Today I found a post on another blog that led me to a you tube video about BPD and it prompted me to write a letter to everyone in my life–both the ones currently in it and those who have passed through…
Dear friends and family,
Since being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), I have withdrawn into my own little world. There are things that are happening in my life and my head that are harder than even I have the words to explain. The thing that I am learning and struggling with the most is that this effects every single person I know and every single person I ever come into contact with. Depending on what my brain is doing at any given minute effects how I act or react to everyone and anyone. This is very hard for me. I have always been the strong one. The one that can “handle” things. The one that everyone comes to for strength and advice and release. The fact that I am no longer capable of being this for anyone, not even myself, kills me on the inside. I have faked it for so long, pretending everything is fine and dandy all the while dying on the inside—breaking down when I was alone, crying myself to sleep more nights than I can count, not knowing what or why this was happening to me.
For my whole life I have struggled with certain things; anger, inability to express why I was angry, violent thoughts and reactions, inability to admit wrongdoing, problems controlling my emotions, addictions, self-loathing, self-harming, shame, fear, rejection, being alone, codependency,etc.
I have always chalked it up to a shitty childhood and repressed emotions regarding my mother and my step-fathers. I always assumed that I wasn’t worthy of love from anyone because everyone always left…and not just physically. My mom left me over and over–both physically and emotionally. She had her own issues–which I never realized at the time–when I was a kid and because she did not know how to cope with her issues, she took them out on others, the same way I have always done. It’s always been someone else’s fault. Everything I ever did in my life was blamed on something else—myself not being good enough, my mom hating me, my dad not loving me enough to fight for me, my sister being the favorite, my step-dads beating the shit out of us, not being good enough, nobody stepping in when we needed help, and on and on. It was always one excuse after another for me. I never owned up to my own part in my life. I still struggle with that.
There are many things about me and my life that most of you don’t know……….things I have been too ashamed or embarrassed or whatever to admit to until my recent illness was diagnosed and opened some doors that I never expected them to open. One of them being my willingness to share it with others——which is what I am going to do here. I am going to give you a glimpse into my life that not many know about so you can understand where I came from and why I am so intent on getting this under control so I don’t have to be ashamed of my past, present or future ever again… Please know this will be really hard to read for some of you. I am sorry for that.
I have my reasons for not sharing with those closest to me. The main reason being is that I have hurt everyone I know, inadvertently, one way or another in my life and to have to admit to you, a person I love, feels like knives in my heart. I run on emotion. I always have, so things affect me very deeply. This is why when I love someone, I love them with my whole self–which is also why when I get hurt by those I love, it destroys me in ways I cannot cope with. This is also why I have stayed in unhealthy relationships for longer than I should have because somewhere inside me, I figured it was me, not them. Since learning about my disorder, I have also learned that its not always me…..it is sometimes them. This has allowed me some freedoms I have never experienced before. Strengths to overcome some past hurts that I have been hoarding.
For me, this is a huge step. I’ve always prided myself on knowing when to walk away and when to fight for something. Somewhere along the way, those lines blurred and kept me stuck in unhealthy relationships with both friends and boyfriends. It wasn’t until I was left by someone I thought was my best friend that those illusions were shattered and those lines became clear again. And even though losing this person was the best thing that could have happened, it hurt like hell when it did happen. I didn’t understand it for the longest time. I blamed her. I was furious and sad and confused and lost. However, as time went on, as it always does, it got easier. But I still never understood it. I still don’t and probably won’t ever know the true reasons behind it, but as I have learned about my illness and in turn, learned about myself, I don’t blame her one bit for walking away from the mess that I was and still am and will be for a while. In fact, I thank her for being smart enough to get out while the getting was good.
I have always been the one who has to learn things the hard way. You can tell me shit til you are blue in the face but I will not really hear you or believe you until I experience it for myself in some life-changing way. I know this is stupid. Trust me, I really, really know this. I could save myself a lot of heartache if I would just listen to those who care about me…. BUT, I am stubborn. And I don’t listen. It is what it is. However, I do eventually learn for myself, and I do eventually take the advice that was given me in the first place.
