My mission in this memoir is to convey the strangeness and intensity of borderline personality while at the same time retracing the flawless - if dysfunctional - logic of borderline cognition. The borderline doesn't like walking on eggshells any more than her partner or family members do. She would never have intentionally strewn them on the floor. She often thinks you (her partner, her mother) put them there! You may both be putting sharp broken things in the path of your relationship without meaning to, without knowing you're doing it.
Monday, August 23, 2010
I've written so many different descriptions of Girl in Need of a Tourniquet as I prepared the manuscript and worked on publicity for the book. I just ran across one that might be useful in sparking conversation about the dynamics between borderlines and our partners or familial attachment figures:
This description isn't meant to shift blame from the borderline to the partner, but rather to foreground the fact that the touchiness captured so well by the image of walking on eggshells is produced by an interpersonal dynamic, not from the borderline in a vacuum, and, most importantly, that this interpersonal dynamic can be reconfigured through the acquisition of improved skills in communication and emotion regulation. This is a commonplace view in imago therapy and family systems therapy, but it rarely comes up in conversations about borderlines.
Within two months of weekly therapy sessions with a couples counselor who uses imago therapy strategies, my partner and I saw dramatic improvement in our relationship, and we still use the concepts, language, and tactics we learned there on a daily basis.
Plus we listen to a lot of Pema Chodron.
Just sayin' . . .