BPD And.. The Natural Manipulator?

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Stigma surrounding mental health issues is rife. It’s in the media, in the work place, amongst our peers and (most worrying to me) within the mental health system itself. With 1 in 4 people experiencing mental health problems every year it’s scary to think that it’s still a taboo subject to talk about. Silencing yourself when it comes to something you or someone you know is facing becomes isolating and dangerous. It breeds ignorance and prolongs suffering.

But why would you speak up when the Stigma stings so much?

This is a question I ask myself every day and one of the reasons I pulled out my laptop and started to write this blog. I could pick apart the ‘system’ and societies’ views of me and fellow sufferers all day but in honour of ‘Time To Talk Day‘, I want to focus on one thing. The thing I have chosen is a part of my main diagnosed mental illness (borderline personality disorder) and possibly the one sentence that is thrown around the most when it comes to those affected the same as me..

PEOPLE WITH BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER ARE MANIPULATIVE

If you google BPD, or more specifically how to help someone with it, you will find hundreds of articles giving you advice about how to protect yourself from our manipulative ways. These articles then tend to spew a whole load of negativity without even trying to explain the reasoning behind this and instead urges the reader to distance themselves immediately from their loved ones or friends.

I remember the first time I was told I was manipulative – in fact, I wasn’t even told it as it was written down. I had been taken into hospital after suffering the double grief of losing my mother to cancer and leaving my boyfriend at the time. It didn’t help me in any way and on my discharge a week later I was given a note that stated (in capital letters I might add) that I could not (and did not want to) be helped because I was too manipulative.

Now, I could start to accept this if it wasn’t for the fact that I spent my entire time in there glued to a chair through fear and the amount of drugs they had put in my body. Nethertheless,I looked for an answer or a reason within that discharge note but there wasn’t one. There was nothing written that explained why they thought this and nothing said to me that could help me not project this in the future. It was an empty statement.

Of all the things associated with my mental illness, that hurt the most. I am constantly asking my friends and the people who now work with me if I am manipulative because it bothers me. Call it validation if you wish but it helps to know that those around me see me as no more manipulative that the average person..

AND THAT IS MY POINT

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Those of us who suffer from BPD come in all shapes and sizes and although we may all fit the ‘pattern’ of the illness in some way there are highs and lows as far the symptoms and behaviours are concerned. The wonderful UK NHS website lays out the clinical terms simply and the focus on the negative manipulative is not mentioned once. The truth is that EVERYONE has the power within them to manipulate. It’s also true that again, there is a sliding scale at play from just how dangerous and wrong these behaviours may be.

I am not without fault but certainly no more than the average person and that includes all of those with no underlying mental illness. I have already spoken about how BPD is a part of me so even in my high functioning state all the labels affect me. Stop shoving the people who have MY illness in a box and instead understand that we are human beings with positive and negative points of our personalities JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER HUMAN ON PLANET EARTH. To focus purely on a negative that is relevant to anyone who lives and breathes and then  attaching it without thought to someone with a disorder is hurtful. Sure, we don’t deal with things very well some times and the illness label dictates that we need more help than most but  instead of judging a list of words, see the person as a whole. Don’t just presume that someone with BPD is naturally manipulative.

On the flip side I am not saying anything should be excused because of the BPD connection. Help should be available for everyone regardless of their mental status – it’s just that sometimes we need more support than most to understand that something is unacceptable. Being diagnosed and living with something so debilitating  is hard enough without massive red flags being thrust above our heads. One day I will a write list of all the positive aspects of BPD and the ways I am learning to project these but for now I just need the world to trust that they are there.

Education is key and talking about mental illness is a no holds barred way has to be the start and since these are my thoughts and my words, I am starting with me. I need to stop seeing Manipulation as a dirty word because whether I like it or not it exists. The choice I have to make is whether or not to allow that word to be automatically associated with me just because of my BPD.

I urge anyone who happens to read this to stop looking at mental illness diagnoses as the be all and end all. Please stop taking a negative and presuming that everyone is the same. It is ok to be curious of us but not ok to be fearful. We are just humans like you, trying to get along in our lives and yes we do show negative traits but honestly.. don’t you too?

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20 responses

  1. I completely agree with this. Although my BPD diagnosis is recent I have been living with it for years. I was 13 when I was first called a manipulative attention seeker and since then I have pushed down my emotions and tried not to react to things so no one can label me with that anymore.

