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To think BPD isn't an excuse for being a bitch

(36 Posts)
TopHat33 Sun 25-Oct-15 20:04:50

Very recently been diagnosed after a couple of very not good years, and some problems going back much further. For me personally (of course it's different for everyone) I found it upsetting to hear, but also something of a relief to have a diagnosis.

I try very hard in my relationships with people and am empathetic and sympathetic, especially to any immediate problems. A thread I read on MN described someone behaving awfully, but then qualified it with 'she does have BPD, she's not just a total bitch'.

I found this hard to read as I don't feel BPD means someone is 'a bitch', nor is it a license for me to behave badly and think I have an excuse. I try very hard to understand people and am really upset to think that if I get it wrong I'd be dismissed as 'oh she has BPD, what do you expect'.

Im not here to criticise the person who made that post. But I've told some friends and close family who are aware I've been unwell. AIBU to think its a good idea not to tell anyone else?

pinotblush Sun 25-Oct-15 20:08:55

I personally wouldn't expect aggression due to BPD.

Aggression usually comes from different deep seated hurt.

Rinoachicken Sun 25-Oct-15 20:38:31

I hve a BPD diagnosis. I have told very few people.

There are a lot of harmful myths, stigma and judgement attached to a diagnosis of BPD.

You do see it here on MN. In the past I have felt quite upset reading comments like 'if I knew someone had a personality disorder I'd back right off'.

We're not lepers FFS.

TopHat33 Sun 25-Oct-15 22:37:25

Thank you. It makes me feel a little better to know people are in the same position.

bookworm3 Sun 25-Oct-15 22:59:01

Its more helpful to think of BPD as an emotional regulation disorder. People with BPD tend to experience strong emotions. This means that they can be very sensitive to other people but also that, until they learn strategies to manage it ,they can impulsively act on emotion.
It is a painful condition and does not make anyone a bitch.

Unreasonablebetty Sun 25-Oct-15 23:04:29

I'm also a borderline, however there are many different ways that people act because of their Personality disorder.
I can be a bitch, and I know a few borderlines that act Horrendously and others that are downright bizarre.... We are all different.

Some will have 6 of out of the 9 traits, others will have up to nine, some will be much further up the scale than others.

Some will be very needy, some will act in a violent manner at times.

I'm not sure how much research you've done about borderlines, but we are generally misunderstood by many and demonised by just about every single person who has written about us...when I was first diagnosed I went on the Internet and read quite a lot, and I was floored to read all the negative stuff that there was.

I'm not sure if this is relevant, but I was diagnosed with bipolar type 2 at the age of 17, and I told my dad I thought I might have had Borderline personality disorder after seeing the I hate you don't leave me book, my dad told me that one of his friends (who was known for being an awkward madam train wreck type) was a borderline and there was no way I had the same as her.... 3 years later came the diagnosis of BPD and in fact not Bipolar....

It also helps to remember that our accompanied diagnosises make one hell of a difference into the way we act, I've got depression and anxiety... That's changed cos it was something different before, but they changed that too.

Eh, hope I've not confused things more!

MistressChalk Sun 25-Oct-15 23:13:53

I agree with you OP. My BPD has made me act in horrible ways to my family and my partner when I've been very unwell BUT I apologise and apologise once I snap out of it and can't express how ashamed I am that I have behaved awfully and how lucky I am that they forgive me.

As with any illness, I believe it is your responsibility to seek medical help so it does not impact negatively on other people. With personality disorders you are far more likely to hurt people emotionally, psychologically and possibly physically. There's a reason for it, but it's not an excuse.

People can be bitches with or without BPD. It's not a get out of jail free card and to constantly use it as an excuse for treating people like shit just perpetuates the stigma that people with personality disorders are to be avoided.

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Sun 25-Oct-15 23:17:10

I'm bipolar. I'm not a bitch.

I agree with mistress about the responsibility - I work very hard to manage my illness and for it to have a minimal effect on my family and loved ones.

DawnOfTheDoggers Sun 25-Oct-15 23:37:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MistressChalk Sun 25-Oct-15 23:40:00

Oh sorry OP, with regards to your question, you tell whoever you feel comfortable telling. Personally I have only told people I really trust because no one else needs to know as it doesn't affect them. If someone I tell has a problem with it that is entirely their problem, I'm not exactly able to get rid of my BPD but they can change their perceptions. If they don't they aren't worth bothering with.

