If there was a Yelp page for Borderline Personality Disorder, there would be some mixed reviews.
While I’ve heard some people refer to those with Borderline Personality Disorder as “blooming flowers; gentle and sensitive, but worth opening up,” I’ve also heard others use words like, “unlovable,” “manipulative,” “destructive,” or “impulsive.”
I can live with those words. But one I haven’t made peace with is the word, “defective.”
The word “defective” has power over me not because someone else said it to me — but because I’ve said it to myself.
And to say it has affected my friendships, relationships, and how I view myself would be an understatement.
Like most people with BPD, I struggle with relationships.
I struggle with creating relationships, maintaining them, and accepting that when they’re over, they’re over.
Unfortunately, for those with Borderline Personality Disorder, being abandoned by someone they love can feel like the end of the world.
As a result, breakups with friends or lovers end up becoming life or death.
I’ve found myself in several relationships where I’ve held on so tightly to someone, even if they weren’t right for me.
I’ve flown across the country to win someone back, I’ve hidden in an ex’s closet so their friends wouldn’t find out we were back together, I’ve allowed someone to break up with me six times, waiting with open arms for when they decided to come back — and that’s not even the half of it.
So, I end up asking myself, “Why does everyone leave me?”
“What is it about me that is so hard to love?”
Then, just like all the other times, it hits me: it’s my defect. If I didn’t have this “defect” maybe they would’ve stayed. If I thought correctly, I wouldn’t be left alone time and time again.
Next thing I know, I start going into a downward spiral of thoughts and feelings.
“Why do I think this way?” “Why do I feel this way?” “Why am I like this?”
My self-hatred soon turns to punishment.
That can come in many different forms: banging my head against a wall, going for a run until I can’t breathe or stand on my legs, and the most harmful for me, cutting.
Then, everything stops — the damage is done. And all that’s left is the harm I’ve caused myself, and the broken pieces I have to pick up and put back together.
This cycle is hard to break.
When I define my Borderline Personality Disorder as a “defect” and view myself as such, it’s almost inevitable that I’ll feel self-hatred and go down a rabbit hole of hurt and pain.
I’m still learning this now.
There is power in the words we say to ourselves.
For those with Borderline Personality Disorder, it can be especially hard because we feel things so intensely. And since other people in the world may have difficulty understanding us, it’s even more important for us to be kind to ourselves — and that starts with words.
While I’ve still only begun my journey, what I do know is this: I’ve been going to therapy for over a year now. I have family and friends around me that love me unconditionally. I’ve read books and passages on BPD to try and better my understanding of it.
And, most importantly, I haven’t self-harmed in over two years. Progress is important — and I believe that’s where the light at the end of the tunnel truly lies.
So, for anyone out there who also has BPD, you are not “unlovable,” “manipulative,” “destructive,” or “impulsive.”
And most importantly, “defective” is not your middle name — and neither is mine.