Author Note: This article is part of a collection from the previously lost Bordering Bears website, and has thus been re-uploaded and archived.
Before I start today’s post, I firstly want to thank each and every one of you who showed support and love for my previous post. Two years is a long time to beat any form of addiction so, whether I know you or not, thank you from the bottom of my heart for that compassion.
All couples discuss things. That’s a fact. Hopefully. Otherwise it’s just a booty call with a title slapped on it. For Ash and I, our discussions sometimes take large tangents, and often don’t get finished.
Time and time again we have to try to figure out where my mind is going. This isn’t because I’m being ditzy or silly, it’s simply because, more often than not, I cannot trust my own thoughts.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t for everything. I know how to parent, I know how to cook. I know how to stay safe.
This is more about opinions. Many with BPD will know about the age-old game of “Is this my thought?” where you try to work out if the opinion is genuinely yours or not.
Think of it this way, over recent years, it has become popular to hate on certain things. Yes, Twilight and Nickelback, I’m talking about you.
I like both. I’m unashamed to admit it. For a while, though, I was very urgh Twilight sucks. Why? Because other people said so.
With BPD, people sometimes synthesise their thoughts, feelings, and even how they dress or speak to mirror those around them.
I decided at one point that I didn’t like my lip ring anymore and took it out. It was only later, sadly after it had healed over, that I realised I was mirroring someone else’s opinion of it.
Looking back, there are many times where I have changed to suit someone else, not even due to them asking. It’s through an inherent desire and need to be approved of and accepted.
So, now, a lot of our conversations do end up needing to work out whether my thought is genuine. Do I really want something or do I just want to fit in?
I know many people will be wondering if this is the same as peer pressure or celeb culture. Honestly, I don’t think so. No one is forcing these thoughts, although some do take advantage of that. To those that do this: fuck you. Fuck. You. Messing with someone’s head when they are vulnerable in terms of coercion and manipulation is low. Changing someone by those means is toxic.
And while I do like some celeb style (Dove Cameron!!!!), I do think I still do me pretty well.
It’s more that you hear someone berate something you like, or see a trend in people doing or liking something, and feel like you have to.
I’ve spoken before to people about relevance, and have found from people, whether with or without a mental health problem, that it is a commonly occurring theme.
There are things that are popular, and things that aren’t. If you don’t do the things in box one, it can leave you feeling a bit out of the loop.
Say you don’t take drugs, or don’t enjoy getting absolutely hammered (yes, both are me), but the people around you hype it up, you can end up wondering if you are irrelevant. Why don’t you do what everyone else do? Are you boring?
For some people, it is easy enough to shrug off. Eff them. You do you.
For others, like me, it gets into your head. I’ve been sat with people discussing their
dumbass life choices before and felt like I may as well be a plant or piece of furniture. I’ve sat and cried and questioned if I’m boring or stupid or just not as good as other people, all from a conversation. And no one has tried to push anything!
Of course, it’s when you get patronised for it that everything really falls apart. You wouldn’t understand that, would you? Said in a condescending tone will make me unravel very quickly. I become defensive, obnoxious. My fear of not fitting in or being liked by people turns to pure rage, and I try to cover it with false bravado. ‘Wow, aren’t you pathetic?
I play things off like I don’t care, when actually I do.
It’s only my conversations with Ash that have brought this to light.
I don’t want to do things I’m not comfortable with, but I feel inferior regardless.
I don’t know my identity. My likes and dislikes can change dramatically. Most people have things they have loved for years.
When I was a kid I loved yellow, hated pink.
Then I loved purple and pink.
Currently I like grey and pink.
Due to this instability, I can’t tell what I will want as easily as the normal person. So I sit, and I write, and I wonder if others with BPD also have this mishmash of thoughts.
Right now, I’m trying to sell my car to get one I’ve had my eye on for a while. Mum bought my car. So I’m plagued with guilt about whether I’m allowed to sell it. The car is in my name. Mum regularly asks how the selling is going! Yet still I hold myself in my own mental prison regarding things. But I’m going to do it. This is currently the work I am doing on myself. Pushing the limits of that comfort zone to try to gain some form of identity.
See, that’s the problem with trauma during the years you should be socialising and discovering yourself. You don’t. You end up physically an adult, with a few grey hairs and looking older, but still feeling like a kid. You have to do the adult things, but it’s HARD, all the while not knowing who you really are.
And I cry, wishing I was more like everyone else and could make one goddamned decision in my life without worrying whether my mum/partner/kid/cat/stranger/friend would approve of it.
Then I smile, knowing that he has taken the time to learn me, to know that can be the case, and to try to push for my thoughts rather than the answer I would give to appease.
Sod it, I’ll dye my hair again, whichever damn colour I like, and buy the car I want. It’s not too late to discover the real me.