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Intrapersonal Investigations

Explorations into how we interpret actions, communicate intentions and can relate to the world in a healthy, uplifting manner.

Protected: Fear and loathing: A childhood. Part one.

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The parable of the bus: Masculine aggression is rarely penalized in a serious way versus the benefits it can potentially bring them.

Violence is easy. Threatening violence is even easier. In a world that continues to reward humans for aggressive behaviour, I do not believe that we will ever live free of violence. This is my colloquial understanding from watching my father first be delighted by the benefits that aggressively violent behaviour can reward him with… and then begin to misjudge the situations where he was vindicated in acting in an aggressively violent way to be that he felt he was ALWAYS vindicated in acting aggressively and violently. From the time I was four or five I watched my father increasingly behave violently to shop personnel, a parks guide once, administrators and ever increasingly… towards my family itself. The cops got called on him more and more and he began to curtail his public behaviour in favor of treating his family worse. Eventually he lost much of his family and most of his life as he knew it. And I don’t know more about his life to say how he’s dealt with this or internalized it to become a good person or not.

But I run into people that remind me of my dad all the time. I used to be drawn to them until the stunning pattern was that people like my dad are incredible assholes and are terrible to be around unless you have AMAZING boundaries with them. And they don’t love boundaries so they have to be subtle and clever and rock hard.

A few days ago, I saw a man on the bus who reminded me of my father. Like he had probably lost everything for one reason or another and was now older and alone and just wanted some human engagement. He was desperately trying to engage the mother of a toddler aged little girl in conversation. The mother wasn’t terribly responsive and didn’t seem to want to continue the conversation but that didn’t really matter to the old man. He was paying a lot of attention to the child.

Stop here: Men are accused of inappropriate behaviour towards small children for doing the same things that women do. This is true, and it IS harmful… but there’s a reason for this… and the bus featured heavily in my feed during the metoo hashtag outpouring of hurt.

So being aware of this, I was trying to swallow my personal judgements of the man and also keep watching the interactions because I was so nervous about the way it was unfolding. I thought he must have known them or something until the little girl who was in FULL TODDLER mode decided that she wanted to sit closer to the man and her mom admonished her that “we don’t sit next to strangers on the bus”. And because the girl was in full toddler mode she then HAD to sit next to the forbidden stranger. It CERTAINLY didn’t help that the creepy man beckoned the child to come closer after her mother had told her no. Looking back… THIS is the thing that was inappropriate and it was REALLY inappropriate. If a child’s mother expresses any disinterest in having her child sit next to you… you DO NOT beckon that child to you. I didn’t have the mental facilities to point this out at the time and I really am kicking myself for not doing so.

So toddler moved seats possibly because mom was worried that she would throw a huge tantrum if not allowed and didn’t want to disturb the other riders*… but the toddler was also a toddler and so she wasn’t good at (or interested in) sitting so she wouldn’t fall. So she lost her balance and both the mother and the old man reached out a hand to steady the child.

Stop here too: Full disclosure… I don’t remember when the man took his hand off the child because my attention got diverted but I saw that he absolutely kept his hand on the girl well after her mother had her. His hand lingered.

And then any attention I was paying this situation got diverted by the teenager behind me shouting at him to let go of the kid. Thereafter shit hit the fan.

Part of the reason I don’t exactly remember what happened next because everything about the situation was so triggering for me the details of it are lost to me. I know that the old man became extremely offended and started loudly threatening that he would “put (the teen) down” among other threats of violence and got up to move towards the teen (and me). I’m familiar with this kind of behaviour and also EXTREMELY triggered by such behaviour. Thanks Dad.

The bus driver (an amazing pro and star at what he do) got the man to sit down and calm down a bit (WHILE DRIVING!) but the man just quieted down his threats of the teenager. I was appalled thinking if the small child remembered anything it would be this part and was in poor control of my choices of words as I was livid. I told the man to stop talking and interrupted him every time he opened his mouth until he got mad enough that he was either going to do something that would get him facing legal consequences or leave altogether. He chose to get off rather than have those things happen and I’m certain felt soooooooooooo persecuted. Really. He’s such a nice guy, if only people wouldn’t be jerks to him he’d be his awesome self and no one would have problems! Clearly that was everyone else’s fault and not his…

1: What were we waiting for? If everyone on the bus or even half of us were looking at that situation going down wondering if the mother knew that guy that kept talking to her and finding that NO. She doesn’t know that guy or want her kid sitting near him but HE absolutely wanted the kid sitting nearer to him….

