What I hear in everybody's posts - and I'm not talking about just those posts in this thread, but in all of FtF - is a desire to help. People sometimes ask if it's hard for me as a person with BPD to hear the angry things said here. Yep, sometimes it is, especially when the concept of "evil" is mentioned. But mostly it's not, because under all of the hard emotions - the bitterness and resentment and anger and hate and the rare viciousness - is hurt, just like renaissance
said. And that's the tie that binds us all - non, BP, co-dependent, abuser, innocent bystander: to be human is to hurt. But what's even more human is to want to help. That is the best in us and we can be at our best even when life around us is at its worst.
When we see suffering, we wish to ease it because we know what it feels like to hurt. As nons, that makes us vulnerable - both to predatory people and to those who are not strong enough to handle their own pain and who thus put it onto others. It's both noble and a folly to want to help.
I'm convinced there is one thing above all others that will "save" people with BPD, and that is to be helped. Although, for some reason, right now I'm getting a very clear mental picture of a bomb defusal expert...
The "abysmally" low self-esteem I mentioned previously is from the inability to form a coherent, positive sense of self. I'm interested in bonding/attachment failures as one of the causes for this, but don't have a lot of scientific evidence for my opinions. People like minion
and other parents I've read on the board genuinely care about their children and have raised them lovingly, so it's not just through abuse that BPD can develop and I hope it's clear that I'm not of the "blame the mom" camp: the reasons are complex and may never fully be understood.
What happened to the child happened. It can't be undone. But - and I think I'm a purty good ole example of this - people can change, tho I don't know anyone who has ever done it on their own, no matter how strong that person.
I'm not sure I know where I'm going with all of this. I'm sorta just dumping everything out there that's been in my head, so it's a bit of a mess - kinda like what the living room floor looks like after Christmas morning... !
How do we reach someone who is convinced they are worthless on a fundamental level? This plays into a recent thread/workshop about the twisted thinking of people with BPD
. The main categories of beliefs are: 1) I am not good; and 2) other people will hurt me. This is what they believe, no matter the "evidence to the contrary": no matter how much we tell them they're lovable or beautiful or wonderful, no matter how much we take from them to show them they're worth it. Like so many of you said, they do not hear it, they do not see it, they do not believe it. Because they (we) can't.
I've struggled since I first came to this board between two impulses: one is to tell every non here to run away as fast as they can from the BP in their lives. That it isn't worth the destruction to themselves to stay. That the non can't help the person with BPD anyway, because it's up to them to change and they have to want
to change, and they have to be willing to work hard, and most folk won't. The other impulse is to say: "if you are strong in yourself and are wearing an emotional flak-jacket, so to speak, then use your compassion to help this poor creature who is in so much pain." I still don't know which I believe. Both? Is that possible? I guess at least I'm not thinking in black & white anymore,
. I can see the pain on both sides, I guess because I've been on both sides.
2 days ago was the 1 year anniversary of when I met R., who was the person I came to FtF about. Undiagnosed, not in recovery, a covert alcoholic, delusional, aggressive, sweet, smart, funny, hurting. A little boy in a big man's body. He was dangerous and our relationship was toxic for both of us, so I left. I'm over the emotional connection I had with him, but I ask now - looking back, as is not uncommon at this time of year - what did I learn with him and how can I use that knowledge? What have I learned in my 2 years of recovery? What have I learned in my 9 or so months here at FtF?
The urge to help others is what is so fine about us as humans (me included! Yay, me, I'm a good person, too! Sorry, just a little light-hearted self-cheerleading). The tendency to put ourselves in harm's way to do so can be courageous. It can be foolhardy, too. It might also be ineffectual: we can't, like happykat
pointed out, give
them a sense of self-worth. But somehow, there must be a way to harness our empathy to encourage them finding it themselves. Several people have mentioned mirrors. I use the analogy of holding up a mirror for the BP to see themselves. Mirroring back to the BP their inherent worth, the value they have just from being human beings. From that fundamental foundation, they can start to act in ways that will prove to themselves they are good.
Thanks, everyone, for exploring this with me... (and if you've gotten this far, for sticking it out with me...