I have noticed this trend for awhile. The trend of describing Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) as something we make others painfully experience and not as something we painfully make ourselves experience. I know that many of you not diagnosed with BPD will have experiences of others blaming you for the turmoil you cause in their lives but I’m specifically talking about the way mental health professionals and others who discuss BPD describe the disorder. Personality disorders in general appear to get this stigmatizing treatment of little emphasis on our personal suffering and great emphasis on the pain we cause others.
I was searching through Psychology Today yesterday came across a collection of articles entitled, “Is There a Borderline in Your Life?: Managing the Needy Borderline Next Door.” Compare that to the sites stories on:
- Robin Williams/Depression/Suicide: “RIP Robin Williams: Remembering the genius and understanding the dark side of comedy.”
- Autism: “On the Spectrum: An increasing number of children are being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. But what causes them? How should they be treated? And what do we still have to learn?”
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: “A Little Obsessive Compulsive: Excessive cleaning, extreme superstition, rechecking the door locks—these are a few OCD symptoms people suffer. In these pages, read about one teenager’s account of the disorder, an accurate depiction on film, and the thoughts of the obsessive compulsive.”
- Shyness/Anxiety: “Get Confident!: How to beat shyness and social anxiety”
I don’t know about you but I’m feeling a little hated.
Looking at the BPD articles themselves we’re then faced with titles and information about, Kings and Queens of Chaos, How to Diagnose an Unhealthy Relationship, The Perfect Storm in Borderlines, Colleag-emy #2: The Workplace Diva, The Roller Coaster Ride of Loving Someone with BPD (cute article though), The Benefits of Bad Relationships, and Big Time Liars: Top 7 Lies They Tell Themselves.
Many of these articles are not even written for people WITH BPD but for the people who need to “survive” them. The article, Kings and Queens of Chaos, opens with a little story of a woman who goes into a rage when her brother and his wife leave a wedding early to deal with the wife’s panic attack. That’s how readers first meet BPD in the article and I personally find that humiliating. The whole incident is just described as something her BPD makes her do because can’t do A. B. C. or D. Why is there no mention of the pain she must have been experiencing? Well, probably because her reaction is being seen as completely irrational therefore not worthy of analysis and deep understanding.
Now, some of these articles do briefly mention that people who experience BPD are in pain and provide quotes from individuals with the diagnosis but I still feel like it’s missing the compassion. People with BPD are still being told how we can fix ourselves for others instead of how others can help support us. The amount of articles I’ve seen articles that discuss how to support someone with depression and anxiety or what to say or not say and the amount is pretty overwhelming.
To wrap up I would like to call attention to the article “The Roller Coaster Ride of Loving Someone with BPD“. It is an extremely cute article that makes me want to cry.
It’s hard being in a relationship with someone who suffers from BPD. But it is nowhere near as hard as being the one with BPD. My girlfriend is not a burden, her BPD is. Our relationship is a molehill compared to the mountain of a struggle she has to go through to try to overcome her condition. – Paddy Vipond
Thank you Paddy, that is all I have ever wanted people to understand.