What Might be Wrong with Me?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I have had many deep rooted issues since birth… Whether it has been issues at home (i.e. Alcoholic parents & Grandparents), raised by Mother’s parents while my mother was binge drugging and drinking, consistency of serious health issues at a young age (heart surgery, ulcerative colitis, asthma), only stable “mother-figure”, my grandmother, died when I was a young age, emotionally and sometimes physically abusive parents, in group homes from 15/16 yrs old until 17, Father has bipolar disorder and my mother’s brother had successfully committed suicide almost 6 months ago which has taken it’s toll on me…
I could go on for days… Long story short, I have endured so many trials and tribulations, my step father often tells me I should write a book… Maybe I should.

I have attempted suicide several times, several years ago…But have had absolutely no desire for quite some time now. I have been diagnosed with major depression, then bipolar, then one doctor told me he believed I had ADHD and had been misdiagnosed…

My main question/concern at the moment is…
I am a very loving and compassionate person, but at times the smallest issue can set me off and i stay upset and argumentative. I have the most amazing and understanding boyfriend, the man I would love to marry one day, yet I am pushing him away every time I become upset, starting arguments over nothing. I am completely aware of it, but no matter how much I do not want it to happen, it does. It almost feels like a compulsion. I want nothing more in the world than to stop this behavior, but have no idea where to even begin. Also, this has been a problem with almost all of my relationships. [Side Note: My mother's youngest sister (who is just like a sister to me, and was still living with my grandparents when I was and also raised in a fighting household) had told me her therapist told her that she was trying to re-create the drama from her childhood, since that was the norm for us.Maybe that is true, maybe not.] Please help! Any advice would be deeply appreciated. I’d like to rectify this issue and move on with my life.
Thank you.

A:You may have many issues but you are also a survivor. You have come through so much, it’s a wonder that you can take the risk to love. Be proud of yourself for that. I’m thinking that past events may still be the core of things. Your are obviously an insightful and sensitive person but you grew up in an environment that was extremely unstable. People you loved and trusted kept leaving, through addictions, abandonment, and death. Even your own body wasn’t something your could trust. This kind of history is possibly the makings of a borderline personality disorder (BPD). You want love and closeness but it’s so very hard to trust it after so many years of uncertainty. You fear abandonment but expect it and sometimes create it just to get it over with.

If I’m right, there is good news. There is a well-researched and documented treatment for BPD called Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). I suggest you find a therapist who is trained in the method and ask for an evaluation. Even if you don’t meet the full criteria for BPD, you have enough of the symptoms that the model might help you settle down. You can learn more about it by just searching the web.

You have found the courage to love a man who loves you. I think you both deserve to get your old issues out of your relationship.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Jun 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). What Might be Wrong with Me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/06/18/what-might-be-wrong-with-me/