Don’t ask me how I got to this article because I couldn’t tell ya even if I wanted to (I clicked on a comedy link that brought me to another comedy link and another, and then a serious link to another serious link to another serious, and voila).
I only made it through 1/3 of this article (it is quite long). And I’m not saying I 100% qualify. (Just as I’m not saying Wikipedia is normally where I gather my information. 😉 ) But let’s explore this together for just a moment.
- Out-of-control emotions
- Unstable interpersonal relationships and self-esteem
- Concerns about abandonment
- Self-damaging behavior
- Frequently accompanied by depression, anxiety, anger or rage
The most distinguishing symptoms of BPD are marked sensitivity to rejection, negative criticism and thoughts and fears of possible abandonment. Overall, the features of BPD include unusually intense sensitivity in relationships with others, difficulty regulating emotions and impulsivity. Other symptoms may include feeling unsure of one’s personal identity and values, having paranoid thoughts when feeling stressed and severe dissociation.”
So…. okay minus the anger or rage, could this not be me they were writing about?
Okay, so in later paragraphs, people have added more information and explanation, and there are few other points where I differ. But… wowza.
I can say unequivocally that I was NOT THIS WAY as a child. Or as a preteen or teen. I certainly experienced a shit ton of this during my post-College years (starting probably in 2002). I was NOT THIS WAY by 2006. I was NOT THIS WAY during the first 5 years of marriage. During the last year of marriage… I was headed more toward this. Post-divorce, I’ve definitely been experiencing some of this again.
I mean, yeah, my bloody emotions can bounce around like mad. Sometimes I have FELT out of control, which to me is the worst/scariest feeling. I am more impulsive than is my “norm” but I think I’m keeping it in check (I was NOT keeping it in check during the 6 months pre-divorce). I am no longer self-harming, although certainly I harm myself in less concrete ways (not going to bed when I know I need to; eating too much refined sugar sometimes although I KNOW it’ll result in a shit mood for the next 32 hours, etc). Apparently I wrote 8000 text messages this month-phone-period. So that goes under “impulsiveness” as far as I and my parents are concerned (and I’m sure it DOES concern them, because an increase in texting preceeded/coincided with my insanity pre-divorce).
Onward. I’m doing better with the abandonment thing at the moment… although surely that’s only because nobody appears to be rejecting me at this time. I feel stable in that regard.
I was fucking INSANE post-College. This is after she ‘died’ or maybe as she was ‘dying’. I remember one incident where I walked to a small store and bought an alarm clock. The thing scared me to death that night. It was “buzzing” and it sparked a little. I went back the next day and the store owner told me that I couldn’t return it. It had only cost like $5 so not the end of the world, right? But I couldn’t handle it emotionally. I walked away that second and hid in some aisles and cried my eyes out, completely hysterical. Eventually I left without a word. I couldn’t handle any kind of confrontation or disapproval in any way, shape, or form at that point. She must have said it in an unfriendly tone of voice, to boot.
But that did eventually wear away. I am tougher again now. In fact, probably because of so many experiences like that, I am tenacious to the point of obnoxious now. I won’t leave a counter until I am positive I have exhausted any possible option with any possible employee. I am friendly about it now (I went through a phase where I would allow some anger to display; I mistakenly thought that would help matters). I will give you a real life example from a couple of months ago:
Store: “You cannot bring your bike into the store.”
Me: “I understand that but I HAVE to be at the pharmacy counter within 10 minutes of now or the employee who is waiting for me will be off shift.”
Store: “There are places outside for you to lock up your bike.”
Me: I have a cable with me but no lock. My uncle accidentally left the keys for it at the post office, where he is currently bicycling back to. But he won’t be back with the keys in time for me to catch [employee]’s shift.”
Store: “If it was a less busy day, I would let you bring your bike in here, but it’s too busy right now.”
Me: “What if I walk it along that side wall and park it in that back corner near the pharmacy where there are no people?”
