When you have been diagnosed with BPD you’re not allowed to get angry!
If you suffer BPD, you’re not allowed to be pissed off about anything or anyone, or something that someone said or did. Nope. Because your ‘overreacting’, or ‘making something out of nothing’, or ‘taking things too personally’, or ‘being argumentative’, or ‘being defensive’, or ‘being erratic’!
This is one of the biggest stigmas concerned with mental health issues. People think that because the sufferers do inhibit these traits / symptoms, that they must act in those ways all of the time. Not true! There are usually (for me, always) triggers. Without triggers there are usually no symptoms. Sufferers of ill mental health can and do go long periods without any flare up of symptoms. My ‘anger symptoms’ appear when I am under stress and pressure. I can get completely overwhelmed and can start to panic, get paranoid, irritable and snappy. The paranoia can make me take things very personally, and then I seem defensive.
A BPD sufferer is not their diagnosis 24/7
Yes of course there are times that I will overreact, or take things too personally, become defensive and argumentative, and sometimes become erratic. Tell me, who doesn’t have times where they react in those ways? My reactions in times of stress and upset can be magnified and come on very quickly. It seems to others that I am overreacting, but I have just gone through the next twenty minutes in about a minute in my head. I’m already there. I spot the perceived danger before it arrives. Sometimes the perceived danger is not actually there though… this is surely connected to my abandonment issues, emotional abuse that I faced as a child where I was not allowed to expressed my views and not being allowed to have any control of my life. Other time, I am overwhelmed by emotions and this causes me to react quickly.
When I was in my late teens – early twenties I (and others) suffered my explosive anger. These days, my explosions of anger come out in my words. This is always born out of frustration. Usually from the need for open communications and the feeling of not being acknowledged and listened to. This is always with adults, never with children. For children do not know what they do. Adults know better. When a lover mistreats me, in a bad way, the BPD brain takes over in full-force. Take the relationship of last year, it lasted 9 months. My lover, who was before a friend, lied to me early on in the relationship. I confronted him, he denied it over and over again. I had no proof of my claims but I knew that I was right. I tried to end the relationship, but he kept coming back. Even sitting outside my house for an hour. I gave in. I thought I loved him. And so the pushing-pulling began. Love-Hate. My lover continued to lie to me. He stonewalled me, left me and ignored my calls and texts, and then gaslights me saying that it was all in my head because I’m paranoid – I have BPD. In the end, like a dog with a bone, I went onto Facebook and I found his ex and I asked her. Then I had the truth that I knew all along. When he finally admitted it, he was not open and honest and still even tried to lie. All of this mistreatment brought my symptoms out big-time. I even self-harmed, and I am not a ‘self-harmer’. I started oscillating between anxiety and depression. He was most definitely a narcissist. He used to brag a lot and love himself. He hated criticism and had a short temper. He was a false charmer. A manipulator. He made me feel dependant on him, my knight. My knight one minute, then going off ignoring me the next, and lying about where he was / what he was doing. More gas lighting. Then more love. Weird relationship fuelled by sex and good times, really. Big mistake. It ended very badly. My impulsiveness really came to the forefront during this period of stress.
The next lover of 1 month was an old flame. February of this year. Reignited. Or so I thought. He had unresolved anger issues that he wouldn’t admit. We had an argument, because he was in my town and he didn’t even call or text me… I asked why as it didn’t seem to fit with his all loving all caring narrative that he was supplying me with. He kept asking why I was stressing over him not sending me a text! Jeez. Not the brightest spark I guess. After that discussion, by text, he had to go for a walk to calm down! Not before character assassinating me first though. He spoke to me very badly. And he slandered me to many people. They were all laughing at me on Facebook, mocking my mental health. I’d known that old flame for 20 years. I did not expect him to treat me like that. At first he was very caring with his words and actions, going out of his way to pick me up food and picking me up paracetamol when I was ill. Lavishing me with love. When he lost it and said all of those nasty things about me and to me, I became completely overwhelmed and it quickly broke me down. I became depressed with suicidal thoughts within a day.
I hate character assassinations. There is no need for it. It shows no understanding, no reasoning, no acceptance of ones own faults, and it is an easy way out – ‘I don’t have to answer to you, you’re this and that’. It takes a lot of pushing for me to go low enough to character assassinate a person. But when I go there, I can definitely go there.
People think that because a person has BPD they will be argumentative all of the time. There are times when I have been argumentative, but I had good reason. Sometimes, if I don’t get the right answers I will push for them, so yes I can be argumentative. But that is not a character trait of mine. I used to be more argumentative.
Take the time when I was arguing with my daughter’s father’s mother. She was clearly favouring one grandchild, picking him up on her days off, taking him out, having him sleeping over… without the other grandchildren being invited. Everyone knew it, everyone said it, but I was the only one who said it to her. I tried to make her see what she was doing because I didn’t want my daughter to suffer. But that’s just me being argumentative… Another time, I argued with her about her dogs. She had 2 dogs, one lurcher and one springer spaniel. She used to keep them in the small kitchen for practically the whole time – in their ‘box‘. And she never walked them. It broke my heart to go around there, sit in the lounge and hear the dogs whining from the kitchen. Rarely were they let out to sit with us. They had a tiny section of the small garden that was covered in piss and shit. I asked her why she had dogs if she was going to treat them like that? And I said I would not be going around there anymore because I couldn’t deal with the guilt and anger that it was bringing to me. I did argue with her on these matters for a while, because nothing changed. In the end, I stopped going around there. And she undone herself with my daughter because my daughter has noticed the favouritism herself now, and they do not have a strong bond. I am gutted about that, but does she care? Probably not because she has her favoured grandchild. Other than that we didn’t argue in the years that my daughter’s father and I were together.
Two people whom I argue with more than communicate with are my sister and my daughter’s father. Neither of them try to understand my mental health and think that I am lazy, bored, overreacting, etc. They both judge me, dismiss what I say, point fingers at me and speak to me at times with complete disrespect… and then wonder why I speak to them with the same disregard.
Since the BPD diagnosis it has become easier for people to point the finger, character assassinate, blame and stonewall. Because of course I always overreact and can’t manage my anger or emotions!
The stigma is real.