Splitting And Borderline Personality
One of the defining features of Borderline Personality Disorder is splitting which is also known as black and white thinking or all or nothing thinking. What makes splitting such a dangerous attribute is that it does not leave a lot of room for reason. In this article we will take a closer look at splitting and Borderline Personality Disorder BPD.
Spitting: Borderline Personality Disorder
The use of splitting for a person of dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder is a defense mechanism used in order to preserve the balance of their false self. This false self is always trying to maintain balance on a high wire while heavily intoxicated. The person dealing with BPD is constantly aware of any threat that may cause this false self to tip over and crash. If the false self is allowed to crash the BPD person is left with nothing.
With splitting it allows the person to ignore the reasoning behind the incoming perceived threat and just react with all or nothing thinking. There is a popular book that deals with Borderline Personality Disorder called I Hate You Don’t Leave Me whose title alone sums up splitting and BPD.
Let’s take a look at a number of examples of splitting and Borderline Personality Disorder. What needs to be understood here is that in each example I am talking about the same person. The technical term for this is Idealization and devaluation.
Idealization – The person I am with is the most caring, loving and beautiful person in the world. I will go to the end of the earth to keep this person safe and happy. This relationship means more to me than anything else
Devaluation – The person I am with is constantly getting on my nerve, she does not understand how much effort that I put into this relationship nor does she appreciate my effort. My life would be so much easier if she was not part of it. I would drop her like a bad habit if someone else came along
– When it comes to dealing with splitting inside of a relationship with a person who is struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder it is pretty easy to see how the relationship tends to be intense and chaotic. The person is either the best thing in the world or the reason for everything going wrong. Part of this is due to the person with BPD wanting to make sure that they are in a relationship where their false self is thriving making it easier to maintain the balance. The other end of the spectrum is the person with Borderline Personality Disorder is getting ready for the confrontation that will both end the relationship and ensure the person is totally out of their life.
Splitting: Mental Health Therapist
Idealization – My mental health therapist is the best in the world. She totally understands everything that I am saying and will always make that extra effort to help. I feel safe and comfortable in bringing any situation to her. I am thankful that she is my mental health therapist.
Devaluation – My mental health therapist is a complete waste of time and if I did not need my meds I would never show up for our meetings. The second she heard I had Borderline Personality Disorder she judged me and came to her own conclusions. There is no chance I am going to tell her anything that she could use against me
– Splitting is a major reason why mental health therapists do not like dealing with clients that have Borderline Personality Disorder for they never know which one is going to show up for the appointment. My last psychiatrist told me that on the days I was in the high end of the splitting that I was one of the most cooperative and aware client that he had. However on the low days I treated him like he did not exist.
Idealization: I am one of the most caring, supportive and stable people in the world. I always go out of my way to help those around me and for this everyone likes me. There is nothing that I can not do
Devaluation: Everything that I touch turns to garbage. I do not know why I bother to leave my house let alone get out of bed. Every day of my life is full of misery and pain. There is no point to me carrying on
– Combine the devaluation of Borderline Personality with severe depression and you end up in a scary place where suicidal ideation is commonplace. There is a reason why people with BPD have one of the highest suicide rates
One of the main issues when addressing treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder is to address splitting and this is achieved through mindfulness. When I was beginning to treat my BPD I learned to put a buffer on the time someone asks me a question or addresses me and the time I would respond. By doing this I was able to actually to decipher what the person was saying and make sure I was responding in a appropriate manner that served the question and not self-serving. It has taken me years to overcome black and white thinking or splitting.
Another popular choice for Borderline Personality Disorder treatment is Dialectical Behavior Therapy which has the person examine different situations and emotions then coming up with appropriate response. What needs to be remembered here is when the person with BPD was growing up their emotional level was stunted when the false self took over so they are basically starting from scratch