A child in an adult world…

I wake up after 13 hours of sleep, and it’s like I have not had any. I just want to sleep, because when I am asleep nothing can hurt me. Except my dreams, which sometimes even they turn traumatic. But when I sleep at least I am relaxed. At least I don’t have to live.

At least I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I just want to stay in that safe place. Waking up means stress, it means severe anxiety, all the things I have to do or face, even if it doesn’t seem a lot to others, to me, it may well seem overwhelming…

What if all I can do is cry and stare at the walls, hurting….My heart and soul are broken to their core. How do you fix that?

No matter how much sleep you have, you can’t fix that. You cannot run away from your own self or your own thinking, and the constant warring within your own head. You cannot run away from your traumatic past either. You just want an end, an escape to it all, because after 30 or so years of it, you are beyond exhausted.

Give me a pill, an injection, let me go to sleep and not wake up. Waking up means more pain…

They say pain changes people, and if physical pain does, but how much more so does emotional pain?

Somehow I have to put one foot out of my bed, and then the other, and force myself to stand up; not because I am physically unable, but because I am so weak from the consistent onslaught of battling this cold, harsh world, and from being sensitive to everything in it. Sensitive to the constant war going on in my mind. I cannot win, no matter what I do. I cannot get on top of it all. All of my plates will never be spinning, because as soon as I focus on spinning one, another has fallen down.

But now all my plates are on the ground. And it makes me try to think back to when it first felt like that…When did I first feel this complete and utterly helpless feeling?

I think it might have been when I was very young and realised that in my household, with a single parent father, and two younger brothers, that suddenly there was this huge responsibility on me to be a mother-like figure for my brothers – but also a wife-like figure for my father. And it felt an insurmountable task. I felt I was only a child myself. How could I be expected to do this? I am told that this is called “Parentification”.

But they all “needed” me to be that person. And although there was no way I could ever be what they needed, I had to try. It’s like I had to forsake my own life and give it to them. I had no choice. There was nobody else.

They had needs, and I could sense that, especially emotionally. I tried to adapt, to be what they each needed emotionally. They were my world, and all I had, so I had to be there for them. Who else were they going to go to?

So from around age five to my early twenties, that is what I was. I was an emotional substitute as a mum to my brothers and as a partner for my father. I felt I HAD to be that. It was my purpose, and my job as I was the only female in the household.

But the trouble is, I forgot who I was. Who was I? I don’t know. Who did I become? I don’t know. I had a life, but it was not really mine. My needs were not important. I feel like I still don’t know who I am. That’s the trouble!

Now I struggle with responsibility and generally being an adult. I still am a child, and often see things in a child-like way. I reason at times like a child and I get excited about things just like a child would. But if you are an adult yet you act like a child in this world, you are severely criticized. But what about if emotionally you are a child?

I am still very much a child, and not just because I act or reason like one but I do talk to those closest to me whom I trust, like a child. I am told all the time I look younger than I am, and I am told by many my voice sounds young and childlike too. So you can only be who you are. I am trying to learn (as pathetic as it sounds) to be an adult. But it feels safer to be a child. It’s what I know best.

So I had three males who needed especially my emotional support. They relied on it. And although I tried to be strong for as long as I could, at seventeen I got diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and clinical depression, and I had to leave a college course I was doing because one day I just broke down, and didn’t stop crying… I was inconsolable. The teachers knew something was very wrong. They of course sent me home and suggested I get some professional help.

Things got worse for me because I then went off food. I could no longer eat. It sounds weird, but I became anorexic, not because I thought I was fat, but because the severe anxiety, stress and trauma I had gone through at this point had reached boiling point! It was a complete emotional, physical, and mental breakdown. Basically my body and brain said enough was enough… I needed to heal, and to do that meant completely shutting down. I was not in control of this. I didn’t want it to happen, but I could not stop it. These kinds of things just take over.

It was like all I could do for six horrible months was cry, sleep, and have panic attacks. Every day!! Somehow, I got through that, with help of medication. (This is the time I remember talking to the stars, because either my father didn’t think it was necessary for me to have any kind of therapy or he just didn’t care).

My brain was trying to cope with everything that happened thus far, and somehow process it all…

But home life was not where I probably needed to be to heal. There were further problems along the way, and difficulties in my teen years, which added to the further breaking down of me. So if you like, after that six months of rest, crying, sleeping, and just about surviving, I gradually started to come out of it and gained some strength back, and began to pick up, but I was still damaged. There was now psychological abuse, physical abuse, also sexual abuse happening at home, and it was tougher as my brothers got older too. I now had some therapy and it was clear that things had not been right for some time… I was put on stronger meds to help me cope and eventually got to a point where I could work full-time, and I tried hard to keep my jobs, but at home things got worse with my father… And his issues worsened. I was self-harming to cope. There were some very traumatic events that unfolded, which meant my father now had a criminal record, the police were involved many times, and Crown Court; and this required us to move, not knowing quite what the future would be. The stress was huge. I lost best friends, and couldn’t keep a steady boyfriend, nor a steady job. Stress takes its toll!

I was increasingly unstable and got sacked from several jobs. The doctor put me on sick notes. I had many failed relationships also, and again it all increased stress, the anxiety, the fears I had. I was basically a big mess. I was having panic attacks and put on yet more different medication, and instead of now just one pill it was two or three, and the dosage was the highest I could be on, just so that I could cope. I found life increasingly difficult to manage. I ran away from home a lot. Still self harming. There were more issues with my father. There were further issues with my brothers and now their mental health. I had yet more therapy, some bad, some good.

I got taken into mental hospital by police officers at one point as I tried to kill myself in the road… I literally could not take any more. This was after I went to live with other family members, (an aunt and uncle), explaining to them what went on at home; but they basically told me a bunch of lies, they pretended to be all supportive, but later I was betrayed by them and other family members who I wrongly thought I could trust because I could not trust my father. This all made me very ill, even more so, and again suicidal. So not only did I have a toxic father, but other members of my family were also toxic too.

I went to them for help, only to be betrayed and lied to by them also. My world was not one of safety. It was like everywhere I turned was bad, and they were only going to hurt me. Which they did. And the really horrible thing is: none of them cared, or said sorry or even bothered to see if I was okay. They all abandoned me, and just left me with absolutely nothing and no-one at my lowest and most vulnerable point.

I was homeless for a short while, until through mental health services a social worker got me into a female hostel. It was horrible there, but it was a roof over my head. Things really were bad, and it was only my survival instincts that got me through.

I still didn’t know who I was, or what an earth I was supposed to be doing, or what I was supposed to be like in life. I was like a child in a harsh adult world, filled with land mines, and I became very hypervigilant and struggled with my anger, and was even more anxious than before. I was unemployable, I could no longer work. I was on more medication to help me get through the days. And for a while the only place I could go back to which was better than the hostel, was back home. So I went and slept on the sofa there, not allowed to use my own bedroom upstairs. I was treated horribly and was told to clean and tidy the house everyday and prepare meals for when he and my two brothers got home. I was verbally abused and manipulated. My phone was taken away, and I was berated and told what a failure I was.

Later my father manipulated me to go over to the US to get to know someone whom he was dating online. He made it sound like a holiday, but when I got there I had to look after her two young children while she was away for several days at a time working. This I found very difficult, although I did my best, and cleaned her home. She was a nasty piece of work, and so much so that I ran away from her trailer, in Texas, and literally had to get help from a complete stranger to get in touch with some friends I had met who were nice, and I ended up staying with them. She verbally and physically assaulted me, and yet when my father came over to US he ended up marrying her, despite anything I said. We all flew home, (she coming over here illegally).

Anyway after a short stressful time now at home with now two abusers not just one, I decided to move in with my oldest brother. But he wasn’t keeping up with the rent so bailiffs were coming round. I eventually got my own flat with help from my doctor at the time.

I then had to help my youngest brother with his mental health, as he was very ill, and going catatonic at times.

