Understanding the wounds underlying borderline reactions

A good view on the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. This is a blogger well worth reading if you suffer from complex trauma…which is where the symptoms that lead to a BPD diagnosis originate from.

Emerging From The Dark Night

I often struggle when I read that people with so called BPD are struggling with being able to understand that what seem to others to look like ‘over-reactions’ are actually grounded in past experiences of not being met, responded to with empathy or sensitivity or being given what we truly need.  As a result we tend to carry a lot of inward frustration and what I would called ‘historical suffering’ which can get triggered in the present by either perceived abandonment or invalidation which we then project and can tend to respond to in ineffective ways.   Our reactions may seem out of order and beyond context but we do need to understand that they do make sense once our true history is understood.

Core wounds and old pain act in many ways like black holes of suffering that can be triggered in the moment and then suck us down.   Dialectical Behavioural Therapy was…

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I Started DBT

Last night was the first night with the group. Lucky for me, only four of us showed up plus the two therapists that run it. Meaning, I was relieved there wasn’t the full house of ten people + the 2 therapists.

I just met one of the therapists for the first time last night as well. And he seems really nice, but also dedicated to what he’s doing. He clearly enjoys it. Both therapists are young, which is to be expected I suppose. It’s been a while since therapists and psychiatrists were actually older than me.

The other therapist, the one I’d already known, is my individual therapist.

I’m not going to say anything else about the therapists right now because I don’t want to jinx anything. Last time I got excited about a therapist, she turned out to piss me off and frustrate me more than help me. She talked a good game on the phone, about knowing how to help those with complex trauma and that ended up to be bullshit.

But then she’s also the one who FINALLY picked up on my impulsive behaviors when I talked to her about some things that had been bothering me and she found this DBT program for me. So I’m thankful for that.

However, I do think there were plenty of other indications before that when I was in therapy with her and she could’ve caught it earlier.

I was also sitting there thinking last night while I sat at that table in that tiny conference room. “This should’ve happened a long time ago.”

In all the therapy I’ve been through, both psychiatrists (when they still had office hours and were also therapists), psychologists, social workers and two hospitalizations, DBT should have been offered to me repeatedly.

I even had a therapist once who saw the BPD traits. He’d suggested a book for me to read that mentioned some of the traits of BPD, even mentioned borderline personality disorder.

When I saw him again after finishing the book, I told him that I saw me in those traits. He nodded and quietly said, “Yeah.”  But instead of informing me of DBT and helping find a way to get it, he continued to not help me. In fact he was abusive. This I realized later though, in hindsight.

It’s hard to think about all the time wasted, the years behind me I’ll never get back. For one, my parents had no idea what they were doing, never helped me figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, didn’t help me deal with emotions, disappointments, heartbreak. Even my joy was dowsed.  It’s no secret they were causing what they should’ve been helping me cope with.

And two,  because the professionals that were supposed to be there to help, allowed me to slip through crack after crack after crack.

Playing With Fire Again! REALLY???

If my adrenals don’t get a fucking break I’m never going to recover.  I can’t leave and right now I am so fucking angry it’s more than uncomfortable.

I get angry all the time actually, but a lot of it is about shit that doesn’t matter or is truly futile because it’s about something that will NEVER change. I hate being trapped here. I hate living with someone I don’t trust to learn from previous mistakes, someone who doesn’t pay attention to some of the important shit.  I don’t feel safe.

So just a little back story: In the past, B had burnt a pot after walking away from a tiny bit of water he put on to heat up for tea. And a couple other times he forgot about toast he was making in a toaster oven, one of those times resulting in the toast actually catching fire!

So now at this apartment we now live in, we have a gas stove. I love gas to cook with. I really do. But I also know you need to be fucking careful when you cook with anything.

There are these pieces of round steel that go on top of the part where the fire comes out and they are removable. And if not put back right, (a fairly new discovery for me) the burner does not work. So when I turned the knob today to cook some quinoa, all I got was gas.

As I began to turn it off, the fire suddenly came on and it came out toward me. Scared the shit out of me.  At this point I didn’t realize that piece was on wrong. I just noticed something that looked wet on it. Probably butter from me cooking eggs this morning.

