Friday, June 1, 2012

Lucid Analysis – Trials in Therapy: Ups and Downs

Therapy is hard. I talk about things I wouldn’t normally talk about. Things that I would usually keep to myself, bottle up, and hide away. Which is good. Having someone that is utterly uninvolved in my real life to brain dump to, who is supportive, and constructively helpful is so many kinds of reassuring. I find myself getting worked up about something and thinking, “I really need to talk to Therapist about this.” She has no involvement in my outside life, has no one that she could or would speak to about me, her entire purpose is to listen to me and help me. To be there for me, when I have things to deal with that I can’t with anyone else. It’s still hard for me to express myself sometimes, but she listens. And sometimes that makes all the difference.

I have a wedding this Saturday. It’s going to be a huge all day affair, with everyone from a certain crowd of people. A certain crowd that includes Friend and his wife. This will be the first time I’ve seen them since our friendship ended. I have no clue how this is going to go. With other people who have had serious problems with him and ended the friendship he has been very disrespectful. He’ll poke at them on social media sites, address them in comments, greet them in public… all very polite as if nothing was wrong… when these people have had severe enough issues with him that they have asked him repeatedly to not interact with them. He likes to apologize for things, until he finds out he’s actually been the cause of actual harm. Then he tries to make every excuse in the book as to why what he did wasn’t really that bad and acts as if the other person is making too much of a big deal of the thing. He’ll say things like, “Gee, I’m just being civil and polite by saying hello,” when really he’s forcing his presence on people that he’s wounded and disrespecting their boundaries. He's so passive-aggressive! I’m worried he’s going to do this to me and I’m worried about how I’ll react.

Traditionally I’m very good at keeping a calm and aloof fa├žade in public. The others that I mention refuse to acknowledge him in any way even if he speaks to him directly. They ignore him and move on. To me this is too dramatic and I can see myself being civil but curt. If he says hello, I’ll say hello back. If he asks me how I am, I’ll say fine. And that will be the end of my tolerance. Anything after that is going to get a very catty response in a very polite voice with a lovely glowing smile.

Therapist thinks it’s good that I think about the worst case scenario and have a plan for it. She was actually more worried about his wife, who has a history of going manic when overstimulated and punching people in the face (i.e. the woman I greatly cared about who was a good friend of hers who had done nothing to her). I honestly expect less of a problem from her. If she knows someone dislikes her, she talks about them behind their back profusely but doesn’t usually engage them.

Which is something else that destroyed my spirits. Last weekend I had a small gathering for Memorial Day. Two of the people I invited see Friend and his wife on a regular basis because of an event we do. I mentioned I missed going to those but I probably would never go again (Because it’s held at their house). He said, “Yeah, I heard their version of what happened.” I gaped at him for a few seconds before telling him that I’d like to hear what they’re saying but I didn’t want to talk about it then. Tech Boy was there, as well as Doc and his girlfriend. They don’t know about the history there and I have no intention of sharing all that trauma. So I know they’re talking about me and knowing how Friend’s wife is, I can only imagine the exaggerated load of lies and bullshit she’s spinning. She is absolutely the type of person that believes every story deserves a bit of embellishment. And by ‘a bit’ I mean enough to make what actually happened almost unrecognizable. My heart dropped into my stomach and my mood plummeted into depression and anxiety instantly. I wanted to vomit. I smiled through it, changed the subject, and tried to steer the party in a different direction. Bottling, bottling, bottling. Not good. I’m furious. Seething, raging, anger. Fury.

I have no idea what bullshit they’re telling people. I did find it amusing that my buddy expressed it as “their version” of what happened, which indicates to me that he’s well aware that they may not be entirely truthful. There’s that at least. Frankly, anyone that really knows me isn’t going to buy their bullshit and I have that piece of mind.

