I have registered for the NAMI Walk. For anyone who doesn’t know, NAMI stands for National Alliance for Mental Illness. I’m trying to raise money, and all of it goes to NAMI! As I don’t know a lot of people in real time, I thought that I would reach out to those of you who followed my blog. All of you would understand the toll mental illness takes on the person suffering and the surrounding friends and family members. You don’t need to pledge much to sponsor me. Every little bit helps! If you’re willing to donate to this awesome cause, please visit my NAMI sponsorship page HERE. Thanks, everyone!!
**There was some kind of issue with the link to my new blog. I’ve fixed it, and wanted to repost this with the correct site.
After a lot of careful thought, consideration, and prayer, I have started a new WordPress site. I said that I would share my site with the followers of strugglingwithbpd when, and if, I made the decision to start a new blog. I may still blog on here from time to time, but it will be rare.
My new site is GOD’s Beautiful Sovereignty. As I’m sure you can tell, it will be about GOD/religion/Christianity/the Bible/etc. I will be discussing the active role that GOD takes in our lives. Feel free to check it out if you want. If this doesn’t sound like something you’re interested in, no worries!
Thanks to everyone who has followed my crazy journey the past two years plus years on this site. I may still have a thing or two to post about recovering from BPD in the future.
AWESOME post! Nice reminder that WE are in control, and cannot put the responsibility for our happiness, or the blame for our pain, on other people. Don’t place your expectations on others. Remember that one only has control over their reaction to a situation…not the situation itself. There are valuable lessons to be learned by all in this post. Thank you, rebeccainspiresnow!
“Don’t let me down.” Remember that time when you believed that someone held the answer to your happiness? Remember when you had expectations and people met them? Hopefully you grew up with food, shelter and love. Some of us didn’t get all three at the same time. And it was then that don-don-don-doooooon, we were disappointed!
Thus began the hunt for people you could depend upon and trust. Your best friend. Your teacher. Your first love. Your spouse. And then, they showed their humanity, made mistakes and let you down. Now you are self-reliant and subscribe to the best approach: “I”ll just do it myself, it’s faster/better/easier/safer that way.”
Alas, it’s exhausting to live like that, isn’t it?
Expectations: To paraphrase author Elizabeth Gilbert in her TED talk about the weight of creative genius, she said that expecting someone to take responsibility for that genius is like, “asking someone to…
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I listen to Eminem…a lot. I think his music is witty, creative, well worded, and just over all hilarious. One of the things I like most about his music (besides the way he can paint an amazing picture with his words) is that most of his songs have a message. Not just raping “sluts”, doing drugs and killing women, as some might think. An actual message. A MEANING to his music.
He released a song on his newest album called “Headlights”. In the song, he basically apologizes to his mother (his past songs chronicle the constantly deteriorating relationship they have/had) for the things he has said to her and about her, and he says that he forgives her for what she’s done to him.
That song has gotten me thinking about my own birth mother. It has been a couple months since I decided to forgive my entire birth family, and the people I feel have wronged me throughout my life. As I’ve mentioned before, just because I forgive someone doesn’t mean what they did was right, or that I condone it. It simply means that I no longer choose to hold onto the anger and bitterness that lingers when one is hurt over and over.
I’ve also recently been toying with the idea of how I view my birth parents, namely my birth mother. I try not to think about my birth father. I am not yet at the point where I can consciously wrap my head around what he did and be ok with it. I WANT to forgive him, which I’m told is the main thing. Anyway, I know that in September of last year, I wrote a post stating that I did not think my birth parents did the best they could when raising me, which seems to imply that they knew the impact they were having on me, and purposefully continued anyway, disregarding my feelings. My views have changed on this subject.
I believe that my birth parents, and my extended birth family, DID do the best they could. I believe the people in a particular church who abandoned me did the best they could. I believe that everyone who has ever hurt me did the best they could.
A person can only behave in a way that they know. If a person has been raised around critiscm and hate, that is the way they will be around others until they LEARN a new way to act. If a person has been raised to see the best in people, they will always see others in a positive light. I know that my birth parents did not come from easy households. I know both sets of their parents. I can imagine, as children, my birth parents had hard lives, but in different ways.
I can imagine my birth father was constantly having to live up to his parents’ expectations. I know they thought that he should succeed in certain ways, exude certain traits, and marry a certain kind of woman. I can imagine that would put a lot of pressure on a person, and affect the way they live their life. My birth mother was raised with physically and verbally abusive parents, which would explain a lot about how she acts. Her parents were constantly disregarding her and her siblings’ needs in order to purchase nonessential things for themselves. Until one actively seeks out change in their life, they will default to whatever behavior it is that they know. One cannot be blamed for acting the only way they know how.