Well, B tried to clean it off by taking it to the sink and cleaning it off with the dish rag. And then when he put it back, he didn’t put it back right. So when I went to use the stove again…well…I already told you what happened.

The reason I realized that piece wasn’t on right and was the reason the fire didn’t go on, is because the exact same issue had happened before. In fact B was right next to me when we had the problem before.

I lost it. I yelled about it and couldn’t stop. I am really sucking at the DBT skills. It was the perfect opportunity for me to walk the fuck away, go outside or into my room and calm down first and THEN go back and talk to him about it. Tell him in a calm way how scared that makes me, which would also be less berating. And I did berate him for not learning from mistakes.

So not only am I angry at him for being careless, not putting that piece of the burner back on right, but also pissed at myself for not catching myself and working some DBT skill.

How the fuck am I supposed to stop myself when I feel the flooding of the threat of danger and then in turn anger? I talked to my therapist about it and she gave me specific things to do, but I can’t even get to the part where I’m supposed to STOP!

Shit Days

I am not doing well right now. I have just come off another binge with Mary Jane and am wondering wtf draws me so much to that.

Well, I know the answer…Pain…lots of pain. I have struggled with quitting her for years. And I am making another effort now. I’ve just committed to myself yesterday that I will not be drinking any alcohol for a year again. I did this in 2015 and it worked well.

I have not been drinking lately but I have thought about it a time or too. This may not be a big deal for some people but I have a  history of binge drinking. And I do the same with Mary. If she’s here, I indulge till she’s gone.

I wish I could keep her around, tucked away to enjoy now and then or use as a tool to calm down when I’m way over the top in an emotional reaction. But I don’t. I indulge every single day to keep myself at a constant numb.

And that’s not a good way to recover.

I am in DBT and have been going to individual therapy for about a month now. I will start group in a couple of weeks.

The whole premise around the program is to feel your emotions. I can’t feel what’s really there if I’m numbing them all the time. So now that Mary is gone along with sending her accessories out into the trash last week, I am going into this full force.

I don’t have to deal with the physical symptoms that many drugs bring with them once you let them go. But there is a cleaning out period plus the matter of now having to feel my emotions.

This isn’t easy and things have been more than difficult to say the least.

The other thing that Mary does is keep me asleep so to speak. It takes away my motivation and drive so I waste a lot of time. I also don’t care about myself either. So what happens is, I sleep a lot. I eat a lot of junk because I don’t have the drive to prepare healthy food. I don’t move my body because all my body wants to do is lay around. I also can’t read so I spend a lot of time on YouTube watching shit that is yet another waste of time.

It also keeps me somewhat oblivious or at least calmer about the situation here with B and me. And that includes between the two of us as well as the landlady downstairs. From here on out landlady will be known as Nasty.

Nasty the landlady.

So when I quit Mary, my emotions become awakened. And most of my emotions are not pleasant. I’ve written recently about Nasty in another post so I won’t get into her bullshit right now. She’s not even really the problem. The fact that she’s in my life is merely a symptom of other shit and my entire history has led me to this point.

My ‘addiction’ to Mary has held me back seriously. And for a while my emotions will be even more sensitive than usual as I adjust and learn how to be with and find another way of coping with my emotions.

So there’s that. But I actually started this post for another reason.

I am miserable with Mr. B. I have a lot of anger and resentment toward him and want to leave. But since I have not been working, have no income and don’t feel like I could hold down a job right now, I am trapped.

I talked to my therapist yesterday about a specific blow up that happened for me (B doesn’t blow up, yell or have much of an emotional spectrum at all). In talking about that one incident, I was able to illustrate what the relationship is like between the two of us and she gave me some really good insight

The pattern is: I’m triggered by something B does, says, doesn’t do, doesn’t say or something he forgets even though we’ve had the conversation once or sometimes many times. I have felt disregarded and not listened to.

When I’m triggered my reaction is to…well…react. I yell and berate. And this leads to sadness, depression and shame for me. I hate myself every single time. I apologize but the next time I’m triggered, I react the very same way.

I know this is abuse. And I am responsible for stopping. Which is one reason I am in DBT. A big reason for seeking out therapy, period. Although I sought out therapeutic help long before B was in the picture.

However, wanting to stop reacting in that matter, wanting to do DBT, wanting to be a better person…it’s all for myself. I mean, I want to stop hurting others too with my reaction, but my priority is myself.

