Boundaries! They’re not just for breakfast anymore!
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) - (Called emotionally unstable personality disorder)
I 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,
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)