I have a very short fuse, and this is very common among those who suffer from BPD. Sometimes completely innocuous things, unintentional remarks or acts by others, or just plain frustration will make me blow my stack. I get very, VERY, angry and some hateful voices take over in my mind.
The voices usually criticize my family, people around me, or play on society’s various prejudices. When I’m calm and collected, these voices don’t tend to be present: Instead, I am thoughtful, open minded, and not one to judge.
But when angry, it’s a completely different story. Here are a few examples:
- Racist, Prejudicial Thoughts – I don’t consider myself a racist or bigot, but when I’m angry I have very racist thoughts, particularly if my surroundings or a particular event involves dealing with other people or cultures. Growing up 3rd generation Irish-American, the occasional bigoted remark, joke, or racially sarcastic story was heard once in a while, enough to take a small presence in my mind. While I’ve lived in Costa Rica, I’ve had to deal with a lot of different cultural norms and types of people. If something doesn’t go my way, and I really lose my temper, my initial thought is something like “Damn Spics, they’re so stupid.” I’ve been the victim of theft (one landlord stole $5000 from me) and have had other experiences that might account for such thoughts, but I know deep down I could very well have the same experience with any other culture. Likewise, when I lived in Curacao for 4 months, and experienced a car getting stolen, it was “Those thieving Niggers”, in my moment of anger, when in reality I got along with most everyone on the island.
- I make fun of those around me – Growing up, I was usually the one who got picked on by the bullies, so whenever I have the chance to make fun of someone, I will do it out of spite and vengance. My father also used to jeer and make remarks to me, and this also serves as fodder for putting down others or my parents when I’m upset. Almost always, I don’t actually do it to the other person’s face. Instead, when I’m around the house or on my own, and I feel anger towards a particular person, I’ll make rude impressions of them, mock their mannerisms, or make jokes to myself about them. On one hand this may seem cowardly: I should probably say these things to their faces because that’s how I feel. On the other, I think it is a bit of a “venting” process, whereby I get the anger towards the other person out of my system – and entertain myself – at the same time, so that when I see them again I’ll be reasonable and act appropriately. In reality I act fair minded around them, and as long as they know me that way, I’m satisfied.
- Sexist, chauevenistic, angry thoughts towards women – I’ve posted about my many frustrations with women and how I never seem to catch a break with the ones I’m interested in. Moreover, when a girl acts rudely to me or puts me down, I feel as if the whole female collective is passing me off as some asshole or idiot that will never be deserving of a good relationship. Hence, when I’m angry at women, the usual “She’s a real cunt”, or “What a dumb slut” types of remarks come to my mind. In reality I try to act friendly and positively around women, even very passive around them at times. As a result, when one pushes my buttons or wrongs me, I take it very personally because I feel that my good behavior around women should never result in me getting hurt. When I am hurt and angry, all hell breaks lose in my mind. On very, very angry blow-ups, I think of sexual violence or assault as a means to get even. Of course, I have NEVER carried through with any of these ideas.
Those examples are generally the most common that cross my mind. The “short fuse” nature of BPD makes me feel like a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde at times: one moment I am quiet and passive, the next moment I am punching the wall yelling racial invective at the top of my lungs.
I know I need to work on dealing with my anger, and the offspring of thoughts that comes with it. On the bright side, I am not angry all the time. Perhaps 10% of my life has been spent in pure, unadulterated anger; another 20% in general frustration, another 30% in sadness, and the balance general satisfaction and pseudo-happiness.
So, as each day brings new challenges, and new events that might set me off, I try to remind myself that in the end, hateful, bigoted, sexist, or mocking thoughts about others may let off some steam, but they are by no means a way to live life.