“Fate be changed, look inside. Mend the bond torn by pride.” This quote has really stuck in my head since seeing the movie, “Brave”. The movie centers around a mother and daughter relationship where the mother is controlling the daughter’s life and the daughter wants to break free. Both characters grow and change to mend the bond.
While neither character seems to have a personality disorder (the teenager is rebellious, and the mother is controlling), I couldn’t help but apply the quote to Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Hallmarks of BPD are fear of rejection and narcissistic pride:
- Pride causes fear of rejection, which can prompt exaggerations and deceptions to be accepted.
- Narcissistic behavior is pride run amok.
Pride disguises itself in many ways. Pride can be exhibited as either exaggerated self-importance and self-adulation –or- self-loathing and exaggerated inferior feelings. It can either be an exaggerated sense of one’s greatness or an exaggerated sense of one’s low esteem. Either side of that coin is pride because the focus is self in both occurrences.
Pride is very interesting. While you should love yourself and your contributions to life, pride can be a delusion which can eventually culminate into fear (ie: fear of rejection as mentioned above). Fear should never be the dominant energy in life, and if used as emotional self defense (ie: to hide behind or as an excuse to run), it can be a very forlorn place which can leave you trapped, stuck, and isolated.
BPDs often turn away love for a place of pride. Also, BPDs use pride as an emotional defense to hide behind, creating a victim mentality. They create a place where they are lonely and alone.
- BPDs often turn away love for a place of pride: The BPD possesses an intense fear of abandonment that interferes with many aspects of her life. The fear often acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy as they cling to others, are very needy, feel helpless, and become overly involved and immediately attached. When the fear of abandonment becomes overwhelming, she will often push others out of her life as if trying to avoid abandonment.
- BPDs use pride as an emotional defense to hide behind, creating a victim mentality. They create a place where they are lonely and alone: The cycle most often continues as the BPD will then try everything to get people back in her life and once again becomes clingy, needy, and helpless. The fact that people often do leave the BPD only 'proves' to support the distorted belief that she is insignificant, worthless, and unloved. At this point in the cycle, the BPD may exhibit intense and sudden anger, directed both at self and others, as well as difficulty controlling destructive behaviors.
More specifically, BPDs have such a fear of abandonment that they set-up a situation to be rejected. The BPD turns a Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde, seemingly out-of-the blue, around the time that they feel threatened by rejection or abandonment. Along with a huge blow-up that is irrational and not based on reality, the BPD starts a campaign of denigration to turn friends and family against her target of rage (me in this case).
In “Brave”, the daughter and the mother were able to realize how their actions affected each other. They were able to look inside and see from the other’s perspective and ultimately change in order to mend the ties that bind. While I always searched for my part in the relationship's challenges-- every relationship takes two. As I would analyze and dig deeply to assess my accountability in the estrangement and try to forgive-and-forget, the BPD cycle would always come back around to affect the relationship again. The BPD cycle includes narcissism and pride that cause fear of rejection which ultimately causes the BPD to turn away love. The ties that bind can’t be mended when the BPD repeatedly cycles through a self-serving and self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts.
Unlike the characters in “Brave” who wanted to mend the ties that bind, the BPDs are unable to mend the ties that bind due to their lack of self awareness and self serving narcissism. They cannot look inside themselves and change those behaviors or perspectives that will ultimately affect the fate of the relationship. My BPD mother either doesn't comprehend or realize the repercussions from her actions, has rationalized and justified her actions, or has convinced herself by telling the same lie over and over. Further her anger, venom, hatred, manipulations, gossip, and lies damaged trust over time until the trust was completely lost. Because her perception is that she has no responsibility for the condition of ties that bind, fate can’t be changed. However, almost 10 years ago, I changed the fate for the future of my family by cutting those ties with my BPD mother.