September 27, 2013
When confronting an untreated/unaware borderline with his/her behavior, you will encounter irrational hostility. It is always your fault. Never theirs.
Criticism equals rejection equals feelings of abandonment. As we have all learned, a borderline will do anything to avoid feelings of abandonment that have haunted them since childhood.
This includes making you the bad guy aka devaluation. Discrediting the critic makes the criticism hurt less. Blaming you for their irrational rage, justifies otherwise unacceptable behavior. In their minds, their rage is always justifiable.
Instead of accepting their condition and taking responsibility for their bad behavior, they will project undesirable qualities onto you. This is the maddening scenario where they accuse you of doing all the things they do. They will accuse you of being the one with the issues. They will say you are the one who is being irrationally angry. They will pick a fight with you aka bait you. And when you fight back (take the bait), they will accuse you of being hostile.
This is how a BP keeps you disoriented and fighting for air. They are sacrificing your emotional well-being in order to stay deep in denial. If you allow this to continue, it will cause you to lose your mind.
So, how do you handle such irrational rage? Here’s a NY Times article on the topic. Below, I have posted advice from the comment section of that article:
I’ve dealt with this extensively in people close to me, and what I can tell you is, the best approach is a combination of separating from the person with BPD, so she can’t disturb your own serenity; and firmly directly her toward DBT. You can’t help someone who is in denial, but what you can do is corral her so that she can’t act out to make you miserable.
If her phone calls or visits to your home make you feel stressed and angry, don’t take her calls and don’t have her over. Erect boundaries and stick to them. Yes, I mean it. Don’t put up with the behaviors. Just cut off interaction when they begin and don’t allow opportunities to arise. Because it’s through these behaviors that BPDs externalize their distress and blame it on others.
If they don’t get their way in doing that, and enough people refuse to allow them to, they may eventually decide to seek help. But what never works is “trying to help”, because they feel threatened and act defensively and then, a split second later, often offensively. So you can’t do that much. But what you can do, while protecting yourself, also can work to help them if they choose to take it. As the airline attendants say, Put the oxygen on yourself first.
This does, of course, require that you be willing to be vilified as the Bad Guy. But you can handle that, because you are a sane adult. Get counseling support in dealing with this if you need to. And really, what’s the difference in her being furious with you? Isn’t she furious with you most of the time anyway? Pretend you are dealing with a teenager and it will all make sense.
What I’ve seen work is DBT, mood stabilizers and antipsychotics (ie, medications standard for bipolar), and psychotherapy that works with the DBT. Clients love DBT, btw, because it helps them feel in control and calm.
And the argument, “it’s not me, it’s the world that’s horrible to me”—so what else is new? Lots of us feel that way a lot of the time. But we can’t do anything about the world, only ourselves. To find sanity in a crazy world is the task of most humans. Unlike other people, BPDs just never learned this on their own. But with specific help, they can.
The author is right. You can’t help someone who is in denial. Furthermore, they will demonize you if you try. They will accuse you of being manipulative and controlling. Because this is what borderlines in denial do.
September 23, 2013
A commenter, named Rose, responds to a previous post- Can a Borderline Sustain a Relationship?:
As I read your article I was in tears. I am a recently diagnosed BPD. I have been dealing with it since I was 16. I lived a life of competition, winning, being on an adrelaline high since I was 3.
When my sister was diagnosed with bipolar, I was left to pick up the pieces of of a life my sister had smashed to pieces. Mind you, I was the only person who was able to get through to her when she was depressed to the point she was about to kill herself. I was 15 and expected to look after my emotionally fragile mother, be their for my sister, and deal with the aftermath of her manic phases mostly by myself. I had no help or therapy, and was told to keep my mouth shut. The needs of one child were more important than those of another. Despite this, I got excellent grades and was a model student.
After the 20 year adrenaline rush of school and my achievements passed, I got married and had a baby. I suffered very bad PND. I felt like it never left me. i have been in therapy for a long time, not for BPD, but because I was simply “depressed”. None of this therapy helped. Throughout the years I have tried different ways of self medicating. As a result I have become an alcoholic and codeine addict. You would not think it to see me as I have maintained my studies and climbed the corporate ladder. Only those close to me know of my condition.
I now have two kids and have been married 8 years. I have only just found a therapist who has properly diagnosed me. I am selfish, self destructive, and keep everyone at a distance unless I am in control of the relationship. I crave intimacy but cannot stand it with the person I love the most.
I realised only the other day that after stripping off the layers in my life, spitting out the venom I had for those I felt had contributed to my condition, that I realised that the real problem is me. The problem is that I hate myself. I am jealous of my former high achieving self that I will never be again. I feel that everyday is a battle.
I have been off the codeine for about 9 months now. Alcohol is now in moderation. Mostly. My intimacy problems are another thing. I never know if I will be able to become the person I want to be. That my family deserves. They do not deserve this. They do not deserve a mother who has been in hospital multiple times in the past year for self harm.
It is not an easy road, at times I just want out. For it all to stop. Your article brought tears to my eyes because I could see what destruction I am causing. I’m afraid I couldn’t read past a point in one of the comments that I am effectively an abuser. It cuts way too deep. I know it is true, and I know I too have been abused. I would not have ended up this way otherwise.
I feel for all those people supporting those with BPD. It’s horrible and life draining. It is a double edged sword. For those who choose to stay and support someone with BPD, I wish you all the luck in the world. If not, you are no lesser a person. You need to do what is right for all involved, yourself included.
September 6, 2013
Recently this comment was left in my inbox:
I randomly came across this. I suffer from BPD severely. I’d love to help you understand it better and why it is we do the fucked up things we do lol. It isnt right no… but there is a reason. I’ve hurt many… I hate it… I cry about it I always admit I am wrong though sometimes its too late. Anyways if you’d like some understanding email me.
My grammar sucks .. its late.
I always invite borderlines to share their side of the story. I think most Nons are especially grateful to hear a BP who offers sympathy instead of bile, sincere regret as opposed to hostile denial. Instead of justifying her past missteps, she has taken full ownership. It is BPs like Alyssa who humanize BPD and lessen the stigma.
September 4, 2013
September 3, 2013
Damaged women flaunt their red flags. You would do well to take notice. They are so blinded by rage, they can not see their own rage.
Listen to the lyrics. They are looking for men to emasculate and humiliate. They feel entitled to such mistreatment of men. They have spent a life time looking for justification.
These women are not looking for equality, they are looking for revenge. Look into their past and I guarantee you will find a history of (emotional, sexual or physical) abuse.
The cycle of abuse continues. Do not let the “feminist” label fool you, these women were taught well by their abusive parents. Stay clear and avoid at all costs.