A poem resonates with me so well, deeply

I'd love to share this ;)

By Lynn Ungar

The universe does not
revolve around you.
The stars and planets spinning
through the ballroom of space
dance with one another
quite outside of your small life.
You cannot hold gravity
or seasons; even air and water
inevitably evade your grasp.
Why not, then, let go?

You could move through time
like a shark through water,
neither restless or ceasing,
absorbed in and absorbing
the native element.
Why pretend you can do otherwise?
The world comes in at every pore,
mixes in your blood before
breath releases you into
the world again. Did you think
the fragile boundary of your skin
could build a wall?

Listen. Every molecule is humming
its particular pitch.
Of course you are a symphony.
Whose tune do you think
the planets are singing
as they dance?

Part 3: So... my own story, and...

*****  3 *****

When I was young, no body actually listened to me. Or in other words, I could not trust anyone that I could tell true feelings if it was including negative things because I felt nobody could accept such things. Even with my mom. I don't mean I'm blaming at her.  NO.  She had been struggling for lots of things in her own life. Then unfortunately she was often emotionally absent when I was little. Of course, I know she deeply loves me. Anyway she is not a listener type of person. She has idealized me as what she wants me to be and if I have done something different from what she expects me to do, she just can't accept it. Those things hurts her so badly. So, I could not talk with her honestly or ask her opinion or something like that. Still I talked to her but it was like sharing a report what I have done. I never told her current thing at the present time. I rather listened to her. Her husband/ my father had been really an abusive person until he left from the place. We rarely could be relaxed with him. My mom also needed supports to survive in the water flow.

My mom's mom had really strong BP traits. She had never been diagnosed by any psychiatrists but her physician talked about her emotional issues. And people around her knew a lot about the traits and I do know she had been suffered for the way to live. Actually it caused lots of problems in her life. When my mom was young, she hated her mom. She wanted to escape the place so badly but at the same time she could not do so until her sister became a bit older (she was truly afraid that her mom accidentally killed her baby sister). We absolutely knew she loved us from heart but it was very difficult to have enjoyable time together. (note! we still have good memories too! and again, I love my grandma from heart... She lived her life, in her own way.)

The person who took my mom to outside world with his passion was my father. He is a person who has lots of Narcissistic Personality Disorder traits. Actually really a lot. It makes sense to me that my mom was attracted to him when she was young. She told me, "I really wanted to leave from the house and it was like as if he kidnapped me out of the place, with his confidence and passion. When I was young, I really admired his strong self-confidence." However, his self-confidence is not the true strong stable thing.

He called her "idiot" instead of calling her name (or something like that.) He treated her as a very inferior person. He also treated me in that negative way. What he was saying to me was, because of my mom and me, he had to live in the limitation. He lost his freedom, etc. He blamed at us in many ways. Unfortunately the marriage/ family relationship had given us (our self-esteems) huge damage. Luckily my mom could find herself after the separation from him, but it was truly hard lesson for her. I am truly proud of my mom who could get through the rough path and now she could see a calm ocean in front of her. And I can say exactly same thing to me too. I am proud of myself to get here now.

Anyway, I wasn't diagnosed but really the three are enough for me to consider I have been struggling with some BP traits (or AC traits or whatever it is, the distorted thinking/responding patterns). Once I noticed about that, I could face the weakness in me even if it hurt my feelings (and felt huge shame too). I could talk with my therapist why and how I developed those distorted way to see or think through my life. It helped me a lot. It was also very painful to face the screaming child who has been longing to be loved for a long time, inside me. I even thought how people could possibly love the little one? It was really the hardest pain to notice about the feeling I even had. I started talking with her and I became the person who gives the words which she wanted to hear so badly. Yes, we became great friends. I love her, the little one, i.e., myself, finally. And once I could identify those traits and the deep root of the reason why I have held them inside me, I have been gradually releasing them. That IS really an amazing experience...

