Single White Female

August 7, 2011

When I first saw this movie in the theaters, I had no idea what BPD was. Recently, they aired it on TV and it was eerie to see it through the filter of BPD. The villain in this movie displays obvious BPD characteristics, in particular mood and indentity disturbance. Hollywood melodrama aside, Jennifer Jason Leigh does a good job of capturing the emotional instability of a borderline. Especially, when she starts smothering the main character with attention. You really get a sense of how insecure a borderline can be when they become intimate with someone they perceive to be their soulmate.

One scene that gave me flashbacks was the scene in which Hedy snaps and starts insulting the object of her obsession. When she realizes what she has done, she immediately begs for forgiveness. But by then, Bridget Fonda’s character realizes what a psycho she is and begins to take steps to distance herself. This only makes Hedy more desperate and more unstable.

The movie even touches on Surviving Twin Syndrome. Hedy lost her twin at 9, but most people who display borderline pathology lose their twin at birth. Which would certainly explain why this person is so desperate to fill the void of the missing twin.

30 Responses to “Single White Female”

  1. savorydish said

    Changing hair color, pretending to be someone they are not is all a product of not having a stable self-identity.

    In the movie, Hedy runs away from home because her parents tried to get her treatment. She runs away to start fresh, to change her identity. But this of course is a borderline illusion. Without treatment, the changes are superficial and short-lived.

  2. savorydish said

    Hollywood likes to depict borderlines as psycho killers, but maybe this can be seen as a metaphor for the way borderlines sabotage relationships. When a borderline is confronted with the fear of losing someone, they become inexplicably hostile. They turn on their loved ones. They kill the love that was there. They kill the intimacy that threatens the borderline with the emotional pain of abandonment. In real life, borderlines turn lovers and friends into enemies all the time.

  3. savorydish said

    The narrative arc follows the arc of a borderline relationship. Beginning with the seduction. The untreated borderline is a predator. A predator who looks for people who are emotionally vulnerable. They become that person’s best friend. Helping them through the hard times. But what they are really doing is building a dependency. They are giving you samples of crack, until you become addicted. Thus avoiding abandonment.

    Most of the film’s tension is built upon the slow-reveal of Hedy’s disturbance. What rang true for me was the extreme ways Hedy tries to act normal. Even going so far as to dress up like the object of her affection. Her futile attempts to fit in only highlights how fragile the character is.

    All those years, Hollywood has been warning me about women like this and it is only now that I realize this is not just Hollywood fiction. It’s real.

  4. savorydish said

    In the movie, Hedy tries to blame everything on everyone else. The inability to accept blame turns to projection of blame. Towards the end, she tries to pin the crimes on Bridget Fonda’s character. In real life, desperate borderlines will try to demonize their loved ones. They accuse their lover of things they have done or thought of. This is the transfer of blame/shame.

  5. savorydish said

    Hedy’s desperation is driven by the fear of being revealed. This is a theme that is mirrored in my own relationships. In all my dysfunctional relationships, I can point to the exact moment when my ex flipped on me.

    Whenever I would uncover lies or manipulations…. Whenever I forced the borderline to see a side of themselves they didn’t like… they turned on me. They become vicious and cruel.

    Look at the way the Tigerbeatdown crew reacted to this blog. This blog threatens to reveal them for who they really are. This sends them into fits of rage, irrational outburst of “shitass lesbian rage”. If you’ve been following the drama, you’ve seen it for yourself. You’ve seen the extent to which they will go to silence the truth.

    Deception is the key to their act. Take that away and you reveal the cowering borderline behind the emerald curtain. The rage is all part of the act. They are hoping to scare you away. But when they realize that you are unaffected, they will break down in tears. They will play the damsel in distress. They will accuse you of cruelty. Welcome to the very real and frightening world of BPD.

    • savorydish said

      Be careful when you call out a borderline in hiding. They will attack you. They will find ways to hurt you and betray you. You will be shocked at how cruel a borderline can be.

      A borderline driven by fear has zero regard for your well-being. It doesn’t matter how much you think they love you. That is part of their act. The more intimate the relationship, the more power they have to hurt you. The more reasons they have to hurt you.

      There’s a reason why so many borderlines have tried to hurt me- the fear of being revealed is a fear they will do anything to avoid. The fear of being revealed translates to the fear of abandonment. They fear you will see them for who they really are and then run for the hills. And guess what- they’re right.

