Borderline Personality Disorder is enough to make most therapists run for the hills. Between the high suicide risk (7 out of 10 attempt) and an almost guarantee that the therapist will be seen as the enemy along with the overall lack of hope for healing, there isn't a lot of willingness to help.
I'm not diagnosed with borderline; I haven't given anyone the opportunity, nor am I interested in receiving an official diagnosis. I just notice that some of my behavior is consistent with the typology of BPD. I have abandonment triggers, a history of cutting, anger, paranoia -- among other things.
I vacillate between love and hate with the very few who I've let in on a deep level. Intense admiration for someone can be followed by criticism, and it all starts the moment I feel I don't matter to them. It's the moment that I realize I have given them a more prominent place in my life than they've given me in theirs.
That I'm expendable.
Then I hate myself, I hate them, I want to burn every bridge, and I make plans for how I will disappear from their life without a trace. Sometimes these are elaborate constructs with written game plans involving technology to erase myself, sometimes it's just turning off my phone and blocking them on Facebook. If they are trying to reach out, I don't want to know about it unless it's a grand gesture. I tell myself that I want not to be so available to be used, because that is how I feel.
The thoughts are cyclical, and coping methods become a dredging up of everything that is wrong with that person, to dropping out of society, just to "get my head straight" which is the exact opposite of what happens.
I go from "How could I be so stupid as to believe they love me. I am such an idiot, I can't believe I gave so much of myself" to "Wait, I'm not stupid, they are a sociopath." And the next several hours or days are spent going over everything that is wrong with them while still feeling shattered by their rejection, which by the way was probably something like they didn't pay attention to something I said or other trivial thing that was most likely the result of preoccupation rather than anything against me.
BPD makes it seem like everyone you care about hates you and would be better off if you didn't exist.
If I hit that stage, it's a tough comeback. If I can get to flower essences while I still have a foot in reality, I'm good. Sometimes this means I have about half an hour, and I'm not always home to deal. If it's extreme, I can see it for what it is, at least before the dark side takes over, but lesser forms come across as me having a bad day and saying some mean things. At that level, I'm not necessarily in touch and aware that my button got pushed and it goes undealt with. Most Borderlines are not this lucid, and may never admit that they are anything but a perpetual victim.
Usually, essences can pull me out instantly. Granted, I am a mild case. Sometimes the emotions morph, if I grab flowers for one thing, it dissipates, and some other feeling flares up. Those are the nights I hate, chasing symptoms for hours as the torment invents new forms as quickly as I can get a handle on one aspect. If I was smarter, I'd spend more time working on healing the roots instead of just emergency management. But as with many who are BPD or Bipolar, when we feel good we don't want our meds anymore.
BPD is often confused with Bipolar, Bipolar being easier to treat, less stigmatized and therefore diagnosed as such and medications dispensed. Modern medicine does not have a solution for BPD at this time and some say medicating is dangerous because it takes enough edge off that the person is able to go through with suicide. BPD cycles faster (thank God) with episodes being hours or days instead of weeks or months. BPD is also linked to abandonment issues and its damage is entirely relational, where Bipolar is less relationship based.
So what goes into the formation of a borderline personality? Genetic predisposition plus childhood trauma around not being loved, in tandem with invalidated feelings.
"Stop being such a baby."
"She's only crying because she wants attention."
Then we grow up with our rejection complexes and have to listen to you tell us what we are feeling is again, wrong.
A high percentage of BPD's have had a religious upbringing, and growing up in a religious household may account for the polarized viewpoints of self and others being completely good or completely bad, with bad needing to be rejected at all costs. I don't think I have this problem as much, although my penguin experience probably begs to differ.
My point is not to get into a war with "real diagnosed" BPDers about whether I qualify as such or whether you the reader does. My point is that having any of the indicators is too many.
I also cannot say that flower essences "treat" BPD. But they can support the person going through it.
Flowers for when you're in the thick of it.
These will most likely need to be combined in a Custom Combo depending on how your symptoms present. You might consider one for when you're trigged and one for day to day, working on deeper healing.
Malva aids in stopping the cycles of rejection. For many of us, life is always about what we perceive things to be and not what they necessarily are in reality. An initial trauma of rejection can sensitize a person to further perceived "slights" any time another falls short of what is expected in the relationship. This can cause distancing, "I'll leave so you can't hurt me." or hostility which prompts those they are in relationship with to also become defensive and withdraw. The cycle completes with the person feeling justified in their initial perception. Malva helps to desensitize, soothe and unravel the reinforced patterning. Stopping the rejection cycle is the only way to obtain what's needed through relationships. Malva prompts the bravery needed to stay and experience the reality that's beyond the initial perception, and melt away the feelings of paranoia and not being loved.
Plantain flower essence helps release bitterness and resentment. It dissolves negative and repetitive thought patterns that keep you stuck in old cycles. It changes "biting" words into more positive means of communication and heals the wounds that have been inflicted by others.
Sweet Chestnut – For those dark nights of the soul when intense despair and the feeling of being utterly alone are pervasive; having no sense of understanding from others and no sense of higher guidance; feeling there is no way out, no hope; at a breaking point. Sweet Chestnut helps break down old patterns and belief systems, restores faith and helps you realize you’re on a new path and that change is possible.
Sweet Cherry is a broad-spectrum negative emotions essence, dissolving fear, anger and frustration. It strengthens you to see goodness and softens your heart toward others. It takes down walls of self-protection that keep you from relating properly with others.
