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April 08, 2005

Borderline Personality Disorder

Sorry I haven't blogged in awhile. I've been moving into a new place, plus I'm having a lot of family problems, which are leading into problems at work, and thus I am rather stressed out.

Mental illness runs in my family on my mothers side. My mother has Borderline Personality Disorder.

The DSM-IV defines this as
A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
  1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
  2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
  3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
  4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
  5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
  6. affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).
  7. chronic feelings of emptiness
  8. inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
  9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms
I myself have mental illnesses, although am not BPD (yet anyway). I actually have many of the problems described in Understanding the Borderline Mother of a child marked the "bad" kid. My brother was the "good" kid. This is called "splitting" - #2 on the list above. Described in I Hate You, Don't Leave Me:

The world of a BP, like that of a child, is split into heroes and villains. A child emotionally, the BP cannot tolerate human inconsistencies and ambiguities; he cannot reconcile anther is good and bad qualities into a constant coherent understanding of another person. At any particular moment, one is either Good or EVIL. There is no in-between; no gray area....people are idolized one day; totally devalued and dismissed the next.

Normal people are ambivalent and can experience two contradictory states at one time; BPs shift back and forth, entirely unaware of one feeling state while in the other.

When the idealized person finally disappoints (as we all do, sooner or later) the borderline must drastically restructure his one-dimensional conceptionalization. Either the idol is banished to the dungeon, or the borderline banishes himself in other to preserve the all-good image of the other person.

Splitting is intended to shield the BP from a barrage of contradictory feelings and images and from the anxiety of trying to reconcile those images. But splitting often achieves the opposite effect. The frays in the BP's personality become rips, and the sense of his own identity and the identity of others shifts even more dramatically and frequently.

Around 50% of the time my mother was an awesome, caring, loving mother, but the other 50% she was verbally and emotionally abusive, and all this confusion and "walking on eggshells" certainly left me with a great number of problems. I have had OCD as long as I can remember. I started suffering from clinical depression and trichotillomania when I was 15, and from self-injury shortly after that.

Needless to say, my mother and I now have a rocky relationship. Recently we were doing very good, but then a few weeks ago she just completely lost it. I get constant phone calls from her calling me names and other hateful things, she's flooding my family with suicide threats, and smashing up all the furniture in the house.

Everytime she gets like this, it's like a huge trigger for me. Even though I don't live with her, my mind is still on "high alert" when she is like this. I'm not getting enough done at work now, and my boss is ragging on me. It doesn't help that she calls me constantly at work to scream at me and tell me it's my fault she's going to kill herself. One day I had to unplug my phone because she wouldn't stop calling. But then everyone who needed to contact me complained they couldn't get ahold of me. I'm pulling more hair out than usual and am worrying about getting a bald spot - I haven't had one in 4 years, and would like to keep it that way.

I will need to keep my spirit strong to make it past this, and may not blog about politics and such for awhile while I focus on helping myself.

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At September 30, 2006 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mother is borderline too. Like you, I was abused as a kid and haven't recovered. I haven't had any contact with her in 5 years - no regrets. The only justice is the misery they bring upon themselves....Good luck.

 
At September 30, 2006 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mother is borderline too. Like you, I was abused as a kid and haven't recovered. I haven't had any contact with her in 5 years - no regrets. The only justice is the misery they bring upon themselves....Good luck.

 
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