I’ve written a number of entries about various events in my past that I considered personal rejections (from relationships) or general failures (from work, school, studies etc). Some of these issues that preoccupy me are more recent, but others literally happened 10-15 years ago and I still find myself feeling as if it just happened yesterday.
In terms of general failures, I tend to recall events in my past where I was reaching for a certain goal but ended up missing it. One would think that with time, these events would become easier to deal with, and would be synthesized into one’s “life experiences” and either used as lessons for the future or laughed off in casual jokes. This “normal” acceptance process doesn’t seem to happen with me, and I think BPD is to blame.
The more severe negative feelings of the past come with rejections in personal relationships, especially ones with the opposite sex that involved unrequited love or affection. I think back to my big crush in High School and the disappointment and wasted time it created, and instead of passing it off as youthful ignorance, I constantly relive it and the emotions it created. In reality, these emotions are 15 years old, but still, they persist in my mind.
Also, after the fall out I had with a girl I met my freshman year in College whom I felt strong feelings for, I felt extremely wounded. This was now about 10 years ago, but when my mind has nothing else to think about, it harkens back to these painful memories and personal rejections that literally tore me to pieces.
I think the nature of polarized thinking and BPD, combined with a general habit of “living in the past” cause me more pain in the present than necessary. As I move forward in life and experience subsequent failures and rejections, I feel like all these emotions continue to pile up, instead of being recycled or erased through the passage of time.
Granted, I think it is natural to recall painful feelings from the past when we are experiencing painful feelings in the present: we want to relive the past experience briefly so that we will know the way towards resolving the tumultuous emotions within us.
With BPD, negative experiences just get stockpiled, and positive experiences disappear like shooting stars, unable to fill the hollow inner self.
As a result, when I try to recall experiences both good and bad (especially with respect to inter-personal relationships) there is always a negative thought at the ready, whereas thoughts of acceptance and “getting over” or “past” the event are few and far between.
I feel as if these negative events tend to define me more than the positive things. I feel that I was deprived, to some degree, of a “normal” emotional development because I had to experience 2 negatives for every positive, opposed to others who I observed seemed to have more ups than downs, or at least a fair balance of the two.
What can I do about this? Not much, really. Everyone experiences painful events in their lives, and unfortunately some people experience an inordinately greater number than others. That’s just the way it is.
I guess the lesson that comes out of all this is not to count and compare one’s failings to the lives of others, but progressively find new ways to cope with future hurtful events in a productive manner.
BPD, unfortunately, is an enormous wrench in the works – something that most people don’t have to fight with on a daily, hourly, sometimes minute to minute basis.
For me, I believe I need to approach my present and future with the knowledge that I have learned both intellectually and emotionally from my past. I have to promise myself I won’t lump everything together and turn into a wreck, but instead will try and sooth myself through therapy, preventative measures, and just keeping my guard up due to the fact that BPD can rear its ugly head anytime, anywhere, any place.
Aside from that pragmatic refrain, I wish there was an emotional “dim switch” that I could turn towards the off position with regard to past events, so that current happiness, no matter how big or small, is not eclipsed.