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emotionally unstable personality disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder – True Story

A true Borderline Personality Disorder story

BPD – The likeable guy who suddenly isn’t

I once knew a man who I met through a friend.  When I met him, she was already planning on marrying him so I could not say much of anything.  He was an utterly likeable guy who was fun, fun-loving and an all-around joy to be near, but there was something I couldn’t understand.

My friend, due to her previous life experiences involving traumatic loss, was extremely opposed to anyone she loved being in the police service.  Her fiancé had been a marine and had later gone into the military police.  He had retired from the military and was working in his family business as the Vice President but had also grown his hair out, dressed in very casual clothing and loved race-cars.  He swore “blind” that he would never enter the military or law enforcement again.

This fun-loving person with long hair, wearing tank tops and racing cars was the guy I met.  He was also mechanically inept – couldn’t put a shelf on a wall or even put a barbeque grill together with instructions.  After they had got married, my husband and another friend spent many hours doing “fix-it” work around their house – taking things such as grass spreaders and playground sets apart to put them back together correctly.

Borderline Personality Disorder - Swirly MindHe was also very generous – spending money all the time for all and anyone around.  He would take 15 people to see a rock concert or a hockey game, bought the boys new video game systems and video games every weekend, bought garden supplies, supplies to put in a backyard kiln after my friend had said she thought she might want to make a pot, had a pool installed, bought a go-cart and mini-bike for the boys, $3000 vacuum cleaner…He traded her car in for a new, better, bigger car at least once a year, sometimes after only a few months. They were not in financial distress, but he was never concerned with how much money he spent.

I could never reconcile the goofball man with long hair and a beard who used to be a marine and an MP.

Fast forward a few years.  One day, my friend called me, totally hysterical because she came home to find him with a military style haircut, wearing a police uniform with guns and all – preparing to go to a part-time job that he had gotten with a police department in a small town nearby, having done all this in secret.  He swore it was only part-time because they needed the extra income (which they didn’t).

For several months, she expressed her extreme displeasure, fear, hatred.  Each time I would drive to their house, I would think, “What are the police doing here?”

Then I would remember that it was his patrol car.

Fast forward a few more months.  He is now working full-time as a cop – even though he promised it would only be part time.  She hates it.  He is also starting to exhibit bizarre behavior, restrictive rules for the kids, can’t keep from calling her every 10 minutes – even while he is at work, even while she is grocery shopping or picking up kids from school.

Tensions rise, arguments ensue, culminating in an episode involving him threatening to shoot himself in front of the 10 year old who runs from the house in his underwear to hide at the neighbors.

BPD - Borderline Personality DisorderHe eventually calms down and suggests that they need marital counseling – that she needs “help.”  Of course, he says it is “her” that needs help, and he is only going for her problems.

They go to the counseling where the therapist disagrees with his idea that the core issue is her problem.  They are both referred to a psychiatrist.  The psychiatrist diagnoses him with Borderline Personality Disorder – giving him medication and recommends extended therapy.  The psychiatrist gives her a prescription for situational anxiety disorder – as she is having intermittent panic attacks due to his behavior.  He recommends that my friend go to therapy to deal with her emotions surrounding the family issues and for their son to go to therapy to deal with the fact that his father flips out.

She decides to stay – based on his agreement to take medications and go to therapy.  Which he does not.  He does not believe the therapist or the physician were correct.
He then tells her that she needs to go to all of his police and wives functions – and makes plans to join the State Police Controlled Substances Crime division – sponsored by the governor.  Another episode involving a mental breakdown and a couple of loaded firearms occurs.

She puts her kid in the car – and leaves a beautiful home with a pool and all the money she could want, in order to escape.  He calls and calls and appears not to understand what happened, blaming the whole situation on her paranoia.  She never goes back and now lives as a single mom in a low-rent housing unit without financial assistance from him.  Apparently this is much better than dealing with him.

