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The monotony of verbal REPETITION with a Borderline
Round and round the Mulberry Bush we go!
Borderlines aren’t “bad people,” and some have enviable qualities~ but they’re children living in adult-sized bodies, so it’s really hard to remember we’re in love with a CHILD, until we hit yet another relationship speed-bump with ‘em!
Borderlines are impulsive, reactive, and devoid of boundaries and empathy. When misunderstandings or conflicts occur, we’re used to talking it through no matter HOW long it takes for us to both feel resolved about the matter. Problem is, there’s no such thing as resolution, when you’re dealing with a Borderline!
The nature of “Resolution” is having come to a sense of completion, closure and peaceful finite-ness about an issue or event, which is very different from resignation. Borderlines are not emotionally capable of accepting resolution, because it represents the end of something, like their pain, their sense of longing, their anger, their sense of belonging to someone, their dissatisfaction, etc. The Borderline Personality can only be RESIGNED to a situation~ NOT resolved about it.
When you try to explain something you feel strongly about to a normal, healthy human, they hear you, they understand you, they connect the dots on what you’re saying, and they integrate the meaning of what you’ve said to them. NO SUCH THING OCCURS WITH SOMEONE BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDERED, which is why the same issues arise in your relationship, over and over and over again!
It’s easy to understand why you might feel this is YOUR fault if a verbal disconnect or misunderstanding happens, and that maybe it’s because you weren’t clear enough about your feelings, observations and needs the first, second or third time around. Surely, if you just tried a little harder to get your point across, you’d be understood, and resolution could be gained, right?? WRONG. With a Borderline, it actually doesn’t change a fucking thing!
In my 25 website articles written about Borderline Personality Disorder, I often refer to Borderlines as toddlers in grown-up bodies. Could you expect a 3 year-old to identify with and relate to the obstacles you’re facing at work? Does it even make sense that you might expect someone so young to understand and commiserate with you about your relationship struggle with a friend? OF COURSE NOT~ and if you tried to talk with that child about these things, they’d have less comprehension about what you’re saying, than your beloved DOG would~ who’d at least instinctually wanna comfort you, sensing you’re in pain!
I dated a man years ago, who apparently saw it as his job to monitor my food consumption. I was thin then, and am even thinner now, but this guy had a LOT of emotional baggage, which routinely fell out of the overhead compartment, and bonked me on the noggin! His (soon-to-be divorced) ex had gained a gargantuan amount of weight during their marriage, and his father had died of peripheral arterial disease, many years before.
All Danny boy’s understandable fears, trepidations, and concerns landed on me. In psychology speak, this was his transference of the all the unfinished business (disappointment, grief, fear, resentment and anger) onto Me, he’d never bothered RESOLVING in a therapist’s office! He’d merely resigned himself to it. Needless to say, every time we shared a meal, this control issue raised its ugly, meddling little head, and it forced me out the door. I couldn’t put in a 40-hour work week with my clients, and keep feeling like I was working (with him) on my time off!
I’d spend 2 - 3 HOURS talking this “eating issue” thru with my lover and assuring him this would never become an obstacle in our relationship (I wasn’t gonna get fat or die~ in HIS lifetime, anyway), and each time came away thinking, okay, he finally gets it and I won’t have to deal with this bullshit again… but alas, it was only wishful thinking. Sure enough, the same exact issue resurfaced next time we ate a meal together! It started with him acting sullen, and we were off to the races.
Danny boy was narcissistic, but he also had BPD traits. I might as well have been addressing a 3 year-old on this topic. It went in one ear and out the other. He had ZERO retention. I know how easy it is to think, well, if I just explain myself more clearly next time, there will be a different outcome… but when it comes to being understood by a Borderline, you’re just dreamin’ ~ and that’s if they don’t start kitchen-sinking you to death, once you’ve struck a nerve with ‘em, and there’s a glimmer of comprehension behind their glazed-over stare!
When you’re trying to navigate a misunderstanding with a Borderline, it’s exhausting~ because just as you feel you’re making progress, they bring up other issues from months or years ago, that were thoroughly discussed and (you thought) resolved, and yet, here they are, coming ‘round the bend again! They wanna rehash literally every little conflict (but the kitchen sink) you’ve had throughout the entire relationship!
They do this to keep you off balance, AND because they can’t tolerate any sense of closure. Resolution is about having attained CLOSURE regarding an issue or setback. The Borderline hounds you after a breakup, because they can only sporadically feel resigned about a relationship ending, never resolved with it.
Borderline Personalities have a very fragile sense of Self. It’s like they’re unable to feel okay about themselves, standing on their own. They really don’t have relationships~ they take hostages. Never expect to get resolution with a Borderline over an upsetting event, anymore than you would anticipate being able to work thru a complex emotional issue, with a toddler.
If this becomes exhausting for you like it did for me, you’ll think about saying goodbye to that person you’re sleeping beside, because (sorry to say) this stuff never gets better~ and in 99% of cases, it get a lot worse. Older Borderlines don’t mellow or get healthier with age, so what you see right now, is what you get for a lifetime, unless you’re willing to save yourself this monotony, frustration and grief, and swiftly move on with your life, without ‘em.