Yesterday as part of our well-being program teachers at my school led discussions and activities about positive and negative relationships. It gets pretty hard not to over identify with some of the discussion topics which arise, because let’s face it, as Borderlines we have a bit of a habit of forming negative relationships. Not only do we have our own issues which contribute to some pretty tense situations, but we’re also magnets for narcissists and others who see us as eager to please doormats, recognising all the ways they can take advantage of us.
Not just a Borderline trait, my lovely teenagers shared their perspectives on what behaviors could taint a relationship and it became pretty clear when they had strong feelings on such topics, indicating pain that I wish these barely adults had not been exposed to so young. When it came to listing traits of positive and negative relationships our ‘negative’ column quickly overtook. Why is this? Is it that the negative traits stick out like a sore thumb, while we quietly take all of the good for granted? Regardless, we don’t take enough time to sit back and really appreciate all the positive forces we have in our lives. I mean, I sure as shit don’t.
My blog is my space to really discuss the nitty gritty of my first year as an official Borderline Bitch, this inherently means it will seem like a pretty negative space. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m hoping I’ll steer this space to a more positive example of Borderline existence. On that note, I want to take some time to really talk about the positive relationships I have going on in my life. (Note: some of these sentiments may overlap with my Validation post but it’s important to me to take the time to reflect on these positive relationships)
I could gush all day about what a gem Tyler is, even as I write this he’s taking our young pup to the vet by himself so I don’t have to take time off work… yes, I do write at work from time to time when I have an off line, bad teacher! It’s these small acts of kindness that add up to paint this picture of a truly selfless human being. Finding myself in tears in the early hours of the morning recently I held him for comfort; he actually thanked me for waking him because he’d rather know what’s going on with me. I am frequently moved and bewildered that someone values me this highly and I know that I am a better person for his influence on my life.
My two beautiful babes, my two girlfriends who actually follow this depressing dribble I splash out on the internet. Caroline is strong and compassionate, even when half a continent separates us I know that if I ever need someone to talk to she’ll be there. Elsephene is fierce and insightful, my relief at having someone close to me who understands mental health and accepts me despite all of my flaws is something I’m not sure I can ever properly express gratitude for. We’ve both dealt with some similar shit and I know we will always have each others back.
The boys I thought of as brothers are gone, one by choice, driven away by this untameable shrew. The other was torn from us far before his time. Daniel, you were truly a beautiful soul and I know you would have continued to change countless lives for the better if given a chance. With the ink I have had etched into my skin I will carry your memory with me for the rest of my life and do my best to uphold the values that you always adhered to. Despite the immense sadness I feel when thinking of these two I will never forget the comfort and warmth I felt in my first share house with them. My second home, one I could truly relax in… well, as much as was possible for what with my overwhelming anxiety issues. I felt safe, I felt loved. You were the family I chose.
As for my family of flesh and blood, things weren’t always perfect when we were growing up. But what family can say that they were? My fondest childhood memories stem from hours spent watching Disney movies and playing video games with my sisters and parents. I have formed unique relationships with each of my sisters and truly value my time spent with each of them. My rocky mental health has proved challenging, but it is a challenge which they have embraced with open minds and patience. I’m not sure there is anything more I could ask for here, I am accepted as I am and that means the world to me.
My not-quite in laws have extended this same generosity to me as well. They have opened their arms and welcomed me as a member of the family. My not-mother in law has been particularly supportive and I’ve had some great conversations about well-being and mental health with her. Many parents would probably be a bit concerned about their son being involved with someone like me but we have received nothing but compassion.
There are relationships which are less intense and intimate than those I’ve mentioned above. Those individuals I rarely discuss mental health with, not because I am ashamed of it but because it is of little consequence. I am not a Borderline to them, I’m just Clementine. Sure, my illness is a part of me but it doesn’t define me. I enjoy my time spent with them in tranquility and comfort, I don’t have to perform or read between the lines. I just am, as are they. It’s easy.
I’m realising I could talk all day about my work mum, my board games group, my colleagues and my students. Relationships which have been so rewarding and have generally brought nothing but joy into my life. For all of my negativity I know that deep down in my heart that I am so lucky to have found these people in my life.
Yes, I’m mourning the loss of relationships that haven’t gone so well. I definitely brought my own negative baggage into these situations but I feel that generally these have been character clashes; negativity feeding negativity. This doesn’t mean I am fundamentally flawed, unlovable or damaged. These were unhealthy relationships which I have grown tremendously from. As a result I know my own limits, I’m better at speaking up for myself and setting boundaries, I am more self-sufficient. These relationships may never mend, but unless they could shift into something more positive I know I am better off without them. I’m not sure I’d use the phrase ‘no regrets’ because I definitely have a metric shit tonne of those, but there is peace, growth, love and acceptance to be found among it all.