The Email:

I feel so weird! Everyone tells me I'm so weird too. I don't really know what they mean. Most people I knew don't want to know me anymore, I don't think cause I'm so weird as the result of having Borderline Personality Disorder. What can I do?

AJ's Response:

Well, first of all, what is weird? I mean the way we define that has all to do with how we will experience it. I think that everyone feels "weird" in the sense of being different from time to time. There is nothing, however, that is written in stone or law that says being different is "wrong".

I think that people define weird as anything that is different from them. After this distinction is made people and usually groups of people adhering to similar "norms" (beliefs, values etc) will then place a value judgment on what they've defined as "weird" or different.

Make no mistake about it, being different, does NOT make you wrong and those who would judge you right. Being different (or weird as you say you feel) does not make you "less than" at all either.

Having Borderline Personality Disorder is not the same as "not" having it, granted. There are distinctions and differences in experience and (often) in behaviour. This does not mean that there is a "right" way and a "wrong" way to be, however. Having BPD isn't "wrong" anymore than not having it is "right". There is a lot of damage done to those with any mental illness by this faulty line of thought (largely society's as well) which seems to place worth on whatever it says "mental health" is and a lack of worth (and understanding) on what is defined as "mental illness."

Having a mental illness or handicap is not much different in many ways from having a physical medical condition that needs to be managed and taken care of.

People fear what they do not know or understand. People fear what hurts them. Often for many who have experienced someone with BPD or any other form of mental illness, they can't understand, and they have been hurt, therefore there fear is at least two-fold. Even those without personality "disorders" will erect boundaries, judgments and so forth based upon the illogical fears born from a negative experience. It is easier to do this and to blame rather than make the distinction between a person and their behaviour or to make the distinction that whatever separates those with BPD and without it is often a very thin line.

For those with BPD it can be difficult to get to know who you really are. In the absence of this self-knowledge (often sub-consciously) you may then take on the definitions given to you, of you, by others. Here is where you need to replace the words, judgments etc of others with your own self-worth.

What you can do is work at your own level of self-esteem and work to value yourself. Learn to define who you are from the inside out, instead of from the outside in. You can choose to not let people who judge you and or believe you are weird to have any power over you. Define yourself and always, always, hold your head up and be proud of yourself.

This response is © A.J. Mahari, February 2003

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