Friends helped me get what I needed for the flat as we literally had just the clothes on our back, and others taught me how to run a household, what bills to pay etc. It was only a one-bedroomed place, but I had my youngest brother live with me as he had no other place to go and he didn’t wish to live at home, either.

I got to know someone through friends of friends, and after about a year he became my husband, and he was stable, and his family secure and really nice. For the first few years we were married, we were trying to sort out my brother’s mental health and well-being because he was in-and-out of mental wards, and as my father took off to the US, he was not concerned about him. Again, it was left up to me. And I would not leave him. It was again very stressful. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and after a few years and more therapy I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder as well as having cptsd, and separation anxiety disorder.

My brother eventually got on some good meds, and through my husband’s support too (as I found it upsetting to deal with) he got his own place, and began to be more stable. He was struggling from time to time, but he did okay with the mental health workers that would continue to support him. Yes, some areas of mental health are good, thankfully. But it was not an easy time. Just to give you an idea of what we were dealing with, my youngest brother was found on a street, in only his boxer shorts, a jacket, and socks; glued to the spot, dribbling, white as a ghost, and reaching for over 24 hours… That was when he turned totally catatonic. It took the ambulance crew over an hour to move him.

Often when he was having injections, they would be strong to start with and he would just sleep, but then they’d start wearing off – and during those times, he would stop eating because he thought he was being poisoned. And he would escape out of any window available, with hardly any clothes on, and he would walk around doing all sorts of weird and wonderful things and in his mind he was being chased by someone wanting to kill him. He was hearing voices, and they would tell him to escape… You cannot reason with a person like this, even the police and mental health workers found it difficult, so he had to keep going back into mental hospital and would think I was not allowing him to be at home because he didn’t understand, so I would have to try and explain to him often with tears in my eyes that I loved him very much and that he was where people would look after him, and help him with the voices. It was really upsetting for him and for me. Not to mention I would regularly get calls to say he had escaped from mental hospital and nobody knew where he’d went. One time he jumped into a taxi and decided he wanted to go to London and tried to break in somewhere… And this was in the middle of the night. He had no concept of time.

To help with my mental health, my husband’s parents allowed us to live with them, so they could support me with my brother too while my husband worked. It was all stressful and crazy. My father was totally oblivious to all of this, of course!

(This is my brother and me the other day…. I’m so proud of him….)

Anyway, here I am where I am today, and even though I’m much more stable, the damage has been done. And I’ve only scratched the surface here. I’ve tried to keep it brief, believe it or not.

So I suffer the effects of years of stress, trauma and identity disturbance and many many other things. And I still feel only a child, so to me everything is much harsher to feel. Because I never got the chance to grow up in a secure family environment with the healthy love I needed and to actually be a child.

Is that my fault?!

(This was taken about 6 months ago)

And just to add to why it is so upsetting on my last post about being disqualified for any benefit: basically when they say that, it’s as if they are saying none of what I just discussed here ever happened!

But it did happen, and I feel every damn day the damage that has been caused!

I just have to make do with the limitations I have, both psychological and emotional, which also affects me physically, and I tell you, there are many days that I can barely function at all.

There is this little voice inside me that says: “I believe you, I will stick up for you, even if everyone else is against you.” I believe this is my protector inside trying to help me survive. Something over the years, I developed.

I decided that this is the Tiger within me. As a Tiger represents, strength, beauty, confidence and ability, everything that I do not have. This is why I became Tigerchelle.

Thank you if you have managed to get through all this, and please have a good day!

Tigerchelle x

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“That’s not good enough!”

So they say people often write better when they are upset, well we shall see if that is true.

I have had a horrible day so far, and I shall explain in detail why and exactly how it felt to me, as someone with BPD. I shall go through how and what I felt and why. There may well be some strong words. So I apologise if this offends you, but I am angry, hurt, and exhausted. Some people may look at this and think I am pathetic, but those kind of people are NOT WELCOME here, because you simply do not get it!

I had a medical review appointment today, where you have to prove how sick you are,…. yeah because nowadays unless you are literally slashing your wrists in front of them….or trying to hang yourself, they do not know you are suffering with mental illness, and writing down what you have, just doesn’t cut it any longer….

Unfortunately it was in the morning, (you don’t get to choose the time, they do)… And I am not usually awake often in the morning, because I find it hard to get to sleep, and then once asleep, I find it very difficult to wake up due to the meds I take, but…. I have to take them.

Anyone that does not believe me, try taking 200mg of carbamazepine and a sleeping pill (zopiclone), and try waking up in the morning, and see how YOU get on…

So this is where an assessment centre wants more information from you. You usually fill in a big form in which you talk about your disability, of whatever kind that is. The form is stressful enough and not pleasant to fill out. But they need to know in detail what you suffer with, the meds you take, and what you can and can’t do. So you write all this out at home in your own time, which takes a while… You explain it to the best of your ability.

But again, (and this is where the government fails miserably), the form does not really cover much about mental health. There are tons of questions on physical disability but not too much on mental health. Kinda shows what they feel is more important I guess.

You obviously can name all the disorders and medication you take, BUT….. if the person who decides whether what you’ve written on a form is enough, does not understand mental illness, you are stuffed, really!

Again, physical disabilities: everyone can see those right?! You write maybe Depression or Anxiety down, and people may get that. But you write BPD, CPTSD, GAD, etc., (and even write their full names out), many people do not know about these in 2019….. Yeah….its not like these illnesses have been around much,….. ya know only like TWO DECADES or so!!!!!

But what is more, unless you can explain this to a complete stranger (who really doesn’t care and shows it), in terms they understand and to a standard they feel is fit to qualify you at least in their minds for you to have a disability that makes it difficult for you to work, then again you are really stuffed, as I found out today!

So…. they ask you to come to an appointment, in which they ask you to somehow explain in detail how your mental health affects your daily life. Yes sounds simple enough doesn’t it?!!

Now, sorry if I’m kinda repeating myself here a bit, but…. this might be okay, to explain to someone you know and feel at ease with, and someone whom you know is going to have some kind of understanding about what you are talking about.

It may be okay if you are more compos mentis at the time, and don’t feel so dopey and sleepy. Not, however, at a time when you cannot think straight, and answering even simple questions is kinda stretching it…

But yes again you are somehow expected to be able to do this. You are not told what questions will be asked, and so for someone like me who would need to gather my thoughts and write stuff down beforehand to even be able to put it over in the right way, it’s pretty much impossible. I struggle to understand my own mental illness yet you want me to explain this to you???

They do not care that you find it hard enough to get out of bed that day, out of the house, and the pressure and anxiety you will experience getting to an appointment, (tears and panic even before the appointment starts), let alone the social anxiety and everything going on in my head!!! None of this is taken into account of course because YOU CAN’T SEE IT! So if you can’t see it, I guess it’s not relevant, is it?

The man I saw was basically like a robot, and there was just a blank expression on his face. I do not know about anyone else but for me, and for many Borderlines, they will struggle with a neutral expression on someone’s face; because we do not know how to be or react, and it is translated to us negatively. We literally feel our way around. That is how many of us have learnt to adapt and survive.

Anyway, give me a neutral expressionless face, with no compassion or even human politeness and it makes me feel very uneasy, as I can only interpret and feel negativity. But he didn’t even try to help. I did not know how to be and I felt stuck. It may not be exactly like this for all borderlines but for me this is the case. I tend to shut down, and can’t speak.

It does not help the fact that he has not even acknowledged who I am,didn’t shake our hands when we come in, nor showed any common courtesy. My husband is with me, and I look to him for some guidance, as that is what I do when I do not know what or how to say stuff.

Now it may well seem stupid, that I cannot explain how my mental health affects me, but unless I have a bit of time, and have at least some kind of feedback to go off, it’s a bit like when you are asked a question on the spot and your mind goes blank, even though you may well have the answer in your head somewhere, but add anxiety, pressure, and tiredness to the equation and I literally cannot think!!

So this is what comes up if you ask Google the same question….

