The Psychic Borderline | Reading Others & Identity Issues

Ok. So I'm not "technically" psychic, but I, like many other people with Borderline Personality Disorder, have an interesting ability to "read " people. My therapist has clarified that this skill is actually a learned survival skill. Somehow, somewhere along the way, we unconsciously realized that if we can look a person over, sum up what they are all about, and interact with them accordingly, we would be safe. Our needs would get met.

Let me give you and example that supports this. My father was the type of person who could be loving and kind in one moment, but just the right words or actions, and you never knew what these were on any given day, and he would, without warning, become very angry and dangerously violent.  As a child, I subconsciously learned how to "be" around my father.  The "me" around my father behaved very differently from the "me" I was when I was with my teachers at school, or even with my mother.

I learned some to behave with my father in ways that would reduce my risk of being hurt by him. In essence, I learned to read him and then interact with and behave around him accordingly.

Evidently, this skill became somehow psychologically wired within me, and it wasn't until I started DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) that I began to see how this contributed to my lack of sense of identity. I spent all of my time reading and responding to people in a way that I believed would cause them to accept and like me, that I never really developed my own unique sense of me.  I'd see glimpses of it, but if I thought I had an opinion about something, then engaged in a conversation with someone whose acceptance, love, or approval I desired, and their opinion was different from mine, I instantly adopted their point of view.  The interesting thing is that I didn't even mind. It was as if it didn't matter. I had no sense of attachment to any idea or belief. I just wanted to be loved, accepted, and to feel safe. Those were my priorities, and they served me well as a child.

Julia Roberts' character in
"Runaway Bride" could very well
have Borderline Personality Disorder 
But, as an adult, they became a hindrance. Similar to Julia Robert's character in the movie, "Runaway Bride," I changed to mirror the needs, likes, and desires of my partners over the years. There is a scene in that movie where someone asks her "So, how do you like your eggs?" her answer changed - every time - to match that of her current boyfriend or fiancĂ©.  There are other telltale signs that her character is Borderline. Perhaps you can name a few if you've seen the movie.

The egg thing really spoke to me, though.  You know how, in high school, you may change your clothing style, music, and hair a number of times to fit in with friends? For some With BPD, it's as if that behavior keeps continuing into adulthood.

For me, it wasn't until I had a literal identity crisis - I woke up so tired from being everything to everyone and panicked when I realized I had no idea who I was outside of anyone else, that I realized I really needed help.

I hope this post has helped you in someway...whether you have BPD, love or care for someone who does, or if you are treating patients or clients with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Here is that eggs scene with Julia Roberts:




Thanks for reading.
More soon.

8 comments:

  1. Wow this was me to a lesser degree but def me I however minded and became resentful and angry. There is so much I need to learn about myself and BPD. Thank you for being brave and sharing your experience with us.

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  2. Great post! I, too, have developed the 6th sense of reading people. My mom was the ecplosive, unpredictable one growing up. The downsides of mine resulted in generalized anxiety + depression (though many other factors contributed to it as well).

    I received a lot of benefit from the book: The Highly Sensative Person. We tend to focus so much on the negatives of our 'gifts' + rightly so because there are sooo many. But, there are positives, too. Namely, we are the advisors of the world.

    Wish you well on your journey to find + embrace you. I'm with ya on that one. Thanks for breaking the silence + sharing your story, too. Be well:)

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  3. Thank you Anonymous and Stephanie.

    Anonymous: It's good that you recognize that your reaction has been resenting and feeling angry - two emotions that I can definitely understand that someone might have. It is my pleasure to share my experience. Thank YOU for taking the time to comment.

    Stephanie: Thank you for the kind words and for sharing some of your own story. Thanks also for the book recommendation and the encouragement. You Be Well, too! :)

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    Replies
    1. I think what resonates with me is that I have so many things that I do like, that maybe I don't like all of them or maybe I just like trying new things. I like rock climbing, but not enough to do it all the time, I like basketball, but not enough to commit to it. I am a little lost like Julia in the movie, I don't make commitments because I don't like being tied down to anything for fear of it going bad and causing me hurt. It's also why I chose social work, because I could go into many different concentrations with my degree, because I'm never sure of what I really want to be stuck with every day.

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  4. WOW..This is exactly how I am, in fact, I am just getting out of a 4 year relationship and realizing that I have altered the way I had my eggs!! I Don't even really know what kind I like! It is hard for me to believe that there are others out there who feel like me, Is this real? and will I remember it? I am coming to see how severe my BPD is, I am a chameleon,a peace maker, I get sick when I am in large groups " Crowd Sickness" because I am trying to control and satisfy so many other peoples needs and wants, I can't concentrate because I am so aware of my surroundings, I notice everything, body language gestures, breathing, And I too believe it stemmed from having to be acutely aware of my parents, especially my mothers, mood swings..I can tell when someone is talking about me from across the room, not in a paranoid sense, or if they are around other people or they are somewhere other than home, just by the way their voice sounds..It is a skill but also a curse, oh how I wish to be IGNORANT sometimes...I AM SO GLAD I FOUND YOU ON FB AND HERE. NO one has ever offered me any cognitive therapy such as this,and I am excited to implement it, ...for the moment at least this part of me is...if you know what I mean, thank you!

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    1. Thank you wanderingstar65. :)) I am so glad you found your way over here, too. What you're describing is so common amongst those of us with BPD. Please find comfort in knowing that you are not alone, and there IS a way out of hell. I've found my route via DBT. Hugs! ♥

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  5. I just re read this today as you had linked back to it. Amazing. I always have been able to read people, i thought i had some kind of special power no one else had. I am able to for see situations that will happen with close family (because i know these people my predictions usually come true).
    I realise that i have had to read people in order to know who is "safe" and who isn't throughout my life. I had many people in my life that were not normal by any means. I think i've seen so much bad examples of how to behave as a human that if i sense someone is "bad" i walk ten miles in the other direction.
    Thanks Debbie.

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  6. it seems I have always done this my whole life, even know I can see that I do it, but not how to stop it, its like being a different person every day, depending on who is around, or where I am going. like putting on a mask. Trying to hide that scared little girl that is hidden inside

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