Unreasonablebetty Sun 25-Oct-15 23:47:55

Heartstrimpdiamonds- BPD= Borderline Personality Disorder, I think the only person who had mentioned Bipolar is me... I mentioned I was misdiagnosed, or as the mental health team like to explain, there were differing opinions of my mental health... Helpful when the Dr I saw changed every year.

Dawnoftgedoggers- I'm sorry that your mother has been so awful to you. I've read much about borderline mothers oftentimes being terrible, but we aren't all like that. I'm really sorry you went through that, my husbands cousin is a borderline and she makes her daughters life absolute hell. I was an acquantance and had to delete her off Facebook because there was one particular day she was telling everyone about an argument they had, and she kept tagging this poor girl into the conversation, telling people how disgusting she was and telling her friends to get involved, this poor 14 year old girl had been absolutely ripped to shreds by her mother and friends. Absolutely disgusting to see.
It's especially hard to deal with abuse suffered by family, especially your mother...

manicinsomniac Mon 26-Oct-15 00:14:40


It's not an excuse. It is a reason but that doesn't absolve you from acting on it.

I 'probably' have BPD. Going through assessment at the moment and not really keen to add another problem to my list on mental instabilities but sadly it seems likely.

If I acted on my initial impulses then, when I'm in a bad place, I would be a raging and impossibly cruel bitch. I find myself thinking of snide, back stabbing and discouraging responses to what people say or (especially) put on facebook. I have to fight this out of control anger and impulse to be as hurtful as I possibly can to people saying perfectly harmless and innocuous things. I feel extraordinarily negative about anybody and everybody and want to disagree or argue the opposite case about absolutely everything. I especially want to be passive aggressive and make it sound like I am outwardly supporting them while actually cutting them to the quick but making it sound accidental.

Just today I have looked at the following on facebook and wanted to say the following to:
a picture of a baby - 'wow, that kid is so ugly. Why do you keep posting pictures of him.'
a mental health support post - 'or, you know, we could just get on with living. Might be more productive'
a status saying some felt sad - 'and you are telling the world wide web this why exactly?'

Luckily, I have a brain and emotional intelligence and actually care about people so I never do or say any of the things I'm thinking. Depending on the day I either self harm, cry, punch things and/or sit and stew in my own juices or I go out of my way to be positive, encouraging, friendly and smiley. My actual responses to the above three facebook scenarios were:
'Awww, happy, smiley day! smile'
clicking like on the MH post
'sorry you're feeling rough. Around for coffee this week if you want to meet up.'

And no, if I do end up diagnosed BPD, I most certainly won't be telling anybody about it!

You don't have to be a bitch just because you feel like being one!

HeartsTrumpDiamonds Mon 26-Oct-15 01:02:15

Sorry folks, I see BPD and to me it reads Bipolar grin blush

TopHat33 Mon 26-Oct-15 01:07:59

Thànk you all for your relies, it's so helpful.

Dawn I'm sorry you've had such a horrible time with your mother. What you describe says far more than the post I read, but as I said, I've not come on here to criticise the author of that post - just to say how it made me feel and ask a question about that. Here's some flowers for you.

unreasonablebetty the book you mention sounds interesting and will look it up.

I guess my q was whether I should tell people I have bpd....and I guess the answer is no. It's tough.

It seems there is a big difference between how people ho have bpd describe themselves and how those around them describe/think of them.

TopHat33 Mon 26-Oct-15 01:11:54

manic thank you for beng so honest.

Senpai Mon 26-Oct-15 02:09:14

Ironically, it's never the people with those particular illnesses that make excuses. It's another way of infantalizing people with MH and "othering" them by showing "they can't control themselves" much like a small child, which gives people permission to treat them as such.

BitOfFun Mon 26-Oct-15 02:32:42

" bookworm3
It's more helpful to think of BPD as an emotional regulation disorder. People with BPD tend to experience strong emotions. This means that they can be very sensitive to other people but also that, until they learn strategies to manage it ,they can impulsively act on emotion.
It is a painful condition and does not make anyone a bitch."


