly afraid her family would unravel, leaving her with nobody to care for her. So she maintains the illusion of a perfect family despite evidence proving otherwise. But this may be another reason why she was in such a hurry to get married. I had always suspected she loved my family more than she loved me. She was secretly looking for a replacement and now she’s found one.

It makes me wonder if she has told the man she married the truth or some variation of the truth. She would like everyone to believe that she is finally in love. But how many times has she fooled herself into believing that? Can we believe it this time? She once told me she loved me. But now she denies that she was ever in love. Consider that at the core of BPD is a fear of intimacy. A fear so intense it makes BPs runaway from love. And if they can’t run, they resort to desperate acts (inexplicable hostility or thoughts of suicide).

Consider the all too convenient timing of my ex’s marriage. She got married just as her work visa was expiring. Marrying an American meant she could stay in California. It would mean she could run away from her past again. For a BP, love is more about convenience than any deep emotional reasons.

A mentor once told her that “California is for special people”. It was a sarcastic joke, of course. But she took it quite literally. She wants to believe life is perfect. She really wants to believe “starting fresh” will make her feel special. But this is just another illusion, another act, another lie. Borderlines are good at telling lies, especially when they are trying to fool themselves.

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