In response to my blog last week a reader commented:
I am a (borderline personality) BPD in love with a sociopath, I want to share the depth of sadness and emptiness that occurs in my soul knowing, I will never know the love and security that regular people have, Imagine how long life would be knowing you are not equipped with the same emotion’s as everyone else.
I have never understood why there is no compassion for those of us who were abused when we should’ve bonded. I did not ask to be this way and every day watch and listen to what others do in their relationships so I can do it too ( not that I have been successful , but I try).
It is not that I can’t love, it’s the opposite actually, that I am so consumed by not being loved that pushes me to that bored space that propagates my self destruction. I just feel that most socio/bpd’s wish that they had the same emotions as others, it is exhausting pretending and I wish I could go back and be my own mother and love me in a way that created a secure human not a scared , detached one like me. Bless”¦
PS , I pray every night for healing of my heart and my emotions”¦ still I am who I am.
I debated on whether to respond as a comment but the above is so well written and so touching that it deserves more visibility.
The scientific literature has documented that it is common for women with borderline personality and psychopathic personality traits to hook-up with males who are more pathological than they are. These hook-ups drag already vulnerable women down a path of terror and destruction. In speaking with many victims, I too have noted that a subset have borderline personality disorder.
To make matters worse, relationships between women with BPD and sociopathic men typically begin when the women are in their late teens and result in early pregnancy. The pair is unprepared emotionally and financially to be a couple and to care for their children, who are also then exposed to domestic violence and the sociopath’s “friends.”
Please consider that treating borderline personality in young women will reduce/prevent sociopathy in the next generation for two reasons. Treatment will reduce partnering with sociopaths and also improve parenting ability.
Why do women with BPD and sociopathy have such a high rate of partnering with sociopaths? I think the answer lies in their anxiety and in dominance motives. Sociopaths portray dominance and so are sought after as a source of security. Men who have lower levels of dominance and anxiety themselves are a turn off for insecure women. However, it is those more normal men who have the best chance at helping a borderline woman recover.
Also many women with BPD have a high level of power/dominance motivation themselves, so if they do get into a relationship with a less pathological male, they quickly make mince meat out of him. A dominant woman with BPD has the ability to destroy a normal man psychologically, just like a sociopath can.
If I had no hope I wouldn’t bring any of this up, because what is the point of spreading gloom and doom about human nature. I write this week because I don’t believe these scenarios have to play out in this way. As humans, we not only have the primitive brain with its unconscious motives of fear and dominance, we also have a “wise mind.”
If you have borderline personality (or sociopathy for that matter), your life challenge is to find your wise mind and work to connect with it. Your wise mind should dictate your actions not your primitive brain.
To discover your wise mind, you have to learn techniques of anxiety management. Anxiety interferes with the functioning of the wise mind.
Having a wise mind means deciding on values based on facts, not how I feel in the moment. For example, as I raise my son I am teaching him to have a wise mind. He knows that if left to his own devices at the age of 6 he would eat unhealthy food, not get enough sleep and entertain himself in a way that harmed him.
My son says, “I want to be the boss of myself!” Well to the extent that our primitive pleasure/fear brains choose our actions, whatever feeling of being the boss of ourselves we have is an illusion. It is only when we use our wise minds to make thoughtful decisions that we are really the boss.
Disordered parents are unable to impart the wise mind to their kids. This failure to teach impulse control is just as bad as a failure to teach love. In fact as you see by this writing, poor impulse control leads directly to an inability to love.
That gets me to the pleasure balance. In order to experience pleasure we have to be relatively free from anxiety. Thankfully, there are also medications for that.
So starting from a relatively low anxiety state, we have social and non-social pleasures. People with borderline and antisocial personality disorder also have trouble with non-social pleasures. They never learned to manage their entertainment/recreational needs. Most turn to substances for this purpose.
The wise mind knows that exercise, playing music, doing art, having hobbies and intellectual interests are important for personal growth, mental and physical health. The wise mind can choose to do these things.
The wise mind can also choose to do work to earn a living.
Social pleasures come in three forms, sex, power/dominance and affection. To the extent that sex is tied to affection and a healthy relationship, that pleasure can be fulfilling. Dominance/power that robs another person of autonomy never brings fulfillment. Love is the only real healthy social pleasure.
Our pleasure balance is not fixed and can be modified with time and practice. So my friend you can “go back and be my own mother and love me in a way that created a secure human not a scared , detached one like me.”
To start you have to use your wise mind to understand your own pleasure balance. Begin by developing healthy non-social pleasures. Every person needs a healthy diet, exercise and meaningful hobbies. Stop using recreational drugs. These things will not feel good to you when you first start them, but over time as you apply yourself you will feel better.
Then really look at your social behavior, not how you feel. Most sociopaths and people with BPD think they do feel “love.” If you dominate and control others, no matter what your reason for this is, you have to stop. As long as your relationships center around dominance you will never experience love.
To learn more about the wise mind, enter a DBT treatment program. If anyone has used a good self-help DBT book, please give us the title.