This man, my goofball friend – turned into a raving nutcase and likely it was not the first time (or the last time) he had done so.  He went back to his former wife to marry her for the third time.

Years later, we still get “restricted number” phone calls from him – for no apparent reason other than to check up on her.

Until this experience, I always thought that Borderline Personality Disorder was a fairly benign thing – they were secret manipulators but relatively innocuous – along the same lines as Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is irritating but not dangerous.  Now I know that is not true, Borderline Personality Disorder, also known as Emotionally UnstablePersonality Disorder is a real and valid psychiatric disorder that should be treated.

It is characterized by:

•    Occupational – Economic issues such as a sudden shift in career field cue to sudden changes in values, self-opinion
•    Antagonism
•    Separation anxiety and abandonment issues
•    Suicidal behavior
•    Multiple separations or divorces
•    Unstable, intense close relationships are vacillating with extreme anger
•    Harmful impulsiveness – including spending, reckless driving, thrill-seeking
•    Physical Violence
•    Chronic feelings of boredom which may contribute to impulsive activities
•    Irresponsibility

The National Institute of Mental Health says that Borderline Personality disorder is likely to last for many years and may be subject to relapse of symptoms which remiss but those core symptoms such as highly changeable moods and impulsive behavior will likely continue.

Melissa Lind

Boundaries and Borderline Personality Disorder – Part I

Boundaries!  They’re not just for breakfast anymore!

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) – (Called emotionally unstable personality disorder)

Bondary FactorsI can’t remember the product the whole “not just for breakfast anymore” tagline comes from, but for some weird reason, it seems to apply.  See, as someone who has only very recently been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, in the past boundaries were “just for breakfast,” meaning I knew roughly what boundaries were about, I knew I was supposed to have them, but I never really thought about them.

As someone hoping to recover, I’m eating boundaries for breakfast, lunch, dinner and between-meal snacks.  It’s a conscious effort, and I’ll be the first one to tell you, they’re hard to swallow.  I’m already getting sick of it.  And yes, I barfed a few right back up.

For people without Borderline Personality Disorder, boundaries are something they learned naturally over the course of their lives.  For me, I’ve gotta pack all of that learning into my adulthood, when things such as boundaries are much harder to learn.  Or rather, I have to unlearn what I learned about boundaries in my childhood.

In my last article, I mentioned the fear of abandonment being the big nasty as far as BPD goes.  I also mentioned that it’s most likely caused by childhood trauma.  So, like a horrifying, traumatic version of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (“chocolate and peanut butter—two great tastes that go great together”) I’m gonna talk about boundary problems from my childhood.  And please, try not to hate me when you read the next line.

When I was a kid, I used to hurt animals.

I know what you’re thinking.  That’s the sign of a whooooole different kind of personality issue and also one of the hallmark signs of a budding young serial killer.  So before you go running for the hills thinking you’ve been taking advice from Ted Bundy, allow me to clarify.

When I was a kid, I used to hurt animals… and then go cry about it.

I didn’t like it.  I hated doing it.  I’ve always been an animal lover.  To this day, the thought of what I did makes me sick to my heart.  See, I used to blow up frogs with firecrackers.  Not because I wanted to, but because my “friend” wanted me to.

As the nerdy, sickly kid who always got beat up, friends were hard to come by.  So when I did find one, I did whatever it took to hang onto him or her.  Even if that meant doing something I knew in my heart was intrinsically evil.  If I didn’t do it, he “wouldn’t be my friend anymore.”

Those were his words.  I remember.  So, I did it… and then went and cried about it.

People with Borderline Personality Disorder have all sorts of boundary problems.  Our own personal boundaries can be far too flexible or far too rigid.  Personally, I’m of the “people pleasing” variety.

Whatever it takes to make someone else not leave me, I’m cool with it… sorta… but we’ll talk more about that next time.

