Pure BPD

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.

'Good' and 'horrid'... all in one
‘Good’ and ‘horrid’… all in one

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


20 thoughts on “Pure BPD

  1. When the new DSM comes out I’m going to pretend it didn’t. I don’t want to be label with Emtionally Unstable Personality Disorder….sounds horrid.

    I totally relate to what you are saying. I love being the bitch. it can hurt me but the anger I’ve experienced has been so empowering that if it left tomorrow I would be very upset. It was one of my fears about going off birth control. If I lose my anger, lose my bitchiness then I’ll be nothing.

    1. That makes complete sense to me. It’s amazing what one little pill can do. Scary too. And yes, I’m going to stick to BPD too. I refuse to be labelled as emotionally unstable!

      1. I’ve always felt that since majority of people do not know what BPD is and the name is pretty vague it gives me a chance to explain. Saying emotionally unstable personality disorder just felt out says I suck at something.

  2. sonamsangmu

    That nursery rhyme caught my attention. My mother used to say it to me as a child too. But it wasn’t b/c I was horrid! I would venture to say neither were you!

  3. OneHotMess

    Many continents and lifetimes away and my mother said that very thing to me, and I do have a curl in the middle of my forehead. It’s bullshit….pardon my foul language. Just be you…no matter. 😉

  4. John Richardson

    I think we’re all like that to some extent Cate. It’s amazing what can trigger us, or at least me, causing a response that is later regretted. When it happens to me I try and learn from it with the hope of avoiding the same situation again. Of course, situatiions comes in so many different unexpected forms it’s turned into a lifetime struggle. I think the best solution,while we are trying to improve, is to forgive. Forgive others who have these flares and forgive ourselves after we have one. It doesn’t do any of us any good beating ourselves up for these slips because it’s all part of being human. We’re not perfect and we never will be. It’s also part of being normal.

    1. I think you are right in that we are all like this to some extent, but the problem comes for people with BPD when it’s not just the normal. It becomes so much more extreme and can have a devastating impact on lives. That’s when help is needed to pull the person back towards being one.

  5. How did you know I was going to need this so much right at this moment in my life? I just read it this moment.

    I suppose you’ll think you didn’t know, but I still say you did (and not just because I believe that the world revolves around me).

    But regardless of which of us is right, I thank you. I thank all of you, nice Cate, bitchy Cate, every piece and person of Cate that does now or has ever existed.

  6. Me too – the rhyme. That, and one from a recording of Peter Rabbit:
    ‘Why do I do it? What can it be? There’s naughtiness in everyone but twice as much in me. I’d give the world if only I could… just for a change… once in a while… now and again… be… good.’

  7. Pingback: Pure BPD | Supervision Today

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