....ginamarina's world....

Borderline Personality Disorder

In 1996, a counselor, when I was on the verge of a suicide, listened to my exasperated please for help, and asked me to read some information on something called Borderline Disorder. Borderline disorder has nothing to do with the word "borderline", it has been called that for a long time and is an outdated description. Dr. Heller has recommended it be renamed Dyslimbia because of his research. Unfortunately when I was in high school there has been the change for the "guidance counselor" to discover that I was troubled beyond normal "teenage funks", but she did not. I struggled with confusing symptom throughout college, and throughout most of my marriage, a marriage to a man very complimentary to my condition, he took advantage of it perfectly, making my life that much more confusing.

I am very grateful to say that Borderline Disorder was taken off my diagnosis charts in 2000-2001. I continued intense cognitive and behavioral therapy and became independent from this disorder. Once this was behind me, my doctor could then focus on the roots of my brain chemistry problems. THIS CAN BE OVERCOME!!!

last edited on 05/22/2008


The borderline personality disorder has unfortunately affected nearly every aspect of my life.  From my family, friends, lovers and my relationship with myself, bpd has made its impact. I am assuming it will continue to be a struggle for the rest of my life, and like other conditions, I learn to manage it. The BPD gave me the innate ability to blame myself for anything, and also to associate with people who had the tendency to never take responsibility for their own actions. And even though many people will weasel out of responsibility, it was my own fault for taking it on. Similar to a woman who is beaten continually by her husband: it certainly doesn’t make him right for beating her, but she is also a fool for staying!  I have attempted to categorize below, however this essay should be taken as a whole, as there is no real way not to overlap information without repeating it. I will continue to take this draft and try to clean it up and make it more readable as I get the chance. Please forgive any errors, I'm just trying to get this on here while I have the energy.         


The relationship with my family has luckily come out stronger since my diagnosis and treatments. Unfortunately bpd and mental illness tends to run in families, making many sufferers victims of their own parents and siblings. Luckily my case is somewhat different. Many people who suffer from bpd come from families that are so dysfunctional and toxic that the only way for them to recover is to stay away from the people who aggravate their condition.

I come from an atmosphere that more resembles perfectionism, what some would say is a common precursor for depression. Not that my parents demanded perfection from me, but I just felt they expected it. And I expected them to be disappointed if I didn’t achieve. Parents, like any close relationship, know which buttons to push because they know your weaknesses. This can be a hindrance when trying to solve a dispute. There is no way for me to separate out completely into categories the affect bpd has on family, friends, lovers, and self…. They are all intertwined. I was at a point where my “self” had all but disappeared; I was living as a shadow of someone else, someone whose intention was to get me away from my family. Allied with this person, I became very defensive to any and all accusations about anything! No one was going to talk any sense into me. I wasn’t myself. I was covering up for someone who was hurting me, and in turn hurting the people who cared the most for me. Eventually something had to give.

Sadly, there are a lot of people who honestly believe that you only have a disorder like this if you THINK you do. There is also the same common misconception about depression, which is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Granted, this imbalance can be externally caused by something happening in one’s life, but it cannot be merely forgotten about and magically disappear. Another unfortunate misconception is that once cannot overcome personality problems, that one will always be a horrible manipulative troubled soul. It is difficult to overcome labels.

Does anyone actually believe that I wanted to have the borderline personality disorder? I can honestly say that I was relieved that a diagnosis was finally reached, because diagnosis led to method of treatment, which is what I needed. But honestly, denial of a problem doesn’t make it cease to exist.  I had identity problems already in my early teens, and self-injury incidents merely a few years later. At 27 years old I finally found some peace in knowing that I had a real problem, it has been studied, documented, and treated.



Friendships for me have always been difficult. I am a very emotional person, I am very intense. I realize this is a problem in many cases, and tends to “scare” people away. Luckily though I’ve found people with similar mindsets in my life who share this intensity “problem”, and who don’t mind talking seriously when situations warrant. Other people, acquaintances, I must keep at arm’s length. I have come to realize that as I have gotten well, I do not trust people as much, I'm very well aware of the possibility that a person could "push my buttons" or hurt me emotionally. It takes a while before I can trust someone and let them into my life, the screening process is over-protective, but occasionally I still let someone into my life who hurts me. I guess a lot of people have to go through life accepting that people will hurt them and it is just the way it is, they believe that they are not in control of this aspect of their lives and if a personality disorder has been diagnosed, it is a shameful thing that is not to ever be revealed. Society is beginning to accept depression… but a personality disorder is a different story. This is not something you want printed on your t-shirt.


Relationships have been tricky for me. I fit the “black and white” description of bpd very well for many years. I tend to think hot/cold most of the time. For the longest time I honestly didn’t even know what qualities I liked in a man – it seemed to change depending on the day. Similar to my career analysis, I had a lot of contradicting criteria. For example, responsible but “wild” at the same time. Financially secure and yet a bit on the irresponsible side…spur of the moment… unpredictable… lots of contradictions. I couldn't see any gray area, someone was either wonderful or terrible.

The bpd somehow seems to attract people with passive aggressive or narcissistic qualities, which obvious causes a huge problem for me. It has taken a lot of "brain retraining" to avoid people like this. People ask about ex-husband - read the lyrics to PJ's Nothingman.


And speaking of contradictions, my own personality is still full of them. The bad part is the confusion it creates for myself and those close to me, the good part is that I am able to enjoy a multitude of different activities as  my personality is complex enough to empathize with nearly anyone. I am an intelligent person, high IQ, though I rarely seem to find victory in an achievement or accomplishment. The joy and peace seem more or less in the journey than in the end. This is something I’ve learned from my cats. Enjoy today. Enjoy the simple things in life. Cats are complex and unpredictable too, and they sure do seem to have a good time.

I am pretty good at giving advice, however taking my own is a whole different thing. The doc often asks why I feel that way. I think it's because deep down I feel I'm 'too far gone' for my own advice to apply to. He disagrees.

Ambivalent. That's the word Susanna Kaysen used in Girl, Interrupted. Ambivalence. Seems to have fit me to a T:

From Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary

Main Entry: am·biv·a·lence
Pronunciation: am-'bi-v&-l&n(t)s
Function: noun
Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary
Date: 1918
1 : simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings (as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person, or action
2 a : continual fluctuation (as between one thing and its opposite) b : uncertainty as to which approach to follow
- am·biv·a·lent /-l&nt/ adjective
- am·biv·a·lent·ly adverb

After reading the definition, I realize why I am so frustrated sometimes. It's kind of a constant, low level struggle, every feeling, every decision has an opposite side to it. more later. :)

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