Month: September 2019

Borderline Life – Borderline Relationships

My maternal aunt was on medication for as long as I can remember. For madness. That is what people said, even her relatives. Ni wazimu. She is mad.

When she didn’t take her medications, as she sometimes forgot or refused; she became totally unmanageable. Unkempt, inward focused so sometimes it was hard to reach her, violent, generally unfriendly etc

I remember once she came to visit us and she was off her medications for who knows how long. A friend was also over visiting us. Aunt kicked our friend out in the rudest manner because this friend was ‘sent by the devil to ruin us.’

When I asked for details – I used to speak to auntie as if she was a 100% normal adult even when she was raging with madness. I didn’t know any other way to interact with her. So when I asked her how she know that our friend was devil-sent, auntie explained a few things:

  • our friend was fatter than us. Which means our friend had come to eat our food
  • our friend laughed too much. Nobody laughs so enthusiastically at our bad jokes without an ulterior motive. and 3
  • our friend’s eyes did not seem to get invited to the laughter. Which means she was sitting there plotting how to kill us. While blinding us with fake-laughter.

Most people who knew auntie stopped vising us when they heard she was visiting. Until she left. She could embarrass you. Hit you. Ignore you completely as if you did not exist. You never knew how she would react to your presence. Though she seemed to love us enough to keep “sane” when she visited us.

Except, she ruined our photo albums. She simply scribbled with a pen on all the faces of the people who were the tools of the devil. These were many. In the end, we hid our albums when she visited. She also tore apart our family bible. And other books i the house. You kept your text books hidden when auntie visited. She did not eat food that was prepared when she was not watching. According to her, almost everybody was out to murder her or harm her in some way.

However, though auntie understood that she needed her medication to function normally, the medication changed her. She became lazy when on medication – passive – although she ate more. SO she gained lots of weight. She was a nurse. she could work, but she was slow as a slug when on medication. Off medication, she was more passionate, but unable to deal with people. Unfortunately, on auntie’s worst days, she couldn’t see the difference between a patient and an assassin hired to murder her.

Auntie’s husband, Miriti, was lost. I am not sure what came first, his entire alias of being a lost, neglected man or auntie’s madness. Apparently, as a young man, he used to be one of those tall, stable engineers who was sought after by big companies. He was of course a philanderer who was openly unfaithful to auntie all their lives together. They seemed to be in an agreement to drive each other mad. Till death do them part.

Auntie was determined he would die first. Because if he didn’t die first, he would make sure she died first. Borderline Love, borderline life.

Plus, they had children together. It is unimaginable what this kind of sickness in one’s mother, does to a child. And I will not presume to describe that.

Signs or symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder:
  1. Difficulty trusting people, which is sometimes accompanied by irrational fear of other people’s intentions.
  2. Inappropriate, intense anger including inability to control anger
  3. A lot of mental and physical energy is put into avoiding real or imagined abandonment.
    • rapid, shallow intimate (physical or emotional) relationships
    • cutting off communication with someone for fear of being abandoned
  4. Intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones.
    • often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization); to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
  5. A distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self
  6. Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as:
    • spending sprees
    • unsafe sex
    • substance abuse
    • reckless driving
    • binge eating.
  7. Self-harming behavior, such as cutting
  8. Recurring thoughts of suicide
  9. Feeling threatened
  10. Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days
  11. Chronic feelings of emptiness
  12. Feelings of dissociation, such as:
    • feeling cut off from oneself
    • seeing oneself from outside one’s body, or
    • feelings of unreality

Please note: If some of these behaviors occur primarily during a period of elevated mood or energy, they may be signs of a mood disorder — not borderline personality disorder.

Get yourself and your loved ones diagnosed. It is the best path to healing or even living functional lives.

As I was writing this post, I went to read one of my favorite blogs and he had a story almost as true as Borderline Personality Disorder. Go read it!

A Letter on Consistent Passion in Relationships?

On Twitter, I do these theme weeks that simply raise a question and let people vote. Now, I don’t have so many followers, but has a challenge such as few followers ever discouraged me? No. The hardest part of a journey is the start, right? So, if you are on twitter, go follow me! Especially if you want your TL spiked with mental health threads, feminist declarations, sporadic sex posts, unplanned flirtations that go hay-wire etc

So, this week, the question was:

I find it interesting that these kinds of questions lead to inbox messages. As though people want to share, but not in public. Though, am a stranger.

