The Human Reality Within BPD
It often seems that nobody wants to talk about the human reality of the being that sits trapped deeply within each person who has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). All-too-often the actions and words of those with BPD are seen as the very essence of not only who they are, but, also of all that they are or ever could be – nothing could be further from the actual truth.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a personality disorder and a form of mental illness. It is a complicated mixture of symptoms that profoundly effect the lives of those with BPD and all those who love or care about them - non borderlines. One of the greatest tragedies of BPD is the way that so many lump the resulting behaviour with the personhood - even personhood that is void of a defined self - as ”being” the sum total of the person diagnosed with BPD.
It is quite understandable that those who are often very hurt by people in their lives diagnosed with BPD have a very difficult time separating the behaviour and the consequences of the behaviour of the Borderline in their lives from the actual person. It can be a very valuable gift non-borderlines give themselves along with learning to understand BPD and the reasons why the borderline mind works in the ways that it does. This does not in any way mean that borderline behaviour is justified as being in any way okay – when it is hurtful, abusive, and punishing it is not okay.
Not everything in the life of someone with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) has to do with or is caused by the fact that they have BPD. However, that said, BPD can certainly be the impetus for much of a persons behaviour or their very emotional temperament that causes perpetual and all-too-often unrelenting difficulty in trying to relate and consistently be or stay connected.
This is specifically and especially the case when it comes to the difficulties in relationships. While many Borderlines bear tremendous responsibility (whether they yet realize or it not) for what doesn’t work in relationships, those who are in relationships with them must also not blame them for everything. Each and every person must take stock of his or her own issues and how those issues then may clash. What is brought to bear in all the relating in a relationship between two people will be aspects of each, their issues and then the combination that those individual issues will create when mixed together.
Unless and until those with BPD receive the proper treatment and therapy which will enable them to take personal responsibility and to truly begin to recover, they must struggle with not knowing who they really are. It is ironic and very disheartening that in this personality disorder the very self that borderlines lack is the very self that is made to be synonymous with anything and everything they do or conversely that which is thought they should do but that they in fact don’t do.
It is important for all concerned to differentiate between actions chosen – behaviour and the personhood – the actual being that is the borderline, underneath the BPD behaviour which is driven by cognitive distortions, triggers from the past, and a significant amount of fragmented reality that often results in the false self of the borderline misinterpreting much of what is said to them in ways that are crazy-making for others.
The diagnosis and the term Borderline have come to carry such stigma and to be used more often than not in such prejorative ways. This serves no one. Everyone relating to someone with BPD, and those with BPD themselves, must get past the negative, hopeless, stigma that the mere mention of Borderline Personality Disorder often conjures up. If we begin from this place of judgment and hopelessness, we are setting ourselves up to be hurt and to fail in terms of any and all attempts to relate to one another.
- 3 Non Borderline Ebooks
- 6 Non Borderline Ebooks
- 3 Core Wound of Abandonment in BPD Series of Ebooks
- Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder The Lost Self The Impact of The Core Wound of Abandonment Ebook 1
- Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder The Rock and Hard Place in BPD The Impact of The Core Wound of Abandonment Ebook 2
Much of Borderline behaviour is a cataclysmic and enigmatic fire strangely burning deeply within each person with BPD due to a damaged psyche that does its best to operate and persevere from within a dysfunctional and maladaptive fog of defense mechanisms that dictate self-fulfilling prophesies in the absence of a known or understood true self. Arising from this absence of self and the fact that emotional maturity was stunted at some developmental stage due to the effects of this mental illness is a profound angst that traps the true self of those with BPD and perpetuates the very self-defeating patterns that hurt them and those who care about them over and over again.
