Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ask Haven! Episode 1: Ambivalence

Hello Dear Readers! I hope everyone is having a wonderful day today. It’s a frigid blizzard degrees outside here in post sunset New York. As I mentioned on Tuesday I get a lot of questions from Readers. I tend to respond to all questions directly (via comment or e-mail), but I think a lot of the questions I’m asked might benefit those of you following along at home. So today I wanted to introduce a new series called Saturday Sit Down With Haven. Or. Haven Doesn’t Give You Advice Because She’s Not a Licensed Medical Professional But She Attempts To Provide Insight to Your Inquiries.

Ok, maybe that second one is a bit of a mouthful. I’ll figure it out. Anyways. Since I don’t usually post on Saturdays, and I feel an unreasonable amount of guilt on days that I don’t post, I’m going to take advantage of this open air time to bring you the answers to your random questions about Borderline Personality Disorder. And maybe if you’re really really lucky and ask nicely I’ll even answer a personal question or two, like, do I have any stuffed animals, or what’s my favorite candy (Trick question! I’d just throw it up anyways). Some days I’ll take a look at very serious questions, other days I’ll showcase some of the sillier shit people ask me.

My attention span isn’t phenomenal these days and now that I have a steady sex life I can’t promise I’ll be super diligent with these weekend posts, but I’ll definitely try. Feel free to ask me any question you like either in the Comment section or send me an e-mail at

So without further ado….

Question from a Reader:

What does “Ambivalence” mean for someone with Borderline Personality Disorder?

Webster’s defines ambivalence in this way, “simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings (as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person, or action” and or “continual fluctuation (as between one thing and its opposite).”

Translated. Someone with BPD may seem very inconsistent in their opinions and behavior. Especially when it comes to deciding how we feel about something emotionally. I often fluxuate between loving and hating something (read: someone); eager anticipation and angry impatience; a flood of feelings and being completely detached. This tends to run hand in hand with the whole black and white thinking us Borderlines tend to do.

This is especially applicable in relationships, but can contribute to indecision towards just about any query. For example; when I was in the relationship with my Evil-Ex I knew absolutely that our relationship and the way he treated me was repugnant and terrible yet I couldn’t stop myself from loving him and wasting my days obsessing over our relationship. I loved it, and hated it. I loved him and hated him.

This can make the process of deciding on any course of action very difficult because we see too many paths and potential outcomes. I often get stuck when it comes to making important emotional decisions because I feel so strongly (Or not) in opposing directions at the same time. Or even if I’ve made a very definite decision one moment that a certain way is the way I should proceed, it’s not uncommon for me to go right ahead and do the opposite of what I just told myself I was going to do, of what I know is best for me.

We’re not a consistent bunch of characters. Our ambivalence towards any given emotional situation or decision tends to make us even less predictable.

Psychiatrist and Therapist both try to help me work out my ambivalence. Psychiatrist actually thinks he can medicate it. Personally, I advise keeping a coin on hand and getting good at calling heads or tails. Because really, if you feel both ways, and are likely to go in either direction, does it really matter which way you choose first? Just flip the damn coin and get on with it. 


  1. Haha. I love this post. When it comes to decisions for others, everyone comes to me because I can see the bad and the good and reach a decision in moments everyone is happy. When it comes to myself I experience exactly what you stated up above, and I become so overwhelmed I can make no decision at all. So maybe I will turn to the heads or tails idea. Sometimes the only thing I can go on is what I don't want. Does that make sense. I can see how landing on one or the other might help me figure out what I don't want, and then wa-la magician style I may see what I do want. Thanks Haven!

  2. very much how i feel. My mother ifuriates me when i can't make a decision and she simply says, 'Follow your instinct, what does it tell you?' *FACEPALM*. 'MOTHER, MY INSTINCT IS TELLING ME DIFFERENT THINGS!' Ambivalence, i know all about that. sigh.


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

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