I was reading something on my social network last night and it really explained what it can be like living with BPD. It really helped explain things, especially when I can’t always put words to how I am feeling.
The 4 Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Pitfalls
If you have BPD or you live with a BPD person, you have probably observed that the borderline symptoms change as your mental and the emotional states change.
When angry, BPD people behave in and angry and impulsive manner. Also they tend to be paranoid and split experiences, situations, and people into black and white, into either good or bad, and so on.When they “seem” to be okay, it is an artificial normality. They are too calm, too serious, too cold and detached, or too friendly, too funny, too goofy.
Then there are other states when they shut off from the world, lock themselves in their rooms and refuse any contact. In this state they can be also very needy, clingy, and defensive, just like a helpless child.
Also, there is a fourth state BPD people go through right after an episode of fury or impulsivity. This state is usually hidden because borderline people don’t want others to find out how downing, harsh, and negative they are on themselves. Sometimes when they can’t take it anymore, they slip one or two thoughts that are saying things like “I am so stupid!”, “How could I do such a thing?!”, “I can’t do that!”, “I am such a loser!” or some other similar deeply depreciating things about themselves.
The four states described above represent the four BPD Pitfalls borderline people are going through.
BPD people spend most of their time in the “Detached Protector Pitfall”. In this pitfall they shut off their needs and emotions. They want to gain others’ love, friendship, and approval by not “upsetting” them with their needs and emotions.
Although at the surface this strategy seems to work, in fact not having their needs fulfilled and their emotions manifested, a tremendous amount of tension, anxiety, and frustration is built up over time. One small invalidation is enough to set off the entire accumulated emotional tension and frustration into over proportional reactions like anger, impulsivity, yelling, vile language, or even physical violence. This is the “Angry and Impulsive Pitfall”.
After some time the anger pitfalls gets filled up and the BPD person shifts into the third BPD Pitfall, the “Self-Punishing Pitfall”. In this pitfall borderline people punish, scold, and criticize themselves just as their parents would have done to them in the past after episodes of anger and impulsivity. The punishments reinforce in the BPD person the already present self-depreciating beliefs.
Then borderline people slide into the fourth BPD Pitfall, the “Abandoned and Vulnerable Pitfall”. Under the mental and emotional effects of the punishments, BPD sufferers feel abandoned, helpless, hopeless, anxious, depressed, and alone. They want to make good, to become better people, but they feel that everybody is against them, that nobody understands them. They feel weak and vulnerable, just as they felt in the past when their parents or other significant parents have punished, criticized, or scolded them. The lack of an internal self-positivity compass makes BPD sufferers be totally dependent on others to feel good, happy, secure, confident etc.
After some time, BPD sufferers shift gradually back into the “Detached Protector Pitfall” until frustration, anxiety, and emotional tension is built back up and the entire BPD Circle Of Pain is spun into a new cycle by a new anger and impulsivity outburst.
The BPD Circle Of Pain can be stopped and TRANSFORMED TOTALLY into a new “Circle Of Mental And Emotional Health” by addressing and transforming each BPD Pitfall.
By Michael Weisz