A number of years ago, I read a book called “I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me: Understanding the Borderline Personality.” This is an old book, originally published in 1989, but I thought it was still excellent.
I would say that even if someone doesn’t have a borderline personality or even know someone who does, it can still allow them to develop a greater understanding of themselves and others. The reason for this is that even if someone doesn’t have this ‘disorder’, they might still be able to relate to some of the traits or experience these traits during stressful times, or another person in their life might.
The Perfect Title
The title of this book is a great example of what someone is likely to come out with, or express through their behaviour, if they have this type of ‘disorder’. Ultimately, what this illustrates is that someone like this is usually heavily conflicted and finds it hard to experience inner harmony and peace.
But, although this title is very good, I didn’t think deeply about it when I was actually reading the book. Since that time, I have gained a deeper understanding of these words and formed a conclusion around why someone would use them and/or experience this inner dichotomy.
A Deeper Look
If someone has this type of ‘disorder’, it is highly likely that they had a childhood from hell. The stability, consistency and nurturance that they needed to grow and develop, simply wouldn’t have been available on a regular basis.
As a result of this, part of them would have naturally experienced a lot of rage and hate towards their caregivers. The trouble is that due to how powerless and dependent they were on their caregivers at this stage of their life, they wouldn’t have been able to act on these feelings by either attacking or running away from them.
A Divided Being
So, as much as this part of them didn’t like their caregivers and wanted to get away from them, their very survival was attached to them. To another part of them, then, not being around these people would have lead to their demise.
What would have also played a part in them not wanting their caregivers to leave them would have been the trauma that they were carrying. The abuse and neglect that they went through would have caused them to experience a lot of rejection and abandonment and this would also have been triggered if they were left.
A Painful Existence
Therefore, not only would their early years have stopped them from developing a strong sense of self, it would have caused them to carry at least two parts/selves that are not in a good way. In other words, they won’t have strong foundations, and they will have the tendency to merge with one of two inner experiences; experiences that will cause them to be out of touch with their own inner resources and a very limited view of reality.
Moreover, the love/hate relationship that they had with their own caregivers will be played out in their adult relationships (projection). Their inner world will be very turbulent and, consequently, so will their outer world.
It Didn’t Happen
Another reason why they will operate in extremes when it comes to others and themselves will be because they didn’t go through an important developmental stage. During around the second or third year of their life, they should have merged the ‘good mother image with the bad mother image’, thereby allowing them to move out of a very one-dimensional view of others and themselves.
This would have enabled them to see that life is not black and white and that there is everything in between, which would allow them to be more in balance internally and to experience life in all its richness. If the care that they needed was provided during this time, they would have most likely have been able to grow out of this.
Considering this, if someone can relate to this, they will need to keep in mind that they are not bad and neither is there anything inherently wrong with them. They had a very challenging childhood and this left them in an undeveloped state and emotionally raw.
And, thanks to how their caregivers treated them and the meaning that their mind made out of what happened, they can carry a lot of toxic shame. For someone in this position, it will be essential for them to reach out for external support.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.
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