Idealising and devaluing the same person under different circumstances is a typical feature of Borderline Personality Disorder – and one I am all too familiar with.
Idealisation is the tendency to experience someone more highly than they actually are and to put them on a pedestal as ‘all good’. Conversely, devaluation is the tendency to attribute a disproportionately negative opinion to someone, so that they are portrayed as ‘all bad’.
The number one person in my life who gets the brunt of these extreme variations in opinion, emotionality and behaviour from me is my therapist. As the main person I am attached to, interactions with her are often a huge trigger for my unresolved abandonment issues and developmental trauma to rear their heads. As a result I switch from loving her to hating her incredibly fast.
This flipping between devaluing and idealising in BPD is commonly referred to as splitting. A person who struggles with splitting can drastically change in their perceptions of someone very quickly and very frequently, which understandably can lead to great instability within many interpersonal relationships.
The other day I found out that one of my friends who has the same therapist as me recently had a therapy session at our therapist’s house. This is not something my therapist has offered me, nor something I knew she offered, full stop. Being very attached to her and protective of our relationship, I find it especially hard to hear when others receive different (and more special) treatment to me. It brings up a ton of cognitive distortions and sparks all of my childhood abandonment fears (“She doesn’t love me”, “I’m not her favourite”, etc).
Even though things had been going remarkably well between us (that week), as soon as I found out that my friend had been to her house, I split on both my friend and my therapist in a second. My anger, jealousy, envy and fear sky-rocketed from 0-100 and my love for them both switched to total aversion and hostility.
I’m seeing my therapist tomorrow and all I want to do is lay a bunch of accusations, judgments and ineffective ways of communicating onto her. I’m not going to, but I want to – I need her to know how I feel. The whole palaver is really getting to me and I am struggling to cope with the huge effect our relationship continually has on me. Add to that the immense shame because of how *ridiculous* I am being – it does not make for a fun experience.
Oh and the worst part: I know I am being irrational and pathetic (hence the additional shame) but BPD really does not give a shit…