      • savorydish said

        Hedy also harbors a secret hatred for men. But like most misandrists she is torn by ambivalent feelings. She seeks their attention, baiting them with sex. But then punishes them when they take the bait. Without spoiling the movie, pay close attention to the scenes involving the male lead. The movie hints that Hedy has had a history of sexual assault. People who suffer from extreme personality disorders are much more vulnerable to sexual assault. The result is a person who is very very confused about sex and sexuality. Sexual confusion is also a sign of BPD.

      • savorydish said

        Nobody in the movie ever suspects there could be something wrong with Hedy until much later. This is important to note. Manipulative borderlines are very good at fooling most of the people most of the time. And when someone threatens to reveal them, their gut reaction is to take them out. Even if that person is just trying to help, they are still deemed a threat. In this movie,the borderline lashes out with physical violence. In real life, borderlines lash out with emotional violence. They assassinate your character to discredit you. Here at Savory Dish, I have seen more than my fair share of these angry attacks.

      • savorydish said

        Ultimately the world of the untreated borderline is very black and white. You are either for them or against them. If you are with them, they will smother with you with their version of love. If you are not receptive to this smothering or resist their attempt to manipulate you, you will be “killed” off.

        We have seen this kind of black and white thinking with the Tigerbeatdown crew, the Tumblr crew and the crew at Ms Magazine. This is not a statement against feminism as a whole. But an observation that untreated borderlines have found a safe-haven for their black and white thinking in feminist and activist circles. All of these orgs promote tolerance and acceptance. Which sounds good on paper. It’s why they gravitate to these orgs. But when you are tolerating dysfunctional behavior then it can be potentially harmful to everyone involved. When an untreated survivor/borderline is encouraged to indulge in Us vs Them thinking, it creates more chaos in an already chaotic life. It antagonizes people who would otherwise be sympathetic to their cause.

        The result is more isolation and more anger.

      • savorydish said

        Do not mistake these angry borderlines for feminists. These women hate everyone including themselves. They hate being women, so they lash out at men out of frustration. As this movie illustrates, any sisterly love is an act. An act to pull more people into their vortex. They are just as vicious towards women as they are to men. Some even experiment with lesbian relationships in hope that another woman will make them feel safe. But that ends up having the same disastrous results. They are actually more likely to take advantage of another woman because they perceive them to be less of a threat.

      • savorydish said

        When Bridget Fonda’s character starts having concerns about Hedy. Everyone dismisses her suspicions. This is the frustration of being in any kind of relationship with a borderline. No one knows the extent of their pathology except you. To outsiders your true stories will sound like paranoid delusions. This is how good a borderline is at covering up their disease.

  6. savorydish said

    As mentioned earlier, confronting a borderline in denial is a dangerous proposition. You probably won’t get a high heel to the head, but you will be attacked using a borderline’s arsenal of passive-aggressive weapons. False-accusations, betrayal, devaluation and cutting you out of their life are some of the many ways a borderline punishes you for knowing too much.

    Cutting a loved one out of your life may sound harmless, until you consider they have spent most of the relationship creating psychological dependency. Imagine feeding someone heroine. And then when you know they are hooked, you cut off that person’s supply. Withdrawal equals heavy-duty pain. They know this.

    A borderline has spent their whole life avoiding abandonment, so they know exactly how much pain it can cause others. In their twisted mind, better you than them. A borderline on the run is trying to beat you to the punch.

  7. savorydish said

    Borderlines on the run is another theme in this movie. In the beginning, Hedy runs away from home to start fresh in the big city. In real life, you see this pattern of running away and struggling to re-invent themselves all the time with borderlines.

    Then when Hedy is caught in the act of murder, she immediately makes plans to run away again. This is how borderlines deal with chaos created by them. This is what happens when they are suddenly confronted with self-awareness.They disavow all knowledge, and then they run run run. Running away from their problems is very much a part of the BPD lifestyle.

    Do not try to stop a borderline on the run, they will claw your face like a cornered animal. The charming borderline you knew during the seduction phase does not exist anymore. When a borderline is on the run, their primitive survival instincts kick in. They become brutally efficient in removing all obstacles to freedom and denial. Covering up their tracks is their priority. And you (the loved one) become the obstacle.

