Relationships and Borderline Personality Disorder

Being in relationship with others and learning to trust – after having experienced trauma, abuse and/or neglect, after having been hurt, betrayed, cheated on and lied to, after having your boundaries crossed and violated multiple times – is not easy, whatsoever… Especially when you have been diagnosed with or display symptoms of BPD, because there is always this constant push and pull in relationships.

Jody explains this well here: https://jodyb2016.wordpress.com/201…. She speaks about the reality/push and pull of BPD, attachment, abandonment, fears, triggers, relationships, etc. The last sentence, which I love, says this: “We hope you will at least be at the same park, while we are riding the roller coaster that is BPD.” And honestly, that is all that I/we hope for.

So, if an individual – a child, youth, young adult and/or family, or even an adult – is “difficult” or “challenging” to deal with, work with, or be in relationship with, know that they are that way for a reason. Know that, deep down, all they need from you is your unconditional love, care and positive regard, your ongoing support and encouragement, your acceptance, patience and understanding, your forgiveness – not your judgments, criticism, belittlement or invalidation. Come to think about it, isn’t this what we all need from each other?

Even still, when those who have been hurt, traumatized, abused and/or neglected, are treated with respect and kindness, or consistent care, it can be a frightening and confusing experience. And no matter how many years go by of working on building and maintaining trust and relationships with others, our fears of rejection and abandonment are and will always be ever so strong. It is just a part of who we are. And so, I have chosen to share a couple of my own writings to shed light on this matter. I speak from personal/professional experience and as an individual diagnosed with BPD.

“Never met anyone that has as much empathy for others as I do
It makes me happy, but sad
It makes me calm, but angry
A part of me feels so thankful
For what you have given me
And for what you have taught me
But a part of me feels so confused
So anxious and vulnerable
I don’t understand
Why are you helping me?
Why aren’t you judging me?
Why aren’t you laughing at me?
Why don’t you think I’m crazy?
Why aren’t you angry with me?
Why aren’t you upset with me?
Why aren’t you disappointed in me?
Why haven’t you rejected me?
Why haven’t you abandoned me?
Why are you still here?
UGH and…
Why are you so professional?
Why are you so strong?
Why are you so calm?
Why are you so positive?
Why are you so understanding?
Why are you so kind to me?
A part of me likes it; a part of me doesn’t
You make me feel so safe that it makes me feel unsafe
I want to push you away and run
I want to fight and rebel against you
I want to make you angry and upset
So that you stop caring about me… But I do want you to care about me
I don’t want you to help me, but I do want you to help me
I want you to laugh at me
I want you to judge me
I want you to say I’m crazy
I want you to be angry with me
I want you to be upset with me
I want you to be disappointed in me
I want you to reject and abandon me
I want you to be like everyone else
But you haven’t and you aren’t
I talk to family and friends – they can’t handle my emotions
I’m quiet and they don’t like it
They get angry and upset with me because of it
They tell me to talk, so I talk
They still get angry and upset with me
They point out all the negatives
I feel so hurt by them
Like what the fuck am I suppose to do?
Can’t wear a mask; can’t be true to myself
All I ever want(ed) was/is love
Someone to talk to
Someone to listen and understand
Someone to tell me to breathe
That everything will be okay
That I will get through this
That they are here for me
That they care about me
That they believe in me
I feel like I’m never good enough
But I feel good enough for you
It’s a strange feeling – a feeling I’ve never felt before
Why are you so different?
I’m happy, but I’m angry and sad
You’re challenging my beliefs
Making me think things through twice
Making me believe in myself
Believing in me, believing that I will get through this
Showing me that I am not my past
Showing me that I am not my mental illness
Showing me that I am worthy and lovable
Showing me that I am perfect regardless of my imperfections
Ugh and it’s frustrating me so much; it’s a love/hate thing”

“To the people who haven’t rejected/abandoned me:

It’s been years since I’ve known you
And years since you’ve known me
Not just part of me – all of me
The good, the bad, the ugly
Who I am, who I’m not, and who I want to be
Years that you’ve challenged my beliefs
Years that you’ve truly believed in me
Years of showing me
That I am not my past
That I am not my diagnosis
That these voices I hear are not my true Self
That I am worthy and lovable
That I am good enough

But despite the evidence
I still feel so anxious and vulnerable
And I still get confused
Because you’re still here
And you still care about me
And you still treat me with respect and kindness
Whether it’s angels or demons that fill my insides
You still love and accept me on both sides
And I don’t understand why

Because I don’t feel good enough
And I don’t feel worth it
And I don’t want to fight anymore
But I feel good enough for you
And I feel worth it for you
And I want to keep fighting because of you

But all I want to do is run, hide, or push you away
But that won’t help… So, I won’t
And I don’t want to reach out anymore
But that won’t help… So, I will
And all I want to do is seek reassurance
But that won’t help… So, I won’t

But despite the evidence
I still feel so anxious and vulnerable
And I still get confused
Because you’re still here
And you still care about me
And you still treat me with respect and kindness
Whether it’s angels or demons that fill my insides
You still love and accept me on both sides
And I don’t understand why

So, I tell Etak: “SHHH”
And I tell Katie she’s safe
And I tell Kate it’s okay
And I repeat three times
Over and over, and over again
I AM ENOUGH
I AM WORTH IT
PEOPLE CARE ABOUT ME
PEOPLE LOVE ME FOR WHO I AM
I AM SAFE AND IN CONTROL
I WILL SURVIVE AND THRIVE
Praying that one day
This will become apparent
To all three of us
Without fear
Without doubt
Without question”

To end this, I would like to share a quote from Bobbi L. Perish that I feel has much truth and validity: “Abuse is a relational trauma. Therefore, healing can only fully occur within the context of safe, healthy relationships.”

I would also like to make a shout out to my CYC practitioners and/or those in the helping profession – you are amazing for the hard work that you do! I thank you, sincerely.

“Good child and youth care isn’t brain surgery – it’s much more difficult. No educational courses, training programs or text books can give you what you need in order to be with, understand and guide a young person through the fear, pain, chaos and anger once these demons are at work. We are not dealing with theory and strategic intervention here. Being in relationship means that we have what it takes to remain open and responsive in conditions where most mortals and professionals quickly distance themselves, becoming ‘objective’, and look for the external ‘fix’” (Gerry Fewster, 2004, p.3).

I would not be writing this if it weren’t for my heroes – my heroes that showed (and continue to show) me my strength, worth and value as an individual. They have given/taught me SO much about my relationship with the Self, others and the world. They have demonstrated to me what a safe, positive and healthy relationship looks and feels like, and continue to provide this context for me. They have taught me about boundaries and communication, and the power of meaningful relationships and/or a support system. I could never, ever repay these people for the positive impact that they have made on my life. I am alive because of these people… I don’t give up/in because of these people… Because of these people who truly care for and about me.

Now it is my turn to give back. So, goodbye to my painful past full of trauma and abuse, and hello to the terrifying, yet beautiful present and bright future ahead of me. Hello, CYC, and hello, world. Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Kate Morden, I am extremely unique, and I have lots to share with you.

Peace and love ya’ll,

Kate Morden

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