The Monster Needs Help

I have finished reading “Borderline Personality Disorder: New Perspectives on a Stigmatizing and Overused Diagnosis” by Jacqueline Simon Gunn and Brent Potter. I highly suggest this book if you are interested in viewing BPD in a better light and in a light that I believe to be more correct, that BPD is actually untreated trauma. I want to share with you a story, well a dream, a BPD labeled client of the author’s shared with them, as I believe it describes my experience perfectly and probably yours as well.

He described in great detail a terrifying monster, something like a dinosaur, ravenous, with savage blade like claws perusing him through a dense jungle. The creature issued eardrum-splitting screams as it tore through the thicket. The man ran frantically, but the steps of the giant were rapidly catching up. Realizing he could not outrun the beast, the man stopped and turned around to face the fiend. Upon realizing the pursuit was over, the beast stopped and said, “I’ve been trying to get your attention! I am hurt. Help me.” The man suddenly noticed that the creature had a gash in its leg that required attention. The man tended to the wound, and the nightmare ended. -pg. 109

This dream is a great analogy for the experience of those labeled with BPD. We scream, yell, fight, throw things and destroy ourselves because we are hurt. We are the beast. We terrify and cause great stress to those who love us and want to support us. They are the man.  I do not believe this dream shows any blame though. The beast is not communicating in the right way that it is in pain and the man is not taking the time to stop and try to understand why the beast is upset. It’s only when they come together that the problem is solved. It is the responsibility of both parties to understand what the other needs.

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17 thoughts on “The Monster Needs Help

  1. ” It is the responsibility of both parties to understand what the other needs.”

    That is the most important part of all you said here (imo). Great piece you picked to quote too.

    • Why thank you. When I read it I became overwhelmed with emotion so I knew I had to share it.

      If there is one thing I’ve learned, especially with my current partner, is that I can’t demand for myself all the time. He also cannot ignore all the time. When I respect him (ie: don’t swear at him when I’m angry) and he respects me (ie: gives me his undivided attention when I am upset) then we are both able to work through whatever it is.

  2. Hi Pride, I like the sound of this book and may check it out. Does the work talk about the reliability and validity of the diagnosis? Because that is also very questionable – although of course all the BPD symptoms are real. I totally agree that untreated trauma (but also neglect, which is traumatic in itself) underlie much of what is called “borderline” symptomatology. It’s high time that that was recognized and that the ridiculous notions that BPD is primarily a biological or genetic condition were put in their place.

    • It does question the diagnosis. It does not deny the experience but shows how the disorder came to be and links it to misogyny, over reliance on biological psychiatry and how treating the trauma can improve a person’s outcome. I have seen from my own experience that when I am not in a traumatic situation my “symptoms” are greatly improved. Check it out for sure. I would love to hear your feedback. The therapists that wrote it still operate a bit within the psycho-babble stuff but they look at trauma, how experiences shaped them.

      • Thanks for the blog in the first place…it is so helpful for me and other, I think, to put abstract concepts like BPD and depression into physical images we can ‘see’ and understand more easily. That’s why I write my daily posts about my struggles with BPD and depression in the form of an allegory. Yesterday I faced Fear the Bear head on and today, I’ll write about how the ‘day after’ something traumatic like that feels. So, I could relate to your post on the Monster so easily. Thanks again.

      • I have tried to use existing things to explain but found it difficult until I read this monster story. I think it’s great that you are using that to describe your own experiences! Thank you for your comment 🙂

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