My last post is the first childhood experience I have shared so graphically. It is probably one of the more frightening of times, but not the most violent. My post originated from one of those statements that are simplistic but with significant impact…
“At the heart of BPD acting out, is core shame – the leftovers from a childhood fraught with neglect, confusing messages and abuse, which left them doubting their lovability and true worth”.
In the process of working on that post, I realised that my BPD – in particular ‘Splitting’ – is one of the fundamental difficulties standing in the way of maintaining any relationship with my parents.
Someone with BPD does not have the ability to hold opposing thoughts. Positive and negative attributes do not join in a consistent set of beliefs. Apparently, a BPD ‘splitting’ may view one family member as all ‘good’ and another as always ‘bad’. It is difficult to recognise that ‘good people’ sometimes make mistakes.
In addition to a very warped view of others, an individual with BPD can also split themselves ‘black or white’. Any criticism, no matter how true and constructive, can bring about an extreme change of view from ‘good’ to ‘bad’. Trivial shortcomings can make a BPD believe they have no right to live, that they are a “waste of space”. Shameful self-reproach can even make them want to die.
This newfound knowledge is quite confusing. I am not making excuses for abusive behaviour. However, as a small part of this therapeutic process – trying to come to terms with childhood and develop a relationship with my (elderly) parents – I feel it is important to give permission to remember the better times. Peace can never come from only recounting all the bad, but I do hope it can grow from a more balanced point of view.
Can a person with BPD achieve a more balanced opinion when there is so much hurt and anger at the forefront of their thinking?
Contributing to a complex situation is the realisation that Mother is definitely (undiagnosed) BPD. She is what I call a “BPD unleashed” – someone who has no awareness or admonishment for unacceptable behaviour. If there was ever a term that suits Mum it is, “walking on egg shells”.
At one time, all my splitting black was for Father. It was during Group Therapy, many years ago, when someone pointed out that his behaviour was probably a stressful response to my Mother’s OTT drama about any misdemeanours. Suddenly my ‘Splitting’ shifted from Dad to Mum and that is where it stays.
I can only hope in the coming weeks and months, through blogging and therapy, I will be able to demonstrate that change of BPD behaviour and thinking IS possible. I want to put hand on heart and say, “I truly rise above it”.