Well fuck. For fear of offending someone we were just going to wait until AFTER something inappropriate happened to a child?!

2: Dude proved himself to be WILDLY INAPPROPRIATE with a child. That teenager was a kid. A kid who overcame a whole lot of self preservation instincts to try and stop something bad from happening. That kid was not a bystander and while they instigated a disturbance they did NOT cause the disturbance.

3: The disturbance was caused by the old man threatening violence in response to being accused of touching a child inappropriately. The correct response in that situation would have been to remove hands from the child and state “that’s not what was happening, I was just steadying her.” And if he had done this I feel fairly certain that everyone on the bus would have told the teenager to shut up.

4: A combative man threatening violence on a teenager was kicked off a bus. But he got a day pass from the bus driver to keep him happy (and not violent). The cops weren’t called, and the man faced a half hour penalty to his time. This is all. I’m not urging greater consequence. I’m not decrying that this is the only consequence he received. But I do want to point out that this man’s gamble of threatening violence in order to defend himself against accusations of inappropriately touching a child on the bus totally paid off. No formal accusation was made and because the situation was so quick he was gone before anyone had time to properly think.

5: I told the teenager to save it for the serious stuff after the situation resolved. But you know what…? That situation was serious to the teen. Or they wouldn’t have said anything. And I really don’t want the fear of retributive violence to stop this teenager from acting in the future. That bus driver had your back. I had your back. If you ever get those feelings that caused you to act while seeing a child alone…? Please don’t let this situation stop you. Other people will have your back.

6: The teen had the mom’s back. The rest of us didn’t. I worry that she would feel judged by his call out. But the more I think about it the less comfortable this woman seemed with everything that was happening. I really think that we live in a society where parents are given a raw deal. Our culture both polices what they do and also encourages all strangers to leave them alone in some perversely WRONG attempt to make sure that children aren’t behaved badly to by strangers. When it’s family/friends who are the most common culprit in child abuse. Well. That’s not very effective because the good strangers who would help out a parent (hold your child while you put stuff in your car or put stuff in your car while you hold your child, catch your kid running away from you before they hurt themselves, or otherwise)… well. They stay away because they’re strangers. And then news outlets, anchors and websites all have the gall to imply that the newest child that got away from their parents and died somehow is the sole fault of the parent for not being hyper vigilant. These things happen in crowds and the crowd didn’t stop it either. And all the while people with actual negative intent towards children are just waiting to find one alone (because no one would talk to a strange child on their own SURELY its parent must be near) or looking for a way to make friends with a parent of a child. It takes a village. And not a village of bystanders waiting to pass judgement on a parent for something everyone could have prevented.

7: Back to the appropriate response part. If that man was interested in being a kindly older gentleman… why wasn’t he a kindly older gentleman with the teen? Why didn’t he just state the teen was wrong and thank the teen for his attempt to protect a child…? What if his kindly old man behaviour prior to the accusation was a facade for what was really underneath… which is what we saw as soon as the man was offended? How can we change this so that we live in a world where avoidance of aggressive action is venerated above all else? What about a world where someone stating that “that’s not what was happening, but if it had been you’d have done a good deed.” would be seen as the MOST logical response to such an accusation rather than doing what you always do when you want to make someone recant their statements… threatening violence. As if a statement recanted under such threats could be seen as being recanted in good faith or as if the violence displayed doesn’t uphold the original accusations.

One factor that could contribute to making the 21st century an era of peace would be a wider appreciation of the failure to resolve problems by force. The use of force may control people physically, but it won’t change their hearts and minds. You can only do that on the basis of trust and friendship. ~ The Dalai Lama.

In the future… I’m going to commit to acting far sooner in a situation like this to prevent this sort of thing. If I ever see a woman who seems uncomfortable with the attention a man is giving her… regardless of whether she has children or not… I am going to engage her in friendly conversation or interject myself into their conversation as a buffer. This is my lesson that I have learned.

* Parents: I don’t mind if your baby/child is screaming. That’s just what’s going on for them at the time and they’re riding the bus too. I can and will dress down anyone who gives you remote guff of any kind for your loud child on the bus. If it bothers people so much THEY can get off the bus rather than you.

