A few more amazing self care tips 🙂
A few more amazing self care tips 🙂
I had a conversation with my lovely friend Y last night. She was worried about her BPD diagnosis, and she said to me that she fits the criteria and that she didn’t understand why I am so against the diagnosis of BPD/EUPD.
Because I love her, and I want her (and you all) to understand, I am going to try and explain further.
-I have a problem with one of the descriptive words of BPD/EUPD – the PERSONALITY part. I don’t believe for a second that life experiences can alter your personality, or that anyone is born with a flawed personality, like the diagnosis seems to suggest. It essentially says to women, “Hey, guess what, because your personality is disordered, you are to blame for every bad thing that has happened to you,”. That isn’t unlike a certain psychopathic ex boyfriend I once had- he told me the same thing a lot. I think it is cruel for a psychiatrist to tell someone that, because they psych in question is now taking the part of my abusive ex and telling you you are to blame. In reality, you are not. BAD PEOPLE did this to you. They have hurt you and damaged you- BUT they have NOT damaged your personality, just your REACTIONS to other people and to the way they behave.
Let me explain the difference between PERSONALITY and REACTIONS. Your personality is, to me at least, what makes you YOU. It is responsible for whether you like the colour green or blue best. It is responsible for that wrench in your stomach when you have to see a friend in pain. It dictates what music you enjoy, what art pleases you best, how outgoing or shy or funny you are. It is, I think, a constant. Personally speaking, I have been told I’m warm, funny and friendly by people I know and people I have only just met. I love the colours red, black and silver. Sunsets are my favourite time of the day. I love really cold autumn mornings. I like laughing at twists of words and stupid animals. I enjoy sitting with good friends, maybe not saying anything, but just chilling and watching a film or something. That, to me, is WHO I AM. My PERSONALITY.
It is SO MUCH MORE than your reactions.
REACTIONS are how you are trained by your life to react to things that happen to you. For example, I had an abusive ex-boyfriend. He raped me. He called me worthless. He made me feel about a centimetre tall. So, when someone speaks or acts in the same way as he did, I become wary, hyper-vigilant, frightened and angry. Angry because he still has the power to affect me this way.
So imagine that as a small child, I was often ill, and I wasn’t able to join in with making friends and having fun with other children. Imagine I was homeschooled maybe, trapped in the house without the companionship of other children. Perhaps I just happened to live a life where my parents were so busy working that I barely ever saw them, and as a result had a stream of nannies. Wouldn’t that make you ‘frantically avoid abandonment, whether real or imagined’, in your everyday relationships as an adult? That is A REACTION to your past. It is because you never learned to trust, and you were so betrayed by the people who were supposed to teach you that. If you were sick, IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT. How could you expect to learn to trust when you were trapped indoors? Now you have grown up, how can you be expected to trust anyone? You were never sure of it as a child.
The good news about that side of things, I think is that REACTIONS are LEARNED BEHAVIOUR. We learned, as small children, that trust didn’t exist, so we learned to rely on ourselves. That small child inside still wants to trust. He or She is aching for a simple trust-based relationship, and He or She can still have that. You learned not to trust, so you can unlearn that.
I think another problem here is that now, you have been hurt so many times, you feel like a creature without skin- a little stripped rabbit, bloodied and naked and frightened. You feel desperate and snappy because it HURTS so much to trust. I think that also, people are born like this- not snappy and frightened, but with the ability to FEEL emotion really intensely. I know I feel love, hate, fear, joy, nervousness etc much much more strongly than a lot of my friends. I get worried about things they don’t, because they grew their fur more thickly than I did. They don’t contend with the same damage as I do because they are not exposed to emotion with naked raw skin.
The next part of this is this: how do you learn to trust again with such a hurtful past and such raw skin?
It isn’t easy, I assure you, but I will try and find out more to add to my own insights.