I'm now standing at the point which is very close to the ending of my therapy.
Because my traits or in other words, the distorted thinking patterns have been so deeply rooted for a long time, I may still go back to the dark place in future. But now, I have the place where I can always come back and see/find myself standing with my own feet, inside the deep forest. I also have the landmark to find the place in the forest, so, even if I lose my way again, I will be okay... That's my belief and relief.

(I might write more, later. But for now... finish!)

Part 2: More about BPD and AC

*******  2  *******

I was a listener. I listened to people who needed my help a lot. I also wanted somebody to listen to me so badly but at the same time, I had a doubt that someone could accept me if I showed the real myself, including that one who has been screaming for help deep inside.

And I knew I also have some BP traits in me. They were hidden but I knew they were there. Most likely nobody noticed usually. But I know that.

To be officially diagnosed as BPD, the individual has to meet 5 out of the 9 criteria which are written in the DSM-IV-TR. I don't quite have 5 of them so I have never been diagnosed and my therapist also said, "I don't think you are with BPD. And whatever the name is, I'd like to focus what is inside you, rather than the classification. The reason why you needed to develop the thinking patterns or responding patterns. Many people with BPD also have needed to learn the distorted thinking pattern to survive in their hard circumstance when they were little. I personally believe that the diagnosis itself doesn't help much. But we can release the distorted thinking patterns by listening to the voice or scream inside" (I appreciate this her approach a lot. Truly helped me.)

In any case, I knew 3 of traits I have/had in me.

Here are the 9 criteria of BPD: (from the site: http://www.palace.net/llama/psych/bpd.html )

1. Shifts in mood lasting only a few hours.

2. Anger that is inappropriate, intense or uncontrollable.

3. Self-destructive acts, such as self-mutilation or suicidal threats and gestures that happen more than once

4. Two potentially self-damaging impulsive behaviors. These could include alcohol and other drug abuse, compulsive spending, gambling, eating disorders, shoplifting, reckless driving, compulsive sexual behavior.

5. Marked, persistent identity disturbance shown by uncertainty in at least two areas. These areas can include self-image, sexual orientation, career choice or other long-term goals, friendships, values. People with BPD may not feel like they know who they are, or what they think, or what their opinions are, or what religion they should be. Instead, they may try to be what they think other people want them to be. Someone with BPD said, "I have a hard time figuring out my personality. I tend to be whomever I'm with."

6. Chronic feelings of emptiness or boredom. Someone with BPD said, "I remember describing the feeling of having a deep hole in my stomach. An emptiness that I didn't know how to fill. My therapist told me that was from almost a "lack of a life". The more things you get into your life, the more relationships you get involved in, all of that fills that hole. As a borderline, I had no life. There were times when I couldn't stay in the same room with other people. It almost felt like what I think a panic attack would feel like."

7. Unstable, chaotic intense relationships characterized by splitting.
Splitting: the self and others are viewed as "all good" or "all bad." Someone with BPD said, "One day I would think my doctor was the best and I loved her, but if she challenged me in any way I hated her. There was no middle ground as in like. In my world, people were either the best or the worst. I couldn't understand the concept of middle ground."

8. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
Alternating clinging and distancing behaviors (I Hate You, Don't Leave Me). Sometimes you want to be close to someone. But when you get close it feels TOO close and you feel like you have to get some space. This happens often.
Great difficulty trusting people and themselves. Early trust may have been shattered by people who were close to you.
Sensitivity to criticism or rejection.
Feeling of "needing" someone else to survive
Heavy need for affection and reassurance
Some people with BPD may have an unusually high degree of interpersonal sensitivity, insight and empathy

