BPD: Friendship Betrayal – Sexual Assault & Accused of “Playing the Victim Card”

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering.

This article was written in August 2018.

As someone whose fear of abandonment is as extreme as it is, the very last thing you would ever expect me to do is put an end to what little relationships I still had in my life. Self-sabotage and attempts to push people away out of my own fears and insecurities, sure. That’s not an uncommon cycle of symptoms for borderline personality disorder. But never would you see me leave a friendship behind on purpose. I’d never make that decision — I couldn’t.

I push people away; I test the limits of what someone is willing to put up with and for how long. More often than not, I’m not actually truly aware that this is what I’m doing. It’s self-sabotage. It’s also a kind of self-defense mechanism.

To the outside world, to the people on the other side of it, I can guess it looks and feels a lot like manipulation.

The idea of choosing to leave someone in the past, especially when I don’t have many people in my life anymore to begin with, is one of the hardest things to wrap my head around. Even still, 10 weeks after I suddenly found myself in this very situation, the thought is absolutely ludicrous.

My last true friend — whom I’d grown up with, who literally saved my life after a suicide attempt and whom I trusted more than anyone… violated that trust.

Hanging out on the day in question, he was suddenly quick to change his mind about how much time he had for me that afternoon. It was originally just a quick trip into town for some groceries — any excuse to get out of my isolation and even better, back with my best friend, no matter how little time. He has a busy life. So, it meant a lot to me on the drive home when he suggested we watch a movie or a couple episodes of a TV show — he could squeeze that into his day. Anything he did meant a lot to me, especially when he’d find some extra time like this to hang out and keep me company.

So, the unimaginable happened. And in the aftermath of it all, it’s been a lonely battle in my BPD mind of knowing this new isolation I’ve found myself in is for the best.

To this day I still can’t imagine what he was thinking.

Nothing violent occurred, but he crossed lines he had no right in crossing — as a friend, as someone with a significant other, as someone who knew about my past physical and sexual assaults. Just as a human being in general.

What should’ve been just 80 minutes of enjoying catching up on a TV show together, turned into 80 minutes of me on the brink of a full-on panic attack, of me wanting to break out of his hold and off of that couch, wanting to scream and cry and yell at him, get his hands off of me, away and out of my house. But instead, I stayed frozen. Considering the situation being the very last thing I could ever imagine happening with him, it dawned on me I clearly didn’t know what he was capable of.

No, the assault wasn’t violent, but he had no right in touching me like that. Knowing how fragile a state I was in at that time — he took advantage of it. He knew better than to touch me anywhere close to where he did.

He’s the nice guy; the one who talked about how disgusting the stigma was that women are actually ashamed and scared to say anything, afraid of not being believed — of the victim shaming. When I’d start to blame myself for what happened, or even question if it was my fault, he’d put a stop to it.

And now, here we are. From denying anything happened, then saying he didn’t think it was a big deal… to accusing me of harassing his girlfriend (which was me simply telling her what happened and saying no to her insistence to fix things — which meant she clearly didn’t believe me). And worst of all — he accused me of playing the victim card.

There’s no justifying his actions or reactions. He stopped being my friend that day. And it was both the easiest and hardest decision I’ve had to make. But I made it without hesitation because I don’t want someone like that in my life, even if they were the last person in it. Even though it means making my worst fear as someone with BPD come true. It’s what’s best for me and my well-being — my safety.

I’m an open book. I wear my heart on my sleeve, even though I’m both ashamed and embarrassed of my life (and lack of one) I know I’m not alone in this. I’m not alone in the isolation and anxieties of BPD. I’m not alone in being left, or betrayed, or violated. I know this, but I still feel like it all the time. I feel like an idiot, honestly. How could I have been so wrong about someone I’d known most of my life?

So after all that being said, though written long before now, this poem of mine still feels very relevant. It’s something I desperately needed, still need, to hear… and I know someone out there right now needs to hear it too.

Saying “I’m sorry” might not mean much, but I mean it.
I’m sorry for the hurt. I’m sorry for everything you’ve been through
and for all of the people who left you.

The way we love is unique and special, and
they don’t know what they’re missing — pity them.
They lied and betrayed you, leaving you alone
in pieces over their abandonment;
no goodbyes or explanations — they took the coward’s way out.
Be grateful to at least know the truth, even without the details.
You do not want or need people like that in your life.

And I know it doesn’t take away that ache in your chest and
I’m sorry. I’m sorry, more than I can say, that they turned out
to be temporary or even worse — one of life’s lessons.
But you will find people who are meant to stay,
or they’ll find you. You will. Maybe not today or tomorrow.
Be patient, do not give up hope.
Do not shut everyone out, no matter how tempting.