Your brother in arms,

-Bruce

Read more from Bruce Anderson here: How I Became the Freak in the Corner

(A page that tells his story from the beginning and has links to several of his articles)

Recovery and Roadblocks with Borderline Personality Disorder, Part I

The healing process isn’t like it is for Bipolar Disorder

I promised shocking news in my last article, so here it comes. Guess what?

You’re not a child anymore.  You’re all grown up.  Chances are that if you’re reading this, you aren’t dead.  If you are dead, well, say hi to Jimi Hendrix for me.  And chances are you’re not still living with Mama.  You can take care of yourself.  You made it.  You’re healed, right?

Healing from BPDNot quite.  It takes years to undo the damage our childhoods caused us, but in order to start the process, you’ve gotta be committed.  And the scariest part of all is that the healing process isn’t like it is for Bipolar Disorder.  There’s no little pill you can take to make things better.  In fact, if you’re like me, the pills just make things worse.  The pills dull the pain.  To heal from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), you gotta feel it.  It hurts to heal.

And I promise you that right now, I am hurting very, very deeply.  Up until a month ago, everything was going right for me.  I had just landed my first teaching job.  My prizewinning screenplay had just entered into the development stage with an actual Hollywood director. Sometime within the next year, I’m gonna get a paycheck of anywhere between $50,000 and $500,000 bucks.

Now ask me if I care.  Nope.  Life is shit.  And all because my girlfriend dumped me.

But I’m slowly coming back from it.  And this time, I’m doing things differently, because this woman really was special.  And she still loves me.  And she’s trying to be my friend.  And she’ll continue to be my friend if I can just stop freaking out.  And she didn’t leave me for another man or because of anything I’d done.  I was the best boyfriend she ever had.  That’s what she said, and I believe her.  She just can’t be in a relationship right now.  She’s got her own issues to sort out.

Remember that, if nothing else.  Like attracts like.

And you know what?  I can’t be in a relationship, either.  Not if I want to get better.  It’s not like I don’t have the option to date someone.  I signed up for one of those dating sites immediately after she left me, which is a big clue right there.  Within a week, I had four gorgeous women wanting to meet me.   I also had a friend wanting to set me up with their (also gorgeous) young friend… who’s ten years younger than me.
And check this out.  I went to a topless club with a friend two weeks ago.  I started talking to one of the dancers (they’re people, too, ya know) and we had a lot in common.  Similar musical tastes.  Both avid readers.  Both physically attractive, emotionally damaged people.  The big difference is that she’s twenty-three, and I’m… um… not.

Anyway, I was feeling all confident and full of myself, so I poured on the old Anderson charm.  I asked for her phone number.  I got it.  And it WORKS.

Ready for some more shocking news? I tell ya, boys and girls, this shocks even me.  But you’re gonna have to wait until next time to read it. If nothing else, maybe the sheer morbid curiosity will keep you going until next time.

It’s the littlest things that often do.

Your brother in arms,

Bruce

Read more from Bruce Anderson here: How I Became the Freak in the Corner

(A page that tells his story from the beginning and have links to several of his articles)

So What Causes Borderline Personality Disorder?

Causes of Borderline Personality Disorder

What is Borderline Personality DisorderWell, the official answer is “who the hell knows?”  However, there are a number of contributing factors.  Biology may be a part of it, but the big part seems to be childhood trauma. So, let me tell you about my childhood.

As a child, I was both sickly and smart, a combo that naturally lends itself to the receiving end of bullying.  And from kindergarten to 8th grade, it was a daily occurrence.  It took getting my growth spurt and shooting up to over six feet tall to stop that.  Of course, snapping and dragging a linebacker across the top of a chain-link fence was the real reason it stopped.  Whole lot of stiches involved when that happens.

“Don’t mess with Bruce!  He’s CRAZY!”

See kids?  Crazy can be a good label sometimes.

