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A Look Inside the 'Splitting' Mind of Borderline Personality Disorder

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Anger: check.

Racing thoughts: check. Yes, they are present and most definitely correct!

Rapid breathing: check.

Massive jump to extreme conclusion: check!

Outrage at his injustice: check.

Regrettable action: check. Well, he deserved it.

Target in place: oh yes, he knows who he is and why.

My record is playing; I am ready to go.

The evil monster I can usually keep at bay; the malevolence that dwells inside the shadowy recesses of my mind; the demon that destroys all my relationships has broken through into my consciousness again and has literally taken over my mind and body.

All of my hate is completely focused onto this person. My sheer vehemence against him could shatter glass and burn deserts. I am convinced he is out to hurt me, ridicule me and use me at his own convenience. He takes all my love and practically laughs in its face. He is playing games, neglecting me, wanting me to run after him, punishing me for being away from him. I am not important enough.

Incredibly, when this “incident” took place, I had actually been very happy, high on the adrenaline of a hard workout at boxing. Strong in body and calm in spirit. Full of positive thoughts; the sky was bright and the day was warm. I was full of love for my boyfriend. Why did he have to ruin it all for me? Why couldn’t he call me at the exact time I had wanted him to? How hard would that have been really? Surely, you make the effort for someone you love when they are out of the country, as I am. Surely that is not too much to ask! I am visiting my friends and family back in the U.K. and he should be missing me a lot more. I don’t care that he has sent countless messages, they count for nothing in the face of this! He promised to call and now he is too busy! Now I know he doesn’t love me, doesn’t miss me and he sure as hell does not deserve me. I have told him we are over and have decided to forcefully to cut him out of my life once and for all.

Half an hour after Ending It Forever, I am upstairs eating dinner with my parents, relatively fine considering, when The never-ending internal dialogue starts up. Why does he not call me? Why is he not messaging me? Wow, is he really trying to hurt me? Does he really think so little of me? He should be devastated and running after me! Am I so unimportant? That fucking bastard! I will never speak to him again.

I have to leave my parents and take myself off downstairs to the little guest room I rent out while visiting them. I can’t subject them to the pain this awful man puts me through.

My angry self-talk continues on its not-so merry-go-round all evening, getting faster, crashing harder. I check my WhatsApp numerous times to see if he has messaged, to see his last time of connection — he has not even bothered to come back online to see if I have been back online!

Desperately, I message my eldest daughter. She is also on holiday (not with me, much to her relief I imagine) and my horrible boyfriend is looking after our cats.

Has he messaged you? Has he mentioned the cats? He is a twat. I am so sick of him. Why hasn’t he messaged? Oh my god, what if he hasn’t bothered to see the cats? Poor babies, all alone. Wait ’til he does message me, I am going to totally ignore him. Actually, I am going to block him. Do you think the cats are OK? Him? What if something happened? What if he really does not want to speak to me over again? I don’t care anyway. It is over.

My eldest daughter deals with my barrage of messages remarkably well. She is 20 years old and knows well how my treacherous borderline personality disorder (BPD) mind can fuck me over. She stays calm, reassures me he will be in touch and that the cats will be fine. Later, when he goes out of his way to message her to tell her all about that cats and send videos to her, I am left seething that he would message her and not me. Why is he not chasing after me?

By now, I am so angry with him that I honestly believe I will cut him out of my life forever. My mind replays every time he has ever hurt me. I could paint a terrible picture for you right now. You would think him a narcissist, a player, a head worker, a mind fucker and an evil, selfish little man who has a massive ego.

I switch my Wi-Fi off for the night… that will show him.

Next morning, I’v received no message and I am a mess! I get a 30-second reprieve upon waking, those few seconds when sleep has dulled it all down and you mistakenly believe all is OK and then you remember… almost instantly, I am physically attacked. Palpitations, shaking hands, a mouth so dry it could crack sand. My heart races to keep up with my thoughts on their own runaway train, too far gone for anything to reach in there and stop this chaos. My racing brain amps itself up more as the morning goes on. Frantically checking my phone, I cave in, send a coldly worded lecture on his behavior and obsessively wonder why he still doesn’t answer.

