Portrait of a Friend

I mentioned that I would shine some light on my relationships with Friend. Pull it all together and give you an idea of how our relationship evolved. This is going to get a little confusing.
I’ve known Friend and his wife casually for about 5 or 6 years due to our group of mutual friends, bizarre hobbies, and shared annual vacation which revolves around said hobbies. In this group there was also a woman I’ve had a romantic interest in for years. Kit. She has a girlfriend (Twiggy). They are polyamorous and have a kind of open relationship. Friend and his wife also traditionally have an open marriage though they are not poly. Kit, Friend, and his wife have been friends for nearly a decade. We have kind of a socially incestuous group.
After I broke up with Boring-Ex (which Kit had been trying to orchestrate for months), I almost immediately became involved with her and Twiggy. I had very little interest in Twiggy because she’s much younger and to be honest, not the brightest bulb in the bunch. However, Friend was interested in her. Friend and Twiggy had a flirtatious and slowly developing romantic relationship over the course of 9 months. I had nothing to do with this, it’s just some back story.
One day at a gathering of our friends, Friends wife had a manic meltdown (She’s extremely bipolar) over some event politics and punched Kit in the face. She screamed at Twiggy that she was no longer ok with her, and made Friend end their relationship. I happened to witness this and at one point had to help restrain his wife. A short while later after she stormed out, Friend was sitting alone on a couch. I went over to him, sat on the arm of the couch next to him and gently placed my hand on the back of his neck. He looked so sad and alone but I didn’t know him very well or know how to comfort him. It was all I could think to do.
When he finally managed to take his wife home, he implored me to look over Kit and Twiggy, which of course, I would have done anyways.
The next day he IMd me and thanked me for my compassion. I was the first person to notice him in pain and provide any kind of comfort to him.
After that we were inseparable. Just like that. We both have an extraordinarily difficult time trusting people and letting people into our worlds. However, the chemistry and connection between us was instant and intense on a number of levels. None of which were romantic for me (not until a couple months down the line). We would chat, text, and IM for 8-12 hours a day.
Every day. For months. Art, religion, spirituality, gender, costuming, science, technology, food, politics, the state of alien civilization as hypothesized by some fictitious character created in our own heads…. We could talk about anything and everything with such ease and acceptance it was remarkable. I have never met anyone that shared so similar a view on the bizarre and varied ideas that I have. We would occasionally have dissenting opinions on things, but the debates that would come of them would be extraordinary and enlightening. Extremely satisfying.
I wouldn’t say I trusted him instantly, but I never had any concern about revealing who I was to him. This was mutual. And possibly a first.
Our friendship quickly deepened and became more intense. After a few months, gradually he began flirting with me, and I encouraged it. Unfortunately there was a lot of drama from the fallout with Kit and Twiggy and this would eventually cause a rift between me and them as well.
As Friend was dealing with the turmoil that was his wife, the accusations and drama from the less than honest relationships between him and Twiggy, and the delusional smear campaign running through Kits mind, I got swept into everyone trying to pull me in a multitude of directions as an objective 3rd party. I refused to take sides because I adored Kit, but I was captivated by Friend.
As things between him and his wife continued to decline (they’ve been on the verge of divorce for years), and as things between me and Kit became more strained (while at the same time I was also dealing with the loss of my best friend in another dramatic side story that involved Girlfriend), Friend and I began to rely on each other more heavily for emotional support.
One night while I was over watching movies with him and his wife, he may or may not have accidentally given her sleeping pills with the rest of her medication. She went to bed early. We’d both been highly stressed, and he offered to rub my back. Just the closeness of him was intoxicating. As the minutes went by he pulled be back onto him slowly until I was leaning against him. He kissed me for the first time. The world could have stopped for all I cared; the rest of the evening was intense and uncontrolled.
Ok. Here’s where things get a little sketchy. He and his wife weren’t technically supposed to be indulging the open relationship aspect after the debacle with Kit and Twiggy because of their sham of a failing marriage and a decision to try and put some effort into it. I didn’t know this at the time. As soon as his wife woke up he told her, which I knew he was going to do. Friend calls me shortly after having a panic attack. His wife invites me over for the three of us to sit down and discuss what happened. I went over; we talked through what happened and what we were going to do.
In a surprising twist of fate and rationality his wife was actually very reasonable about the whole thing, and in fact, didn’t mind at all. She liked me and had been enjoying getting to know me; she just wanted to avoid drama, so we decided to keep whatever was going on discrete. Which we always did.
Here’s where it gets sketchier. Her one stipulation is honesty. Anytime our relationship progressed after this point, Friend was sure to be very honest with her. However, prior to this…. Not so much. We both played that night off like we weren’t expecting this to happen. True, I hadn’t gone over the night before expecting anything to happen on that specific evening… but we’d been flirting (and by flirting I mean it was to the point where he’d been telling me the most intimately detailed fantasies he’d like to indulge with me) for at least a month or two. We both knew something would happen eventually, it was only a matter of when. No one suspected this of me though. It was general knowledge that I had a difficult time with men touching me so this would be the cause for a lot of internal conflict for me… or so his wife believed. Generally this is true. It was not so true in the case of Friend. I won’t lie to you and tell you that I didn’t manipulate the emotions running high at that table to increase the level of sympathy I would receive. I did. At the time though it seemed desperately necessary to keep this intimacy I needed so badly, and to prevent Friend from dissolving into emotional chaos. I was already dealing with so much abandonment and loss between Kit and my best friend, that I couldn’t deal with the thought of losing the closeness I had with Friend as well. I didn’t plan out what I was doing, so much as go with what I felt needed to be done.
To this day his wife does not know about this.
Well, regardless. We had the green light to go ahead with whatever it was that we wanted to do. And we did. For the next 4 or 5 months our relationships intensified. Emotionally and sexually. From sun up to sun down we would IM, text, chat, hang out, and indulge every sexual whim we considered. I purposefully maintained a very pleasant relationship with his wife as well. I didn’t trust her, but the best way to get what I wanted, was to make sure things were smooth with her as well.
At one point his wife had a psychotic bipolar break. Friend had to take her to the psych ER a couple weekends in a row, and eventually she had herself committed. I was the one they called to take care of their affairs while they took care of her failing mentality. From inside the ward she would call Friend and implore that he ‘find comfort’ in me. This is how close to them I was and how much of part of their lives I am.
