Who I am changes like the wind. Sometimes I’m nice, and sometimes I’m not. That must have started right from childhood because it seemed my mother’s favourite rhyme to quote to me, from a very young age was:
There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.
It seems that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had written it with me in mind, even though he wrote it a good 100 years before my parents even thought of me. It was always made to seem like it was an appropriate rhyme for me because I had curly hair, but I knew better. And so did my mother. I knew my mother was saying that sometimes I could be nice, but other times I was horrid. There, it’s said.
I knew I was marked for life, even at the age of around five. Although it would be around another 40 years before anyone could give me an explanation of just why I was like that. Why was it that I was at least two people?
I’m not suggesting I have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). I don’t, although it was something psychiatrists wondered about it for a while (for reasons other than this, that I promise one day I will find the courage to talk about).
There have simply been several versions of me. A nice Cate and a bitchy Cate. If you don’t know me well, and I like what I see of you, you have probably only ever seen nice Cate… because I know how to behave nicely when that is required. That said, it’s not something that I consciously choose which I will be. Sometimes I don’t know until I open by mouth… and see what comes out. Unfortunately that can sometimes be vicious, even though it is still coming from me. Interestingly it is usually those I love (or hate) who bear the brunt of this.
I have written about this previously in (At Least) 67 Seasons In One Day, and is something that people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) do often. While sometimes I am embarrassed by my inability to stay ‘nice’, I also like being both people.
“I’m scared that the ‘bad bitch’ me is gonna stay permanently, she, is the only me that doesn’t give a fuck, and that’s wonderful.”
Actually, that’s me. To be honest, those aren’t my words. I borrowed them from another woman with BPD because they just fit so well. There’s the dichotomy of feelings. I am scared of being the bad one, but I also love it. That is pure BPD.
I guess the issue is, what do I do about it? Do I need to do anything about it?
My therapist reminds me that these are just different parts of me, and I shouldn’t try to squash either. There is a place in this world for both apparently. But then if that is truly so, why was I being labelled as horrid as a young child?
To borrow the words of a friend, this bitchy Cate is a “petulant child act”. Sometimes I love her rebelliousness, but other times I am embarrassed by her attitudes and behaviour. Can she be tamed perhaps? I don’t know. She hasn’t been yet. She continues to be a good, little minister’s daughter who needs to stamp her foot occasionally. And that’s all it is usually, it’s just sometimes I feel sorry for the people who strike her repeatedly. Worse still the people who strike her regularly but see me being a totally different person to others at the same time.
Does that make sense? I know that those who have BPD will understand this splitting that goes on. I think we all do it in different ways, some more dramatic than others. Perhaps that’s why some have unpleasantly labelled us as ‘drama queens’. Perhaps also, is why the DSM-V will label us differently. Instead of BPD we will have Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD). Maybe it’s accurate but I’m not impressed.
“Look at children. Of course they may quarrel, but generally speaking they do not harbor ill feelings as much or as long as adults do. Most adults have the advantage of education over children, but what is the use of an education if they show a big smile while hiding negative feelings deep inside? Children don’t usually act in such a manner. If they feel angry with someone, they express it, and then it is finished. They can still play with that person the following day.”
― Dalai Lama XIV
- (At Least) 67 Seasons In One Day (infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com)