People diagnosed with Borderline Personality have experienced a loss of authentic self to the primal rage of abandonment. I had this experience in my early life and the result was what I actually would, in recovery, come to understand as being the impetus or cause of my rage addiction. Life pissed me off. Most everything made me angry. I experienced that being made angry because it felt like it came from outside of me when I was disconnected from my own feelings and personal responsibility.
Those diagnosed with Borderline Personality (BPD) have experienced the loss of the authentic self. This loss of self creates a void, a vacuum that then is filled by a fragmented and wounded pseudo-false self. This loss of self is largely, if not entirely, the result of the core wound of abandonment and its legacy.
I know what this is like from the inside out. I had BPD. I lived for 33 years of my life without much, if any, sense of self. Did I know that then? No, not at all. What did it feel like though? It was confusing. It was crazy-making for me, even when I had BPD. I believe it is crazy-making for most with BPD. It was, for me, a source of constant angst. An angst I had no words for. An angst that terrified me and could send me into an anxiety-riddled panic in a heartbeat when I felt invalidated, abandoned, or when I was left alone.
Living without a self means that you can’t know what you really want. You can’t know who you are. You can’t possibly really have emotional boundaries because there is no centre or container from which to have any understanding of the walls of an actual self. There is nothing between the borderline and others except this fuzzy frenzy of frantic efforts to not have to feel one’s abandoned pain.
Dissociated from the pain when I was in the active throes of BPD was the cause of my borderline rage. I was in the active throes of a whirlwind of maelstrom proportions ry as being everyone else’s responsibility and/or fault and as having nothing to do with me.
Everything that I was feeling without understanding what I was feeling – so all the angst-filled rage that I was always feeling – felt like it was just happening to me. And what was happening to me, I thought, when I had BPD, it must then follow, must have been happening to me because other people were doing “it” to me.
Consumed in rage the little fragmented piece of me that was hanging on for literal psychological dear life would stir me and trigger me in all aspects of my life – there was not time off – there was no peace – there was no happiness or time to feel okay or safe. When I wasn’t feeling like other people were purposefully trying to hurt me and drive me nuts there was this part of me that just couldn’t leave me alone either.
I felt victimized by everyone and everything. I would later, in the process of recovery, come to realize that I also felt victimized by this very fragmented and wounded part of me that just wouldn’t lay off of me. This part of me would endlessly try to get me (whoever the hell that was then) to pay attention to the pain that I was way too afraid of and not very aware of. For three decades this part of me stayed her determined course and re-played out the past over and over again in attempts to get me to “get it”.
When I was borderline I was consumed with rage because it is rage that is on the other side of loss. Not being able to tolerate that loss is what the protective borderline false self thrives on. It is what gives it its edge – its cruelty – its get-away-closer, I-hate-you, don’t-leave-me, aloof closeness and its no-win emotionally-chaotic stone-cold intimate distance – its ability to hurt others as it hurts. It is what keeps it in the driver’s seat, keeps it alive. It is the need of those with BPD to keep their abandonment trauma at bay at all costs, dissociated from in borderline reality – parallel to reality – though it be re-lived over and over and over again that “protects” them from feeling the very pain that must be felt in order to resolve the petulantly-persistent primal primitive rage.
In my borderline experience it hurt to be close though close always felt very far away and very not good enough. It hurt to be far away because it had this pseudo-allure of a closeness most dysfunctional and severely strange – enmeshed – an angry, hostile, violent raging kind of closeness that knew no bounds and hated itself. A hatred for the lack of its self that was then projected out onto others without any awareness on my part.
On the other side of rage is loss. The only way out is in. What is in the way is the way.
The only way out is to fall into the pain. What is in the way is the pain and feeling and learning to tolerate the pain until it can be resolved is the way to recovery. There are no shortcuts or magic pills. There is no substitute for getting in touch with one’s authentic pain – the pain that will lead to the finding of the lost authentic self.
I no longer rage.
I fell into the pain. I embraced what was in the way – it was the way that I recovered in 1995.
© A.J. Mahari July 9, 2008 – All rights reserved.
A.J. Mahari is a Life Coach who, among other things, specializes in working with those with BPD and non borderlines. A.J. has 5 years experience as a life coach and has worked with hundreds of clients from all over the world.