Sigh. Facebook is triggering…

A friend of mine linked to this facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/lovewhatreallymatters/photos/a.710462625642805.1073741828.691679627521105/1747981005224290/?type=3&theater

Here’s what I was going to say in public until I remembered I had a blog: This perspective of family is alien to me. I strongly have always chosen not to have children and likely will until my physical capacity for such is long gone (the plan has always been to foster to adopt ever since I was a child). I can hardly imagine the perspective of finding the consequences of toxic masculinity affecting toll on your son when you tried your hardest to give them a healthy perspective on life.

 
Facebook is making me cry a lot which reminds me I’m so far from where I want to be where I can just love this and not speak of what it means to me. My perspective of family feels tainted by a general violence and being directly witness to it’s effects and not fully realizing what now seem like fundamentally direct correlations that I needed years and therapy and years of therapy and just years away from the situation to begin to make. The male ‘provider’ figure (who was a crummy. CRUMMY provider, but liked the title and so took it for himself and though there were good things there were many bad bad things) in my family broke things all the time; and rarely cleaned them up unless he broke a lot of things in private.
 
And yet almost everyone in the family acted surprised when my younger brother became the type of person to break things– our father especially. And yet break things and scream my younger brother does, he has quite a fucking problem with it and I don’t talk to him anymore… likely never again until he does a LOT of therapy. I don’t really know how my older brother and sister in law perceived it other than that they tend to agree that Dad was not the best model. They live far away and I’m a crap auntie really. Like. REALLY.
I have to send some kind of cards this year.

Protected: Group discussion points based on Lasting poly foundations post.

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What if you’re actually using oppression to yank someone’s chain? What does that look like?

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“I thought you needed the money.”

It’s a simple phrase. You may have heard this in response to refusing someone’s money making opportunity. You may have used it on someone when you thought you were going to save their bacon but really they turned down what (in your mind) is a good opportunity.

Please remember. I move through the world as a person who has never truly felt economically safe. I have little to no experience operating the way that a person who takes for granted the idea of having enough money to pay their rent and all their food and bills at the same time AND do any saving at all. That hasn’t been a reality for me for well over five years. And even when it was happening I was detrimental to those efforts for my ex-husband because I truly didn’t really realize that life didn’t have to be the way it was for my family.

Your economic opportunity for me is highly unlikely to contribute to my feeling economically safe. ESPECIALLY if it is a one-time, non-reccurrent opportunity.

So if I won’t really find it as beneficial to have the financial reward (when I consider bussing and walking and spending an hour at least of my time each way to go get fifty bucks to clean for two hours which is my absolute MINIMUM….. I don’t feel respected when you LEAN ON ME AND ACT LIKE I’M NOT ACTING IN MY OWN SELF INTEREST.

“Oh. I thought you needed the money.” becomes this catty horrific thing that implies that the person you’re disappointing knows anything about you or your needs and that their expectations have been let down. Clue. If you really needed the help to have someone take over your job for you a) you might need to pay more to someone to do a one off job that you do concurrently because you value the stable income but the person you’re offering the one off coverage while you’re away and unable to do the concurrent job you value having and would like to have when you come back from whatever you’re doing instead…. well. That sucks but it might be a thing. It’s not reccurrent income for them. It’s FAR less valuable. or b) truly come forth and be vulnerable and ASK FOR A FUCKING FAVOR. If you need me to do something for you I’m often very happy to do it. If you act like you’re doing me a favor by asking me if I need the money that you’d get from doing this reccurrent job you want to keep… then I’m probably going to tell you I’d only charge that little if I had my actual business doing that thing with a car of my own and had six other contracts that day also for that price. And seeing as how I don’t have that… I won’t be doing it.

Are you sure; if you’re so bent out of shape that I’ve refused your GENEROUS offer that you feel beholden to offer me for some reason AND THEN lean on me for refusing…. why not go to any of your other needy friends? Why not take your amazing opportunity (to help you and then thank you for helping you like it was the person helping you that got helped) and offer it to your other people? Perhaps you’ll be more likely to ask for the help you need rather than act like you’re giving someone a gift the next time.

Please. Remember that people have been holding money over my head for as long as I can remember. I have looked on at other people’s lives with money in wonder and despair and confusion for as long as I can remember.

