I was sitting at dinner with my boyfriend the other night and I had just come from counseling and had “homework” to do. That homework was talking to him about the things I had recently had issues with and things that were making me feel bad about myself/our relationship/him.
Side note–I tend to keep all my shit locked away until it finally gets to be too much and I vomit bullshit on whomever is lucky enough to piss me off in that moment. No bueno.
Because of this, I am learning to just talk about my feelings when they happen. Fuck if that isn’t the hardest thing I have to do. But I am learning. Baby step by baby step.
So, we were sitting at dinner and I decided to do it in a public place so I could have a little more control over myself and not embarrass the both of us by acting out. This actually works for me. I do tend to end up crying because I am embarrassed by just feeling the way I feel sometimes, but I handle that OK, even in public. The public part just stops me from yelling or getting shitty. Bonus for all.
OK, back to the situation at hand.
I was supposed to talk to him about how I had been feeling recently and why I had been isolating so much over the past couple weeks. It surprised me how intuitive he is–because he kind of already knew what my issues were. However, he does not like conflict or rocking the boat, so he tends to just ignore stuff. This is not good practice with someone who is so emotionally needy and needs someone else to start the conversation…
But I opened up and told him how I was feeling (he was actually feeling some of the same things) and I did it productively. I took responsibility for my part in it and gave him some suggestions on what to do the next time I get to that place. It went well.
Isolation is my go-to coping mechanism. Especially now that I have pretty good control over my outbursts. I use it as a way to make sure I don’t take out my anger/agitation/irritation/etc on someone who doesn’t deserve it–since it has very little to do with most people. What I learned from counseling this week is that isolating is pretty much the same as blowing up—-nobody understands why its happening and they just leave me alone til I am done. Which, sadly, backfires for me.
I learned that sometimes I isolate just to see if someone will give a shit. So stupid. So fucking stupid–but truth nonetheless. It embarrasses me that I do that. That I have that stupid little needy ass pathetic side of myself that I manipulate to see if I am cared for. I know in my right mind that is part of my disorder—but it makes me so ashamed of myself when I have to admit it out loud. UGH.
So this introspection brought me to the point where I started thinking about all the shit I do that “protects” this part of me that is so needy and vulnerable. And while talking to Choney, he mentioned that one of the things he notices is how different I am with everybody in my life.
Looking at that, he is completely correct. I am my most real with him. I have so many personas for different sets of people that I sometimes don’t have any idea who is the real me….
My personality at work is the most controlled. Most people I work with have no idea I have a mental disorder. I am the most “normal” there. Its’ once I leave work that the control slips and I can no longer contain the surges of emotion that cycle through me.
I also have a different personality with my dad and Roberta than I have with my mom. My friends also see a more real side of me than my family sees. My kids and Choney see the most real me that I have–which isn’t always a good thing–but is the truth regardless.
While thinking about this and all my different personalities I put out there, I started wondering why I do it. Here is my conclusion.
I do it to protect them–and in a sense me. Most people don’t know what to do with someone who has a mental illness. It is a difficult thing to not only accept, but to deal with.
My family for example, especially my dad and stepmom, refuse to believe I have a mental illness–they just think I throw fits. Super supportive. (<–sarcasm alert). So for them, they see the minimum I can handle and that I think they can handle. They don’t get all the facets of me–they get a very small part. Once in a while I will slip and they will see a part of me I don’t usually show. I hate those times. It makes me feel stupid and vulnerable and stupid. It tends to shock them a bit–especially my dad who is in total denial that I have issues. But such is life. I, unfortunately, don’t feel supported in any way by them…..they are too busy judging me. Hence why I am taking a break.
My mom used to be the same–but since we have gotten so close, she see’s much more than she ever did. For whatever reason, I decided that when I started talking to her again after so many years that I was going to try to just be my regular, crazy, emotional self and if she liked me, good. If not, oh well. Surprisingly she doesn’t mind me. I do think I tend to worry her more now because she doesn’t see the old locked down me, but I like that I don’t have to hide who I am with her. She tries so hard to understand–which nobody has ever done before in my family–and it helps me a lot for her to realize that its not her that I am acting like this because of, but it is my disorder that makes me like this. I so appreciate that with her. She is super supportive even though this disorder makes no sense to her….
My friends see one of the best parts of me…. and sometimes the not so best parts..but they all love and accept me regardless and I can’t explain how good that makes me feel. I try not to let them have to deal with all the shitty parts–but knowing that they would if I needed them to goes so far for me…. making me feel secure and loved and not so lost all the time. My friends are amazing. Even though I don’t see them much because I tend to isolate so much, they still understand even while it frustrates them and they don’t allow it to damage our relationship. They let me do things at my own pace and that alone? There are words to express how I feel about that… they are fucking incredible. And I love them more than they will ever understand.
My kids. God, my kids have been through so much with me and this stupid BPD. They have seen the monster that lives in me and they still love me. I can’t even tell you what that means to me and how truly beyond grateful I am that they still accept me for all my faults and all my bullshit and all my emotional fuckery. THEY are the reason I am still fighting this every day… THEY are my reason for being…THEY are my love, my heart, my soul and my life. My kids blessed me and continue blessing me in ways they can’t even fathom. I owe my life to all three of them–they are my saviors, in so many ways they don’t even realize. I love them more than I have every loved anything in the world.
My dogs. See above paragraph about my kids. I feel the same about my dogs. I didn’t save them—they save me. Daily.
My significant other. Choney sees the realest me, like my kids do, and accepts me. Unconditionally, even while it makes him angry, frustrated or sad at times. He loves me regardless. And he gets the brunt of my emotional shit. My kids probably appreciate that…lol. But he still hangs in there, reading and researching how to better help me through those rough times. He has learned when to leave me alone and when to step up. He still has days that he has no idea what to do or how I will react to things, but he learns every day and does what he can. He is my rock. My calm in the center of my storm. The best part of me. I cannot tell you the love I have for this man–even when he frustrates me to no end. He is incredible.
So there you have it. My eternal question of who am I. Not a question I have ever been able to answer simply. I am so many people–and those people depend on who I am with at the time or where my emotions have taken me. I am a thousand things and feelings and more.
I guess that is my answer…..at least until I come up with something better.