I’m on the BPD awareness bandwagon today as you can probably tell from a few recent posts. One of the claims that really triggers me and is mentioned in the fourth story in the book Beyond Borderline is that people with BPD are manipulative and malicious. This is all pure projection of the helplessness and misunderstanding many mental health care ‘professionals’ exhibit when faced with a client or person with BPD who may be acting out pain due to a percieved or actual abandonment trigger. Without a deeper compassion and understanding of the vortex of emptiness, frustration and deep need many people who suffer borderline wounds and injuries are left with from childhood and preverbal days there is no way such therapists can help and in fact they end up causing their clients or patients even more damage. I know this because it happened to me.
I was lucky enough in my pre addiction recovery days to be recommended to a very skilled therapist who I eventually broke with due to my own abandonment wound being triggered when he went into hospital for an operation but had the strength to reconnect with years later when I understood what had triggered my leaving. He said to me that for people who had suffered the degree of abandonment I had I needed a therapist who was available twenty four/seven. This was after another therapy broke after my therapist went away for over a month and I got overwhelmed. I should never have been left with no support at that stage in a therapy for that long when I had just begun to open up my deepest unconscious pain. It has taken me some years to understand the melt down and retrigger to complete isolation that break caused me. It took me years to get back to therapy with a consistent therapist. 12 years!
I will say this. So called ‘borderlines’ are not manipulative. They are hurting. They are in emotional pain. They are beseiged by negative voices that they can’t understand or control. They are literally drowning at times in emotions they can’t soothe or regulate. They need support. They need empathy. They need consistency. They need understanding. If you have ever been labelled as manipulative (and I have) dont take the projection on board. You may suffer from a host of unmet needs you dont yet fully understand and you should always be treated with respect, most especially by anyone you engage to help you in your recovery. Dont allow the said therapist’s emotional unavailability, ignorance or defences to cloud you from knowing what you need, which is loving consistency and emotional availability.
I understand that many therapists could never be available twenty four/seven and in time we need to learn to hold our own pain, but in the early stages of recovery its important to have someone who is there emotionally and doesn’t retrigger your own wound over and over again leaving you hanging with pain you dont yet have the skills to manage.