Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Follow me, just not that far - Stalking

I am outraged. Seriously. I read an article that just blew my mind, and not in a good way.
The title of the post: Borderlines (BPD) and Stalking.   
Throughout their article they present a one sided, biased view of BPD from the perspective of someone who is not themselves a Borderline, but has had a problem with someone they ASSUME is Borderline. As far as I can tell this person wasn’t actually diagnosed or admitting to being Borderline, it was just a gaggle of psychs that may never have met the person saying, Sure, that sounds like someone with BPD to me. And they ran from there. The article proceeded to pick out standard characteristics to selectively support their assumption…. Without understanding what these characteristics might actually mean to someone with BPD.  OH hell, here’s the article. Let’s go through it together shall we?

BORDERLINES (BPD) AND STALKING

In recent years psychologists have learned about and done case studies on a new personality disorder which the DSM-III-R classifies as an Axis II disorder- the Borderline Personality . This classification includes such personality disorders as the Anti-social Personality, the Histrionic Personality and the Narcissistic Personality. 

In recent years huh? New personality disorder? Cuz, you know, it hasn’t been around since the 1930s. DSM-III? Seriously? Update your material please. There’s a world of knowledge out there and you clearly are not very well informed.

Several psychologists (including myself) diagnosed my stalker as afflicted with the Borderline Personality.

I would assume that this means that they actually sat down this person that they are accusing of being Borderline and put them through a full psych evaluation. Unfortunately it sounds more like they just looked at some characteristics and said, sure, that fits, let’s go with that. Now, I’m not saying this stalker for sure isn’t BPD, hell for all I know he/she is, I certainly didn’t interview the person, but it’s destructive and harmful to those of us that struggle with this disorder to portray this kind of behavior as ‘typical’ or as something that is characteristic of someone with BPD. Way to perpetuate an ignorant stereotype. Thanks.

Some characteristics of the Borderline (derived from research done by Kreisman & Straus, 1989) are:

a shaky sense of identity

sudden, violent outbursts

oversensitivity to real or imagined rejection

frequent periods of intense depression

self-destructive tendencies

There’s no doubt that some of these are BPD characteristics. Many of them are taken straight from the DSM diagnostic criteria, out of context as they may be. With no explanation of how they actually present in a person. Two problems here: 1.) These are not limited to BPD. There are other personality disorders that these are associated with, and not to mention *gasp* regular people are often afflicted by any number of these at any given time and in varying circumstances. 2.) It seems to assume that all people with BPD are the same. Look at these scary characteristics! They’re different from me. Clearly they’re frightening people! Us vs. Them. This completely ignores the fact that every person is different. Every person has their own unique struggle and experience with BPD. Completely ignores the fact that someone with BPD is another human being fighting a disease of the psyche. I’m not going to try and say that often our behavior is not incredibly inappropriate. I know full well how out of line it can be. Can be. That doesn’t mean it always is, or is for every person.


Not much research has been done on the Borderline Personality, and for many years it was difficult to diagnose- and to treat. A Borderline often feels as though his/her life is marked with a distinctive emptiness; a void in which a relationship often acts to fill. Many times the Borderline is a victim of an early dysfunctional family situation and/or emotional/physical abuse by those he/she trusted early on in childhood.

What? There’s been a ton of research done on BPD. Welcome to my blog. And I’m just one person. I won’t dispute the notion of emptiness and early dysfunction family situations. This however, is an extremely limited, and hand picked introduction to what goes on with BPD. Limited and misleading.

The Borderline is psychotic , in the original, psychological meaning of the term: he/she is not in control and not in touch with reality. 

Excuse me? Borderline does NOT equal psychotic. These words are not synonymous. The enormity of a statement like this beyond my ability to comprehend. It’s beyond outrageous. Everyone occasionally loses control and touch with reality. To say that we live in a perpetual state of delusion and psychosis though is an exaggeration of extreme proportions.

To the Borderline, a softly spoken word of advice can be construed as a threat on his/her emotional stability. 
An outsider's viewpoint that the Borderline is not in touch with reality often ends in a bitter and irrational dissassociation from the outsider on the part of the Borderline. Often, the Borderline ends up very much alone and victim to his/ her disillusions.

This sounds a lot like devaluation to me, which is a real problem. The tone and language is very judgmental with no sense of what is actually going on here.

The Borderline stalker is very apt to see his/her actions as perfectly justified; he/she has paranoid disillusions which support these-often with disturbing frequency. The Borderline often has brief love affairs which end abruptly, turbulently and leave the Borderline with enhanced feelings of self-hatred, self-doubt and a fear that is not often experienced by rational people. When the Borderline's relationships turn sour, the Borderline often begins to, at first, harass the estranged partner with unnecessary apologies and/or apologetic behavior (i.e. letters of apology 'from the heart', flowers delivered at one's place of employment, early morning weeping phonecalls, etc.). However, the Borderline does not construe his/her behavior as harassment - to the Borderline he/she is being 'responsible' for his/her past behaviors.

