Borderline Personality Meets the Customer Service Agent

I’m self employed. As an internet marketer, I advertise products on my websites, collect a commission, and then get paid the following month on or around the 15th. The problem is, many companies in my industry take A LOT of latitude when it comes to making timely payments. In most instances I don’t pocket earnings from the previous month until sometime between the 20th and 25th of the NEXT month. Inevitably this creates financial pressures and frustration because I’m not a millionaire and need every penny I earn to pay the bills. The medical costs associated with ongoing BPD treatment and Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes are outrageous.

I frequently have to be the “squeaky wheel that gets the grease”, and when getting my grease I’m often half BPD raging at the same time. I get very agitated waiting for my paycheck to come when it’s running late, and if I have to contact the company and complain, I’m usually pissed off before I’m on the phone or typing an email. For whatever reason, Borderline Personality Disorder and confrontations with poorly trained customer service agents end up producing copious amounts of angry words, screaming, fist pounding, and insults.

I’m currently dealing with a company that is over one month late sending me $915. The bank wire was supposed to clear a week before Christmas, but due to their complete and utter incompetence, it has yet to arrive as of the date of this post. I realize you are probably visualizing me stepping up on my high horse, much like those snotty customers at restaurants who are extremely demanding and then tip their waiter only 10%. Well, I’m definitely NOT snotty or demanding; I just expect to get paid on time, all the time. It’s not too much to ask of large businesses with millions of dollars in their bank accounts. (By the way, I used to be a waiter and I nearly always tip 20% or more when out to eat)

Today my anger with this particular company boiled over into a partial BPD rage.

First, I contacted my account representative (for the fourth time this week 🙂 ) reminding him that my payment had not arrived. As my BPD fury started to ignite, I wrote a nasty email berating his company for its stupidity and inability to keep its own word. My anger continued to increase even after hitting my email “send” button, so I went into phase 2 of my “BPD customer service rage”.

I made a b-line to the actual company website, found the instant chat support page, and started hammering the representative with strong language, insults, and threats. Their excuse for their inability to pay on time was due to “delays associated with the holidays”. Now I’m fully aware banks and other financial institutions take Christmas and New Year’s day off and that work days preceding and following these holidays are light and usually understaffed. That excuse would work if I was complaining on December 26th. Today, however, is January 26th, and I don’t know a single bank in the world that takes the entire month of January off and ignores its customers.

I gave the chat representative a tongue lashing a la my keyboard, and gave him/her my phone number and dared them to call me :). They didn’t call (no surprise) and stubbornly held on to their lame story that the holidays and “volume of transactions” slowed payments. Sorry, I don’t buy it, not even for a nanosecond.

Just before closing the chat window, I threatened to cease advertising campaigns I launched on their behalf unless I received my payment in four hours. I thought maybe this would stir them a bit (since I’ve sent them over 450 customers over the past couple years), however four hours later my bank account balance was no different than it was when I woke up this morning.

NOW I’M PISSED.

My last words were, “I demand immediate follow up on this matter by email” (because they had never emailed me once over the past month-plus explaining their delinquency), and I pounded my fist on the table closing the chat window.

Five minutes later, I got a form email from someone with a fake name asking me if my payment had arrived yet. NO IT HAD NOT. Of course, the amount they quoted in the email due to me was $530, not the $915 I was promised by my account representative. It’s clear these idiots are spending my money either on crack or trained monkeys to type form letters on their behalf.

WE HAVE LIFT OFF.

I replied to their sh*tty email with more insults and harsh words for their quality of customer service. I finally reminded them that I have given them steady business and was appalled that I was being ignored like some beggar working a street corner. I concluded my email stating they would “lose my business” unless I received payment immediately.

Of course that payment and an actual customized email response never arrived.

I knew I was about to rage because I could feel my brain “tightening” and my blood pressure rising (literally). When I’ve had full blown BPD blowouts, my head literally pounds and I often find my ears ringing afterwards. I also typically feel tense, extremely agitated, confused, and unable to continue going about the business of my day without a LONG timeout.

Today was no exception: I simply yelled “F*ck it!”, and took a nap.

To all customer service agents: Roughly 3% of the population has BPD and we hate being screwed over. That means 3 out of 100 calls with BPD people will probably end up as training material for how to deal with irate customers. Make sure you don’t throw gas on the fire by making up stories, poor excuses, or outright lying for your company’s incompetence. Instead, speak to us BPDs on a personal level and try to calm us down or else you’ll be in for a nasty, hate filled schooling from a person with mental illness 🙂 .

To those with BPD contemplating screaming at customer service: Support reps are human too. Give them a reasonable time to respond to your queries. If you get no response, or they don’t keep their word, write a firm email requesting the matter be resolved, or call reminding them they need to help you. Wait, and then send a second reminder. Delay as long as possible before detonating into a BPD rage, because things might not be the same afterwards. The poor customer service agent on the other side might decide to leave their job: and if they’re working for a piece-of-crap company, you’ve helped them make the best decision of their life 🙂 .

Thoughts for eHarmony.com users with Borderline Personality Disorder

I’ve been trying to meet women on eHarmony.com for just over a year now. I’ve been out on a couple “eHarmony dates”. Unfortunately, these dates didn’t really lead anywhere. The more distressing problem for me, however, is getting my foot in the door with my matches. I visit every profile I am matched to and will send an email if I like what I see. 9 out of 10 times, though, I will NOT get a reply. Yes, the way in which eHarmony.com approaches matchmaking makes sense; but NO, you’re not going to land dates with 90% of the women you contact.

