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It's me, not them.

Updated: Feb 28, 2023

I’ve always kept most of me to myself and from myself. It wasn’t for the lack of friends. I’ve been fortunate to have good friends in the communities

my parents felt most comfortable. As immigrants, their friends consisted of fellow immigrants, so my friends were built-in as my parents’ friends’ children. Looking back, I may have taken this guaranteed support for granted. My friends from back then are still those I hang out with today. We share a strong bond infused with history and culture and our commitment to each other is unspoken and assumed. I know that I will see them multiple times each year at the next wedding or funeral along with times we make a point to carve out for each other going away, having a party or providing emotional support. These friends remain my bloodline and my gateway to unconditional acceptance and belonging. I never tried hard to make these friends and as someone who acted like a bully from time to time, growing up, I never had any fear that any of them would ever leave me because of my behavior or actions.

I think my first experience of consequence from my bullying came in the form of isolation from my school friends in middle school. I had trouble keeping my hands to myself and started using them to get physical, although I don’t have any memory of this. I must have done it as my friends became very upset with me for a period of time and didn’t hang out with me at the bus stop or at lunch. I felt lonely during this time but I also learned my lesson, note to self: keep your hands to yourself. Good advice, even today.

Physical and verbal abuse was the chosen discipline at home by my mother. I was beaten often, verbally attacked or forcefully coerced into being who she wanted me to be. Because of this, I’m not sure I entirely realized who I was, just what I should be doing, in the moment, to avoid her anger. A benefit of this is that I’m adaptable; a con is that I struggle with my identity. To this day, I look externally for validation of my value and worth, my identity, my meaning and purpose. I look externally to help me deal with difficult emotions, which I experience often. I’ve used alcohol to numb these emotions so I don’t feel them as deeply, to stop thinking about negative thoughts, however they never really go away, and usually come out in explosive ways as I continue to ruminate and distort reality with the stories I tell myself. I have a difficult time trusting myself in relationships as I feel like I need to self protect and I am hyper vigilant of being hurt. I can’t fully trust others either. And last but certainly not least, when upset, usually about being abandoned or rejected, I hurl the deep pain that I feel at my core to my closest relationships by lashing out, being emotionally and verbally abusive, and steamrolling through boundaries. It is not an excuse, but my abusive behaviors and actions are not intentional, but rather, a way to feel relief from something that can only be described as death. I feel deeply. I feel big.

Over the past couple of months, I have had yet another close and meaningful relationship fail because of all of the above. During this friendship, my friend (T) told me multiple times that I was being emotionally abusive and lashing out, which typically occurred after drinking and not getting what I wanted which was usually her time and attention. What made it worse is that when T finally asked me for space from the friendship as it was taking a toll, I freaked out from feeling abandoned, and instead of respecting her needs, lashed out and pressed relentlessly for communication until being blocked.

After about 2 months of trying to process what the hell happened, how I was wronged, and completely misunderstood, I finally stopped. Just. Stopped. I stopped spinning my wheels and in the process shut out everything I could that was external. So many wonderful things happened when I did this. But before we talk about these wonderful things, I want to emphasize how difficult it was for me to even think about going inward. I felt as if I wouldn’t be able to cope, that I would fail yet again, that I couldn’t do it and that I wasn’t strong enough. I’ve seen people when trying new things express outwardly their fear of not being able to do it. This is exactly how I felt. This approach was new. It is scary.

It was at this moment that the Universe threw me a bone and prompted me to look into Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This is when it all clicked: It may be “them” some of the time, but mostly when it comes to maintaining close and fulfilling relationships, it’s me, it’s us with BPD. I connected with everything I read. As I post this, I’ve spoken with three psychologists who specialize in treating BPD. I will choose one to work with over the next months. I have zero time but this is important. I'm not blowing up another relationship. It's too painful but more importantly, I deserve better from me. It's time to figure out who I am and share that with the world. BPD is treatable so let's face this demon head on. Should be a wild ride.


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