I have always believed in actions over words. Words hurt, yes…but actions can kill. By this I mean, when I was young, my mom married and divorced a bit. The two step-dads that stand out in my mind that very much affected the way I was, and am, are B and S. BS. Go figure. Anyway, S was the first. He started out as a really nice guy. And I thought he really liked us (me and my sis)…..however, he was abusive. Not as abusive as B, but abusive just the same. His belt was never too far away to punish us. (Just an FYI–we were never sexually abused. Just physically and mentally. Which isn’t better, but just wanted to clarify) The weird thing about S is that I have some good memories from those times…….more so than bad actually. I think my sister has worse memories of him than I do honestly. What I do remember is him leaving. My mom actually married and divorced him twice. The first time she left him when we lived in Florida because he drank a lot I guess–though I don’t remember the drinking or that leaving honestly. I just remember being in Florida one day and then back in Utah the next. While we were back in Utah, she got back with him again. This time, the only thing I remember about that is that he tried to kill her one night……
We were all sleeping and all of a sudden I was woken up. I went into my moms room and saw him choking her. He turned and she started screaming at me to get my sister and call 911. I remember screaming at him, I think. Or maybe it was her screaming.Then he called my name. I am not really clear on that. I do know I grabbed my sister out of her bed, out of a dead sleep, dragged her down the stairs and we sat on the counter. I honestly do not remember if I even called 911 or not. I know they came and took him, because he was not there in the morning. The next memory I have of this situation is sitting in the living room window, watching the police take his stuff out to him. They wouldn’t let him come in. I remember him saying my name over and over and telling me how sorry he was and how much he loved me and he was so sorry for what he did and please forgive him. I just remember staring at him through the window. I don’t remember if I had emotions happening or not. I just remember staring. I also have no idea where my mom or sister was at that time. The whole memory is of me at the window and him begging for my forgiveness. And I never saw him again. Oddly enough, he contacted me about 20 years later–and it freaked me out completely. I never did respond to that contact.
There is a point to all my rambling, I promise.
Words hurt–actions kill. Him leaving killed something in me. Even though I know WHY he left, and that his leaving was beneficial. It still killed me. I never trusted any of my moms boyfriends/husbands again after that. Which is still hard to make sense of.
The next husband was just a psycho fuck. He was one thing in public and another in private. Sadly, as much as he physically wrecked my sister and I, I never hated him as much as I hated my mother. Somewhere inside me still hates my mother. Yes, I have grown up and realized that she had her own issues—logically. But the little girl in me hates her for not protecting us. It was her fucking job to protect her children. If she couldn’t handle it, then she should have given us to our dad like he offered over and over and over and over. But she didn’t. Every time I left that house, she lured me back……back into the cycle of abuse that never ended. For anyone. Not even her. I say lured because I was a teenager. She was my mother. She would beg me to come home, promise me things my dad wouldn’t give me….and I would give in. Because part of me needed my mom. And every time I went back, the abuse was worse. And I hated her more. And I never stopped hating her for abandoning us. Because in my mind, that is what it was. Abandonment. She mentally checked out of that life and let him beat us to his hearts content. And she knew. And she did nothing. And I am still angry. Can you tell? I hated her for that. I have never been able to get past that abandonment. I don’t know if I ever will. Yes, yes, yes, I am working on getting counseling for that.
In some sense, it helped-I used it to be a better mother to my own kids. Though it did take me a few years to get to this point. There was not a chance in hell, nor a person on earth that was going to put there hands on my children unless it was over my dead body. I was NEVER going to allow someone to hurt my kids. Ironically enough, the only person that ever hurt my kids ended up being me………But that is another issue for another day. And don’t panic–I never physically abused my children–even though quite a few people were very terrified that I would–that’s how violent my temper was. I was and still am verbally abusive–especially when I get hurt or angry……….but we will get to that later.
Because of that abuse and abandonment, I became abusive. I used razor blades on my skin to ease my pain (irony there)….so I could feel something other than rage and frustration. I berated myself daily; told myself how useless and unlovable I was. Made sure I knew that nobody could or would ever love me—– because if my mom couldn’t love me enough to protect me, how could anyone else? Sadly, I did a really good job of convincing myself—because I am still working to overcome that to this day. I still have to consciously make myself remember that I am worth something…..sometimes on an hourly basis.
I also took that rage out on my sister…..I hurt her. I took after her with knives and bats and whatever I could find, because I honestly wanted her dead. She was my mom’s favorite…which now, was fine…because I was pretty fucking evil then. But, because I had nowhere to release my inner pain and fury that wouldn’t get my ass kicked by my stepdad…..my sister became my target. There were times that I know, then and now, that I would have hurt her or killed her. I know she had someone looking out for her, thank GOD, because I would not have been able to live with myself had I harmed my sister enough to put her in the hospital or in her grave. I know that sounds horrible, but pain and fury ruled my world. I was so trapped in my own head, that no logic ever got through. I was horrible and mean and defiant. I was evil. And it took me many, many, many years to realize that was not the real me.
What is weird is that I never once stopped to realize that it wasn’t just me that was dealing with that abuse. I was so wrapped up in my own shit, I couldn’t see past my own pain to see that my sister was just as hurt and angry and abused as I was. I know this. I knew it then. I witnessed it. I tried to stop it. But I couldn’t get out of my head to see that I was hurting her too. All I saw was that my mom loved her and not me. And she was an easy target. I know, this is absolutely illogical and insane. I GET THIS. Now. And the guilt and shame and regret I have lived with since the day I left that hell will never go away. As long as I live, I will be sorry for taking all that out on my sister when it was in no way her fault……..or fight.