Now even all those answers would have not been enough for him. Because he wanted specific examples of everything!!

There was no smile, to relax me a little, no reassurance, no acknowledgement even… Absolutely NOTHING!!!! I am in tears at this point, and he is aware of that, yet he just ignores it!

I am somehow expected to just clinically explain this to him, and I guess I could IF….. I DIDN’T HAVE BPD, SEVERE ANXIETY AND THE REST OF THE DISORDERS I HAVE INCLUDING SOCIAL ANXIETY!!

And if you could do that, then you obviously do not have these type of mental health disorders in the first place do you?!

I get asked if I’m under any mental health services at present, which I am not…. Because they are crap!

I get asked if I have been into hospital recently, which I haven’t because basically you get given a leaflet to read and no compassion there either. It’s understandable from a certain perspective, as they are busy and don’t have time to deal with people trying to hurt themselves. I do not wish to waste their time when they could be saving a life elsewhere.

I get asked if I have any alcohol or drug addictions, which I don’t, but they do not take into account other addictions you may have.

So I guess from all of this, he gathered I was not that sick. But then what constitutes a sick person? I mean really….?

Is trauma valid? Is severe anxiety/fears etc valid? Are disorders valid? Is mental health valid? Is breaking down in tears and easily getting overwhelmed regularly valid? Is not being able to cope with normal everyday tasks valid? Is finding it hard to do just about anything and everything valid? Is the effect of abuse valid?

Some could argue that normal people have all these things, and yet they just get on with it. They don’t make a fuss! If you can do that, then that’s commendable, and I also did what I could when I worked full-time, until I could not work any longer. I was no longer employable.

The trauma and abuse I have suffered has reduced me to basically a ‘shell’ (no pun intended!) of the person I could be. I don’t want to be here. I never asked to be here. If I am a suffering animal, then please put me out of my suffering, so that I do not burden society any longer!

But do we see the elderly also as burdens on society because they can no longer do what they used to and need extra care? Do we see the physically disabled as burdens on society because they were born or had an accident that made them disabled and need extra help? Do we see babies and young children as burdens on society because they are just learning and going to make mistakes along the way and will need extra looking after?

Everyone has something to offer and it may not be working for an employer, but does that then mean they are useless?

According to many, yes it does!

I have already explained as much as I could in the form next to him, which he doesn’t bother reading, and I have tried to get him to see that, because I’ve had time to write that down, but somehow they want to see you sit there, struggle and get in an absolute emotional state in trying to explain WHAT YOU HAVE ALREADY EXPLAINED IN THE FORM!!!

“It’s all there in the form” I say, hoping that he will AT LEAST look at what’s been written and see what I have put, or even acknowledge all the medications I am on which I’ve brought for him to see, which you cannot get unless a doctor prescribes them to you. These are all clues as to what I am dealing with here. I do not take these for fun!!!

He says: “I want to know everything,” getting ready to put it into a computer…

OK so I am now thinking in my head: how do you possibly explain 30 YEARS OR SO OF YOUR LIFE to someone who doesn’t actually want to know, they just want to translate from what you tell them, onto GUESS WHAT???? ANOTHER FORM, except it’s on the computer this time…

Am I supposed to sit there and tell this stranger how my life started as a child and then take them through every traumatic event I went through as a child through to a teenager and then older and what it was like growing up in my household, the different types of abuse I suffered and how it made me feel, and how that all affected me, and how I began to self harm, have panic attacks, run away, go from place to place, and slowly couldn’t work any longer, and the breakdowns I had, failed relationships, failed work, unstable and toxic family relationships who also betrayed and abused me, and how I tried to kill myself a few times, went into hospital etc etc etc and tell them in detail how now I struggle in different ways… And how my thinking, behaviour is all affected now because of the past which I am still healing from, blah blah blah…..

At the moment…..I can’t even remember what bloody day it is let alone my life’s struggles in detail and why, how, what and when…..

Now surely…. me putting on the form they asked me to fill in… I suffer with MENTAL ILLNESS, Borderline Personality Disorder, CPTSD, ANXIETY DISORDERS Etc… and me sitting there in tears, in a state, barely able to cope at this point, SHOULD REALLY COVER THAT?!

I question him and ask him with tears streaming down my face, as I am failing to understand how this man could possibly assess someone, physically let alone mentally at this point: “Do you even understand Mental Illness?”

He says: “I have to see many many people every day, and assess them…”

“But do you understand mental and emotional illness?” I ask again, stuttering the emotional words out, looking at him, trying to somehow read ANY sign of understanding, acknowledgement, anything..?

NOTHING!

He then proceeds to tell me about how if I cannot explain to him exactly what he needs, then I will have to come to another appointment, and another, until I can sit there and explain. He also mentions I can speak to my doctor. But either way, if I don’t comply, basically my benefit money will be in jeopardy if not stopped.

He has now triggered me…..

….and I feel powerless, because with what little pathetic amount of energy, and ability I had on this morning to try and show and explain to him what and how my mental health affects me (with a huge demonstration being shown right in front of his face which apparently did not seem to register) he somehow has the power and authority to tell me:

“That’s not good enough!”

So sorry to repeat myself, but it literally was like this….

They expect you to rattle off nice and calmly in detail exactly how and what ways your mental health affects you like a “NORMAL HEALTHY PERSON”, and wonder why you are pathetically struggling to do it!?!?!?!

I tried to explain, in stunted upset words, barely listenable amongst the sobbing and intense emotion… how BPD affects my “thinking and behaviour”… It was all I could come out with at the time…..

He almost cut me off by just adding: “yes but in what ways then?” My husband now added: “well what exactly do you need to know?”

Again he says: “well…. everything!”

I literally cannot take anymore at this point. He is not even getting it all nor listening. He might aswell be blind. Nor is he taking into consideration what I have written in the form, which is sitting right beside him. Nor acknowledging the meds I take, nor acknowledging how difficult this is for me even to be there and even try to explain.

He does not again seem to register the fact that my severe mental illness may actually contribute to the difficulty I am having in explaining everything and being there?!

He shows no kindness, no compassion, and no human decency. I literally just see the door and walk out… Because I need to escape…. I am so upset, defeated, and feel like total sh@t that I want to just go outside and get run over by the first vehicle that hits me!

AND THAT’S HOW THEY MAKE YOU FEEL!

In the end, he just said: “I think we will abandon today and you’d better go home, because we are not getting anywhere are we?”……. ..YA THINK SO HUH…. SHERLOCK?!

He didn’t say what would happen next, nor was he concerned that this appointment just absolutely DESTROYED ME!

For anyone that thinks it’s easy to explain BPD and how it affects your every day life, here is how just 9 different women with BPD tried to explain it…..

Perhaps you will see why it is so hard…

https://hellogiggles.com/lifestyle/health-fitness/women-borderline-personality-disorder/

Here are some pics to explain it…

I really hope you’ve had a better day than me.

Tigerchelle…

BPD and Favourite Person(s)

I would like to talk about something that has been a big problem for me over the years. It’s something that has got me into trouble many times as I’ve not known how to control it. It felt like I couldn’t control it. It has caused emotional upheaval with me and many others, and yet many of these individuals I have never even met in real life. It is kinda sad.

It is not listed in the symptoms of BPD, but is often the result of several of the symptoms all working together. It’s actually not easy to talk about and within this article I will be totally honest with you, but it is something that is very typical with someone suffering with BPD. This is what’s known as a “Favourite Person,” and I will talk about what that involves and how it all works.

It can, if not controlled, turn into an addiction; which is exactly what happened with me, and I will get back to this later.

I would like people to learn from my bad experiences if you like, and not go there if at all possible, because you end up in a sense killing yourself or having to break your own heart again and again and again, and it really does… hurt.

Now just to recap… Those with BPD, when we were young, our feelings were often not taken notice of. Many of us were neglected, mistreated, and often abused. We were usually not given a choice. And our feelings were not acknowledged nor were taken seriously, in fact sometimes they were laughed at or even derided!