And I hate being controlled with it. Get off my head you great green goob.

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Dear, kid I insulted.

First and foremost. I was a dick to you. Other people are going to be a total dick to you in your life and I can tell already. I’m sorry for that. I try to be light-hearted and confusing when I’m a dick but I also don’t enjoy my dickishness so I try to twist it into thought-provoking something something.

I hope you were confused at any rate.

Your tale of how you’re doing political science after trying in university multiple times and yet still somehow managing to get your taxes did and how you’re ‘trying working in the semester but usually only work in the summer’ is such an enlightening thing to let go that I’m already judging you hardcore. But when you said you were just going for what was going to be an easy A because GPA is all that matters and I tell you that yes, you’re working the system well it’s absolutely not a compliment you troglodyte.

The same mistakes you mention “fucking up” and yet still you’re in university again before you’re 40? You fucking little shit. My younger brother is far more capable of brilliance than you but he still could be eaten by the jail system at any time. I’ll be paying for my mistakes greivously before I manage to get back to where this little mouth breather is at in life.

I’m fucking mad and I have to try not to be mad at this kid who doesn’t want to think going to university doing what I DESPERATELY WANT TO BE DOING AGAIN.

So kid. I apologize. I was a dick to you. It was more about me and where I’m at than you really.

Aint got no dole.

To the tune of head like a hole.

Don’t got money, I’d do anything for shoes.
Don’t got money, just tell me I got the job that I applied to.
Don’t got money, they’re moving my stuff into the hall.
Don’t got money, don’t want everything, just want somewhere to sprawl.
No you can’t take it
No you can’t take it
No you can’t take it away from me
No you can’t take it
No you can’t take it
No you can’t take that away from me
Ain’t got no dole!
In the red like a hole!
I find that my try just don’t fill my bowl!
Ain’t got no dole!
Rent eats paycheques whole!
Still my hard try just won’t fill my bowl!
Bow down before the ones you serve.
Weep for your frayed and tattered nerves.
Bow down before the ones you serve.
Open your eyes now and observe.

Don’t got money, and lacking in allure.
The got money’s not concerned with the sick among the poor.
Got money’s can go dancing on the backs of the bruised.
Don’t got money you’re not one to choose
No you can’t take it
No you can’t take it
No you can’t take it away from me
No you can’t take it
No you can’t take it
No you can’t take it away from me
Account like a hole.
As if someone stole,
As if money’s your soul!
Ain’t got no dole!
Can’t pay the toll.
Still find my try, just can’t fill my bowl!

Bow down before the ones you serve.
Weep for your frayed and tattered nerves.
Bow down before the ones you serve.
Open your eyes now and observe.

If you know what I mean, wait. Assumptions destroy communication so let’s just establish you DO know what I mean…

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I have been coming around to the idea that assumptions are the root of all miscommunication. This is one of those ‘you don’t understand it until it starts working’ piece of advices. The idea that assumptions are what is behind all miscommunication and unfortunate interactions felt weird to me as a more mentally ill person than I am now…  in my old way of thinking, OBVIOUSLY interactions went south because there was a jerk. And sometimes that jerk was me but the main thing making it happen was the jerk.

Since learning about the inherent assumptiveness that was affecting my interactions I have begun to see assumptions everywhere… instead of jerks. What if…. there is no jerk and there’s just a wide variety of people finding their needs in conflict and assuming they know what’s going on when they don’t…?

To some degree, I believe that humans need assumptions to organize themselves. We assume we understand certain subjects and this helps us develop our sense of ourselves. We assume we know what people mean and often we are correct. This article references the necessity of assumptions.

“No one is capable of avoiding assumptions, in their research or their daily lives.  Assumptions are not just statements that one makes in order to make the building of theoretical models easier.  They are simplifications that make life possible.

[P]eople often literally bet their lives that [human behavior is predictable] by driving a car at seventy miles an hour down a highway while separated from cars traveling at the same speed in the opposite direction only by a painted yellow line. And in buying the car they drive they will have bet a lot of money that wherever they go there will be people willing to supply them with oil and gasoline to keep it running and fix it when it breaks down. Human behavior is, in fact, very predictable, and if it were not, social organization would be impossible.”