Adding rage to the resentment I feel is just not a good combination though. His wife is a social bully. She makes sure everything is held at their place so she can control who comes and remain the center of attention. People put up with her because they have no way to avoid her. It makes me angry because I can no longer see a whole crowd of people I like as often as I used to. Therapist asked me if I was not invited or what… I really didn’t understand why she felt it mattered if I was invited or not. Even if I was technically invited under the banner of our group (which btw I am), I know I am not welcome at there house, nor would I want to go anywhere near them. My level of frustration as she kept asking about this was intense and I didn’t see why it mattered at all if I was invited or not. I’m not going. I want nothing to do with them.

Therapist thinks I might find closure when I see him. If I see pain or regret in his face it might make things better. Better? I don’t want things to be better. I want to be angry. Anger makes things easier to deal with. It’s like a wall of fire shielding me from the oncoming hoard.

Ugh.

So how about a spot of good news. Well, sad news mixed with positive movement. Roommate is moving at the end of the month. It still doesn’t seem real to me, but I’m accepting of the change at this point. Remember I mentioned Doc in a post about Evil-Ex? Well in the last couple months I’ve been hanging out with him and his girlfriend almost every weekend. I adore them. I’ve known Doc for about 5 years and girlfriend for a couple though his girlfriend and I haven’t been closer until recently. She’s an absolute doll. And going to be moving in with me once Roommate leaves =) I’ll need to think of a moniker for her (I really want to call her Dr. Girlfriend b/c she’s Docs girlfriend and the imagery makes me giggle but it’s not a very accurate idea of her). Anyways. So we’ve been hanging out quite a lot and I knew she was unhappy with her current living situation. A couple weeks back Roommate even suggested I ask her. I’ve been sort of waiting for the right time and I didn’t really know how to do it, but I managed it and they were both very excited by my offer. She texted me a couple days later to make sure I was serious, which of course I am, and she told me this was one of the best things to happen to her in a long, long time. And the best part of all of this, she already knows about my BPD, my depression, my everything. Having dealt with a lot of her own problems she totally understands, isn’t worried about any of it at all, and is actually relieved that I am so accepting of her. I don’t have to hide what is happening with me (not that I talk about it all very much outside of therapy and this blog), but it’s really comforting to know that I don’t have to sneak around in my own apartment with these secrets held over my head.

My apartment is my safe space. It’s the first place I’ve lived in New York and only the 3rd place I’ve lived ever that actually felt like I wasn’t in danger or felt trauma and abject loneliness walking through the door (the 1st and 2nd places were when I lived with my brother and sister respectively at University). I think she really needs a space like that too, so I’m really happy that she is excited by the prospect. It doesn’t change how much I’m going to miss Roommate, but it definitely makes the transition less scary. So there’s a definite bright spot in all this gloom. I’ll get a very sweet new roomie and a lot more time with Doc. Therapist is relieved for me too. I’d been avoiding the prospect of roommate hunting because it’s too sad thinking about Roommate leaving. I was prepared to just pay for rent and everything myself for as long as I could. This really relieves that stress.

And of course Therapist asked me about Tech Boy. ::sigh:: So here’s the thing. He made me cry on Friday. I was super excited to see him all day. We were goofing off and being all cutesy. He kept telling me how pretty I was and going on about how I had great curves but was still muscular (I really like that he’s an athlete and appreciates how I work out). He’d been drinking watching hockey and whatnot (I only had a glass and a half of wine, so practically nothing) and he made a really callous remark, in jest, about something that I’m self-conscious about. He didn’t know I was self-conscious about it. Hell, he doesn’t know I’m self-conscious at all. I know he was joking around, and he didn’t mean to upset me, but the remark really fucking stung. My mood switched instantly and I pulled back from him. It took me a couple seconds to compose myself but I told him that was hurtful. He apologized instantly and I tried to suppress how I was feeling. I tried pushing it down. I tried to watch the match and not look at him, but I could feel the depth of sadness and hurt overwhelming me.

Have you ever cried silently before. No heaving sobs, no deep breathing, no runny nose or shaking shoulders, just tears spilling from your eyes. I couldn’t stop them and I hated that more than anything. He kept trying to get me to look at him. Trying to tilt my face or take my hand from shielding my eyes. I wasn’t having it and after a minute or two of that I went upstairs to the bathroom. It was either sit alone in the bathroom crying or leave his place altogether.