This over time has made us very sensitive, damaged people. Often we have endured different types of true physical and emotional abuse on top of this, which all then causes the the brain to mold differently in the developmental years and this has then caused us to have (among many other symptoms) distorted thinking, and a variety of harmful behavioural patterns. It’s like certain parts of the brain have had to work too much, and other parts not been allowed to work enough. Through our own survival mechanisms, we often develop these ways to replace or bypass the areas not working so well.

The brain is an amazing piece of kit, and naturally will adapt according to its environment, but often it reconstructs in a different way to how it should – and you don’t even realise until you get older and discover that you are having problems in several areas.

So this being the case, because we have had a deficit of love, approval, acknowledgment, care etc. we naturally have a huge hole inside us and our brain has tried to bypass this, but often it turns into unhealthy coping mechanisms. This is why we need help.

So one of these areas is how impulsive we are, our lack of self-control, and poor boundaries. Now all these together, make relationships with people a tumultuous affair! Unstable relationships are a symptom of this illness, and rightly so.

You see, we get to know people just like anyone else, but with us, there are some differences due to how we work. Someone new comes along, through real life or social media, and we get along well, and they seem friendly and nice. All seems good… Most people will let that friendship grow naturally and not put any pressure on that relationship. They probably would not think about them unless they messaged or visited. There is no chasing, and it’s just left to grow in time. Time being the salient point, here.

Many suffering with BPD will feel a compulsion, or an impulsive desire to get to know everything there is to know about that person, and it’s like it cannot happen quickly enough. It feels like when you are very hungry, and then you see food, you naturally would like to consume that food. It is that type of feeling.

Have you ever had the urge once you pick up a book and look at the synopsis, to start reading it, and not put it down until you’ve finished it? Or once you watched a pilot episode of a series on Netflix, to then want to watch the rest of that series? We all get like this with some things, but again as I’ve continually tried to make ones aware in my blog, with BPDs, our feelings are magnified, and stronger; and if it’s with people, then it can make things rather complicated. You can end up idealising this person, and they become your whole world, and this will often be to the detriment of everything else in life. Instead of a nice easygoing friendship, it’s like they are all you think about, and you want to be in some kind of contact with them all the time. Yes, sounds exhausting doesn’t it?!

Of course, you might believe that if you were already in a relationship and married perhaps, that this could not possibly happen. But it can, and does. And unless your partner gets it, and is incredibly understanding and loves you a LOT… then it can be challenging for the other party to accept, let alone understand. It is not surprising that many with BPD cannot maintain a stable relationship for very long because we do unfortunately have these problems.

With me, I have often felt this need to have these emotional connections with ones, and form strong attachments, and it often is with older males, to the point that they and I actually feel like they are kinda like my second husband, and they have been happy to be that. They often become protective over me, and want to take care of me, or feel it’s their job to. And it can feel symbiotic, as if you need them in your life, and they need you. You have arguments and fallouts just like you would with anyone else. And so you are kinda engaged in a full-on emotional affair…

If you are unsure about what constitutes an emotional affair, well basically, if you are talking, chatting, and/or communicating by other means every day with someone, and your partner is not your only real confidant (as they should be) then it could well be heading that way…

Now I have intimacy issues, and therefore have a fear of sex, and will not do this with my husband. We are very close otherwise, and do have intimacy but not to the extent we make love. He is incredibly understanding about it all, but it does not mean to say, I do not feel like I want to have sex, as I do, it just means I cannot get past the issues I have deeply buried within me. It is something that we have both talked about regularly and it is often good to have a sense of humour about things. All I can say is that a relationship is not all about sex, and when you love someone, it goes deeper than that. Obviously sex is a bonus, but if your relationship is only based on sex, you may end up having difficulties once that desire has lost its potency.

So, getting back to the FP (Favourite Person): often sexual overtones can creep in with these emotional type affairs, because I guess to me it feels safer. I felt incredibly guilty about this, and could not hide anything from hubby so always ended up telling him. And often to keep these individuals (FP’s) happy, and still be there for me, I would often reluctantly send nude pics or ones that seemed flirtatious. This is when I knew I needed help. With a few, I had ‘sexted,’ and then deeply regretted it, because I felt like I was some kind of prostitute!

*I would like to just mention that I have not engaged in any of this behaviour in years now and have slowly made changes and progress but still like to be careful!

Anyway, I felt a deep attachment to these ones at the time, and felt like I would do anything to keep them in my life because of the fear of abandonment. And yet through all this, I would still be emotionally attached to my husband also. We would talk about everything, even though it was difficult, and I felt like I couldn’t control this, and would get very upset about it all, and eventually through research and more understanding, I realised I had an addiction that was getting out of control. This would be painful to stop, like other addictions out there.

Many BPD’s will perhaps develop sex addictions, and is common… But I developed “Love addiction.” That is the element I personally was addicted to. I wanted to feel loved, and special. And when or if they left, it was like my whole world fell to pieces, and I would literally mourn them, sometimes several times over. With some of these individuals (later I find out they are narcissists or narcissistic) they kept coming back, and then I would mourn them all over again, I think they would be out of my system, and gone, then it’s like they would torment me, coming back and being all nice as if nothing ever happened. And I would feel it almost impossible to break free from them. It was like being in a continual vortex! This would feel like torture emotionally. They were the hardest to break away from, and they know or knew a BPD’s weakness and deliberately know how to manipulate us in such a way, that we feel stuck, and like we cannot escape! The song by Christina Aguilera “walk away” often comes to mind when I think about this…

To cut a long story short, over time, I have been working on this addiction, and it’s been very painful, because obviously without these “highs” from the addiction, I of course feel very empty. It is a thirst you cannot quench!

I have to be careful now, because I have a weakness there, but mostly it is now okay. I tend to want to keep a low profile on social media these days, because of it all. And often I’ve gone to the extreme of getting rid of all my friends on social media, unfriending and unfollowing in an attempt to not let anything bad happen. So if you get unfriended or kicked off my blog, you’ll know why. I have to put safeguards up. I have to make sure that I do not allow anyone in too much. I talk to my husband and he helps me with this. I am glad I have him. I don’t think any other guy would stay with me. He is the best!

So just to say, please if you notice any of these tendencies that I have written about here, talk to someone you know and trust about it. Preferably a family member or therapist. Get help, and learn to counteract that overwhelming deficit we have within us. We try to compensate by reaching out for love in different ways, but it’s not Real. And if you are anything like me, you find it almost impossible to even like yourself, let alone love yourself. We want to live in that little fantasy world, but it is not healthy, nor does it deal with the actual problems, and the void you have. It will be painful, and feel empty, until you adjust; and even then, you may still have to deal with it raising its ugly head every now and then!

With all problems, we have to get to the root of them, and try to deal with them head on. Hiding it, or reasoning within yourself: “It’s OK it doesn’t matter, because everyone does it” is not going to work. Be brave and gain control! (Control is not everything, but I just mean a healthy amount of control).

Yes, everybody may well be doing something, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. Or that it’s right for you. So try to get control back, and get healthy; with determined effort and time it can be done.

Thank you so much for reading, and I wish you a good day!

Tigerchelle x

Hurt people…..hurt people…

I have mentioned Narcissists/sociopaths regularly throughout my posts, and for good reason. I have been hurt by quite a fair few of them. But I do not hold any hate in my heart towards any of them. There is no point. It would not be beneficial for me. When you hate them, it means they still matter.

I cannot hate these people, I just hate what they do, and how they treat people. Hate the actions not the person. I see and am very sensitive to the injustice caused by them. But even these people I cannot shut off my empathy toward them. I have to protect myself though at the same time. It often puts me in a very conflicting situation.

Have you ever watched a film, where you feel for the villains or the bad guys? This is how it feels. Naturally I want to help, and I feel for them in the sense that I know some of the deep pain they suffer, and why they feel they cannot trust anyone and why they have intimacy issues. I understand albeit somewhat different, the injustice they feel at everyone around them, and how they were made to feel shame and like they were nothing and nobody. I understand the deep emptiness they feel, and the craving of wanting to be accepted, approved and loved.