Up until recently, I was not a nice person. Not to people who really knew me. I was able to hide all my nasty behaviors, until I got comfortable with you. Then I was rude, critical, angry and mean. I could never be satisfied. I was constantly feeling hurt by others, and lashing out as a result. It wasn’t until I actively sought out different ways to be that I was able to change. Up until then, I was only acting on what I knew. What I had been taught.
One of the affirmations I very much like is:
Everybody is doing the best they can; including me.
I used to repeat that affirmation when I was beating up on myself for mistakes I’ve made. Then I realized that the first part of this affirmation applies to others. “EVERYONE is doing the best they can…” I’ve started repeating that affirmation now when I feel others are being hurtful to me. I use it to remind myself that Crazy Jay may not be perfect, but he, too, is doing the best he can.
Now, let me say that, just because I believe that everyone is doing the best they can doesn’t mean that their best is good enough for me. If someone’s best is to be constantly critical, judgmental, demeaning and condescending, I do not have to accept them into my life. I am the one who decides who I allow in my world. If one is not evolved enough to overcome their hurtful behaviors, they do not need to have anything to do with me. I do not need to be mean and judgmental back at them, however. I can simply say to myself, “Hey, they are not far enough along in their journey to be able to interact with me in a way that will not be negative and harmful to me. This is not a person that I want to spend time with.” It’s as simple as that. I don’t need to judge them for what they say or do. I don’t need to critique them, or try to change them. I can change no one’s actions but my own. I need to accept everyone as they are, RIGHT NOW. I cannot expect people to change for me. It is up to me to decide how to react when I encounter a mean, hurtful person. My decision is to keep them out of my life, or to eject them from my life.
So, yes, I now believe that my birth family did the best they could. That doesn’t change the fact that they each exhibit deeply hurtful behaviors, and that I don’t want to interact with any of them. I forgive them for what they did. I forgive them their failures. I wish them all the best. I hope they can each find the happiness that comes from truly loving and accepting oneself.
I learn to forgive and release. Inner peace is my goal.
“I am wonderful and I feel great. I am grateful for my life.”
I really like this affirmation. It takes care of three separate issues with only two short sentences.
“I am wonderful…” This part just makes me smile, and reinforces the good feelings I have towards myself. If someone told you that you were wonderful, wouldn’t that just make your day? I don’t discount this statement just because it’s coming from myself. I am just as important and what I say holds just as much weight as everyone else. I am wonderful!!
“…and I feel great.” This helps me keep up not only the good emotional feelings, but also helps me feel physically well. If I focus on the fact that it’s early, I’m tired, I have a full day ahead, I’ll be bogged down with stress, etc, then I will start to feel poor physically. My head will start to hurt and my stomach will tie itself in knots. I believe that a lot of the negative physical things we feel are a direct result of how we feel emotionally, or in our heads, about ourselves. Think of that old commercial for depression: “Who does depression hurt? Everyone. WHERE does depression hurt? Everywhere.” If you feel badly about yourself, your body will start to manifest this physically.
“I am grateful for my life.” Of course, this sentence helps to remind me of all the blessings I have in my life (my husband, my dogs, my job, my vehicle, my house, food in my belly, money for bills…I could go on and on!). It’s easy to think about the BAD parts of what should be a blessing: The car breaking down, the fights with your spouse, the stress at work, the annoying kids, the bills bills bills! Focusing on the negative parts will make you miss the blessing. God has blessed me tremendously, and I don’t want to forget it!
I really like affirmations that I feel work on several different levels. I like to dissect the affirmations I say so that I truly understand what I am saying, what I am believing, and what I am putting out into the world (or the Universe, if you will). Just saying fluffy, feel-good words over and over won’t do anything. In order to make affirmations work for you, you have to really understand and believe what you are saying.
I’m going to have a marvelous day today. I hope everyone else does, too!
I woke up this morning and made sure I had a good attitude. I affirmed that it would be a good day, and that I was excited about the upcoming possibilities. Sounds hokey, but it made me feel pretty good. Every time I’ve thought through that affirmation, I smile. I was grinning from ear to ear on the way to work. I’m sure I looked like a fool. I know I didn’t care.
