This makes me wonder. Perhaps a new Borderline hypothesis.
Don’t think this is just about Tech Boy. This is practically every ‘relationship’, ‘thing’, whatever, that I’ve had.
I forgot to post about therapy this week because my work week has been so freaking busy. So here it is. Late, but I got some important stuff figured out…
Let’s get the bulimic stuff out of the way first, shall we? Therapist has come to the conclusion that clearly my bulimia is triggered by being alone. Heh, gee, ya think? She did mention a theory that I found interesting. She said that eating disorders are correlated to relationship issues; connected with issues in childhood revolving around letting go or interrupted relationships. This theory makes absolute sense in connection to Borderline Personality Disorder. I’ll have to think on this more but I can definitely see how this would fit. At least in part. I still believe that a lot of my issues have to do with control and a need to be ‘perfect’. We’re working on ruling out things that trigger me and working on ways to preemptively prepare myself and avoid having to engage this behavior.
The really important thing we talked about?
My relationship with Friend is turning into a healthy friendship. Therapist seems to think most people can’t do that. She thinks it’s because I’m a sophisticated thinker. I think I’m a glutton for punishment… but after a while you get used to it and it’s not as harsh anymore. You build up a tolerance and pretty soon it doesn’t hurt you so much anymore. Ok, maybe it’s not all that. Maybe it’s not that at all. I don’t think it’s because I have some sophisticated point of view though. I’m afraid of losing him. I cannot let go of people. Not unless they’ve done something truly devastating and he simply hasn’t. In fact, other than being a little clueless since the sexual element of our relationship subsided he’s really been nothing but good to me. That doesn’t mean that things don’t still dig at me occasionally. It’s still painful for me to see him putting so much effort into a loveless marriage but frankly, do I really want to be with someone that is blinded to the realities of his life? No, not really. Plus I’m moving on and that helps. I’m not going to lie. Watching him have a stifled, sexless, awkward marriage while I’m out living it up… well, I’m amused. At the same time… I’ve stopped pushing away. For months now I’ve been trying to find some kind of balance with him. No, I haven’t told him this. I’m trying to figure out myself and how I fit with him. For months I was cool, reserved and very aloof with him. Distant. I refused to talk about personal stuff. I shut him down when he tried to talk about personal stuff with me. I kept conversation and interaction familiar and platonic, but removed. I’ve noticed over the past month though, that I’m reattaching to him, in a healthier way.
I idealized our friendship, our relationship. I’d convinced myself that he was absolutely perfect. Everything we shared, had in common, it MEANT that we were right to be together. And maybe I’m not entirely crazy in my thinking, but the fact of the matter is he’s married and that’s not going to change. (Reminder: He’s in an open marriage. His wife knew about the full extent of our relationship.) When things changed I was utterly disillusioned but being Borderline I’m not able to make a smooth transition from one state to another. Change makes me panic and I immediately devalued him and hated his wife. At the same time I was afraid of losing him from my life entirely. I was in constant conflict about whether he should even be in my life and not being able to fathom losing my friend. I was pain personified and I didn’t know how to make it stop so I let it ride. I can deal with pain. It’s so familiar to me I almost don’t know how to function without it. But I’m learning. And things have slowly been changing with me, in regards to him, so that I am able to enjoy spending time with him, and not vilify him. Or idealize him.
Some things he did that were incredibly helpful to this process: When we first changed our relationship he’d written me a letter telling me he did love me as a friend and let me know just how much our friendship meant to him. I’m not going to lie and say I believed a word he said. Everyone lies. But it’s been nearly 6 months now and I can look back on that letter and see that the things he’d said still seem to hold true. He’s still here. He gave me the space I needed without pushing me, and didn’t leave. Even when I was horrible to him, even when I said things to make him angry, to push him away, to try to force his hand… he called me on my behavior and didn’t let me run away.
I’m beginning to think that getting past that first major devaluation in a relationship is an important step for someone with BPD. I’d tentatively wager that going through that first major devaluation is probably the best thing for a friendship/relationship in the long run. It shows that you can come through such a thing intact, and that it is possible to have relationships that continue to thrive even after, which will cultivate a new kind of trust. That lasts. At least, that’s what I’m coming to understand currently.
Check it out. Accidental relationship hope =)
How did I learn to channel my anger….
Therapist often tells me that I have a calm, healing presence. I almost always counter this with ‘now, I didn’t used to’. To which she responds: I just can’t imagine it, you don’t appear that way at all. Of course you wouldn’t see that, you’ve only known me for 8 months. You didn’t know me when I was destroying my house, kicking down doors and putting my fist through plate glass. I did realize that I had a major turning point when I began my major costuming endeavor though. About 6 years ago I did my first major costuming vacation. I spent a month making 13 full outfits. I channeled all of my attention and energy into that one goal and was rewarded with one of the happiest, peaceful and most freeing experiences of my life. I don’t think I realized it consciously until recently, but having a creative out (as I mention way back in Escapism) is crucial for helping me calm my anger. That or fighting really. I did mixed martial arts for 15 years and am looking to get back into it. It’s a safer form for my aggression, but as that’s not currently on my agenda… art! Finding something you love, something you can immerse yourself in…. is therapeutic all in and of its own.
That’s not to say it always works or that I’m not still angry. I am incredibly angry. All the time. But having resources to focus it are crucial.