I hate that he saw me crying more than I hate the reason he made me cry. I hate showing that kind of hurt, that kind of vulnerability. I don’t deal with it well. I felt so worthless. In those moments I wanted to cut up my arms and punish myself for being weak. I haven’t had such a strong urge to cut in a long time. I didn’t. But I wanted to.

Shortly after he came in. I was still trying to stop the tears and still didn’t want to look directly at him. Didn’t want him to see the shame pouring from my eyes. He wouldn’t let me get away with it. He cupped my face and told me how sorry he was. He was just joking around. I always come across as so confident he had no idea I would be hurt by what he said. I try so hard. I try so hard to stay in control of myself, but my body just won’t be what I wish it would be all the time. I’m not perfect, I try so hard, but I still have flaws. He doesn’t think they’re flaws, he doesn’t expect or even want me to be ‘perfect’. Perfect isn’t a real thing anyways. He gave me a few minutes to get myself cleaned up and I went back down and sat next to him. He was very clearly distraught and I told him it was okay.

Remember how I always say “Know Your Triggers”? This is clearly one of mine. Anything body related opens a massive wound for me. This stems back to my parents, when my eating disorders began, and the pressure I felt growing up to be perfect but never being good enough. Huge, huge wound. I knew this. He didn’t. Now he does.

Needless to say Therapist was very concerned that I felt the need to hurt myself. She’s also concerned that I feel self-conscious around him now. I always feel self-conscious to an extent but it hasn’t been nearly the terrible thing it has been in the past with him. Now though, I’m terribly aware of everything I don’t approve of which I’m sure he’ll see. Therapist tries to reassure me that he clearly adores me and he doesn’t seem to perceive me that way. Therapist tries to bring me back to a place where I can recognize that because this is such a large wound it is also something I am hypersensitive about. It’s a much bigger deal to me than it might be to someone else. That doesn’t make it hurt less, but it helps me recognize that he wasn’t trying to be intentionally harmful.

I know he felt blindsided by this and it was out of the blue for him. I didn’t explode at him or anything, I was just clearly in a kind of pain that he didn’t recognize in me. Knowing what your triggers are is important. Helping your significant other understand what your triggers are is equally as important so that they don’t trip them. Because often people will hit your triggers, without knowing, and the upset they unintentionally caused can build to explosive proportions they never saw coming. We still haven’t really talked about it but I’m sure it will come up at some point and I’ll have to explain myself. But at the very least, I think it’s safe to say that he won’t be doing that again.

When we finally went to bed he was super affectionate (and has been even moreso). We had sex for hours. TMI? Please, not here. I'm not sure if it was to make me feel better or to make him feel better. Or comforting for us both.

The last thing I wanted to be was self-conscious for this wedding. I was already having doubts as to whether I’d be able to handle going and I’m definitely having moments where I think I may back out. But my dress is seriously adorable as are my shoes and accessories. I just, want, to not be so affected by everything =( It’s so hard sometimes. But I can also see how I’m reacting better than I would have before. I didn’t hurt myself. I didn’t storm out. I did communicate that I was hurt. I didn’t socially isolate myself the next day (even though I really, really wanted to). I’m managing. I’m coping better. Still a ways to go but I’m getting there.

Therapist also went on about how my mirror was broken. The mirror that I see when I look at my reflection is not what is accurately shown. I know this. I can look at myself in the mirror and to my eyes see my reflection alter over the course of a minute or two. I don’t know how to see accurately. I don’t know how to look in a mirror and see what is actually there if my eyes don’t do it for me. How do you make your eyes see differently? Something I need to keep working on.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Quiet Borderline / Borderline Waif