9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

I see, I have (had) the 5, 8 (not exactly but some parts), and 9 in me. I was diagnosed as Depersonalization Disorder because of 9 but I have been wondering if it's more like one of BP traits. My therapist has treated me as a person who has been struggling for PTSD or as a child abuse survivor/ Adult Children (AC). I think many people develop BPD have also experienced difficult childhood. So, for me, the line between BPD and AC is really vague. And some AC traits are overlapping with BP traits too. Here is excerpt from "A Primer on Adult Children of Alcoholics" by Dr. Timmen L. Cermak

1. Fear of losing control.
ACoAs maintain control of their feelings and behavior. In addition, they try to control the feelings and behavior of others. They do not do this to hurt themselves or others, but because they are afraid. They fear their lives will get worse if they lose control and they become uncomfortable and anxious when they cannot control situations, feelings, and behaviors.

2. Fear of feelings.
Since childhood and continuing as adults, ACoAs have buried their feelings (especially anger and sadness). In addition, theyʼve lost the ability to feel or express emotions freely. Eventually they fear all intense feelings, even good ones such as joy and happiness.

3. Overdeveloped sense of responsibility.
ACoAs are hypersensitive to the needs of others. Their self-esteem comes from how others view them. They have a compulsive need to be perfect.

4. Guilt feelings.
When ACoAs stand up for themselves instead of giving in to others, they feel guilty. They usually sacrifice their own needs in an effort to be “responsible.”

5. Inability to relax/let go/have fun.
Having fun is stressful for ACoAs, especially when others are watching. The child inside is terrified; exercising all the control it can muster to be good enough just to survive. Under such rigid control, spontaneity suffers.

6. Harsh, even fierce, self-criticism.
ACoAs have very low self-esteem, regardless of how competent they may be in many areas.

7. Denial.
Whenever ACoAs feel threatened, their tendency toward denial intensifies.

8. Difficulty with intimate relationships.
To ACoAs, intimacy equates to being out of control. It requires love for self and expressing oneʼs own needs. As a result, ACoAs frequently have difficulty with sexuality. They repeat unsuccessful relationship patterns.

9. Living life as a victim.
ACoAs may be either aggressive or passive victims. They are often attracted to other “victims” in love, friendship and work relationships.

10. Compulsive behavior.
ACoAs may work compulsively, eat compulsively, become addicted to a relationship or behave in other compulsive ways. ACoAs may drink compulsively and become alcoholics themselves.

11. Tendency to confuse love and pity.
Because they donʼt differentiate between these two emotions, ACoAs often “love” people they can pity and rescue.

12. Fear of abandonment.
In order not to experience the pain of abandonment, ACoAs will do anything to hold on to a relationship.

13. Tendency to view issues in terms of black or white.
When they are under stress, the gray areas of life disappear and ACoAs see themselves facing an endless series of either/or alternatives.

14. Tendency toward physical complaints.
ACoAs suffer higher rates of stress related illnesses (migraine headaches, ulcers, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.) than the general population.

15. Suffering from delayed grief.
Because the alcoholic family does not tolerate intensely uncomfortable feelings (such as sadness and anger), children in such homes rarely, if ever, grieve over their losses. Losses in their adult lives usually cannot be felt without calling up these past feelings. As a result, ACoAs are frequently depressed.

16. Tendency to react rather than to act.
As children, ACoAs became anxious and hyper vigilant. They remain so in their adult lives, constantly scanning the environment for potential catastrophes. Problem solving and stress management techniques are something they consider after the fact if at all.


Yes, I have (had) many AC personality traits.
Also, there are subtypes of BPD which is unofficial (I have read so) but I have seen lots of people who suffer for BPD have talked about it in the online supporting groups. And I learned they are very intriguing to know. And I believe that someone who suffers for BPD, knowing this might help too. Anyway, here they are:

Low Functioning Borderline―The “Low Functioning” borderline is what most people think of when they are first introduced to the condition. Low functioning BPDs are a living train wreck. They have intense difficulties taking care of their basic needs, are constantly experiencing mood swings. They also have an extremely hard time managing any sort of relationship with another human being. Low Functioning BPDs are often hospitalized more than other BPD types, for the very reason that they canʼt live productively without constant coaching and supervision. These patients are challenging for all but the most experienced psychiatrists. Unless otherwise treated, low functioning borderlines lead self destructive lives and attempt to manipulate those around them with desperate acts, including self harm (cutting, etc.).