A man sent an inbox message:

“Hi Linnie,” (my Twitter handle is @LinniewaGC)

“Hi Linnie, I for one would never develop any consistent habits with someone I am not passionate about! The beginning of me wanting to be consistent or stable with a woman is passion. The second thing is passion, this time not sexual passion, but rather passion for her life, projects etc. The third thing is passion! Passion will make a woman give more and demand more of me – which will set the stage for me to be more. To be challenged to grow is the best reason to be any kind of consistent.

Some guy I know married a girl because she was calm – wifely. Within seven months, he was cheating. He was bored. The whole marriage was built on consistent habits and routines and she got pregnant immediately which made it even more routine. I swore it would not happen to me!

Imagine, relationships are like a business Linnie! You start a business you are not passionate about, it will not sustain your interest for long. Even if you make money, at some point you will give it up. If you are passionate about it, you will build on it your entire life. An empire.

So, for me, it is passion that builds the consistency. But people will misinterpret this to mean they can settle with someone just because there is passion! Because some people wake up every morning looking for something to confirm or affirm their wrong choices. Not true! Passion is like the first test. And then you move on with other check-points to ensure hat you have:

  • shared values
  • relatable beliefs
  • compatible communication patterns
  • etc

Additionally, passion has to be consistent and sustainable for it to be meaningful in a long-term relationship. Too hot a fire burns itself out, and with it, the surroundings. Too cool a fire leaves everybody and everything wanting more.

Do I make sense? Apologies for long winding text!”

So this guy wrote me a letter! It was fun to read and I asked him if I can share it here. He said yes, anonymously.

What do you think about Passion vs Consistency in long-term relationships?

Next week, we continue with our posts about Personality Disorders. It will be all about Borderline personality disorder (BPD).

Thanks for your patience!

Schizoid & Schizotypal PDs in Relationships

Today is my birthday. I do very little to celebrate my birthday. Unfortunately, I think the day I was born is so insignificant, it needs no attention. Even my mother, the one who went through the infamous labour pains, does not remember the day I was born.

I am glad this year’s birthday falls on the day I post here. Because writing is a kind of living for me. A kind of celebration of life itself.

So, happy birthday to me!

Previously…

In previous posts in this series, we listed the Personality Disorders that can make it impossible to achieve stable mental health in relationships. We have done Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and OCD vs OCPD and Paranoid Personality Disorder. 

ASPD, NPD, OCD and OCPD personality disorders are also listed as basic culprits in substance dependencies, addictions and religious cults including fanaticism.

This week we move on to Schizoid and Schizotypal personality disorders..

Spending too much time with people who are suffering from a Personality Disorder can trigger mental illness. Even in people who have been mentally stable all their lives. Personality disorders are mental health conditions that affect how we think, perceive the world, feel about other people or how we relate to others. This week, we dive into Schizoid and Schizotypal personality disorders. Their differences and similarities plus, how they manifest and affect relationships.

Schizoid and Schizotypal personality disorders

These two disorders are both similar and different.

Schizoid personalities feel no desire to form relationships, Mostly because they see no point in sharing their time with others

Schizotypal personalities avoid social interaction because of a deep-seated fear of people.

As mentioned, Schizoid and schizotypal personality disorders are also similar. They manifest long-standing patterns of detachment from social relationships, which makes it difficult to establish and maintain social relationships.

Symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder
  • you think peculiarly, eccentric or unusually
  • your way of speaking is noticeably different from most other people
  • emotional responses are limited or inappropriate
Symptoms of schizoid personality disorder
  • you prefer to be alone and solitary activities
  • rarely understand social cues
  • little desire for intimacy or sexual relationships
  • indifference or lack of motivation at school or work

Example True Story

Have you ever met a person who expresses anger at good news? Or one who speaks sporadically, a lot at times and total silence at other times? Others will suddenly interrupt an ongoing conversation to speak about something totally out of topic?

I had a colleague years ago who had very limited social skills. I don’t mean that my colleague was diagnosed with schizotypal or schizoid personality disorder. However, he displayed many symptoms of detachment from social relationships. He avoided all social events without really accepting or declining the invitation. Could speak non-stop about the things he was interested in, even though no one else could contribute to the topic. Sometimes. other colleagues became silent and he found in a monologue. He just kept talking until he was done.

