When someone with Borderline Personality Disorder experiences guilt, it’s like a chain of thoughts, each negative thought leading to the next. What looks like a minor thing to an onlooker from the outside makes perfect sense when viewed from the perspective of the BPD sufferer. These thoughts become so ingrained in the Borderline’s brain, that it’s extremely difficult to break these chains. One of the best ways to do this is through Dialectical Behaviour Therapy or DBT.
Many times, these guilty thoughts lead to other negative thoughts and emotions, such as anger or depression. A Quiet Borderline will usually take their negativity out on themselves, whereas other Borderlines will “act out”, raging over seemingly nothing. They can feel very defensive, like they’re being attacked, even with just minor constructive criticism, because they already have all of these guilty thoughts in their head all the time. When you make that comment, it’s like the “straw that broke the camel’s back”. I know for me, all these thoughts lead to the core belief of “I’m not good enough. I’ve never been good enough. I’ll never be good enough. Why do I even bother? What’s the point of even trying? It’s never gonna work out anyway. Nothing ever does. Nothing I ever do is good enough. I don’t look good enough. Everybody hates me. Nobody cares. Life sucks!”
In an upcoming post, I will explore the thought processes and emotions related to guilt in Borderlines through my own experiences. I hope this gives you an idea of where these “outbursts” come from, when they seem to come out of nowhere, so you can better understand us.