Your mental illness is something that makes you special.
The ability to love and feel like we do is special,
despite it feeling more like a curse most days.

We are not meant to go through this world alone.
Remember that. Make peace with it and take care of yourself.

You do deserve love. To love and be loved in return.
It won’t be like this forever. It won’t always be like this.
Being open and able to trust, to live with your heart
on your sleeve is a gift and
I am so sorry they took advantage.

And I know saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t mean much… 

but I mean it.

https://themighty.com/2019/05/borderline-personality-disorder-sexually-assaulted-friend/

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Self-harm Scars & Shame

“Always recovering, never recovered.”

A simple sentence that can be a harsh reminder. And that’s not to say your efforts or how far you’ve gotten were for naught – but to keep getting back up when you do fall.

I’ve learned over the years, of course, that it’s extremely important to know you are not alone. Others are struggling and surviving alongside with you and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

I’ve always had a difficult time accepting the shame part. 

I’m very back-and-forth on my scars. On one hand, they’re a reminder of what not to do, proof I’ve held on this long. But on the other hand, I hate them – they’re a reminder that I was ever so weak to do such a stupid thing, and now I have to live with the physical proof.

The amount of shame and guilt I’ve dealt with not only from myself, but from loved ones as well, breaks my heart. I can’t help but feel they’re ashamed of me; of knowing me, being who they are to me, as they tell me to cover my arms up like a dirty secret. Maybe they don’t know how much that hurts – how damaging it is to someone who resorts to self-harm in the first place to shame them like that. If only they’d try to understand; if only they’d apologize.

And over the last decade I’ve relapsed and just keep adding to them. Like I said – always recovering, never recovered.

I have lived with these scars for half of my life and even when they’re hidden under long sleeves I never forget they’re there. Like there’s a spotlight constantly fixed and burning on them for everyone to see and it’s my own damn fault because I can’t find the light-switch. I’m never not aware of them. I never forget. Some days are easier to deal with – like, this is me, this is my body and my scars and it’s OK because I’m still here. Other days, I just want to hide; they’re ugly and forever a part of me and I hate them.

And I have this silly theory that self-harm is an addiction; one like any other, or maybe different. It may sound obvious, but think about it – is it ever referred to as an one? I turn to it in the most desperate moments because, if only for a moment, I feel better. And then I always crave it. Even years into recovery — it’s still there, somewhere, in the back of my mind.

For half of my life — 12 years — the razor has been my only true friend. The only one that’s never left. Never wanted to. It’s only ever seen me at my worst.

I don’t want to be ashamed of myself, my mental illness, my body. Every day is a fight to do the right thing. I know there will always be harder days. And I know I will keep learning to care a little less that I live with my past (and present) self-hatred etched in my skin. 

I am in recovery. I am a work in progress. And I’m still working on being okay with that.

When Self-Harm Scars Make You Feel Ashamed

BPD, Heartbreak & Valentine’s Day

This isn’t necessarily exclusive to the upcoming “holiday,” but in light of Valentines Day approaching, I thought the timing was right. That, and the fact that this just recently happened near the end of January, so it’s all still very fresh in my mind and my emotions are still raw.

With or without a mental illness, with or without a significant other — February 14th can be a particularly hard day for people due to the fact that it’s simply everywhere. There’s really no escape of being reminded. I have the same hard time specifically with New Years. Even the popularized “Galentine’s Day” thanks to the TV show “Parks and Recreation,” is now something I struggle to avoid being reminded of. These occasions being about celebrating with your loved one(s).

But right now, the struggle for me is that commercial holiday coming up on February 14th — Valentine’s Day. I want to avoid sounding like that cliche, bitter upset girl who doesn’t have anyone to celebrate with. Because for the most part, that’s not what it’s really about. It’s more just funny timing being close to the 14th.

I have a number of mental illnesses. The most predominate being borderline personality disorder (BPD). And the man I fell for but am no longer with, broke my heart recently by using my BPD against me. Unfortunately, he used symptoms of the disorder — which are not actually true to me — as excuses and reasons not to be with me, or even directly talk to me on the phone or in person. I don’t know which hurts most — that or him saying he just doesn’t have feelings for me anymore.

Along with this, I’ve had a difficult time ignoring it. I want to ignore it because of how deep the words he said cut me and because I’m sick of crying. So I try not to think about it. Meaning, I haven’t been writing — not just about this, but in general. Writing is not just something I like to do — it’s a part of who I am. A huge part. And for the last week or so since it happened, I allowed him to take away this essential part of me because I was tired and afraid to feel or acknowledge the reality of the situation. I still am, honestly. But in doing so I’ve restricted myself from healing — my writing, which I know is only doing more harm whether I see it or not. Things get harder before they get easier. You have to hurt in order to heal. 

