Thursday, March 01, 2012

Stop Walking On Eggshells

For a while now, I've been dealing with a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder, on a fairly regular basis. I didn't really know much about the disorder until last year when the roller-coaster of drama really began.

Me, being the avid researcher I am, wanted to learn as much as I could about the disorder, to see if there was any logical way to deal with her as this is a person that, like it or not, I have to deal with.

The more I learned about the disorder, the less positive I felt about the situation, as there is very little that can be done to help the borderline person. In fact, I've learned that most borderlines don't even know that they are disordered, or they feel like it is everyone else around them that is disordered and they are the only "sane" one.

Here is a handy list of signs you might be dealing with a BPD:

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
  • 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 symptom

You can click here to read the entire article with more explanations. This is just one of many articles you can find out there with similar information.

In my research I've come across some very helpful and insightful books, but I think the very best books on dealing with someone with BPD are the ones by author Randi Kreger. This one in particular: The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder has been especially useful and full of tips on how to deal with the BPD person.

In many ways, reading it was frightening, because it was like pulling back the curtain of mystery as to why she constantly acts so crazy and unstable. And then, there is that almost heartbreaking moment when you realize there is little to nothing that can ever be done to make things better.

The most consistent advice for dealing with a BPD is to go no contact with them. As in, there is really no good way to deal with a person with this disorder.
These people will always cycle through friends, and find themselves at odds with everyone at some point. They "paint people black" who just a week ago they put up on a pedestal. They are always fighting imagined threats, always thinking people are out to get them, take things from them, talking about them behind their backs, or going to abandon them.

They live in these fantasy worlds where they are the victim and often times will regularly abuse the legal system by filing false restraining orders and claiming things like domestic abuse when in fact they themselves are the abusers.

They are the mothers with Munchhausen syndrome who are constantly eating up the attention of ERs from having "sick" children, and the attention seekers who tell so many lies about their "hard life" and how everyone has abused them that they actually begin to believe their own lies and gain sympathy and help from soft hearted people who want to do the right thing.
And then, when everything unravels, and the people who have been helping them, start to realize the actual truth about them, and who they are actually dealing with, they will turn on those people too. And the cycle of abuse starts all over again and again and again with new people.

The more I've learned about BPD, the better I can recognize the signs of it and protect myself from the person with it who has directed her rage at me on more than one occasion. I've been lucky to not have too many experiences with it. I would not wish this disorder or a person in your life with this disorder on anyone.

I wish there was more research into this disorder, and more doctors that are willing to even treat people with BPD out there. (In my research, I found that many doctors will not even treat the "un-treatable BPD patient" as they are too difficult to deal with and too little can be done and they cause such a strain on the physicians. many insurance companies will not pay for treatment of BPD either, so many doctors are unwilling to even diagnose it.) It is the worst of the worst of psychological disorders, because really, not a whole lot can be done to help them.

I feel for every person who has BPD and who has a BPD person in their lives. I really do. I wish there was more that could be done, but after much research, and hearing the stories of so many people around the world who have had nearly the exact same experiences with the BPD in their life, I've begun to realize that it is largely viewed as a pretty hopeless condition.

It is crazy reading the shared stories, it is sometimes like they have a camera in my world and are reporting blow by blow what she will do next. In a weird way, I find comfort in this, knowing that it is for certain nothing I have done or could have avoided, as her nastiness, negativity, anger, and lies, are all really just symptoms of a very nasty disease.

I've come to feel very sorry for her and feel the only thing I can do to fight the disease is to help educate more people about it. You say, Borderline Personality Disorder, to most people and they have no idea what you are talking about. That is why I wrote this blog. Maybe someone out there will come across it someday and find the answers I found myself looking for over a year ago when I was hurt and confused and frustrated by the actions of this highly disordered person.

It also helps me when dealing with my own frustrations with her. It helps remind me that she is a very sick person, and I should only feel sorry for her, not be angry with her, as she probably has no idea just how very sick and hurtful she really is. She is so blinded by her own inner rage that she is blind to her rages.

It must be absolute torture to wake up in her skin every single day. I would not wish that on anyone.


Suzy Mills said...

I've had the misfortune to have 3 bpd people in my life.

I can recognise it in people and steer clear now. It's a surprisingly widespread disorder, considering how few people have heard of it.

A close friend of mine was married for 10 years to a violent and abusive bpd partner. It very nearly destroyed him.

Michelle Auer said...

I think I recall his blogs about it back in the day. Yes, it is certainly a life destroying illness if you are married to one! I could not even imagine.

taylor said...

BPD can be helped/managed/whatever with DBT therapy but you're right, the person has to recognize they have it and want to change, and therein lies the problem.

an ex of mine had an girlfriend who was borderline that he'd been with for years, and just hearing the stories exhausted me. I wondered why he stayed with her, but looking back he seemed to have a Knight-in-shining-armor complex that drew him to troubled girls. That's the closest i've come to it, personally, because anything like it causes me to run screaming in the other direction.

I read an interesting biography of Princess Diana that suggested she had BPD. Compelling evidence, and totally exhausting to read.

Deb Hardman said...

It's too bad she can't see it in herself, & get help for it. It's sad that it has to impact your life & others who you love.

phoebe marie said...

my father's second wife, whom i tend to refer to as "the most evil woman on earth" has BPD. she made the entire 20 years she was married to my father horrible for me and has continued to ruin his life in the 10 years since they divorced. it's horrid. she's horrid. and she will never accept that she is the problem because, as you wrote, she is sure that everyone else is screwy and she is perfect. ugh.
i hate to say this, because it's such a terrible thing to say, but she is the only person i have ever truly wished would just die. just because so many people's lives would be so much easier if she were gone.

Michelle Auer said...

Oh, Phoebe, I know what you mean. It is hard not to have those types of thoughts when they come at you with both barrels of crazytown and you just can't reason with them.

And everyone else, I'm blown away by the number of comments and emails this string created. I didn't realize so many people have been touched by BPD. It just goes to prove that more research needs to go into it to maybe help these people seeing as I've never heard a positive BPD story!

Deb Hardman said...

Thinking of you always. Hope all is well. Love you! Xoxo

Mommy said...

I found your blog randomly and I just wanted to say thank you. You just described, in detail, every characteristic of my younger kids' father. I have been trying to figure out (for 2.5 years) what is wrong with him. Wow.


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