Taming the Inner Child That Is My Borderline Personality Disorder
I have a inner child. She is needy, demanding, temperamental and she can throw tantrums worthy of an Oscar. She has needed parenting for many years while I was dominated by her, unable to tame her and overtaken by her. This parenting came in the form of services; emergency departments, home treatment team, respite care, psychiatrists, psychologists and police.
I was ill-equipped to cope with the ever-changing emotions of her, often unaware of what had triggered the latest eruption. Overwhelmed and crippled by emotionally-fueled chaos, I would lean on services to help support me through these distressing times. I became a revolving door patient, desperately dragging myself before professionals each time it became unbearable, and hoping for answers to put an end to the stream of bitter arguments between myself and the inner child.
The inner child who was terrified of people leaving her, who had no sense of who she was, and who behaved impulsively and recklessly. She had rapid mood swings and outbursts of anger, hated her appearance and had such so low self-esteem. The little girl who hated herself and felt so empty she wanted to resort to self-harm to cope with these feelings. The relationship I had between myself and my inner child spilt out and affected all aspects of my life: work, parenting, education, relationships, housing and finances.
After 10 long years, I entered a day therapeutic community. Initially, this was extremely difficult. It challenged everything my inner child had believed. Beliefs that she was alone, that she didn’t belong, that authority was uncaring and neglecting, that she was unlovable, change was impossible and that everybody would leave in the end, so it was better for her not to make attachments. Over time the program helped with boundaries, expectations, belonging, identity and coping mechanisms.
I left therapeutic community 18 months ago, and haven’t needed “parenting” from services since. I have been given the tools to care for myself affectively, but my inner child still very much exists. I can see her rearing her head in situations often, at times when I’ve overthought a situation, feel rejected or feel like I may be abandoned. Now, I offer her my hand, coax her out and embrace her in my arms. I give her a cuddle, care for her, listen to what she is telling me. I have a past that has left a mark on me, and sometimes I need to be kinder and more considerate to myself, offering the same support and kindness I would be willing to offer others. Once I have done that, I can lay my inner child back to rest and begin to use my own mind to think about whatever it is that has upset me. I have slowed the process down, not reacted in the emotional, distressed state and cared for myself instead, giving myself the time for those feelings to pass. I have learned to live in harmony with my inner child.
If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.
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