According to my therapist’s recommendation, I am reading a book about BPD, or Borderline Personality Disorder. Which my Dad clearly has.
My dad was once diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, and ADD. But there’s now some clear differences between BD an BPD. With BD, mood swings last for days on end, and often come with manic bursts of energy.
I never saw my dad have bursts of energy, he was always tired, often depressed. His mood swings were by the day or hour, generally.
The rage, lashing out, and splitting (diving people into black and white sides of a question, with no room for nuance) are all part of BPD, but not BD.
ADD is part of it, or can be.
Perhaps this was all supposed to come as a shock to me, but I am not really astonished.
I figured he’d fit some category. Borderline is the borderline between neurotic and psychotic. A person who had really never grown up.
The book I’m reading “Talking to a Loved One with Borderline Personality Disorder ” is about learning to live with someone like that, and there’s another book “Stop Walking on Eggshells”. They might be helpful in the future.
But the book makes no mention so far of how someone with BPD could easily be abusive, usually they come from abusive backgrounds. With the outbursts of wrath, and manipulation, why not?
The books have almost a cavalier attitude toward the people stuck living with a child or parent like this (though, if the child id like this, it is usually is the parent’s fault, unless they’re adopted, it’s a learned behavior). Like “you can learn to manage this person.”
I could see some use for this in a day of arrange marriages, marrying for status, etc. In other countries where that’s still the case.
But if you have a choice, what self respecting person signs on for that kind of crazy. BPD people cannot maintain relationships, and should not be in romantic ones, the most intimate, challenging kind.
BPD, giving it a name, is kind of a self defeating thing to do. The Silence, by Bastille, describes it pretty well:
“Tell me a piece of your history that you’re proud to call your own Speak in words you picked up as you walked through life alone.
We used to swim in your stories and be pulled down by their tide, choking on the words and drowning with no air inside.
Now you’ve hit a wall and it’s not your fault my dear, my dear, my dear. Now you’ve hit a wall and you’ve hit it hard, my dear, my dear, oh dear.
“If you give it a name, then it’s already won. What you good for, what you good for? If you give it a name, then it’s already won.”
Bastille is right in a way, often when we give these personality traits a name, they win. Because it’s a human failing, to think once we compartmentalize and label something, it’s less powerful.
When really, we just take it less seriously.
That’s the power of stereotypes. You call someone a hick, a diva, a geek, a nerd, a jock, and they lose some of their dignity. Between friends, being undignified is okay, even necessary, but when we do it in general, it’s to avoid thinking about the person, really, truly thinking about them. Understanding them.
You might argue, if we give it a label, people might be kinder. Like ASD, ADD, ADHD.
It seems kinder at first, but then people assume you have no choice, you become something less than human, if you have no control over the type of person you are.
I know that there are some things someone on the ASD spectrum cannot control, but those things are actually very limited. Almost all aspects of a condition can be temporary with enough years and effort. It depends on the severity.
Likewise, BPD is a condition people can grow out of, with or without therapy.
But if the person can grow out of it, could recognize it as immature, then they knew what they were doing was wrong. They might lack the self control to stop, but they knew.
I don’t like it when experts deny the obvious. That anyone with mental illness that they are somewhat conscious of has a choice. Good experts don’t deny it.
In my dad’s case, he did things the book hasn’t described so far. Threatening me physically. Being mean, on purpose, even when he was in a good mood, sometimes more so then.
My dad’s abusive nature colored most of his interactions. He had to be in control, even if things were good. So if he was having fun, he’d make you miserable so that it was in his power, he’d sometimes try to make you have fun, if he was in the mood.
Not everyone with BPD is like this. They are not all abusers. I actually have a few of the traits myself, but since I was raised in an abusive house, that makes sense, I don’t have it to the excess I’d be diagnosed with a condition.
But the temptation to always feel like the victim, to think every one hates you, and to desperately want them to love you, is part of my life. Also, the emptiness I sometimes feel.