I drink too much coffee and my anxiety reaches a crescendo, making my eyes wide and my breathing rapid. I keep checking my phone, compulsively switching my data on and off in the vain hope that three minutes without data will magically make him message. By 6 p.m. I should be in the boxing gym, which would be the best thing for me but I just can’t face anyone when I am like this, frozen by my “ridiculous” yet overwhelming anxiety. I annoy my best friend and my daughter and they stop answering my messages.

I need an escape but I no longer take any sort of prescription meds and the CBD oil I have bought here in the UK is total shite. I need to calm down.

Brainwave! Cigarettes! Even though I am not a smoker, whenever these episodes take me, I am compelled to smoke tobacco. Decision made. Self-destruction pulls me in. I watch myself crash the plane as I skip the gym and waste 10 pounds I really need on cigarettes which make me feel sick and guilty as hell for ruining my temple body. I am such a state by 11 p.m. that I have no choice other than to tell my parents I have a migraine attack coming and ask them for something to help me sleep, breaking four months of zero intake of any prescription drug, but it is the only way to bring down this alarming heart rate and make me sleep. I actually think I am going to have some kind of heart attack brought on by sheer anxiety. Hot face, sweaty hands, burning eyes and my pounding heart races out of control.

I just know now he has left me. I just know I will never hear from him again and my holiday in the U.K. is now ruined as is the rest of my life. By now, I have sent about eight messages, each one becoming less angry and more desperate. And still, nothing! Slightly calmed by the sleeping tablet, I send one last message where I sell myself out completely and beg him to love me again. I can’t sleep. I allow myself several last checks of my phone until… finally! He has messaged! Just a short one, just one heart at the end, telling me “it’s OK babe, we are OK and we will talk tomorrow,” but I cannot describe the relief! It is like my whole world was spinning off its axel and now it has stopped. It is like getting off a roundabout or roller coaster — giddy relief spreads through me and all my panic melts away. All anger gone. Just full of love for my precious man. My heart rate returns to normal. No need for cigarettes at all. I regain my appetite immediately and eat despite the drowsiness of the tablet, then I throw away my cigarettes and sleep like a baby.

These types of episodes happen to me often, especially where my romantic relationship is concerned. It is part of my deep-rooted fears of abandonment mixed in with insecurity and a rapid mind that jumps to the worst conclusions. This is what they call splitting and before I knew I had BPD, I was not even aware of what was happening to me. I have destroyed so many relationships in the past due to this, thinking the other person is evil, out to get me and amplifying every single personality defect I have ever seen in them. Angel or demon. Black or white. Where is the in-between?

Most of the time I love this guy so much — his smile, his tender manner, his patience, his understanding of me and my disorder, his kindness, the way he helps me out with everything and anything and then no one at all can say a word against him. It is as if a heavenly light shines from him. I confuse my friends, my daughters and God knows what I do to him.

Obviously the guy in question is not perfect, even though when I am ecstatically happy with him I believe him to be so. Neither is he evil, nor a narcissist. He is not provoking my reactions purposely as I so often accuse him of doing. He is simply a guy, imperfect, a little selfish at times, not as deep thinking as me, very loving and patient but quite happy to sulk for a little while after an argument. He is just human and when I am not splitting, I see this as any logical person would.

It isn’t that I lie about him or anyone else, but my perceptions get so dark and twisted when I am splitting. I get mixed up and believe everything I think to be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. At the time, I am not aware of what is happening to me. I take on the lead role in my own drama and get completely caught up in the movie rather than have the ability to observe it as I am doing now. I suppose the positive thing is that, at least, I do see it eventually and have the ability to apologize afterward. I am also lucky enough to have a man in my life who loves me enough to see beyond my disorder.

With BPD, we can spilt on people, opinions and even ourselves. We can rapidly change our minds and viewpoints and every emotion is so amplified that we do come across as chaotic and emotionally unstable. This is nearly always a result of past traumas on top of having the luck (I am not sure whether it is good or bad) to be born as an emotionally sensitive person. With understanding, patience and therapy, we can get better. However, we need to become accountable for our own actions at the same time as we understand ourselves.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can really help bring our extremes to a more stable middle ground as it works on the basis that two conflicting opposites can be true at the same time. We don’t have to be all or nothing; we can learn to reach the place in-between. I am a work in progress.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Originally published: September 27, 2019
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