High Functioning Borderline―The High Functioning Borderline Personality shares many core aspects of the low functioning borderline personality, except for the fact that they can manage their lives, appear to be productive, and generally keep their relationships civil (even diplomatic in nature). High Functioning borderlines can appear to be normal, driven people one moment; then moody, inconsolable, and manipulative the next. Somehow, there is a mechanism within the minds of High Functioning Borderlines that allows them to lead somewhat “competent” lives, despite the fact that they are in a constant battle with BPD. High functioning BPDs are no better than low functioning: itʼs basically the same face wearing a different mask.

Extroverted Borderline―Anyone familiar with the Meyer-Briggs personality tests will understand the psychological differences between extroversion and introversion. When these characteristics are mixed with BPD, there are two different results. The Extroverted Borderline pushes all their feelings, fears, manipulation, rage, and moodiness outward to the people around them. In essence, if you are around an extroverted BPD, you feel like youʼre living through their emotions while coping with your own at the same time. Further, extroverted BPDs will attempt self abusive acts in plain view of others in order to avoid abandonment or to express their rage. For example, an Extroverted BPD might cut themselves and then immediately share it with family and friends around them, hoping to gain sympathy or attention. In most cases, these types of behaviors frighten non-Borderlines, and they wonder whether or not the Extroverted BPD should be committed to a psych ward.

Introverted Borderline―Contrary to popular belief, “introverted” doesnʼt necessarily describe someone who is a recluse (agoraphobic). Instead, introversion is characterized by experiencing life in a self-reflective, private, and at times distant manner. To others, introverts may appear shy or lacking in people skills. This might be true, however, introverts make up for their lack of social skills with rich inner lives, thoughts, and deep thinking. As a result, the introverted Borderline primarily focuses all their BPD emotions and reactions inward. Instead of having a rage episode in public, they might retreat to their rooms and cry for hours on end, perhaps even cutting themselves for their own amusement or as stress relief. Introverted Borderlines live in an odd world: on one hand, they spend most of their time in personal thought and reflection, looking to fill themselves with a viable sense of self; but on the other, they are conflicted by emptiness and the bottomless emotional pit that BPD produces. Introverted BPDs might be harder to “spot” unless you happen to know one personally, in which case you might notice occasional depressive symptoms and evidence of self harm.

Transparent Borderline―The Transparent Borderline is a bit of a mix between a high functioning borderline and either extroverted or introverted tendencies. In plain terms, Transparent Borderlines live double lives: on the surface, “in public”, they appear one way, but in private, amongst immediate family and friends, they appear completely different. As a result, they may or may not be high functioning due to this conflicted state of mind. Transparent Borderlines spend most of their emotional energy trying to balance the personality demands of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the both of which experience strong BPD emotions like anyone else with the disease. Like Introverted Borderlines, Transparent Borderlines are harder to spot, and often only confess their true disposition after a harrowing rage, major break up, or other severely traumatic event that brings all their BPD
feelings to the fore.


(to be contined)

Part 1: Things about what I learned, thought, noticed, by experiencing/ swimming in my own life river

Every once in a while I write what I have felt, noticed, and learned by experiencing my life which is to me as if I'm swimming in a river/ water current. Someday, I'll get to a boundless expanse of ocean... and become a part of it and will be released...

I have done this kind of writing around 10 years ago (it became more than 100 pages long essay at that time! I kept writing for three years. That one, I wrote in my own native language. This time, I chose to write this in English since most of my life now, I think in this language.)

