BPD and the Perils of Instant Messaging

So even though I have BPD, and struggle with anger (and pretty much everything else) in all relationships, I can also really struggle to express these difficulties in person. I have noticed however that I’m much quicker to fire off, attack, get defensive or be ineffective over text or Facebook, for example, than in person.

I think I am much easier to get on with in person, and much more pleasant to be around, than how I am through a screen when some sort of conflict arises. I am certainly more “draining” over messaging.

Thinking about it, the majority of my interpersonal difficulties with friends occur as a result of an instant messaging conversation gone wrong. This could be down to a number of reasons:

  • It is so much easier to get vulnerable, messy and expressive with someone from behind a screen. I express myself better in words than I do in person. It’s really hard to let people see what’s going on for me if they’re right in front of me. Through a message on a screen, however, I feel more able to let you know exactly what I am experiencing.
  • The barrier of (immediate) shame is lessened when the person is not directly in front of me.
  • I often dissociate in person if an interaction is challenging, so will be less likely to respond at all regardless of in which direction.
  • I don’t socialise that much in person so most of my daily interactions with friends are via text or other forms of messaging.
  • It is very easy to misconstrue, overanalyse or read into instant messages wrongly because of the lack of tone, facial expression, etc available.
  • In person, people respond immediately. Over text, people can take hours, or ignore me, and these things in themselves trigger all sorts of thoughts.

Because messy and ineffective text, Facebook and email conversations are such a big part of the interpersonal crap I deal with, it’s hard to imagine Borderline life without the internet.

Then I start thinking, like, “Dude, how on Earth could BPD ever exist without phones/ the internet?”

(Obviously this isn’t true but being such a cause of chaos in my life, it does make me wonder how my BPD would manifest if I lived in the days before technology existed. I am curious as to what I would be like if I didn’t have access to these methods of communication.)

I mean on one hand it would be tragic because I would be even more lonely, out of touch with the world and inexpressive of my true self. But on the other, a ton of messy interactions and arguments would never have happened, and so much of my paranoia could be avoided…


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