Ironically, when I finally left that house of horrors, my sister had to deal with it all alone……and not once, NOT ONE FUCKING TIME did I ever stop and wonder if she was okay. I was free. I was finally free from all that crap…..and I did not realize until years and years later that I did the same thing to my sister that my mom did to me. I abandoned her. I left her there all alone, without protection, to deal with the monsters in that house. I did exactly what was done to me to the one person that ever had my back in those days. Even through all the abuse I heaped on her, she still had my back. She still fought for me. She still loved me. AND I LEFT HER THERE. I LEFT HER THERE. If that didn’t remind me what a piece of shit I was daily, nothing did. Denial is afuckingmazing. So are the drugs and alcohol I proceeded to add to that guilt and denial for the next 15 years….
Anyway, I could go on for days, but I won’t. So there is a small glimpse into the guilt and anger and pain and betrayal I deal with every day of my life. This is why emotional anything triggers me to a cycle of negative self-talk, hating the world, being anti-social and thinking the sky is falling. It is part of the disorder. Unfortunately, one of my biggest triggers are loving people. Which sounds stupid. It really does, even to me. But me loving you, in my mind, gives you the power to hurt me. And being hurt terrifies me like nothing you can even imagine–because I equate hurt with fear and abandonment. (I learned this recently) So I push people away and love them from afar. It’s easier that way. That way, when the hurt happens–real or imagined–I can deal with it from afar. I don’t have to feel it completely. I can justify it, make it less than it really is.
This doesn’t mean it doesn’t effect me. Because it does. It really, really does. I just hide it well. I’ve learned to hide a lot of things well. Mostly myself. Though as I get older, this is getting harder to do. My friends probably know me best of all, because they don’t seem to judge me as much as my family…but they still only know what I choose to show them. I am sorry for that. In fact, most of the people I know wouldn’t recognize who I am with other people. My friends see a different side of me than my family does–some of my family see a different side of me than other parts of my family do, and on and on. Honestly, my kids see probably the realest me I know how to be. And surprisingly, they still love me. Which baffles me every day….
What I choose to show people of myself is what I can handle. If it is something I cannot handle–whether it makes me feel bad, sad, hurt, guilty, angry, whatever–you will not see it completely. Because so much of me is tied to my emotions, I know there are things I cannot control when it comes to them……so being a big baby is how I cope. You all know I cry over every fucking little thing ever………..which goes so much deeper than you ever realized. Til now. Ugh. It’s like laying my soul bare. I am not so good at this. Unfortunately, i think it’s necessary and time.
This disorder makes me irrational and fatalistic and irritable and frustrated and every little molehill becomes a mountain in my brain. I am not capable of making decisions anymore–especially ones that are tied to my emotions. My getting rid of my pup for example. Could I possible waffle any harder?! Sheesh. But my perspective changes from moment to moment and when things are bad–in my mind–they are extremely bad. On the flip side–when things are good, they are really good. It’s almost bipolar in the extremes. I definitely go through ups and downs, depression and mania, impulsivity and irrationality, logical and illogical–all the sides of the coin. I am a black and white thinker. I am all or nothing. I don’t know how to see the gray areas. They make no sense to me like they do other people. It is either this way or that way. No in between. I don’t know how to find middle ground. Even when my moods are stabilized with medication—which they will always have to be— I still don’t know how to function in the gray area. I can go from joy to fury back to joy in three seconds flat. I will piss you off, then feel bad, then expect you to get over it as fast as I do. I will snap at you and not understand why you are leaving. I will push you away and then get hurt because you left. There is no rationality to my thought processes anymore. I wish I could make you understand…..
I am sick of living like this. I don’t want my whole life to become my illness to the point that I eradicate my entire support systems-my friends and my family. Because I cannot do this alone anymore. I need your help. I need your understanding and your patience. I need you to know that I don’t mean to hurt you–any of you, and that when I do, I feel horrible about it. I know this affects you and I am more sorry than you can ever even begin to imagine. It is not something I have under control right now, It is not something I asked for, and it is definitely not something I do on purpose nor with malicious intent. If you have read or know anything about BPD, you know that isolating is one of the things we do well. And sadly, one of the things that is sometimes very necessary to regain some control. I know that is hard for my close friends and family to really understand. I do not mean to hurt you. I really, really don’t. I love you all. I always have and always will.
Someday I hope to understand why this illness chose this time in my life to take over, especially since I am quite sure I have had it since I was very small. Nobody really knew what it was then–it was just labeled as my shitty behavior, my rebellion, my attitude problems, etc. I always thought it was just a form of anxiety disorder or PTSD in response to my abusive childhood…but now I know that was only a part of it. Possibly even a trigger.
But finally I can put a name to my demons……which is good. Because knowing what is wrong means now I can fight back…..and as all of you know, fighting is what I do best!
So to all of you whom this has hurt—both people still in my life and those who are no longer in my life—I am truly sorry.
This is, unfortunately, a very real, and very damaging disorder–for everyone.
Here is a great video to watch—it helps explain it way better than I can……