With Sensitivity to those Afflicted by Borderline Personality Disorder
Inari is the main character in my book, and as the subtitle suggests, this character suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder.
I am not a psychologist nor a psychiatrist. And since I had a personal relationship with the real-life person that Inari represented in my life, I would not be qualified to diagnose her even if I were a psychologist or psychiatrist. It should therefore be noted that Inari’s character is just that… a character, just as are all the “characters” in the book. Chapter 0 of this book urges the reader to understand that this book is about PERCEPTION. It is about how people and events were perceived and felt… and in our perceptions of people and events and feelings, there are always holes… all stories, when told, leave details up to the reader to imagine. Sometimes perception and even memories are incorrect… and this story… told from the perspective of the main character, Yuki, emphasizes Yuki’s perspective and Yuki sometimes struggles to understand the perspectives of others.
After this book was released, I reached out to many Borderline Personality Disorder support groups and befriended many BPD individuals online. On some level, it might have been more prudent for me to reach out BEFORE I finished the book, however, it is important to understand that Inari’s character is UNIQUELY Inari and is not a blend of any other BPD sufferers I might have met online, although the video diaries of nearly all people I met online echo Inari’s personality far more often than not. This book was completely finished before I ever sought out to understand the personalities of others afflicted with BPD and the original observations were just observations of odd behavior… I didn’t understand what BPD was until 10 years after the conclusion of the book… And honestly, I’m still learning!
One thing that was REALLY striking as I reached out to these groups is just how seriously they take BPD. They take it VERY seriously. The Facebook groups have extremely tight moderation and extremely strict rules for what people can and cannot post. There are strict no-provocation rules, all posts are heavily moderated. I got the impression that the members of these groups are all extremely fragile.
Recently, I stumbled onto a random person, online, not through the regular groups, but through Facebook’s new “neighborhoods” feature. Without getting into specifics, this person asked if there were other people who wanted to form a group to talk about mental health issues over coffee or whatnot, no mention of what kinds of mental health issues she was dealing with… either her own or in her family. I replied that I wrote a book about BPD, and would appreciate the company, as dealing with the fallout was difficult.
“Do you have BPD?” she asked.
“No, I dealt with my BFF having BPD for 10 years,” I replied.
“Well I have BPD, and there are already plenty of books out there written by people hating on people with BPD, so I don’t want to read your trash!” she said.
I immediately deleted my original comment. I never sent her a link to my book (thank god)… I just left the conversation, saying no more.
Although this exchange is extremely short, it sorta illustrates one of the many paradoxes of BPD. This girl was posting online looking for empathy, and if I talked to her without any boundaries, as she was clearly seeking from strangers, boundary-free connections where people exchange deep feelings, I might have even gotten the impression that she cared about me on some level…. but when confronted with the mere hint of an idea that BPD actions hurt and harm people…. she immediately lashed out and excommunicated me, without even hearing or considering that my experiences might have been unique and different from her own.
Again I want to empathize, because the tricky cruel truth of the matter is that these often, kind, sweet, compassionate people also severely damage those who love them the most, and part of the horror of having BPD, yourself, is living with the fact that you’re damaging the people you love with your impulses, despite your deep, genuine feelings for them. A reason that so many books exist on the subject of dealing with BPD family members or friends is that they impulsively tend to destroy their relationships with the people who care about them the most. I want to empathize with their traumas, but paradoxically, you can’t get too close…. firm strict boundaries are required… and on some level, this book exists as a BOUNDARY. It is best to allow trained professionals to help them through their traumas, as often, no family member, friend, or lover can possibly keep the boundaries required.
I want to make one thing ABSOLUTELY CLEAR. I did not write this book for the purpose of “hating” Inari or any people afflicted with BPD. I did not write it to expose her. I did not write it to make myself look like a victim. To this day, I do not “hate” Inari. I never hated Inari. On the contrary, I loved and empathized with Inari very much… even after all that happened, and after I foolishly ruined my whole love life and ruined my deep 10-year friendship with her.
I reserve my right to have issues with the way I was treated, but I am also not proud of many of my actions, decisions, or reactions. My tendency was always to take the blame in these kinds of situations. I’d tell myself, maybe if I had known more about psychology I would have and could have avoided all this. But if I give myself a little bit of credit in all of this, I just gotta say that of the two of us, I am the only one of us who made any effort whatsoever to mend what eventually broke into a million pieces. Inari, once gone, never reached back, and likely never will.
In a nutshell. There are a few reasons that this book DOES exist.
1) It exists because I loved her and I wanted to convince her of that, particularly, initially it was a massive love letter. There are many details that were lost long ago in the earlier revisions, in fact, as I sought to “soften” her character, intending very carefully to avoid making her “look bad”.
2) It exists because I wanted to protect her from perceived abuse.
3) It exists to scorch the earth and burn bridges. I believe that many of her feelings for me were genuine and most of her intentions were not malicious. But those things were impulsively used by her in ways that ultimately damaged me, intentionally or unintentionally (only she can say which). By creating this book, I am creating a monster… blocking all the return paths back into her life. I cannot go back to her anymore. My empathy for Inari was her best weapon against me. My love for her was her weapon. And although I believe that she did not want to damage or hurt me, the end result is that is what happened. I want to forgive her and make things right… but in creating this monster I am virtually guaranteeing that my relationship with Inari WILL NOT, and CAN NEVER BE, FIXED!
As much as it sucks that this book has to exist, it is highly necessary that it exists. I cannot be ALLOWED to empathize with Inari anymore.
So the next time someone with Borerline Personality Disorder wants to try and cut me down, as if I’m being cruel in my writing… maybe I’ll just point them to this blog post, and let them know… “Hey… I care about you, but I just can’t be allowed to.” Now, who the hell is out there offering the same care about me? You? Certainly not.