But some of us, being those with other mental illnesses like BPD, went one way to survive as children, and Narcissists took a different route to survive. As children though, we were both treated unfairly, unlovingly. Our trust betrayed and our person abused.

This is an excellent article I found that explains why and how these people do what they do. It does not excuse their behaviours, but it let’s you know that beneath that often what seems like to be a god-like exterior with confidence and bravado, is a very broken and vulnerable child. This would not be the way they probably want to be viewed. But for us looking in, it certainly gives us much insight.

The article was written by Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D., he is a clinical psychologist and the author of Paradoxical Strategies in Psychotherapy. He holds doctorates in English and Psychology. His posts have received over 30 million views. The article is from Psychology Today.

(I have added my own pics/memes to this article)

This Is What Really Makes Narcissists Tick

… and how deserving are they of our sympathy?

Posted Jul 28, 2015


Narcissists typically seem arrogant, grandiose, manipulative, entitled, and lacking in empathy. But if these defining features are understood at a deeper level, as powerful psychological defenses to protect them from experiencing a truly frightening vulnerability, a quite different picture emerges. As a result, they may not be any more likable but can at least be viewed as more deserving of our sympathy.

The most concise summary of what I’ll be portraying here comes from the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (2006), which states:

“Although some narcissistic children and adolescents seem ‘spoiled’ and entitled [in other words, were raised to feel and act “privileged” through regularly being overindulged and told they were special], most are clearly defending against feelings of low self-esteem and are trying to avoid shame and humiliation.”

This pointed description makes it clear that virtually all narcissists’ offensive characteristics can best be perceived as defenses against unresolved hurts, disappointments, and painful insecurities. They simply were unable to develop the kind of positive, stable attachment bond to their caretakers that could make them feel loved and accepted.

Narcissists diligently cultivate personal “strengths” or “virtues,” which—accurately comprehended—are rather pitiable attempts to conceal their underlying feelings of weakness, inadequacy, and non-deservingness. Typically, this sense of personal insufficiency has plagued them from early childhood.

As children, because they couldn’t get the warmth, care, validation, or support from their caretakers, they concluded that they weren’t good or worthy enough to warrant them. To defend against—and hide from—such an impoverished self-image, these individuals fabricated an attitude, mindset, or demeanor to feel they were actually more worthy than others, perhaps entitled to special treatment. Intimately related to these exaggerated compensatory mechanisms is a literally anti-social tendency to deceive, devalue, debase, and even show disdain for others. These behaviors are mostly unconscious strategies to feel better about themselves, often at others’ expense.

The final tragedy is that most, or all, of the people they exploited—individuals commonly referred to as their “narcissistic supply”—end up deserting them. When that occurs, ancient feelings of emptiness, abandonment, and shame return with such “vengeance” that they’re compelled to turn up their defenses a notch, prompting them to further denigrate—through what’s commonly referred to as “narcissistic rage“—those now able to see through their façade.

Such an inflamed reaction constitutes a frenetic, last-ditch effort to protect their gravely threatened vulnerability. And if this defense fails them, they’re liable to sink into a severe depression, hardly distinguishable from what they experienced earlier as children. Previously, they shut down their softer feelings altogether, which is why their partners find them lacking both in empathy and emotional accessibility.

All along, they tried to rectify insecurities by getting the outside world to acknowledge them more positively than did their parents or early environment. When their grandiose defenses do not compensate for what was missing in their past, they face the intense vulnerability they spent their whole lives trying to escape. Given how their defense systems drive their personality, even in such crises they’re unable to sustain any (purely pragmatic) shift in behavior. In fact, they’re far more likely to repeat these ultimately self-defeating behaviors—but with greater intensity.

So let’s now take an even closer look at the narcissist’s characteristic defenses. Overall, they are effective in safeguarding against extreme vulnerability, but further exploring their psychological armor demonstrates that their defenses are ultimately counter-productive. For example, because of their defense mechanisms, these individuals will never experience the fulfillment of their innermost desire—to believe that who they are (with no “embellishments”) is okay, acceptable, and lovable. Such an idea is diametrically opposed to their implicit belief that to be okay they need to be perfect and constantly get others to enviously look up to them.

Such self-exaltation is intimately tied to their similar defense traits of arrogance, interpersonal exploitiveness, sense of superiority, and (as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) puts it) “preoccup[ation] with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.” These personality features are a reaction—or better, overreaction—to truly enormous self-doubt. Such doubt is rarely “on display,” though to the astute observer in various situations it’s clearly betrayed.

Though on the surface their self-regard would appear to suggest confidence (if not cockiness), all this bravado masks what in themselves they secretly fear is defective or unworthy. Many of them, in their desperate attempts to convince others of their superiority, are highly motivated to achieve much more than most people; this will give them something to really brag about. Narcissists can be among the most boastful of people.

As I describe in an earlier piece on narcissism: “Given their customary ‘drivenness,’ it’s not uncommon for them to rise to positions of power and influence, as well as amass a fortune.” To better grasp the dynamics of their driven behavior, I added, “But if we examine what’s beneath the surface of such elevated social, political, or economic stature—or their accomplishments (which they frequently exaggerate)—what typically can be inferred is a degree of insecurity vastly beyond anything they might be willing to avow.”

Here’s how I characterize their worrisome uncertainties:

“In various ways they’re constantly driven to prove themselves, both to others and to their not-so-confident “inner child” self. This is the self-doubting, recessive part of their being that, though well hidden from sight, is nonetheless afflicted with feelings and fears of inferiority. Inasmuch as their elaborate defense system effectively wards off their having to face what their bravado masks, they’re highly skilled at exhibiting, or ‘posturing,’ exceptionally high self-esteem. But their deeper insecurities are yet discernible in their so often fishing for compliments. . . .” (L. Seltzer, “6 Signs of Narcissism You May Not Know About,” 2013).

The narcissist’s symptomatic need for admiration is all about propping up an extraordinarily fragile ego. So when they’re unable to get outward adulation, they can collapse from within.

The PDM summarizes their dilemma this way:

“The characteristic subjective experience of narcissistic individuals is a sense of inner emptiness and meaninglessness that requires recurrent infusions of external confirmation of their importance and value. . . . When the environment fails to provide such evidence, narcissistic individuals feel depressed, ashamed, and envious of those who succeed in attaining the supplies that they lack.”

This vulnerability is also suggested by just how defensive narcissists can be when others negatively evaluate them. At the same time that they’re super-critical of others (to regularly “remind” themselves of their superiority), their egos are so frail that when someone attacks their words or actions they can fly into what I’ve alluded to as “narcissistic rage.” As I explain it in “The Narcissist’s Dilemma: They Can Dish It Out, But . . . ”:

“Although narcissists don’t (or won’t) show it, all perceived criticism feels gravely threatening to them. . . . Deep down, clinging desperately not simply to a positive but grandiose sense of self, they’re compelled at all costs to block out any negative feedback about themselves.”

After all, as children they were either ignored by their caretakers, constantly criticized by them, or held to unrealistically high standards they couldn’t meet. In consequence, they needed to develop potent defenses against the loneliness, rejection, hurt, and humiliation inextricably linked to such parenting. However unconsciously, over time they contrived to “pump up” their deflated ego through at least cultivating the illusion that they were actually far superior to the detrimental messages repeatedly received in growing up.

They needed—with as much psychological vigor as possible—to combat the unfavorable assumptions about self they earlier imbibed from their parents (who were woefully insensitive as to how their words could wound their offspring).

This is the well-known “narcissistic injury,” which has provided the focal point for many writers seeking to characterize the phenomenon of pathological narcissism. Having had parents incapable of supplying the nurturing that they (like everybody else) required, narcissists are compelled to cajole or coerce others to function as surrogate narcissistic supplies. Doing so is a constituent element in their notorious habit of not simply using others but “objectifying” them—which, in this sense, almost has a certain childlike innocence to it.