There was seriously nothing normal about any of this relationship. Any time either of them needed something I was the one they called. They didn’t turn to each other, they turned to me.
About two months later, his wife decided things had to change.
You see, the man she was interested in and wanted to be with….whom she’d had an affair with the year prior… did not want to indulge her anymore. Not that I blame him. Friend and I have always just been friends, sexually involved friends, but we never felt a need to quantify it… our relationship was simply intense. One that was threatening to his wife. This is a morbidly obese, pock marked woman, medicated into oblivion, with nothing but a harsh, abrasive personality and thoughts that are too slow to hold anyone’s attention. Coupled with an extreme manic disposition towards entitlement, grandiosity, self-centeredness and extreme selfishness. She’s cold and shallow and provides nothing to anyone if she is not getting something in return which is why Friend still relies so heavily on me as his only emotional support … it’s not exactly difficult to see why she would be threatened by my relationship with her husband.
Really her therapist decided things had to change because she wasn’t making any decent progress. After she was institutionalized she intensified her therapy, and came to the conclusion that she should probably work on her marriage. She told Friend that her therapist wanted him to stop seeing me completely. I was in complete shock. He refused. Flat out, refused, to give me up. She agreed with him, because frankly, she liked me too. My opinion of her was forever changed though (prior it was still at neutral acceptance). It became increasingly difficult to be around her. Especially because at some point in these talks, she did convince Friend that while we could be friends, we could no longer be intimately involved and we needed to reduce our communication and spend less time together. We went from chatting 8 hours a day to exchanging only a few stunted texts. Do you know how frightening this is?
She wanted what she wanted, and while she couldn’t control all of his decisions, she controlled as much as she could. None of that included any consideration for how things would affect me. From that day the split that started when she told me her therapist wanted Friend to stop seeing me, solidified. Black. Done.
And yes, they were both aware that I am Borderline and have extreme abandonment and abuse trauma.
… Through all of this they forgot (neglected) to explain any of this to me. Or his wife expected him to tell me. All Friend told me was that he wouldn’t be able to talk as much (because his wife would now be reading all of his text messages and IMs – which he also didn’t tell me until much later).
From my perspective, things just suddenly changed.
Then what happened, instead of talking to me, Friend decided he couldn’t deal with his emotional stress anymore and decided it would be best to take some time off from the world. No internet, no phone, no texting, no talking… to anyone. Except of course his wife. I respected his need to fall of the face of the planet and didn’t contact him. I gave him whatever space he needed. But I rapidly descended into a mental oblivion that I couldn’t quickly crawl out of. It only lasted a week before he contacted me, but I was a confused wreck by this point.
When we finally did talk about what was going on it was only after weeks of uncertainty and awkwardness. I had to push the conversation; since he was content to avoid it, and as a result of letting the tension build and build I let him know just how deeply I was affected. I was terrified that the revelation of my feelings would drive him away, though he reassured me it wouldn’t. I also told him I needed some time and space to process everything. Which he refused to give me. He would text me ceaselessly. He refused to give me even a single day to clear my head.
He would tell me, reassure me, how much our friendship meant to him, how deeply he cared for me, that he couldn’t stand losing me…. All things a Borderline needs to hear… even if he couldn’t be with me. He would still invade my physical boundaries when I was over. We would sit close after his wife would go to bed, hold my hand, rub my back… and take comfort in one another, but it would stop there. Maybe he had the capacity to not desire more. But for me this was an emotional torment. All it did was perpetuate the feelings of closeness that I needed, but was told I could no longer have, coupled with the confusion of the appearance that while he was no longer allowed to do it, he still seemed to want it as well.
It wasn’t until a couple months later that I finally demanded he give me a break and stopped speaking to him for a week. Where I nearly dissociated from him completely.
I was now living in a devastation of heartache, confusion, fear, and raging, raging anger. None of which I could show anyone though. People expect Borderlines to Act Out and ‘be crazy’. That’s the stigma. I no longer do this. I Act In. I take it out on myself silently if I can’t be alone. I am very good at holding in my emotions and not expressing them. Eventually though this turns into a dissociated depersonalizaton and derealization which is one of my natural defense mechanisms. To this day his wife does not know the extent of my loathing towards her.
For as hurt as I was, the fear of losing someone I was so close to was even more powerful. I’ve met so few people in my life that seem to accept me fully that I cannot imagine giving up someone like this. For as Idealized as he has been before… he’s been completely devalued in my eyes as well. For months I would sit next to him in heartache and hate, loneliness and love. My feelings for him were in perfect opposition.
Still, it wasn’t until even longer months after this that I finally, finally I established some physical boundaries. I started dating Lady Friend. I broke up with Lady Friend. I started seeing Tech Boy. And things were starting to get easier for me around Friend. Oddly, the more distant I seemed to become, because now my attention was more split from him and focused on other romantic interests, the more he seemed to try to pull me back. He renewed his attention in me. Not that we didn’t still talk every day, but he would invite me over more often, want to do more, invest more in our specific hobbies so we could work on them together, and seemed to try even more to remain closer. He continued to be passive aggressive about whomever I was seeing, but I was feeling better.
That never seems to last though.
Finally, I snapped at him. It’s been a year since our physical relationship ended and I still have unresolved feelings about the whole situation. Much of this is caused by the fact that I still do not think he understands the enormity of what it was that their decision did to me. I can accept that they needed to work on their marriage and all that jazz, but the complete and utter failure to communicate with me… to leave me alone and in the dark with no explanation, was absolutely cruel.
I still haven’t spoken to him since last week, though I’m beginning to feel that I should. It’s odd to feel compelled to do something but have no real desire for it at the same time.
So there you have it. That’s a much abbreviated break down of the last couple years of my life with Friend.
It’s funny how nothing I say can truly capture the truth of this relationship for me. We could sit in the same room, doing our own thing, not even talking, but I wouldn’t feel alone. For someone who dissociates and has a lack of object constancy this is enormous. The simple comfort of enjoying the warmth of someone that understood me was immeasurable. And fleeting. 