I have decided that I over-think my relationships. I try too hard to second guess because I want to please the other person so badly. This is probably true for other people diagnosed with EUPD/BPD. My current line of thought on the matter is this: DON’T! Give yourself a break. Other people are probably not thinking about what you just said in the same way that you are. They are probably not even concerned with it! Take a step back, mentally, and take some deep breaths. Tell yourself that other people actually like you. Let yourself just accept the comment or conversation for what it is, and try not to shred it apart looking for the hint that the other person is using you or is going to hurt you. Most people in the world are good, and want to form a relationship with you based on trust. If they get it a little wrong sometimes, it is because they are human, like you. If they are worth trusting, they will see that too, and they will most likely let you know when they have slipped up. The healing part of learning that someone is worth trusting is so fantastic- it’s how I have re-built my relationship with my parents when the ex tried to destroy it. I won, and I trusted. It isn’t easy, and I still have issues, but you can do it too.
Start small. Tell a person you want to trust a small, true thing about you. See if they react well. They probably will. Try again, maybe when you feel ready, with something a little bigger. Build it up that way.
Another thing to bear in mind is the way you have been CONDITIONED to react, whether it was by someone abusive or by a lonely past. You are most likely going to try and cling on to affection in any form, regardless of whether it hurts you. That isn’t trust, nor is it affection. It is damaging you all over again. Something I have done is sit myself down and taken a long, hard look at how it would feel to be abandoned by various people I love in my life. I have gone through in my head the pain that this would involve, and then I have taken myself back out of that dark place, and I have thought of several reasons that this would never happen.
-The people I am close to love me for me. They don’t care about my flaws. They will be there until the end of time. I would literally have to kill puppies to get them to hate me, and I bet even then a couple would stick around and ask me why I did it. This is true for other people too. Trust me. Ask them.
-If, for some reason, someone I am close to abandons me, I have to think about it rationally. Why would they abandon me? It is NOT because I am the most wicked and horrible person around. Maybe they have their own problems to deal with, and they are being selfish. Maybe they have trust issues of their own. Most importantly, though, do you really want to cling onto someone who WOULD just drop you and leave you alone? Where is the trust there? They are not worth it if they didn’t trust you enough to hold onto you. You, and your loves and hates and sense of humour. Your appreciations, your film choices, your hairstyle. Why drop this unique person and wander off? It’s callous, and it doesn’t deserve a second of your time.
These are jumbled thoughts, but I hope they help you, Y, and anyone else given this stupid diagnosis. I do not believe for an instant your personality is flawed. I believe your reactions to the outside world are damaged, but that this damage can be repaired by giving yourself a chance to trust.
I’m right here if you want to ask me more. Hopefully I explained myself clearly.
I read Sista Sertraline’s blog post about the Channel 4 programme “Psychopath Night”, and I instantly went onto 4oD and watched it for myself. I am fascinated by the human mind and always have been, and especially now I have begun to recognise my own mental health problems. I thought at least it would be illuminating for me to watch considering that I have suspected for a long while now that my ex-boyfriend was a genuine psychopath.
I was literally glued from the word go. An FBI profiler (now retired), several psychiatrists and a clinical psychologist or two were the panel of experts, with years of case histories of violent and non-violent psychopaths they had dealt with. Film clips were also used to point out the key traits of psychopathy, from such films as The Dark Knight (the Joker), We Need to Talk about Kevin (Kevin himself, from being a child), and the most obvious one, Psycho itself. Norman Bates, however, was supposedly most likely to be suffering from multiple personality disorder, which I think could be damaging for real MPD sufferers if it became widespread knowledge. I know the DID/MPD sufferers on this blog network are lovely people, as are their alters, who wouldn’t hurt a fly. Personally, I reckon there is a level of psychopathy in Norman Bates: his charm; his lack of empathy; his brutality without remorse.