Rinoachicken Mon 26-Oct-15 07:25:21

I completed the STEPPS course about a year ago which has massively helped me manage my emotional responses. It taught me to recognise my filters and triggers and taught me isef strategies to manage my emotional response. It's a 20 week group course specifically designed for BPD.

I accessed it through my CPN on the NHS and if it's available in your area I highly recommend it. Helped me feel less of a slave to my emotions. I feel like I have some tools now - I just have to remember to use them!

My CPN used to refer to my 'thinking errors' which I liked.

Rinoachicken Mon 26-Oct-15 07:27:45

Sorry that was a response to bookworm3 who has it spot on.

STEPPS is how I learned the strategies.

Unreasonablebetty Mon 26-Oct-15 07:51:53

OP- very few people know I am a borderline, I've pretty much only told the people who know me well enough that If they read up on the condition that they wouldn't think DEVIL! And run away....
My family knew and they used it as a bit of ammo against me,

The book I mentioned isn't for people with borderline personality disorder, it's specifically for those around borderlines... I went around making my illness easier for those to live around by finding out what it is that makes us so hard to be around at times, and I try my absolute best to not do them things.
It also made me more self aware of the way I really act.
Have you ever realised that around birthdays, Christmas- any special kind of times that you get a bit erratic? I read that on a forum once, and true to form I'd realised me and my husband go through a stage of arguing in the run up to his birthday, my birthday. Christmas and our anniversary.

swisscheesetony Mon 26-Oct-15 08:00:49

I'm BPD and far too busy destroying my own life to be mean to others.

I tell nobody although one of the school mums suspected and told me her brother is bipolar, I alluded to "similar problems". (Wasn't going off on one at the school gates - she found me sobbing on the beach).

JJXM Mon 26-Oct-15 09:15:14

I have borderline personality disorder and was diagnosed almost 15 years ago as a teenager. I don't tell people my diagnosis because it is massively misunderstood and also I'm not a big discloser of my personal life.

I agree with swiss above that my BPD means I am too busy destroying my life to be mean to others. There's the acts of self-harm, self-sabotage in personal and professional life and the times being miserable and feeling like shit about myself.

I can damage relationships which result in me hurting people as there are boundaries issues and the problems of black and white thinking. I have had violent outbursts but not for over a decade and I control them with medication. I hate feeling dismissed especially by those in authority and can react angrily. I hate feeling let down by friends and can react extremely by cutting them completely out of my life. But I try to recognise my triggers and attempt to overcome my instinctive response.

I think the important thing to bear in mind that my BPD does not define who I am any more than any other disability defines a person - it is part of them but there are other things - mother, wife, friend, teacher etc.

My final comment is that some people are bitches, some people are BPD but some people can also be both and they'd be a bitch without the diagnosis. Some people are just horrible people.

LagunaBubbles Mon 26-Oct-15 09:28:37

JJXM has it spot on - people with BPD can be bitches but so can people without it, it is only one aspect of someone's personality. It is a disorder of emotional dysregulation and can make people act and say things impulsively. It is totally up to you whether you tell people OP but sadly there us still a lot of stigma, in particular towards personality disorders like BPD.

Thankfully these days there are treatments available and one that can be available on the NHS that I can recommend is Mentalisation Based Therapy (MBT). Not sure what different areas provide but this is a research based treatment that in my experience really does help.

AdjustableWench Mon 26-Oct-15 11:31:13

I think self-disclosure of a diagnosis of BPD should be carefully considered, because it's widely misunderstood. Three of my friends have told me about their diagnosis of BPD and none of them are bitches - they're all sweet and lovely people, so I haven't experienced any association between bitchiness and BPD. Sure, there can be challenges, but that's true of any friendship. It sort of helps to know, but then again it helps to know all sorts of things about a friend - various self-disclosures are part of what makes friendship happen. But if it's an issue of maintaining boundaries, maybe it's best to think very carefully about who you tell, because it seems to me that there are more bitches without BPD than with it.

Rinoachicken Mon 26-Oct-15 13:33:43

Nice article in the guardian by a successful NHS worker with BPD, seed apt:

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