Category Archives: Abuse

Walking the Borderline

About a year ago, at the age of 27, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Although I didn’t receive a diagnosis until 27, I have displayed the signs of a borderline since I was probably about 11. I have extreme issues in regulating my emotions, impulsivity and recklessness, and unstable relationships. 

 

I’m writing this to invite you to walk the borderline with me.

The diagnostic criteria for BPD are…

1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.  

You see, borderlines do not know how to handle rejection or abandonment. There’s something in our brains that tells us it’s always going to happen and that someone must be abandoning us if that don’t respond to us.

I’ve lived, pretty much, my entire life in fear of abandonment. And my obsession with avoiding abandonment almost certainly guarantees it. 

 

2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationship.

When we meet a new person who we connect with, we instantly love them. This often makes us look psychotic and pushes people away. We love deeply, but we are terrified of intimacy and connection. When we want to cling, we often claw instead.   
 

3. Identity disturbances.

People will tell you, “just be yourself.” But that is nearly impossible for a borderline. We don’t know who we are or where we fit in, in this world. Is my favorite color purple because it’s MY favorite color? Or is it because someone else wanted it to be? I don’t know anymore. I try to not wear masks and be real with people…but that’s hard when it’s all you’ve ever known.

To this day, at 27 years old, I have no clue who I am. I am a chameleon. I can fit in with anyone because I change depending on where I am.   

 

4. Impulsivity in at least 2 areas that are self-damaging. 

This is so much more than just “resisting temptation”. When a borderline gets the impulse to do something, it will literally consume their thoughts until they do it. Many of us spend too much, shoplift, drive too fast, drink, do drugs, or have eating disorders. It’s nearly impossible for us to just walk away from a self-destructive impulse. And this sucks! 

 

5. Recurrent suicidal thoughts/behaviors and/or self mutilating behavior.

As many as 75% of borderlines cut themselves and 10% commit suicide. It’s one of the most dangerous mental illnesses. Self-mutilating and suicide are often the only way we can see to get the pain to end. 

For me, self-harm was always a reminder to me that I’m still alive. I get so numb at times, that I just need a reminder that I can still feel.  

 6. Mood instability – cycles of mania, anxiety, irritability, depression, or anger lasting a few hours but no more than a few days.

People around us often live in fear of not knowing what our mood will be like one moment to the next. But we fear that too. We hate not knowing when the depression is going to hit. It’s a living hell. As much as you hate walking on eggshells around us, we hate it too.  

 

7. Chronic feelings of emptiness.

We feel completely alone and scared in this world. We feel completely empty, like we’re just a shell of a person. We don’t know how to get away from this empty, numb feeling within ourselves.  

 

8. Inappropriate, intense anger.

The slightest injustice, to us, turns into a great travesty. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I’ve exploded in fits of anger and been told I was selfish and immature because I didn’t get my way. But it’s so much more than that. It’s so much more than “not getting our way”. We’re not very flexible, it’s not by choice – we try to go with the flow, and sudden alterations in plan effect us emotionally.  

 

9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

Have you ever driven a familiar road and once you got to your destination, realized you didn’t remember a portion of the drive? That’s dissociation. Borderlines often dissociate in response to stress that we don’t know how to handle. It’s not something that we do consciously, but our brains do it instinctively as a defense mechanism. Our physical beings continue to function, while our mental beings become disconnected.  

 

Being a borderline is literally like a living hell at times. I view the world much differently than those around me. Because I don’t remember things the same way as others, I’ve been told I’m dramatic or a liar – which leads me to questioning my own memories. 

Borderlines feel things MUCH, MUCH deeper than everyone else. Which means that we’re often criticized for being overly sensitive or too emotional. Which then leads us to feel guilty for our own emotions. That guilt, in turn, causes us to make ourselves numb to our own emotions. We literally only have the two extremes – overly emotional or completely numb, there is no in between. And some days, I’m not sure which is worse.  

 Many people will walk out of our lives and “give up” on us because it is difficult to love us, but we don’t do it on purpose. We hate that we have to live this way. And often we question God, wondering why He made us with defective emotions. 

Many of us were abused, in some way, as children. This abuse taught us at a young age that fear and love went together. That trust meant pain. That closeness meant agony. So we learned to live shallow lives and never let anyone into the deepest, darkest areas of our lives.  

 

Sometimes, all we need is someone to validate our emotions. We need those who love us, not to enable us, but to reassure us that we’re not “crazy” for feeling the way we do. 

Psychiatrists and therapists fear us the most. Most don’t know how to treat us – they fear treating us due to our high propensity towards suicide. 