Victims feels empty because we were neglected, and our expressions of love were usually tainted by manipulation so as to not be satisfying.
One thing that was interesting was the book said the BPD people with hug too tight and too long because they feel empty. My dad always hugged both too tight and too long…and oddly, both me and my youngest sibling hated being hugged and kissed by him, and even by anyone, as young kids. To this day both of us are hesitant to allow people to hug us, and I still don’t like kisses (I wish I did). We always wondered what made us dislike it, but the way he did felt off. My dad blamed us for not wanting to snuggle, thinking it wasn’t normal, but preditcatbly, he was the one who made it abnormal.
My aunt has excused my dad on the basis of being on the ASD spectrum, and having ADD, and BD. But I believe BPD is the correct diagnosis. The others all had holes in the theory, and he grew out of the ADD. He is still BPD.
Which brings me to my real point, my dad’s abuse is not explained away by BPD. It gave him issues relating, but it did not make him mean and controlling in the way that he was. It’s a choice to do those things.
Anyone who tries to say I should have stuck it out has not appreciated the danger of doing so on my mental, emotional, and physical health. My dad didn’t want to be helped anyway.
The bible has a passage about the same behaviors as BPD. Galatians 5:19-21 reads “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders…”
Heresies, my dad believes some weird stuff about God due to his inability to let go.
The Bible does not complicate things. Theses things are from the flesh.
Does that mean these people are all evil? No… but some are.
It’s strong language to say my dad is evil, but his delight in doing these things seems like wickedness to me. I don’t see the point of sugarcoating it.
I think we are too wimpy now. We won’t say certain people are evil. But calling it that was helpful. Because evil can be repented from, how do you repent of a personality disorder?
The bible makes no mention of personality disorders. That is not because it was behind the times, written before psychology, the Bible has many verse about psychology, stuff modern studies are just starting to catch up to. The Bible knew the power of positive thinking, laughter, and power thoughts long before we officially proved the brain and body respond to those things.
Think about it, if the Bible was right about all that, way, way before we could even measure brain patterns, then isn’t it just possible that it’s right when it makes no excuses for evil based on personality.
True Mental Illness in the Bible exists in the form of either demonic oppression, or strong delusion. Otherwise, we are held responsible for our mental health.
Jesus told his disciples “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
Meaning, we can choose to be troubled.
David said “Why so downcast oh my soul? Hope in the Lord” indicating he could turn his soul to hope, not despair.
There’s lots of others verses. I recommend “The Utter Relief of Holiness” or “Free to Live” by John Eldredge, for more on this subject.
In cases like mine, a lot of what we feel isn’t caused by our choices. But everyone has that problem. People can just be jerks.
Our culture encourages us to blame everyone else for how we feel, and not do a thing about it. Just to sit in it.
But while we can’t blame ourselves for being mistreated, we can’t just let those people control our lives. Think about it, you want the person who hurt you the most to be the one calling the shots in your life? Not me.
Maybe you can be classified with a disorder. Maybe some of it never goes away. It’s possible that we never forget what it was like to be abused. But that doesn’t mean we have to act like victims the rest of our lives.
If God gives me the time one day I will have lived longer not being abused than I did being abused. But even if I don’t, I’ll have an eternity of better than I can imagine.
One thing abuse forces you to learn, if you would be free, is that you can’t let people shape your idea of a good life. God is the only one who can give you that image. You will settle for less than you could have otherwise.
It’s not just optimism, people. I have to believe that if I want to ever move on.
A lot of trouble would be saved if people told each other one thing: You can believe what you want… but only believing in the right things will lead you to freedom.
And there are things that will free you if you believe them. The Bible calls them the right steps.
So, BPD or not, we decide what we will be.
Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.
3 thoughts on “BPD, it’s not an excuse.”
I genuinely believe that many conditions we see today, like the old “multiple personality disorder”, degrees of bipolar, and whatever other countless conditions there are, can be chalked up to demonic influence and at the worst case possession. That’s one area where today’s modern “experts” completely fall flat, where “science” simply cannot help.
