**The ideas contained in this post are the opinions of the writer and communicated without reference to supporting documentation. The writer also recognizes that BPD is a disorder that affects both males and females, and uses of “she” or “he” in the communication of ideas are not intended to covey sexual bias. Breakaway MHE Disclaimer
As with all my articles, I write this one as much for myself as for others who might need some support. Since I live with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) too, I need ways to remind myself about all I’ve learned and how to put it to good use. One of the issues common to BPD that I have difficulty with is thinking and believing that “nobody cares.” I have been stuck so often in this area of thought and belief that it amazes me I still have to focus on getting myself unstuck, but that’s the way it is.
The areas of life that tend to trigger this kind of thinking/believing for me are things like financial demands and lifestyles that seem to be mostly about money-making and entertainment. Listening to conversations that seem to be “all fluff” and consistently lacking in depth and mutual interest also get me stuck in “nobody cares.” Reading the news and hearing about stories or political decisions that seem uncaring or unethical get me thinking the same way.
Many days it just seems like there is never a good time to talk ask others to talk about what is happening inside, since they are so busy with being busy, or otherwise resting after being busy. Sometimes people suck at listening and understanding the feelings I have, and so I would choose not to take the risk and instead assume I am not worth their time. In any of these types of situations, I can find myself stuck in “nobody cares.”
The feelings associated with the “nobody cares” mindset (for me) include fear, sadness, loneliness, hopelessness, abandonment, and others. I feel so strongly in these ways during these times that it seems like my mindset is absolute reality. There can be so many of these types of situations and perceptions (emotional triggers) in a single day that I don’t even know where to begin to start sorting it all out. Can you relate?
To get myself unstuck from this thinking/believing pattern, I try to recall that my expectations about others and the world has once again risen above what’s possible. I also make attempts to get mindful of my real feelings (ask myself “what exactly am I feeling?”) and attempt to validate the feelings (determine why they make sense). For instance, I might say “it understandable that I could feel lonely and afraid if I think that people truly don’t even care.” I could also say that “it is understandable that I might start believing that nobody cares because my feelings are so strong and convincing.”
The only way I have ever been able to adjust my thinking patterns successfully is to combine thought challenges with true compassion towards myself. This right here is also a fact I can use to dispute my “nobody cares” thought/belief: “I am somebody, and I can always choose to be compassionate towards myself. It may still be true and disappointing/frustrating that others are not emotionally available, but the thought that “nobody cares” doesn’t make sense.”
After making the sincere effort to work through my feelings in a mindful and validating way, it then becomes increasingly possible to recall more of the facts about life and also realize that my thinking was again taking extreme forms (e.g., all or nothing, black and white). It likewise becomes more natural to notice that my language was becoming extreme – for example, “nobody cares.” It probably makes more sense to say something like “even though the quality of interaction isn’t always how I would like it to be, it doesn’t mean that others don’t care, or that higher quality interaction never happens.” It may also be good to note that not everyone expresses their caring in the same way, or always in ways that are ideal for me.
All that being said, making these adjustments can become exhausting for a person with BPD, just because of the ongoing need to do it. It isn’t something that is done once and then corrected for good. Instead, it is something that needs to be done again and again because strong emotions aren’t tamed so quickly, and because a person with BPD typically hasn’t had nearly enough guidance and experience from childhood onwards taming the powerful feelings in ways that are healthy.
The truth about BPD is that assistance from others to get unstuck from these challenging thoughts and feelings is often not available when it is needed. People are busy, and people can’t realistically be expected to have all of the necessary mental health understanding and skills to be useful helpers whenever help is wanted. The reality of getting through BPD usually, therefore, boils down to getting good at understanding the condition yourself and asking (but not demanding) that significant others learn how to play a small role in your emotional management practices. However it unfolds, humans are caring about human life in some shape or form, even if only haphazardly and imperfectly.