The Most Powerful Personal Growth Program

The Email:

I'm a borderline and I'm pissed. Everyone seems to keep telling me I need to change this and that and everything. Why is it always me, always my fault? Is it just me, with BPD, that's always wrong and doesn't know how to do anything right? I am so sick of being told what to do by family, ex-friends mostly, and therapists. Why should I give a shit what anyone else says? Why should I care?

AJ's Response:

I can relate to the frustration that comes through in your email. I also understand where you are coming from and that you feel angry. It is quite understandable.

Since you took the time to write I am going to assume that you likely have some desire to change.

When we hear from others that much of what we are doing, or how we are acting etc is not meeting with others' expecations it can be very painful, and equally as confusing and this often leads to a first response of anger.

You need to ask yourself how you honestly feel about what you are hearing. That is after you get past the intial response to be angry and defend yourself. Ask yourself if you think anything that others are saying has merit. What do you really think? As Dr. Phil would say, ask yourself if what you are doing now is working for you. If the answer is no, then you have to honestly take a look at that. Consider what others are telling you.

There is little in recovering from BPD that doesn't hurt quite a bit and frankly anger the hell out of you at first. That's part of the process. Often the anger escalates as you begin to realize that some of what others are telling you is how they experience you and as you begin to take responsibility for yourself you will begin to care more about how you effect others. This is a painful process to endure because it involves a lot of grief for past actions or for the way one may be still hurting others in the present. Whenever you are hurting someone else you are also very much hurting yourself and often visa versa.

The reason you should "give a shit" what others are saying is because this is a way you can begin to "give a shit" about yourself. When you "give a shit" about yourself, in the long run, then you will learn to "give a shit" about what others are saying and experiencing. I'm sure initially this can seem very confusing.

By taking the time to write this though, I believe you are searching. This indicates to me that you likely very much do "give a shit" and that you are still choosing to push that away in favour of remaining a victim because it is the only way you may know how to even begin to cope with the pain that you are in.

"Give a shit" about yourself first. So much of how you feel about yourself is reflected in how you treat others. It is not about "right" and "wrong". It is about "unhealthy" (self-defeating) versus "healthy" (self-loving and enhancing) choices and ways of living.

It never hurts to listen to what others are saying. You can then go and reflect (on your own or in therapy) about what they've said. This, along with your own continued searching will lead you to find the "true" you that you are in need of right now so that you don't have to be in the kind of pain that you are in.

It's not so much that you "should" care. It is more that you need to care in order to take care of yourself. It is harder in the long run to continue to "play at" "not giving a shit" in that cold defensive aloof manner that you know down deep inside hurts not only others but is killing you and keeping you separate and apart from the very love, that while you so fear it, you so need and want it. What's more, you deserve it!

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

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