After moving to US, I have experienced so many new things in this my new home-base. 7 years passed. And now, I strongly felt the time has come; I need to write out my thoughts to clarify something inside me, again. I have started this for my own sake, but I gradually wonder... there may be, also for someone, something interesting to read...? Maybe no one will find anything in this. But, it's still okay. Anyway, so I decided to post what I wrote, here. This is really long so I will divide it into some parts.

So... here is Part 1.

For some people who have suffered and haven't known the clear reason why they have many difficulties in life, being diagnosed as a certain mental, developmental, or personality disorder(s), may help those individuals to accept why they have been struggling. It may give them a clue to understand their pains and the self. So, for those who are suffering with their behavioral patterns/ way to live and see things in their lives, diagnosis can be a supportive thing. But also, I think, what people can understand by being diagnosed is still just like standing at the entrance of the big forest. You may be able to feel what kind of place the forest is from the entrance too, but it is really so much deeper. If people truly want to know what is inside, they can go further and may be able to find things much more...

Those individuals who have been diagnosed as same disorder may have some similarities but never the same (I felt sometimes the people being diagnosed as the same disorder can even have polar opposite traits). Even if someone has been diagnosed his or her disorder as such and such, the diagnosis/disorder is NOT all about the person. ...I know I have been writing this in a very redundant way, but really I encountered several situations that some (actually many) people were as if they believed individuals with same disorder were the same.

Additionally, I feel the DSM-IV-TR has a really significant limitation. Of course, those specialists/psychiatrists are most likely not to use it like as a cooking recipe book, in order to diagnose people (I hope so!) but I have heard several stories that even the specialists have diagnosed people incorrectly (Again, I believe that they were not only using the DSM-IV-TR to diagnose but also counseling, etc.) The psychiatrists may prescribe some medications which might help the people temporarily but I don't think that is the final solution for people who suffer from their difficulties in life.

Some guide book type of things for people whose loved one with such and such personality or developmental disorder, I found the advice by the specialists/authors are useful but also have the dangerous possibility of stigmatizing or generalizing each individual who has gotten his or her diagnosis. I felt by reading the advice, as if people assumed individual with a such and such disorder ARE "this" (generalize them) so we should do "that" if you have to interact with them. I felt those things are sometimes very insensitive for people who got a diagnosis; because (again I say) each one is different and differently suffering even if the consequences what they have done might seem similar from others on the surface level.

Like I said the advice from the guide book and so on, might be useful for people in order to take care of themselves, who have been struggling because of difficult interactions with people with difficult personality traits. (Of course, most of the time, those books are for those caretakers and not for people who suffer for a disorder) However, I'd like to state my views of this again, the advice such as how to interact with those who are with complicated personality or developmental disorder, could cause unwanted stigmatization. I think there is no clear 'textbook' type of thing to give people the right answers for each relationship.

(note: I still think, for some people following the advice may work for improving their relationships and, in the consequence, if it helps the people with a disorder, to ease their emotional conflicts out, it will be wonderful. But it is not easy. Anyway no matter what each people tries, nobody can change or rescue others but only the individual who wants to change, can do.)


From here, I'd like to focus one personality disorder which is Borderline Personality Disorder, a.k.a BPD. For me, BPD is a very familiar personality disorder even before I knew the name. I heard the name for the first time in my twenties from my ex-boyfriend who was diagnosed as BPD. I have read about it and noticed later that I tended to be attracted to people who have lots of Borderline personality traits. No longer I do at this point of my life, but when I was young, I chose to be with people who have BP traits.

Now I knew the term which describes what I have done to the people with BP traits; it is "enabling". Yes, I was an enabler who was very exhausted to take care of people who were struggling with a very high conflict emotional crisis, such as suicidal attempt, depression, drug abuse, and/or fear of abandonment. (note: again, there are many kind of "enabler"s out there. So I don't think the description from some books or articles is exactly match to what I was.) But at the same time, I needed to be asked "S.O.S" by those people. Why? Because, this is very complicated, so, many others may not be able to understand what I'm about to try to explain but... My reason was... I projected some parts of myself inside me, who was not able to come out, on those who with BP traits. I saw myself inside them. Their help, S.O.S messages were, to me, my S.O.S.. I said to them, "Trust me. I never leave you. I'm with you." when especially they had done terrible painful things to themselves (or me and others too). But actually I was saying so, to the part of myself inside me.

