Cutting a friend out of my life

Splitting aka black and white thinking is something I’m struggling with right now. It’s the idea that everyone and everything is either all good or all bad. It’s hard for me to believe someone (even myself) can do something bad and still be good or vice versa. I don’t have that grey in the middle that gives me context to fill that part in.

If you want to read more about it, here you go.

I try so, so hard to let things go and to not let little things trigger me. Once I’m triggered, it’s very hard to come back from it and I lose people in my life because I basically tell them to F off or I cause drama on my way out the door and burn bridges.

Usually, when I split one of three things happen.

  1. After a few days of thinking and calming down, I realize that I’m an idiot and go running back for forgiveness.

  2. I will cut them completely out of my life including anyone we know together. (I’ve left whole communities over one person.)

  3. I will realize I WAS in the wrong but bridges were burnt and I can’t go back. I end up incredibly guilty, lonely and hating myself.

I have a friend who made a comment that I found hurtful and in that few seconds of processing what they said (it was online), I split and decided that I wanted nothing to do with them anymore. I just stopped talking to them and didn’t tell them why.

It’s distressing me because I know I’m hurting them. I know they are confused and dealing with messed up stuff in their own life. Me splitting is probably making things worse for them and even knowing this; I can’t flip the switch back and care… but at times, I desperately want to.

It’s like I’m on one side of an ice wall. I can see my emotions for this person on the other side and I know what they feel like because I feel them for other friends. Every once in a while, it melts a little bit and I get a sense of my emotions for them, but then the ice freezes again and it all goes away.

I don’t know what to do about it. Do I just forget this person or do I keep trying to figure it out and are they going to want me back in their life anyway?

How do I tell my brain that someone can do something in my eyes that is bad and still be a good person? I can’t comprehend that.

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i like the image of the ice wall for this, the coldness, the ability to see the emotions there but be completely disconnected from them.

i find it hopeful that sometimes the ice melts just that little. i don’t know if there are any tricks I can think of right now that can drill a hole in that wall, but i am thinking on it!
I am glad that you made this post. Even though splitting is one of those features that really highlight bpd and black and white thinking, i’m sure most of us without bpd have felt that instantaneous split in a fit of high emotion.

My hope is that there will be a breakthrough in therapies to find a way to give you the grey. I’m sorry that it’s hard to know you feel but be disconnected from it, and to not know if the other person understands why the ice wall exists. I shall keep thinking on this. You matter and I’m glad you’re here with us @Mystrose

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Hey @Mystrose,

I think you really deserve to credit yourself more for all the self-awareness that you have developed over time. You have a good understanding of yourself, which is a real strength, and your entire post here shows it. As you’ve said so very well, it is as if you can look at the situation from the outside, which allows you not only to feel a certain way, but also to perceive it with your mind and a little more rationally. Impulses and reactions are present, but once you see yourself as an outsider, you also make time slower and the urges less intense, progressively.

I don’t know what to do about it. Do I just forget this person or do I keep trying to figure it out and are they going to want me back in their life anyway?

I guess it would depend on how you feel about it once some calm have settled. I would encourage you to ask yourself: where does what they said comes from? Did they said something hurtful because they don’t understand something? Were they trying to give an opinion/feedback about something but with the wrong words? Or could you tell that their intention was to hurt you? Trying to identify the intention of someone could already help you make decisions afterwards.

If it remains unclear though and/or if you feel like wanting to do a step towards them, communication is always key. You won’t control their reactions, and maybe your reactions have hurt them as a consequence too (not assuming anything, I don’t know the context so it’s just a hypothesis). Non violent communication can be extremely helpful when you have been hurt about something (and regardless if the person in front of you agrees or not). I often referred to this chart to people on the Wall because it really describes well what NVC is made of. Hope it can help a little.

How do I tell my brain that someone can do something in my eyes that is bad and still be a good person? I can’t comprehend that.

I think the trick is in your question: to get rid completely of the idea that people can either be good or bad, but are complex, and have complex relationships. People are not “still good” when they have done “something bad”. They are human beings, hence why they can also do hurtful things. I would encourage you, when you have that kind of interaction/perception, to try to write down or literally re-phrase out loud these thoughts. Rather than applying a judgment of character/value (this person is good/bad), you can try to describe facts. “This person has said… and it hurts me because…”.

