Verbal Thrashing and Depression
I want to discuss both the borderline personality disorder (BPD)
and the bipolar disorder (BP) in this article.
Let's start with the BPD and I'm not sure, perhaps the BP is a part of this as
well. I don't have it all figured out. All I know is that most of the time these
days I go around telling people that I am an extremely happy person for no
apparent reason. I also tell people that since I had a very recent divorce that
was very confining and controlling that I feel like I got my "get out of
jail free card." If you have played the board game Monopoly you know what I
So overall I am feeling very free, I'm having fun, feeling very independent and
I'm extremely happy.
However just very recently I have noticed a pattern in me that is not a pretty
thing. You know when you have done an unhealthy behavior for a long time,
sometimes you feel it is normal behavior. Why would we think otherwise?
A lot of friends and family members of those of us with the BPD and/or the BP
seem to think perhaps that we are fully aware of our dysfunctional behavior and
are doing this behavior on purpose and consciously. Speaking for myself, that
isn't true, at least not most of the time.
My particular behavior, and it may be different in you, is that I verbally
thrash the heck out of people horribly if I am angry at them, because after all,
they are "bad" and they deserve my wrath. During the time I am
thrashing them I have NO feelings of guilt, NO feelings of sorrow for the other
person, NO sense of understanding of pain that that person might feel. NONE.
That's why the next time I see the person I expect them to have forgotten the
incident and am surprised they were emotionally hurt by it. It isn't until they
ignore me that I realize that perhaps I hurt their feelings, that perhaps I was
too hard on them and then I begin to evaluate my behavior.
I thought that I had "graduated" from this kind of thinking, feeling
and behavior. Wrong. At least now I am out of "automatic pilot." I am
aware that I do it.
When I act that way, my wish depending upon the blow that was given me is
normally to go for maximum damage. In other words, I purposely hurt that other
person. I did it on purpose. I did it consciously and much of the time my
behavior is manipulative. I want a certain response out of it but not all of the
Then there is very similar behavior that may look the same to the other person
where I completely blow up and I am not trying to hurt the other person. I am
out of control emotionally. Remember the BPD has a "broken" limbic
system in the brain and it is the limbic system which controls or regulates
emotions. So you can imagine how we can go from baseline mood to rage instantly.
There is no manipulation in this behavior whatsoever. It is said if you hook up
an EEG during a person's BPD rage, it will show up as a seizure. Interesting.
What does that information do for us? Hopefully take some of the guilt away.
What should families do? Are the rages about them even though the person may be
screaming at or about them? Probably not. Leave if it gets bad enough. This is
where medications come in to assist with the rages.
The bipolar disorder and its symptoms are very similar to the BPD. We call it
mania. Again, we are experiencing a physical out of control episode. Are we
manipulating? Of course not.
Some people get confused and think they are a violent person and they aren't.
They have bipolar disorder. Their authentic self is not their disorder.
Some people experiencing depression perceive the world through depressed eyes
and it is important to know that those depressed eyes are a distorted view of
the world. It is not reality. So if you are experiencing depression right now,
tell yourself you are supposed to feel that way, but the reality is different
from what I feel and soon I will be experiencing that and I am but in a
temporary place. So my job now is to wait and to work hard on doing everything I
can to relieve my depression and avoiding self-defeating behaviors and
If you are depressed you are probably experiencing a lot of guilt. Guilt over
your depressive symptoms getting you in trouble. Being late to work, not showing
up for work, sleeping too much, forgetting things, etc. etc. Tell yourself those
are symptoms of depression, you are not a bad person and get rid of the guilt.
If you have a trusted friend in your life, ask them to be your guide during this
time to help you to remember appointments. To help you get to work, etc.
You need a lot of support right now. Get it wherever you can - family, friends,
hotlines, counselors, etc. Call out for help. Your depression may be telling you
to hole up in your house. That's just another sign of depression. Don't feel
guilty for it. Pick up the phone and call someone, even if it's just the hotline
or make an appointment with a counselor or with a Dr. if you are not taking
medications. Get in that shower. You are worth it. You are wonderful, beautiful,
precious and I am writing this especially for you - yes you because you matter
and you count.
I've been right where you are at and I've pulled out of it with medications
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Copyright © Patty Fleener, M.S.W. All