And most of my educational background in sociology is built around shared assumptions and through shared assumption, shared meanings. The idea that when we interact with a symbol such as ‘coffee with a friend’ we could be viewing it very differently than the friend who suggested coffee. Maybe we think it is a date and they do not. Maybe they think it is a date and we do not. Maybe we don’t drink coffee and view it as a tea meeting. Maybe it’s about networking and not about coffee/tea at all. Maybe it’s a time for a friend to tell us all they’re doing in life and seek affirmation.

Maybe it’s multiple things at once and even if they are somewhat contradictory, perhaps it is a date until it seems like it’s not a date and then it’s a networking thing. The point is that other people live in their own reality and their truths and understanding of meanings is not necessarily what my reality and my truths and understandings. And that’s ok.

The point is communicating them. Because communicating around them without unearthing the needs behind the communication can create problems. People may not perceive the reason for your behaviour the way you want them to if you are not honest with yourself first, and then with others about your needs and desires.

A friend who is less a friend now than someone I know asked me about providing a service I am often paid to do and how much I would charge for it. At this point, I can understand that they needed the service very badly but could not pay for it. They needed an expression of love in the form of free services. But I had been managing to survive based on the bookings of those services for a while and was delighted to think I would be able to continue to survive based on booking more services.

They didn’t tell me this. They just asked how much I cost. I don’t know that they had this secret need. Except through some very back handed iterations of why they had been unable to book services when I was upset that they hadn’t. If I had known their situation prior I wouldn’t have asked about pay but they had never communicated this to me until I was already upset based on a misunderstanding.

I told them the cost and they never arranged a time. I felt used and I didn’t know why. I was angry and felt like my chain had been yanked for some reason and I couldn’t understand why until after I had a complete meltdown about it.

I eventually sent them a fairly nasty and unwarranted message that they had no duty to respond well to.

I apologized for the message. They also apologized for something unspecific and seem to want to be my friend again. But I’m apprehensive of becoming close with people more these days than ever before.

The behaviour they have displayed during reconciliation seemed pointedly placed to drive home how much I had hurt her. I couldn’t understand why this was so upsetting when I apologized for my initial message and taken steps to make sure I won’t do that to them or anyone else again. If they were as forgiving as they say they are they wouldn’t have needed to twist the knife I put in myself as badly. I had a lot of room for them to be mad at me but not to be mad and still be wanting to be around me.

It’s resolved a couple of things regarding messages from my mother. And I don’t know if leaning into this ‘don’t talk about yourself’ thing is super healthy. But it’s the only way that I’ve got control over how people understand me. I always thought if I explained enough that people would understand me. But there’s no way to explain my life that other people don’t seem to judge. And I don’t think that’s just related to my life. I think people are judgemental because understanding is often based on assumptions, shared meaning and judgements. There’s no way to avoid this.

People will understand what they want to understand. And I can put my energy more towards understanding what the needs in a situation are by asking questions and listening.

I can just use this as my personal example for trying to assess what the needs in a situation are before addressing the situation itself… FOREVERMORE.

Constant Vigilance.

 

 

The pit bull of mental illnesses; Borderline Personality Disorder.

Intro: I thought I was being SOOOOOOO clever writing this and making this analogy but I didn’t even google my own title to see if it had been done before: This is a better article than what I’ve written here: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/2010/12/borderline-personality-disorder-patients-the-pit-bulls-of-mental-health/

I have always loved dogs. In particular I always loved my dog; who had enough pit bull in him that neutering him was free for my very poor family… which was good, but this illustrates the fear that the general public has about pit bulls. They are banned in some cities and there’s quite the group with an online presence that I’ll not be linking to that seeks to ban them everywhere.

In many places we can see this online debate going on between people that love pit bulls and people that fear them. Aside from the human/dog breed inconsistency, I believe there’s some similarities between pit bulls and people with BPD mostly in the way we are treated. But there aren’t a lot of people defending BPD… not even those of us who have it. There’s reasons for that, I don’t attribute a lot of good things in my life to BPD… more often than good things I attribute negative things to my BPD and I’m sure I’m not alone. In my first foray into researching BPD I found a forum for people whose lives have been touched by BPD… as it turned out that was a forum for people who had had a parent, partner or child that had BPD diagnosed by a doctor OR in many cases self diagnosed by the victim… and felt they had suffered at the hands of the mental illness. They were releasing blame on the person acting against them (in some ways, horrifically) and placing it in the hands of the mental illness. This group had a rule that people with BPD weren’t to be posting because it was NOT about us anymore. It was about the people we have hurt.

