bdp resist help and truth

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Borderline Resistance To Help & "Truth"

Are borderlines resistant to help? Why? Why borderlines cannot hear the "truth" according to others who love an or care about them.
Why are borderlines so resistant to help?

A large portion of the resistance of many borderlines stems firstly and foremostly from all of the pain and damage they have suffered. Broken trust and betrayal after broken trust and betrayal and more often than not, someone failing to meet his/her initial basic needs. (primarily soothing- nurture needs)

The lost self does not know what it needs or wants. The lost self -- the borderline self in a frantic search for a way to meet needs and avoid pain creates layers and layers of defense mechanisms - which are experienced as "behaviours". Within the lostness of an unstable identity -- a lack of identity, often, a borderline is not aware that they need help. To them, life is just as it has always been and the hurts, the problems, the torments are everyone else's fault and or responsibility. Many borderlines do not have any understanding or self-awareness from which to "know" that they do indeed need help. And when in that kind of emotional pain and upheavel often nothing feels like help. For the borderline nothing offered as help is "good enough" until the borderline begins to know him/herself and meet some of his/her own needs.

Borderlines are not aware of how they feel (often) because they are lost and trapped in the walls and layers that have been built up to protect them. What was put in place through (often unconscious choices) to help ends up being more as hurtful as the original wounds. As the borderline gets older their mal adaptive defense mechanisms, especially in relation to others, continue to compound the damage that the borderline was originally trying to cope with and or escape in the first place.

This leaves the borderline lost in a maze of cognitively distorted thoughts, illogical beliefs (often unquestioned) and in the throes of assumption after asumption.

Often, for many borderlines, anyone that tries to tell them anything different from what they "think" they know is seen as "lying to them".

When someone is in the active throes of BPD -- remember-- they DO NOT KNOW WHO THEY ARE -- WHAT THEY WANT-- WHAT THEY NEED -- WHAT THEY VALUE -- WHAT WORKS, WHAT DOESN'T WORK. And borderlines do not know how to relate to others because they do not know how to relate to themselves. They are lost. It is a most profound and desolately-barren place to be. It is full of emptiness and uncertainty. It drives borderlines to demand a rigid sense of order -- it may be disordered- order, or ordered-chaos, but borderlines cling to maladaptive and unproductive (unhealthy patterns) because in the absence of knowing self the patterns -- or expectations are all that they "do" know. Consequently, many borderlines develop extremely rigid expectations of those around them who they look to, clearly, to define themselves.

The resistance occurs because anything and everything that does not unfold according to the expectations of the borderline causes them to feel out of control and it exacerbates their underlying feeling of helplessness and their over-all inability to deal with their vulnerability. Anything and everything that in any way threatens a borderline's sense of "control" (as irrational and illusional as that sense of control may be) will be met with a lion share of resistance because it triggers them back to their "original pain" -- which is most often an "abandonment wound" and leaves them feeling as if they are being annihilated again in the here and now -- when really what is happening is that they are re-experiencing "old" feelings from the past, in what was their "here and now" and in what then becomes a dissociative-pseudo reality triggered by perceived threat to a self that they have very little (if any) understanding of.

Another key reason borderlines are so resistant to help is often born out of the reality that more often than not they do not receive the help that they require.

It is also very difficult to perceive that anything or anyone is "helping you" when all you feel is lost, helpless, out of control, unreal and an incredible amount of emotional pain -- or for some borderlines the opposite -- an absence of felt pain which is replaced by an unabating sense of "numbness" of "nothingness" -- a feeling like they don't really exist and whatever is happening isn't really happening.

The second question from the same non-borderline: What is it about the truth that they do not or cannot hear?

To experience "the truth" or any degree of the "truth" a borderline has to be able to contemplate and emotionally accept that there are possibilities and choices outside of the realm of his or her current understanding of things. Often trying to open to this leaves a borderline feeling totally out of control and extremely unsafe.

The borderline often believes that what they perceive and "know" is the truth -- in fact it definately is borderline truth -- and so when someone sets out to tell them the "truth" the borderline will often feel manipulated and lied to. Anything threatening can up the level of projection and transference on the part of the borderline.

Life in the pieces of borderline reality in the black and white "little snipets" of the big picture; within the reality of triggered-dissocation is not life as it unfolds for others in the "big picture". Borderlines, emotionally and cognitively live in a parellel universe. The language of relative emotional health and reasonable cognition is not borderline language. It is not that borderlines do not want to hear the truth it is that they do not speak the same language --emotionally.

The central issue in all of this is the borderline's unstable sense of self. Because the borderline does not know who he/she is or what he/she likes, wants or needs they are often not able to rationally distinguish between what is "truth" and what isn't.

For many borderlines, living in the absence of a known self the "truth" is whatever they decide it "should" be. The "truth" is what is convenient. The "truth" is often the lies and manipulations that borderlines re-enact in order to recapitulate their past to a point of understanding or to a point of a self-awareness that could break through the cognitive distortions and the illogical thoughts or the "stinking thinking". When one is "stinking thinking" the concept of truth is foreign. There is no stable sense of anything upon which to base a belief that a - is true which means that b - is not.

Borderlines can be extremely intellectually aware of themselves in many ways. What is not at par with that intellectual prowess is their emotional IQ's. Borderlines are often lost, hurting children walking around in adult bodies. Can a child "hear the truth" if he/she cannot contemplate it? Can a child "hear the truth" before they've progressed through the a given stage of development? NO! This is where borderlines are often as misunderstood by others as they are lost to themselves.

The way in which I began to "hear the truth" was through emotionally maturing -- through being re-parented, both by myself, and by therapists. I had to be re-taught and re-educated about so much that I had learned that was maladaptive. I was not able to learn many things for long periods of time. I learned only after I wanted to badly enough -- and after (as I've said before) I came to know that the pain I was in was far greater than the pain I was going to have to learn to endure and manage to change.

Resistance is often seen by professionals whenever a patient or client doesn't do what they want them to do -- that is to say when certain hoped for outcomes can not be arrived at and achieved. Sometimes a person is simply not ready yet. Sometimes a person with BPD cannot hear "your truth" when you want/need them to anymore than you can relate to, tolerate, hear or bare their "truths" any longer.

My process taught me that the truth is relative and that each person has to come to his/her own truth in his/her own time and way. In the meantime if you are a non-borderline and you are being adversly affected by a borderline you NEED to take care of you. You cannot influence a borderline to "want" to "hear the truth" as you see it anymore than you are going to continue to believe that the way you have been treated in trying to relate to a borderline is okay.

There is a bridge between the two worlds. In order to walk on it and to cross it each side, borderline or non-borderline must learn to understand and practice personal responsibility. Each side must come to terms, first, with its own truth, and then try to meet in the middle of impossibility. Each side must be willing, ready and able. If one side is not ready, or willing or able then they will not begin to cross the bridge upon which the other stands -- hoping, wanting and needing .......

© Ms. A.J. Mahari - February 27, 2000

AAPEL - Back to BPD Borderline page

All the information in this site is aimed at helping people understand a "rather particular" and puzzling kind of disease
But more especially, to support everyone affected by it, sick or not.  In any case, it is ESSENTIAL to see a therapist who specialises in this field they can confirm or give an alternative diagnosis
The name of what you’ve got doesn’t matter so much, getting the right treatment for the right patient does