Shaky Sense of Self? Check!

Crazy Jay’s birthday was a couple weeks ago.  Actually four days before our anniversary.  I arranged for him and a friend to go rock climbing.  Since I have an intense fear of heights (you have NO idea), I stayed on the ground with Jay’s friend’s wife.  That was interesting.  She is a psychology major.  Working on her Masters, I believe.  While we were sitting on a bench somewhere, she asked me what I’m interested in.  What I like to do for fun.  What activities I enjoy.  My pathetic response still makes me cringe.  “I’m not really sure what I enjoy.  I pretty much let everyone else decide what we’re doing.”  Even worse was when she asked me if I collected anything, and I had to say “no”.  She knows Jay is bat-shit crazy.  Now she thinks I’m a doormat with no opinion, I’m sure.

This has happened one other time.  About a year ago, I was on my way to lunch with my boss.  While we were waiting for the stop light to change, she asked me what I enjoy doing.  What I do in my free time.  Totally blank.  I had no idea what to say.  I’m pretty sure I said something along the lines of, “Hmm, I don’t really know.  I used to read a lot.”  LOL  I’m still palming my face over that one.

I have realized over the past couple weeks that, not only am I not really sure what I like to do, when I DO know something I like (like certain music, a specific restaurant, a type of book, various movies, etc), I am incredibly ashamed of it.  I can be driving around the interstate, blaring my music (whatever fits my mood at the time), and as soon as I get off the highway and onto a smaller road around other cars, I’ll turn the music down.  If my windows are open when I pull up to a stop light and the guy beside me has his windows down, too, my music gets turned down to barely above a whisper.   At work, I used to let music play quietly through my computer.  I could barely hear it, though, because I’ve been too embarrassed to let it play loudly enough for anyone else to hear.  I started wearing earbuds so I don’t have to worry about it.  A few months ago, one of the guys in the office said he was going to turn on music so we could all listen.  He asked ME what kind of music I like.  I didn’t know what to say.  I was so worried I was going to be judged based on what I said!!

I’m afraid to give my opinion about whether or not I like something.  I’m afraid to suggest a movie or a restaurant.  What if I choose the wrong one?  Then it’s MY fault.  What if other people think I’m stupid based on my movie suggestion.  What if I’m ridiculed for the restaurant I want to go to?  What if they think I’m lame for the music I like?

I started doing some research on borderline personality disorder, which is something I haven’t done in almost a year.  It was pretty sobering to read through the Wikipedia page and feel like it was written ABOUT ME.

According to Wikipedia:

“People with BPD have trouble seeing a clear picture of their identity.  In particular, they have a hard time knowing what they value and enjoy.  They are unsure about their long-term goals for relationships and jobs.  This difficulty with knowing who they are and what they value can cause people with BPD to feel that they are empty and lost”

Huh, that sure makes a lot of sense, especially when looking back at my life.  I have never really known what I wanted to do with my life.   I shouldn’t even say “really known”.  I have had no idea.  My “ideal” career has always changed based on what people I had around me at the time.  No to mention that I DON’T know who I am.  I haven’t a clue (Jay, do you have a clue??).  Nothing about me stays the same.  My likes and dislikes change based on which way the wind blows.  I’m not even sure if I DO enjoy things.  I suppose I can look back and say whether or not I enjoyed it, but I have a hard time DURING the event knowing if I’m enjoying myself.  If people around me are having fun, I just copy them.  It’s not until I’m alone later and can reflect on things that I know if what I just did/watched/listened to/ate was something I enjoyed.

Another quote from Wikipedia that applies:

“People with BPD are especially sensitive to feelings of rejection, isolation, and perceived failure.”

So, I would guess that I have felt criticized and rejected in the past based on things that I expressed I enjoyed doing.  *gasp*  SHOCKER!!!  My general past has been getting hazy lately, and I can’t think of a specific example (maybe because there are too many?), but I am quite sure that there were many times I was ridiculed and critiqued for my opinion on something, making me now very hesitant to express it, whether it be by letting people know what I like, or engaging in a discussion/debate based on opinions.

I’m not sure how to change these feelings.  I guess now that I’m aware, like with everything else, I can start working on it.  I have to say, though, that compared to all the other  (MANY) issues I’m trying to sort out, this is very very low on my  list of things to work on.  I am trying to adjust the parts of me that hurt other people, and then maybe I’ll move onto the things I do that hurt myself.

Categories: Anxiety, Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, Child Abuse, Daily Life, Depression, Life, Mental Illness | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Shaky Sense of Self? Check!

  1. I wrote about this is my last blog post (which I won’t share specifically because I am not responding in an attempt to get readers. LOL). If I remember correctly, it is criterion #3 for BPD in the DSM-4…the identity and sense of self issue…oh, how it plagues us. Beyond knowing I want to help people, I’m not sure who I am or what I want to do. I wonder if I can get a decent salary with decent health benefits for just wanting to help people. Hmmm? =)

    • If only it were that easy! lol I’ll have to check out your blog on this. I’d be interested to read it.

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