Black and white thinking

My therapist told me many things that I actually have known deep down already…but one thing was completely new for me: Apparently I suffer from the BPD-typical black and white thinking. I didn’t believe it at first. For me, black and white thinking was this fairy tale thing of good and evil. And my family was way too reflected for me ending up as a person who thinks in good and evil when it comes to politics or stuff like that. I hate when people read the newspapers and think in black and white about what they see.

However my therapist convinced me that I think in black and white when it comes to small, emotional things. A classic example: When I didn’t feel great in a job, my first thought was to quit. Either everything’s okay – or I go. I can make pro/con-lists but in the end I always see just one side. Nothing in between, no other options than yes and no. Like the way I always glorify my partner as long as everything’s fine but start to devaluate him and question everything as soon as something hurts or is unpleasant. The closer people are to me the more I get confused when I see positive and negative things about them because those things can’t go together in my eyes. That’s why I was always good at ending relationships – when somebody is in disfavour with me, then he/she is and nothing that was good before matters any more – no reason to think about it.

That is the often mentioned splitting which can be found in children and borderliners. My therapist always said that I am intelligent and handle my life like the grown-up I’m supposed to be. Emotionally though, she said I am like a 4-year old and that therapy would be my growing up in time lapse. With everything that comes with it. Great. By the way my partner finds it very funny to tease me about that – everytime I realize that I just thought in black and white (and it’s the only symptom I often don’t notice regardless of all vigilance – grrr) he praises me and tells me I’ll soon be a schoolchild – and I am easily teased by that.

And so I try to avoid black and white thinking which makes my life very complicated. I mean, yes and no are so wonderfully clear. And I like clarity. I hate “maybes”.

BPD and relationships

If you have read about BPD a little, you probably know that  it is very difficult for borderliners to have stable relationships due to impulsive behaviour, problems with closeness and distance and extreme emotions.

I am extremely grateful that my partner seems to cope quite well with all my little peculiarities. What makes me very angry though, is the way that media sometimes deals with borderliners: You can find lots of scary accounts about how terrible it is to date someone who has BPD – there are ex-partners who write about people with that condition as if we all were monsters.

Yes, I know that we can act completely unpredictable, be difficult to handle, I know that fits of rage on a daily basis can be annoying and I see that nobody wants to be asked “Will you please, please stay with me forever?”, only to be shouted at a few minutes later.

BUT: I know borderliners (including myself) who manage to have functioning realtionships – it only takes a lot of discipline, love and patience from both sides. For example, I ask my partner if he wants to leave me about three or four times an hour. Somebody else might be annoyed by that and feel overwhelmed by my clinginess. My partner understands that I am seriously afraid that he could leave me, so he tells me that everything’s OK – over and over and over again. Might be that I’ll never believe it but at least I feel safer that way. Security and stability can help borderliners a lot!

On the other hand, I have to control myself immensly when I get angry about something. When I am angry with somebody, I turn really cold towards that person, I won’t shout, I will just let them know that they are completely worthless which is probably even worse than yelling at them. So when I get angry with my partner, I have to leave the room in time. Usually, I am able to talk about things in a more constructive way quite a short time later (a nice thing about mood swings :)).

I don’t really know what I intend to tell you with this text, I guess I just want to show that borderliners are able to love (and yes, there are lots of people who think we can’t), that we don’t spend 24 hours a day trying to ruin somebody and that we are only manipulative because we are scared or confused or whatever…not because we are evil.

So to all the awesome understanding partners of borderliners who struggle with us every day – you rock!

I have no idea who I am

There are lots of complicated explanations as to why borderliners don’t have a stable self-image, always need a mirror and seem to change their mind all the time.
You are very welcome to read articles on that because I can just tell you what it feels like for me.

When I get up in the morning, I pick some clothes. I don’t think about them in order to make me look godd but in order to give me a role for the day. There is a version in jeans and old T-Shirts that are too large for me, a verion in skirts with flowers in my hair and so on…what I want to say is that I feel as if I WAS that role, and I can’t imagine ever feeling different again…at least for a few hours.

Many borderliners (including me) are constantly afraid that people might see through them as they feel as if they were just pretending to be something or someone. The only orientation we have are the reactions of our surroundings. They tell us, who we are – that explains why many people with BPD do not have the best opinions about themselves…

As I have clear views about many things such as ethics or politics, it is hard to imagine that I do not have a stable image of myself but for me it feels as if I am a different person every day, depending on who I spend my time with and what I’m wearing. I can tell you, what I do, so I kind of know what I am capable of on a rational level. But I don’t have a feeling for what I AM – am I my name? My clothes? My job? My partner? A mixture of all those? I honestly have no idea…there are so many different aspects of me that I can’t get hold of them, I can’t see the whole thing.

The more I think about it, the more confused I get so that is probably the best explanation I can give.