I really am amazed at how well these silly sounding affirmations work. Yesterday evening had the potential to be disastrous. Instead of thinking, “Oh no! This is going to be a crappy, stressful night. I think I’ll stay late at work to avoid it.”, I ran through positive affirmations. All afternoon and all the way home from work, I was repeating to myself “All is well. Everything is working out for my highest good. Only good can come from this situation. I am safe.” After a few minutes, I wasn’t anxious about the upcoming evening. This affirmation can be used for anything, but seems to be good when one is worrying or anxious. Now, I don’t know if I yet believe that we create our experiences based on our thoughts, but I know that I FELT tremendously better than I would have if I was worrying and anxious all afternoon.
I think the whole idea is that how we THINK is really what shapes an experience. If we are constantly thinking negative thoughts, we will have a lot of negative experiences. If I went home last night with the thought in my head that it was going to be a difficult evening, I probably would have walked through the door on edge. If I had been edgy, that would have made the entire situation precarious, and, most likely, explosive. I went home thinking that everything was going to work out for my good (which is a Biblical principle, so not a huge stretch for me), and I had a very nice evening. This morning I started the day stating that I was excited for what could possibly happen, and that I would have a good day today. I know it’s not quite one o-clock, but so far a great day! I’m not feeling stressed, and the silly office bullshit I have to deal with isn’t bothering me in the slightest.
I know I’m not changing events with the power of my mind, but I am continuously surprised by how running positive thoughts through my head all day keeps me out of the low, angry moods I’m prone to. Bad things are going to continue to happen, but I don’t have to let them affect me like I have in the past. After all, it’s not what happens – it’s how we react to it.
This may all seem like a stretch, and I thought it was completely ridiculous when I started reading “You Can Heal Your Life”. However, constantly repeating to myself that I love and approve of myself started to turn my mood the very same day. I have a desire to feel stupid and silly while talking about all this positive affirmation stuff, but I can’t deny that it works. Read some of my many negative, angry, struggling past blog posts if you doubt me.
“I choose to feel good about myself. It does not matter what other people say. What matters is how I choose to react and what I choose to believe about myself.” – affirmation from “21 Days to Master Affirmations” by Louise Hay
Soooo…It would seem that I’m toying with the idea of forgiving “the snapperheads” (as Crazy Jay would say) who screwed me up in the past. This would include everyone that I’m harboring resentment against, but it would start with my parents.
I’m reading “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay. It was recommended to me by my unconventional therapist. I’m not too far into this book, but I feel like it has already changed my attitude about certain things. I’m learning the benefits of self love and positive thinking. “Self love” is hard for a borderline to feel, but there was a brief paragraph in this book that caught my eye.
“Loving the self, to me, begins with never ever criticizing ourselves for anything. Criticism locks us into the very pattern we are trying to change. Understanding and being gentle with ourselves helps us to move out of it. Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”
Well, I guess she has a point. I HAVE been incredibly hard on myself all of my life. I don’t particularly like how my life is going right now. Something needs to change. I have tried a lot of things to try and change my thoughts and behaviors, and nothing has really worked. Why not give being nice to myself a try? It couldn’t hurt.
Back to forgiving snapperheads
The thought is that, if one is holding onto anger and resentment, not only can they make themselves physically sick, but they are exerting a lot of unnecessary energy. One keeps the negative energy and emotions in their body, and it just continues to make their life difficult.
Not only that, but expecting perfection from your parents is a sure-fire way to never expect less than perfection from yourself. How can you love yourself and not be critical if you expect yourself to be perfect? I know when I place expectations on myself, I’m constantly kicking myself and feeling like a failure. It’s better to remember that, just like you, your parents are frightened, injured people. They have been damaged in their lifetimes, and are only able to teach their children what they have been taught.
In order to free ourselves from the negative patterns in our life, we need to learn to love ourselves. Before we love ourselves, we must forgive those who have harmed us in the past. Now, I’m still a little leery of this “forgiveness” sticht. I talked to my unconventional therapist about this last night. She cleared a few things up for me that might make this a little bit easier.
Just because you forgive a person does not mean you are saying what happened is ok. You are not condoning their behaviors. You are just making the conscious decision to not spend any time or energy being upset by this person’s actions. The past cannot be changed, but we can change our future by adjusting how we think about things. If we are constantly thinking about how horrible people are, and about the evil things that have been done to us, our lives won’t be very fulfilled. We will hold onto hate and anger, and never flourish into the person we could have been had we been born into a loving environment.
I was also assured that just because one decides to forgive another does not mean that person has to be in their life. I can accept that my parents were raised a certain way, and act a certain way. I can decide that I do not want people who act a certain way to be part of my life. I am not judging them, angry, or hating them, I just do not want the negativity they bring as part of my little world. I can forgive them and work to heal myself without judging them or including them in my life.