Often, though not always, those with BPD have this burning fire of agony so deep inside due to no fault of their own. Those with BPD and those who love and care about them, and yes, even those who have been hurt devastatingly by their pathological behaviour will benefit by not de-humanizing the very fragmented human being that sits behind Borderline behaviour often as baffled by it as the outsider is, but, in the absence of a known true self is unable while in the grips of his/her false self to do anything but use all the most primitive and punishing protective measures possible – maladaptive defense mechanisms which sadly unrealized by those with BPD (until they receive adequate treatment) only perpetuate the continuation of the cognitively distorted thoughts that lead to distorted and fragmented feelings that result in projection, depersonalization, de-realization, lack of personal responsibility, and many forms of abusive inconsistent dichotomous attempts to relate to others.
We need to come with a softer answer, even in the face of the questions and pain that borderline behaviour can wreak in the lives of all who are associated with it. An answer that allows us to act in ways that are compassionate and that do not devalue, deflate, and dehumanize those with BPD.
And all who have BPD must learn (if they haven’t already) that the consequences of their choices hurt not only themselves but those who try to care about them and be close to them.
Even in the absence of a known true self it is not condonable to abuse yourself or anyone else. Begin by acknowledging where you are. Begin by accepting where you are and what is, whether you are the one with BPD or the non-BPD in the life of a borderline. From this acceptance real change can emerge.
Wherever possible, if you are a non-borderline, try to understand that the person with BPD, in your life, while still definitely responsible for any and all actions they choose, does not know who he or she is and that it is from this very painful abyss of self that so much destructive and unhealthy behaviour is generated. There is no way you need to feel that it would be healthy for you or the borderline in your life to excuse abusive behaviour – not at all. My plea here to all is to remember the humanity of those with BPD, to remember that the monster is the behaviour and not the actual person. The actual authentic person is lost inside to an often punishing, destructive, self-defeating, and abusive nightmare that is the literal loss of self.
Having said the above, however, it is also important that non borderlines learn to take care of themselves and do not get caught-up in trying to rescue their loved one with BPD. Trying to rescue or control or change someone with BPD is a common way that non borderlines risk losing themselves to the needs, demands, emotional chaos and turmoil of the person with BPD.
The very complicated, yet doable task, for anyone with Borderline Personality Disorder, is to find, define, reclaim and own his or her true, authentic self. Recovery from BPD is very much about the journey From False Self To Authentic Self in a process of discovery and growing self-awareness that supports those with BPD learning to take and accept personal responsibility for themselves.
Those who are diagnosed with BPD are human beings. They deserve to be respected as such even when the way they behave cannot be respected or accepted. Making this distinction will not only help those with BPD but I believe it can make a significant difference to those who love someone with BPD and/or who have been abused and very hurt by someone with BPD.
Each person who is diagnosed with BPD has lost his or her authentic self to the core wound of abandonment that arrests the emotional development of what becomes the lost self and the many rock and hard place struggles of and in BPD for people with BPD and by extension for those who love or care about them.
Recovery is possible. Therapy can help. Insight and the desire to change, take personal responsibility and learn new healthy ways of relating to self and to others can and will set those with BPD free.
© Ms. A.J. Mahari, April 21, 2005
A.J. Mahari is currently writing a memoir about her life and experience as a person who had two parents with Borderline Personality Disorder, as a person who was diagnosed herself with BPD at the age of 19 and from her perspective as someone who has recovered from BPD. There is a new section on her BPD Blog called The Diary - My Borderline Years where A.J. Mahari shares snipets of experience from her own life that is will give you just a taste of what her memoir will include.
Audio Program "Preparing For Recovery From BPD" Parts 1 & 2 by A.J. Mahari
Audio Program Rage Addiction in BPD by A.J. Mahari (sold separately or packaged with Mahari's Ebook, "Rage and BPD")
- Purchase all 3 of ebooks for NON BORDERLINES
- Non Borderlines - You can purchase 6 ebooks packaged together with or without audio.
- Those with BPD and/or Non Borderlines can purchase A.J. Mahari's 3 "Core Wound of Abandonment" series ebooks packaged together with or without audio.
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