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TOO MANY REMAIN WITH ‘THE DEVIL THEY KNOW.’
It can feel disheartening to help a Borderline achieve wellness, because they are literally addicted to drama, crisis and chaos, so it always takes a severe personal trauma or setback, to force them into treatment. Painful events spawn feelings of aliveness in the borderline personality, which means it’s quite difficult to surrender these, in favor of serenity and calm. Thus, if they make progress within an effective healing modality and their pain starts to abate, they experience anxiety, and compulsively feel a need to self-sabotage.
As the BPD client starts moving beyond mere survival, they begin navigating emotionally uncharted waters. Brand new feelings trigger foreign, unfamiliar sensations in them, which prompt an anxiety response. Thus, even if these new bodily sensations feel light or pleasurable, the Borderline experiences fear or anxiety, and wants to escape them.
Having grown up with a great deal of emotional anguish, Borderlines learned to cope with stressors by mentally hyper-analyzing each difficult feeling that surfaced, in order to make sense of it. This mental process distracted from emotional discomfort in their body, and helped them adjust to troubling or tormenting living conditions at home.
In essence, their all-consuming mental analyses helped them dissociate from sensations of sadness, loneliness, anger, inner-emptiness or deadness, and literally helped them survive. The need for distraction from feelings did not abate as they grew to adulthood, but may have been augmented with compulsive behaviors like overeating, alcohol or drug consumption, masturbation, sex or porn addiction, etc., which helped ease immediate sensations of pain or turmoil.
Humans habitually return over and over again, to anything that provides even temporary respite from pain, which is why addictions always go hand-in-hand with personality disorders, and vice-versa. All addictions are byproducts of depression. They are a means of self-medicating inner despair that one who continually struggles with unresolved core trauma issues must endure. Thus, “abstinence” predictably fails to be a viable solution for resolving addiction of any type.
A Borderline’s shortsighted choices typically yield long-range consequences. A new or ongoing romance is often clung to, in order to avert the pain of being ‘alone’ with him or herself. The relationship could activate frequent bouts of discomfort, frustration or exhaustion, yet it functions as an addiction of sorts, to delay post-breakup emotions one will inevitably face, when their bed is finally empty.
I’m always amazed at how much compromise and sacrifice a few of my clients are willing to endure long term, for the sake of avoiding the sharper, more immediate yet shorter-lived pain of ripping the Bandaid off quickly, which promotes speedier healing! Young, underdeveloped souls tend to stay with the devil they know, rather than take a risk the something much better and more gratifying, lies ahead for them.