Borderline Rage

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

Picture This: You Have BPD

Picture this: you are sitting in the car, trying your best to drive on a busy, bumpy road. Driving is hard enough to do on your own in peace, but your disorder sits in the passenger seat and begins making barbed comments about your driving.

“You’re really lousy at this,” BPD says. “Look at the other driver over there, they’re doing so much better! And they’re happy, too!”

“I don’t want to look at that other driver,” you snap back. “Life’s not about making comparisons with other people, you know the drill. And I happen to think I’m doing pretty well, so I’d appreciate it if you kept quiet.”

BPD snorts. “You know as well as I do that all that zen, hippy bullshit is exactly that — bullshit.”

“Oh, shut up.”

“Why are you getting so angry? Jeez, just look at the rest of them; they’re all calm and collected, why can’t you be more like them? Stop getting mad! Also, your driving is really shitty, stop trying to convince yourself otherwise. You know it’s true. They all know it’s true. They think you’re a joke. You’re a worthless failure. Hey, you know what? You should just crash the car. Nobody would miss you anyway.”

All it takes is one brief moment for your concentration to break, and then the steering wheel is out of your hands and in BPD’s. “Give it back!” You yell, desperately tugging the wheel back, but it’s to no avail. BPD’s in the driver’s seat now, and you’re helpless in the passenger seat, watching as your disorder wrecks you, your car, and everyone else around you.

Worst of all, it’s your fault for letting BPD take control in the first place. Your fault for being too weak, too useless. You could have done better. You should have.

Picture this: your boyfriend hasn’t replied you for 15 minutes. That’s okay, he’s probably busy. Yeah, he said he had that big project to work on, remember? It’s okay, everything’s okay. You’re okay.

BPD taps your shoulder and whispers, “Yeah, right, you know deep down inside that it’s because he’s having fun without you.”

“So what? He can have fun with other people and still have fun the most with me.” You say defensively, but it’s weak, and BPD picks up on it.

“Nah,” BPD says, dismissive. “He’ll have so much fun that he realizes that in comparison, you’re really dull and boring and annoying. You know why he hasn’t replied? Because he’s completely forgotten about you.”

You glance at the clock. 20 minutes. At the phone. No new messages. Your stomach sinks. “You think?”

“Come on, did you really think you could delude him for long? Obviously he’s wised up to the fact that you’re complete crap. There’s probably some gorgeous, hilarious girl he’s talking to right now, and he’s going to fall in love with her. He’s going to want nothing to do with you ever again.”

30 minutes. You can’t stand the wait anymore. Your fingers are trembling as you type a quick hey babe? and send it off.

BPD laughs. “Now you’ve really gone and done it. He’s going to think you’re clingy and controlling. And you know what they say about needy people… so unattractive. So annoying. He’s definitely not going to want you, now.”

The air feels like it’s getting thinner. You’re shaking so hard your teeth chatter. When he finally responds, you explode.

You forget the fact that you were looking forward to finally having a chat with him. You forget the fact that just last night he’d stayed up late to talk about the future with you. You forget the fact that he has shown you, time and time again, how much he cares about you and loves you.

All you remember, and all you can hear, is BPD’s voice in your ear, telling you that he’s gone and cheated on you with someone better. That he’s leaving you forever.

And all you can feel is white-hot, uncontrollable rage. Your voice rises out of you, harsh and horrible, as unrecognizable as a stranger’s. Did you ever love him? All you know is hatred. All you know is how much you hate him for making you feel this way, for making you lose control of yourself.

He’s defensive, and now you feel even worse. Half of you is certain that he’s lying, and you’re even angrier with him. He has to be lying; it’s the only rational, reasonable explanation. He couldn’t possibly want you.

Still, there’s the other half of you that begins to wonder if he’s telling the truth. And then you’re even angrier with yourself for doubting him in the first place, for being such a crazy, paranoid bitch, for causing so much trouble. For ruining your relationship, for pushing him away even more. For listening to BPD and letting it direct your life. It makes you hate yourself and how weak you are. You shouldn’t have listened, shouldn’t have lashed out… you glance at your reflection in the mirror and feel the terrible urge to put a fist through it so you won’t have to look at yourself ever again.

Picture this: you are forced to sit down and have dinner with someone you absolutely cannot stand. The whole while you are looking at the clock, praying for time to move faster, wishing to be put out of your misery.

BPD is brash and bitter. BPD is needy and neurotic. BPD is clingy and caustic. You stare across the table at it, hating it with every fibre of your being.

And then someone else draws a chair and sits down with you. He bridges the gulf; he makes you laugh; he makes it better. This dinner isn’t so bad after all, you think. He tells you you are beautiful, and for a moment you believe in him.

Distracted, you stop picking apart BPD’s unpleasantries. Every ounce of your attention is centred on him. He is perfect. He is the entire universe, and you were born to worship him —

“I have to go,” he says.

No no no no no wait no oh my god how dare you

It’s just you and BPD, left alone again.

“Told you so,” BPD says.

I hate you.