BPD and Self Sabotage
I remember back to my first sports day, I was around four or five, it was a warm day and many parents had shown up to watch us little ones compete in what anyone might have thought was an Olympian event. A significant memory I have surmises my life very well… winning but not winning! Starting with a wicked zeal and vigour and then, slumping miserably.
I ran in a what seemed to be a 100 metre race, just a straight up race, nothing complicated, just run damn it and get to the finish line, what’s so complicated about that? I remember looking to my left and right, assessing the competition. I recall looking wider to see the parents on either side of the ropes, smiles on their faces, anticipation of who will be crowned with the glory… Then I looked in front to assess the distance that I needed to run in order to get to the end.. Where was the finish line? WHERE’S THE FINISH LINE? I remember being sent into a state of panic, I looked to my left and right to confer with my fellow sportsmen… and nothing, no confusion noted, just little faces awaiting the start alarm.
I had every intention of running like there were ravenous beasts chasing me, I had every intention of going for it, this finish line business had really ‘cramped my style’… The alarm sounded and off we ran, I was a clear ‘winner’, at least I was way ahead of the others…and then.. I stopped, I just could not ‘get’ where the end of the race was, where was the finish point? I needed at least one person to pass me so I could ‘follow their lead’, the confusion because I could not ‘see’ the finish line stopped me from being a clear winner, I froze. Upon my class mates passing me off I continued, this time just behind their heels.. I think I came third? I certainly did not win.
This is not about winning or losing, this is about the ‘self sabotage’ that accompanied that whole experience, so I couldn’t see a finish line, who gives a shit, the others didn’t, they still competed to win.. I remember one of my teachers approaching me with confusion in her face, she questioned me on ‘what happened’ and presented me with a balloon, I will refer to that as my losers trophy. A bloody balloon.
Rosalind, 29th October 2014
In my first three posts I have written a little about my experiences associated with BPD, in my most recent post ‘BPD and PTSD’ I shared more intimate details about my life and our disappointment surrounding infertility and IVF. Whilst not directly linked to the ‘Borderline’ experience I shared my view that the trauma amongst other stressors had altered the way in which I could deal with the underlying difficulties associated with BPD. ‘Post trauma’ had compounded my difficulties massively, eventually leading to a complete breakdown in 2012.
In this post I am sharing about my experience of ‘self sabotage’, some of the ways in which I literally ‘stop’ myself from reaching beyond limits that I put up for myself. It might be worth me saying at this point that I am an ‘unrecovered Borderline’ right now, however I choose to stay afloat by remembering that there are thousands of us struggling, fighting to ‘stay afloat’- to remain alive. We may not be struggling ‘together’, in the same room, on the same street or even in the same country, but we are together, together in our fight.
You ain’t fixed, what qualifies you to speak?
I am hoping that my efforts to look ‘outward’ as much as I can is not me going into ‘default mode’, the survival technique known as ‘the ostrich syndrome’- burying ones head in the sand. What I am hoping is that I can ‘heal’ whilst looking outward, so I suppose in essence I am hoping for my ‘wounded self’ to find some comfort and resolve whilst awaiting the talking therapy that I so desperately need. It is nearly two years that I have been waiting for therapy, yes, you read that right, two long blo*dy years! I was offered a therapist after a fourteen month wait but it was with a therapist who had literally just completed a person centred counselling course and had no experience of working with Personality Disorder. That would truly not have bothered me had I not experienced a very lacking service from Healthcare professionals that simply were not ‘equipped’, certainly from my experience, to work with me or a BPD diagnosis. I mean, I am literally ‘small fry’, I consider myself to be relatively easy to work with, and yet the ability to just ‘be’ was not present. There was always this feeling that they ‘needed to understand or have the answers’- that just simply does not work with us ‘Borderlines’- we sniff out insincerity like a sniffer dog to, well, whatever their sniffing out.. If you don’t have the answers don’t bullsh*t, just say so, we can deal with that, well I can anyway.
Why self sabotage?
