My absolute all-time favourite defence mechanism is rationalizing or, alternatively, intellectualizing. I am able to observe and explain every feeling, every trigger, really anything rationally to an extent where I forbid myself any emotion at all. I believe in appreciative communication and factual arguments. It’s always said that people with BPD are prone to acting impulsively but I’m definitely not. Yes, I do have mood swing and yes, I can hardly control my anger (by the way, most people I’ve been talking to advised me to let my anger out – last week I tried. It didn’t make me happy) but I always try to see everything I feel from a rational point of view until I can think properly again. I was like that even as a child. For example, my parents’ divorce made perfect sense and my great-aunties death was redemption because she was suffering. I kind of overlooked the fact that I still would have been entitled to be sad…
For a very long time I thought that what I was doing was actually desirable. After all, it keeps me from doing all the things people do when they’re emotional. I even told myself that this inhuman dispassion was a kind of illumination 😀
In fact, I cut myself off from my emotions until I couldn’t access them any more. I’m still getting to know them after they’ve been buried for a very long time. When I started seeing a therapist I felt incredibly weak because of all the things I hadn’t known before (any more): Fear, insecurity, loneliness – my life had been so much easier when I still was thinking rationally and not listening to my gut feeling. But I was never really happy either.
This weekend I was reminded how knowledge alone is not enough. Because it’s not a subtitute for my gut feeling: For example the feeling of being welcome at a place with special people and laughing with someone as if I’d never been gone although I was. If someone had told to write an essay about what people need in life a few years ago I certainly would’ve mentioned social contact and the feeling of belonging somewhere but I wouldn’t have understood what this actually means. For these moments make up for all the evil and hurtful ones, they mean we still exist.
It’s hard for me to write this because it’s so terribly irrational and not accurate and therefore potentially dangerous in my eyes…but at least it’s more human than I was back then, probably natural for others.