I have not ever been diagnosed with Borderline Personality, but in my pre-sobriety days I would have identified with many of the traits, and I most definitely relate with the issues of deep emotional abandonment whose true roots in falling into the unconscious become hidden and magnetic for huge and overwhelming emotions which in being not fully understood are not differentiated and tend to explode in anger.
I do have other borderline traits, deep sensitivity, feelings of emptiness (as least prior to doing work in therapy to unpack where those feelings of emptiness came from, feelings that only grew when I turned to substances in the absence of know what to do or where to turn), a rocky relationship history with lots of traumatic elements. At times I feel deeply suicidal when deeper feelings I am not fully aware of have been triggered in the present, sucking me back into the past.
I have been thinking a lot about BPD since reading and posting about the issue of alexithymia the other day in one of my blogs : The unravelling. It occurs to me that those with BPD are alexithymic they do not have differentiated emotions. Before recovery or therapy they lack insight into their own emotions and those of others, but they do have profound connection to the undercurrents of feeling around them, which gets confusing when those around the are projecting or being projected upon.
Due to their abandonment issues (which are often hidden or denied) they have a huge backlog of grief, anguish, helplessness, fury and pain locked inside of them. These feelings get transferred onto new situations in which the threat or fear of emotional abandonment rears its ugly head. And until they or we can understand where these deeply complex feelings come from its difficult for anyone to be in relationship to the borderline and most especially difficult for them to be in relationship with themselves, due to the self hatred they feel in not realising the true original causes that were out of their control in earlier times and still are, at least until recovery is sought and awareness is gained. Living with the disorder and recovery is a rocky road lined with minefields, hidden bombs which are at risk of being detonated at any time.
Its claimed that borderlines are paranoid. The truth is if you had been through what they have been through you would be too. It’s no use judging them for being hyper vigilant or over sensitive, they had to be that way to survive and often they are carrying a deep wound which had a real cause that is not just all in their imaginations. They may seem crazy but there is a reason for the behaviour. If you really want to get close to them you need to understand, most especially if you got support and unconditional empathy and regard from your parents.
It IS the borderline’s responsibility to heal and to develop mindful awareness of how and why they do react, project and are triggered. But in order for this to happen they really need others, though the deep pain of their emotional abandonment will often stand in the way of this happening. It terrifies them to trust and connect and until they can (with those truly capable of empathy and understanding) they will be alone in their own terribly lonely universe where they were never truly loved or known, least of all by themselves.
There is much more to write on this subject. I was so glad to find Joyce’s site : Making BPD Stigma Free last night and I want to help her to raise awareness on this issue. Borderline’s are not demons. They have been deeply wounded by lack of true empathy, protection, support, guidance, unconditional love and care. This is a situation that needs to change as borderlines need your understanding and empathy more than air, although in the end the true empathy and insight must come from deep within them, in the full knowledge of how the powder keg within them got so fully loaded with angst.