Life in a Bind – BPD and me

Borderline Personality Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and my therapy journey. Listed in Top Ten Resources for BPD in 2016 by goodtherapy.org. I write for welldoing.org under the name Clara Bridges.

Memory Monday – “Swallowing up the storm – BPD and anger”

10 Comments

*TRIGGER WARNING – SUICIDAL IDEATION*

For many people with BPD, changes in mood and can be sudden and dramatic, particularly when precipitated by a powerful trigger. In my own experience, my resistance to particular triggers wears down over time, so that rather than becoming gradually ‘immune’ through exposure, the opposite happens – the more often I become triggered in a certain way, the more easily and more quickly I spiral down into incredibly negative thought patterns. It’s as if the feeling of being ‘trapped’ and the belief that the situation can’t and won’t change, is reinforced every time I find myself at that point.

I haven’t said a great deal about my marriage in my blog – out of a sense of ‘propriety’, wanting to protect my husband’s privacy, and to avoid any awkwardness given that a couple of friends who know us personally, read my blog. However, I don’t think it would be too ‘disloyal’ to admit that unfortunately, my husband is one of my greatest triggers – or rather, his words, and our arguments, are. I think it would also be fair to say that the triggers are as powerful as they are, because of the way in which I have come to associate him, and certain patterns of behaviour, with my mother and how I felt when I was younger. After these arguments, I am left feeling worthless, annihilated, and despairing. My mind turns to suicidal ideation, and the phrase ‘I can’t live like this’ repeatedly presents itself to me.

Last Friday was one such triggering evening, which led to me, for the first time, to begin to act on thoughts I had had for a long time, of driving to ‘the place in my plan’ (if I can put it that way). Not necessarily because I had definitely decided to end my life, but because I felt I needed to know what it would be like to be there. How would I feel? I also had a vague thought I might phone the Samaritans but didn’t want to do that from home. I picked up by bag, put my coat on, told my husband I was going out, and went out of the door – at which point my husband said something perfectly ordinary, but something that made me hesitate and come back in.

Sunday night was also triggering – but that time things were different. I think it was probably one of the briefest spikes in intense despair I have had, dying down almost as quickly as it appeared. The suicidal ideation was there and for a short period I felt very unsafe, despite being at home with my husband and children still around. But the feelings of worthlessness did not continue all evening and rather than being consumed by sadness, I was angry – I still am. And I think that made a difference. Rather than absorbing it all into myself as I had done on Friday night, and turning it into a different, self-critical emotion, I gave my anger outward expression. Perhaps not in the best or most productive or most helpful way, but not in the worst way, either. It involved some fridge door slamming, and some use of swear words, and some heavy sarcasm (though directed self-mockingly at myself, rather than at him). But it seemed to work – at least with regard to reducing the desire to inflict pain (or worse) upon myself.

And so given recent events, I thought it would be timely to link to a post from the summer of 2014, on BPD and anger:

https://lifeinabind.com/2014/08/17/swallowing-up-the-storm-bpd-and-anger/

Re-reading it now, the idea thatΒ  ‘disappointed expectations’ might lie behind at least some of my anger, seems very persuasive. Friday was even more of a blow because it came so soon after an evening when for the first time we had spoken more openly about how we felt about our marriage and what we wanted to change, in the presence of a couple from church. For a short time it felt like a step forward – and then on Friday it felt as though nothing had changed. Opening up and being vulnerable was incredibly difficult for me – I spent a good part of the meeting physically shaking with the effort. And yet to have ‘business as usual’ occur on the Friday night felt as though everything I had said had gone unacknowledged and unheard. I’m sure he feels the same about me – and that we both have a lot to learn about ourselves, each other, and the way we relate to one another. But in the meantime, I will try to give expression to my anger a bit more often – not in deliberately hurtful or vengeful ways, but in ways that allow me to express something, rather than internalise something, and in ways that aren’t likely to be as risky to my well-being.

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10 thoughts on “Memory Monday – “Swallowing up the storm – BPD and anger”

  1. Do hang around and continue to find reasons to do so. You would be horribly missed.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This…yeah. I can’t vocalise whenever I read things like this how I feel. Torn between wanted to support the blooper and at the same time cry and yell “me too”. Stay strong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Apparently I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t write “wanting” or “blogger”. You are now, and forevermore, a blooper!

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  3. I am very happy you did not act upon your thoughts any more than perhaps visualizing places to end things.
    Those moments can be the most lonely and gut wrenching because I know I am convinced that “they” will be better off without me.
    I went through a really mind f*cking period in my thirties after being diagnosed with BPD where I finally realized that I was damned if I did reach out for help and damned if I didn’t reach out for help (looked at as being manipulative and needy if I asked for help and scolded when I did not reach out for help and ended up overdosing).
    After a while my whole “therapeutic” team threw in the towel basically abandoning me and for the first time in my life I got angry at someone other than me!!! Instead of internalizing my anger and cutting, getting more suicidal or overdosing, I got so f’*ing mad at them for basically leaving without any options for treatment or therapy, that I fumed and turned my inner anger outward to try and find other “therapeutic” people to help me work on my abuse issues.
    I can’t say I know how you feel when you feel suicidal because we all have our own memories and images, histories, distortions, family of origin crap, pressures of day to day living and just overall sinking depression at the state of the world.
    I think I can empathize and feel with you and for you in these times when life is tough.
    Take good care of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much – it meant a lot to read this when I was going through these emotions, and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to reply and say so at the time….it was a pretty horrendous week (for reasons relating to husband) followed by a pretty horrendous week (for reasons related to therapy). But painful and horrible though it was, I have realised a lot, and thought about a lot, and I think what’s happened has been really important and in a way needed to happen, in one way or another, for me to move forward. I’m not trying to make light of it and say it was all ok because it was ‘good in the end’ – yes, I can use what’s happened, and that’s really important but there’s no denying that pain is pain, whatever we learn from it.I’m glad you were able to respond by getting angry and not sinking – what happened to you sounds horrendous, but being able to fight is probably what keeps us here and keeps us moving forward! The ‘I’ll show you….’ attitude can be helpful sometimes, even if not all the time!! πŸ™‚ Thank you again so much for your support and I hope things are okay with you,particularly after your recent discussions with your therapist about touch….take care x

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  4. Giving yourself permission to express yourself is so important. As a human being, you have the right to be heard

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you πŸ™‚ It’s so sad that so many of us feel that that isn’t the case, and that only certain emotions are ok to give voice to….

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know you had a terrible week and I feel for you because of it. It sounds like there might have been some insight but insight has to come at such a tremendous price each time it can feel like your guts are being ripped apart.
        Maybe it is just the soul being pulled back into the form it was supposed to be and releasing those binds are painful? (getting too philosophical now).
        I am still glad you can write about your pain and experiences since in some ways it probably provides some relief also.
        Take good care, Lou

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you -and yes, your comment is absolutely true. Insight is painfully, gut-wrenchingly won, and it does feel like being ripped apart, or crushed, or both! There is no such thing as getting too philosophical πŸ™‚ Okay, maybe in the context of a session there might be, but not otherwise πŸ˜‰ Yes, writing does provide some relief…I never meant to write that post on Saturday, I was actually working (massive work deadlines recently, and so less writing) but felt I really needed to put something down on paper, and it wrote itself very quickly. I always find I feel differently after I have written something – if I felt angry beforehand, I tend to feel like I want to resolve and let go of the anger. I still felt hurt and upset, but after I had finished writing I wanted closeness, rather than to push her away. Writing definitely helps me to process, to calm down, and to see things differently…..You take care too….

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