Thursday, April 2, 2015

Whiplash

I'm not even really sure where to start. I suppose it's because I have a lot on my mind, and it's all sort of jumbled together. I guess with that being said, I'll apologize if this post is a bit nonsensical and long winded.

When I first moved in with Gordon things were great. He was happy to have me there, and happy he had someone to talk to and hang out with. Then we developed feelings for each other, and against my better judgement we started dating. After that things started going down hill and he got a full dose of what it's like to get close to a person with Borderline. There have probably been more bad times than good, and it's all my fault. I've been exhibiting the classic BPD behaviors; causing Gordon to have whiplash as I go between putting him on a pedestal and kicking him in the dirt. I've stressed him out, annoyed him, and worst of all caused him to be reminded of his abusive ex wife and the person he was from that time. That's a horrible thought for me to swallow, and an even more terrifying feeling to have. I don't like to think of myself as abusive, but I know I have been. I know some of my behaviors in relationships are things I'm not proud of, and in the end I just end up feeling terrible about myself. My issues with Gordon include my typical relationship hardships; I test people, I have crippling fear of abandonment, I'm a pro at splitting, and I'm super sensitive. However, there are also certain aspects unique to this particular dynamic that also play a factor. Time for another handy bullet list!

  • He Takes Care of Me: Though it may not seem like it, I've been taking care of myself for a very long time. Sure I've gotten help from others, but in the end I'm always the one who has picked myself back up, found a better situation, gotten myself out of bad situations, and not given up. Even when I've lived with other people I've still generally kept to myself and did not ask much from them other than having a place to live. Then I move in with Gordon and he's cooking for me, giving me money, and I feel completely helpless. I feel helpless and I feel bad. He gave me a place to live with literally no warning, and that's all he should have to do. He shouldn't have to cook me dinner or buy me T passes or help with my laundry. Yesterday we went food shopping together because I had asked him to help me find things that will last. I had a few things on my list I wanted to get, and I told him I wanted help with stuff after I got what was on my list. I became angry and resentful when he started asking me about the items on my list. I didn't want him to, I just wanted to get the stuff and have him be silent until it was time for him to start helping. I felt embarrassed that I'm at an age where I should be able to do this on my own. I have been for over a decade, and here I was feeling like I was being reverted back to childhood again. I wanted him to stay silent as I got the stuff on my list so I could hold on to some sense of independence. By the time it came time for him to suggest different dishes I/he could make I was already in a bad mood; then add in the fact that most of the stuff he suggested included cooked veggies (something I don't like), and pretty much the whole thing was a disaster. I felt embarrassed at myself, and what do I do? Try to make the feeling go away by projecting my feelings and embarrassing him. As we stood at check out I loudly made snide comments aimed at him, and I thought myself pretty clever. Of course I just ended up feeling terrible.
  • He Takes Care of Him: When I was with Pete I was always doing things for him. Cleaning his apartment, buying him things, making him food, I even helped him with his job search. Some people saw this is a negative thing. Can't Pete take care of himself? For me, however, it gave me a sense of worth. I feel that there is not much I can offer in a relationship and so doing things and helping people makes me feel like I'm contributing. Gordon doesn't need that. He doesn't need it and he wouldn't/doesn't show the same kind of appreciation that Pete did when I do do stuff for him. 
  • He's a Dick: He's harsh, he's cruel, he doesn't hold back, he sometimes loses all his tact, and he really doesn't give a shit if a behavior is mine is because of the BPD. He's said things that have brought me to tears, but it's not because he saying them; it's because of the truth behind them. Now, admittedly he's said things I wish he hadn't or he'd at least worded a bit kinder; but on the whole the things he says upset me because I know they are true. I'm used to being with people who lie to me, avoid me, and don't stand up to me. Gordon speaks his mind and doesn't really care about my feelings in that moment. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Okay, here's where things get complicated, and honest. I'm really good at being insightful and aware after the fact. I reflect really well, but I still have trouble controlling myself in the moment. I think subconsciously I've been using this as an excuse; mind you not a fully aware excuse, but an excuse nonetheless. After Gordon and I got home from the supermarket he made a comment (after some discussion) that I would probably behave the same way again at some point. I got angry and defensive, but I knew deep down that he was probably right. It's not that I'm incapable of not acting out, but I think I've been using the fact I'm aware/insightful after the fact as an excuse to make it okay. In other words I do something and then after say, "this was wrong, this is why I did." It's great that I'm able to reflect so well, but if I stare at a reflection over and over the mirror is going to start to get dirty. My reflecting and insight does me no good if I don't apply it to the next time. Gordon is a dick, but he's a dick who forces me to look at myself on a deeper level than anyone has ever before; and that scares me.