We have no “internal governor.” We can feel profound love simultaneously with deep rage – and if that confuses you, just imagine how we feel. We hate living this way. We’re sorry for the effect we have on your life, please know that we don’t do it on purpose.

If we trust you, don’t take that lightly. If we love you, we’re taking a big step out of our comfort zones. And if you can’t handle the bumpy road ahead, get out now before anyone gets hurt.  

 

Like I’ve said before, we’re just trying to get through this world the only way we know how. 


7-in-7 Day 5: Almost Within Reach

I want to tell a story
Of the power of grace
You may not believe it
But I’ll tell it anyway
At one time I thought
I could be good enough by myself
I didn’t need Jesus
Or anyone else

You see, not long ago
I was lost in this world
Broken by shame
I was a scared little girl
A smile on my face
Would tell the world I was fine
But the shame in my heart
Would tell me that I’m lying
I had endured abuse
And tried to take my own life
I had heard talk of God
But didn’t believe the hype
If He was so great
Why were my arms lined with scars
If He was so loving
Why was I falling apart

So I just kept on reaching
For the next thing I would need
To be happy, find peace
As I watched my soul bleed
At some point I would find it
Joy, love, and peace
If I would only try harder
It was almost within reach

“Almost within reach”
That’s a funny thing to say
It means the same thing as
“It’s too far away”

My mind was convinced
That I could fix all my problems
I didn’t really need to face it
In order to solve them
I could push them away
And ignore the burning pain
That rose in my heart
With the break of each day
It was almost within reach
I had almost achieved it
I was almost enough
I really couldn’t believe it

“Almost within reach”
Means I’d still fall on my face
When I jumped out to grab it
I’d land in a pool of mistakes
If I had only tried harder
If I had just been better
I’ll reach it one day
I’ll just try over

What was I reaching for?
What did I want to achieve?
Every time I thought I made it
I still landed on my knees
Peace, that’s what I wanted
Peace in my heart
Peace that would stay
In spite of my scars

That’s when I met grace
It was “almost within reach”
Almost, but too far
So God reached out for me
He said, “this is yours,
Stop trying to earn it.
Let me love you where you are
And you can have it.
You are a sinner
You can’t be good enough
But if you’re willing to see it
I’ll show you true love.
Look at the cross
And the love that was shown.
My Only Son gave His life
To make you my own.
To you, new life is given
It is freely yours
Only because Jesus died
To conquer the war.”

New life, grace, mercy?
What exactly did that mean?
Could I really stop trying?
Could I really “just be”?
The answer was yes
That’s all He wanted from me
God simply wanted
To give my soul peace

“Almost within reach”
Was always a lie
Peace couldn’t come
From clinging to my life

I don’t pretend to understand
Why God is who He is
I can’t fathom His greatness
All I need to know is this –
I’m not who I was
His grace changed my heart
Jesus loves me, He saved me
And He’s healing my scars
Day after day
His mercies renew
And day after day
I find peace in the truth


7-in-7 Day 1: What if I Told You

What if I told you
That you were forgiven
That your life is worth more
Than you can even fathom

What if I told you
You were wonderfully made
You were knit together
With beauty and grace

What if I told you
You were enough
You are precious and honored
You are priceless and loved

What if I told you
You are more than your sins
You are not your past
You weren’t made for this

What if I told you
Jesus died on a cross
That He carried your sins
And He paid your cost

What if I told you
There is freedom and hope
You can have better life
If you’ll risk letting go

Would you take a chance
And run from your sins
Cling to the cross
And let new life begin

Would you step out
Walk blindly by faith
Trust that He loves you
That He’ll guide your way


7-in-7 Day 2: Lies vs. Truth

Lies vs. Truth
Lies are infections
They snuck into my life
Looking so much like truth
I believed their disguise
After too many years
Living behind guilt and shame
I can finally see that the lies
And the truth aren’t the same
The lies took my freedom
They took too much of my time
So now I’m taking back
What’s rightfully mine

The lie says, “Try harder.
You’re not good enough.”
But the truth says, “Stop trying.
You’re already loved.”

The lie says, “You’ve failed.
You can’t do anything right.”
But the truth says, “Success.
Stop trying to fight.”

The lie says, “You’re alone.
No one will ever understand.”
But the truth says, “Have faith.
Just hold out your hand.”

The lie says, “You’re guilty.
You made the wrong choice.”
But the truth says, “Innocent.
You never had a voice.”

The lie says, “You’re shameful.
Look at what you’ve done.”
But the truth says, “Forget it.
Your freedom’s been won.”