    • savorydish said

      If there is one thing this film gets right, it’s the borderline’s desperation when escaping the fear of being revealed or the fear of abandonment. It is exactly like the reaction of a wounded animal. When an animal is wounded, they lash out as a defense mechanism. Even if a caretaker is trying to mend their wounds, they will be attacked out of instinct. A borderline’s basic nature is that of a wounded animal. The pain they cause is in reaction to the pain they feel. A borderline feels more pain than most can imagine. They were born too sensitive for this world.

      • savorydish said

        A borderline doesn’t need to commit murder to cause damage. They are a vortex of trouble, sucking people in and spitting them out. They leave a trail of damaged loved ones in their wake. Follow the trail of damage and you will find your borderline in hiding. As one commenter observed, such behavior is not against the law. Society can not lock up borderlines for being crazy or acting crazy. They can not be held accountable for ruining your life. So instead they are free to wreak havoc wherever they go. And free to run away when the damage has been done. In the movies, borderlines are killed off by the good guy/gal. But in real life, borderlines get away with murder.

      • savorydish said

        Hedy’s darkside is revealed right after Hedy and the heroine seem to hit it off. When things go too well, the fear of abandonment takes over. The more a borderline likes you, the more they fear abandonment. Don’t be flattered. The borderline is using you to fill a void. Because you were emotionally needy at the time, you became a worthy candidate. But as soon as you show independence, it strikes fear into the borderline’s dark heart. They will begin to resent you or anyone who they see as competition. This is when the borderline starts playing mind games. They will make you jump through burning hoops to prove your devotion. If you don’t jump, you’ll start to see the borderline’s mean streak. Their heart will turn cold as ice.

  8. savorydish said

    Because I don’t have as much time as I use to, to create new posts. And sometimes thoughts come to me after I post something. And because it’s my blog.

  9. savorydish said

    Surviving Twin Syndrome is BPD but with a greater feeling of emptiness. They grow up feeling like half a person. That is why they are so quick to attach to people. That is why they will swear someone is their soulmate and then months later want nothing to do with the person (or vice versa). Since the trauma happens much earlier than most BPD trauma, one can only assume the pain of abandonment is much more intense.

    • Ryan said

      You’re the first person I’ve seen on the internet to connect BPD to Surviving Twin Syndrome. I’ve been asking questions on other websites but no one has ever bothered to reply.

      My ex fits most of the BPD criteria but I’ve only recently been able to connect her behaviour with Surviving Twin Syndrome. I lavished my ex with attention, gifts and even paid for a holiday during our short relationship until she dumped me out of the blue. It was so confusing and unexpected. It’s been six months since I last spoke a word to her and the pain is just as bad.

      Do you know any more details about Surviving Twin Syndrome?

  10. savorydish said

    Borderlines in denial react to self-awareness like a vampire reacts to their own reflection. They smash the mirror, because they can not stand the harsh reality. It comes as a shock because so far they have created an illusion.

    When a borderline runs away from a relationship, it’s usually because the partner has forced them to see their own reflection. They become hostile because they are angry at what they see. That person then becomes a painful reminder of their true image. That is why borderlines are constantly changing their image. Both physically and in their minds.

    Anything to avoid looking at their true self.

    • savorydish said

      Hedy represents the worst of the worst, an abusive borderline in denial. Despite a long history of egregious behavior, the borderline in denial is able to portray themselves as the victim. Whatever happened to her long ago, whether it was losing a twin sister or being sexual abused, has left a lasting scar on her soul.

      She is acting out as if to call attention to this scar that has never healed. Borderlines who do no address their past, will continue to cause harm to others. In their minds, they are always the victim. Never the abuser. They have developed the ability to hurt people and then compartmentalize these memories. That allows them to go about their daily life as if nothing happened.

      This is why borderlines seem so cold and calculated after the crime has been committed. If you remind them of their crime, they will lash out at you. You have threatened their blissful ignorance.

      • savorydish said

        Hedy’s fragile exterior belies her brutal nature. This is true of many female borderlines. (look at tiny Casey Anthony). They just don’t look like someone who could harm you.

        A borderline in denial is a borderline who is undercover. And there is no one more stealthy than a person who believes their own bullshit. A borderline’s thinking is so twisted she/he can make themselves believe anything, especially when self-preservation is on the line. Keeping their sabotaging/abusive ways under wraps makes them even more dangerous. The mind games they play don’t leave obvious signs of damage. Even partners of borderlines don’t realize how much psychological damage has been done until after the borderline has left the scene of the crime. Abusive borderlines whittle you down little by little until they have you in their hand. As survivors of chaos, they seek order through control.

