“We Are Inherently Abusive.”
Conflation of Borderline Personality disorder and abusive, toxic behaviours is one of the hardest stigmas to erase. It is unfortunately also the most commonly believed stigma about us. This is because quite often people with borderline personality disorder are portrayed as jealous, controlling, often even physically abusive. The reality is however entirely different to how fictional characters with Borderline personality disorder are portrayed. There is a major disconnect in how the media, movie producers, script writers portray us. This can be a major issue for everyday people like you and me, trying to live our lives with this disorder. It is so pervasive that it has even infected the minds and beliefs of those working in the mental health profession. So even those educated in the disorder sometimes have been found to believe we are abusive in on form or another.
It goes to show if these trained professionals can think this about us, then how are people lesser educated in our disorder, ever going to understand and learn to question their beliefs, or what they read.
None of these behaviours - mental or physical abuse are actually synonymous with Borderline Personality disorder. Yet some how people still assume that an abusive person has Borderline personality disorder. I have witnessed this on a supposed support forum for partners and family members of those with borderline. Some people would come onto it describing their abusive partner who has never been diagnosed in their life. Yet the response was automatically 'oh they must have borderline, get them seen by a professional' or it was the partners themselves suggesting their partner has borderline purely based on their abusive behaviours. Many other responses to people asking for help and advice are told straight up to leave their partner.
This was very discouraging for me to see. It genuinely upset me that when looking for a potential forum for my partner to use. That these kinds of forums popped up amongst my search. It scared and horrified me the amount of misinformation given out. Not to mention the lack of compassion towards us.
Borderline personality disorder is not a disorder distinguished by abusive behaviours.
In fact many studies believe those with Borderline Personality disorder are highly empathetic. This could stem from the fact many people with Borderline Personality disorder have themselves suffered from some neglect or abuse in their childhood. In fact people with Borderline Personality disorder are almost three times as likely to report some form of childhood trauma or neglect than those with other mental health illnesses, let alone 13 times more likely than those with no mental health conditions.
We know what it’s like to suffer and contrary to belief that abused often become abusers, this is not the case. Many who have been abused go on to advocate for abuse victims. We are not monsters or abusers. You cannot look at our diagnosis, at our label and decide hey you must be abusive. It is time to end people with borderline personality disorder being treated as if the label is synonymous with abuse.
This really is just a myth, probably one of the most damaging and stigmatising beliefs you could put onto us if I'm honest. You can't push us into a box and say we are abusive because of a label.
We do not have to let others tell us who we are.
You don’t have to listen when people tell you that you are born to be an abuser, simply because of a label, a diagnosis. Media may sensationalise us. They will portray mentally ill people as if we are all the same. As if everyone with Borderline has the same traits, the same issues, as if we are one entity. The fact is we are all complex human beings. We are multi-faceted, just like anyone else is.
Movies love to portray us as jealous ‘crazy ex’s’ who will do anything to get our partner back. But we know better than that. We know what we are and what we are not. Our fear of abandonment does not make us all toxic. It is also something I know we all work hard on to improve. So we can have healthy relationships. If anything we are more cautious and conscious of all our actions. We are more often overly analytical of our behaviours because we are afraid of becoming what everyone says we are doomed to be.
However so long as we remember one key vital piece of information. So long as we remember the facts, then we don't have to let this stigma define us.
So remember if you or a loved one has Borderline Personality disorder. Know we are not inherently abusive. We are if anything often highly empathetic. We feel emotions deeper than most and know more than anyone what pain is. What abuse is. We know.
We are not all the same. We are unique, different, our own people and we do not have to become what we have so often experienced.