The lie says, “You’re hopeless.
You’re too lost to be saved.”
But the truth says, “Have hope.
The price was already paid.”

The lie says, “Give up.
You’re just a disappointment.”
But the truth says, “Just trust.
You were made for a purpose.”

The lies stole my joy
And they hid me in darkness
But with the truth I’ll fight back
And with the truth I will beat this
I’m not bound by lies
The truth I have is stronger
I am loved by a God
Who says I belong here
I am honored and cherished
And He fights for me
Goodbye, lies, so long
From now on, I’ll be free

faithBackground:
Before I was Christian, I couldn’t even see the possibility of a better that God wanted to offer me because I was so blinded by the lies that had consumed me from childhood. But as I began to understand who God was, one-by-one, the lies were replaced with truth. I still struggle though, with believing the lies instead of the truth because that’s what my mind has become so used to…and I’m tired. I had a really intense session with my therapist today and it left me feeling pretty emotionally drained. But through today’s session, I was forced to look at how many of the lies of my past that are still consuming me. So, now, I am fighting back…and all I need to win the fight is the truth of a God who loves me.


The Power of Grace

How do I know that God exists? Because I am not who I used to be.

When I first came to God, I was unsure of Him or who He was. I didn’t think He would want anything to do with me. I had been broken, battered, and bruised, all because of choices that I had made to lead me away from Him and the desires that He placed in my heart. As a child, I was confused about the longings and desires of my heart, so I put my hope in things of this world; things that would never satisfy my soul.

Proverbs 13:12 – Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

As a young child, I felt abandoned because of my dad’s absence and I thought for sure that God had abandoned me too. This, among other things, would lead me on a lifelong search for love, validation, and acceptance. But it wouldn’t be until many years and many mistakes later that I would see, the only place to find what I had been looking for was in God.

God doesn’t expect me to earn my way to Him. He knows that I am an imperfect sinner. In fact, I’m sure He knows it better than I do. He knows that I fail every day to trust Him fully and to obey Him completely. But because of His grace and His mercy, I am confident that He still loves me even though I can’t measure up.

John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

I have always been bound by guilt and shame from my past. That guilt and shame has kept me in silence for so long. I suffered, but I wouldn’t speak for fear of rejection and ridicule. I hid my feelings and my emotions behind many layers of masks, thinking that if anyone saw the truth, they would surly stone me. But God wants me to be free from those chains. Jesus died a horrendous death on the cross to free me from the grip of sin and death; to free me from the guilt and shame that has kept me from experiencing His love and mercy.

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

For the first time in my life, I can say that I AM FREE!!! I am free to be the woman that God created me to be. I am not bound by my past and I am not controlled by my fears. But I am saved by grace! I have done absolutely nothing to deserve all that God has done for me, but He has had mercy on me and He continues to give me grace upon grace to get through every day.

Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

Yes, I still fail. Yes, I still sin. I am not perfect; I won’t be until Jesus returns or He brings me Home. We love in a broken world and horrible injustices happen every day. Innocent lives are taken or stained by the guilt and shame of abuse. My job in this world, until God chooses to take me out of it, is to share His love. He has brought me through so much “yuck” and it is because of the freedom He has given from that, that I am thankful for my past and for however God is going to use it to help someone else.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

I won’t pretend to understand His ways. His love, grace, and mercy are more than I’ll ever fathom. All I need to know is that He is good and He loves me.

Zephaniah 3:17 – For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

The Power of Grace
I came to Him in my weakness
I didn’t know who I was
I was tired of running my past
But too afraid to give up
Giving up meant failure
And I longed for success
But the choices I made to get there
Just created a broken mess
I had become a hollow shell
And numb to my pain
Crying out to Him
Felt like a cry in vain
Would He listen at all
To my pleas for His help
When the place I had come to
Was all because of myself

He brought me to my knees
I was shaking with fear
As He told me He loved me
That He’s always been here
I couldn’t understand
What kind of love is that
After I’d run away
With open arms, He took me back
For so long I lived
In the hell of my silence
Shame and guilt left me thinking
I’d never find acceptance
But He came to meet me
Right where I was
And He loved me so much
That He poured out His blood
He took all my guilt
And He took all my shame
And said to me, “Child,
Your price has been paid.
That shame isn’t yours
Put it down, walk away.
I’ll show you freedom
Through the power of grace.”

You see, I’m just a sinner
Just like everyone else
No better, no worse
And I can’t save myself
For so long I was convinced
My sins had left me useless
But He turned my life upside down
And He tells me, I’m priceless
The power of His grace
Has saved me from myself
So even when I am hurting
My soul can say, it is well


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