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Here’s something I’ve never understood about life among non-BPD people: If Joe gets mad at girlfriend Jane and loses his temper, things seem to resolve themselves within a couple days and they are happily in love again. Similarly, if Friend 1 berates Friend 2 with a barrage of insults, they’re good as new in a week or two. When I get mad just once – justified or not – people tend to completely dismiss me forever. If I make one mistake with someone, it’s over for good. Why does this happen to me with BPD?
YOU got angry? I never thought I’d see it!
Most of my BPD energy is turned inward except when I completely explode. 99% of the time you spend with me I’ll behave normally keeping my uglier emotions well under wraps. Furthermore, even if something particularly upsetting happens to me around others chances are I’ll come off as calm, cool, and collected. If I have room in my emotional bank for more repressed feelings, that’s where the anger that normally would have surfaced gets stockpiled.
The problem occurs when I DO get mad around others. Suddenly, people are stupefied and terrorized. First, they can’t get over the fact that I blew my stack. Second, the way I acted was completely unacceptable. Third, they’re NEVER going to hangout around me again. Period.
In a matter of minutes I’ve completely destroyed relationships with a fit of anger or ill-informed decision making motivated by my Borderline Personality. The next time I see the other person or people involved they want nothing to do with me. They might give me a tepid response to a heartfelt apology, but nearly every time I try to make amends, the damage is seemingly too great to repair.
Is my anger really more appalling than your boyfriend that cheated on you last week? Or is it worse than that guy who T-boned you at the intersection and wrecked your car? How about your so-called BFF that stabbed you in the back? Was I really WORSE than that?
It seems people have little tolerance for my anger but plenty of second chances to offer others.
How do people REALLY resolve anger and disputes? Is it like the movies?
Now this is a subject I could write about for hours, but will summarize very concisely with simple examples. Watch any feature length movie or multi-episode TV series carefully. You’ll no doubt see a lot of disgusting behavior that you would think most people wouldn’t tolerate: Guys cheating on their girlfriends; Gals back-stabbing each other with salacious gossip; Husbands slapping their wives (or vice-versa); Fits of anger; Conniving plots that are selfish and not the least bit motivated by common decency.
And what happens? Well, by then end of the movie or TV show, it seems things are back to normal again; even on those so-called “reality” TV shows that are dumbing down America every time they are broadcast.
Obviously what we see on TV and in the movies is fiction and created for entertainment purposes. Most people wouldn’t watch shows that are overly negative and don’t give them pause to be optimistic about resolving conflict in their own lives. After all, if people never reconciled their problems in the movies, we wouldn’t watch them for fear of becoming horribly depressed.
We all cheered when Forrest Gump finally married Jenny, despite the fact she consistently disappointed him multiple times in the past. If I were Gump, I would have kicked her to the curb after the first time she cheated on me, let alone take her back as a door prize in time for her to get sick and die. Sorry folks, this stuff really doesn’t happen in real life. If it does, I’ve never been on the receiving end of this kind of forgiveness.
To be honest, I don’t know. Looking back at my life corroded by BPD, I can recall dozens of times when I thought my actions would have been forgiven, but were not. I can also recall multiple instances when my anger boiled over and got the better of me around others. After that, no one wanted to talk to me anymore.
I suppose if I really knew the answer to what happens after you f*ck up I probably wouldn’t have BPD. I would have ended up dating some wonderful women. I would have impressed people with my wit and wisdom instead of disappointing them with one unfortunate angry outburst. I would have been embraced by friends wishing to help me instead of tossing me in the ditch, never to return.
In real life people DO forgive others even after the most heinous of transgressions. When you put BPD into the mix, things suddenly become 1000 times more complicated and unforgiveable.
No one from my past has ever bothered to give me a REAL second chance after I royally screwed up. As for girlfriends and lovers, I have none to speak of. They were all disappointed before I even suggested going out on a date.