Feel free to tell me I should be over this by now. But when an old wound is constantly reopened, it never gets the chance to fully heal. 

Do relationships ever work?

I’m so dizzy I want to vomit.
I won’t see Tech Boy this weekend… again. He’s going out of state to bar hop and see friends. I think I know where I rank in his priorities. He texted me to see if I wanted to go to lunch tomorrow b/c he wouldn’t be around this weekend. I said sure {but over a series of texts} he didn’t need to feel obligated to me or anything if he didn’t want to.
Does this sound overly weird?
Tech Boy: Wanna do lunch tomorrow? I’m not gonna be here this weekend?
Me: Yeah I’m down for lunch. Where ya going this weekend?
Tech Boy: Philly to see my friends for a night. Maybe two, haha.
Me: Cool. Cool. You’re gonna owe me night or two soon.
Tech Boy: Haha I really am… I’ve been slackin.
Me: Don’t think I haven’t noticed buddy haha. It’s whateves. What ya gonna get up to in Philly? Anything special or just chillin?
Tech Boy: Getting into troublelol rabbling around bars and whatnot. I’m a big fan of drinking and just seeing what happens lol.
Me: hah me too for sure.
(after a drink and a few minutes) Me:  I’d like to hang, but we don’t have to do lunch tomorrow if u really don’t want to see me. I don’t want u to feel obligated or anything?
Tech Boy: Now why on earth would you go and say something like that?
Me: Nothing to it. Just don’t want u to feel like u owe me anything. You’re not the easiest guy to read.
Tech Boy: I know… I don’t much like being simple.
Me: no worries, haha.
I also texted Friend, venting “I hate men.” He asked if it had anything to do with Tech Boy.
My response, “All men are the same.” He responded with….
“Okay, Well, You’re my friend, he can go F himself for all I care if he hurt you.”
And I fucking snapped and finally told him, “Right, like it matters. Not like you don’t still fucking hurt me too. WTF ever.”
He’s supposed to be this super Empath that is totally in tune with the emotions of everyone around him. This is his claim. And yet, any time I’m over and we do something  as simple as go to the grocery story, he makes a point of making out with his wife and making a big scene of “I love you” right in front of me. With absolutely no regard for the fact that this is extremely uncomfortable for me. He’s told me himself that he never falls out of love with someone that he has loved. When his wife told him we couldn’t do what we were doing anymore I confessed how deep my feelings for him were. He knows what it’s like to always feel for someone, and yet, he has no concern for how I feel. He also completely disregards this right in front of me face Every. Time. I’m. Over. There.
Fuck him.
I told him all of this and that I was sick of the  hypocritical nature of someone that ignores my feelings for a woman that has admitted to my face that she doesn’t give a shit about how he feels. So far…… no response from him.
Surprise! Not really. My taste in men is tragic.
I hope I never see Friend again. I’m glad I played it cool with Tech Boy. It’ll make things less awkward at work. GF loves me AND wants to be with me. Remind me again why I’m not with her?
 I’m so fucking sick of investing in people that don’t give a shit about me. 