Whoa.  At least the article is starting to talk about stalking. Not that any of the previous information has really been sufficient evidence of a stalker profile. That’s probably because if you’re looking for obsessive personality disorders they have their own PD category. Regardless. Have you ever stalked someone? And I don’t just mean via Facebook. I know I haven’t.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with Boring-Ex after we broke up. He tried accusing me of driving by his house, while saying he wasn’t there at the time. I was like, well even if I were to have driven by, how would you know? He threw in a lot of double talk too to make it confusing in order to ‘trip me up’. It’s kind of hard to trip someone up when they only defense they need is, “Sorry, I never did that.” I seriously think he wanted me to have stalked him to make him feel like he mattered more to me than he did. What was I gonna see looking through his window anyways? Him sitting on his couch playing his x-box? If I wanted to watch him play video games all day I wouldn’t have broken up with him the first two times. Boring and pointless. Not that some people with BPD couldn’t do this, I’m sure they could. We do have the potential to fixate. By the same token plenty of ‘normal’ people do as well, and I wonder how many people out there who have been stalkers don’t have a personality disorder. That are “normal”.  Saying that someone, anyone, is the equivalent of a stalker because they have a Borderline Personality Disorder is just mean spirited and untrue.

The Push-Pull sort of break up/get back together isn’t stalking, it’s a cycle. One that has to be reciprocated to continue. Is it healthy, functional behavior? No, not really. Not denying that.  But is it stalking? I don’t think so. It’s just the fallout from an emotional relationship. I can see why this kind of behavior would be seen as harassing though. It’s not uncommon to want to fix something with someone you’re afraid to lose. When you have BPD though, the emotional intensity is elevated and it can become a priority.

The next phase of the Borderline Personality develops relatively quickly and soon he/she feels suddenly betrayed, hurt, etc. and seeks to victimize the estranged partner in any way he/she can.  This will happen when friends and relatives leave the Borderline. Strangely enough, this deleterious behavior is always coupled with a need to be near or in constant contact with the estranged partner . While sending threats to the estranged partner, it is very common for the Borderline to begin to stalk his/her estranged partner in an effort to maintain contact.  

The next phase of the Borderline Personality Disorder... This doesn’t even make sense. Special op Codename: Facemask Phase one complete. Next Phase: Go Go GO! This sounds like we’re targeted predators. Like we’ve chosen a victim and are now going to make them our prey. That’s not the intent.  That’s not how it works. When you’ve had an intimate relationship with someone, emotional connections, real emotional connections form. For a Borderline it’s more intense, but it’s no less real. So when/if heartbreak occurs it’s all the more painful and the only logical person that can do anything about this, is the person who hurt them. We can be volatile, but we don’t set out to make people our victims. Emotions run high when people break up. It happens.

We are finding, in many cases, that a great deal of stalking behavior is associated with Borderline or related personality disorders.

Fear mongering. Perpetuating the stereotype with a bigoted, biased view. This kind of article is harmful. It actually works to counter positive advancements in treatment by making us appear evil and dangerous. How do people expect us to heal and develop better functionality if they make people afraid to treat us? You don’t like a behavior, you want to warn against it? Fine. But don’t come crying to us then when we want to change it but can’t find the help we need in order to do so in order to become the kind of people you wish we were. And don’t try to claim that one act is standard behavior for us all. I can certainly take responsibility for my own actions. Take responsibility for yours. This kind of limited information presented as fact is misleading and simply ignorant.

9 comments:

  1. Stuff like this pisses me off. It is hard enough to be mentally ill without ignorant people like this creating something from nothing. Not every person who does wrong/bad is crazy and not every crazy does wrong/bad.. I wish people understood this...

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  2. I theorize BPD gets the shit end of the stick so much because of spiteful psychologists who are still torn up in anger about 'that one damn borderline who broke my heart and was a crazy bitch, grr!'

    That, or they're scared of classically crazy seeming people?

    I don't know. How are your studies, Haven?

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  3. Sigh. My friend and I went through a semi-stalking phase when we were in our early 20s. Driving past people's houses, ringing and hanging up, etc. I am Borderline and she has a PhD in Psychology. Go figure.

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  4. @TNP... You may be on to something there. We've got that crazy bitch stigma, which, well, we kind of are, but people act like we choose to be this way. It's not fun for us either. We're not doing it on purpose.

    I think it's an easy scapegoat. There's so many qualifying markers for BPD just about anyone will have a couple moderate signs so people can just point, shout, and feel better that these classically crazy people have a label that is an entirely different category, seperate from the usual area of humanity that they might fall into. They need a them vs. us label to feel better about their own shortcomings.

    Bleh.

    Well I won't be able to start school til spring semester (too late for fall admission). In general though all my reading and studying has been going really well. Keeping very busy. I've had my nose buried in books for the past couple months now. It's been pretty chill. How've you benn?

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  5. As you said before, BDP don't choose to be like that, but they can mess other people lives very badly. On your opinion, a person with BDP has to take some responsibility for its actions ?

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely. Every person is responsible for their own actions. Whether or not a person realizes they have a problem and that their actions are destructive can be an issue though. If a person with BPD doesn't know they have BPD, doesn't know that what they do is hurtful, then it's going to be difficult for them to realize they have something to take resonsibility for.

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  6. BPDs are a poison...they only ruin lives...lying, abusing and control...use and detroy! - NPD/BPD Victim

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry you were so hurt by someone with NPD/BPD. In the future please keep your hate off my site. Your one experience doesn't encompass all of us. We may share a disorder but how it presents is different for each of us and not everyone with BPD would do this.

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  7. The push/pull cycle, yes, takes two to tango. But, when you really love someone, that desire to have the pull back be permanent is so strong that you believe it will be time and time again. Mental illness is just that, an illness. Loving someone who is ill can be very painful, especially if they can't find or refuse treatment. That's not to devalue the pain of being ill, certainly.

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Leave me a comment! It makes me feel good and less paranoid about talking to myself =)

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