So did the bullying cause it?  Who knows?  But it certainly didn’t help.
Neither did “losing my virginity” at the age of nine, but that was a fairly short term thing and could’ve been chalked up to childhood experimentation, if it weren’t for the fact that I was nine and she was fifteen.  A lot of guys would just call that “lucky,” but I’m pretty sure the law calls it “sexual abuse.”

So did that cause it?  Who knows?  But it probably didn’t help, either.

Probably the most major culprit – and something people with Borderline Personality Disorder all seem to have in common – is childhood abandonment, or at least perceived abandonment.

We may have had a parent disappear from our lives at an early age.  We may have had a caregiver who was just never around.  I’m pretty sure that with me, it was because when I became “unmanageable” and rambunctious as a child, my mother would grow frustrated with me and say things like “I can’t handle you anymore!  I’m just gonna run away from home and never come back.”

She never did, of course, but at the age of five, I believed her.  And her getting in the car and starting it up without me (“If you don’t hurry up, I’m just gonna leave you here!  You’re making me late to work!”), well… that set the whole “run away from home” thing in concrete in my developing brain.

Now, is that what caused it?  Who knows? But it certainly didn’t help matters, and now any time any woman leaves me, regardless of whether we were right for each other or not, my initial reaction is one of abject terror.

Sigmund Freud - your momIf you’re reading this, Mom, I’m sorry.  I love you.  And I forgive you.  I knew and loved your mother, too.  You just passed it down the line.  You didn’t know any better.

But anyway… I’m not gonna pull a Sigmund Freud and say “blame it all on your mother,” because that may or may not be the case.  But something in your childhood probably set this off for you.

But in my next article, you’ll get some really shocking news.

Your brother in arms,

Bruce

Read more from Bruce Anderson here: How I Became the Freak in the Corner

It turns out that I’m NOT bipolar – I have Borderline Personality Disorder

You Mean I’m NOT Bipolar?

It turns out that I’m NOT bipolar

Hello again, boys and girls!  I’m back, and I’ve got some news.  Take a look at the title of this article again and I’ll give you three guesses.

That’s right.  It turns out that I’m NOT bipolar.  Oh, don’t worry.  I’m still as crazy as I always was, and it’s the same kind of crazy, but different.
What do I mean by that?  Well, I still play on the old mood swing set – back and forth, back and forth – but it turns out that it’s not due to brain chemistry.  It’s just who I am.

Borderline Personality Disorder - Eternal ConflictYou want something to be depressed about?  Well, there you go.  Being told that my issues aren’t something that a couple of little pills each day can “fix,” being told that recovery is going to be a long, hard, and lonely road… well, that’s a much harder pill to swallow.

Thinking back, I can see why it was so easy to diagnose me with Bipolar Disorder.  I had the high highs and the low lows, but here’s the major difference: when I have a mood swing, there is ALWAYS a reason.  I’m never just sitting around, happy as a clam, then BOOM!  Here comes the despair.  It was always some event, or some lack of event, that set the old swing in motion.

If you’re bipolar, circumstances don’t always change the mood, though the mood can certainly change the circumstances.  Not for me.
Always a reason.  Sometimes, a legitimate one, but not always.  Sometimes, I make the reason.  If you’re Bipolar, the mood swings just happen.

That’s not the case with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Eww… just the sound of it is bad.  Personality disorder.  The words slip from the tongue like a big, fat slug.  It’s not chemistry.  It’s who I am.  There’s not a problem with my brain, but a problem with me as a person.  Talk about depressing.

But when you get right down to it, it’s all still faulty wiring.  It’s just that my wiring wasn’t messed up by God, it was messed up by other people.  It wasn’t messed up at birth, but shortly thereafter.

Well… the jury is still out on what causes Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
There may be a genetic component, but most likely, it’s caused by some childhood trauma.  And trust me, I’ve got plenty. We’ll talk about that next time.

Your brother in arms,

Bruce

Read more from Bruce Anderson here: How I Became the Freak in the Corner

(A page that tells his story from the beginning and has links to several of his articles)

More about BPD here: “Borderline Videos”