Borderline Devaulation Sucks for Us Too

Since this weekend I’ve felt kind of lost and lonely. Disillusionment is upsetting. Devaluation doesn’t just suck for the other person; the non-Borderline. It sucks for the Borderline too. One day you get those little butterflies in your stomach, your heart pounds and you can’t help but smile. The next is only emptiness. The person doesn’t even look the same to you. Where they used to have a certain glow, now they just have 3 day old stubble. The bounce that lightens your step is gone, gravity feels a little stronger. I don’t want this to happen. Losing all of that is upsetting to us too. It’s like losing the sun and trading it for a year of night (Ok, maybe not my best analogy considering I prefer the darkness, but you know what I mean).
I’m weary. Very weary. I’m wearing different skin again. This skin belongs to someone sitting 15 feet back from everyone around her. I don’t belong here. I thought I might, but I don’t.
A Reader made a comment to me the other day. I said I couldn’t trust myself. She thinks I can: What is important is how you feel with him and how you perceive him. That is your truth and you can trust it. Trusting yourself doesn’t mean you get things right all the time it just means you honor yourself and what you need.
I love this sentiment. I think it’s beautiful.
The problem with being Borderline is the way I feel around him changes constantly. Especially now that I’ve had my rosey colored glasses unceremoniously knocked off of my face. When he’s not around, it’s as if he’s not even in my life so I can view everything objectively. I can look at the reality of the situation, analyze and annotate my notes on the whole thing and come to a very rational conclusion…. But when he’s with me everything changes. I feel his solid presence and his desire to be in my company. A tangible proof that I’m not alone and might not always be alone in the world.
Another problem with Borderline Personality Disorder is how we can’t help but base our opinions on the last interaction. Saturday by the time we left the casino I was weary, exhausted, and felt  like there was a physical wall between us. I saw him on Monday and he was sweet, flirty, and giving me the attention I wanted so I was conflicted about ending things completely. Maybe he just gave the wrong impression, maybe this, maybe that…. I doubt. We texted that night and he said some sweet things and I felt that glow and was happy with him. A few moments later he said something that I found to be heavy handed and disheartening… I was done talking to him after that. I haven’t seen him yet today, and I don’t want to.
This is a lot of why I feel I can’t trust myself. My feelings change moment to moment depending on how I last perceived them.
The important thing here is that my eyes opened before I began to fall for him. That’s what has tripped me up so horribly in the past. When I idealize someone so much, to the point where I am absolutely in love with them, nothing can stop my feelings for them. If atrocious and horrible things happen after I’ve fallen in love, I’m likely to put up with way too much abuse. My emotional rollercoaster will be compoundingly devastating because logically I know this is bad for me, but it is in extreme opposition to what my heart now wants. The contradiction is maddening.
If someone has done something ‘off’ enough that they’ve lost their value in my eyes, before I become attached, then this is not the same problem. My ability to invest in them emotionally becomes null. A cast iron gate has dropped along the road to a broken down town. From far away it still has a quaint appearance, but I’ll never get close enough to bother buying realty. I may stick around for a while, but only until I find something better.
This makes me wonder. Perhaps a new Borderline hypothesis.
How to determine if a relationship with a Borderline will last long or not: If things go so well that we idealize someone long enough to fall in love with them, then nothing will deter our emotions (this doesn’t mean we won’t still second guess things, push away-pull back, etc, but we’ll probably stay or keep coming back). However if someone we’re interested in has been devalued before we can form a deep emotional attachment to them, it’s easier for us to deconstruct everything immediately and perhaps walk away. Doesn’t mean there won’t be some strong emotional conflict, but it won’t have the chance to reach a point where our worlds will end if it isn’t forever.
Which makes me consider my next thought. The best thing for a Borderline who is trying to get over a past heartache is to cut off contact completely (I feel compelled to say, at least until we’ve fully moved on to someone else). No texts, no e-mails, no going out for coffee, nothing. The few times I’ve remained in contact with men that have broken my heart, The One and Friend namely, it’s taken me so, so much longer to get over them (if I can truly say that I have). It always feels like there might be some chance, or there’s too many opportunities to read too much into their words, too many times that hope can be rekindled, sparked for even a moment. Too many times for the last interaction to be positive and subsequently negative, and break our hearts all over again. But with say, Evil-Ex, even though we continued living together, we avoided each other completely, never spoke, and I moved on very rapidly. I’ve never, not once, ever considered going back to him or wanted him in my life in any way ever, ever again. We did have to talk occasionally by the nature of dealing with living arrangements, however by that point his mask had slipped so thoroughly that he could no longer sweet talk me which rapidly made him lash out and increase the rift of my devaluation. My point, time, space, and distance are the best things we could do for ourselves to get out of these situations.
I still have conflicting feelings about Friend. I haven’t spoken to The One in probably 7 or 8 years, yet he still haunts my dreams. Evil-Ex pops up in them occasionally too, but that’s never a matter of consequence so much as amusement. Even my subconscious sees them differently.
Don’t think this is just about Tech Boy. This is practically every ‘relationship’, ‘thing’, whatever, that I’ve had.
Bloody Fucking Hell. Seriously. So Tech Boy just stopped by my office. He asked me if I was coming down to break in a bit. I wasn’t planning on it, but I said it depended on how hard it was raining. So what’s he do? He offers me his jacket to keep me dry. ::head desk::

Hearts are Complicated Creatures

Oh Look!  A new Schema today! And we’re even in a brand new Domain as well! Why am I being overly cheery you might ask? Because I have a wild f-ing headache and nothing makes sense to me anymore. I’ll maybe write about my night last night some other time. Hint: It has to do with “bad” decisions, a hot woman, too much wine, and a barrel of confusion with a pinch of guilt on the side. Intrigued? I know I am.
(3 hours later)
Ok. Nevermind. We’ll do another schema some other day. My hangover says ‘No’.  So let’s talk about my night!
Romantic updates < —— Juicy Haven Gossip
Do you remember GirlFriend? Not really my girlfriend, but she’d like to be? She’s back. Honestly she never really left, I just fell off the earth for a bit and quit letting her make out with me. Also, I had an actual girlfriend. Anyways.
She’s been having a rough time of things lately so I invited her over for wine and take-out last night (I know, I’m a classy bitch).
Good, friends catching up, no big deal right? Wrong. Please. Like anything in my life is that straight forward.
I’m still very physically attracted to her. I love the attention she gives me. And I’ve been freaking out a bit about Tech Boy. I’m not sure if it’s a wise idea to be leading on GF when I’m clearly very involved with Tech Boy. Keep in mind, that GF has a live in girlfriend of her own (open relationships). Oh yeah, lesbian drama circles. Maybe later I’ll draw a diagram. I just don’t know how I feel about Tech Boy to figure out if this is something I should be doing or not. Enter Guilt, stage left.
So I vented my mental conundrum in another forum the other night and the conversation went something like this:
Voice of Reason:  Do you care about the guy?
(Hmmm, I want him to care about me. I’m less concerned with whether I care about him.)
Haven: I’m starting to become a mess about the guy. I’m not sure exactly where we are because we’re in the non-relationship arena, and he isn’t pursuing me as aggressively as most people usually do, but he’s pretty laid back and used to girls chasing him (which I don’t do), but as we speak he just texted me to see if I wanted to go out of state with him this weekend.

I like him, but I don’t think we’re right for each other, which means I’m not sure if I even care about him because I can’t figure out how emotionally invested in him I should allow myself so I don’t fucking know. Amusingly, the longer I have this argument with myself the less it will matter because I’ll just fall comfortably into crazy.

(Notice how a typically easy Yes or No question becomes easily avoided in the mosh of brain jumble)
VoR: he isn’t pursuing me as aggressively as most people usually do

Guys commonly reach a point where they do this, usually at 3 or 6 months. Between stages of a relationship a lot of times. Just mirror him and wait it out. I bet you he’ll come around once he notices it’s not bugging you and he can be more sure that you aren’t going to get all needy and freak out his commitment radar, as he’s likely still trying to figure out what he wants.

I like him, but I don’t think we’re right for each other, which means I’m not sure if I even care about him because I can’t figure out how emotionally invested in him I should allow myself so I don’t fucking know.

The bolded part sounds like you’re not sure which way to ‘split’. Like a riot policeman, pepper spray in hand, just waiting for the word to turn from good cop to bad cop. You can still care about him and not be right for each other at the same time.

Wait a bit. Don’t do anything rash just because you’ve got that trigger happening. Distance yourself from the paranoid feelings, i.e. you can contemplate them, just don’t react to them.

