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The Kind of Toxic Thinking That's Hard to Avoid With Borderline Personality Disorder

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It still surprises me when, during therapy, I mention something and my therapist points out that I’m thinking in “black and white.”

To be honest, I haven’t known about my borderline personality disorder (BPD) for very long — only about a year or two. But looking back, this kind of thinking (also known as splitting) is the symptom I see most often.

I don’t have any “friends.” I have best friends, and I have acquaintances. I’m afraid of having hobbies, because if I’m not amazing at something, then I must be terrible at it.

It wasn’t even until recently that I even noticed I was thinking so starkly. I don’t know of any “gray area,” because all I can see are “yes” or “no.” Often I feel like a computer, only seeing zero and one. There is nothing else. There’s “on” or “off,” “equal” or “unequal,” “positive” or “negative.” But in the real world, with emotions, come ranges. I don’t have to be amazing or awful at everything. I can also be OK or average or even above average. But for some reason, that’s not enough for me. If I can’t be perfect at something, I don’t even bother trying, and therefore end up proving my point that, actually, I suck at whatever it is.

This thinking has become toxic to me, especially as I’m so often unaware of it. Most of the time, I don’t notice that I’ve become so stubbornly extreme in my mind. Gray? What’s that? It isn’t until someone else, usually my therapist, mentions that there’s middle ground, that I actually realize I’ve been splitting again.

It’s going to take a lot of reminders and constant affirmations but I’d like to think that one day, I’ll be to realize independently when I’m splitting and remind myself how irrational it is.

Getty Images photo via Grandfailure

Originally published: June 6, 2017
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