BPD and Reactivity


One of the alternate names for Borderline Personality Disorder (which comes from the archaic delineation between Psychosis and Neurosis), is Emotional Regulation (or Dysregulation) Disorder. Having BPD is like having all of your emotional protection stripped off, which makes every event a REALLY big deal, even the little ones that shouldn’t. Yesterday I had a fight with Husband, and it was mildly devastating. I don’t like to talk about our fights here because I don’t think it’s fair, but I will in the context of how it affects me and why.

With BPD I overthink everything and I, though I hate this word, tend to overreact to most things. I am very emotionally sensitive. A comment that might roll off your back sits in my psyche percolating until I am so convinced that I am a worthless human being that I feel like I might explode just from the pressure of pent up sadness and frustration. BPD has high octane feelings: they’re quick to spark, intense, and long-lasting. This becomes an issue when you actually have to live in the real world the rest of the time.

I don’t know what it’s like to live with someone with BPD. I imagine it’s frustrating. But from the inside, it’s miserable. The fight last night ruined the rest of my day, made me unfocused in class, shut me down once I got home, and is distracting me this morning from the work I need to be doing to prepare for my final exam tonight. I don’t blame Husband for this, though I blame him for other things. I blame the BPD. I know that it would be healthier just to let it go and have a conversation about what happened, but my brain won’t allow it. It is fixated on this negative event, which in turn brought up every negative thought I’ve had about myself and my relationship. It gets so extreme that in certain moments I feel like I just want to die rather than deal with this amount of feelings.

I don’t want to talk it out with him right now because my emotions are imbalanced, and he won’t talk to me when I’m at all “heightened,” so to speak. I have to be calm. Which is in and of itself infuriating because how can I just “make myself calm” when I’m not? That’s not in my wheelhouse. I simply don’t operate that way. It makes me question whether or not I’m cut out for relationships in general. At the moment I don’t have an answer. I don’t feel prepared for this, if anyone ever does. I just feel sad and overwhelmed.

I tried to explain that I haven’t been feeling mentally stable the last few days, or longer. That PMDD was getting under my skin, but it didn’t seem to matter. It’s not an excuse, he says. He said, “Do you hear how you sound contemptful?” and then, “I’m trying to deescalate this conversation but you’re just not.” My tone was not intended as contemptful in the slightest, but intention didn’t matter, just what he heard. It’s wonderful.

In my relationship BPD is both a detriment and something he points to as a cause for what I’m saying, instead of listening to my point as it is. People with BPD notoriously have a really rough time with relationships, so this doesn’t surprise me. I’m sure I infuriate him, but I also don’t think that’s an excuse to play the, your BPD/PMDD is just making you do this, which totally invalidates my point, whatever it may be. So it’s hard. Relationships are hard. Marriage is hard. Marriage when one person has BPD is like living in a minefield. Neither of us knows when a bomb is going to go off and I’ll have an emotional explosion.

I don’t have any answers, just experience. And it feels better to talk about the experience than not.


I told Husband that this fight was making me crazy. “Why?” Because there was no resolution. “I don’t think we can get a resolution right now.” But I need something because I can’t focus, I want to cry I feel like you don’t love me, and it makes me think we should get divorced. “Well why didn’t you say that! I love you, I’m just frustrated.”

That was the validation that I think my psyche required. I have been doing this new thing where I just tell people what I need and it seems to come back at me with positive results. I never used to ask for that. SO my advice is if you’re in a BPD clusterfuck of emotion, TELL the person that you’re with (friend, spouse, parent) what you’re feeling and how they might be able to help. Chances are that it will work out in your favor and alleviate some of your psychic tension. I already feel better and like I can breathe a little bit again.


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