I really want to heal from my past. I want my future to be different than where it seems to be headed. I want a full, happy, positive life. It will be difficult for me to show self love. It will be difficult for me to forgive my parents, and keep in mind that that means no pent up anger towards them. It will be difficult for me to focus on the positive, and keep the negative out of my life. It’s difficult, but not impossible. I am committed to being different. I have tried a lot of different things to try and change myself. Nothing’s worked so far. Time to try being nice to myself, and show a little forgiveness.
I’m starting to think that I’m not cut out to be in any kind of personal relationship with any person (dogs are ok!). This is problematic as I’ve been married for the past 10 years. I can interact with people on a professional level, and I can interact with the check-out girl at Walmart. Other than that, no one should come near me. I do not know how to have an interpersonal relationship. I didn’t have any good examples growing up of how healthy people treat each other. I don’t know how to talk to people without being harsh, demanding, negative, and instructive. I’m told I treat people close to me like employees. Though the people I work with think I’m sweet and quiet LOL. I don’t know how to be open and honestly express my feelings, and what I want, so I come off as sneaky and manipulative. I don’t know how to show affection or be loving, so I come off as cold and uncaring. I don’t know how to have a conversation without offending or being offended, so I tend to keep my mouth shut, which makes me seem withdrawn and aloof. I come off ok on paper or through email. Of course, it takes me more time than most to compose an email. I read over it numerous times to make sure it says what I want, and that I am not coming off in an offensive manner. Too bad that doesn’t work in life or in real time.
Crazy Jay and I have had various marital issues throughout the ten years we’ve been together. I used to think the problems were all his. It wasn’t until he and I sobered up a few years ago that I realized a lot of the problems we have are coming from ME. I don’t want to end my marriage. Not at all. Not even close. I just wish I could snap my fingers and change the old tapes that keep running through my head. I notice some of what I am doing, but still probably not everything. I am told all the time that I am doing and saying things that I don’t think I’m doing or saying. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around something that I absolutely do NOT think I’m doing when the person accusing me is crazier than I am. Then again, what he says makes sense.
I really do not know what to do. I am seeing a therapist, and going through a couple books. I am trying to change as best I can, but it is slow going. REALLY slow going. It seems that no matter what I do that I think is right, and no matter how hard I try to do and say the right thing, I am always wrong. I try “A”, and am told I need to do “B”. I do “B”, and then find out that I’m not doing “B” right. Or, I can do something “technically” right, but because I do not seem to have the appropriate emotional response or feeling to put behind it, I’m wrong again.
I think part of my problem is that I don’t have any good emotional feelings to put behind my actions, making everything seem forced and hollow. I feel so numb and beaten down by life, I don’t have a clue as to how to show the emotion. Not to mention that, a lot of the time, I’m not even FEELING the emotion I should be feeling. I don’t have soft or warm and fuzzy feelings, so I can’t act on them. I don’t even know how to express what I AM feeling. Every time I try to talk about what I am thinking, feeling, or what is going on in my head, it comes out all wrong. I come off as complaining and accusatory, though I don’t know how that happens when I am only talking about myself and not another person. I know that I have stopped expressing myself because it always starts a fight. It doesn’t even feel worth it. It seems it would be better for me to suffer in silence and try to deal with things on my own than cause any more trouble.
Things really do feel hopeless sometimes, though I know that they’re not. It seems that when I don’t try to amend my behavior, I am wrong and that causes a lot of problems. However, when I DO try to amend my behavior, I am still wrong, and still causing a lot of problems. I feel like there’s no point in trying. Why add failure and frustration to my already negative feelings? If I try and am still wrong, why bother trying? Why turn myself into a failure? I feel like I am at an impasse, and I don’t know how to get around it. This life is exhausting me.
This is a very good post I found at Half of a Soul. I’ll let it speak for itself.
Lately I’m overwhelmed with ideas to consider/write about/explore in relation to that all-consuming topic of my life: BPD. I know that it’s actually much more important to LIVE a life rather than just spend it looking at life from every possible angle in your mind. Looking at it, analyzing it, considering it from every possible angle is just too exhausting for anyone’s mind, let alone a borderline’s. However, that’s what this post is going to be, in the hopes that venting some of these constant buzzing thoughts regarding the inner life and identity of BPD gets them out for the day (or hour at least).
It hardly needs to be said that, as borderlines, we spend so much damn time thinking this out (well, trying to), questioning everything we do/have done, trying to come up with solutions when ultimately, we don’t even know if we want to…
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