Paper tigers, toy guns.
The essential features of a personality disorder are impairments in personality (self and interpersonal) functioning and the presence of pathological personality traits. To diagnose borderline personality disorder, the following criteria must be met:
I don’t remember ever feeling so little in my life. I feel like I lack the basic skills to live day to day. The coffee mug on the corner of the counter stacked with band-aids and dropper bottles is tipped over and I jump back four feet. I can’t control these responses—I’ve been living in my gut for months perpetually getting sick or not eating at all because I’m not digesting anything. I’m fucking scared. Fight, flight, or freeze. And because this has gone on forever and I try to soothe myself in fucked up ways all over the place. I’m so worried, I’m so sad, I’m so lost, I just want to be loved. This lizard brain tells so many different stories to myself and this is one of them.
- Identity: Markedly impoverished, poorly developed, or unstable self-image, often associated with excessive self-criticism; chronic feelings of emptiness; dissociative states under stress.
I don’t know any more what I have to offer. Trauma can cause one to become extremely self-absorbed. If one is running away from the tiger, they aren’t worried if their little gazelle friend Bob is making it out alive. Its time for self-preservation. And the stimulus doesn’t matter. The brain doesn’t see the edges of burnt Japenese paper. I thought my biggest takeaway in grad school was realizing how very connected we all are—we think mostly alike, we share the same dreams. But, because someone who I hold very dear says things aren’t what they seem, I believe they aren’t what they seem. My intuition is called into questions and I start to wonder if the softening in the eyes around me are another illusion and I’m not sensing emotions. I’m merely projecting. I start to despise my mind—the very thing that stood up after so many self and other knock downs—why can’t it get out of the fight or flight response?
- Empathy: Compromised ability to recognize the feelings and needs of others associated with interpersonal hypersensitivity (i.e., prone to feel slighted or insulted); perceptions of others selectively biased toward negative attributes or vulnerabilities.
I remain frozen in time feeling the stagnation. Mistrust perhaps planted by me and then solidified through my partner cheating I spend the 4 am hour stalking women on Instagram who have slept with the person I trusted feeling the sinking in my belly staring at the beautiful eyes and voluptuous breasts of another woman. Fueled by mistrust and obsession I become aware of my own small self and my own stupid selfies where the only thing I admire is my teeth hardly showing because brooding is my functional mode. I look at my own small nipples appearing to slide off my body and remember staring in the pool in my Wal-Mart swimsuit and staring as I made French press coffee naked. Men don’t stare at me, men are frightened of me.
- Intimacy: Intense, unstable, and conflicted close relationships, marked by mistrust, neediness, and anxious preoccupation with real or imagined abandonment; close relationships often viewed in extremes of idealization and devaluation and alternating between over involvement and withdrawal.
Sister, you have not left me. Brother, I love you so much. I think about you both when I should. Sometimes I call. I talk often with my Uncle–we just saw each over the weekend and he loves my mother. I love my mother. We don’t have to speak for years at a time and I know you are still there. Not estranged. There is no problem, never was. Here it is–here she is. The other side of the thinking but dialed back just a bit through yoga and the breath. I am not wise, I am not stupid. These are not cognitions but the human state–naturally we don’t exist as this or that. There is no need for DBT but an acknowledgement that we are very simply human. The Rogerian intervention for BPD is knowing the client can move towards healing when provided the correct conditions. Are those here in Pagosa Springs, Colorado? What about Laramie, Wyoming?
Rogers believed that self-exploration, conducted honestly, leads ultimately to a restructuring of self. The ego is not confronted or stressed; it participates in its own exploration, its own healing growth. The changes produced are not experienced as something alien, forced on a person. Instead, changes in the person’s self-perspective feel like joyful self-discovery. This process of discovery turns out to be relatively easy, once started—a process of letting-go, rather than forcing something to happen
Many of my family members have had some shit. My grandpa would send me a letter a day filled with cartoons, dead bugs, trifles, receipts—I love those letters. I love the quirky side of folks. Even in their neurosis. Yes, I frustrate me and they frustrate me but what I know to be true is that when we are completely with one another—the pain goes away. When we look in each other’s eyes—lovers or not—we exist in the moment if only for a moment. There is hope. One truth I have come to know through whatever has gripped me is that there is only this moment. And in this moment there is love.
Client presents with symptoms and behaviors that are consistent with a DSM-5 diagnosis of: no diagnosis present