A sort of writer-friend of mine told me something the day after that I’ve held onto — put it into my art. No shame in staying in bed all day, but refuse to let him take away my words. This is the time to cry, write and let it out. “You’ll be amazed at what heartache can create,” she said.

Mental illness is what had connected us in the first place when we met — we were working together temporarily. A couple days into the job, I was just having a bad day. And he saw that. He recognized someone with more going on inside than they let come to the surface, something he related to. And so that was the first time we talked to each other. What was the most refreshing thing was was his “no nonsense” approach. Instead of tiptoeing around and walking on eggshells like everyone else, he said what he was thinking, he was blunt. More than that, he was vulnerable back with me about himself. While we don’t share any disorders, he’s experienced his own fair share of anxiety and depression. 

From the very beginning of our friendship, before the beginning of us dating, he knew about my diagnoses. Always asked about my BPD or anxieties, just trying to understand it and me a bit better. Even throughout us dating, I often tried helping him to better understand what my mental illnesses made me felt, why they affected me in the ways that they did.

He knew. I opened up to him about everything. And despite my insistent, “You’re going to get sick of me,” “You’re going to regret me,” he wanted a relationship. He assured me he knew that maintaining a relationship would be difficult, but he knew the signs of a bad day, the symptoms that affected me the most and I didn’t mean any negative things I may or may not say — some days are harder to keep under control than others, especially when it came to my BPD.

In the beginning, he did an honest job of trying/understanding. But it quickly became apparent when he wasn’t trying anymore — when he was giving up.

What’s someone like myself who lives with BPD like?

My moods can change in the blink of an eye. The “go away, don’t leave me” routine. I could be doing fine months or even years, but then wake up one random morning wanting to die all over again. I tend to feel a lot more than others, on a higher and more extreme level. I can’t think of a word strong enough for the fear of abandonment and/or rejection. I’m incredibly sensitive and take things to heart a lot of the time.

Sometimes I have a hard time showing my emotions, or am just too scared to for fear of being judged, rejected or abandoned. Sometimes I self-sabotage. Sometimes I don’t feel enough; through the constant feelings of worthlessness, sadness or self-hatred, it can become easy to internalize everything and make myself numb. On purpose or not. Because of this, I’m often called or thought of as unlikable, uncaring and hard to deal with or be around. I tend to look too deeply into what is being said to me. Therefore I’m accused of making something out of nothing — creating problems for myself and those in our lives. I am called an attention-seeker. More often than not, I’m accused of being manipulative. My feelings tend to be invalidated. I can be called a liar. People can think I’m difficult or I’m overreacting. I’m in extreme pain. A lot of us scared and embarrassed; ashamed of being this way, even though it wasn’t a choice. 

We know it’s exhausting to be around us because we’re the ones actually having to live with it.

We live with one of the most stereotyped, stigmatized mental disorders out there.

And despite all of the assurance he’d given me, last week I found myself — my self-worth, my very being — being torn and belittled by the man I love. And it was one of the most painful of heartbreaks I’ve ever experienced. Hurt turned into anger and back to hurt again. It just keeps repeating.

Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe these things don’t make sense to be hurt over. But the reality is is that it does hurt. And it’s easier said than done to “not think about it.”

In the midst of this heartbreak, I can’t seem to escape the fact that February 14th is coming up. Going over the same questions… How am I ever going to find someone who will understand, still want to be with me and actually stay if he of all people couldn’t in the end? 

I know I’m not someone who is particularly fun to be around. I think I’m pretty forgettable. I feel way too much and that makes me hard to love. But it’s not my fault. This wasn’t a choice. And I am not my disorder.

What It’s Like to Be Heartbroken on Valentine’s Day When You Have Borderline Personality Disorder

When Winter Depression Leaves You With No Motivation

New article up on The Mighty a few days ago!

It’s that time of year again — the time I dread more than anything.

I think I’ve always despised winter — those dreadful months between October and April.

I hate the cold and the shorter days. I’m not a summer person either though, so it’s not about the longer days. In fact, I really couldn’t care less. But the shorter days, the darker ones, the colder ones: I hate those. And I’d never thought about why, but I guess it’s partly because they remind me of me — always so cold, unwanted, so ready for the day to be over. A dark gloom. The worst parts of winter.