Therapist is also happy that I’m cultivating a new relationship with my Lady Friend. She noted that I seem to be incredibly comfortable in my sexuality. I consider myself bisexual? Yeah, I suppose. Really, I’m just sexual. The frequency of my problems and personal issues are GREATLY reduced with women, and being monogamous with men is always disastrous for me. I can be with a woman in a monogamous relationship and be content, but if I’m in a monogamous relationship with a man I feel like I’m denying a part of myself and I become incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin and in the relationship
until I’m afraid it’s going to end. Yes, my parents know and accept this. Without problem, without hesitation. As far as I know. It’s not really up for discussion, I just let them know and they can choose to support me or not, but they always have. She also thought to allay my fears that things were not sexually normal. I’m just so used to using sex as a tool, that in a healthy relationship these things progress organically and will happen when they do. Which is a relief. So odd for me though. I’m just, not used to this. Therapist is actually very proud of me for allowing myself to take safe risks. With all of the problems I have letting people close to me, I’m allowing myself another chance. And I’m doing it differently. I’m trying to remember how my past relationships have gone and I’m actively trying to remember that I need to do things differently. It’s only been a month, and traditionally it takes a little longer for my real crazy to kick in when it comes to relationships, but I am doing things differently and so far it seems to be making a very beneficial difference.
One theory is presented by Dr. Linehan’s. Linehan has developed a comprehensive sociobiological theory which appears to be borne out by the successes found in controlled studies of her Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.
Linehan theorizes that borderlines are born with an innate biological tendency to react more intensely to lower levels of stress than others and to take longer to recover. They peak “higher” emotionally on less provocation and take longer coming down. In addition, they were raised in environments in which their beliefs about themselves and their environment were continually devalued and invalidated. These factors combine to create adults who are uncertain of the truth of their own feelings and who are confronted by three basic dialectics they have failed to master (and thus rush frantically from pole to pole of):
– unremitting crises vs. inhibited grief.
The next criteria laid out in the DSM IV goes like this. People with BPD may display:
2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation : They may idealize potential caregivers or lovers quickly, demand to spend a lot of time together, then switch quickly from idealizing them to devaluing them, feeling that the other person does not care enough, does not give enough, is not “there” enough.
Where does the line between true affection, obsessive devotion, and heartfelt betrayal become skewed?
For me it takes a very long time to reach this point. I’m more likely to try and put people off getting close to me at first. I also differ in that I need to spend time alone. A lot of time alone. While, yes, I would love to spend lots of time with select people, I am easily overwhelmed by people and need to have time away from everyone. When I want to focus inwards my brain is too busy to drown out the external noise and it feels like a tidal wave of social obligation. Solitude is my life raft.
If someone sticks around long enough to breach the walls of my superficial fun, contrariness and melancholy I will eventually hold them closer than anyone else. Like a death grip on my heart.
It usually plays out like this: Once again, you meet someone new (even though you swore you wouldn’t). You share so much in common, practically everything in common. In fact, they’re probably the perfect example of exactly what you look for in a confidant! They can do no wrong. Everything they do inspires you to be exactly what you’d hoped you always could be. The world is a springtime musical, frolicking with puppies and ethereal music in a field of opiates and LSD.
Begin Cycle: Everything is wonderful, you talk for hours, spend as much free time together as you can, laugh, bask in each others love, friendship, whatever… Until one day they can’t do something you ‘need’ to do, or want to do. Sure it’s just this time, and it’s something small, so you brush it off. Then a few days later, it happens again. They’ve let you down.
Oh sure, it may be some small necessary thing in their life, that takes obvious priority, but that thing has pulled their attention away from you! You See red. What could really be so important? Don’t they understand what friendship means? Why won’t they put the effort into it that they had before? Clearly everything they had said now means nothing. Everything was a lie. They are a hypocrite and worse. Using you for the benefits that you bring to the table. What do you mean your have a meeting? a doctors appointment? We had plans!
Logically the brain says, of course you have to take care of such things, but that other thing… That other insidious voice taunts that you’ve been betrayed. The friend you thought you knew is now the enemy. This “friend” never really meant anything they’d ever said to you… b/c this time, this one time, they could not fulfill the role they’ve found themselves in. Their life is now affecting your life in a way in which you have no control, forcing your life to turn from the fields of music to a deeper well of disappointment. Down the stairs, into the cellar darkness.
Control. Out of control.
When she was good, she was very good. But when she was bad, she was very, very bad. No middle ground. Relationships are all, or nothing. He/She is all, or nothing. I, am all or nothing. Angels and Demons in rooms of black and white. There is no grey area or room for middle ground.
This one night they’re not going out with you, not chatting with you, they must be doing something else, spending time elsewhere, what kind of friend ignores you when you obviously need a shoulder to lean on, for time spent otherwise?!? As your world crashes down … Then they text or call, and the world slips gently back into place. At least for th e moment. End Cycle. Rinse. Repeat.
Where does the line between true affection, obsessive devotion, and heartfelt betrayal become skewed? When there is no emotional memory; if the person or object is not in the now, it may as well not exist. Or ever have existed.
I’ve learned to hide these thoughts, the actions that fall from them. Fake it, as if these things don’t bother me while my heart crumbles inside. All there is to do, is get through the next moment, and the next, until the next thing comes along to lift you up.