Unable to ‘see’ the social signals, he couldn’t read cues and deduct a lack of interest. Or he would fail to recognize that it is a good topic but for the wrong audience.

You know how you start talking about cars and you realize that the person you are talking to is completely disinterested. Maybe because they are not contributing? Or maybe they are staring in their phone? Perhaps they have that look people get when they are bored…you know which one. Eyes glaze over and you know their brain has left you?

What do you do then?

Often, you would become silent for a second and let the other person speak. Start another topic or you start another topic that may be more interesting for your companion. Right?

Well, this colleague would just talk on and on. When he was done saying his piece, he would abruptly leave the room without as much as a bye. Afterwards, he would avoid us the rest of the day or even two days.

In private life, he was in his 60s and lived alone which he had done all his adult life. He loved to travel by car so he could drive alone without having to share a train or flight with other people. Worked odd hours when no one was in the office, which ensured that he could be alone.

Complexities

The biggest complexity is that both schizotypal and schizoid personality disorders may manifest symptoms similar to schizophrenia.  additionally, schizotypal symptoms may resemble paranoia.

Mostly, both may look similar to schizophrenia’s negative symptoms. Schizophrenia’s negative symptoms are associated with disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors. The behaviors include, but are not limited to:

  • reduced expression of emotions
  • minimal feelings of pleasure
  • lack of motivation in everyday life.

Despite the resemblance, there is a marked difference between schizoid and schizotypal personality disorders and schizophrenia. Basically, they don’t show symptoms of explicit hallucinations or delusions. Especially in schizotypal PD, where the peculiar thoughts and behavior can be seen as a mild positive symptoms.

A person with schizophrenia might believe that their thoughts are being controlled by an outside force. This person may act out in fear. A person with schizotypal PD may often think about the notion of being controlled by outside forces. And have similar notions that are not quite delusions.

Causes

There is a strong genetic relationship between the disorders. Relatives of people with schizophrenia are at an increased risk of developing either schizotypal or schizoid personality disorder. Some experts argue that schizotypal personality disorder might be a mild form of schizophrenia. Other researchers suggest that there are important differences in the brain functions of schizotypal & schizoid personality disorders. These differences prevent people with schizotypal & schizoid personality disorders from developing schizophrenia.

The jury is still out.

How Schizoid and Schizotypal personality disorders Damages Relationships

How do you think Schizoid and Schizotypal personality disorders affect relationships?

This Week Briefly

I sometimes feel like life makes up ways to interrupt itself. Like life itself feels itself moving too fast for me, it makes me pause, breath and appreciate yesterday.

I am at a new job. If you ever been at a new job, you know how minutes spin into hours and hours mesh into days. You probably also know how you come home and your brain took its rest on the way home? Even finding the keys to your own door is a challenge your brain doesn’t like? Well, then you know how it is.

The week’s post will continue next week. It is in the making.

Meanwhile, this week in the world:

  • In Africa, mostly SA but even in Kenya, ladies have been braver than brave, and have been listing rapists on Twitter. This was triggered by the kidnapping, rape and murder of Uyunene, a young girl who was taken from the post office. Check out the hashtags #RIPUyinene #SouthAfricans #Rape #AmINextPROTEST #AmINext
  • DNA results proved that the late Ken Okoth was the father of Ann Thumbi’s son. Not a gold-digger after all.
  • Boniface Mwangi hit the nail on the head when he wrote on his Facebook page about our collective hypocrisy when it comes to alcoholism. Apparently, DeMathew died because he was drunk driving. ‘If DeMathew hadn’t been behind the wheel while drunk, he wouldn’t be dead today.’ Boni says. And to show you how deep rooted our will ignore that which kills us, is – ‘not a single media house, or anyone in government, mentioned that when they went to his funeral. Boni spoke to the police officers who responded to the accident. They said that we don’t shame the dead. It’s unAfrican. To be African is to be hypocritical or?
  • I found time to look for the definition of Schizoid and Schizotypal personality disorders.
    • Schizoid personalities feel no desire to form relationships, cos they see no point in sharing their time with others
    • Schizotypal personalities avoid social interaction because of a deep-seated fear of people.

Because that is what our post next week is about. You have a lovely time and thanks for being so understanding.

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