I thought this was pretty sound. I’ve been doing pretty well with not reacting to my paranoia or impulsive feelings.  It’s just, I’m so used to dating women, and women are much more up front about their feelings and about showing affection. Guys, either hold back because they don’t want to appear too interested (read: game) or you know, they have other stuff to do and don’t know that we’d like a little more reassurance than they’re giving. It doesn’t help that I act in complete opposition to how I feel. To all outside appearances I’m extremely confident and emotionally stable. And by stable, I mean I deny that I have emotions and joke around a lot. The point is, I don’t come across as an emotionally needy person. I do this on purpose, because who the hell wants that? Tech Boy has told me outright that he doesn’t really get emotional. I don’t know what that means in terms of me though, so I just suppress what I want and have been letting things just unfold as they will. Which in this case means very slow. I’m used to people being constantly up in my life by this point, wanting to hang out at all hours, do stuff, idk.
Oh, btw, as I’m freaking out trying to figure out what to do before GF comes over, Tech Boy texts me and asks me if I want to go out of state with him on Saturday. ::headdesk:: Well,  yes.
So GF comes over. We get food. Drink some wine. Watch some Buffy (Don’t you dare make fun of Buffy). And before you know it we’re all cuddled up, holding hands, and smooching our soft little lips off. ::sigh:: Girls are soft and they smell nice.
I have no impulse control when it comes to human contact. None. I just, can’t say no. I mean, I can if I’m in a committed relationship*, but I’m not. Tech Boy and I are still in that non-relationship land of pre-relationship limbo.
GF is really into me. Has been for years. You have no idea the drama I’ve been through over this woman. Hell, she’s the real reason I broke up with Boring-Ex the first time. That and he just COULD NOT FUCKING RELAX AROUND ME. Seriously. I’m the one with the anxiety disorder and he was the one acting like someone infested his picnic pants with a nest of red ants. He was more neurotic than me. Calm the hell down, dude. ::breathe:: But am I really in to GF? Not really. I like her but she’s not someone I see myself being with even though she is someone that would provide me the emotional support and attention I need. Happily.  
No, I’m fighting with whether or not Tech Boy is someone that’s worth the emotional investment. I’m fighting with whether or not he’s someone I believe can deal with my issues. Hell, I’m fighting with whether or not I can even tell him about some of my issues, let alone all of them. I am trying to be mindful of him. I swear it. I know I have problems. I don’t want to drive him crazy. This is why I freak out here instead of in his face. I know he’s not an emotional person though, which makes me wonder if he can be there for me if/when I let him in to my more emotional side.
It’s that whole threat of intimacy. I want to be close, but I want to be safe too. The closer someone gets, the more able they are to hurt you. So someone gets too close, I push away. It’s for their own good after all. But then I’m lonely, and I miss the closeness that was there, and I want to pull back.
It’s a never ending cycle. On the one hand it’s reassuring for me when someone lets me back or doesn’t run away from me completely, because in a way it’s ‘proof’ that they can deal with my shit and won’t just up and abandon me. On the other hand, I feel guilty that there’s shit that they have to deal with in the first place.
**Ramble ramble ramble**
This morning over the coffee table he was making fantastic eye contact and smiling at me. My heart melted into gooeyness and I couldn’t help the smile the crept across my face.
F-ing cute
Well. At least my life isn’t boring.
*I don’t cheat. I break up with people. Do what I want. Then get back with whoever I really want to be with after freaking out.

Random Life Update

I had every intention of doing a real post today but work was pretty much non-stop so I didn’t have time. So here’s a random life update.
At work it’s annual performance appraisal time. I’ve only been there 8 months but I still get one. It’s a sit down, face to face, talk with the boss. I hate these. It’s like insta panic attack x 10, with no warning. So he calls me into his office. I’m positive he’s going to tell me I’m doing a terrible job and that my job is at stake (because if you’ve been reading my schema assessments you know I have this problem with failure, unrelenting standards for myself, and feeling like everything I do isn’t good enough if I’m not the foremost authority on it in the world). His only real critique was that I should push my co-workers harder if I need something from them instead of trying to go about it myself. Then he talked to me about more projects he’d like me to take one and my long term goals (years down the line) with the group. I guess that means I’m not getting fired any time soon. If I’m being real nice to myself I guess that means I’m actually doing a pretty good job because the rest of my appraisal was all aces. Anxiety attack averted.

Chemistry. Get it? Ya, I know I’m lame. 
Things with Tech Boy have been going swimmingly. So we finally did the deed. TMI? Nah. Ok, got that out of my system. After work Friday we went out for drinks at a favorite local spot. Preceded to get pretty buzzed before heading back to my place (I definitely should not have been driving, bad Haven). We talked a lot and I got a lot more insight into his personality. There were a few flags that I should probably pay attention too…. Like the fact that he hasn’t had a girlfriend in, oh, 7 years, because he hasn’t been with a chick he likes for long enough to consider her girlfriend material. Then again, his cut off time was like 3 weeks and we’ve been doing, whatever we’re doing, for over a month now (plus he’s known me for 8 months). I don’t know what I should be reading into this, but you can bet it’s gonna be too much and too varied. So we came back to my place, put on Fight Club, and started messing around. Stopping periodically to chat and whatever. At one point we were snuggled up together and he ran his fingers down my arm, “So I’ve been wondering for a while now, what’s with all the scars.”  Oh the trials of a misspent youth. I explained I had a rather hard time growing up, it was something I needed to do to remind me that I was a part of the world. I do what I need to do to keep myself alive. That’s all that matters. I was a little drunk at the time and he didn’t push me to elaborate too much so I’m guessing he was a little weirded out but ultimately handled it okay. Especially as he spent a good chunk of time after staring into my eyes, tell me how beautiful my eyes were, how beautiful I am… and all that cuteness.  This was after the sexin so if that was all he wanted he didn’t have to tell me these things. Or yanno, stay over, which he seems to like to do. So two important events happened Friday night; sex and scars. Fun. He left at like noon Saturday…. And didn’t text me the next day.  

