Welcome humans of the internet,
It’s your girl here, back with some more insightful venting. I’ve been trying to reconcile with my brain through yoga over the past year. Not just through the physical practice, but reading the books and sitting in meditation. Not just trying to fix my brain, but trying to figure out why it works the way it does too. svadhyaya (self-study), I guess that is a part of yoga too. There is a huge part of me that deeply wants to know how to fix my brain and emotions, because western and modern doctors aren’t really doing it. As I try to dive into that, I keep pondering with different theories and ideas about why my brain is the way it is. The most recent pondering is on emotional manipulation and bpd.
Anyone who has any interest or knowledge in mental health has probably heard it before “people with bpd (borderline personality disorder) are crazy and emotionally manipulative”. Of course, being a human with bpd, I don’t want to think that’s the case. In fact, even from an outside perspective and from more of soul space, I don’t think that’s it. I think it’s misunderstanding. Sure, our emotional reactions are out of hand sometimes and not acceptable……a tad bit dramatic at times if you will, but they’re not intentional. At least I don’t think. Hear me out.
Like any human who is highly sensitivity (even those without bpd), emotions are hard because you feel them much more deeply. Someone else’s story may move you to tears, because you can feel their struggle and pain. A rude comment may cause you to have a bad day because you felt that persons energy too deeply. Of course, with time and different tools you may learn how to turn that off or how to not let that effect you. However, with bpd it’s a little more intense with that.
We feel everything too deeply. The good and the bad. Both sometimes challenging. It’s often hard to know where the painful emotions are coming from, if it is ours or if it is someone else’s. Not knowing how to respond to what we’re feeling. Making how to get rid of it a little more challenging. It also makes learning skills and tools to help deal with those intense emotions more challenging as well. Because we’re living life, we can’t just stop feeling things for an extended period of time to learn all the skills to cope with our feelings. It’s almost like no matter what we try we don’t know what to do with our emotions, so we avoid them at every cost. Or avoid the bad and overcompensate for the bad by trying to force the “good” emotions. Giving love out so freely until we get hurt when no one gives it back.
However, our emotions are unavoidable, so when we feel them it’s intense. We often panic because our emotional cup is spilling over and we don’t know how to clean it up safely. Often spilling it out onto people around us. Making us seem overly emotional, because we can’t keep it in. That’s often who leads us to looking crazy and manipulative, like we’re just seeking attention to get what we want.
The truth is we don’t really understand what is happening. We (or I guess I can only speak for me and my brain and what I’ve seen with my friends) don’t know why we’re having the strong emotions. We want help at figuring out why and how to fix it. However, the strong and intense emotions make people weary of us and not want to help. Often our own attempts to fix things, leads people we love to leave. It breaks our trust and puts us in this cycle of helplessness. Making us believe we are just over dramatic people seeking attention. We’re not though. We’re misunderstood and seeking connection and help.
We need space and patience to talk out our feelings without judgment, knowing what we may be feeling may not be what it looks like on the outside, but it’s what we’re feeling in the moment. And that’s real. We need space and guidance with figuring out what to do with those feelings. So we can learn how manage them so we can lessen the intensity.
In the mental health realm, people are always talking about being your own advocate. Letting people know when you need something. The thing is, because we feel everything and are so aware, we often worry about if we’re asking for too much worrying about if people have enough space to hold for us. Often sinking back into that toxic cycle of shame for the way we feel things. The comments we make that come off as “passive aggressive” or “attention seeking” are just red flags that we need something, because we feel there is no other way to express it. Because saying it straightforward would make us seem manipulative. I think we trick ourselves sometimes. We worry so much about not coming off as manipulative, that we do that exact thing. We often overcompensate when we do that with love for our people, which doesn’t help our cause.
Misunderstood not manipulative.
I know it’s not the same, but I like to think about the treatment people receive when they have a more obvious illness. When they ask for help, they’re typically treated as someone who is not being manipulative, but as someone who is trying to get the help they need.
That’s all people with bpd are trying to do, as well. Trying to figure out what we need by expressing our very intense emotions. Nobody else is in our head, there isn’t a ton of research on it, we’re trying to explain it to the world, when the world just sees us as attention seeking. I’m not saying there aren’t times when we are manipulative or toxic (all humans are to some degree), but the thing is, most of us don’t realize that’s what we’re doing. Our perspective is so different from “normal” brains. I think there’s a fine line between being our own advocate and being manipulative that many people and health care professionals seem to ignore. We’re just trying to get what we need to survive. We’re trying. We want to be good humans.
To end this stream of consciousness I want to leave you with this.
The next time you think someone is being over emotional/attention seeking – change that perspective to ” they are battling with their brain and seeking connection because they feel alone”. I have a feeling that can help change perspective to a middle ground.
If you’re like me and struggling with intense emotions, it’s okay. It gets easier and don’t let anyone keep you trapped in that cycle of shame for your feelings. We got this.