BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER: A REPRESSED SUPERPOWER, PART II

by Sunetra Senior

CW: abuse | Continues from Part I here

Both Analytical and Emotional Intelligence

Mystification: go to work in an office to endorse more of that analytical, grounded thinking.

Hidden Truth: having these two qualities in equal measure means you have constant access to an enviable social clairvoyance that does well in advisory and imaginative professions.

The twin pairing is an attenuated, ongoing version of psychosis which means you can control it and draw from it whenever you want. What’s more you can immediately translate profound ideas to those around you, having one foot in the cosmos and the other in the everyday. That same parental lacking when a person with Border Personality Disorder grew up, made them sharp to environmental clues in order to survive. As this person grows older, they will retain this attentiveness, accumulating little signs and symbols – politically, mathematically and socially –  to equip them to make impressive and perceptive connections and even predict sociological algorithms.

Additionally, you are likely to be excellent in the arts and in critical thinking because you process such a sensitivity to surroundings and are rapidly processing information and images. You can identify intuitive nuances that make great cinema and literature.

The world needs more dedicated artists, sociologists, researchers and socially conscious politicians, not bankers, marketing executives and legal crooks.

Apparently random mood shifts

Mystification: these are mood swings caused by chemical imbalance, and you should take drugs to stop them.

Hidden Truth: this is where BPD differs from bipolar and manic depression, in that those with BPD are predominantly responding to external stimuli as opposed to simply having a chemical imbalance. However, the condition is similar in that the mood shifts can be just as disorientating and distressing. Again, due to childhood abandonment, those with BPD will have those sharp perceptive skills, collating in-depth experiences over time. This can manifest in big drops or great highs. This invariably says more about the environment than the person. For example, a lot of people with BPD suffer depression but mainly because they are, in fact, living in a stifling, negative system.

There is always a precise correlation between mood and how people are treating them, and their external systemic stimuli. On the flip side, treatment such as DBT can help strengthen coping mechanisms and channel this into a gift. You can protect yourself while staying connected to your ability to honestly and valuably mirror the world. You can also have a profoundly fluid life experience where you can connect to many people and ideas at once.

 

A Varied Sense of Self

Mystification: this person is insecure and does not have a strong core.

Hidden Truth: this person actually has a very strong sense of self, influenced by the variety of concepts, human connectedness and events around them and made unique by their own internal richness. In fact, many therapists, family members and friends have described those with BPD as: “very creative, intelligent, entertaining, passionate and inquisitive.”  Having not been mirrored back sufficiently by an authority growing up, the more accurate reading would be that although they do possess these many striking characteristics, they cannot see or feel them for themselves when very low.

Again, harking back to a previous point, it is good then for friends to remind them of accomplishments etc. This person’s negative experience in formative years will mean they always want to support and build up the people around them.

 

Attracting Narcissists

Mystification: this person is vulnerable and weak prey.

Hidden Truth: as detailed, a person with BPD has valuable qualities that a narcissist wants. As with BPD, narcissism is also misunderstood. Narcissists are in fact very insecure themselves and need constant validation to feed what is actually a harmful ego, in contrast to the underdeveloped ego of a person with borderline personality disorder.

As explored in the autobiographical film, Girl, Interrupted, a typically exploitative narcissist, Lisa (Angelina Jolie)– however unconsciously – clings to the underappreciated BPD individual, protagonist Susanna (Winona Ryder), because the narcissistic character knows she will receive authentic validation, extended sympathy, vibrance and intelligence that will help her thrive indefinitely.

Additionally, because a person with BPD has a low self-esteem they will not immediately see the danger signs, conditioned as they are from very young to accept bad interpersonal behaviour. Again, with DBT and public and self-awareness, a person with BPD can protect themselves and keep a better circle of more mutually appreciative friends. Ultimately, those with BPD make great friends, inspiring muses, and a variety of successful professionals.

 

In short, by positively deconstructing one of the most intense emotional – medically asserted –  puzzles out there, I hope I have been able to show readers how what is often viewed as gritty and disruptive is rather an exciting human complexity, ready to be explored. In a previous article, ‘Normalising CBT; Making Visible Mental Health’, I explored the idea that we do live in a world where people are discouraged from considering themselves as feeling individuals as this better serves a corporate system, ‘lauding the functionality of our fingers over the wholesomeness of our minds.’ As a result, even having emotions is viewed as weak. This not only dampens people’s relationship to their humanity and stigmatises those battling mental health issues, but also paradoxically forgoes the opportunity to foster a stronger sense of community and a more diverse workforce.

The more open view that mental health journeys are empowering where we are actually working with potential that is already there in those diagnosed, is much less damning and helps them feel happier, long-term. This paves the way to allow everyone to think on what they deserve rather than what they lack: a more humanitarian approach. As also explored in great depth in a Bojack Horseman critical review in Positive Impact Magazine, where I talked of how the creator, Raphael Bob Waksberg, ingeniously reconstructs mental health, stigma is just as debilitating on the clinically depressed character, Bojack, as the harder parts of his untreated condition. As a corollary to this, the general sadness of other characters emphasises that it is the simplistic view of psychological strife as backward rather than an opportunity to introspect that is the larger, underlying problem: “when I was training in psychotherapy years ago,” Sarah, a prominent psychotherapist and member of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), told me of this conclusion, “there was an unashamed in- therapist nod that agreed with the literature that some patients were untreatable, to be avoided, and too problematic. That always struck me as wrong and said more about the limitations of the profession than how ‘treatment resistant’ the individual was.”

This paves the way to allow everyone to think on what they deserve rather than what they lack: a more humanitarian approach.

Mental health cases have historically been a mirror of the various illnesses of society. Some of our greatest thinkers, Sylvia Plath, Amy Levy and the late, great philosopher David Foster Wallace, have reflected back to us the extent of sexism, heterosexism and championed callousness as unjust and in need of change. It is time to also address the very notion of mental health as bleak as a problem. Instead of being celebrated for their subjective entirety – their sensitive natures, their questioning and mellower reflective periods – the very state of life that allowed these beacons of light to speak so eloquently has been overlooked; scorned, and on the more lenient side, pitied.

Thus, I truly believe adding an extra enthusiastic approach in therapy, as opposed to just viewing the procedure as a gutting or tempering of a wayward soul keeps the individuals concerned feeling far more appreciated – just as important as working through issues – while also promoting the appreciation of character and cerebral and artistic merit at large. Psychological health is not an area to be tolerated but embraced as the way to a more developed future: “I have seen that with love and empathy everything and everyone can be helped and supported,” Sarah asserted. “That’s the necessary, contemporary approach.” In the same way that society’s hostility demonstrates a fear of sensibility, becoming less tentative towards those who are facing internal battles will at once be a reflection of how strong the public’s relationship has become with their inner worlds. This just might also result in the more forgiving and emotionally sharp society that creates a truly operative and multitalented community. Let’s right the ‘skewed emphasis’ on the physical and start logically at the sociological point of mental health, where we must treat the individuals concerned more sensitively and less technically.

 

A special thank you to Eggshell Therapy, and accredited psychotherapist, Sarah Hirigoyen, who both inspire me and corroborate this account.

Sarah, who is a member of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and a trained supervisor under the Metanoia Institute has wonderfully endorsed this piece: ‘it hits the nail on the head – I couldn’t put it down.’ Her work has been published in books such as ‘Idols and Believers’ by Jocelyn Bain Hogg, and she has been featured in The Telegraph and Huffington Post.

Thanks also to my sister, who knows how infinitely she is my world.  

Featured image CC0

 


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