        Never believe an untreated borderline has your interest at heart. This is why it is such a hoax that so many angry borderlines pose as feminists. Narcissistic borderlines are way too self-centered to think about anyone besides themselves. To say they are fighting for social justice or womankind is laughable. But posing as a do-gooder has benefits. It soothes a troublemaker’s conscience, compensating for years of bad karma. It also provides a boost to their needy ego.

      • savorydish said

        Hit and Run. That is the abusive borderline’s MO. They never stick around long enough to assess the damage. They don’t want to be around when you assign blame.Their conscience will not allow it. So they compartmentalize everything. They detach/dissociate from their feelings.They demonize and devalue you and then run. They run to find their next victim and “start fresh”. Life is one big Etch-a-sketch for an untreated borderline. When they fuck up, they just shake it all to oblivion.

      • savorydish said

        One of the movie’s pivotal scenes is when Hedy baits the main character’s boy friend. Baiting is a common tactic used by borderlines who have a history of sexual abuse. Unresolved feelings fuel a hidden agenda for revenge. Notice how Hedy has a hatred/mistrust of every man. Every man becomes a surrogate for the man who originally abused her. Men are just objects to be manipulated. But her games are not exclusive to men, as the main character eventually figures out.

  11. savorydish said

    So how do spot a silent abuser?

    Even the most deceptive borderline leaves clues.
    A borderline moves fast, they become your BFF in weeks, they move in after months of dating. When you have had a lifetime of unstable relationships, you move fast to fill positions as a way to mask insecurities.

    They are extremely possessive, yet they have no boundaries. The double standard is very common with narcissistic borderlines. Or they may suggest an open-relationship, but when they find out that you have been with someone else, they flip out or punish you in some way. They are actually baiting you. It’s a form of entrapment.

    Similarly, they will accuse you of being controlling but then try to control you. Intimacy is a power struggle for them. If they have friends, they are props, pawns or pet projects. Everything is a fierce competition. If you show superiority, they will try to knock you down. If they commit an egregious act, they will try to bring you down to their level.

    A borderline will accuse you of all sorts of things.
    Most likely they are projecting, transferring the blame/shame. They are pinning their misdeeds on you.

    Intimate moments are usually followed by bursts of rage. This is a person who associates intimacy with pain. While they have carefree moments, in social situations they look very high-strung. That is because they are closely monitoring their own behavior. They are struggling to keep it together. Most BPs struggle with social anxiety. When things get really bad, expect them to dump you before you dump them. Some will even try to get back into your life, just so they can be the one who ends the relationship.

    They are extremely sensitive to criticisms, but yet they are extremely brutal when judging others. Once again, notice the double standard. Self-righteous is a good way to describe them. This is a person who is compensating for their own bad karma and dark past.

    • savorydish said

      Listen to their stories about their parents. At least one of them will sound very abusive. But the way they tell the story, it will sound like normal behavior. No big deal. They may even laugh about it. These are people who grew up in an abusive environment, but don’t even know it. The apple does not fall far from the tree.

      • savorydish said

        Though Hedy is more of an introverted borderline, not every borderline is like that. Most of the borderlines I have dated were extremely well put together. They excelled in academics and their professional lives. But intimacy is where they fall short. They are compensating for their emotional shortcomings. They are putting on an act for the world to see. This is when BPD looks a lot like narcissism. You begin to see a little of this when Hedy tries to emulate Bridget Fonda’s character. Hedy realizes how easy it is to manipulate people under this guise. This is when an introverted borderline takes on narcissistic qualities. But their charms are completely superficial (histrionic).

      • savorydish said

        Another sign to look for- a mean streak.

        Every borderline I have dated had one. Sure they had sweet and tender moments. But I noticed that being nice was difficult and awkward for them. Like a child riding a bicycle. Conversely, being abusive is second nature. Takes no effort at all. This person was raised in an abusive environment and therefore they have been conditioned since birth to be abusive. When they are being nice, it’s usually because they want something from you… even if all they want is you to stay.

    • savorydish said

      Constantly changing appearance is also a sign you might be dealing with a borderline. Shrinks attribute this to identity disturbance- they have no sense of self. This leads them to emulate others in search of that self. I think a lot of this also has to do with self-esteem. Whenever my ex felt crappy about herself she would change her image, as if to escape into another identity. When she felt ugly on the inside she would compensate by trying to make herself pretty on the outside.

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