Such derogative objectification also serves the purpose of lessening their vulnerability by reducing any power that, alternatively, others might have over them. (Not to mention its deep-rooted connection to their lack of empathy.) Having learned earlier not to trust anyone—the outcome of the emotional pain inflicted on them by insufficiently caring, non-approving parents—they refuse to accept the risks associated with allowing another to get really close to them.

So if they’re to feel safe in the context of an intimate relationship, they need to keep their partner at a distance. The cost of avoiding any emotional hazards by acting in this self-protective way is that true intimacy with another remains forever beyond their reach. The grave misfortune in their decision to safeguard their (actually false) self should by now be obvious; by refusing (or being unable) to open up their heart to others, they prevent themselves from ever getting what—deep down and totally out of their awareness—they most desire and desperately need.

End of article….

______________________________________

What I would ask any narcissist that is self aware is:

No doubt you have much hate and anger at the people who abused and mistreated you, as what they did was wrong, and you did not deserve that…..

So why are you trying to be just like them? Surely that makes you just as bad as them?!

AND....

To anyone that tries to support a narcissist in any way at all:

These people need help. They are not well. The way to help them, is to advise and encourage them to get the right professional help, so that they are able to help themselves.

Supporting them ANY OTHER WAY, only continues to inflate their ego, so that they can continue to abuse and mistreat others including themselves. Ask yourself, is that what you want?

Thank you for reading and I hope you have a good day!

Tigerchelle x

To Those Who Think People With BPD are not Empathetic

To anyone that thinks someone with Borderline Personality Disorder cannot be empathetic, I would have to question the person who was saying such a thing, and suggest they get educated.

As Borderlines, we feel everything on a much more intense level and ferocity to normal individuals. Guess what? That means empathy too!

I guess it also depends very much on how you treat us, and what we feel and percieve from you. If we feel you are judgemental, misunderstanding, and hateful toward us in some way, then empathy will not be one of the qualities or traits you see from us. So I guess because of that, some may from that one experience alone, generalise that all BPD’s do not show or have empathy. I feel sorry for anyone that has come to this conclusion. Please read on with an open mind….

Of course just to add, a narcissist or sociopathic type person will make it their aim to deliberately make us out to be the opposite of what we actually are, concentrating solely on our bad ways. Why? Because then it looks like they are the better and “good” person. They want to be seen in a good and respectable light. They often will only have very little cognitive empathy, and are jealous of the fact that we “feel” empathy and it comes very naturally to us. They do not want anybody outshining them!

Also they cannot hide from us or wear a mask like they can with others, because we see right through them. Often we see through to their core, and risk exposing them. They do not like this, as they have to wear a mask, and create a false appearance. We are so real, that it is almost like it pains them to be exposed to us very long. I believe we are in many ways their kryptonite. As we are at one end of the spectrum and they are the other end.

We feel so intensely and so purely that we can start to make even this kind of person feel too, and this is a threat to their very existence as they have never learned to deal with their own shame and negative feelings – they instead put them all into a box and convince themselves that the feelings do not exist. The problem is that these feelings do exist, and even they cannot keep them at bay. It is too painful for them to feel these. They refuse to feel this pain, as they believe it is a weakness, therefore they cannot feel empathy either.

To feel empathy, often you must feel great pain also. One often comes with the other. That is one reason why Borderlines feel such empathy on a large scale, because we feel internally so much pain. Our illness makes us empathetic to others like us. We know the signature of pain so well, that we cannot stop ourselves from acting on our empathy. And real empathy is not just a feeling, it is the actions that go along with that.

As super empathic individuals, we pick up on such a range of social and emotional cues. All the BPD’s I personally know – I have a few as really good friends – I can say first hand, that they have some of the biggest hearts I know of and are some of the most empathetic people out there. If you were ever in trouble, you would want to go to a person with BPD, as we are very kind, loving and caring individuals. We care about people, animals, the earth, and hate to see all the suffering and badness out there. Perhaps these are not the individuals you’ve met, but certainly this has been the case for me and I know of others too.

It is like when we were young, something made us super duper sensitive, and we are the “feelers” of the world wherever we go.

That is often why we need down time on our own, to kind of recharge because we are feeling so much the majority of the time and it gets exhausting! It can also be frustrating because the people around you will never feel as intensely as you do, and will not even notice half the stuff you naturally pick up on. It’s like they are oblivious, but they don’t mean to be, they just have more of a thickened skin as it were, a barrier to the outside world. We do not, and therefore, everything is very magnified, and extra sensitive.

I find we are so highly in tune with our environment and the people around us that we know and pick up any change, any difference, we pick up atmospheres, and we can tell if your mood has changed or what someone is giving off just by looking at them and how they stand or sit, by the littlest of things. We do not have to try at this. Sometimes we just have this perceptive feeling of how a person is going to be. And when someone is in distress, or sad or unhappy, you will never see us walk away, or look for an excuse to get out. Even if we are tired or unhappy ourselves, the empathy in us will always take over, and we feel we have to at least try and help that person if we can. We literally cannot stop ourselves.

We can tell even over the phone if someone is hiding something from us, even moreso in person; or if they don’t want to tell us something, or if someone is faking or lying. There are lots of tiny micro-expressions that we automatically read on someone’s face, and tone of voice is an excellent indicator of many things also.

Many of us are very perceptive and it goes further than that even. It is hard to explain. But we can feel other people’s feelings, as if they were our own, and really do put ourselves in their shoes. We are rare in the fact that we can actually do this because most cannot unless they have been through a similar type of experience themselves, but once we connect with someone, it is a very strong connection. It can travel across the Internet even. It has no boundaries, this type of connection. Many say they have never felt anything like it before. They also say they can feel a strong connection, as if it’s something tangible.

You have to be careful who you use it with and how. It has to be someone you trust. And it is something that you have to learn how to use because you can get overwhelmed, and/or burned out.

This is an article I found online that talks about us being very empathic individuals, and has a positive message for us who struggle with overwhelming feelings including empathy.

Here is what this article says:

” ‘I wasn’t wrong’ -The gift inside Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

‘It is increasingly being recognised that many individuals who receive the diagnosis of BPD are naturally highly intuitive and perceptive. What was previously thought of as a genetic vulnerability may actually reflect an innate talent. ‘’

People who were born emotionally intense, sensitive and are gifted with heightened perceptivity are like powerful sports cars.

It is as if they have an extremely powerful engine that requires a special fuel and a specific kind of care. In the right condition and with the right keeping, they can be one of the most high-performing machines in the world and win many races. The problem is, however, that they may not have been taught how to run this powerful machine. To borrow a metaphor from Psychologist Dr Hallowell (Additudemag.com), it is like having a Ferrari with bicycle brakes, and these brakes are simply not strong enough to control such a powerful engine.

Many emotionally intense people are diagnosed or misdiagnosed with various mental disorders throughout their lives, some of the most common ones are mood disorders, including Bipolar disorder, ADHD, eating disorders and personality disorders. Whilst these conditions are real and extremely painful, we should not immediately assume that they are signs of a defect.

A ‘diagnosis’ in psychiatry simply represents a cluster of symptoms, which are manifestations of internal conflicts and dis-ease. In reality, the distinction from one disorder to another is unclear. The purpose of having these arbitrary categories is so that clinicians can fall back on a standardised framework to do research and to prescribe medication. Plus, they serve a purpose for the insurance industry. With the dominance of the medical model, we tend to pathologize, and overlook the possibility that the distress may be a result of us not honouring our utterly unique make-up as individuals.

In today’s letter, we consider how this might be the case with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). It is increasingly being recognised that many individuals who receive the diagnosis of BPD are endowed with heightened sensitivity and perceptivity, and what was previously thought of as a genetic vulnerability may actually be a form of giftedness. Drawing on psychological research and theories, we see that many people who struggle with BPD do so as a result of two combing factors:

A) their innate intuitive talents, and the specific developmental requirements that go along with it, and

B) a childhood environment that fails to meet their emotions needs.

