Recently someone asked us if we thought they could bring about recovery in a person with Borderline Personality Disorder through their own actions! It was a question we did a lot of thought about and so we decided to share our thoughts here…
Personality Disorders are Real Mental Illnesses – and they don’t depend on what anyone else does, or doesn’t do, said, or didn’t say. You can’t cure a personality disorder with love, anger, submission or ultimatums. That’s like trying to hit a puppy by throwing a live bee at it (points if you know where that line is from). Man, if only this were true. Let a friend or loved one know you have a mental issue, let them wave their hand around your head and Poof! no more personality disorder!
Many of us have had friends and family sit down with us and try and give advice or tell us to “just get over it” and it never ends well. Growing up my own dad did the latter very often. He invalidated my feelings and then told me to suck it up and get over it. I don’t think he was intentionally trying to be mean, but he clearly wasn’t helping me develop a healthy emotional state. Granted, if I wasn’t predisposed to having such emotionally charged responses to things I may not have elicited these responses from him so often. Like when my grandmother died, instead of allowing myself to grieve naturally I locked myself away in my closet to cry instead of voicing my hurt. I needed to suck it up and be strong for my brother and sister. Instead of processing my emotions in a situation that actually was very appropriate to be upset, I repressed how I felt because I believed that showing these feelings was bad and wrong.
My parents love me. They love me a lot. Even today my mum continues to send me holistic articles on releasing negative emotions and gaining a calmer state of mind, as if reading an article will help cure me. I know her intentions are good and she just wants me to get better. It’s her way of showing she cares, but it’s almost completely useless and makes me feel guilty for not being able to be better for them.
I am getting a little off point here, the point is, no matter how much you care, how guilty you feel, how much you talk about and give advice to someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, you can’t magically make it go away. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be there when they need you, do give your love and support, just understand that it’s not your fault if it isn’t cured.