There are enough people in this world willing others not to succeed so why on earth would we want to join in line? I suppose this will differ for each individual person, their experiences, beliefs of themselves and views of others. For me there is literally a ‘block’ that I hit, or rather it feels that I myself am ‘blocked’ and in a dense fog, close to being paralysed. The ‘feeling’ I get when I want to progress (or think I want to progress) is nausea, trying to push through the block and fog feels impossible, I literally feel physically sick and complete panic attempting advancement in many instances, it just hits a complete halt.
The thoughts and voices that are present include:
You are useless, what do you have to offer?
Others are better than you, you are irrelevant.
You will fall flat on your face, you will not succeed, you never do.
Interestingly enough, these thoughts and feelings do not hit me when I am working for someone else! If I am striving to achieve something for an employer, family, anyone other than myself, then I can be very effective indeed! It is ‘me’ I feel powerless to work for. At the other end of the spectrum and in the theme of the extreme thinking of BPD, when I am effective, I can have grandiose thoughts of being ‘amazing, powerful and just blo*dy brilliant’- This is horrible because I really am not a sinister individual and would actually set aside my own needs for the needs of another, never the less I can have thoughts that make me feel like an arse hole.
Similarly, I HATE clothes shopping, but put me in a home wares store and I am a happy girl! Anything outside of me has a better chance of longevity and success.
Alternative routes to resolution?
Around 10 years ago I went on a 3 day seminar focused around property investment and self development. I spoke with a very successful investor, Kevin, and explained that I had a ‘block’ on and did not ‘feel’ that I could be successful. I was massively zealous and actually won a prize that weekend as the most ‘zealous and resourceful’ participant.. that was all well and good but I am still not an investor and still as stuck as I was back then! The course cost £2000 for myself and husband, that was money well spent, not! Kevin referred me to a lady he knew that did ‘clearances’- clearing of negative spirits within properties and individuals.. In some cases she would do this in person, in other instances she could conduct this service over a telephone call!?
I took the carrot and I contacted her via telephone and for a fee (I know, I know) she spent around half an hour or so with me and concluded that In a former life I was an ‘influential and powerful’ woman, this had not been accepted by the local male members of the community and I was put to death.. Nice! She explained that she had ‘removed’ the negative attachment of this memory.
The feelings of being ‘stuck’, ‘blocked’ and in a dense fog continued.. I called her again and told her about it.. She said that she would use another approach to her reading and then advised me that I had a young boy ‘attached’ to me, he had been caught in a fire in my then home and was holding me back not wanting me to succeed in fear of losing me..!? I definitely prefer the ‘powerful woman story’- even if I did end up a dead woman. The spooky thing is that there actually had been a house fire in the property I lived in as a child and an unfortunate death of a young boy!?
Disappointment versus reaching for the stars
It is easier to expect disappointment because then I am never ‘disappointed’.. If I expect positive things, and they don’t come, that is reaffirming that lack of self belief and self worth, because it is easy to take disappointment personally. I watched ‘The Secret’ and have heaps of ‘self help’ books I have called upon over the years, that is how I learned the ‘skills’ to be ‘successful’ in what I ‘want’ to achieve or believe I can achieve.
Acting oneself through life
I refer to ‘skills’ above, these are ‘survival skills’ that whilst helpful to get one through, these are ‘acting skills’ that I have acquired over time that can get me what I want or need. Not that I am a liar, I just present confidently, ‘happy’ and ‘able’ when I need to, even when I am as miserable as sin and fragmented inside. I say ‘happy’ but it is more like I become an over zealous cheerleader slumping to a miserable specimen for 95% of my life. I do not use ‘acting’ to be deceitful generally, what I do is use this learnt behaviour as a survival mechanism and a presentation of what I want to be and can be, with the right skills. I use acting to reach higher than I think ‘Rosalind’ can reach. To overcome this I need to go back to basics and address the already present negative beliefs about myself and others. That takes time, I am living one day at a time at the moment, there is a long journey ahead of me.
Two for the price of one
Over time this acting ‘survival skill’ has caused ‘splitting’ and I have felt completely ‘dissociated’ from myself causing me to feel as though ‘I’ am actually two separate individuals! I have felt that way for as long as I can remember. It feels like I am a spectator of my own life, not a participator.
That is a post for the future, in the meantime I wish you well and thank you for reading.