Borderline Personality Disorder is different for everyone suffering from it. While there are a limited number of things that qualify a person for this disorder, how they display, which combinations of symptoms they display in, is all individual. Something else extremely important to keep in mind, is that BPD is only one aspect of what makes a person who they are. People’s experiences, ideas, likes, dislikes, preferences, and yes, baseline personality are all unique to the individual making even those with BPD unique individuals. Borderline Personality Disorder itself is usually stereotyped as a disorder of disruption, very outwardly volatile mood swings, externally focused aggression, and low-functioning. However, like most stereotypes, this doesn’t hold true for everyone.
Today I want to talk about a “type” of Borderline Characteristic called the Borderline Waif, or elsewise known as The Quiet Borderline. I talked about Dr. Christine Ann Lawson’s description of The Waif Mother, but the Quiet Borderline is something that I’ve seen many times before used to describe a particular expression of BPD (not just of parents).
It’s potentially less common, but equally insidious, maybe moreso, because it can be trickier to diagnose someone who displays characteristics of a Quiet Borderline. Why’s that? Because they are much more likely to Act In, then Act Out. They are not known for raging openly, where other people can see them, so it’s more difficult to recognize that there’s a problem. It’s very typical for only those people that are very close, often intimately involved, with this person to know that there is a problem that needs to be helped with. This is something that I identify with very well. To the outside world anyone you ask would tell you I am the pinnacle of pulled together. They don’t know what goes on inside.
Which ultimately is not that different from what you would consider a classic Borderline presentation. By which I mean that all those underlying reasons for a BPD diagnosis are essentially the same in those that are “quiet” and those that are acting out. The main difference is how it presents and manifests… how a person expresses their symptoms. 
Often the quiet Borderline feels stuck. Incapable of expressing themselves or moving in any direction whatsoever. It’s common for therapists to urge that a quiet Borderline “get things out”, connect with their feelings, and express themselves. This is something that Therapist works very hard on with me. I have an extremely difficult time remaining attached and present in my emotions which makes being able to express my needs and concerns very difficult because I don’t feel like they continue to exist or belong to me. Even with provocation a quiet Borderline could sit there seemingly unaffected and unruffled… until the time comes when they are alone and are able to deal with their inner turmoil in private; in silence.

Depression is very common for the Quiet Borderline. As Dr. A.J. Mahari notes, “At the root of so much of BPD, is anger and rage because it is anger and rage that are summoned up to protect against the pain. If one is not acting out that anger and rage (classic borderline presentation) then one is more likely to have an even more severe depression since, essentially, depression is anger turned inward.”
I find this to be true for me. If I can’t express my inner rage I have a sense of helplessness. I feel trapped in my own skin. Which only acts to compound my anger and increase my need to rage more. The longer I repress my feelings, the harder they are to control. I begin to isolate myself so others won’t see me in such a state. My loneliness increases. I sink further. And it becomes harder and harder to dig myself out of the darkness that depression is shoveling onto my head.
Anne, a quiet borderline, writes:
"I do not rage or SI (self-injure). I have never been able to express anger -- my mother simply did not allow it and I have never found a manner to let it out. I am just too tightly wound to get angry.
For the most part, I feel utterly alone, empty and scared. I crave being alone but often end up abusing prescription meds when I am alone. However, I am terrified of people and avoid being around them. I am extremely anxious and frequently depressed.

I feel different--I feel like I am encapsulated. I am not like other people and do not know or understand how other people feel. Sometimes I feel like I am watching life go by, as an outsider. I don't have much hope of ever feeling normal--I don't know what it means."


A Quiet Borderline turns it all inward where no one else can see. But whether a Borderline Acts In or Acts Out, the resulting emotional void is still the same. Often the Quiet Borderline is at arguably greater risk though, because while a Borderline that Acts Out may get a lot of negative attention, at least they’re getting attention which creates an opening for intervention. With the Quiet Borderline you may never even know that there is a problem that needs healing.

