Hi Dr. Hurd: I read your “Daily Dose” column and am getting a kick out of these “excuses” and “toxic euphemisms.” One such excuse I have in mind is that of Borderline Personality Disorder. Translation: “I am a jerk and expect everyone to cater to my needs.” I know what I just said is very controversial. I do think that Borderline is very serious (especially when it leads to self-harm) and needs to be treated as such. I’m just beyond frustrated seeing fellow mental health professionals operate on this mentality that Borderline is a “maladaptive way of life.” It is, but holding “support groups” and building a whole “culture” around Borderline identity only FEEDS it, not help the person work through it.
Dear Reader: Well put and don’t apologize, even slightly, for your views! People who fit the criteria for borderline personalities are generally nothing more than bullies. They’re bullies who get away with it, and because they get away with it, they bully all the more. People tend to keep doing what works for them, whether what they do makes rational sense or not. The best way to “help” a borderline personality is to stop putting up with it. You have to set strict and firm, consistent limits and boundaries with these kinds of people. It’s the only way they’ll ever learn, and it’s the only hope they have of ever becoming remotely happy. You can’t go through life treating people like dirt and then expecting to have meaningful, productive relationships with those people you continuously step on. What’s more: The people who let themselves be stepped on are not usually the best and brightest to be found.
Sadly, most bullies don’t change. In fact, I don’t know that any of them I have ever encountered or heard about really want to do so. The best you can hope for is to make it as hard as possible for them to be bullies by being prepared to have nothing whatsoever to do with them at all, at least until they change. And people CAN change. The best way to assure that they won’t change is to claim they have an illness they don’t have, when their problem is actually related to character, choice and habit. Talking in terms of the psychiatric “medical model” as is all the rage today lulls these people (and their victims) into a false sense of security that all this therapy and medication will have an impact when it won’t, not if the person doesn’t first want to stop being a bully. The Borderline does not need to “work through” anything. The Borderline simply needs to stop being such a nasty, toxic and hateful baby.
Readers, keep these examples coming! I’m impressed with how smart an audience I have, and it’s more gratifying than I can say. I’m printing as many of these as I can. The world has mostly gone insane, but there are plenty of reasonable and bright people out there. The light of reason, although not the great bonfire it deserves to be, is not yet out.