Crazy Story

“Being a borderline feels like eternal hell. Nothing less. Pain, anger, confusion, hurt, never knowing how I'm gonna feel from one minute to the next. Hurting because I hurt those who I love. Feeling misunderstood. Analyzing everything. Nothing gives me pleasure. Once in a great while I will get "too happy" and then anxious because of that. Then I self-medicate with alcohol. Then I physically hurt myself. Then I feel guilty because of that. Shame”.    

~ Personality Disorders Awareness Network (PDAN)

Recently, I’ve been learning a lot about Borderline Personality Disorder. I’ve learned that it takes them a whole lot to regulate their emotions, that they tend to misinterpret situations, fear abandonment, evaluate people or completely devaluate them and engage in self-destructive behaviors in order to cope with their intense emotions. I’ve learned that they are far less tolerant and would do anything to control their emotions because they were simply built that way and also, because a lot of them have experienced a traumatic event. Actually, some people with this disorder also suffer from dissociation and flashbacks because of past trauma. It must be very difficult to live this way and it can be complicated to empathize with these patients and genuinely comprehend their internal world.

I don’t know if you are a therapist who treats them, a parent, friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, sibling or grandparent. Maybe you are the one struggling with this. Whatever the case, it is important for absolutely EVERYBODY to understand what validation is. Invalidation could be incredibly painful for anyone and can result in psychological conditions.

What is validation? It is not agreeing with someone. It also does not entail that we will not try to change. No. Validation is understanding followed by the verbal or nonverbal expression of such understanding at any level right after finding that seed of truth in someone’s story. It could be a nonsensical story. It could be a crazy story. It could be an impossible story. It doesn’t matter because every story makes sense in some way. Every story out there is possible for someone. Every story has some truth and it is essential that we grab on to that. Search for it, dig it up, use it like a dear friend and a sharp weapon.  

It can be difficult to want to leave someone first because of fear of abandonment. It must be difficult to be emotionally riding a wild roller coaster ride every day. It must be downright torture to have been invalidated for so long that you have become your own self-invalidation. You have become that “voice” that never understands and never believes you are of any worth.  If you are that person, I can tell you a life worth living is easier said than done but, it is also completely possible.