The quiet borderline tends to experience an imploding self-destruction whereas the acting out borderline's experience is that of an exploding self-destruction that flings emotional shrapnel on any and all who get too close. Both are emotionally unavailable more often than not. The quiet borderline uses avoidance and silence as ways of protecting against feared intimacy and the acting out borderline uses confrontation, intimidation, and often berating criticism.” –Dr. A.J. Mahari

For the Quiet Borderline, instead of allowing others the chance to abandon them, they often pull away from the crowd to avoid abandonment. However, that doesn’t mean they aren't still suffering from abandonment. Especially if they're in the throws of self-harm. “Rather than act in a way that may lead others to abandon her, she continues to abandon herself (and her inner child) by repeatedly being self-abusive and by hating herself. She turns this fear of abandonment in on herself. Many borderlines, the acting out borderlines, project this inner conflict out onto others. This leads an "acting in" borderline to quietly, yet relentlessly "emotionally" bleed inward, deeper and deeper on and into that void where one's self needs to be known. In the absence of knowing that self, the repeated abuse, abandonment and annihilation of that self, even to the "acting in" borderline are experienced as being perpetrated upon them by a foreign persona -- a false self.”
The fear of abandonment and rejection felt so acutely by those with Borderline Personality Disorder often leads to either Acting Out and taking out that pain on others, or Acting In and taking that pain out on themselves. That doesn’t mean these don’t comingle or change with time. When I was  younger I Acted Out, I raged, I viciously berated and went on the offensive when I perceived a threat to my sense of self. I am almost completely the opposite now. I Act In, taking out my hurt, loneliness, disappointment, shame, and everything else on myself. That doesn’t mean that I don’t occasionally have an impulsive slip and release those issues to the outside world. I do occasionally, just not very often.
Dr. A.J.Mahari has one last thing to say that I think bears repeating:
“The quiet borderline is not the 'traditional borderline'. The quiet borderline is not the most feared borderline. The quiet borderline does know the same rage as the "acting out" borderline. The rage is directed inward instead of outward. In many cases it is the quiet borderline that may well be at greater risk. These "acting in" borderlines, however, are hurting themselves at alarming rates and evening killing themselves. The failures of mental health systems to adequately address this is yet but one more abandonment imposed upon the quiet borderline. The quiet borderline is often not taken seriously enough or heard in time to make a difference.”

It’s important to recognize that there are differences in how Borderline Personality Disorder presents. We can’t heal what we can’t recognize.

So how do you recognize a Quiet Borderline/Borderline Waif?..... stick around and we'll see if we can find out.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Characterizing Borderline Behavior: The Waif


Hello Everyone! I hope you all my U.S. readers had a wonderful extended Memorial day weekend. I hope everyone had a great weekend. The only problem with long weekends is that when you get back to work you have to do two days’ worth of work in one, hence my extra day off from blogging. I hate when that happens because I have so much lined up! However, we still have one last order of business to cover when it comes to Borderline Parents. The final characteristic behavior that Dr. Christine Lawson describes see is The Waif.





The Waif

Typical Thoughts

"I am a worthless victim. I do so want to be loved and protected, but I am not worthy of it." Philosophy: The glass is not only half-empty, but is about to spill all over the floor I just washed.

Oh goodness. I hate every single sentiment in that sentence but I know I’ve felt all of it while rebelling against them at the same time.

Typical Feelings

Helpless, hopeless, and despair. Rage can be masked by sadness and depression, but released by rejection or abandonment. Waifs distort their own errors or disappointments, leading to more shame. They feel vulnerable, defective, anxious, moody, and irrationally fearful.

Helpless in terms of life stuff; holding a job, paying my bills, going to the grocery… I am not. In terms of relationships though ::sigh::. This is very typical for me. Or at least it has been traditionally. It’s getting better.

Typical Actions and Central Dilemma

They look to others to "save them," but ultimately refuse assistance because helplessness makes them feel safe. Ironically, if they mistrust everyone and let no one get close, they stay in control and no one can abandon or disappoint them. Waifs may hurt themselves to express shame, but they are capable of raging if they feel rejected or abandoned. They don't ask for what they need, then appear Martyr-like because others can't read their minds and give it to them. Waifs may have crying spells and be unable to give nurturing to others.

