Jay has been telling me for a while that I try to make everything about me. Each time he says this, my jaw drops. I cannot believe he thinks that I make everything about me when he makes everything about him! I realized last night that we are both right: We each make whatever is happening or being said about ourselves. Jay and I just do this in different ways. I also fully believe that, at the time, neither of us realizes this is happening, nor do we do it intentionally.
When Jay talks to me about something that upsets him, I tend to take his negative feelings and, instead of letting him have those feelings apart from me, I project them onto myself and assume that whatever he’s angry about has something to do with me. A lot of the time it doesn’t. These times, Jay will stop talking about what has upset him, apologize for “making” me think something was wrong, and go out of his way to make me feel secure in our relationship. Ta-da! I have just successfully made the problem Jay was having all about me! I finally got the attention I didn’t realize I was after all along. No wonder Jay thinks I’m manipulative. LMCAO
When Jay takes his turn making things all about him, he does it in a different way. He doesn’t use it as a chance to bring himself down while directing the focus on himself; he uses it as a chance to ELEVATE himself while directing the focus on himself. I will be talking about something that happened at work, and all of a sudden he jumps in with a story about how something happened to him, and he was awesome in the way he handled it. Or he will display his knowledge by explaining how he WOULD handle it if that issue came up with him.
I know that Jay doesn’t mean to make things about him in this way. He doesn’t mean to do it anymore than I mean to make things about me in a negative way.
Jay and I BOTH have borderline personality disorder. We each have another one or two diagnoses to throw on top of that, but we both definitely have BPD. I know everyone is different, and mental disorders affect people differently. I have been doing some research, and recently learned that there are specific differences between the female and the male borderline.
I can’t really speak about ALL female borderlines. I have tried to research it online, but it has been assumed, until recently, that the majority of borderlines are female anyway. I have learned that I tend to seek attention, but it is not to lift me up. I think I am shit, and I try to make sure others know I’m shit, too. I am uncomfortable with compliments and positive attention because it conflicts with my view of myself. If someone pays me a compliment, I try to convince them they are wrong. I make sure they know the negative aspects of me if they want to highlight the positives.
According to this article on examiner.com, “… the borderline male is a paradox. He can appear to be incredibly confident, dashing, cavalier and quite full of himself. However beneath this thin veil of narcissism lives a very insecure man who feels both unworthy and unlovable.” I can absolutely see this in Jay. He is constantly talking about his awesomeness. He talks about his education, the things he knows from life, the way he knows how to fight (both with knives and his hands), the ability he has a handyman, his cooking ability, and anything else he can think of. I have often sat there listening to him speak, thinking, “Wow, he’s really arrogant. He just thinks he’s so amazing.”
On the other hand, the slightest comment, or lack thereof, can send him reeling into a deep depression. He very easily can feel inadequate and stupid – something I very much understand. He presents this air of competence and knowledge. Of superior confidence. It has taken me some time and research to learn that this is all an act. I need to remember that, despite his hard-as-a-rock exterior, inside he is just as confused, insecure, and scared as I am. He takes things negatively and feels stupid just as easily as I do. He just does a better job of hiding it.
Despite the narcissistic attitude the male borderline presents, it is necessary to remember that he is just as fragile as the female. The only difference is that society says it’s more ok for females to be scared and insecure than males. Not only does the male borderline have to deal with the invalidation of those around him, society as a whole invalidates him. I need to be gentler with my male borderline. He has more going on than I realize.