Now after experiencing therapy sessions, I call the parts inside me as my "inner child". Those words I said to them were exactly something I wanted to hear from someone. Taking care of them was actually equal to taking care of myself during that time. I envied people with BP traits inside. Why? Because, I also wanted to scream out like them. I wanted to hear someone to say, "I'm always with you. Even if other people hate you, I love you. If you can't control your emotion well and hurt yourself or others, No worry, I'll take care of you, for you. I'll be always on your side. I'm here for you."

I could not open the emotion like those who with BP traits. Instead, I hided the part of myself. Like I mentioned, each individual is so different and those people who have BP traits and asked me to help were very different from each other. But some of things they did to me and also I did to them had common sense. (Note: I only knew one of them was diagnosed as BPD but others were not. So I am not really sure whether they really were with BPD but I could see strong BP traits in them and because of that struggling a lot in their lives.) AND also I noticed later, actually I was the one who pulled the BP traits out of those people. Even if it was unconscious level of thing; however, instead of screaming out by myself, I have let those people scream and ask me to help, for me.

It was very complicated. I was really wanted to scream "help!" and someone to say me "I love you. I never leave you." But at the same time, I never wanted to be like them whom I chose to be with. I never wanted to be like, someone who say "I can't live without you" (needing someone to feel the individual is worthwhile to stay alive), asking help all the time, longing for acceptances (even by doing various things which are usually hard to be accepted). I have a fear of "having fear of abandonment". I have fear of being a needy person. Instead, I want to stand alone and be a strong person. That's the reason why I chose those people who could do that for me. In this dynamic of relationship, I could be a rescuer. (But actually now I know, I also needed those people to need me. Without being needed, I could not believe I was worthwhile to live. In that case, at the very bottom,
we both were same. In the same vortex...)

I believed that during that time, I loved them but now I have a doubt: I just tried to accept or love the screaming myself inside me, by doing so? I don't even know whether I really loved them... Could I love myself deep inside by taking care of those who? The answer is no. No way. I may have felt so temporarily but never truly. When I decided to leave from those individuals, I really hated myself even more strongly. (I could not take the emotional roller coaster type of relationships forever and ended the relationships with every one of them but I always chose same type of person again, and again.) The end of my twenties, because of one of my relationships with the person who was with BPD, I could get a strong wake-up call inside me. After his suicide attempt by using his car, I also hit by another car accidentally, I literally flew away and hit my head and then felt like woke up from a long nightmare. "WHAT AM I DOING?" In the ambulance car to a hospital, I laughed at myself and the whole situation. I decided to completely separate from the individual who has been suffering with his emotional conflicts/ BPD and any of those who has the traits, basically someone needs unhealthy attachment.

It was not easy time to recover from the injuries, physically and even more mentally. I was depressed and hard to do anything. I stayed inside and was alone most of the time.
And one year later, finally decided to change my life. I truly exhausted to be like that I used to. I really wanted to do something that I wanted to do for myself in order to re-build my life. I decided to move to the US to learn photography. To do so, I studied English and saved money crazily. It was really beginning of the great change.

Make long story short, finally I moved to the US and started learning photography. It was really truly amazing experience. I felt I could find a vehicle that I could express something inside me and then could fly freely (internally)! Until I graduated from my college, I finally felt I was here for myself, now. It was truly great feelings to have. However, after my graduation, simply, I lost again. I really didn't know where I was and where I could go from the point. I felt no road to walk forward. Depressed.

(to be continued)