To say that I found this distressing is an understatement. I had a full blown crisis with regard to my ability to identify as a person with BPD. Since I have found some other sources about BPD and what it is and what might cause it. Including “I hate you, Don’t leave me.” This book is recognized widely as the definitive book on BPD.

To make this allegorical list about people with BPD to further my metaphorical understanding of BPD being the pit bull of modern mental illness, I will be sort of organizing my points in a similar way to this great article on pit bulls.

Your BPD might not be BPD. Or it might be several mental illnesses in a trench coat riffling through your brain for loose pocket change in some hidden corner of a dank dark alleyway of your mind. Or it might be that AND BPD. Whatever the case, you and another person with BPD are unlikely to be exactly the same, or if you have the same problems you might address them differently. The diagnosis is a blanket catch all ‘one of these things is not like the others’ bucket where the current mental health practitioners chuck everyone who doesn’t “fit” their preconceived (and educated) notions of what various mental health issues look like. Your BPD is probably going to be pretty unique to you.

The only thing that people with BPD really share is that we’re inconsistent consistently. This doesn’t make for a good diagnostic standard and for someone to treat us a certain way “because they knew someone with BPD once” is a symptom of their trauma and probably doesn’t reflect nearly as much on you as it does on them and their inability to see you.

People with BPD are PREVALENT. Enough that you have a 20% chance of running into one as a health care practitioner providing mental health care. This is 1 in 5 (if my terrible terrible math can be trusted, which it can’t). Despite the fact that you are likely to run into someone with BPD… the image one conjures when they think of someone with BPD is HIGHLY STIGMATIZING.

From I hate you, Don’t leave me: “Approximately 10 percent of psychiatric outpatients and 20 percent of inpatients, and between 15 and 25 percent of all patients seeking psychiatric care, are diagnosed with the disorder. It is one of the most common of all of the personality disorders. Yet, despite its prevalence, BPD remains relatively unknown to the general public. Ask the man on the street about anxiety, depres­sion, or alcoholism, and he would probably be able to provide a sketchy, if not technically accurate, description of the illness. Ask him to define Borderline Personality Disorder, and he would prob­ably give you a blank stare. Ask an experienced mental health clini­cian about the disorder, on the other hand, and you will get a much different response. She will sigh deeply and exclaim that of all the psychiatric patients, borderlines are the most difficult, the most dreaded, and the most to be avoided—more than schizophrenics, more than alcoholics, more than any other patient. For more than a decade, BPD has been lurking as a kind of “Third World” of mental illness—indistinct, massive, and vaguely threatening.”

And this quote from IHYDLM, which to me illustrates that BPD behaviours are HUMAN BEHAVIOURS, we just present them more often and in a more extreme way: “The chances are good that you have a spouse, relative, close friend, or coworker who is borderline. Perhaps you know a little bit about BPD or recognize borderline characteristics within yourself.”

If we all have BPD behaviours, and we all work to control them… it makes sense that neurotypical people would judge a person with BPD for failing to restrain themselves or whatever they do to avoid doing the things we do.

It makes sense that neurotypical doctors, psychiatrists and mental health care professionals would be HIGHLY INVESTED in getting the patient with BPD to be ‘accountable’ for their behaviour as if this was going to be remotely helpful. I’ve heard horror stories from others about groups therapy sessions for BPD where everyone is broken down and believes they are fundamentally broken and cannot engage because of their BPD. I am extremely resistant to the personal accountability urges that doctors try to give me because I’m a person that came to rhetorical awareness at the age of five arguing with my dad about how no one expects to be punched in the face if they walk around a corner and that’s why if you walk around the corner and someone punches you in the face it is NOT your own fault for walking around the corner.

I wasn’t that articulate. But that was my point more or less. And I argue that I have an inflated sense of accountability. I ARGUE ALL PEOPLE WITH BPD DO. I believe that people with BPD feel HIGHLY accountable for the world around us. Too much so in fact. This brings me to my next point.

People with BPD are highly empathic and intuitive. Our mental illness can be a chariot of destruction in our lives or a chariot of immense power and calling: It just depends on where we are in relation to our control. Are we under our own hooves are are we on top of our chariot?

