Far too many have come to think that if they learn and retain enough about Borderline Personality Disorder traits, they’ll know what to look for, identify and AVOID when they meet someone new who attracts them. This is not only naive and inaccurate, it’s pure folly.
The most identifiable trait in people with BPD is self-sabotage, which we generally don’t get to recognize at the start of a new romance. Due to their lack of development and incapacity to anticipate likely setbacks or probable consequences due to their shortsighted and impulsive choices, Borderlines routinely orchestrate their own painful outcomes.
The primary reason this predictable condition exists for people with Borderline Personality Disorder features, is their need to circumvent empty, dead or ambivalent inner sensations, which are direct byproducts of having dissociated from a litany of emotions since they were toddlers. When one separates himself from vital feelings (whether light OR dark), he becomes robotic~ basically, an emotionless, empty shell of a person. The truth of the matter is, we ARE our feelings, and our feelings are US.
A child learns very early to dissociate from emotions in order to surmount and survive painful conditions that exist in his home. Dissociation is spawned by a child’s mental determination to escape painful, awkward, uncomfortable or “dangerous” emotions he suspects may result in punishment. In many instances, the process of disconnecting from feelings saves a child from committing suicide, were he to experience the deep despair from which he cannot physically run.
I ran away from home at three years old. I’m sure we’d have many more kids living on the street, if they felt more confident their practical needs for shelter, food and warmth could be met, once they left their familial habitat.
It might be more accurate to think of Borderlines less like human beings, and more like robots. They spend countless hours hyper-analyzing every feeling that emerges in their heads and hyper-controlling their relationships, rather than navigating thru various life and love challenges, by letting their inner senses guide them.
Senses in the form of instinct and intuition are foreign to someone with BPD traits, because when we shut down some feeling states, all feelings become impaired. Instinct and intuition are bodily sensations, which have nothing to do with one’s mind or brain.
One with Borderline Personality traits goes thru life as a mind not encased in a skull attached to a body (as you’d suspect in a human specimen), but rather as a brain sitting in a plexi-box, attached with wires to a mechanical life-support unit. This issue is extremely common among people working in the psychotherapeutic field, incidentally. Do some have brilliant minds? Absolutely~ but they’ve been dissociated from their emotions, since they were very young.
These folks cannot depend on their higher senses to lead them toward productive, life-affirming choices, because they have no senses guiding them! Instinct and intuition were buried and obliterated along with a litany of other feelings, when they were toddlers.
Feelings are such, that if you kill of even a few of them, all others lose their vibrancy. Anger and rage are enlivening, activating, passionate emotions, but if you’ve grown up judging them as bad or wrong, suppression of these feelings greatly diminishes sensations of passion in all other arenas of your life, as well. Couples who never raise their voices to each other or argue, typically accept the death of sexual passion between them, by chalking it up to “relationship longevity,” which is horseshit. Incidentally, under the weight of emotional suppression, creative passion dies too!
A Borderline’s addiction to chaos, frustration and drama helps them circumvent feelings of serenity and calm. The most difficult part of my work has been to help clients learn to tolerate light, good feelings in their body, once their pain abates. As hard as it may be to believe, this is the most challenging part of getting these people well.
Dead people don’t FEEL. Intense feelings in the form of anger, frustration, discontent or even grief, are experienced in the body as grounding and enlivening (you can be certain you’re not DEAD, if you’re in pain). High-conflict or high-maintenance relationships are sought by people with BPD traits, because they’re forced to feel intense emotion, which informs them they’re alive in-between living with a core void, within which empty, flat, dead feelings have existed lifelong, due to dissociation from emotions.
Helping people get well, literally means re-associating them with ALL feelings in their emotional repertoire, and assisting them in coming to fully accept these without judgement, censure or self-ridicule, and finally embracing them as normal aspects of being an emotionally vibrant, fully integrated, healthy and whole Human.