Even if I didn’t react the way I do, this relationship is unhealthy. B is shut off from his emotions, he says shit all the time that indicates he doesn’t listen when I talk to him. He doesn’t look at me when I’m trying to communicate that I’m upset. And this happens even when the conversation is calm and normal.

He is physically unhealthy and won’t do anything to help himself. He is in a job in a company that treats him like a doormat and he doesn’t have the back bone to say no or to ask for a raise. He has no ambition and he seems to be getting worse on the drive and motivation front. He doesn’t seem to learn from certain mistakes and is not careful at work, hitting his head, rushing around slipping or falling, etc.

This probably sounds like I have no empathy for him hurting himself and sometimes I guess you could say that’s true. But the injuries he incurs and the errors he makes at times, are things that most people learn from after doing it once or twice.

Think about it. If you bend down and then crawl under something, you know something is above your head. Would you raise your head up to bump it knowing that thing is there…unless you are deliberately want to deliver some pain to your noggen?

If you’ve slipped on a surface before or dropped something on your foot in the past, would you not keep that in mind, learn from it and do something completely different to keep the same fucking accident from happening?

Most likely, the answers to these questions are a big fat YES if you care at all about yourself. But not B, he makes the same fucking mistakes over and over and over again.

We have been pulling each down into the sewer for years.

And I’m past due ready to get the fuck out.

I wish I had some place to go but I can’t think of anyone who would take me in, in the state I’m in right now. And I definitely need to stay close so that I can get to DBT. Unless we lose health care or some other rug gets pulled out from under…which to be honest, I am programmed to expect, so I do.

But to keep my sanity and to get through DBT (and that’s as long as Trump doesn’t pull the rug out from under mental health care) I need to learn gray rock really fast.

I also need to keep in mind the good things. I have written before about some of the ways he is supportive. He’s got my basic need of having a roof over my head taken care of. He understands why and supports my choice of not being a part of my own family anymore. His expectations of me are quite low actually. And I feel like I’ve been taking advantage of the situation.

A healthy person would’ve had their own full time income and left a long time ago. For both of our sake. There’s good stuff, but the emotional support in the day to day and his ability to listen and regard what I say as of any importance seems to be zero.

We have…scratch that…I have conversations with him one day and the next he does something that indicates he either didn’t listen or forgot. But then when I say something again, he says the very same things he said in the conversation before, as if we never had the original conversation in the first place.  It’s crazy making. And I have no way out.

I’ve been wondering lately if he actually enjoys seeing me react on an unconscious level. And if that’s true, then he loves the idea that I’m trapped because it gives him all the power.

I’m closing comments right now because I don’t really want any advice or feedback. I just needed to get that poison out of my system.

 

Diary Card is a Trigger: Having an Emotional Flashback (or Five)

I’m not in a good place right now. I’m having an emotional flashback about this stupid diary card. I feel like a little fucken kid right now as a result and really sensitive.

I remember as a kid in school I would be feeling vulnerable for something like not doing my homework (just as an example) and this would make me afraid, especially when it came to certain teachers. Specifically my first grade nun was abusive when I didn’t get the homework done or even do it right.

So if I was already vulnerable I would be sensitive to just about anything adverse so I would cry easily.

Once I’d forgotten my homework in 7th or 8th grade and (guessing because memory) called my mother and asked her to bring it up to me. She did and when she got there, I saw her at the door of the classroom.

I shot up out of my desk, both embarrassed and relieved to see her there. When I got to the door, I nudged her into the hallway and the tears just flowed.

One year, just being back after the summer, the teacher gave the assignment to write out the multiplication tables. We were only supposed to got to 12 on each number but I kept going, not remembering this from the previous year. And I felt so overwhelmed and don’t even remember now how far I went with each one. It must’ve taken me hours that night to finish that assignment.

I didn’t go to my parents, because I didn’t know if my mom would send me to my father. He was the last one I needed or wanted helping me.

Now for some reason this diary card is sending me back to that assignment and just endlessly writing the times tables and then finding out when I got back to school the next day that I made it even difficult than I had to because I didn’t remember from the previous year, what to do.

So I’m sitting here in tears and I guess I’m supposed to record this shit in that itty bitty box with no fucking room!