Letter to friends and family
Posted by
24th Nov 2014

Dear Friends & Family,

I am a sufferer of Borderline Personality Disorder andI just want to say that I understand that knowing me can be a chore. I go from funny and kind to selfish and spiteful in an instant. This mood change may happen in your presence but it is not your fault. It is possible that something that you said or did “triggered” me.

A trigger is something that sets off in my mind a past traumatic event or causes me to have distressing thoughts. While you can attempt to be sensitive with the things you say and do, that’s not always possible, and it’s not always clear why something sets off a trigger.

Please know that at the very same time that I am pushing you away with my words or behavior, I also desperately hope that you will not leave or abandon me in my time of need. This extreme, black or white thinking and experience of totally opposite desires is known as a dialectic

I may do very dramatic things, such as harming myself in some way or something similar. While these cries for help should be taken seriously, I understand that you may experience “burn out” from worrying about me and the repeated behavior. These episodes can get farther and fewer between, and I can experience long periods of stability and regulation of my emotions. Sometimes the best thing to do, if you can muster up the strength in all of your frustration and hurt, is to grab me, hug me, and tell me that you love me, care, and are not leaving.

Another thing that you may find confusing is my apparent inability to maintain relationships. I may jump from one friend to another, going from loving and idolising them to despising them and unfriending them on Facebook. I may avoid you, not answer calls, and decline invitations to be around you — and other times, all I want to do is be around you.This is called splitting, and it’s part of the disorder. Sometimes I take a preemptive strike by “disowning” people before they can reject or abandon me. I am not saying that it is “right.”I can work through this destructive pattern and learn how to be healthier in the context of relationships. It just doesn’t come naturally to me. It will take time and a lot of effort.

Also you may have noticed the “spaced out” look on my face at times. This is called dissociation. My brain disconnects, and my thoughts go somewhere else. This is my way of protecting myself from additional emotional trauma.

If you have decided stand by me and/or someone else with BPD, you need support too. Here are some ideas:

  • Remind yourself that the person’s behavior isn’t your fault
  • Tap into your compassion for the person’s suffering while understanding that their behavior is probably an intense reaction to that suffering
  • Do things to take care of YOU.
  • Read up on BPD and how to self-care around it.
  • Ask questions.
  • Remember that your words, love, and support go a long way in helping your loved one to heal, even if the results are not immediately evident

On a final note, please trust that with professional help, and despite what you may have heard or come to believe, I CAN and WILL get better.

*Personalised letter using sources from the fb group Borderline Personality Disorder UK

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