I’ve spent a considerable amount of time lately tossing back and forth about whether or not to continue with Therapist, whether the need I feel for her support is appropriate or not, or if maybe that need is stopping me from being fully well. So I looked to google (where else??) for some answers, and came across a really interesting article called the BPD Client. I actually found it quite hard to read, because it touched pretty much every nerve I have. It could have been written about me.
‘A Borderline’s profound need for intensity to break through their dissociation and non-feeling bubble, keeps them addicted to crisis and chaos. When they begin to make gains in treatment and their painful inner drama quiets down, they typically want to leave therapy. Anguish is far easier to live with, than the absence of it for a BPD individual. If there’s no tidal wave that threatens to capsize their boat and drown them, nothingness can be felt, and performance anxiety within treatment may emerge. They sometimes presume that their therapist will lose interest in them, if there are no disasters present “to fix.” This is projection by the patient, which involves their shame-based inner void, and the sense they’re unlovable just for being(not doing).‘*
Yes!!! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve thought myself into a hole and squirmed my way through a session because there was no serious drama to contend with. No drama = wasting her time = no need for therapist (which, ironically enough, would doubtless lead to drama)
‘Throughout various phases of treatment, the Borderline client both longs for and resents their practitioner. Solid recovery work anchors a client, which helps them start to feel stronger/safer~ but it also stirs dependency and abandonment fears, which trigger their need to push away. This issue may take the form of skipping weekly appointments, canceling/rescheduling at the last minute, out of town (or out of reach) trips, lying, etc. These distancing tactics ameliorate sensations of dreaded vulnerability, which arise out of their feelings of need for the therapist.’*
Again, yes. Oh yes. So, so many times Therapist has gotten messages saying either I don’t need any further appointments at all, or else I don’t need to see her that week (usually at a time when things are starting to slip and I’m feeling more needy of her, and at the same time, completely freaked out by that need), only for me to change my mind within a day or two and contact her desperate to get that time back. On the rare occasion that she’s actually given my slot away, what happens? Phenomenal, overwhelming sense of abandonment and rejection. How could she do that to me? Why didn’t she know that I’d need her? She should have questioned why I was cancelling, encouraged me to keep the appointment. She knows I usually only cancel when I’m not feeling great.
‘The BPD client craves a sense of intimacy, and yearns to be fully understood and known during treatment. Unfortunately, this can generate ‘out of control’ feelings, and prompt one’s need to distance/retreat. Some sturdy parameters must be in place, to help the Borderline understand the basis for these uncomfortable, conflicting feelings, learn how to tolerate them, and continue to build trust……………Borderline disordered individuals have significant ambivalence about getting truly well, as it represents a crisis of identity…………..Non-compliance with treatment is common for Borderlines. Aside from their fear of change, they rebel against useful intervention‘*
How many times have we had a conversation where yet again, I’ve taken something that works (yoga, medication, running etc etc etc) and just thrown it out the window?? I start to get well, I make real progress, then something shifts. I get scared maybe? Even today, at a time when things are as stable as they’ve ever been, when I’m in really good form I found myself thinking – ‘what next? I’m good now, so it’s time for something else to go wrong. Fate was waiting for me to be strong enough to handle the next crisis’.
Christ. I’m textbook. It’s hard to know where to go with this. Earlier this week I had decided I was definitely going to stop seeing her, and either take a break entirely or ask for a referral. But the thoughts of this sent me into a complete tailspin for a couple of days, and I was more than a little emotional. Then, I found this article, and it all seemed to click into place. It’s what I’ve got. So, on that basis, thinking about stopping with Therapist now is……………..is what?? An indicator that I actually need to do more work? That there’s a part of me I’m continuing to run away from?? It really does feel like a rock and a hard place – thinking about not seeing her had me circling the drain, and then realising it was all part of what I’ve got and I could continue seeing her brought such immense relief that I actually feel fine the last day or two, and as if I don’t need support at all. And so the cycle continues.
My mind is a bloody minefield. No matter which way I turn I’ve laid traps for myself.
*Taken from ‘The Borderline Personality Client‘