This blog is part of my recovery, and I would like it to remain a safe place for me to share parts of myself and my life that people close to me may or may not know. As a result, while I'm not going crazy with privacy settings, I do ask that if you find this on your own and suspect you may know me, please respect my privacy by checking with us before reading any further. This obviously doesn't apply if one of us has given you the link!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Trusting My Intuition

Intuition. Going with your gut. I wonder if that's a concept that others with Borderline Personality Disorder commonly struggle with, as well. I can see how it could be tied into various aspects of living with BPD; the lack of belief and trust in yourself, the lack of (knowledge of) a self to trust in... I can see that.

If you'll forgive my segue into something that may (at this point) seem completely unrelated, I remember once reading that people who have Borderline Personality Disorder are particularly sensitive to the moods of others. By that, I hasten to add, I don't mean in terms of the well known Borderline hypersensitivity to rejection; rather, in terms of recognising general emotions in others, and being able to identify when others are being false about their emotions. I wish I could find that article again because it was fairly interesting, even if, at the time, I disagreed with a lot of what was said. I mention it now because a recent situation in my life has given me cause to really ponder some of the ideas behind that.

You see, when I came back from Canberra, I sensed that things in my circle of friends weren't 'right'. Something felt off. I told myself that I was just being paranoid; that I was misinterpreting the situation and that I was being silly.

My friends started doing more and more things without me; things we had previously done together. I felt excluded, but I told myself that it was just that they had made the plans when I wasn't there, and just hadn't thought to let me know/invite me; or that they were preparing for my intended move; or that they were giving me time and space to prepare for the move.

When we did hang out, I felt waves of dislike coming from my friends, and especially from one friend in particular. I told myself over and over again that I was just projecting my own dislike for myself onto my friends. I told myself that they wouldn't invite me to hang out with them if they didn't like me, if they didn't want me there. I tried to talk over the top of the little voice in my head that suggested that maybe I was right, maybe something really was wrong in these friendships.

I spent three months in this daily fight with myself, trying to drown out that "unhelpful voice" that was telling me that something wasn't right. I wasted three months. Eventually, something happened and a conversation occurred between one of my friends and I. I told her how I had been feeling, she told me what had been going on. It turns out, you see, that I wasn't just paranoid. My initial thought, my recognition that something wasn't right, turned out to be spot on. Something really had been going on in my friendships, and I had wasted three months telling myself that my recognition of that was wrong, that it was the unhealthy and unhelpful voice of paranoia.

Things with some of that group of friends are back on track, now. They're not back where they used to be, but I'm more okay with how things are. That first friend I talked to, she apologised. I apologised. There were a lot of miscommunications; a lot of misunderstandings and, yes, plenty of mistakes... on both sides of the coin. And the day we started to talk about it, we both began to heal those wounds. It was not an easy day for either of us; but (and I speak here for myself, only, I cannot say whether these words ring true for any other people) I think it was certainly a worthwhile one.

I wouldn't wish for it to happen again, but there was value in that experience. I learned some very important things that I would not otherwise have learned yet.

Not only did I re-learn the importance of honesty and clear communication in my friendships, but I learned that my "unhealthy voice of paranoia" is my own intuition; insistent but unpracticed and generally unrecognised. I learned the importance of trusting that intuition and of acting on that in responsible ways.

I also learned that maybe there is something to the idea that, as someone with BPD, I might be more sensitive to mood changes in others. It makes sense, after all. As a child, my survival depended on being able to judge a situation or a person's mood, it makes sense that as an adult, I am still able to tap into that skill; however unintentionally or subconsciously I do it.

The trick, then, in understanding how such a concept might work, came in recognising for the first time that being able to detect changes in another person's mood, means just that. It doesn't mean I'll get it right every time; it doesn't mean there won't be misunderstandings. In fact, it is probably this sensitivity that leads to those misunderstandings, such as in the following scenario:

We are walking together and as we walk, we chatter. Suddenly, you see a car go past that reminds you of your ex-husband's car. Your mood drops.

I notice that your mood has changed, but I might decide that it's because I've said the wrong thing, or that you are wondering why you hang out with a loser like me. My intuition has recognised that change ... but my disordered thinking has misinterpreted the facts.

I can trust my intuition! It's necessary to remember not to blindly act on the specifics of it, but if I sense something change, if it's important, it's okay to trust my intuition and check in with the other person! In fact, it's more than important, it's downright essential.

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.


  1. "Intuition. Going with your gut. I wonder if that's a concept that others with Borderline Personality Disorder commonly struggle with, as well."
    well, yes. because it's something that most people struggle with, regardless of dx or lack thereof.

  2. I guess I am lucky in that I really listen to my intution. It's just something for me that comes naturally. I guess I don't fit that mold as well as others. I'm glad you sorted this stuff out with your friends though.

  3. That sucks about your friends, but it's good that things are sorted out now.

  4. Agreed. I am also very sensitive to the emotions of others. It's both a blessing and a curse, I suppose...