I've struggled with people telling me "You'll be ok" or that this is somehow treatable or even temporary...I accept that's just because it's not understood. Nor is any of that true. You don't "get over" this. It takes a lifetime to manage. But I do take hope that this can eventually be controlled to some extent. The struggle I have is because I am self aware...and willing to accept that I have this...somehow that correlates into people thinking I can "beat" this...or that it's more controllable than it really is. Reminds me of the movie The Untouchables where Sean Connery says:
Many things are half the battle
losing is half the battle.
Let's think about what's the whole battle.
So accepting it is half that battle...and I really don't care if that's the bigger half or not. My therapist really validated how I feel. It's like her, my wife and Dad get it. I have to re-train a "broken" brain that has 42 years of wear and tear on it. Sometimes I wonder if I do accept it. Intellectually its very difficult. There have been a "few" jobs that worked out...always in a safe environment in my mind. Emotionally and common sense make it easier though. The more I study the more it explains my life...but as my therapist said knowledge can be a double edged sword.
Last night may be a perfect example. After weeks of no real quarrels at bed time we had a big one last night with our 4 year old. My wife was frustrated so I intervened. I calmly walked in fully in control. Well...the 4 year old just lost it on me, told me she hated me, told me she lied when she said she loved me (it's ok to chuckle that was funny) but then she started screaming and I yelled back at her, slammed the door and was so mad it took me awhile to even let my wife reassure me. A month ago I wouldn't have given that interaction a second thought. Maybe I would have felt bad for yelling but hey all parents struggle with 4 year old's. If you don't...then write a book you'll make millions. Internally though I began struggling, feeling like here I am with all this knowledge and understanding of this disorder and I lost it anyway. Over something that I really shouldn't have let affect me as much as it did.
There have been a few times I have had something to share with my therapist and she has it on her mind as well..that is a connection I have not previously made with anyone. Yesterday she had it written in a letter that I was liable to explode if I perceived any wrongdoing or injustice to me. It's so true....hence the friends always saying "That's just Michael being Michael" While shame and abandonment may be the driving force being this emotional dysfunction...it can rear its ugly head anytime I feel wronged. Pretty much sucks when it happens on the job. At this point I don't have any professional references left. Probably a good thing
Those insights and affirmation were helpful. We moved on to family therapy. We each were given a blank heart and several colored markers. We had to color the % of each category as it related to our feelings of mad, sad, happy and scared. Then we had to describe in front of everyone 2 ways that made us feel a certain way. It was interesting to see and hear from each person. Scared was a big one for all of us (Albeit the 4 year old's fear was having her hair washed). My sons was 50% mad. When pressed he shared that he was really mad at himself. For his struggles, his failures and his future.
These family sessions are hard! I feel so exposed, so responsible for my own failures as a parent. I fought those feelings and I remembered how just a week ago my wife had been released from her own guilt (IE...our problems weren't all on her) I told Joey,
"Son you are not responsible for my anger, I have been unfair to you, hard on you and not very accepting of what you 'can' or 'can not' do. As I learn about my own struggles and begin to accept that there are things out of my control I have to accept that you also have things that you can't control." I told the 11 year old the same thing. I also shared with them some coping strategies my therapist had me working on. Joey was really affected positively by this discussion. It was smart of my therapist to suggest explaining what this "looks like" and how hard it is for me to deal with it.
I have made some friends on Twitter with other BPD's. I see a lot of pain, lack of understanding and stigmatization. If people could remember this is a physiological issue due to a "broken brain" and actually many BPD's (all?) experience little seizures during times of (real or perceived) stress, these simply manifest themselves as behavioral issues because inter-personal issues are so prevalent. It's like I want to say I am sorry for witnessing something at age 4 followed by no Mother for a few years, trust me if I could change it I would! I hate the fact I can't control what happens to me, it goes against everything I raised to believe in.
Still....it was a better day. My faith in God has not wavered. To my family I want to say:
I love you
God loves you
I believe in You
You are worth dying for and this song goes out to each of you all, from me :-)
But you think you're the one that grace could never reach
So you just keep asking
Oh, what everybody's asking
Am I more than flesh and bone?
Am I really something beautiful?
You are more than flesh and bone
Can't you see, you're something beautiful?
Yes, you gotta believe, you gotta believe