Borderline Personality Disorder is characterized by mood instability, feelings of worthlessness, insecurity, poor impulse control, the inability to regulate emotions and turbulent relationships. These individuals often describe a degree of emotional sensitivity so tormenting that it deeply effects their quality of life. Many of the consequences of this illness appear during the frantic efforts to avoid abandonment, and can manifest themselves in the form of self destructive behavior or generally poor coping skills. There are commonalities here to Bipolar Disorder (formerly known as Manic Depressive Illness), however, personality disorders are typically less cyclic and respond to different courses of treatment.
Understanding abandonment and its relationship to Borderline Personality Disorder is one of the best ways to restore and refine your interpersonal relationships. For most people, real or imagined fears of abandonment have a fundamental impact on their most meaningful unions.
In my studies, I came across an insightful piece of writing that I wanted to share here as a sort of “a-ha” moment. I found it to be useful within the confinements of this illness, or in promoting healthy loving relationships in general. Please take note and leave your thoughts in comments below.
“Acutely aware of our own transience, we alternate between an aching despondency and a rebellion against the facts. We cling to our loved ones, or remove ourselves from them, rather than loving them in all of their vulnerability. In so doing we distance ourselves from a grief that is an inevitable component of affection. Using our best obsessional defenses to keep this mourning at bay, we pay a price in how isolated and cut off we can feel. Love and grieving, like separation and connection, are co-constitutive. Opening oneself to one emotion deepens the experience of the other. The heart can open in sadness as much as it does in joy. His point is that everything is always changing. When we take loved objects into our egos with the hope or expectation of having them forever, we are deluding ourselves and postponing an inevitable grief…by pushing away the painful aspect of experience we isolate ourselves from our own capacity for love.
The solution is not to deny attachment but to become less controlling in how we love. It is the very tendency to protect ourselves against mourning that is the cause of the greatest dissatisfaction. It is possible to have a relationship to transience that is not adversarial, in which the ability to embrace the moment takes precedence over fear of its passing.”
~Mark Epstein, Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart, A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness
So, what are the implications of this passage? I urge you to examine your own thoughts and behaviors within the context of relationships. Are you utilizing your unions for personal benefit or reflection? How does mental illness change the way we love others?
**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!**
For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!
In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!