My initial reaction to being repeatedly rejected was that somehow my BPD was coming through in my profile. Did my writing suggest someone who is emotionally volatile, desperate, and at times out of control? Does my picture resemble that of a crazy person? Maybe my choice of questions during the “guided communication” phase spelled trouble? I thought for sure my BPD was ruining my chances of meeting someone new.

Gut check: there are more simpler causes for eHarmony difficulties. The following are my thoughts/tips for eHarmony.com users with BPD based on my own experience as a male trying to meet women. These are not scientific fact; just my own rational thoughts collected after several months of thinking irrationally in a BPD mindset 🙂 .

  1. Where are you located? – Sure, it’s a nice thought that you might meet soul mate on another continent, but in reality meeting people by distance and creating chemistry is very difficult. After sending out over 50 communication requests using eHarmony.com’s system, I slowly came to the realization that my geographic location – not my BPD – was a big part of the problem. Even though Costa Rica is only a 3 hour flight from most southern states in the USA, it still puts up a barrier between my match and I that will turn most people off. Why date the guy “overseas” when you’re finding matches in your own state or even your own city? Before you throw in the towel and get down on yourself, start thinking in terms of dating logistics.
  2. Play the numbers game – Technically speaking, every person to whom you’re matched is very compatible with your personality and lifestyle. The trick, though, is being mutually attracted over the internet based on sometimes low quality photos and impersonal communication. That means you need to shift focus to the 30,000 foot view. Initially, if I saw a match I liked I’d email her and then sit on my hands waiting for a response. When that response never came – or came weeks later (sheesh 🙁 ) – I’d immediately feel rejected and upset. You can’t just focus on one person at a time, even if they seem like the perfect match. Instead, continually send out emails to anyone you like, regardless of the status of communication with prior matches. Don’t worry, you’re not “cheating” on someone (a typical head-over-heals-BPD-in-love-reaction) you’ve already emailed: you’re just keeping all your options open. Best of all, pursuing multiple matches at once will keep you interested in the website and diminish that “all or nothing” mentality that BPD creates when it comes to meeting relationship partners.
  3. Put your best photo forward – I actually don’t have a lot of photos of myself. This is because I don’t socialize much and my friends and family don’t take many photos of me. No, I’m not the Elephant Man or Frankenstein. My shy, introverted personality just gets in the way of the usual sort of photo opportunities. That said, I can’t stress enough the fact that posting a good photo of yourself is absolutely crucial to eHarmony.com success. If you’re like me and have no photos, ask a friend, teacher, classmate, family member, or even the next door neighbor to take a shot of you. Don’t go overboard and dress up unless you have more casual photos to contrast your proper attire. Instead, focus on what you think is physically attractive about yourself and showcase it. Post 3 photos at minimum. The more the merrier. If people can see you happy in different situations that don’t appear posed, they will feel more comfortable communicating with you.
  4. Don’t mention you have BPD – In all but the rarest of circumstances, DO NOT mention you have BPD or any other mental illness. If you do, you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot. Pick and choose what you reveal in your profile carefully. Remember, once someone else has seen it, they begin to form a first impression of you. Mentioning your struggles with BPD might make sense if you’re meeting new people in a therapy group but it doesn’t work for dating. Think about it: when was the last time you met someone and opened with “I have mental illness”? Probably never. BPD is a very personal and complicated topic. When it comes to meeting people online, save these things for fifth or sixth dates when the intimate details of your life are more appropriate to share. Cease any communication with someone who tries to pry their way into your life or who gets too personal too soon. Your secrets are yours to share at a later date.
  5. Be honest and thorough about the information you choose to share – If your ideal woman is shy and quiet, don’t write that you want to meet a vivacious, outgoing, social-all-the-time woman. Similarly, be concrete and clear about things that are important to you, including potential deal breakers. If you love your cat and dog and are not willing to give them away for a potential partner, make sure to mention that you have pets. If you don’t have a good answer for one of your profile’s sections, leave it blank and come back to it after you’ve done some thinking. Avoid 4 or 5 word answers to open ended, broad questions. If you’re asked to describe the perfect date, do so within 5 or 6 sentences. This gives your match a good impression of your romantic mode of thought while not giving the house away. You don’t have to describe yourself down to the most minute details. Instead, put your best foot forward and be able to backup the things you’ve posted in your profile. Otherwise, your first or second date might result in disaster when your eHarmony match finds out you lied about something important.

Put BPD aside when attempting to meeting people at eHarmony.com except in the rarest of cases when it might make sense to talk about your mental health. In reality, everyone has parts of their life they’d rather not share right away. These issues are no different than your struggles with BPD. Once you’ve established a good rapport and been on five or six dates with your match only THEN should you consider opening up about your mental illness. Remember BPD is a part of you, not all of you. Show the other 99% of you that is happy, engaging, and interesting even if you have to put BPD emotions aside. In the end, opening up about your BPD is a matter of choice and timing. Don’t blurt it out on your profile or else you’ll scare away great matches who would have otherwise been interested in meeting you.