So, I had said I would close this blog down, but having had a break, I think I find it helpful to write, and I hope it can be of some help to you too. So I shall continue.
Sorry there haven’t been any posts lately, I’ve had a lot going on in my personal life, and I’m only just beginning to get back to normal.
I wanted to share something with you, as the whole aim of this blog was to try and break the stigma surrounding BPD. You likely know all too well, the negative beliefs people hold towards people like you and me. Or perhaps if you have only just been told you have BPD, and you’re looking for information on it, you may have stumbled across some less than helpful articles, which paint people like us as some sort of selfish, dangerous monsters who should be avoided at all costs. You may feel like a freak after reading these apparent ‘descriptions’ of people with BPD – written, I might add, by people who DON’T have BPD… they’re written by people who have been victims of people suffering from Cluster B Personality Disorders – but not necessarily BPD.
I’ve stated in a past post, that people often blur the lines of definition between the different Personality Disorders. What I find unhelpful is when people blog about Narcissists, and then make sweeping statements, like ‘People with Cluster B Personality Disorders lie, gas-light, project and smear people’. This is untrue. NPD sufferers do, sure. But even then, they might not all. There will be a scale for each Personality Disorder. With NPD you might be at the bottom end of the scale, and be slightly self-obsessed, vain and cause drama between people. Or you might be at the far end, and actively abuse people, smear them to others, stalk, and have zero empathy. Likewise, with BPD, you might have only some of the traits, and struggle with your emotions, get overwhelmed, and be unable to maintain a relationship. Or you might have anger issues, self-harm and have difficulties with everyone you meet. The trouble starts when people from the outside looking in, and the ‘victims’ of abusers, see Cluster B Personalities on the same scale as one another.
I know there are people who would read this, and say ‘What are you talking about? They ARE on the same scale! All Cluster B Personalities are narcissistic!’ This is wrong. Now, if you want to say that EVERYONE in the world is narcissistic, then that’s fine. Because it’s true, to some degree. There is healthy narcissism, and unhealthy narcissism. NPD is unhealthy narcissism, in that it impacts on one’s life, and on the lives of those around them, so that they can’t function well in society. Healthy narcissism is looking after oneself, having confidence in your abilities, and having boundaries. Very often those with BPD don’t look after themselves, they aren’t confident, and they lack boundaries. That’s the whole point of doing DBT, to learn to better all those areas, and more.
One of the biggest problems I see facing those with BPD, is people writing things about BPD that are misleading, and damaging, and being allowed to get away with it unchallenged. So that’s what this blog is about – challenging the misconceptions, and the lies.
I’m no expert. I’m not a psychiatrist. I studied Psychology at college many years ago, and I’ve researched a lot about different Personality Disorders, given that I have BPD, and I’ve encountered narcissists and someone who I suspect has Histrionic Personality Disorder. I’ve read a lot, and I feel I have a strong understanding of BPD and of NPD, and the clear difference between the two.
So what I wanted to share with you is this:
A page that I ‘liked’ on Facebook, I liked because it was about toxic people, and narcissists, and having been the victim of one or two of those, I thought it would be useful to have things to identify with. I saw a post about BPD, titled ‘People with Borderline Personality Disorder dominate conversations’… I took the bait. I figured I wanted to see what this person had to say about BPD sufferers, as it certainly didn’t apply to me. So I read the whole article through… and it felt like I was reading someone’s personal rant at someone who had done them wrong. It was so aggressive, and everything I read was a lie, of BPD sufferers anyway. I’ve done a lot of reading on BPD and NPD, and I know that everything described was about NPD, no question.
I’ve seen posts like that before, and it’s what motivated me to write this blog, to actually get the truth out there, and reach out to people who have just been told they have BPD, and feel like a freak in this world, to let them know they’re not. I sat on my hands too long on the issue though, but I couldn’t anymore – I had to challenge what was being misprinted, so I wrote:
“As much as I love this page, and find some of the articles really useful, afraid I don’t agree with this article. I’m actually writing a blog myself, to try and dispel some of the misconceptions about BPD… things like what’s written in here. So much is incorrect or generalisations and it does more harm than good. My aim is to counteract things like this. People seem to confuse BPD with other cluster B personalities, particularly NPD, which it’s nothing like.. this only leads to more misunderstanding and stigma towards those suffering from BPD. From reading it, it sounds quite bitter, like someone was hurt badly by someone with a personality disorder, perhaps NPD, and they were either wrongly diagnosed as BPD or never received a diagnosis, as what’s written is more true about NPD than BPD. The more I read of it, the more it is clear it’s about Narcissism, not Borderline Personality Disorder. And as a post about *NPD* then I guess it’s good, and explains it well, but unfortunately it’s untrue about BPD x”
Speaking out about things like this really terrifies me, as I’m not strong enough to cope with any backlash. There are some nasty people online, and I was seriously putting myself at risk by commenting on it, especially in the delicate state I was in at the time. Thankfully the first comment I had in reply was someone agreeing with me. I felt reassured, and knew I was achieving my aim, which was to stand up for those with BPD – those too afraid to speak out. But things soon changed…
Half an hour later someone posted this (I’m posting their edited version, including any mistakes):
“Gee! The more I read this informative article, the more I think “Hey, this is exactly it!”. I was abused buy a parent diagnosed with BPD in this same way word for word. The verbal abuse was this horrific. Constant – there is just no letup. So, I believe (and have a right to) that it is true about BPD. Of course those “suffering” from the personality disorder will assert they are “not anything like that” yada yada yada… and are offended by the misinformation represented in these articles and the experiences as told by the true victims of BPD, those at the receiving end of their abuse.”
