Dealing with Splitting


A post for all my BPD babies

If you have borderline personality disorder then a big part of your life is dealing with splitting and it can be extremely hard to understand your own emotions let alone anyone else.

So what is splitting?
Splitting is categorized by being unable to view things as middle ground; everything is either black or white, awful or amazing, ‘love you’ or ‘hate you.’ It is a defense mechanism used when someone or something disappoints us and before the perceived abandonment or disappointment occurs we are able to see this person or event as ‘bad’ to eliminate the threat of pain if they or it leaves. ‘Normal’ people outgrow this behaviour from childhood but people with BPD remain in this childlike state for life and either have to learn to deal with the consequences of splitting or learn how to process emotions in a healthier way.

I’ll speak from personal experience when describing the feelings of splitting as I think this is the most useful way to help others. I am in recovery and don’t split any where near as often as I used to but yesterday shit hit the fan all because of one small comment that was not made in a way to insult me but I took it that way and the rage that consumed me was uncontrollable. When going through this I am able to realise that my thinking is not rational but I cannot control the emotional impulses that consume me and it’s extremely hard for me not to act out based on the rage or sadness I feel. When this happens it is much easier for me to tell myself this person is evil and is trying to attack me and thus I will not feel the abandonment that I fear so much if they choose to leave.
What this means is I often push people away that I desperately don’t want to leave me because splitting is very hard for someone that does not have borderline to understand and deal with, this is why individuals with BPD are always said to have tumultuous relationships.

What can you do about it?
In order to process these ‘all good’ or ‘all bad’ thoughts about people/events/things we have to acknowledge the middle ground. I can write down or say my irrational thoughts and then analyze how there may be another explanation for said behaviour/event and from there I am able to rationalise the reality somewhere in between the black and white thoughts.

As difficult as it is when I have these thoughts I tell the person how they have made me feel, for example;
“When you said x I feel like you meant it like this and I feel offended by it and it has made me extremely angry/upset. I don’t know if you meant it this way but I want to communicate how I feel” I did exactly this yesterday and once I spoke to the person it was evident how wrongly I had taken the comment and after sitting with these feelings for a while I was able to calm down and view this person without anger.
Evidently this can be extremely difficult and annoying for your loved ones to deal with on the regular. The amount of friends I text on a weekly basis saying ‘I know this is annoying but I feel like you don’t like me anymore’ but the friends I have are able to realise it’s not something I want to do, it is out of necessity. I honestly am extremely lucky to finally have an amazing support system and fantastic friends that understand this is just the way I am, but meeting new people is always a new spanner in the works.
People that do not have a strong support system can find it extremely difficult to navigate their way through life and relationships and this was me up until a year and a half ago; it involves constantly attempting to make deep connections with people whilst simultaneously juggling with the thoughts that these new people will abandon you and confirm all the negative thoughts you have about yourself when they do.

The truth is people aren’t all good or all bad, the beauty of getting to know people is finding the grey area inbetween and when we learn to do this we can find freedom from these thoughts. It is not an easy task, our BPD brains work in this manner because of past traumas and it is a learnt behaviour so trying to eliminate the thoughts is not possible, however, training ourselves to recognise that our thinking is not always rational and communicating the way we feel is the key to finding happiness.

As always my DM’s are open to anyone seeking help and further advise, I love hearing from you guys,


2 thoughts on “Dealing with Splitting

  1. I’m so glad that people like yourself are able to share your truths. I came here on the suspicion that a young man I’ve mentored for a year is exhibiting this “splitting” behavior toward me. To say I was blindsided by his sudden break of any communication is an understatement. Now, what? He’s 19 I’m 49 and I’m aware of his childhood traumas. I wasn’t prepared for this abrupt severing of ties as he was consistently affectionate both verbally and physically for the duration of the year I spent with him. It was like BOOM! I know that no one is going to know for sure what might be the right move for me. I desperately wish to resume our relationship. I am the only support that he has once he ages out of the child welfare system. He’s incredibly vulnerable and I’m heartbroken about this. I am not certain I should try and see him in person. If I do it would have to be without his knowledge as he’s claiming he’s done with me through his care team at the group home he resides at. I don’t believe they’ve been helpful in all of this, which is part of the problem. I feel if I were to go see him that I’d be able to fix this. I spent hundreds of hours with him. I do know a great deal about how he thinks. There is only one place where I know that he is, and it’s his training academy. He finishes that program soon. Once he does I will no longer be able to nail down where he is. His group home isn’t an option for making contact. I promised this young man I’d never abandon him, and I assured him over and over that he was stuck with me. If you have any advice it would be appreciated. I don’t wish to further upset him by showing up unannounced. However, I also wonder if he’s testing me to some extent to see if I’ll fight to keep him in my life. It’s a tough call. I know if I do see him, it will not be confrontational. It will strictly be that I missed him and am glad to see him and inquiring that he’s doing ok.


    1. Hi Christopher,

      Thanks so much for your comment.
      I would say your suspicions are correct. It is a “test” to see if you really care about them. I would fantasise about my dad turning up unannounced to surprise me and make me feel special. Even if you are met with some animosity I think with good communication you’d be able to break down that barrier and let them know how much you care. Good luck


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