It is the acceptance of the paradoxical irony of the core wound of abandonment coupled with the the abandoned pain of BPD that is the very nature of the reality of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) that is at both its cause and at its epicenter of recovery.
Paradox exists within the center of contradiction. The apparent contradiction for those with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is found in the reality that what is understood and perceived from what is borderline reality is not in essence real in the here and now. Rather, what is perceived and/or experienced in distorted ways now is really the dissociative re-experiencing of past traumatic events – which is the triggered state of Dysregulated Emotions. In the active throes of BPD, borderlines, more often than not, are unaware of this.
The inability to distinguish between the past and the here and now in times of triggered regressive dissociation is the root of the irony. This irony is housed within the borderline incongruity between what might be expected (or what one erroneously misperceives as unfolding) and what actually is occurring.
Non borderlines on The Other Side of BPD will often get tied up in very painful knots of over-involvement and or trying to fix or rescue those with BPD at the expense of themselves and their own well-being. The paradox of expecting what you cannot have with or what you cannot realistically expect from a borderline forms the basis of the lessons that non borderlines need to find their way to in order to not remain caught up in being what I call borderline-by-proxy which is a painful way to live. It is also very much about living the ironic no-win paradox of damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
The paradox that must be understood and held in your awareness, if you have BPD, is that all you do to protect yourself from pain causes you more pain. BPD is a maze of distorted thoughts. Recovery begins with accepting this and being in the awareness of this.
The paradox that one needs to be aware of and develop a profound understanding of that is required for recovery and healing is that you need to learn how to accept that you have this painful personality disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, (BPD) and that much of what you experience that is so painful and difficult is not congruent with what is actually happening in the here and now and that all of this pain and fear (more accurately understood and accepted) also holds within it the hope and possibility of recovery.
In order for change and recovery to be possible where Borderline Personality Disorder is concerned you must first accept what it is. You must admit and acknowledge it. You must accept what its effects are the experience of your life. You must accept it and all the pain that comes with it. You must also know that you are not BPD; you are someone who has BPD. Not everything about your personhood is about BPD.
You need to know that the pain that you experience as the result of BPD is the very pain that awaits your acceptance and awareness of it so that you can indeed heal it.
If you can get there; stand there. Just stand there in an unfolding awareness of what BPD means to and in your life and to others in your life, with the understanding that no matter what has befallen you in your life that has left you with this profound woundedness that is BPD you can heal what you acknowledge and accept.
No matter what or who has hurt you, your pain is now yours. Your pain, your difficulties and your emotional challenges are now your responsibility. You may not be responsible for why what has happened in your life (childhood) happened but you and you alone are now totally responsible for what you will do with this woundedness.
It is only the person with BPD that can make the necessary choices to recover. No one, but no one, in the life of someone with BPD can make this choice for someone else and no matter how much you may love and/or care about someone with BPD they themselves have to want to get help and have to want to recover. They have to choose change. You cannot make them. You cannot do it for them.
For anyone with BPD, you cannot be rescued by anyone. You have to help yourself (with professional help).
You absolutely have control now over the choices that you make. While largely unconscious choices until each person with BPD gets some professional help they are choices driven by your unresolved abandonment issues.
What choices are you making?
Do you choose to keep cutting or burning yourself? Do you choose to rage? Do you choose to act out? Do you continue to believe all of the distorted thoughts that you think? Do you continue to blame anyone and everyone for how you feel, how you hurt? Do you still blame your behaviour on others? Do you think that others control how you think and act? Do you feel justified in behaving badly or poorly because you are in profound pain?
Do you still experience being triggered easily and often into Dysregulated Emotions?
Pain, or woundedness, no matter how great or how profound is not an excuse for poor, bad, or abusive behaviour. Every time you engage in this type of choice and subsequent behaviour you are trapping yourself more deeply in the active throes of this personality disorder. These are the choices of your borderline false self.
This, like everything in life, is a choice. Yes, it’s a choice that you make. You may make these borderline choices because you haven’t yet learned how to make newer healthier choices. Accept this also. Then do something about it.
When you or someone you know, care about, and/or love has Borderline Personality Disorder, it is important to not have your choices and thoughts and actions driven by the borderline. To do so is to end up behaving as poorly in the end.
Active disengagement from all distorted thinking, unhealthy choices, manipulation and acting behaviour, is actually a loving giving thing to do for both yourself and the person in your life who has BPD.
When the non-borderline realizes that they cannot help the borderline change or control the borderline’s behaviour his or her choices as to what he/she needs in the way of boundaries and so forth in his/her own life will become much more clear.
Most who are in the active throes of BPD do not realize that they have choices. They are not aware of all of the choices that they make in their thoughts and actions. They feel compelled to think and act in the ways that they do because they have become automatic protective patterns of thought and action.
Borderlines and non-borderlines alike need to learn and realize that everything is a choice. That awareness is the pathway to change. That acceptance of what is right now is the only way to begin to identify what needs to change and how one can go about creating that kind of change in his or her life.
Borderline Personality Disorder is a maze of maladaptive (often subconscious) coping skills that have their roots in elaborate defense mechanisms designed to protect against further pain, trauma, loss and everything that is associated with and really that stems from The Legacy of Abandonment In BPD.
The tragic paradox here is that those very mechanisms of maladaptive coping and attempts to protect oneself are the very mechanisms that lead to perpetual re-living and re-acting out the borderline’s very real, very profound, very painful arrested maturation needs that end up re-occurring and re-wounding the borderline over and over again.
This very self-defeating and self-fulfilling prophecy is central to the polarized compulsive dissociative and distorted reality within most with BPD remain trapped until they can begin to grasp the irony of this in profoundly aware ways that will then fuel a determination to choose and to risk change.
The very real dilemma of Borderline Personality Disorder is that it is very painful to live in the grips of its denying dissociating distorting nature. A basic central nature that only serves to perpetually increase one’s emotional pain and feelings of being unable to cope thus fueling more of the same thinking, feeling, and behaving.
The dilemma widens with the reality that becoming more fully aware of these self-defeating cycles, choosing change, and working to recover from BPD is also, in and of itself a very painful – though rewarding – process. As you initially seek to work at recovering from BPD it is not unusual for your pain to initially increase temporarily. This is why it is vital to get professional help and to learn how to cope with your acknowledged pain so that you can withstand the initial increase of pain that is the pathway to recovery.
Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder requires maintaining a delicate balance between familiar polarization and burgeoning unfolding growing awareness of all that is richly waiting to be born inside of you and by you in the irony of all that is found in the paradoxes in and of life.
© A.J. Mahari 2005