Immediately after posting this on my comment, but not quick enough for me to miss it, she blocked me – without reason! She felt the need to rant and rave at me, and block me, when I had simply offered a different view, in a respectful way I might add. Her behaviour shocked me, and my first instinct was to remove my comment. But a bunch of lovely people said I’m entitled to my view, and shouldn’t delete it, as it’s the only way people learn. So I left it up there, and did my best to explain my view. I gave them all the impression that ‘I could be wrong, as maybe I’ve not met someone with BPD and NPD tendencies’… but I don’t actually believe I’m wrong. I just couldn’t face anyone attacking me.
Speaking of attacking me – I found out through other sources, that the person who blocked me, continued to write comments afterwards saying the following:
“ I know I will get flamed by BPD trolls defending themselves. One thing is sure NPD/BPD they have no real consideration for others. BPD’s bottomless pit of needs come first, at the expense of those around them. Financially, physically and emotionally. It doesn’t matter that you suffer Once enmeshed into their world, you will never be able to fill that hole and must be punished.”
For having a different opinion, I was suddenly a ‘BPD troll’. There’s some lack of understanding nowadays of the English language. A ‘troll’ is someone who sets out to get a rise out of someone… they try and provoke an argument, and say things to wind people up and cause harm. There are quite a few people online who will call you a troll if you don’t agree with their opinion. This was a classic case of that.
I had no problem with this person. I certainly wasn’t going to ‘flame’ them. If she had not blocked me, she would’ve seen how upset I was by the incident, and that I didn’t want to cause any offence. But she had it in her head that I was someone with BPD, and was ‘defending myself’, and since she was abused by someone with BPD then I’m as bad as that person. That’s her failing, not mine. I feel sorry for her, for her experiences. I seriously do question whether the apparent ‘diagnosis’ of BPD was correct. For someone to have that kind of reaction, I would think they’re reacting to the abuse from a narcissist.
But strangely enough, I think the reaction I received from this person, was totally out of proportion, and uncalled for. I thought I’m either dealing with someone who is in a perpetual ‘victim’ mentality, and feels the world is out to get them – which I wasn’t… or I’m dealing with a narcissist, as the behaviour she showed me was reminiscent of the behaviour my narcissistic ex-friend showed me. I am really upset that she responded how she did, and blocked me, whilst going into defensive mode, and labelling me a “BPD troll” (which is classic NPD behaviour – pre-empting what they believe will be an attack on them, by having the first word). But that’s for me to deal with in my head….
The purpose of this post is to deal with what people believe about us, that simply isn’t true.
Another person who commented on my post, said to the above commenter, “I agree a lot of people with BPD will deny they are anything like the article, that’s one part of the BPD, is they project their behaviours onto others or deny the behaviours at all..” – THIS IS NPD.
- Self-important – everything is about them
- Boast about achievements
- Expect adoration / pity
- Lack empathy or concern for the feelings of others
- Feel entitled
- Take advantage of others
- Is arrogant
- Critical and judgemental
- Cannot tolerate even constructive criticism or questioning of their behaviour
- Fake / deceptive, to make themselves look better
- Has to be centre of attention
- Vindictive ‘smear campaigns’ against those who they feel threaten exposing them
- Want power
- Switch and bait – going from person to person, smearing each one to the other
- Isolate you from friends / family
- Devalue and discard – when you’re of no more use, they cut you off
- Projection – everything they’re guilty of, you will be accused of… all flaws projected onto you
- Don’t take responsibility for their behaviours
- Gas-light – pretend something was said when you know it wasn’t… or something wasn’t said that actually was – it makes you question your sanity and memories
- Make frantic efforts to avoid abandonment (real, or imagined)
- Unstable self-image and sense of self / identity
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Patterns of negative thinking
- Sensitive to environmental factors
- Struggle with anger – either bottling it up – avoiding it altogether, having outbursts, or taking it out on oneself
- Black and white thinking – people are good or bad, they love you or they hate you… you are a nice person, or you’re an awful person…. when something goes wrong, you switch from one extreme to the other, forgetting the grey.
