Relationships with someone with BPD/EUPD (Borderline Personality Disorder/ Emotionally unstable Personality Disorder)
This one is important and very specific to my life right now. As I research it, I would like you to accompany me.
I have always worn my heart on my sleeve, given out love and acceptance quite easily but often found that it has not been reciprocated.
I love people, loving people and making friends. Having to move back to Birmingham has been tough as your friends in London, especially when you haven’t been raised there and move there as an adult, friends in London become as good as family. I miss them all everyday (you know who you are, or at least you should do!).
People have always come and gone in my life, especially when I was on the acting circuit, you form fantastically strong bonds with these wonderfully new people and then when the job finishes… POOF! They all disappear back to their original loved ones, as do you, with your buddies.
I am not naturally the argumentative type but I do realise that I can be quite challenging, especially when intoxicated (I’ve not grown out of that one)! I know that I can be quite intense, I have always struggled in romantic relationships, picking the wrong guys, saying and doing the wrong thing and getting myself into trouble.
Apart from the acting bubble stuff that I mentioned previous and relationships with friends from school, college and drama school that petered out. As an adult, I have never fallen out with as many people as I have this past year!
Some friendships don’t last forever, that is standard, they just fizzle out, and with the stability of your really good friends/family. Friendships that pass don’t have any lasting, emotional repercussions.
Without naming names, an old school friend just wiped me from her life and a few ladies that I recently befriended have now terminated our friendships and called me, “Selfish”, accused me of, “playing the victim” and felt the need to remind me that I am indeed, “BLACK, you know!”
I must stress that this blog is not about revenge or accusations but to enable me to draw from experience and move forward. At the same time, I would like to home in on the fact that it is 2015 and such comments about the colour of my skin are not acceptable! I live in England, I was born here and I am English. Saying that, I do embrace my culture, which is Caribbean descent. I know about black history and my family history but being second generation English I pride myself in being a modern day black woman. I am more then aware that I am black but not aware that because of this, I should act, think or talk in a certain way!? It is ignorant to assume that I am not aware of the colour of my skin and barbaric that someone of similar heritage should feel the need to remind me so. This topic is not worth discussing further.
If I was selfish, I would not care about what they have said or be bothered at their choice to cease our friendships. Instead of playing /being the victim (which I don’t believe that I do, I share a lot because I find it therapeutic and nurturing, the purpose of my blog has never been and never will be designed to gain sympathy from my readers) I have decided to put the shoe on my other foot and explore what being friends and/or having a relationship with someone with BPD/EUPD is like, In order to understand how people perceive me.
I have a mental illness, well several actually, but it’s not all of me. I try to embrace it and I am trying to live and deal with it. I accept it and the people in my life need to be aware and accept it also. I am no angel, and I don’t claim to be. This is not about excuses and/or trying to hide behind my diagnosis. It’s about learning, because sometimes things just aren’t that simple.
Communicating with someone with BPD/EUPD
“Communication is a key part of any relationship but communicating with a borderline person can be especially challenging. People in a close relationship with a borderline adult often liken talking to the borderline adult to arguing with a small child. People with BPD/EUPD have trouble reading body language or a conversation. The borderline adult may say things that are cruel, unfair or irrational. The fear of abandonment can cause the borderline adult to overreact to anything perceived so, no matter how small and their aggression can result in impulsive fits of rage, verbal abuse or even violence.” HELPGUIDE.ORG
This makes sense to me, I am emotionally unstable and I do fear abandonment and rejection but I am more of a danger to myself then anyone else.
“The problem for people with BPD/EUPD is that the disorder distorts both the messages that they hear and those that they try to express. BPD/EUPD expert and author Randi Kreger likens it to, ‘having aural dyslexia, in which they hear words and sentences backwards, inside out, sideways and devoid of context.’” HELPGUIDE.ORG
Well I am the regular kind of dyslexic anyway and often seem to get the wrong end of the stick and so this also makes sense to me.
If you don’t acknowledge that the person with BPD/EUPD has behavioural symptoms rather than physical symptoms that are obvious and you can physically see. If you don’t accept that people with BPD/EUPD do not choose to have the illness, do not enjoy it and cannot control it and/or recognise it in times of crisis, then of cause we will wind you up and tire you out. They are sparse, but in moments of clarity, I do have the ability to reflect. I usually beat myself up but have learnt from writing and researching that it isn’t always my fault. The brain is an organ like many others in our bodies and it can have a defect like all of the others. The brain is not magically exempt from ailments, it can fracture, it can break and support can help you heal. Not malicious comments or inaccurate accusations but patience and a little understanding.
If you have a relationship with me for example, I do interpret things differently from most. I may well take offence when none was intended. I may seem angry, moody, unreasonable, erratic, and it may seem unprovoked but things that you do or say, the environment and my temperament can trigger irrational emotions in me. I can switch from happy to sad in a nanosecond and constantly feel that people are out to get me, judging me, winding me up and in an act of desperation, wanting to be loved desperately, I lose the plot! I make accusations and do and say things that I don’t mean. I feel unconfident, unworthy, and almost dirty (my psychosis symptoms and hallucinations add to my paranoia). Trying to fight for acceptance, I am lead to believe that I come across full on and therefore push people away, which is exactly the opposite to what I intend to do!
BPD/EUPD relationships are often tricky because traits of the illness are low emotional intelligence, impulsive aggression, rejection sensitivity and childlike characteristics. None of which are deliberate or personal towards you the friend/partner. Please bare this in mind when in an altercation with someone with BPD/EUPD, and if you are having the altercation with me, please know that I am working on myself and in constant pursuit of being a better person. I never intend to hurt or offend anyone and only hope to be treated the same in return.
The internet is full of facts about BPD/EUPD, some of it applies to me and some of it doesn’t, but the fine line is… no one is perfect! If you don’t care enough to pursue a relationship with someone, then perhaps don’t lash out and accuse them of this and that, don’t just abandon them, be tactful and bear in mind that people can be delicate, take some responsibility and be amicable. It takes two to tango.