Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's Not Alone, it's Independent

Personality disorders are diagnosed based on signs and symptoms and a thorough psychological evaluation. To be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, you must meet criteria spelled out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual is published and updated by the American Psychiatric Association and is used by mental health professionals to diagnose mental conditions and by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.
For borderline personality disorder to be diagnosed, at least five of the following signs and symptoms must be present:
  • Intense fear of abandonment
  • A pattern of unstable relationships
  • Unstable self-image or sense of identity
  • Impulsive and self-destructive behaviors
  • Suicidal behavior or self-injury
  • Wide mood swings
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Anger-related problems, such as frequently losing your temper or having physical fights
  • Periods of paranoia and loss of contact with reality*

I don't have much to write about today.  The highlight was taking the boys with me and Phoenix to the dog park, where they walked about 2 of the 2.5 miles!  They collected rocks, and pet the other dogs, and did really well!!  I was pleasantly surprised!  On the way home, we stopped for happy meals and shakes at McDonald's.  The rest of the day they spent helping get the Christmas lights ready to be put up outside.  I really do love having them here.  My niece has been doing better this week, not being so clingy to her mom.  Otherwise, today was pretty unremarkable.

I'm sleeping a lot, not having any trouble falling asleep but having a lot of trouble staying awake.  I'm coming to terms with the news about Former Bestie and being much less upset about it.  We were mostly done being friends anyway, and so I'm focusing on that and remaining angry about the whole thing instead of getting sad.  I've learned that it's much easier to be mad than sad, and being mad means that I feel enough love for myself to actually be hurt instead of just being despondent.  

I used to be really good at getting mad.  I'm still really good at getting mad at my family, but I have a lot of trouble getting mad at others.  Most people don't give much thought to their reactions, but since I'm so freaking sensitive emotionally, and my emotions very often influence my mood, I have to be aware of the things that I am doing - how I'm reacting or not reacting.  As for my reaction to the news I got on Thursday (this is that Former Bestie's boyfriend - whom I dislike and disapprove of - proposed to her, and she said yes), I'm sad and angry.  I'm angry because this possibility is something that she and I discussed at length after she got into her first relationship after leaving her now ex-husband.  She is somehow able to jump right into a brand new relationship with both feet, right away, throwing caution to the wind, and not thinking through the decisions she is making until after she's made them.  It was the last week of October that she went back to WA to finalize the custody situation she has with her ex-husband, and it's not even December yet and she's engaged.  I just keep thinking of what my thoughts were when she got engaged the first time, how I didn't like the guy, how I didn't think she should get married, but she just ignored me, and did it anyway, at her peril.  She went through a nasty, contentious divorce with the guy (who is quite obviously a sociopath, ironically), and still has to deal with him to this day because she had a kid with him.  She didn't know the guy when she moved in with him, she didn't pay attention to the signs before she married him that it might not be a good idea, and did it anyway.  She hadn't known him a whole year when they got married.  And the same exact thing is happening all over again.

I know that part of my anger is envy, and I'm willing to accept that.  But the more I think about it, the more angry I get that my opinion apparently means absolutely nothing to her.  I get angry thinking about how I spent roughly 10 years of time and energy, being her friend and being there for her, and she cares so little about my thoughts and feelings that she's willing to disregard them completely and make the same exact decision all over again.  I'm also frustrated because in her family, it seems like the answer to everything is to get married.  Don't have a father for your kid?  Get married.  Scared of being alone?  Get married.  And what have they to show for it?  Each person in that family, with the exception of ONE, has at least one divorce under their belt.  What does that say about what marriage really is to them?  That if you get married, you're suddenly not alone anymore, you have someone you can depend on so you don't have to do the work yourself, but it doesn't matter how well you know the person when you get married, as long as you just do it.  To hell with the consequences.  The person can be adulterous, mean, crazy, immature, not right for them, or whatever, but as long as you're okay with divorcing the person when you finally realize their true nature, it's okay to get married.

I've got a lot of morals instilled in me by my family's example, and I'm not just talking about my immediate family.  There were many times that I thought my parents would get divorced when I was younger and it scared the shit out of me.  As I'm seeing how my sister's kids are dealing with being shuffled from mom to dad, the more it scares me for them and how they'll grow up and see marriage.  Their dad cheated on their mom and knocked up the girl.  Their paternal grandmother continually cheats on her husband, the whole family knows it, but no one says anything.  Their dad's sisters have both cheated on their husbands at least once.  It's so scary to think that they'll see those things as acceptable and act the same way themselves.  And what about Former Bestie's kid?  From age 1, he's seen probably at least 7 different boyfriends that his mom has had and I'll put money on this not being her last marriage.  And so the divorce rate increases because the examples we're giving our kids are complete bullshit - it's as though these people are so selfish that they're not thinking about how their decisions are affecting their children, my sister included.  When she found out how upset I was about Former Bestie's engagement, she kept asking me why I felt that it was wrong.  I tried explaining that I think that there should be no rush to marry someone, and that if you're making a decision to potentially spend the rest of your life with someone (or at least intend to spend a decent amount of time with them - apparently it's too much to ask to stay with one person forever), especially if that decision is going to affect others (the kids), you should really spend a lot of time getting to know that person before you make that kind of decision.  She didn't get it, which frightens me, but I didn't feel like going into it in depth with her.  I told her that I'd be equally as upset at her if she got engaged anytime in the next year, although I said I wouldn't be as mad at her because she spent a decent amount of time with her ex-husband before they got married and they also waited 3 years after they got married to have kids.

I was trained on Wednesday at my new job by the person I will be sharing the job with - her name is Anna, and she's almost 50.  She's gorgeous.  Although I didn't ask, I think she's never been married, and I know that she doesn't have any kids of her own because we had lots of time to talk, and parenting was one of the topics we discussed at length.  She said she's only ever lived alone for about 6 months of her life.  She's got a serious boyfriend who has kids of his own, they live apart, and they're planning to move in together, but not until next summer.  I find it terribly refreshing to meet a woman that age who has not bought into the whole gotta-get-married-and-have-kids idea that seems to dictate so much today.  The possibility that I will never be married is terribly daunting.  I liken myself to Liz Lemon when I watch 30 Rock, because she's constantly struggling with being in her late 30's and unmarried and also being ostracized for it. I'm also comforted though because I know that I can have a full and successful life without ever getting married or having kids.  I know that I don't have to get married and have kids right away, and that while I yearn for love and companionship, I also yearn to discover myself and realize my dreams, and I don't think that is something Former Bestie will ever get to do.  That also comforts me.  I'm sad because I've lost what little companionship I had, and I'm angry that I'm only now finding out that it appears as though I wasted much of that time on someone who doesn't give a shit about what I think or feel.  I'm also relieved because I know that I will continue down my road of self-discovery and healing, and I'm proud to know that I'll be doing it alone and that's really hard to do, especially with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder.

*"Borderline Personality Disorder: Tests and Diagnosis -" Mayo Clinic Medical Information and Tools for Healthy Living - Web. 27 Nov. 2010. <>.

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