Advice to the Gentlemen out there: Don’t do that. If you sleep with a girl. You better ask her how she is the next day.

And I’ll be damned if I was texting him. So my paranoia ran away with itself and I started having all kinds of ridiculous accusatory badness running through my head; just wanted me for sex, I opened up too much and freaked him out, I never should have been honest with him about my scars, I’m too this, I’m not enough that….etc. When really, it’s a guy game. I know it is. It’s awful. Hence my post on trust issues.  Anyways. The no texting lasted until approximately 7 a.m. bright and early. And I let him text me first after that. I usually do this. I hate texting people I’m interested in. I almost never initiate contact or dates. I always let the other person do it. This way I don’t feel like I’m forcing their hand and I know they actually want to go out and do something/talk to me because they’re not just responding out of obligation. As soon as he texted me the next night my paranoia melted. I feel stupid admitting that, but it did. I hate that I can get so invested in someone that I clearly don’t trust yet, and something as simple as having their attention makes me feel better.

Must. Contain. The. Crazy.

Which is going to be difficult considering I have to go home tomorrow for Thanksgiving. This is always a rough time for me. Holidays with my family are extremely triggering. My family, my old home, my town, my bulimia, it all comes up and makes me want to do bad things. I’m trying my damnedest to keep it in check. It was around this time last year that I finally couldn’t take it anymore and jumped into therapy again, and found my psychiatrist. I’ve made a lot of progress over the last year. I do know that I’ve been in a relatively stable environment though. Home with my family has never been a stable environment. Here’s hoping it goes ok. 

Trust Issues

How close I get to men is inversely proportional to how much I trust them.

The more I get to know them, the more of myself I share, the more convinced I am that I’m going to get hurt.

I’m either paranoid… or right.

I can feel myself getting more attached. At the same time all I can do ruminate on all the reasons I shouldn’t be.

I want him to want to be closer… as I run far, far away.

Lucid Analysis – Trials in Therapy

The Relationship Issue.
Right away Therapist said I looked centered and happy. She asked how things are with Tech Boy and all that. Good. Cute. We’re texting and talking all the time. I feel silly and cute (read: euphoric and high).  She asked me if I think this is on track to being a healthy relationship.
How would I know?
I’ve never had a healthy relationship. Surprise! Don’t look at me like that. That’s not saying they’ve all been bad, just not healthy. I dated a couple guys in college that were really great guys, but I felt no emotional attachment to them. For all intents and purposes the relationships were ‘normal’ but emotionally void b/c I was cut off from feeling (Boring-Ex can basically fall into this category as well except of course, that ended with me in the Psych ER). Unhealthy. My relationships with women were often more affectionately intense, but shorter lived as I would freak out at the speed of closeness. And then, there were the notable abusive messes that have hallmarked my existence. I fail at relationships. I think people are crazy for wanting to be involved with me. I actually TELL PEOPLE that I’m a terrible girlfriend and that they shouldn’t want to date me. I come with a disclaimer ß——– This is a common phrase.
Or like this morning when Tech Boy and I were going out to my project site he was like… “You carry my equipment, drive me around, you’re just a generally good person ::insert cute smile::” To which my immediate response was to laugh that off and say “Clearly, you don’t know me that well”. I’ve tailored responses like that to sound joking, even though I mean it whole heartedly.
Therapist doesn’t see a bad person in me. She sees someone that has had a lot of bad things happen to them, but that doesn’t mean I am bad. I still feel bad. I feel like I’m going to destroy everything I touch. Which is awful because I want to touch things. I want to be touched.
Not literally. Don’t get too dirty on me there. Ok, maybe a little bit literal. Ok, a lot.
I mean I want to be with someone in a meaningful way. Therapist asked if I felt Tech Boy was someone that I felt I could share with? I want to be the kind of person that can be open and share myself with someone in a healthy way. But I have so much unhealthiness in my past. I told Therapist I’m not sure I can be open with Tech Boy (not just him, anyone). What right do I have to dump all that trauma on someone? How can I expect someone else to be ok with the things that have happened to me? That I’ve done to me? How can I expect someone to see all of this and not judge me and think I’m a terrible person? A damaged person?
I have to hide it all. It’s what I’ve always done. Eventually though, when people push to get closer and the walls begin to come down it all eventually comes out. Once my walls start to slip it’s hard for me to maintain that mask that I’ve kept in place for so long. It’s never quite the same.
The first thing people usually ask me is about my arms. For the first time I’m starting to dread this explanation. Therapist was like, well, maybe he won’t think they’re unusual. What? I don’t think she’s ever really taken a good look at my arms. I showed her and she had to admit it was pretty obvious. It’s not like Tech Boy hasn’t seen {some of} them. I don’t hide my scars, but it’s not the kind of thing people ask about in a professional setting so no one has ever brought it up. Then again, maybe I can assume that he’s noticed, and decided that it doesn’t matter, as he clearly has a thing for me.
Aside: When I say ‘clearly’, this didn’t stop me from freaking out about him not being able to see me last weekend because he broke his freaking ankle. I was actually paranoid that this was just an excuse to not see me at first. Yeah, I know. Don’t start.
Also, I don’t assume. And even if I did, I would ignore the assumption and think the worst anyways. I’m just going with it.
Coming back around to my point, I don’t need to unload all of my past at once. That should come slowly over time. I feel like I’m hiding who I am though and thereby not being honest. Bleh. I’ll figure it out.
So of course we ended up talking about Friend. I’m having a bizarre sort of mashup between Splitting and Abandonment here. I can’t let go of my friendship with Friend. I don’t want to. I can’t. I can’t even think about it. But he’s like a disembodied character to me. Every time I see him it’s like I’m seeing someone new that has all the characteristics of the last Friend I talked with. As soon as Tech Boy and I started getting close, my feelings snapped off for Friend (unless his wife is doing something to rub things in my face, then I just want nothing to do with them at all). I split from the love and hurt I felt to utterly neutral and not needing to be around him, or even talk to him anymore. I’m cancelling plans, changing dates, breaking my structures I built with him… in favor of something new. I still have a lot of anxiety about this, but it’s not for fear of his disapproval so much as for fear of breaking what’s familiar and fearing that I won’t be able to maintain that familiarity.
Therapist thinks I’ve done a remarkable job holding onto this friendship. What I went through with Friend and his wife was incredibly hurtful. She still thinks it was healing in many ways though. She asked me what kinds of things I want to remember from my relationship with Friend.
I couldn’t think of a single thing. I am completely blocked and dissociated from the feelings that I had. I only remember the bad, the hurt. I don’t even want to think about writing my letter to him. I don’t want to think about him like that. Split. I’m thinking about someone else now, I don’t want to think about what I felt before. What did I love about him? About us?
Homework: What positive things have I taken from my relationship with Friend?
She thinks this would be good for me to remember because I have such a hard time holding onto people. My lack of object permanency. I feel like I’m not a part of people’s lives if I am not in their immediate presence. If I can write down the things I valued about him, that I believe he valued about me, and relate that to how it is still displayed in our current friendship, maybe it will help me hold onto the idea of fluidity through time. It will also help me recognize the things that I want in a future relationship, that I should hold onto, and not allow myself to settle for things that don’t meet a healthier standard.
We’re really trying to work on forming new, healthy, relationships now. She’s very proud of me for taking all the safe risks I’ve been taking lately. She’s trying to caution me to think further into what it is that I want exactly, instead of just throwing myself into the moments.
Homework: What do I envision for a healthy relationship? (I remembered this week!)
I don’t even know. What do you think is part of a healthy relationship?

