So what exactly is the quiet form of borderline personality disorder? What does it look like?
When most people think of BPD, they think of someone with a predilection for uncontrollable outbursts of anger. They are drama creators. Public and in-your-face, with hair-trigger tempers. In fact, explosive anger (inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger) is one of the 9 criteria for the diagnosis of BPD. But, like most things in life, everything falls on a spectrum and not into neat categories that can be packed into a box. To be diagnosed with BPD you need to hit 5 of the 9 criteria so, although a propensity toward angry outbursts is the one criterion that can be easily recognizable to the outside observer, not all of us with BPD display this trait.
With quiet BPD, the anger is internalized and turned on the self. We often keep our struggles invisible as best we can. Even with those closest to us. The observer may only see calm surface with perhaps some very slight ripples from time to time, but below, in the depths, there is a a powerful and destructive turbulence ripping everything apart destroying our sense of self and how to simply “be” in the world. And especially how to engage and interact with others. Sometimes I rise up through the depths to the surface, but inevitably the current drags me back down again. And I drown.
The inspiration for me starting this blog was an article I saw posted online 11 Hidden Signs of ‘Quiet’ BPD that I felt hit on everything I deal with on constant basis and how those of us with the quiet form of BPD experience the world. It sums it up pretty well; I personally can check off all 11 of these signs.
I have struggled with the quiet form of borderline for as long as I can remember. It is a life of unrelenting anxiety and fear. Of self hatred, insecurity, and lack of self-confidence. Of dissociation and mentally shutting down and shutting people out. Of isolation and loneliness. Of sometimes intrusive, dark and suicidal thoughts. And, most of all, of the profound longing for connection and understanding that has so much sway over my life. And, when I do manage to make a connection, the unbearable dread of abandonment. Establishing and maintaining relationships with others is HARD – the hardest thing I deal with. It’s the thought that I’m too damaged and intrinsically flawed to have real connections. That nobody could possibly like or care for the real me. The internal struggles I go through as I negotiate interpersonal interactions and relationships can be an unimaginable mind fuck. It leads to self-sabotage. It leads to a self-fulfilling prophesy of broken relationships.
To continue to exist and fight the battle is a bravery that few, if any, will ever see or recognize. It’s not on display. It’s held close to the chest. Because revealing it feels too vulnerable and risky.
Yet, here I am. Writing it down and putting it out there for the first time in my life. For the whole world to see. It feels naked and raw. But I need to do it.
I intend for subsequent posts to take a more personal turn. To explain what it is like to inhabit my mind with all this background noise informing my actions and reactions. To put my failures out there. And hopefully some triumphs too.