Store: “No, I cannot allow you to walk your bike through the store right now. Then everybody else would try to bring their bikes in, too.”
Me: “I understand that the store is too busy for bikes right now. But I really have to speak with such-and-such employee. Can you ask him to come out over here and speak with me?”
Store: “No, the pharmacy is too busy right now for me to ask any particular technician to leave the counter.”
Me: “Hmm. So how can I do this? I can’t bring in my bicycle but I HAVE to be at that counter within 10 minutes.”
Store: “You can leave your bicycle out front of the building and I’ll keep an eye on it.”
Me: “Will you be able to stay with it the entire time? What if someone else needs your attention?”
Store: “No, I will not stay with your bicycle.”
Me: “This bicycle is $1200. I will not leave it unattended. I understand that I can’t bring it to the pharmacy. But I HAVE to hit the pharmacy counter within 10 minutes. It’s very important.”
Store: “You’ll have to leave your bicycle outside.”
Me: “Does this store sell locks?”
Me: “Okay. Can you please get me a lock? I can’t bring my bicycle through the store…”
Store: “Yes, I’ll go get you a lock and have so-and-so ring you up right here at this counter. You can return the lock when you’re done.”
WOOT! I made it to the pharmacy desk in time to catch important employee who was waiting for me! And my bicycle was not stolen (this area has a lot of bicycle thefts).
Yeah, so what was I talking about?
Okay. So what to say about unstable interpersonal relationships and self-esteem? Again, never a problem as a child, preteen, teen, etc. But post-college and around-abouts-divorce, hells yes. Paranoid thoughts when stressed, check. Dissociation tendencies, check.
I had a best friend in elementary school who I took entirely for granted (she rejected me at the start of middle school). We were best friends back then, like it was just there. There was nothing to question, nothing to think about. We were just best friends and that was a fact. I also had a group of other friends, who I wasn’t as close with but we all hung out. Middle school, no friends. Long story. High school, made 1 friend. Then another. Kept them, made a bunch of friends in my senior year, when my self-confidence levels were high because I had found myself in several 9th-grade level classes and they looked up to me. lol I was “cool” for the first time in my life. Great fun. Because of my self-confidence, I chatted with many people. One of them turned out to be “the one”, who I spontaneously invited to my b-day party at the bowling alley, and he accepted. Literally I was like, hey want to go bowling with me and (2 friends) at the bowling alley tonight? Sure. Okay. What I can’t remember is if that invite was on the first day we met or just the first week or something. Can’t remember. Doesn’t matter. I remember on our first meeting, I had given him my email address and warned him that I check it like every 10 minutes. Later when I checked my email, he had actually written, “Every ten minutes?” ha.
So since then… yup, shit interpersonal going-ons. Shit self-identity.
My identity was stable, of course, in childhood, preteen, teen. But was DESTROYED during college years. I cannot say that my identity was stable during marriage. I compromised so many values for that, I cannot tell you. What was I thinking?
I could look at the lists I used to make as a child or preteen or sometime, and basically write next to each item “Well, maybe that doesn’t matter so much.” “Naahhh, there’s an exception on this one, too.” “Oh, well who really needs THAT?” Etc.
Then you do things you would never do and you know are wrong but you reassess the world around you so they MIGHT not be wrong. I mean, maybe these values aren’t universal but are just regional. Maybe the world doesn’t give a shit which way we go and what we do. How can this be wrong if I’m only human and you’re only human? How do these values get decided upon anyway?
Oh well, there’s more to say but I need to turn off this computer and do other things. There are a lot of things I’m interesting in trying. Some of it will be quite humorous. For example, I want to create a page of “me” where I attempt to solidify some ideas I have about myself. I also want to create a page with a new list of “mandatory” for future long-term partners (this is the list that will turn out to be very funny for me later on down the road, assuming I again compromise on every single point). I don’t see that making such lists could do any harm. Perhaps they will be entertaining to create, and perhaps even do me some good.