BEING HYPER- EMPATHIC

BPD is also known as Emotional Dysregulation Disorder or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (World Health Organization, 1992). Despite being referred to as a ‘personality disorder’, it is not a characterflaw but is best understood as a limitation in a person’s capacity to regulate emotions. This means that the person with BPD often experience emotions as rapidly changing, or spiralling out of control. These symptoms go alongside impulsive self- soothing behaviours and a chronic sense of internal hollowness.

Although the link between BPD and empathy remains controversial, many people with BPD identify with the traits of being an “Empath”, or being hyper-empathic.

Empathy is broadly defined as the way we react to one another (Davis, 1983), and it defines how we conduct ourselves in this world. An Empath is extremely sensitive to the emotions and energy of other people, animals and places (Orloff, 2011). Although the term ‘Empath’ has not been used very much within the academia, psychologists have extensively studied what it is like to have high empathy, and they have found the following phenomenon:

  • Individual differences in empathy level affect the way people recognise facial expressions (Besel and Yuille, 2010) and react to social cues (Eisenberg and Miller, 1987).
  • People with high empathy are better at recognising emotions in others. However, they also have a ‘bias’ towards negative emotional expressions, meaning that they are more sensitive and alert to negative feelings in others. Perhaps due to these propensities, they are also more likely to experience ‘empathic distress’ (Chikovani, Babuadze, Tamar Gvalia, Surguladze, 2015).
  • Interestingly, it was found that women with high empathy are better than their male counterparts in noticing and recognising sadness.
  • Excessive empathy — an intense sharing of other’s negative emotions — is linked to emotional disorders in health professionals and caregivers. Their empathic distress is often framed as compassion fatigue or burnout. (Batson et al., 1987, Eisenberg et al., 1989, Gleichgerrcht and Decety, 2012).

It is important that naturally empathic people learn to hone their empathic skills, such as emotional regulation, perspective taking, empathic accuracy (the ability to accurately identify and understand emotional states and intentions in yourself and others) (McLaren, 2013). Without these skills, many Empaths ended up ‘absorbing’ the emotions of others to the point of being burned out.

THE ‘BORDERLINE EMPATHY PARADOX’

It has long been recognised that individuals with BPD seem to possess an uncanny sensitivity to other people’s subconscious mental content — thoughts, feelings and even physical sensations. They also seem to have a talent in involving and influencing others (Park, Imboden, Park, Hulse, and Unger, 1992, p. 227).

In the first study that explicitly investigate this observation, Frank and Hoffman (1986) found that individuals with BPD showed a heightened sensitivity to nonverbal cues when compared with people without BPD. This finding has been validated through other follow-up research (Domes, Schulze, and Herpertz, 2009). A well-known study, for instance, compared the way people with BPD react to photographs of people’s eyes to those without BPD. The researchers found that the BPD group was more able to correctly guess what emotions these eyes expressed, which showed their enhanced sensitivity to the mental states of others (Fertuck et al., 2012).

At their best, these highly intuitive individuals’ ability would constitute what giftedness psychologists call “Personal Intelligence” (Gardner,1985) . This kind of giftedness consists of two components: ‘Interpersonal intelligence’ — the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people, and ‘Intrapersonal intelligence’ — the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one’s feelings, fears and motivations.

Despite their enhanced empathic ability, however, many people with BPD have difficulties navigating social and interpersonal situations. Without the ability to regulate their emotions and manage attachment relationships, their hypersensitivity may end up showing up as emotional storms and mood swings (Fonagy, Luyten, & Strathearn, 2011), being easily triggered by stressful situations, and a constant fear abandonment and rejection (Fertuck et al., 2009). This phenomenon is known as the ‘Borderline Empathy Paradox’(Franzen et al., 2011; Krohn, 1974).

WHY DO I SEE AND FEEL SO MUCH?

It is true that high empathy may be an outcome of growing up in a traumatic and unpredictable childhood environment. Indeed, many people with BPD have a history of abuse, neglect or prolonged separation as children. Some studies show that as many as 70 percent of the people with the disorder reported being abused.

As a response to confusing or neglectful parenting, these children had to ‘amp up’ their empathic functioning in order to protect themselves. They were trained by their environment to become highly attuned to the subconscious cues given out by their parents so that they can be prepared for their unpredictable behaviours.

Environmental factors alone, however, do not explain why many siblings who grow up in the same household are not affected in the same way. Thus, we must also consider the biological and innate temperament-based factors that affect people’s distinctive reactions to traumatic events. As psychologist Bockian (2002) suggested: “It is extremely unlikely that someone with a placid, passive, unengaged, aloof temperament would ever develop borderline personality disorder.”

Child psychologists have found that there is a subset of children who has ‘heightened sensitivity to the social world’, whose developmental and emotional outcomes are critically dependent upon their early childhood conditions. (Boyce, Chesney, Kaiser, Alkon-Leonard and Tschann, 1991)

In most cases, serious difficulties in emotional regulation, or BPD, is a result of two combing factors: A) being born with heightened sensitivity and a gift in perceptivity, and B) a deficient or vicarious childhood environment that fails to meet these children’s emotions needs.

IF IT IS A GIFT, WHY IS IT SO PAINFUL ?

Under favourable, ‘good enough’ circumstances, a child who is born with a gift in perceptivity would not grow up to have serious emotional regulation issues or BPD. However, if the primary caretakers did not have the capacity to attune to their child, or even resented or were threatened by their unusually perceptive child, they may consciously or subconsciously sabotage the child’s healthy development. The nature of the psychological abuse may differ, but it always includes an assault on the child’s perceptions and the development of their autonomy.

For gifted children, ongoing negative feedback towards their intuitive perception is ‘particularly damaging’ (Park et al., 1992, p.228).

Attachment theories have us know that children will do all they can in order to preserve a good image of their parents. Even when their parents are incompetent, abusive or neglectful, children naturally blame themselves because it is not safe to think of the people they depend on as ‘bad’ (Winnicott, 1960). This scenario is complex if the child is naturally intuitive; many emotionally gifted children have strong feelings of love and responsibility for their parents, and often feel compelled by a need or desire to take care of them.

If the parents either explicitly or implicitly reject the child — he or she will internalise the shame of being rejected, and experience him/ herself as being profoundly bad (toxic shame). As a result of their negative experience of themselves and those around them, these children’s natural gifts in perceptivity become ‘highjacked’ by negative bias and negative projections. Without an environment where they can learn to set healthy boundaries and experience secure attachment without exploitation, these children develop ’symptoms’ such as as an inability to self- soothe and regulate emotions, a fear of rejection, and a deep sense of internal hollowness.

Many emotionally intense adults have struggled all their lives feeling lonely, misunderstood, with the belief that there is something deeply wrong with them. If you are one of them, I hope that you can reconsider the potential gifts that are within you.

Whilst the history cannot be changed, you can re-write the story that you have been telling yourself. You are in no way ‘bad’. You are not ‘too much’. What you are, is a sensitive, intuitive, gifted individual, who were deprived of the right kind of nourishment as you were growing up. Your high level of awareness and acuity to subtleties is not only unusual but also extremely precious.

Because of your innate perceptivity, you cannot ‘un-see’ or ‘un-feel’ things. Perhaps like a poppy that has outgrown his peers, you were being shamed and ‘chopped down’. Your struggles are not your fault, and the shame that you carry is a natural reaction to a childhood environment that has failed to support you.

Perhaps there is a little voice within you that has always known you were not fundamentally wrong. If you can begin to listen to that voice, you can liberate yourself to retrieve the long-forgotten gifts inside you.

Your psyche wants to heal. Once you can begin to recognise and trust your own fundamental goodness, restoration and integration would naturally happen.”

If you got through all of that, then well done, and thank you.

Please have a lovely day and remember….

Tigerchelle x

If you got through all of that, then well done, and thank you.

