Friday, June 29, 2012

Don't Leave Me! (BPD Criterion 1: Abandonment)

I think that a lot of the problems that borderlines have stem from the fact that it’s really hard for people (whether it be significant others, friends, or family) to understand how they think about things or why they do the things they do. I understand from a logical point where the majority of what I do seems completely insane, but that doesn’t mean that I can stop it. Usually, that’s for one of two reasons: One is that I am not in a logical state of mind, and I literally can’t determine what is logical or normal and what is not. The other is that I know what I’m thinking/doing is wrong/illogical/crazy/etc... and I just don’t have either the will or the strength to stop it.

I posted an entry at the beginning of the week that listed all of the categories of codependency and I addressed them in relation to myself. Today, I’m going to do kind of the same thing, but I’m going to address the symptoms of BPD in relation to myself. I was trying to explain to the guy I’m seeing why I have such a hard time seeing things the way he does, and I was having a very hard time, so maybe this will shine a little bit of light on the subject. I copy and pasted everything in black from WebMD, and everything in blue is me.

The main feature of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image and emotions. People with borderline personality disorder are also usually very impulsive.
This disorder occurs in most by early adulthood. The unstable pattern of interacting with others has persisted for years and is usually closely related to the person’s self-image and early social interactions. The pattern is present in a variety of settings (e.g., not just at work or home) and often is accompanied by a similar lability (fluctuating back and forth, sometimes in a quick manner) in a person’s emotions and feelings. Relationships and the person’s emotion may often be characterized as being shallow.
A person with this disorder will also often exhibit impulsive behaviors and have a majority of the following symptoms:
  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment: The perception of impending separation or rejection, or the loss of external structure, can lead to profound changes in self-image, emotion, thinking and behavior. Someone with borderline personality disorder will be very sensitive to things happening around them in their environment. They experience intense abandonment fears and inappropriate anger, even when faced with a realistic separation or when there are unavoidable changes in plans. For instance, becoming very angry with someone for being a few minutes late or having to cancel a lunch date. People with borderline personality disorder may believe that this abandonment implies that they are “bad.” These abandonment fears are related to an intolerance of being alone and a need to have other people with them. Their frantic efforts to avoid abandonment may include impulsive actions such as self-mutilating or suicidal behaviors
I hate being alone. Now, I don’t mean alone in the house. Actually, like everyone else, I appreciate the occasional moment of solitude especially when it means not hearing a two year old chatter on constantly. What I mean is that I can’t stand the thought of not having anyone. I don’t even know how to explain that. I mean, I know that I have friends and (a little bit at least) family. I mean alone in a romantic way. I know it sounds crazy, but I haven’t been completely alone for more than a few weeks in that aspect since elementary school. How did I manage that? Well, the number one rule was to NEVER EVER break up with someone until I already had someone else. Someone could be driving me up the fucking wall, and looking at him could make me sick, but I would stick around until I found someone new. Now, I’m not saying that I would cheat on the person. I would just find a new target, make sure he was interested, get him to the point where he was ready to date me (or almost there) and then break it off with the original person. Now, I should probably also say at this point that I am really bad with break ups. It generally takes a lot for me to break up with someone. And a big part of it is that I have a REALLY hard time seeing someone after a break up. So 9 out of 10 times, if I broke up with someone, I waited until the situation was one where I could completely cut the person off and never have to see him again. But, of course, there were times when people broke up with me. Even with me being as crazy as I am, it didn’t happen often, but when it did I had solutions. My first was that when someone would start acting distant or giving some of the signals that they were going to end the relationship, I would try to get in there first and find someone else so I would either be prepared when it happened or, sometimes, just be the one to do it first. The second option, although not as desirable, is to just cling to pretty much the first person I find after being broken up with. I haven’t done this as often, but one time it bit me in the ass, so I think that was the last time. I got with someone who I knew liked me just so I wouldn’t be alone, and then when I was ready to find someone new and start the break up process because he was getting on my last damn nerve, his dad died. How in the fuck do you break up with someone whose dad just died? Then terrible things kept happening as a result so I stayed with the guy for almost two years. Bleh. Anyway, I found an easier solution right after that little episode. I started talking to someone online (my now soon to be ex husband) and he was my person when I didn’t have a boyfriend. It was kind of perfect. I could still date people and have someone here, but he was always one call or dirty picture away when I was lonely or had a break up.
Honestly, I don’t even know what it’s like to be alone. It scares the hell out of me. I literally get sick to my stomach thinking about how it would feel to be completely alone. But in all honesty, it’s just pretend. I have been married for three years, and that’s the most alone I’ve been in my life. Yeah, I had someone there with me, and to anyone on the outside, I was in a relationship. But in actuality? I was alone. I didn’t have the love and nurturing that I need to make it. So I got worse and worse and clung to even the bad things because it was better than nothing. I would literally start a knock-down drag out fight just so we would communicate. I even almost liked when he would get violent because at least he was touching me. When you go for as long as I did without being touched, almost anything is better than nothing.
The final thing I’d like to say about this is that it’s not just in romantic relationships that this presents itself. It may be the most prominent in those situations, but I see evidence of this in other parts of my life. For one thing, I have abnormal friendships. For as far back as I can remember, I have always had one best friend. I don’t mean that I have had the same person be my best friend for that long; I mean that I only have one at a time. It’s almost like a relationship in itself. I will have one best friend, and spend the majority of my time with that one person. That person will be the end all and be all of any friendship, the closest person to me in the world. Yes, I will have other “friends,” but I will keep them at arm’s length, and I may even not like them that much. I have been through a few best friends for many reasons, mostly location or life circumstances, but it’s always the same pattern. I find one girl and cling to her until I can’t cling anymore. I get almost the same feelings for her as I have for a boyfriend. I mean, nothing romantic or sexual, just emotion-wise. Like, I get really jealous if she is spending time with other friends, and I get really worried about big life events. For instance, my current best friend is about to move out of state to go to graduate school, and I am worried out of my mind. Right this moment, I have been spending more time with other people than I ever would normally, and I know that it’s because subconsciously I’m trying to find a replacement.
Wow, so this turned into a whole blog entry in itself. Here’s what I’ll do: I will post this as its own thing, and list the other symptoms below as kind of a “what’s to come thing” and finish the others when I get back to a computer. Who knows? Maybe I’ll have to do a full entry on each part.

Here are the rest of the symptoms that will be discussed later:
  • A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
  • Identity disturbance, such as a significant and persistent unstable self-image or sense of self
  • Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)
  • Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
  • Emotional instability due to significant reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
  • Transient, stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms

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