Distortion: Conceptions of Borderline Personality Disorder – Part 3

Getting back to our look at Gundersons’ Conceptions of BPD… 

– Distorted thoughts/perceptions, particularly in terms of relationships and interactions with others

Ugh. Yes. These come in various forms for me. 

Wanting there to be more than there is. ::sigh:: I do this at some point, in almost every relationship, be it romantic or platonic, that I’ve ever had. There’s an time where I could fall in love with everyone I let close. If I have a significant other, this can be a fleeting moment. More often I want to be more to people than I want them to be for me. Once I’ve let someone in, once they’ve become very close to me, the relationship builds in my mind. I have a hard time distinguishing between healthy platonic love and romantic love, almost obsessive desire. I want it to become more. I see more. If there’s more, then they won’t want to let me go. They won’t walk away, won’t leave, won’t abandon me. If I’m more, if I can provide everything someone needs, they’ll need me in a way that does not make me expendable.

Or, the extreme opposite… wanting someone to want absolutely nothing more than there is. To not be any closer, to not confide in me more, to not touch me, sit near me… keep a very distinct distance. I have a very difficult time with blurry lines and familial relationships. They’re either very close, or a mile apart.
Splitting. All good. All bad. Hero or villain. I generally give people a wary benefit of the doubt at first.  I can take a lot. I can deal with a lot. I put up with a lot. Until I can’t. Sometimes this fluxuates. It depends on how things were the last time I saw someone. If I’ve been slighted, hurt, embarrassed, clearly this person doesn’t give a rats ass about me anymore. Everything we’ve been through together has been a lie. All they’ve done is use me, to torment me, to push me further from people that would actually care in an attempt to break me. They’re terrible. And so am I. If they could treat me this way, I must deserve it in some way. Right? Wrong. Or they’re wonderful, considerate, closer to me than anyone else in the world.  I can trust them completely and know they always have my best interest in mind. I’m someone of value to deserve such wonderful friends. They can do nothing wrong. Until they do. Then redeem themselves. Back and forth. There’s no middle ground. No grey area. No understanding that just because someone messes up, that it doesn’t nullify every other aspect of the relationship.

Or in some instances, and really there have been a lot…. I take so much, I absorb so much of people’s energy, believe them so good, for so long.  Give them more support than I can manage for myself, be there at all hours of the night, providing everything I can to comfort or console or provide some semblance of happiness… until they’ve sucked up all I have to give, and I can’t give anymore. Oh somewhere along the way I usually fuck something up, something not terribly important, but I’m human and it feels more important than it should be, then everything I do is wrong. Nothing I do is good enough anymore, they keep putting more on me until finally the weight of their needs and expectations and my guilt, breaks me. And they’re forever ruined to me. Once this happens, it’s done. There’s no going back, no longer anything to salvage. It’s just over. The near endless energy I have, is severed. If you’re close enough to me that I will pour every emotional ounce into you, leaving very little to take care of myself, and you refuse to allow me any flexibility to be human, I break under the pressure, and some things simply cannot be rebuilt. And I no longer want to try. I move on.
Paranoia. Paranoia isn’t such a problem for me. Well, I mean, it is, just not my biggest problem. I always think people are taking digs at me, trying to make me uncomfortable or alienate me, undermine my intelligence… but I can usually keep these thoughts controlled enough that I don’t make a scene from them. I hold them in, let them fester, and then silently implode instead of directly confronting the person(s) that make me feel this way. Which if I would do from the onset, civilly, ask if that was what they meant or if I was just interpreting it wrong, but that would be rational, and when you’re rather paranoid, well, it would also be embarrassing to show people just how paranoid you really are.
It’s always intense. Wild euphoria, heady love, blistering revenge or seething wrath. Not, slightly prickly or mildly satisfied. In between states of emotion are uncommon. Sure there are calm days. Days of relative contentment, but they’re disproportionately rare. 

I’m sure there are other ways for other people. Anyone experience other ways? These were the three things that popped out at me as I’m writing this. 