Anyway, the programme listed many different traits that psychopaths display. Three of them are the ones I’ve listed above. Others include being able to lie fluently, to build truths that even the least gullible and most wise of folk would trust. They are able to switch from being charming and gracious to frightening and demanding within an instant. They have a sense of their own vital importance to the world. They are grandiose, craving to be the centre of attention. They view themselves as ‘a cat in a world of mice’, and see other people as inferior- usually in intelligence and intellectual ability. A psychopath blames others for things going wrong, regardless of whether or not it is their fault. The psychopath can never be wrong. They’re cool-headed in a crisis, mostly because they are fearless. They are narcissistic, intelligent, and determined to step on or over others to get at what they really want.
Notice any similarities, folks, to a certain ex I have written about?
I watched the rest of the programme and thought hard when it had finished. My ex displayed these qualities to their utmost in a lot of cases. He would only use emotion to blackmail me emotionally, or manipulate me into doing something he wanted. I was pressurised into the relationship to begin with because he made an overt declaration of his ‘undying love’ to me, and I replied in kind because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. He had become special to me, but more along the lines of a friend, but his charm ensured that I was captivated by this declaration of love. I was lied to very convincingly- he made me and my friend B believe we were all angels, and it took me two years to shake off that delusion. I was charmed by him into doing things I didn’t want to, and I was emotionally abused if I said no to any of his demands. He would become frightening and violently angry, and would shout and become cruel very quickly if I didn’t do what he said. I couldn’t understand why others found him charming sometimes, but he would only charm those he wanted to get to lose their suspicions about our relationship. In circles he wanted to, he would often be the centre of attention, and a lot of his family saw him as the ‘clever’ one, the one with the high IQ, the one who was a genius and was worth praising a lot. I saw how his mother would ask his advice, as if she was the child, and he would advise her with a huge sense of his own importance.
Of course, no matter what had happened between us, he would ALWAYS blame me, whether or not it was my fault. He was always right.
There is a psychopathy scale- I took the online test out of curiosity, to see where I fell- 21%, an empathic, warm sort of person. I did the test for my ex- 82%.
There you go. I dated a psychopath.
Whilst I must stress the test is only for informative/amusement purposes, the questions asked were the same as those posed to two people who were featured as being high on the psychopathic spectrum in the TV programme. I am aware that they were tested by the psychologist, and he identified them as being high on the spectrum.
Says an awful lot about my ex. He was a psychopath, pure and simple.
This is a weirdly comforting thing for me. It means that when I felt like the world’s worst girl, I was being manipulated by a master liar. When I was being emotionally manipulated, I was collateral damage in his path to getting what he wanted. When I was crying and hurt and feeling so alone, it was because he wanted me there, because that made him the centre of my attention in his threats to leave me.
I was innocent. I am still innocent. I wasn’t myself, because I was in the thrall of a psychopath.
I feel like I’ve reached an important point here in realising that I am not to blame, but now I also know WHY I am not to blame. I have always been the sort of person who wants legitimate answers to my questions, and now I have them.
For anyone else who has read this and found themselves linking the psychopathic traits I have mentioned to someone they know, or are in a relationship with- I would recommend the following:
Get out, because it is not your fault, and you are not to blame. You do not deserve the abuse and manipulation you are receiving. You do not deserve this cruelty, and this agony. I can empathise and I can understand.
Please make a plan to leave. Pack a bag with basic essentials such as money, phone, overnight clothes and underwear. Make sure you make plans to go somewhere safe, even if it has to be the police station or the hospital. Do it when you know the person in question will be out for a while. If you have children with you, it’s doubly important to go as soon as you can, but plan where you can go first of all. There are websites out there for refuge shelters which can teach you to erase your search history so the person abusing you doesn’t know where you’re going, and so you can be safe. DuckDuckGo is a search engine which doesn’t record a history of what you have searched either, so try using that.
I hope this post is illuminating and I hope it helps. I’ll post the link to the psychopathic spectrum test below, and I will post a link to other sites that are connected with this/might be useful.
For me, I feel more at peace with myself, and I realise now that I wasn’t EVER to blame.
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