The deepest wound of someone with Quiet BPD is that they feel undeserving. Perhaps years of childhood neglect or abuse, or chronic situations led you to internalize the idea that you are someone defective who deserves less than other people.
Perhaps you were bullied and silenced, and it was never safe to express your true feelings. Maybe you were the target of toxic envy and sibling rivalry, so you learned it was safer to hide. It could also be that the adults around you were afraid of conflict and had difficulties with healthy anger, so you never learned how to act assertively.
In one way or another, you have been robbed of your childhood to serve someone else’s emotional needs. You never learned that you, too, are allowed to break down, be vulnerable, and reach out for help. Instead, whenever you get in touch with your genuine needs, all you feel is guilt and shame. Your inner critic tells you that you must be perfect to be loved, that your real self is too much for others, or that you should feel ashamed for feeling needy or vulnerable.
All these beliefs further paralyze you and hinder you from going from healing to thriving. To step out of Quiet BPD is to slowly undo the deeply ingrained beliefs that have kept you in isolation and perpetuated your psychic injuries. In truth, everyone in the world, including you, is perfect in their imperfections. Slowly and gradually, allow yourself to be flawed and learn to accept that people who care for you do so in spite of your imperfections.
Your BPD is deemed ‘Quiet BPD’ because, from a young age, you learned that it was not safe for you to express anger. Now a part of you is convinced that it is always ‘safer’ for you to blame yourself than those you depended upon. This mechanism has followed you into adulthood; even today, you equate anger with the loss of attachment; so you would rather stifle your own wants and needs than to risk ‘rocking the boat’ with anyone important in your life.
A common reaction to trauma or childhood memories related to severe emotional stress is to block them out. A part of you wants to pretend nothing bad ever happened. Even if you do remember the pain from childhood, you do not want to acknowledge that the past is still prevalent in the present and that it is hampering you from leading a full life.
Perhaps you are worried that once you open the floodgate of memories and tears, they will never stop. You fear that once you start blaming your family, the anger will subsume you and destroy all your relationships.
At first, it may be unthinkable that you could tell your story without a burden of guilt or shame. But you can begin the process by engaging with an ‘enlightened witness’ such as a therapist. When you are able to do healing work in a therapeutic space, carefully crafted and held with compassion, you will realize processing trauma from the past is not only safe but essential for you to move forward in life.
In a safe space, you may ‘emotional time-travel’ to when it all happened. How were you silenced and stifled? Were your innocent needs met with affection or hostility? What episodes could you recall about your childhood? The goal in therapy is not to be stuck in blame, but to release what needs to be released.
In this process, you will also learn how to befriend and manage your emotions, including unpleasant ones such as sadness, and seemingly threatening ones like anger. You can get through your emotional storms, even if they feel uncontrollable. A part of this process may be to cultivate mindfulness, so you can be an observer of your own emotions.
You can learn to see that just because you are feeling something does not mean that it’s reality. You acknowledge and accept your intense feelings, but that does not mean you need to act on them.
The next step to healing is to acknowledge that the past is no longer present and that people do not have the power to hurt, threaten or oppress you. You are much stronger than you were, and you can trust yourself. With guidance and practice, you are now capable of setting firm boundaries, acting assertively, and protecting yourself when necessary.
With humility, you may also start to see the dark consequences of passive-aggressiveness or a lack of assertiveness. These strategies may help you escape conflict on one or two occasions, but in the long run they can be detrimental to your relationships.
With some practice, however, you can undo the pattern of conflict avoidance. You can start with minimal steps, such as stating your wants and preferences on small matters. When you realize that these attempts not only do not bring about negative consequences but are welcomed, you will feel more able to take the next step.
If you have surrounded yourself with people who take advantage of your submissiveness, you may have to make some conscious effort to reshuffle and protect your interpersonal space. With deliberation, move away from people in your life who are negative, judgmental, and dominating. Instead, surround yourself with people who have the emotional capacity to support your journey of self-discovery and healing.
Bear in mind that when you can authentically live as your best self, others will also benefit. Prioritizing yourself is the opposite of selfishness it is the first step to becoming the best self you can be.
Healing involves reaching out, and that may at first feel threatening to you. This process calls for tremendous courage and tenacity. You need to summon all the self-love you have for yourself, even when it feels unnatural at first. But you can achieve significant progress by putting one foot in front of the other, taking one small step at a time. One day, you will look back and be very glad you embarked on this journey towards coming out and healing.
“it is a serious thing // just to be alive / on this fresh morning / in this broken world.” ― Mary Oliver, Red Bird
Reaching Out To Someone With Quiet BPD
Due to the very nature of Quiet BPD, it can be difficult to tell who might be suffering from it. Quiet BPD is also indiscriminative, affecting people from all walks of life. Those around you who appear normal or successful could be suffering in silence. They are typically highly sensitive, intuitive, and creative. When their mental health takes a downturn, however, they lose control of themselves and become vulnerable.
Most Quiet BPD sufferers live with a sense of failure and shame. They feel as though they’re lying to their friends and family or not being true to themselves. If you suspect that a friend, a loved one, or a colleague is suffering from Quiet BPD, please understand that they are trying their absolute best to survive, and are in tremendous pain. However frustrated you may be, don’t try to confront them or force them to admit that they have a problem.