  • We Are Living Together: This is something that I was worried about from the beginning, but Gordon did not seem to be. I think it's because he didn't realize how difficult being with someone with BPD can be. Having to both get used to being someone like me and having someone like me around All. The. Freaking. Time. Is pretty damn near impossible.
  • He's The Polar Opposite of Pete: Pete was a coward, Pete lied to me, Pete kept a fantasy going, Pete could barely take care of himself, Pete only turned me down for sex once, Pete was constantly praising me, and Pete never told me when I was out of control. Gordon doesn't give a shit, Gordon is brutally honest, Gordon won't give in to me, Gordon won't kiss me just because I want it, and Gordon uses his compliments sparingly. 
  • He's Secure in Who He Is: Let's face it. I like guys who are a bit unsure and not confident. It means I can use my idealization to make them feel amazing, and in turn it makes me feel good. Gordon, being a pretty confident person, doesn't need this and has no problem pointing out that constant praise can be just as annoying as the opposite. A pedestal is for a statue, not a person. 
  • He Has No Problem Making Sure We're Separate People: When I'm with someone I need to be with them all them time. When Pete wouldn't go out dancing with me, I wouldn't go out. I become needy and dependent. Gordon goes out with me, but he has no problem telling me no, and he has no problem letting me know that there will be times he wants to go out without me. I take this as rejection, when really it's healthy and how a relationship should be.
Gordon forces me to look at myself more deeply and honestly and that's honestly something that scares me. I admit there's stuff about Gordon that's hard to deal with. He can sometimes be a bit too honest, he's harsh, and he comes across as selfish and hypocritical. But who am I to judge? I've said and done horrible things not just to him, but to most people who get close with. I've bullied, verbally abused, threatened, and all sorts of awful things. The difference is Gordon refuses to put up with my BS, and he refuses to allow me to use my disorder as an excuse for my behavior (there's a fine line between excuse and awareness). It's great that I know so much about myself internally, but it also makes it easier for me to quietly ignore the more difficult truths. Gordon has been an external representation of my internal monologue. That's exactly the type of person I need. I like Gordon. I have feelings for Gordon. I'm scared I've ruined any chance I have of being with Gordon. Gordon is all about the gray and that's something I need in my life. He has no problem saying, "I don't know." He doesn't lie to me, he doesn't sugar coat, and he make sure that I'm reminded of one of my life lessons, "the only thing certain in life, is that life is uncertain."

Not being in therapy also doesn't help either. It's something I'm working on, but it's still a big problem. DBT skills are something that need to be practiced everyday and being in therapy makes that a lot easier. If I'm able to practice my skills I'm able to get into wise mind easier. If I'm able to get into wise mind easier, I'm able to look at situations and things said to me in a much different way. I may not suddenly adore Gordon's sometimes harsh words, but being in wise mind means I'd be less likely to make the situation worse by one-upping him; I'd be more likely to patiently wait it out and most importantly hear what he's trying to say through the words.

If there's one thing he's right about above all else, it's that I need to work on myself. I am technically still getting over Pete (albeit at the tail end). I tend to lose myself when I get into a relationship, and the reality is I'm actually a smart, independent, strong willed, progressive person. In a relationship I either smother or want too much attention. I want to bring this person to a relationship. I want to be okay being alone even when I'm with someone; I want to be self confident enough to not need constant outside validation. Gordon forces me to be that person, but I need to do the work as well. I'm honestly scared that if I'm not with Gordon now, someone else is going to come swoop in and make him her own.  I don't know what's going to happen, I just know that Gordon has forced me to thing about a lot of things. If he's willing to give me another chance, I'd honestly want it. If not, then it's something I'm going to have to deal with.



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