All in all, what comes to my mind in terms of ways to cope could be a series of steps to take:

  • what you’ve done just here: catch yourself when you are falling into this cognitive distortion (black-white thinking).
  • journal your thoughts about the person and then try to re-frame this thought without the words “good/bad”. You could even use a synonyms dictionary if you need to find a more subtle vocabulary! Just like there are emotions wheels/charts to help people to not always say they’re rather “happy” or “sad”. It’s always more complex, and words can be a powerful tool to help us embrace the grey areas and complexity of human life.
  • talk to the person (when that is possible) to clarify things and understand their intentions. Be honest about how you’ve felt, but also give them a chance to express what they meant so you could hear another perspective and eventually lower your first judgment.
  • get back to your journal and based on the conversation, write down what you have learned about this person/who they are/what were their intentions.
  • eventually write down what this situation has made you learn - about yourself, and about others in general.

These reactions/interactions will keep happening through your life, so I would encourage you to see them as opportunities to explore and learn. A laboratory in itself. It could also help you to manage the guilt from reacting differently, and be more patient with yourself too.

Through it all, what will be challenging is to progressively accept that each interaction, relationship, experience is unique.

PS - I completely came up with this right now by imagining what could help me. It’s in no way a professional thing or whatever, haha. I’m 100% a type of person who adapts professional tips/coping mechanisms to create my own exercises and help because I find it more meaningful. Hope this could help you tho!

You’re loved. :hrtlegolove:

Edit: You wrote poetry before, right? Just thought this is actually a very powerful outlet to learn to embrace “grey areas” of human life, that you could implement in your life as a background practice. Just like writing! A cool exercise could be: pick a word, an emotion, a type of relation, and try to describe it/express it without ever naming it. Use all those complex detours of words and vocabulary that would make you feel closer to what you are trying to describe (as if you were saying it to someone who has to guess what you’re talking about). Just another random thought, haha. Jeez too much coffee this morning it seems. I hope this doesn’t sound too crazy or off-topic.

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Hey my sweet friend, what @Micro said lol I love you. Xxx

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Hi Mystrose
Wow @Micro really made an amazing reasponce and i dont know what else to add except maybe for: We love you Mystrose and we care about you. The SWAT meatings with you and Lisa are amazing and I love going there. You add so much to them. I know you struggle with a lot of things but you also have so much insight and wisdom. I know its hard and it takes time but you are making progress. I just want to say that if you ever feel like people have wronged you here we can talk about it and if you isolate and then come back we will be here for you. We understand that what you are dealing is hard and it is not your fault you are like this. I think not just you but all of us should learn how to accept a person with their own issues or flaws. That is why you will always have the door open here Mystrose. We care about you far to much to lose someone as precious as you :slightly_smiling_face: :heart:

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@Micro Thank you for this great big hug. :rose: :hrtlegolove:

It comes from my fear of rejection. The comment made me feel used.

There was no ill intent what so ever. They have no idea at all.

When we split it’s not nice. Poison pen letters are usually my attack, but I didn’t do it this time because I’m aware. I just cut ALL communication off instead. I think that is what I’m most distressed about all this. I feel like they need me and I’m not there, but I can’t find my emotions for them to care. God that sounds so fucking horrible. I’m so sorry. It makes me cry to think about what I’m doing to this person. Why can’t I just stop it?

That’s very smart. I try to stay away from using words like, always or never and other all good or all bad words. They are called splitting words and are examples of black and white thinking. You are either all good or all bad to me and since I’m talking to you (and everyone else here), you are all good to me. You’ve personally never said anything to cause me to think you were a bad person. I can’t lie about that either :rose:

There is something else that happens in this process and that’s intense fear. Fear that if I let this wall melt and I let this person back into my life, they will just hurt me again. So, I try to get as far away from it as I can because this fear of being hurt again is so intense and so real that its unbearable for me.

The first time I realized what was happening and lost who I considered my sister, I started to learn about it. This time, I’m 100% aware of what’s happening and it’s so, so very frustrating because I can’t will myself to flip the switch in my head. I can’t even get it half way. I’ve read that it takes a lot of talk therapy to rewire my brain to think differently, so I’m hoping my support person (ugg I need to get her name) calls asap so I can bounce thoughts and emotions about this off her too.

I was discussing with Lisa how it’s hard to post here when there really aren’t regulars who have BPD that can relate, but I think it’s also good to hear other perspectives and ideas. I do very much appreciate your support and ideas always. I just honestly don’t know what I need yet.

Great idea, I’ll give it a go <3

Thank you Micro, you are loved and appreciated.

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Hi Ashwell,
No one has every said these things to me before. Thank you.

It’s hard for me to put into words my emotions right now, but just know that you touched my heart.

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In that case I am glad I have said those things. You deserved to hear them Mystrose :wink:

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You Da Bestest in Da World. :rose:

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Hey Mystrose,

I know you were in chat when EsRivs responded to your post on stream, but I wanted to put the video here for you or anyone else to be able to watch it anytime!

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