Borderline Personalities in the Family


In 2005, I was diagnosed as Bipolar Mixed – Rapid Cycling, and it sure looked like that was the right diagnosis. Mania and Hypomania are exclusive to Bipolar Disorder, and I was all over the map with Mania in September of 2005. What wasn’t known at the time was that my brain chemistry was and still is more sensitive to psychotropics than the vast majority of the population, and I was loaded up on a big, bad SNRI, Effexor XR, which works great for a lot of people but didn’t for me. I was suffering from antidepressant induced mania which is more common in children, teenagers, and adults under 25. It took years before my diagnosis was amended to PTSD, and I was later diagnosed with ADHD. But there was a moment when Borderline Personality Disorder was thrown out there by a family member, and it wasn’t a bad theory at all. Having been psychologically abused as a child by my father and watching him do the same to my mother left me with quite a few emotional issues that couldn’t be brushed off as quirks. His needs came first, and his f**k the world attitude if anyone felt differently really messed me up when it came to my own needs and self-confidence as an adult.
A couple of years ago, he attempted to gas-light me in a very overt manner regarding events in my childhood. However, he seemed to have forgotten something he took great pride in telling others about me when I was a child. I have an eidetic memory that works very well when I’m not having an ADHD moment, hour, day, week, etc… I like to think of it as an engine with an electrical short or a tempestuous starter. Anyway, while I wanted to try and make our relationship healthier and get past our past, he wanted none of that being that he had created a new persona… one where his ex had left him because of money and not because he treated us like support staff.
I realized after he stormed out those couple of years ago that he’s a caustic narcissist, and even more recently when analyzing why another family member is so manipulative, I realized that his true diagnosis is Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Those two coupled together mean that he’ll never accept that he’s sick and needs help, and he’ll continue to be unhappy and destroy every relationship in his desperation to prove everyone wrong and black and white thinking. It also means that he’ll think that I’m out to get him out of malice or jealousy or mental illness. I can say for sure that two of his siblings are BPD as well – one of which being a grand standing narcissist. My cousin and I traded notes on that one.
So, I began to wonder, “Am I really Borderline? and do I need to address this in therapy?” There is more than one type of Borderline just as there is more than one type of Bipolar. So, when I saw my therapist today, I asked him. He informed me that while I had exhibited some of traits, polar thinking, oversharing, stress-related paranoia, and mood-swings, I didn’t exhibit fear of abandonment or clear consistency of the other symptoms. It was obvious that I’d been raised to think and behave in that manner and that I wasn’t truly paranoid once I talked about having been sexually assaulted and terrorized by a sexual predator over a period of two months in 1999 and having been abused by my father. It was hypervigilance which can manifest in all kinds of excessively annoying ways.
My concern about BPD was real as it should have been being that I’ve seen it manifest on my paternal and maternal sides of my family. And while I was able to develop mindful tools via therapy, I really did wonder. The thing about BPD is that it feeds off itself like many mental illnesses. BPD tricks the mind into believing that it doesn’t need help and that things are either entirely good and ideal or entirely bad and undesirable. A great many people living with BPD are never formally diagnosed, never get help, or a combination of the two. And, the last thing I ever wanted to do was destroy the relationships around me or live in the dark like some in my family do.
In the end, I know that if my father reads this he’ll make something up about me being a liar and/or crazy and gas-lighting those around him. Honestly, I feel sorry for him. I really, really do. He’ll never get the help he needs because his illness has convinced him that anything I say isn’t real. Deep down, I think he knows that he’s sick because I can’t imagine him being quite that delusional about the lies he tells.
And, even though I know he’s sick and it’s not entirely his fault, we need to remain estranged because his behavior toward me is still abusive, and I have my mental health to protect as well as the health of relationships like my marriage. I don’t hate him; in fact, I don’t think he’s entirely bad; but, regardless of who he thinks he is now, he still reverted to the old, abusive behaviors just two years ago that I saw as a child, and someone has to stick up for me.

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