Conceptions of Borderline Personality Disorder: Intense unstable relationships

As I was just discussing Gunderson’s work I will continue with another of his conceptions of BPD. It’s not necessarily new information, but it’s succinct and gets right to the heart of borderline behavior and thoughts.
Gunderson, a psychoanalyst, is respected by researchers in many diverse areas of psychology and psychiatry. His focus tends to be on the differential diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, and Cauwels gives Gunderson’s criteria in order of their importance:
  • Intense unstable relationships in which the borderline always ends up getting hurt. Gunderson admits that this symptom is somewhat general, but considers it so central to BPD that he says he would hesitate to diagnose a patient as BPD without its presence.
  • Repetitive self-destructive behavior, often designed to prompt rescue.
  • Chronic fear of abandonment and panic when forced to be alone.
  • Distorted thoughts/perceptions, particularly in terms of relationships and interactions with others.
  • Hypersensitivity, meaning an unusual sensitivity to nonverbal communication. Gunderson notes that this can be confused with distortion if practitioners are not careful (somewhat similar to Herman’s statement that, while survivors of intense long-term trauma may have unrealistic notions of the power realities of the situation they were in, their notions are likely to be closer to reality than the therapist might think).
  • Impulsive behaviors that often embarrass the borderline later.
  • Poor social adaptation: in a way, borderlines tend not to know or understand the rules regarding performance in job and academic settings.

Intense. Unstable. Relationships. In which the borderline always ends up getting hurt. Why am I repeating this? Because it’s true. The inability to regulate emotional control does not allow for a borderline to maintain emotional safeguards. Whether the issues that arise are due to the other person or internal (or external) conflict brought about by someone with BPD, it is all felt internally, as an emotional attack. With no way to shield from {self} inflicted damage, no protective emotional layer, it’s nearly impossible for someone with BPD to escape unscathed from a relationship. Any amount of change, fear of abandonment, or even perceived excessive closeness can disrupt the fragile stability that a borderline holds to. This can cause an almost simultaneous fight, flight and fear response. When emotions run so intensely there is an inner conflict of needing to protect oneself and needing to be protected. Wanting someone close, and needing space in order to not get hurt. Especially after several relationships of always getting hurt and expectations that this will continue. When someone gets too close the need to run away, push away, pull back to preserve the tenuous sense of self is increasingly strong. To not let someone close enough to hurt them again, is even stronger. In order to do this someone with BPD may lash out, pick a fight, or any number of ways to fend off a suffocating closeness – to fight free.  If not immediately, soon after, these feelings are replaced with fear, panic at the thought of being alone. The need to regain what could be lost forever if it is not won back right away. Emotional displays, promises, intense affection, apologies, anything to regain what a borderline fears to lose may be done to regain an emotional stability. It’s difficult for someone without BPD to understand this intense clash of emotions, and even more difficult to deal with at times. Someone who doesn’t understand what is going on is likely to respond in kind to whatever action is being taken. Someone with BPD, in the moments of panic, cannot always internalize their own role in what is happening. They can only feel what is being directed at them compounded on top of their already unstable emotions. Even if the non-BPD person tries to do the opposite; be kind, understanding, it may also be met with conflicting emotions. A borderline will feel even more smothered, increasing the need to run, making him/her feel even more misunderstood because what they need is not being recognized. The rub though, is that someone with BPD doesn’t always recognize what it is that they need. They only feel that someone/thing is wrong or too much or detrimental or out of their reach without knowing how to rationally work to fix this.  The result is an intensely fluxuating relationship of needing to be close and safe and needing to preserve a sense of self… to be safe.

I wasn’t originally going to discuss each of these criteria on their own, but while writing this I realize I  have too many thoughts on many of these points so I’ll make this a multi-part series.

High Functioning, Low Functioning: Part 1 – Low Function in Borderline Personality Disorder

High functioning vs. Low functioning. These dividers can be applied to most any mood or personality disorder. What this means is that people with BPD vary a great deal in how they function in their every day lives. From the ability to live a normal lifestyle, maintain a steady job, cope with mundane trials of the day to day, relate and interact with the people around them, etc.

“People who are close to low functioning BP’s often find themselves living from crisis to crisis. They often feel manipulated by self-mutilation and suicide attempts. However, because the BP is obviously ill, non-BP’s continue to offer their support. Some BP’s are so incapacitated by their illness that they are unable to work. They may spend a great deal of time in the hospital because of self-mutilation, severe eating disorders, substance abuse, or suicide attempts. BPD makes it very hard for them to form relationships, so they may have a weak support system. They may be so incapable of dealing with money that they have no cash for food or a place to live.”

My best friends in college really made me see just how pervasive BPD was in my life. Our lives were so parallel, so exactly the same. When her mood would shift, my mood would have shifted in the same way (even before we had talked to each other and knew how the other felt). When I was up, she was up. It was actually pretty creepy how synced our lives were. She was the first person I ever met that truly understood how my brain worked. How we fuctioned was our one difference. Where she was low functioning, I was very clearly high functioning.

She mostly managed to do the essential things. But more often than not, if she was down, she couldn’t get out of bed. She’d lie there for days trapped in her depression, lost to the world. Everything dragging and painful. Her relationships were traumatic and charged with furious fights and tears. She’d get drunk, drive to a secluded spot and cut her arms, waiting for her girlfriend to find her. Continuing the fight. Not wanting to be with her, but being afraid to lose her at the same time. Every relationship was marked by the last encounter. She would count the days until the next explosion and measure the value of her relationships by how long the ‘good periods’ lasted. Which, inevitably, weren’t very long. Her home life was a mess of turbulence, pushing away even her family who she believed couldn’t accept her and wouldn’t support her in seeking the help she needed. Her emotions were written all over her face. There was no hiding how she felt. No hiding from how she functioned. Her anxiety made it impossible for her to face the world. Every action that someone did, everything someone said could have a dozen different meanings, all of them bad and meant to injure her. Of course, this wasn’t generally true, but it’s what it felt like for her. This made her push people away, refuse to allow closer bonds to form, or if they did she’d pick them apart looking for weak links that could be used against her.

In time though, she realized she couldn’t keep living like this. She has since started therapy and is on anti-anxiety medication. She is engaged and is successfully completing University. It took dedication on her part, but she’s slowly pulling herself up.

Of course, there’s a lot of room in between high-functioning and low functioning BP’s.