Most people with BPD have a hard time in relationships; building them, expressing themselves in them, maintaining them, keeping them. For this reason, in DBT, one of the modules – Interpersonal Effectiveness (IPE) – is dedicated entirely to relationships.
The other day my friend and I had a slight argument. Actually it was not so much an argument, but I felt incredibly hurt by the way she expressed herself to me. In a way it would have been better if we had had an argument because people say things they don’t mean in arguments, right? The context in which she said it made me think it must be something she firmly believes.
I was trying to understand why she was acting cold with me, and she wasn’t being particularly forthcoming. Eventually, (and I won’t go into the background because it’s irrelevant,) the conversation ended with her saying this to me:
“I am just drained”, she said. “This is draining for me”.
Now, being one of my closest friends and knowing that ‘being draining’ is one of my biggest fears and core beliefs, I was taken aback. I experience her behaviour as draining sometimes (she also has BPD, yay us), but I would never in a million years have used those words to describe her, nor communicate my own feelings through.
Anyway, I haven’t lashed out, I haven’t used judgements, I haven’t mind-read or catastophised or engaged with any of the other cognitive distortions. I am not sure how well I have done, but I really am trying. I know she is trying too, but I feel like she is missing the point. Maybe this is just me?
This is the thing. I never know if my experiences in these situations are “all in my head” or not. I feel like I am being entirely reasonable when in them, but maybe tomorrow, or in a week, or month, I’ll look back and have a completely different perspective.
(Edit: I have removed the rest of this post which outlined our conversation for privacy reasons.)