            I don’t want anyone to “save me”, but I do want someone that I can be with that won’t mistreat me. Often we’ve had so many horrific relationships, abuse, and neglect, that it’s impossible to reconcile what we want and need between our ability to accept it for fear of it being used against us yet again. Just because we want it, doesn’t mean we trust it, because we’ve learned that things can go horribly wrong. This mistrust of everyone doesn’t just magically appear. We’ve learnedto mistrust by experience. When things have been forced beyond your control in ways that are extremely hurtful, yes, staying in control to protect ourselves becomes a priority. When abandonment and rejection are the things that hurt the most, not letting people close enough to you to allow for this possibility seems logical. It’s lonely, but logical. It’s hard to ask for what you need when you believe you won’t receive it, or you’ll be judged as incompetent for needing help or something from another person. I have an extremely difficult time asking for anything of others. It feels like a threat to my independence and like they may judge me as being less than the perfectly capable person I need to project. I don’t want others to see those vulnerabilities. Even if those vulnerabilities, or mere requests for assistance, are extremely acceptable. They’re not acceptable to me. Exposing yourself allows an opening to be wounded.

Bleh. I think this description of the Waif is very limited. Crying spells, sure. Everyone has times where they’re going through something so difficult that they can’t be as nurturing as they should be.

Typical Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions of Family Members

·         "The greater the sacrifice, the more I show I love her."

·         "She desperately needs help, so I must save her, no matter what."

·         "My needs are not as important as hers."

·         "If I learn enough about BPD, I can heal her."

·         "I like being needed, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the Borderline's neediness."

·         "I get confused and frustrated when she rejects my help."

·         "Her behavior isn't all that abnormal. I can manage it and so can the kids."

·         "I try to help, but she turns it down again and again."

·         "If a method for coping with this doesn't work, I plan to keep trying. It will eventually succeed."

·         "I am unable to protect my children or myself from this behavior."

The Effects of the Waif's Behavior on Children

·         They feel angry, afraid and alone.

·         Children may feel like failures for not making the Borderline happy, or they may keep trying and trying until the mother's death. This enmeshment (inability to separate) may hinder grown child's relationships, which may be fraught with dependency.

·         The child may become cynical, angry, and feel manipulated or turn into an over responsible nursemaid seeking elusive approval.

·         The message to children is that life is something to be endured until you die.

·         The Borderline shelters children to such an extent they find autonomy disconcerting.

Ugh. I couldn’t imagine sheltering anyone so much. On the one hand knowing how tragic a lot of my experiences have been, I think it would be absolutely reasonable for anyone to want to protect a child from the harshness of this world and that kind of trauma. I’m not crazy to think that. Of that I’m sure. But at the same time, I know that I’ve survived and I have had many beautiful experiences as well. I wouldn’t want to inhibit anyone from seeing the light in all that darkness either.



The Waif seems to want soothing and often leaves others feeling helpless because she is often inconsolable. As Dr. Lawson writes that the Waif might say, "I can't allow myself to need your help and be in control {myself} at the same time." The irony is that the Waif feels that in accepting help she is losing control.

            Yep.

The Waif can self soothe with the compulsive use of alcohol, drugs, money, food, sex, work, and likes to play the role of the martyr. She can often become hysterical to get attention.

I rarely get hysterical, but otherwise this is not foreign to me. He keeps saying martyr and it bothers me, because I have never set out with the idea that I wanted to be martyred. It’s not like I’m trying to manipulate people into seeing me as a victim. Self-sacrifice, however, is something that is ingrained into part of who I am. Remember my schema discussions? Taking care of others is often how we hope to make ourselves indispensable to them so they won’t abandon us. It’s not about building up this superhero image of ourselves, it’s about not losing the love of people we feel we need in our lives. When the prospect of losing them feels real, yes, it’s painful enough to get hysterical about.