Quick additional note: The wiki article’s description of BPD joy felt exceedingly similar to what I experience. I just very rarely experience any true anger. Every now again, I will be a bit crabby, but that is nearly always related to either sleep issues or my blood sugar. I wasn’t even angry when my ex destroyed all of my photographs and backup files. I tried to be. I even tried to express anger. But I guess I felt that I deserved it, so I couldn’t feel angry really. So maybe that doesn’t count. But yeah. My moods change rapidly for sure. And one second of joy for me is one second of absolute heavenly bliss where there is nothing else. But the moment I turn my head, *poof*. And it’s not like I forget about my worries during that moment. But yeah, it’s intense. I think I allow it to be. I mean, I don’t think it HAS to be that way. I could hold back on the positive moments. But since they are what makes my life worth living in those moments, I don’t want to tone them down. But, then there is the anxiety. It’s not like I know any way to tone down the anxiety. Or the sometimes self-hatred (although I don’t THINK I have been experiencing as much of that lately, but I could be wrong). Right, I was leaving. I’m very late now.
UPDATE: It’s tomorrow now. But 2 things have occurred to me.
- I did have anger in elementary school and I didn’t know how to express it or control it. I was never, ever angry at school, only at home. I would walk/run away to my room and SLAM the door and STOMP as hard as I could to my bed and maybe throw things at the door. I also went through a phase where I would write “I Hate You” notes and post them on my door. They broke my mom’s heart. But I would just be so mad. Stomping was bad because it made the lights below my room shake and I knew it. I remember one time in particular, I slammed the door shut but it bounced back open. I would be screaming and crying from rage. So I tried to shut it by throwing my stuffed animals at the door as hard as I could. I exhausted nearly all of my stuffed animals and then threw my beloved stuffed dog. Then I felt SO GUILTY and so much self-hate, it made it so much worse. I finally had to get up and shut the door.The thing is, nobody ever knew what it was that had made me mad in the first place. They literally never knew! And once I was experiencing anger, I WOULD NOT talk to whoever I was angry toward (usually my mom, sadly). My hate-you notes would read “DO NOT COME IN MOM. (Dad, you may tuck me in tonight)”. Some just read “I HATE YOU MOM don’t come in!!!!!” Somewhere, my mom has saved some of them. They were quite pointedly hateful. Heck, I wouldn’t talk with anyone, come to think of it. I don’t recall ever explaining to anyone at any point why I was so mad. But then, I also don’t recall anyone ever asking in a way I could relate with.
But come middle school, all anger had evaporated. All feelings had evaporated, actually. There was nothing left but anxiety and depression and a weird numbness. I’ve said this before, but I’ll put it down here again. My mum “offended” me one night in late middle school and I decided to quit speaking with her. I basically didn’t speak with her for a year (I did answer “yes” and “no” questions and such, but no personal info was revealed to her during that time. It was maybe 2 years after my brother went away), hence when I was drug to a family counselor for the first time and it lasted some 3 years until I decided I didn’t need to go any more. She scheduled the first appointment on her birthday. I don’t know if she did that on purpose or not, but it’s literally the only reason I got into the car to attend; I felt too much guilt to put up a fight on her birthday. Very clever, if it was on purpose. Otherwise, very fortunate timing for her (and me, I suppose, since it did turn out to be helpful in making me a more normal human).
So… rage now? Only toward myself. Which I figured out in my next post (the poem).
- It’s funny that I say I had a very firm sense of self-identity back in those years. Because I did. Yet I also didn’t. MANY of my personal writings back in middle and high school indicated how completely lost I felt and how I didn’t know who I was and such. But I was very confident about it in elementary school and became confident about it again by 12th grade. If I had a penny for every time I wrote something to the effect of “Who am I?” or “I don’t know who I am.” during those years, I’d probably be a zillionaire right now. My first of a long line of depressing poetry come middle school was titled, “What Is Reality?”