BPD and Confusing Contradictions

Sometimes I wish there were not so many contradictions. Can two opposite things be true at the same time? Can I feel something and not feel it at the same time?

For example I was doing some serious thinking about why I get so aggressive with mom sometimes and try to lure her into a nasty fight. I do it because I feel like I need to force her to admit to the fact that if she’s honest, she’s hating me, I realized. But just the same I do it because I feel like she truly loves me and shouldn’t be loving me, so I show her how nasty I am.

Hello lunacy or what? Do I feel like she really hates me or do I feel like she doesn’t hate me at all, but really loves me now? Wouldn’t one exclude the other?

Truth is, both feel equally true at the same time, and I am left feeling like a fraud or a liar, because how COULD both be true? How could I genuinely feel like deep down my mom really hates me, when I’m also convinced that she must truly love me? It doesn’t add up. One statement must false.

So what happens? Splitting happens and I switch back and forth between the opposites. But splitting is unhealthy and surely can’t be the solution. Which leaves the problem of what else to do with the confusion and the contradictions.

My mom often says “people are complex and big systems. There is room for several things at once in them”. So I try to think that maybe I’m really not so much just this one coherent person inside, but that I consist of many different sub-selves who kind of go through a casting of votes before I react to something, and sometimes they are 50/50 about how I feel or what I should do. Not in the DID sense, where the sub-selves are properly developed people who have split off, but just in the sense that maybe what I think of as “me” is really not so much just one entity, but rather the sum of many aspects of me, who can all have different or opposing opinions about stuff.

Kind of like this, maybe?


Maybe I need to figure out which part says what and why in order to avoid feeling like a walking contradiction, rather than thinking of myself as a fraud for feeling and behaving like one thing, while the opposite is just as true.

Hmmm. Food for thought.


19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. weordmyndum
    Jan 24, 2013 @ 13:19:33

    Everybody carries ambivalence in them. And by everybody, I really mean everybody, not just people living with mental illness. Even Walt Whitman talked about it: “I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am large; I contain multitudes.” And Emerson: “Speak what you think to-day in words as hard as cannon-balls and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.” (I had a thing for the trancendentalists early in high school.)

    Most people can’t admit their ambivalence, even to themselves. In a lot of ways, our culture reinforces our innate human tendency toward black-and-white thinking: a thing must be Good or Bad, Right or Wrong, True or False.

    The trick (at least for me) has been learning to acknowledge my ambivalence and learn to expand enough to hold both sides of the dichotomy. This is super geeky, but (vaguely) understanding quantum physics helped me: once you understand how Schrodinger’s cat can be both alive and dead until we observe and name its state, being able to hold two opposing beliefs simultaneously becomes a lot easier. And once I was able to acknowledge and hold my dichotomies, it often let me see other sides if the issue at hand that I’d been unable to imagine before.

    My advice is NOT to avoid contradicting yourself–learn to recognize, acknowledge, and hold the contradictions. It doesn’t make you a fraud, and it might just give you a wider range of ideas and possible responses.

    • Lola
      Jan 24, 2013 @ 14:29:42

      Hehe, super geeky alright. 😉 But my older sister actually told me about Schroedinger’s cat (she’s a physicist) and even though I didn’t really understand all of it when she explained it, I kind of got the gist of it. I didn’t even think of the cat, but you are right that it’s kind of the same thing, both things being true at the same time, holding opposite beliefs simultaneously.

      I agree that there is a general tendency towads black-and-white thinking in society, so yeah, maybe that’s also part of what makes me feel like a fraud, because things always seem like they are one way only. I think learning to acknowledge the ambivalence and being able to hold both things at the same time is probably a good idea. Thank you for the reply. 🙂

  2. nobodysreadingme
    Jan 24, 2013 @ 13:41:27

    Your mum is very wise. It’s not unusual for people to hold mutually incompatible opinions and feelings. You have this to a much greater extent, but that does not mean that luncay beckons. You at least realise you’re inconsistent, and want to do something about it. Good luck with that.