I really liked reading this from the Medium. It discusses the ‘gifts’ BPD could be bringing to our table and alludes to the idea that people with BPD can harness our power in a positive way. I’m highly attached to this idea that many of my best qualities are irrevocably linked with my mental illness. That I have the power to become aware of, attuned to, and in control of my poorer-worse qualities and find the hidden good inside them and harness them for good has been one of my lingering hopes that has kept me going through hard times.

****We’re about to get really colloquial in my evidence here. This is my understanding from my research and my understanding of being a person who is able and willing to talk about BPD to others. Many people have brought up the subject of BPD to me and very rarely do they ever want me to talk about it. I’ve decided my best practices is to listen to what they think/worry BPD is and only after they’re done offer information. Seriously. I just need to let people talk. I never let people talk. Why do I never let people talk? … Oh wait. Perhaps my BPD has something to do with that… Shit.****

I believe that there are some common things that I have witnessed in the various people (many!) who have mentioned BPD to me independently of me mentioning it to them. I believe this of family members I’ve shamefully self diagnosed as having BPD. And I believe this of people in general.

  • People with BPD want to be forces of good in the world.
  • People with BPD have the skills to be forces of good in the world.
  • People with BPD tend to be intuitive and perceptive humans that can see the threads of different nexuses of social dynamics.
  • People with BPD often have an understanding of power. They see power structures in a way that other people do not.
  • This can lead to what many describe as persecution complexes. When we see ourselves at the mercy of power structures we are more likely to attempt to bring them down.
  • People with BPD are likely to try to attack power structures outright OR attempt to act within power structures to bring them down from the inside. This kind of does make us dangerous.
  • Because of our perceptual shifts, when we are not in control of how we are perceiving reality we run the risk of ‘discovering’ that something we must take action against is happening and act before we have all the facts.
  • People with BPD are impulsive. This makes us whimsical and magical to be around on good days and shifty motherfuckers on the bad ones.
  • People with BPD bleed their emotions into the world around them. When they are in a good mood this is not a bad thing and they can change the flavor of a room when they enter.
  • People with BPD are often helpful, to the point of self-detriment. When they are not regardless of their good reasons to not be helping they still feel beholden to be helping and can suffer immensely for being asked to help when they are not able to. They don’t have boundaries in order to prevent these feelings.
    • This is hard to address because it’s boundaries that people with BPD need to address this issue and boundaries aren’t really intuitive for people who have suffered adverse childhood experiences as people with BPD often report.
    • In the same way that Alzheimer’s disease strips the myelin sheaths in our brains, I believe that people with BPD have had the boundaries stripped from them through external circumstances. Maybe you were raised without them. Maybe your parents didn’t know. Maybe school was horrific.
    • I hate you don’t leave me, describes people with BPD as emotional third degree burn victims. We have no skin, simple things that wouldn’t usually be harmful can be devastating to them and this is what I mean about the not being able to help thing being an unknowable torment.
    • This can also be anything. We are walking around as (Again by I hate you don’t leave me) emotional hemophiliacs. We cannot stop the wound when we are hurting.
  • People with BPD have a highly developed sense of personal accountability. This doesn’t mean that we are placing accountability in the right places… it just means we have a super well developed sense of personal accountability. In the times I have been outraged I have often believed that my outrage was enough to change the world. When I have wronged people, I have often believed that I was the worst person, wronger of humans and wrongest of the wrong. That my actions are inexcusable and detriment the fabric of reality. When I have seen others acting in a very ‘BPD way’ I have seen them believing that their ‘stab at thee from the depths of the internets’ posts were going to really change minds and win opinions online.
    • For this reason, excessive attempts on behalf of the psychiatrists and doctors to get me to acknowledge the harms I have done to my own life through the lens of my BPD have been REALLY REALLY HARMFUL. If you’re trying to get someone to put accountability in the RIGHT place when they have ALWAYS put accountability (and a lot of it too) in the wrong places without addressing that they are putting accountability in the wrong place… I think you’re harming someone.

How do we stand up and advocate for ourselves the way we as humans CAN, the way that pit bulls cannot. We don’t need advocates to stand for us. We can stand up for ourselves and say “I have BPD. And I can harness my energy towards the Light.”

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