When I reflect back on negative comments friends and family have said to me over the years, that have really stuck with me and ring through my skull when I’m greeted with a situation said comments are relevant too; there’s one that really sticks.
‘You’re so selfish, you only ever think about yourself’
Whenever this is said to me, it’s like a deep scar has reopened and it takes me a long time to heal from it. I hate the fact that this is the perception people sometimes have off me. It’s not me.
Granted – it’s not a line I often hear from close friends anymore; as they’ve grown to understand me. However, that doesn’t stop me from thinking that there are times they’re maybe thinking it. And there are definitely times they’re upset or angry with me for a perceived selfish act or statement I’ve made. And I definitely hear it from acquaintances and colleagues who don’t know me so well – or words to that affect.
You literally only have to Google ‘selfish BPD’ and you’ll find hundreds of hits. It’s a common occurrence among those suffering with BPD to be accused of being selfish.
You can be an inherently selfish person, but just because you have BPD this does not mean that you’re automatically selfish. Just as anyone (mental health issue or not) can be selfish, or judgmental, or happy, or caring…
‘Is borderline personality disorder a real diagnosis or is it just a way to let someone who’s selfish, impulsive and mean off the hook for their bad behavior?’
I find the very fact that this question is often asked, disturbing. Some medical professionals write off ever diagnosing BPD because they do not understand it, or feel they’re being manipulated.
I am not selfish. When you struggle through each very intense emotion, it’s difficult to even comprehend what the other mind is thinking and feeling. You do what you can in order to get through each day and avoid negative social situations, self-harm or hurt. It’s a survival tactic for us.
It’s only through friends and family being straight with me, and giving me their perspective on how they feel do I learn. Then next time I find myself in a similar situation, I’ve learnt how to take into account both (or more) peoples feelings. I guess it’s a little like raising a child and teaching them right from wrong.
“They (Borderlines) have the thinnest skin, the shortest fuses and take the hardest knocks. In psychiatrists’ offices, they have long been viewed as among the most challenging patients to treat.” Shari Roan
I’ll give you an example.
Recently, I found a WhatsApp group I was in difficult to cope with. I’m in a time of uncertainty due to job difficulties, and all manner of possible outcomes and issues were being thrown back and forth. My anxiety grew as more possible scenarios were suggested, that alone I would of never of thought off.
So how did I respond? I said ‘This group is irritating me’ and abruptly left.
I immediately removed myself from the problem, solving my own issue without taking into consideration how that would make my colleagues feel. It wasn’t until I noticed two of them weren’t speaking to me as normal that I grew concerned something wasn’t right; and questioned if it was anything to do with the group chat. I fired a question over to one of them asking if ‘I was the most hated person in work now’.
Although I may not agree with all the ins and outs of the conversation that occurred (which I won’t go into, as I do have a lot of love for my colleagues and all the support they’ve given me over the past year). I did take from it, that the way I dealt with the issue wasn’t right. She was straight with me, she explained that certain people were upset thinking I had an immediate issue with them and that my departing comment was rude.
It really was – and it really hurt for me to learn that one of my colleagues thought I had a direct issue with them and I’d made them feel shit. All I wanted to do was get away from the scenarios being chucked about, not any of the people.
I can be socially inept. I don’t like the fact that in this process of recovery I will unintentionally hurt people. But as I work through my recovery, the less mistakes I’ll make. I’ve always misjudged social situations, and blown things out of proportion in my own mind. But I hope that from the 1 example given you can see that my actions are never intended to be selfish.
Thank you all so much for your patience.
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