    • Lola
      Jan 24, 2013 @ 14:31:44

      I think the inconsistency comes up mainly because I think I need to decide and that only one can be true, so I go back and forth between the opposites. So maybe learning how to hold both present at the same time, how to be aware of which is there why, maybe that’s going to help. Thanks for the good luck wish! 🙂

      • nobodysreadingme
        Jan 24, 2013 @ 14:37:47

        It’s a tough thing to learn that you can be both right and wrong at the same time, and be able to live with it.
        I’m always at my worst when I’m convinced only one view is correct. That’s when I drop into the pit. I climb back out when I go ‘Maybe….’
        That’s where writing helps. I can take a position completely opposite to the one I feel at the time, and yet I know to be wrong however much I believe it RIGHT THEN.
        Does that make sense?

  3. prideinmadness
    Jan 24, 2013 @ 15:51:05

    One thing that has always helped me accept my “different” brain, thoughts and behaviours is by accepting that it’s complicated, that it’s supposed to be and that the complication is beautiful.

    • Lola
      Jan 24, 2013 @ 19:38:38

      That’s probably a good way to look at it. Definitely more uplifting that feeling like a fraud. I think I’ll see if I can manage to find some beauty in the complications, too, it’s probably worth it.

      • prideinmadness
        Jan 25, 2013 @ 03:31:01

        There has to be at least one :p I’m pretty sure you’re not boring! That’s something beautiful!

        • Lola
          Jan 25, 2013 @ 08:03:31

          LOL, yeah, I guess I’m not boring. Unless you count going in circles with forever the same kind of drama, then I’m very boring. But in itself the drama is far from boring. So yeah, I can provide that kind of beauty. In abundance. 😛

          • prideinmadness
            Jan 25, 2013 @ 14:11:45

            I’m probably boring too. It’s always the same stuff for me. That’s why I’ve stopped talking about it with friends and stuff….but then bad things could happen lol

            • Lola
              Jan 25, 2013 @ 14:41:18

              Yeah, it’s hard to always keep on dealing and struggling with the same things and figuring everyone must eventually be sick of hearing about it. Makes me reluctant to talk about some stuff, too.

  4. gypsy116
    Jan 24, 2013 @ 21:39:57

    Ive always referred to myself as a walking paradox, and Ive others label themselves as walking contradictions many times on other BPD blogs, so one thing to remember, it that you definitely are not alone. Also, I completely agree with your theory of self or selves here, obviously. I feel the same, I just happened to name mine and start thinking of them as separate people when I was younger, I think as a way of protecting myself. You know? Its really confusing having so many opposing views at the same time, separating them off just made it easier for me to handle. I hope that makes sense.

    • Lola
      Jan 25, 2013 @ 08:13:10

      Well, you know, maybe naming the parts and thinking of them as seperate people is a good way to escape feeling like a fraud over being so much in contradiction with oneself, that whatever way you think or feel or do, there’s always this part for which it doesn’t feel true. I don’t have enough of a sense of those individual parts being seperate to name them, I think, because they all just in turn feel like “me”, so I think it’s really cool that you managed to separate yours off! It makes a lot of sense that that makes the opposing views easier to handle, and probably easier to still feel “whole” and authentic, despite the contradictions, too.

      • gypsy116
        Jan 25, 2013 @ 20:18:09

        They still do feel completely like me sometimes, other times not. I think I started doing unconsciously when I was pretty young, and it became something I didnt even think about, not much anyway, until a bad dissociative experience where it actually felt like one of my parts was completely separate. With hypnotherapy though, anyone can talk to there different parts, whether theyve personified them or not, its kind of just given me more awareness of things I was doing without really thinking to begin with.

        • Lola
          Jan 26, 2013 @ 07:49:30

          I think it’s awesome to get awareness of stuff that’s going on. Good to know that your individual parts also still do feel completely like you sometimes, but that it’s still possible to keep them apart at other times. Knowing those different internal parts is probably really helpful. Hypnotherapy still sounds scarily-creepy while at the same time fascinating, but that’s me PTSDing about the imagined loss of control more than anything. 😉

  5. Joyce
    Sep 17, 2013 @ 13:38:07

    Reblogged this on MAKE BPD STIGMA-FREE!.

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