So, last night, I felt pretty awkward during my parents BBQ, so stayed in my room most of the time. I was still being overwhelmed by the urge to cut myself, and started chatting to one of my friends, Wendy, on facebook. She told me if it was that bad, I was welcome to stay at her house for the night, and despite it already being 9pm (she lives an hour away) I decided this was probably the best (and safest) idea, so chucked a few clothes into a bag and headed to her house. Unfortunately for me, half way there, I suddenly remembered about the fresh razor that was hidden in the little pocket to the right hand side of the steering wheel. As I was driving, I pulled my sleeve up, got some tissue out ready (to soak up the blood) and got the razor out.
Somehow (and god knows how) I managed not to cut. Instead, I flipped the case off the back of my iPhone, put the razor in, and clipped it back on. I hoped that doing that would be enough to keep me from cutting until I got to Wendys, when I could hand the razor over. It was stupid really. I was running through all the things which could have triggered this urge. I wasn’t desperately upset, I wasn’t in a particularly bad place, in fact, I was calm and sensible; I just wanted to do it. I started to imagine how it would feel, the cool razor sliding over my arm, I couldn’t keep the thoughts out of my head.
I got to Wendys, and handed the razor over, pleased with myself that I hadn’t done anything, despite still wanting to. We didn’t really talk much, I just cuddled on the sofa with her and sat with her partner (who was sat on the other sofa) and watched some of the Olympics on the TV. The cuddles were amazing. I’ve been thinking, the past few days, of how to put into words how I feel, and I think I have come up with some sort of explanation as to why I might be feeling the way I do at the moment. When I was born, I think I was born as a ‘cuddly’ person. You know some people are quite tactile and affectionate – and then others aren’t at all, well I think I’m well and truly one of the first sort. Anyway, moving on, as a child, I was never given affection through cuddles and close contact, which is what I craved. So, it stands to reason, that over a period of years, a child who craves attention and affection, and is not getting it, will look for other sources of that affection. (I’m not saying my parents don’t love me, they do. It’s just they aren’t capable of showing it through tactile affection – they show it through doing things for me, buying things for me and providing me with a good home and education).
So, this explains why, over the course of my life, I have periodically sought out ‘mother figure’ type women, and latched on to them, becoming friendly to the point of obsession, until something went wrong, and I fell out with them in a big way (spot the borderline trait there?!). Off the top of my head, this started with primary school teachers – Mrs Milner (the school nurse), Mrs King-Harman (my friends mother); Secondary School teachers – Ms Alvarez, Ms Duddridge, Miss Cassons, Mrs Locke, Mrs Knights, Mrs Davidson, Ms Rodliffe, Dr Quick, Mrs Horfield, Mrs Icke, Ms Neil – the list goes on and on, and just writing that has made me realise – they are all of ‘mother figure’ age and type; then at University; Linda Greening, Kirsty McDonald, Sarah T – my lecturers; then after university (and some of these were from when I was at school but from different areas of my life); Gillian, Lesley, Hilary, Jean, Rachel, Lyn, Jen – I’m sure there are more that I haven’t listed – but all of these people have the same thing in common – they are all older than me (not all old enough to be my mother), I looked up to all of them and tried to model myself on them, I fell in ‘love’ with all of them (not a lesbian type love – more a family type love), I couldn’t imagine living without them, and all of them, with the exception of Jen, are no longer in my life.
I suppose following the Borderline trait, I put them on a pedestal, I worshipped them, then after an incident of some sort, I disregarded them, I threw them away, because they had ‘let me down’ or not ‘lived up to my expectations’.
So, I have come to the conclusion that I seek that ‘mother figure’ because I was not provided with it as a child growing up, and perhaps I have been seeking it in the wrong place. Going back to my own mother now is not an option. Yes, I work with her, and yes, I live with her, but I have learnt from previous experience that opening up to her emotionally is nothing but hurtful as she has her own ‘issues’ which prevent her from being the sort of person that I so desperately need her to be. It really makes me upset to think of myself, desperate for affection and love, but with no-one to turn to to get it from. I know people love me, and care for me, but they are soon going to get fed up of me if I am clingy and needy all the time.
This also applies, to an extent, to a father figure role. As a child growing up, my father was absent most of the time, as he had a good job in a company which meant he worked all over the world. I have had other issues with them which I have written about it other posts, which have affected our relationship over the years, but it is now better than it has ever been.
Anyway, most of this morning was spent doing ‘dog’ things, and this afternoon we spent on sun loungers soaking up the great british weather (it isn’t sunny very often so we brits tend to make the most of it when it is!). We started talking about things, starting with what I have just discussed; the fact that I was very clingy when I arrived last night. Wendy said she didn’t mind, in fact, she liked it, as she is an affectionate person herself. However the conversation went on to talk about that fact that I don’t really understand my boundaries (due to the BPD) and so this affection I give people has got me into trouble in the past.
For example, I was friendly with a man I knew (who I won’t name), and one day, was cuddling with him on the sofa. To me and my BPD brain, this was perfectly normal behaviour. He was a friend – and I was treating him like one. What I failed to realise – perhaps because I do not have the emotional capacity to do so – is the fact that cuddling on the sofa with a man who I am not intimately connected to (or related to), especially one who is married to another woman, is wrong. I did not understand this, despite being 23 years old, and at that age, this level of social understanding is expected from a person. This situation ended badly, he came on to me, we ended up sleeping together, he blamed me for coming on to him, and I ended up very confused and wondering what I had done wrong, questioning myself as to whether I really had come on to him or not.
I asked her about several scenarios, and whether they would be acceptable or not, and her answers suprised me. Some things, that I wouldn’t even think about, are unnacceptable. It worries me that I don’t understand this, it’s no wonder I have trouble in relationships if I am so emotionally stunted.
She did come up with one suggestion which could be pretty accurate. She wondered whether a lack of boundaries or discipline in my childhood, from my parents, could have resulted in my lack of boundaries now. Don’t get me wrong – I know what is right, and what is wrong, it’s just social boundaries I have a problem with. Now I have made mistakes, and suffered the consequences, I am over careful. For example, her partner came and sat on the sofa next to me, and I immediately shifted to the end of the sofa. During this conversation he brought that up, and I explained I moved because I didn’t know whether sitting that close to him was acceptable or not, I didn’t know what the boundary was, so to save any hassle and just to make sure, I moved.
We also talked a little about the fact I was now having self harm urges. She wondered whether in the past, I have found self harm fulfilling, and that currently, I am feeling unfillfilled, and therefore feel the need to self harm, to rectify that. This is actually a pretty good analysis – self harm DOES fulfill me in some way, and recently, I have had the sale of the house fall through, my older dog hasn’t been behaving and training hasn’t been going very well, my younger dog has been lame for a prolonged period of time, and my diet hasn’t been going well; I have been unfulfilled in all areas of my life. Had Wendy just stumbled across the exact reason I need to cut?
She also questioned whether it was because I am very inpatient, I don’t like waiting for things, and in this case, need the immediate emotional result that cutting would give me. That is a point too, as yes, I AM very inpatient, I want things now, I don’t want to wait for them. She suggested I find other ways to feel fulfilled, and perhaps the urge to harm myself would get less, or even go away completely.
Nearing the end of this conversation, I felt myself started to dissasociate. I think it was because the conversation was pretty hard going, so I let myself sleep for a little while, in the sunshine.
I think I have made a lot of headway tonight. I have some really good ideas which are contributing to finding out why I think and behave the way I do, and this can only be a good thing. I think also, a lot of people will be able to identify with some of the things I have talked about in this post, so I hope this helps you too.