It occurred to me randomly. It wasn’t even 5:30 in the afternoon, but the sky; dark blue, and the wind; so loud, snow blowing. Another reason, perhaps the bigger reason, is that I become restless near the end of September waiting for the inevitable — any and all motivation left in me starts to disappear once October 1st hits and the season starts changing. I see it coming. Every time. I can feel it in my bones. I can see it in the grey-blue clouds. I know I’m going to be living in what feels like the worst head cold and become a little more numb as the days go on.

Motivation ups and leaves. Takes a vacation as winter rises from fall and my very will to live goes into hibernation; starved and unsure if I’ll make it through the cold of winter to see a future.

It’s maybe the worst place to be when you have a mental illness — in the middle; empty, numb. In my experience, anyway. And it’s not that I’d rather be on one side of the extremes, they’re both just as dangerous. I can’t stand the feeling as I start to notice that I’m just going through the motions, knowing there’s not really anything I can do about it. Because I lose every ounce of motivation for anything, even the things I enjoy, the things I love. I just want, and try, to sleep as long and as often as I can. Just stay in bed. Except my mind keeps me awake. Exhausted from all of the nothing.

Motivation.

It becomes a foreign word, something long forgotten. Every day is an unanswered question of, “How am I going to make it through today?”

My mind and body are drained simply from thinking, from wondering. So as the cold takes over and spreads, and before the frost can render me frozen, I go into my own kind of hibernation — isolation. And every day, life’s expectations weigh heavier on me — a weight I’m afraid I am no longer strong enough to carry on my own. But that’s all I ever am — alone. Isolated. And the loneliness that comes from that is heart-wrenching.

I’ve got failure and disappointment down to a science.

The days will continue to go on and I will continue becoming numb.

Nights like these, it’s a shame. I am the worst part of a season I hate. Trade this cold reminder for brighter days. Who knows if I’ll be seen again — it depends on motivation.

Motivation, I need you to hold on tight to me. I’m losing grip fast and once you’re gone, I fear I’ll never get you back.

https://themighty.com/2017/11/depression-winter-motivation/

darkblue

Comfort Zone: A Letter to My Depression

Another article of mine was published on The Mighty the other day! This one took a lot for me to submit – the thought of people reading it was terrifying, which I took as a sign that I had to do it.

I couldn’t tell you why, but it became abundantly clear at age 10 or 11 that I was “broken.” It was like something inside of me cracked and out came depression, seeping from my mouth, my eyes, my skin. So sudden and out of nowhere. And I didn’t have the words for what was wrong with me then, for what I was feeling – all I knew was that I wasn’t the same person.

I can’t remember for the life of me, and I’m not sure I even want to. I know I was far too fresh to be so cold, too young to feel so old, too innocent to be so broken – a child bombarded with mental illness. A child so angry not knowing why and as for life, I just wanted to forfeit.

For the life of me I can’t remember — when did I become so jaded? When did my life begin to end? How have I survived so long in this purgatory and can I ever really start living?

I don’t know who I am but I know this isn’t who I want to be.

I’m talking to you. Depression – my uncomfortable comfort zone, I don’t. want. you. Loosen your grip on me please, I think I have something to live for. I think I’m just a small part of something that’s been saving me and I think I could do something more, do something good out of what you’ve done to me. If I can keep going from the words of others, the knowledge that I am not alone, perhaps my words can be that for someone. I don’t want this to have all been for nothing.

Depression, you stole me way too young, way too early in life. I wasn’t given a fair chance but I am still here. I am. still. here. That has to mean something.

Because at 12 years old, just a child, not being able to imagine life beyond the next year — how. dare. you. How dare you throw your dark blanket over my fragile body, so heavy, that all dreams and possibilities started to fade in my preteen mind? How dare you numb this young heart and dull the memories. How dare you take up all of my time. And I know now that it’s not my fault but it’s my mind and my mind has been taken over by this illness — by you.

Depression. Where I once saw vibrant colors, now muted shadows and I tried so hard to see through it. I swear I tried to see the truth but depression, you are so good at making me the fool.

I’ve had enough. Far too long, I let you win. I let you control and take and take some more and time passed and now thanks to you I can’t remember how I even got here, but I am.

And I know. I know you are not something a pill or a combination of pills can make disappear for good. You are not something a brain surgeon can cut away, but I know I can live. I’ve been surviving, merely existing for over a decade, but this time I want to live. I will not let your false comfort smother me anymore.

Depression, you’re an uninvited illness in my mind but I can and will fight back this time. In my 23 years, I’ve just been existing but I swear I’m going to learn to live with you.

I’m done being ashamed of my mental state.

https://themighty.com/2017/06/depression-ready-to-live-not-survive/