Fact is, we KNOW people can be possessed, and definitely have been, because it’s in the Bible. So the question is, what happened? Did demons just stop influencing people / disappear because people close their eyes and pretend they don’t exist?
If there’s one pattern I’ve noticed, it’s that people back then were much smarter than they are given credit for today. Today people mock our ancestors as backwards and “uneducated”. Yet today most people probably would struggle to read the English used in the King James Bible. People back then obviously didn’t know all of this fancy modern day psychiatry, but they did know a possessed man when they saw one!
As someone who has grown up with a mother that has severe BPD and me myself being on the Borderline Spectrum with (CPTSD) I agree that people shouldn’t use their BPD as an excuse to verbally abuse other people. That’s just someone being an asshole. Having BPD doesn’t mean that someone has “bad character” or is possessed by demons like people in ancient times thought before they discovered science and learned that the world wasn’t flat. People who have BPD aren’t psychotic but can have a break with reality when under an immense amount of stress. I only had one and that was when I had Postpartum Depression. Those with BPD don’t have multiple personalities that’s DID and mostly happens when children have been sexually abused as children or have grown up in a cult. You don’t just wake up one day with another personality. The symptoms happen in early childhood when the child cant escape trauma where they develop a dissacossiatve disorder. A lot of false information gets spread around about BPD and mental illnesses because of the stigma it holds. BPD is classified as a personality disorder because of the lack of identity the person tends to have or that they have a weakened identity or sense of self if that makes sense. If someone who has true BPD itself usually when they fear abandonment of some sort that they become what someone who doesn’t have BPD sees as emotionally manipulative. They will try anything to avoid that real or imagined abandonment and should be getting proper treatment and participating in DBT to overcome those patterns. If you look at BPD by itself the symptoms can be confusing and hard to understand why anyone would behave that way because it doesn’t seem rational. A lot of it isn’t rational because they are dysfunctional coping mechanisms that need corrected. If you read about Complex PTSD and Adults Children of Alcoholics the symptoms overlap so much that there has to be some sort of connection. My Dad wasn’t an alcoholic but his dad was so he was a “dry drunk” where you have characteristics of alcoholics bit aren’t one. My advice would be to start reading about how abuse and trauma gets passed down generationally. It sounds like your dad might have passed on to you some unhealthy coping mechanisms at some point which can easily happen but thankfully you didn’t develop a personality disorder. I’ve read one of the books you mentioned and I do have mixed feelings about it. I’m not saying that there isn’t some good information just that it might seem a little biased. There are a lot of good books out there one of them being I Hate You Please Don’t Leave me. Read from different sources so you can learn about the disorder. I’m sorry you’ve had a rocky relationship with your dad. I know how difficult it can be having other families who have mental illnesses or suffer addiction. My hardest lesson has been to set boundaries with them when they’ve been verbally abusive and cut contact with them to protect myself. It’s hard but sometime can speed up the healing process. I believe that prayer and spirituality with Science (Psychiatric Medication and therapy) are both very important and can be very helpful.
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I appreciate your insight into more of it.
As I think you saw, my point wasn’t to villainize every person with BPD or any other mental disorder, but to say using it as an excuse to act that way is wrong. I admit I am not an expert on it, and I wasn’t claiming to be. It’s been my experience that people use this stuff as a reason not to change, but I know there are others who work hard at their issues, and I have respect for anyone who is trying to do that. I know my experience is not universal, and I often clarify that when I write these posts.
Just in case you haven’t read any more of mine, I do build on previous posts and I tend to assume people are reading all of them, and write as if they know where I am coming from, but of course I know people just stumble across my stuff on the internet also.
I didn’t like either of the books I read on it, I might like “I hate you Please Don’t leave me” more, but I haven’t read it at this time. It seems like it’s such a newly diagnosed disorder that there’s not a lot of research on it yet.
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