Bleeding Heart is for heartbreak and codependency. It helps release painful emotional attachments and restores balance, helping you live and love with your whole heart, not from brokenness and neediness. A good essence to take when a relationship ends, whether a breakup, death, move, or desire to break a cycle of codependency.
Catalpa is a deep heart healer that can be effective either for present wounding or old childhood pain that persists. This one is especially indicated for any type of abandonment, betrayal or feelings of being unloved. For children and adults who are going through divorce or separation, or dealing with a death, Catalpa is a comforter and a reassurance that they are worthy of love, and that love is a force they can never truly be separated from.
Cherry Plum guards against breakdown, out-of-control episodes and bad decisions based on desperation. It helps users to express emotions they fear in healthy, non- destructive ways. Cherry Plum makes it easier to access spiritual insight that you will use to overcome emotional situations. It also helps you trust that you have Divine guidance.
Chicory helps with abandonment issues and wounds from rejection that result in holding people so tightly that they pull away, creating a vicious cycle. Chicory helps you love deeply and completely without any strings attached. It brings a sense of security in all close relationships, and once those close to you feel the release, they too are free to love with no reservations. Chicory teaches about love; it calms neediness by revealing the source of unconditional love— and with that comes new-found security.
Echinacea helps transition from old traumatized self-image to the new, fully-integrated person. It maintains a protection around you while vulnerable weakened state, but doesn’t leave you there. Childhood traumas can shatter a person's core identity, causing you to dissociate or adopt a different persona to get through. Echinacea helps restore true identity and wholeness by releasing the old, especially for those who do not feel fully present.
Evening Primrose helps heal emotional pain absorbed from the mother in early childhood. It is especially recommended for those who were adopted or unplanned causing stress in utero. It opens the ability to form deep lasting relationships by dealing with issues of rejection, fear of commitment and parenthood, and difficulties dealing with sexual and emotional feelings. It promotes healing of early childhood trauma and helps users develop greater emotional intimacy with others.
Hyssop addresses guilt and shame-based issues and all their cousins: self-sabotage, self-blame, fear of being judged, perfectionism and unworthiness. Hyssop works within the structures of thinking we’ve established, and reverse the internal judgment and self-condemnation we fall into. Some degree of judgment is necessary, but it's not to be held on to and continually revived. This kind of self-punishment creates a barrier toward receiving the good in life. Hyssop is especially wonderful for those who grew up in a guilt-based religious system, which has become a stumbling block to a true relationship with Creator.
Missouri Primrose is for those who have trouble receiving the good in life because of negative emotions (guilt, self-sabotage or sense of unworthiness, etc.). Things like love and friendships don't just happen; you have to be open to them and believe they’re your right. Missouri Primrose can reach back to your childhood where your sense of self- worth was shaped and help you let go of ideas that indicate you aren’t deserving.
Oregon Grape heals patterns of conditioning that are instilled in us, conditioning that tells us we aren’t safe in relationships and can't let our guard down. Oregon Grape helps you see the good intentions of others and disrupts paranoid thought processes, allowing trust and love to flourish.
Flowers for when you're stable
Because dissociation is so common with BPD, and because you wouldn't be here without initial trauma, you most likely have some fragments or alters. Even so-called healthy people are fragmented because we all go through something in our lives and we don't always process it well. Fragmentation is a way to go on with life after trauma, where we can function pretty well in spite of our situation. When you are in a relatively good place, you might consider the Fragment Finder essence and work with some one experienced in integrating soul fragments. Integrating the fragments is the way that we can stop being triggered by perceptions of rejection.
If You Care About a Borderline
If you are in a relationship with a person you think has BPD, you probably need essences too. You put up with stress, and possibly emotional or physical abuse. And here's a little unsolicited third party advice. Don't get upset if logic and reason don't work with us. When triggered, you are dealing with a toddler in an adult body, and the emotional maturity is not there. This is because they were emotionally wounded at an early age, and when they perceive a similar scenario forming, they are brought right back to that age again.
Small children process the world and its events through an ego-centric paradigm. In other words, "It's all about me." "You didn't do this, so that means you hate me."
I can simultaneously see the truth when presented with it, and still feel what I feel. There is this chasm between what is said and my feelings which I can't be talked around or over. Facts don't change my feelings. And I always interpret actions over words.
Emotional health professionals commonly say about Borderlines that "feelings create facts," meaning our minds will manipulate reality to justify what we feel. Don't falsely agree with us or appease or take blame in any way that isn't true, but do stay calm. If we say we want distance, that's a protective mechanism and its bullshit. The cave is where reality leaves and hate is fueled. Your caring presence is a foothold in truth. If we're worth it, you have to fight. If we aren't, just let us go. It won't be the first time someone has, and we expect it anyway. Being in a close relationship is excruciating. Not being in a close relationship is excruciating. We lose either way.
Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't ask you what you were doing in relationship with a borderline. When I was 19, I wrote a song called "Stranger" with all my rough relational edges exposed. Men would fall at my feet over that song. All a bunch of savior complexes. All thinking they would be the exception to the rule. The one to "fix me."
I put it away when I realized, and I eventually got out of music because every day was an emotional bleed out. I stuff it as best as I can because I do see that it attracts other wounded personalities, some who gravitate to the level of abuse a borderline is capable of. Watch your motives and your emotional health.
Never lose hope! (Preaching to myself first.) This is such a hard place... And it's a spiritual problem as much as anything. This kind of torment is unreal. I have worked with some different people using different methods, yet I'm still here. No longer cutting, no longer hitting, no longer banging my head into walls, but still deeply hurt. But I'm not done trying.
Update: 1/22/17 I have gotten significant help at De Balm Ministries.