- Fear being alone
- Sensitive to criticism, due to already low self-esteem
- Difficulty identifying and experiencing emotions healthily
- Risky, impulsive behaviour – gambling, drugs, unsafe sex, reckless driving, binge eating, spending sprees etc
- Self-harming behaviour
- Suicidal ideation
- Intense, turbulent relationships
- Dissociation – ‘checking out mentally’ to avoid further distress
- Anxiety / depression / self-neglect / hopelessness
- Catastrophise – thinking things worse than they are – inability to self-soothe
- Paranoia when under stress
- Rapidly shifting moods depending on external stimuli or internal thought processes
As you see, they’re two different diagnoses. In regard to what that person said about denial… I certainly don’t deny my behaviours – I think I’m very open about them, more recently in particular. That’s because I’m no longer ashamed. If anyone should be ashamed, it’s those who feel they have the right to judge someone with a mental health issue. I’m not ashamed of it. It’s who I am. Or rather a PART of who I am. Some of the traits I have, which could be seen as negative, also on the flip-side, give me a positive trait – such as empathy, sensitivity, and compassion. And I’d take that, with the BPD any day, over being a judgemental, insensitive “normal” person.
There’s too much misunderstanding of BPD. And I will keep posting what I can, to end the lies. I’m not denying that people with BPD can have outbursts of anger, and this may seem threatening and abusive. But I know that if it’s true BPD, it’s not an attack on the other person. It’s an inner conflict, being vented. It’s frustration with oneself and situation. It’s letting out the pain we’ve taught ourselves to hide, as it’s bad to show negative emotions. It’s the interpretation of BPD behaviour that is the problem. If more people understood BPD and why we do the things we do, the world would be easier on all of us.
The main differences between BPD and NPD are as follows:
- Those with NPD lack empathy.
Those with BPD often have it in bucket-loads.
- Those with NPD give the appearance of ‘loving themselves’ and false confidence
Those with BPD are often vocal about their self-hatred
- Those with NPD like to be the centre of attention
Those with BPD often prefer to fade into the background
- Those with NPD will rage at you, abuse you and feel no remorse, may even find pleasure in it
Those with BPD will rage at you, and feel deeply ashamed and guilty & apologise
I admit there are slight similarities between the two diagnoses, but I will cover those in my next post, as this one is dragging on a bit – bet you’re asleep by now!
I just wanted to start discussing this, as it touched a nerve – something that’s been building for ages… I don’t want anyone who suffers from BPD to face further isolation, alienation and stigma than they already do. Life is hard enough for us, without careless opinions from people who don’t know the daily struggle.
The person who made the comment initially, spoke of the ‘real victims’ of BPD. And to her I would say this…….
‘WE are the real victims of BPD. The people who have this affliction, are the victims. Narcissists leave victims wherever they go – they are never the victim of their behaviour. But trust me, BPD sufferers are the victims of their own illness. Nobody suffers more than us in our own minds. If you want to fully understand pain and suffering, then step into the mind of someone with BPD. We’re hard enough on ourselves, day in, day out, without people like you making us out to be monsters, and like we’re not suffering most of all. I am sorry if you’ve suffered at the hands of someone vile. But that vile monster is not representative of us all… far from it. WE are the victims of BPD, not you. You may find it hard to tolerate some of our behaviours, but anything you think about us and our illness, we’ve likely beaten ourselves up a hundred times worse for our flaws. We don’t deny our flaws. Narcissists deny theirs. We don’t. We’re painfully aware of them thank you, so much so, that we don’t believe we will ever fit in this world as a normal, functioning human being. Misrepresentation of BPD by the article’s author, and people like you, create deeper division in understanding mental health issues, and I will not stop fighting and writing, until the wider population understands and accepts the reality of BPD’
I will be writing more on the subject, and for every time I see a post that misrepresents BPD as some form of narcissism, I shall write a post to counter it. In the meantime I encourage you to speak out about your BPD, don’t be ashamed, you’re not a freak or a monster – I bet anything you’re a lovely human being. Don’t let uneducated judgements bring you down.
Together we should stand up and be heard. Together we should end the stigma.
Hope you all have a good week, take care.