March 15, 2010
This letter was written by a fellow blogger who also deals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). It struck a chord with me, as it expresses a lot of things I have not yet been able to say, and I wanted to share it here.
We know how difficult it is to have us in your life. We know how hard it is to hear us in our depths of despair. We know how we may come across as manipulative, controlling, unwilling to change, attention-seeking, even intolerable. We know. But step back for a moment, really look at us. Inside, you will find the most compassionate, empathetic, kind, giving people you will meet. Yes, you are tired of the chaos– as tired as you are, we are drained, worn down. Yes, you feel trapped by the relationship, as trapped as you feel we are birds banging our heads against the cage wanting to fly. I implore you, do not tell us we do nothing to improve, we have been seeking help most of our lives, we have been fighting to get “normal” forever. We have been actually getting up every morning, this in itself is comparable to climbing Mount Everest, this is “doing something.” We are not about control, manipulation, lies, we are about fear. We love you, possibly more than most people can feel love and are in sheer terror of losing you, this is the control you speak of. Don’t turn your back on us (unless you are in danger of your life, but most BPD’s I have met hurt only themselves). For when you turn your back on us, you have reinforced the idea that we are unworthy, hopeless, and cannot make it in this world. In my experience, most of the conflicts that arise with BPD’s and Non-BPD’s is miscomunication. Be clear about what you mean, extremely clear, because what you say is perceived by us as something different. Be reassuring. Don’t say, “I can’t take this right now,” simply start the sentence differently… “You have every right to feel the way you do, but can we talk later. I will call you back at such and such a time.” Be validating. Don’t ignore a text or a phone call, we have been ignored all our lives and feel invisible. Don’t tell others that we are “crazy.” We are a lot healthier than most people walking around ignoring their feelings, we are learning how to cope. Don’t tell us we are being overly dramatic, overly sensitive, we are not dramatic, our feelings are real and yes, we are overly senstitive, but is that such a bad thing? I am proud to say that I am sensitive, I am proud to say that when I love, I love with all my soul, I am proud to say that I do understand you, but can you even try to understand me? I am not here preaching about how BPD’s should be catered to. As an analogy: if we had cancer, would you say “I’m tired of taking you for your treatments, fight this on your own?” For some, BPD is as terminal as cancer. As long as they are in treatment and learning to cope, be there because one day that bird that is banging their head against the cage will fly free and you will miss the opportunity to fly with them…