Please have a lovely day and remember….

Tigerchelle x

My anger and my past are related….

So this post is probably not going to be very interesting for anyone else, I apologise, but it is something that I need to put down and it’s a process of realisation and acknowledgement for me but also trying to re-parent myself.

They say that to heal, you need to at least acknowledge what went on to a degree, and find out why. You need to make sense of everything in your own head so it can settle. I am mainly concentrating on things to do with my mother for the moment.

I’ve now made peace with what happened to my mum, and I know it wasn’t my fault that I was not allowed to go to her funeral. I was not even given the choice at the time.

Today I finally received a copy of her death certificate, and details of how and what happened in the car accident and how she died. She was alone and there was only her involved in the car accident. Somehow she lost control of the car, but it’s unclear why.

But then my mind went to other things, like I finally know my mother’s date of birth… I mean shouldn’t you know this stuff before you are 41? Or should I just be grateful I know now?

My mother was married to my step father at the time before her death, and had my half brother and sister with him, but it was an unhappy marriage, there was fighting, arguing a lot just like it was with my father.

But shouldn’t the children of their mother be given some things that belonged to their mother? A few keepsakes, memories of their mother?

Our step father had a whole house full of her stuff. Yet I received nothing! To my knowledge neither did my brothers. I am kind of angry about that. I never even thought of it at the time, because it’s not the kind of thing you think about when you are 11. You expect the grown-ups to deal with all that. But it now leaves me with questions of why the two single parent adult fathers didn’t think to sort out things for us all to keep. Where did all her stuff go? I think they may just have got rid of it all.

Another memory I have is of my mother driving in the middle of the night to our house many times, which was around 30 – 45 minutes away by car and apparently she was on her way to our home the night she died. She was an alcoholic, and so she would often drink and drive, which was dangerous, and she definitely had some issues going on which she tried to hide, and I would say she was probably BPD, like myself.

She would come to our house, and bang on the door, obviously unconcerned with the time it was, and she would be upset, and in a desperate state. I remember being woken up, (we had school the next day) and we would come downstairs and hear the banging and howling and shouting at the door, and I wondered why my father would not just let her in. But he was obviously scared because she could be violent. But she just wanted to see her us all I felt. Or that’s how I remember feeling at the time. Maybe she just missed us as she only got to see us some weekends. Perhaps she needed reassurance and to just be shown love and to calm down, yet my father used to just ignore her cries for help, and put extra locks on the door. It just felt wrong. He would just wait til she eventually gave up out of exhaustion and went away no doubt feeling incredibly dejected and sad. Sometimes she would be injured. But why did he not try and help her?

I feel angry at this, that nobody tried to help her. She was self-harming which I didn’t know until after she died. She was clearly not well. Yet nobody even tried to help her. I feel bad knowing this now, and not being there for her, but at the time I was too young to understand. I think maybe she felt bad for leaving us when we were young too. I don’t know. She didn’t know how to love us. There are many questions and not enough answers.

Another thing is that when my father remarried, his new wife (from US) came and got all the stuff out of our loft at the family home, which included family photos of me and my brothers, and marriage photos of my mum and dad, as well as other old photos. Most people would respect that history wouldn’t they? It is not like any of them were on the walls or showing anywhere, as they were in boxes just kept safe. Yet she wanted them all gone. As if even now the memories of our mother were not allowed either…

Why did my father not put his foot down and say: ‘no, this is the mother of my children, and my first wife?’ But the coward he is… Instead I get a huge box delivered round to my flat, with all the photos of when we are babies right through til older, and all the photos of my mum, and holidays and everything.

I ask my father at the time as he is about to move to Texas with her and her children… don’t you want some photos of us as memories?

His reply: “No; you are part of my old life and I’m starting a new one!”

Like wow. Thanks dad!

It’s like he wanted to forget his old life, anything to do with my mother and us. Well you know what? Soon after I decided I no longer wanted anything more to do with him either and his toxic ways.

I now could choose whether I wanted him in my life or not, and I do not. He has never apologised or even acknowledged that any of his actions were wrong. He doesn’t even bother to find out how we are, or if we are doing OK. I do not care about myself so much but my youngest brother, he still loves his dad, and it hurts me to know that his dad doesn’t care. He suffers with paranoid schizophrenia and I am his next of kin over here in UK. The damage has been done, yet my father thinks he can just escape it all, and move on regardless of any consequences.

Right from early on in my life there are numerous occasions where my feelings, and my brother’s feelings were not even considered, let alone acknowledged. They were blatantly rejected and seen as unimportant. We were not even given a choice. Again and again, this seems a running theme throughout my life as I begin to put the pieces together. It is painful to acknowledge all of this myself, as you kinda end up blocking a load of this crap, and just push it down and not want to think about it.

But like a splinter, you have to pull it out, as painful as it is, in order for it to heal better. I have numerous splinters….

Is it surprising why I have so much anger? No, I do not think so!

Is it surprising why I feel people will not have my best interests at heart, and I’ll find it difficult to trust them? No…

Is it surprising that I feel like I do not matter a lot of the time, and like nobody would care if I was dead? No, probably not….

But I am determined to fix myself where I can for now….because nobody else can do this for me.

Thank you for reading, and please have a good day!

Tigerchelle x

Going back to go forward

Yesterday was the anniversary of my mother’s death. I have wanted to for a long time but never got around to actually laying flowers on her grave. It was something I needed to do.

To me, I know from my knowledge of the Bible, that a person’s soul is not there any longer, nor does it go floating off somewhere else as many religions teach. I know that most likely parts of her bones/teeth may still lie there, but that’s about it. I was going though to psychologically tell my 11 year old self that this is what happened to my mummy, and I was sorry I was never allowed to come say goodbye when I was younger.

A person’s soul is that whole person, as we often say when we perhaps are doing something: “I was doing it whole-souled,” and just like blowing out a candle, you know that flame does not go somewhere else – a person’s soul, or shall we say, that person’s life-force within them, it has just gone, or expired.

A person simply goes back to the dust from where they were created from. (Ecclesiastes 9:5). The Greek and Hebrew words for grave is ha’des or She’ol, which many have attributed to different things, but they simply mean “the common grave of mankind.” There is no such place as hell. Would it be loving for a God to put people in such a place or even to have such a place exist? No!

Jesus came to the earth to not only be a ransom for what Adam lost, but to show what was possible to happen for those that have died, and that would soon happen when his kingdom (or government) rules over the earth. This Kingdom is what we pray for in the “Lords prayer.” The Bible talks of a resurrection of the dead. Jesus did not agree with the religious leaders of that day who said that there would be no resurrection; they taught many false beliefs at that time. The same is true today. Jesus did not teach that some part of a person survives death. Rather, he taught that:

Death is like a sleep. They do not suffer when they have died. Nor can they harm the living. (John 11:11-14)

The dead will be resurrected. (Acts 24:15)

I am only talking briefly here about death (they are my beliefs), but if you would like to know more about this or many other such subjects then please go to Jw.org. There you will find Bible based literature translated into over 900 languages. Also there is available online Bible study lessons.

So, yes even though I know my mum isn’t there, I felt like I had to do this and allow myself to grieve and that it was ok. I cleaned all the mud and leaves off of the gravestone, I guess because it just felt right to do. I put the flowers in the place where the flowers go. And I just was able to kind of make peace this time. As before it all felt wrong.

I felt like I could move forward now, along in my healing journey. I know I will probably have to go back to where I grew up at some point and address other painful times, and as my older self now, tell my younger self, that “It’s OK now to let go”…..

So for now I feel I’ve made a step toward healing….

You see I feel like I am holding a whole load of baggage from the past, and of course it gets tiring holding on to all that…

For me personally I hope to see my mum along with other family and friends who have died in the future resurrected to a paradise earth. (Revelation 21:4)

I know others will have other beliefs and I am not here to tear down those. But personally these are mine, and how I feel.

I appreciate you reading this. Have a lovely day!

Tigerchelle x