As I mentioned in my previous blog post, every Friday this month I will be uploading a new blog post on BPD as it is Borderline Personality Disorder awareness month, in this post I will be focusing on Identity issues.
It is very common for sufferers of Borderline Personality Disorder to have an unsure sense of self, unfortunately there has not been a great amount of research on the identity issues that are associated with BPD, however people do have their theories as to why they think people with this particular disorder struggle with identity. Firstly, we have Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., a leading BPD researcher and the founder of DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy.) She believes that you develop an identity by observing your own emotions, feelings, thoughts and others reactions to you. If you have BPD, you usually suffer with emotional instability, black and white thinking and impulsive behaviour, so therefore you probably have difficulty forming a solid sense of self because your internal experiences and outward actions are inconsistent.
I believe that to overcome any identity issues you must learn to reconnect with yourself again, your wants, needs, desires and emotions. For example if being compassionate is something you value very highly, find ways to practice kindness each day, or if religion is one of your strongest values practice your religion regularly. Whatever you find satisfaction and personal growth in, whether that be travel, art, religion, music, sports, writing or any other passion, pursue the things that are important to you. Let yourself be shaped by the things you love, your passions and things that fulfil you. To overcome the sense of uncertainty that comes hand in hand with BPD, I have decided to answer a few questions about identity, to help myself but also others who may be sufferers of BPD, or any sort of individual identity issues.
What do I like about myself? What don’t I like about myself and why?
I like the fact that I am passionate, and I have a drive for helping others. I always give 110% in any relationship or friendship that I have. I like the fact that, even if it takes a few days, I can always admit when I am wrong, hold my hands up and apologise. I like that I can acknowledge my mistakes rather than trying to deny them. I like that I can make people laugh, and feel good about themselves, I try to build people up rather than knock them down. I like being an open person, I am extremely understanding and empathetic of people from all walks of life, and believe I am a very easy person to talk to, I’d consider myself extremely approachable and friendly. I dislike how much of a jealous person I am, I am often possessive over people that I love or care about. I dislike my short tempter, I struggle a lot with controlling my anger and I often have outbursts that tend to be taken out on the people closest to me. I don’t like how much I overthink, I ruminate over silly things that are in the past and cannot be changed, a lot of the time I struggle to have power over my own mind to not think about things that stress me out.
Do you feel that you are worthy of being respected, loved and cared for or about?
In the past few months I have really struggled with many things, I’ve felt a huge build up over the space of about 6 months of anger, upset, mistrust, abandonment, fear and stress. I felt as if I had lost myself, and my core beliefs and values started to become a blur and I was more caught up in other peoples lives and their wants and needs rather than focusing on my own. It has only been in the past couple of weeks where I felt I am slowly finding that love and respect for myself again. A few of weeks ago, I had a huge breakdown and ended up having to go to hospital, the whole experience just freaked me out so much it made me realise I don’t want to live like this anymore, I am tired of being miserable, and I am now more driven that ever to better myself. For a long time I have dimmed down parts of who I am to please others and I have hidden away my true feelings to create a more ideal situation for myself. I have spent a long time blocking out my feelings, my needs and what I really want. I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I do deserve love and respect, I am not a bad person and I deserve to be treated the way that I treat other people. I now can see that that my core beliefs are becoming more clear to me because through therapy I am learning to forgive myself for my past, I'm learning to understand myself, slowly I am beginning to empathise with why I am the way I am, and instead of beating myself up over it trying to be there for myself and take care of myself.
Have I felt and dealt with my pain? Have I grieved for my losses and disappointments? Am I willing to work through them and let them go?
I do believe that there is still a lot of pain that I have not grieved. I believe I have suffered from such a great amount of loss in my life, I have felt abandoned and unheard throughout different periods of my life. Alongside this, I have struggled to come to terms with the ending of a relationship, I have found it extremely difficult to let go and move on and truly accept that it is over. I think for me when you end up in the same relationship with someone for the second time, It’s almost double the amount of grief, but also I have a seed of hope planted in my mind that maybe some how we would find our way back, just like we did before. After long chats with my therapist, friends, family I believe that I am now ready to let go. I am ready to work through this and grieve, even though the idea of that frightens me so much. The idea of feeling the pain and the loss seems too scary to me, and perhaps thats why I have been putting it off for such a long time. So all in all, even though I don’t think I have properly grieved a lot of things in my life, I am certainly finally ready to. Sometimes when people get stuck in a loss or the ending of a relationship, friendship or maybe even a death, it is often because they haven’t yet fully grieved earlier losses even if this is out of their awareness, if your still feeling pain and anger or hurt in relation to anyone in your past that you had a difficult relationship with or that you lost, it can effect your ability to process and grieve losses in the present, it may be that you have to go through processes of grieving a lot of things before you feel free to move forward and that will definitely something I will be experimenting with in part of my therapy journey.
How do I want to represent myself? How do I want others to see me?
I want others to see me for my kind soul and my clever mind, rather than what appears on the outside. I want to represent myself as smart and compassionate, but also lighthearted and fun. I want people to look at me and admire my strength and courage, and not to solidly focus on my physical appearance. I want to present myself as a radiant, luminous and warmhearted individual.
I could go on forever answering this questions, but I hope some of these questions or my answers from the questions have helped you or perhaps have resonated with you and you can now answer them for yourself. I will leave a list of a few further questions that you can answer if you feel this is something that might benefit you.
What are your interests and hobbies?
Why did you develop these interests / hobbies in the first place? Have they defined you since you were younger, or are they more recent interests.
Do you think you would still be the same person without these interests?
Who are the most important people in my life?
What types of media am I drawn to?
What do I see myself doing in 5 years time?
What do I see myself achieving by the end of this year?
What kinds of people am I attracted to and why?
What makes you happy? And what makes you sad?
I hope you guys have enjoyed reading this post as I got such joy from writing this. Thank you for reading!