Unfortunately, nothing others do for the Waif seems to be quite good enough. She could be described as a bottomless pit in that if you give an inch, she will want a foot, and if you give a foot, she will want a yard, etc. (I know plenty of people that aren’t Borderline that will do this) Others usually wind up feeling "used" and burned out and then will avoid her only compounding her fears of abandonment and rejection which leads to the dysphoria and anxiety which are the beginning of the self-reinforcing cycle all over again.

I’m Other-directed as opposed to Self-directed. I’m much more likely to give an inch, food, yard, than take. But I guess that’s what would make me a martyr. This guy seems to be contradicting himself. We’re martyrs that don’t ask for anything, but then we take more than what others can give? How does that work?

The Waif rarely has insight into her own behavior and is more likely to play the victim than to take any responsibility. If challenged to take responsibility she will either further sink into helplessness or flip and accuse others of persecuting her.

Sigh. It’s not “playing” if you actually feel like a victim, which let’s face it, has often been the case if you’re dealing with someone who has been abused and not fully healed from that trauma. I do think I’m rarer in the idea that I can usually take responsibility for myself… if I see how I’ve done something wrong… which I know is often difficult for those of us with BPD, but I’m the kind of person that sees myself as inherently flawed so while I might rage against the idea that something is my fault internally, I can acknowledge the fact that I’ve probably screwed up too and my behavior wasn’t good enough. I’m pretty self-aware too. If I did something, I can own up to it. While I do still have that voice screaming in the back of my head that people will leave me if I’ve done something wrong, I have noticed, that if I have actually done something wrong AND own my responsibility of it, people are actually LESS likely to leave and MORE likely to respect the fact that I have some integrity. Good thing to keep in mind when it comes to challenging our maladaptive thinking.

Dr. Lawson writes that the Waif Mother's motto is "Life is too hard" to which I would add, "Nobody loves me", "you'll be better off without me", and "you'll be sorry when I'm gone."

            Life is hard. We often have a hard lot. But is life TOO hard? I’ve managed to get through it so far. The rest though, I’m certainly guilty of those thoughts.

Children of Waifs often become excellent caregivers and often enter the helping professions as nurses, social workers, psychologists, EMTs and other crisis workers. These adult children of Waifs have spent their whole lives making order out of chaos, managing other people's emotions for them, and consoling the inconsolable in situations where there is a high level of subjective distress. These are skills which are invaluable in situations where most people would fear to tread and become paralyzed. For the Adult Child of a Waif, they, many times, have "been there and done that".





 


I think it’s really important to keep in mind that things are not always this way. Things may often be this way, but they’re not a pre-determined path of unending emotional rollercoasters. Good days happen. Fun days happen. It’s just that there is a lot of pain, frustration, fear, and anger mixed in.
I have mixed feelings about posting about the Witch and Queen types because I don’t feel like those describe me at all and therefore I can’t give an enlightened view of what people actually feel in order to respond to things that way. I can imagine, but I can’t say for sure. It’s good to know that those descriptions are there, but it’s also to keep in mind that there are ‘reasons’ that people become that way and act as they do. These kind of descriptions written by those that are not afflicted with these kinds of thinking processes do not have the same kind of insight. I’m not saying that any kind of nasty behavior is justifiable, but I am saying that it’s more complicated than just saying someone is a mean person. I recognize a lot of The Waif characteristics in myself, but how these authors describe those traits are overly simplified and don’t give an accurate or complete view of what these feelings mean. That’s the problem I have with a lot of mental health professionals turned author. I appreciate the information and the effort to educate, but there’s a level of understanding, a depth, that is difficult to portray if you’ve never experienced it.
Of all the Characteristic Behaviors of the Borderline “Type” I think I would best be described as the Waif with Hermit qualities. It’s also important to keep in mind that no one fits into a box. Or a label. There are types, but even these authors emphasize that each ‘type’ is limited and people are more than just the group of characteristics that make up that particular check list. Grouping helps, labeling helps, but only if it’s used constructively and as an aid to understanding and healing. Otherwise what’s the point? These descriptions were primarily aimed at Borderline Parents. I have read quite a bit about the description of The Waif as applied to Borderlines in general (not just parents) and I’d like to explore that further…

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