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    1. I know right!! Why should we constantly question ourselves just because this label is naturally attached to our ILLNESS!! x

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  2. Love this post! I enjoy your writing style, it’s so refreshing to see someone talk about something that faces so much negativity from a perspective of being on the other side. People are quick to state what is ‘wrong’ with those living with mental illness but rarely how to help. I really hope this blog reaches many. I LOVE your site!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So kind of you to say.
      I was worried about opening up about my experiences and sharing my thoughts with God knows who but I like the focus. If I can help one person understand a little better than job done but right now, writing this is actually helping me. Thats the bonus!
      My focus will always be on mental illness but I also hope to add some other posts that show I am able to live a life too – these will start appearing on Monday 🙂
      Please keep reading and being in touch with me xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I wish I could remember what I had searched last week about BPD, the article discussed some options for people who have the disorder, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I don’t have it, but someone very close to me fits all of the symptoms of the diagnosis and I’ve been struggling on trying to figure out how to live with the person. He wouldn’t go for any form of therapy though, so that complicates things for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If he isn’t willing to seek support or help of any kind then of course that will make things very complicated. It’s a difficult one.
      If he matters to you please try not to give up on him but do try to make him see that just talking to someone about the things he is experienecing may open up some more pathways for him.
      I have therapy now but living with it all before then was definitely harder somewhat, not that therapy is a magic wand either xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have my own disorders and have been in therapy in the past (and would love to go again). I understand that having a diagnosis and therapy isn’t a cure, but it’s not a weakness either. It’s the beginning of a healing process (or rather, a coping one). I have suggested it in the past, but he acts as though I’m attacking him as a person. I care for him very deeply.

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      2. It’s a bonus that you are coming at it from both a caring and a knowing place. Please look after your own mental health too though won’t you?! Has he had any form of diagnosis? xx

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      3. He’s had none at all. He currently doesn’t believe in mental disorders, not even the ones that I’ve got.

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      4. Oh dear hun. That’s rough! How are you dealing with it all at the moment? Do you have twitter or facebook? You can add me on either of those if youd like someone to talk to in private x

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I’ve finally realized that the things he says to me aren’t personal and it’s just a matter of not having the skills to deal with certain situations (just like how I get with anxiety, for example). I’m trying to give him the patience and understanding that I need and I discuss things with him when I am calm so I have my own emotions under control.

        As for myself, I’m picking my battles and resting when I need to. I’m blogging more because writing helps and intend to get back into art soon because that also helps me.

        I’ll send you a request. Thanks.

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      6. I can’t seem to find you. I’m Rose-Anne Meyer on Facebook.

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      7. I will add you now 🙂

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  4. I truly enjoyed reading this.. I have also been told I am manipulative (passive aggressive even) and that I get upset ‘for no reason’. Like you mention, most of the feedback I get from those close to me is negative (though well-meaning) due to lack of understanding.. and to be honest – disbelief in my diagnosis.
    I applaud you for talking so frankly about the negative labels given to this disorder.
    xo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for writing this. I have been diagnosed with BPD recently and am still trying to figure out what it means for me. One of the things I have noticed already is that there is so much prejudice against BPD and one of the words I have heard several times since my diagnosis is ‘manipulative’. Because of my insecurity, I immediately started doubting myself and my entire life, wondering if I was ever manipulative and when this was. Reading things like your blog helps me realise it is a prejudice and not necessarily the truth about me.
    Please keep writing. I will too.

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  6. I love this post! I was diagnosed with BPD about a year ago and I have come to a point of acceptance. I see myself as more than my disorder, and I think that’s so important in recovery. We can get consumed by it, and it doesn’t help that a lot of people in society label us as “un-treatable.” We are all human and doing the best we can… Thank you for writing about this. 🙂

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  7. Thanks for this post. I’ve been engaged with the mental health system for 12 years. And EVERY SINGLE professional I’ve been to has ultimately abandoned me. They never openly called me manipulative but it’s obvious that they think so in their judgmental tones and the things they start saying, the annoyance, the exasperation. It really fucking hurts. Sometimes I think maybe they’re right. Maybe I really am very bad and manipulative. What else would explain the unbreaking string of abandonment over the past 12 years.
    Sorry just feeling very very hopeless these days. Was recently abandoned by both my therapist and my psychiatrist.

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  8. Thank you for this post, it’s so frustrating that people still jump to all sorts of conclusions when they think about mental illness. X

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  9. […] via BPD And.. The Natural Manipulator? — Beautifully Borderline […]

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  10. Manipulation is one of those things I struggle with. And for me, accepting both things is something i have to do. Maybe I might need to separate them, they are linked in the events and the person in my life that I have to find some kind of way to survive. But in my opinion that person was an extremely manipulative sociopath.

    It’s not a conscious choice, and it is a behavior that I really detest. And it is very hard to reconcile the deep longing I have for genuine, loving relationships. But until recently I really did not understand or see how I was doing it.

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