The Rage is, hands down, one of the parts I detest most about BPD.
Before my BPD kicked in full-force, I’d always considered myself a fairly even-tempered person. I rarely gave my parents backtalk; I never fought with my friends. For the most part of my life, I sailed through it on a pretty calm sea.
That is, until I started dating my uNPD ex (also known as “The Ex”, henceforth). In hindsight, I can see very clearly why we never worked out — neither of us had the capacity to regulate our own emotions. When we fought, we bounced off each other’s emotional dysregulation and rapidly spiraled downwards. He would yell curse words at me, and I would yell them back. He shoved me, and I slapped him. He would blow up my phone with hundreds of texts and missed calls, and I would block him on every platform — half out of my desire to ‘punish’ him, and half because I was genuinely disturbed.
I hated every minute of it. Most of all, I hated myself. I was a monster, and I knew it. All he needed to do was push the right buttons, and I’d morph into this disgusting, horrible creature.
For me, the Rage exists in three parts:
Part One is blind, uncontrollable anger. To use an analogy I talked about in this previous post, this is where BPD takes over the steering wheel. The Rage snaps out of me, shattering silence, breaking bones; I can feel the storm building up in my chest and pouring out of my mouth like a flood. It’s extremely uncomfortable, and I do whatever is necessary to get rid of it — yelling, vulgarities, occasional violence (the worst I’ve ever gone is that one slap, although I do entertain fantasies of smashing things).
In this part, I am a ball of hatred. I can look at the Boyfriend and have no love or kindness for him. It’s particularly worse if I was a sobbing, panicking mess before the Rage kicked in. All I am thinking about is the fact that he did this to me, and how much I hate him for it.
Part Two is when the Rage settles a little, and I can think a bit more clearly. In a way, this part is worse than Part One. I gain enough clarity of mind to plot and plan how I can get back at the person who hurt me. I want to punish them, I want to get revenge, and I want to make them feel the hurt they inflicted on me. In my mind this is what’s ‘fair’ and how I seek to restore the balance.
With BPD, you pay an extreme amount of attention to your significant other. You memorize all his/her quirks. You listen to their dreams and their fears, and you shelve it into the back of your mind for future reference. On good days, this translates into care, concern and affection. You look out for things you know he/she would like, you remember the littlest details that they thought you’d forget.
On bad days, you now have a whole arsenal of deadly weapons. You know every secret insecurity they have, and in Part Two, you want to use all of these to destroy them. I get extremely sarcastic in this part, and it’s usually a mental tug of war where BPD screams, “PRESS THE BUTTON!!! You know it’ll hurt him and that’s what we want!!! We want him to burn in hell for what he did to us!!!” as I hesitate.
(Bonus Part Two Point Five if the Boyfriend puts his foot down and refuses to enable me: I turn into a six year old. I cry, I stomp my feet, I beg him to just do something that will end my misery. I tell him that if he loved me he would do whatever it took for me to be happy, and in that moment, I do honestly feel that way. When he stands his ground, I go, “I HATE YOU!!!!” But don’t leave me.)
Part Three goes two different directions, depending on whether I let BPD win in Part Two.
If I let BPD win, Part Three consists of shame and self-hatred. I feel dirty and guilty for using my loved one’s weaknesses against them, and I start to withdraw. I tell them that I don’t deserve their love, and that they should just leave me and be happy without me.
Is this manipulative? I don’t know. What I do know is: a) I really, actually, genuinely believe they’d be better off without me; but b) I still wish they would love me anyway. (Aka I hate me and it would be perfectly reasonable for you to hate me too, but still, please don’t leave me.)
If I don’t let BPD win, Part Three is a very long, internal conflict. I usually shut down and go silent, whether in person or over text. This is where the logical, rational half of me urges me to apologize or to forgive, that whatever it is, it just isn’t worth it. But there is the stubborn side that refuses to budge. It clings on to the argument thinking that to give in means to lose. And for whatever ridiculous reason, it refuses to lose.
Why? I don’t know. Maybe that part views losing an argument as losing control. Maybe it just wants to hear the other party surrender, as ‘proof’ that they love me enough to give in.
The two sides quarrel with each other in my head for however long it takes for the fight to go out of me, until I crawl into the Boyfriend’s arms or send a text telling him that I love him.
Disclaimer: there are 256 permutations of BPD, we all present symptoms differently, this is merely my own experience and not every borderline’s, etc. Still, I hope this helps x