Hello everyone and welcome to Reignite The Fire!
It is 2014 and it has been quite a few weeks since I have last posted an article. I’ve been both busy and lazy this past month but it’s time to end that and get back in the groove.
On the table for 2014:
1) A completely revamp of my BPD book. It’s almost 2 years old now and it’s time to rewrite the whole thing because while it is helpful, it needs a much-needed update.
2) More content on the blog. This is the first post of 2014 so I missed the entire month of January. Lame. I’ll be posting more often.
To mark the first post of 2014, I wanted to post this funny piece that someone submitted to the site. It’s entertaining enough to post it and it actually has some good points in here. You’ll see some of my comments in bold. Enjoy!
Submitted by NS:
Everything I Need To Know About Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) I Learned From My Cat
I am 41 years old, and have three college degrees including an M.D. I consider myself to be fairly intelligent when it comes to matters of the brain. However, as typical, when it comes to matters of the heart, I have pretty much been a ball in tall grass. Just lost. [Hey man who hasn’t. It’s all about what we learn from these experiences that makes us better.]
After an 18 year hollow and empty marriage with a “normal” woman which produced two great kids, I finally got the courage to leave in search of happiness in the form of true lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvve. What actually resulted, however, was a series of three train-wreck relationships in a row, each progressively worse than the one preceding it.
The first two I had no problem severing all ties once I recognized the signs and heeded the red flags. The third…not so much.
I have thus been in an on-and-off, tumultuous, long-distance [Here’s your first problem…], neglectful relationship with my BPD girlfriend for almost two years. I won’t go into the specifics only because it is not necessary; the behavior is clearly BPD; she meets 6 of the 9 diagnostic criteria (of which as you know you only need 5 to be diagnosed) [I don’t pay attention to ‘criteria’, I simply pay attention to what I’ll accept].
I also won’t go into why I am attracted to such a type, as I am fully aware I have my own fear of attachment issues, narcissist issues, mommy and daddy issues, nice guy issues, and codependency issues all of which I am working on.
No, I won’t go into of any of that now. I am writing this now because, despite knowing the facts about her, her diagnosis, and myself, like tens of thousands of other BPD partners, I find myself wanting to make this thing WORK [That’s why I do what I do].
Wanting to understand her and what makes her tick, and wanting effective coping strategies and ways to understand her behavior so as not to react to it [Every ‘BPD’ really is different, there is no linear method that works for everyone].
I’ve read dozens of books and internet sites, but of note Rick Reynolds’ work here at reignitethefire.net has been EXTREMELY helpful with my goals of at least becoming a stronger person from all of this (I literally read his BPD book every morning) [Thanks for the compliment. Readers take note how he said he read the book everyday. It takes 21 days to build a new habit. One read isn’t going to have any benefit].
But in the hundreds of hours of soul-searching I have done during my GF’s distancing or splitting-me-all-black periods, this morning while watching the sun rise petting my cat it actually hit me like a ton of bricks:
She is JUST like my Cat!
I never owned a cat or liked cats in my life; I thought I was allergic. I was always a dog person [As you should be. Cats are for lonely women. Kidding (sorta…)]. It was actually my BPD GF who convinced me to buy a kitten a year ago.
Turns out I wasn’t allergic and one year later I’m sitting here staring at my cat and marveling how beautiful she is – her markings, her eyes, the way she looks at me – and at the same time, as I am trying to pet her, I have gotten scratched, bitten, and run away from several times.
BOOM. It hit me. And as I thought more about it, I discovered soooooo many similarities:
1) Cats are, for the most part, exquisitely beautiful animals. Their markings, eyes, even the feel of their fur is luxurious and quite addictive. They KNOW this [Ain’t that the truth!].
2) Cats are fiercely independent, and love to remind you of this even in the way they look at you with disdain. Yet I still keep her around, and she looks at me as if to say “You sap.” [Or she might be baiting you into coming to her – in which she’ll reject you if you bite]
3) Cats will never stop their instinctual behavior – hunting and stalking her next prey, whether real or imagined. [And yet when you learn, they become cute and playful]
4) A cat will never appear sorry for being a cat. She neither understands nor cares how you feel about her behavior either. [And here’s the difference between a cat and a BPD – cat’s are very confident while BPD’s are not. And cats DO care how you feel about them, they’re just good at hiding it until you’re in bed and they’re sleeping on your stomach]
5) A cat comes and goes as she pleases. Whenever I want to cuddle her, pick her up, pet her etc, she runs away. She often comes back out of curiosity but then always runs away again. [Cats are very independent creatures. If you chase them, they’ll run just like most women]
Conversely, she wakes me up headbutting me *every* morning wanting attention. Sits on my chest staring at my face plotting to kill me in my sleep lol. Fetches toys in the middle of the night and headbutts me wanting to play. She wants the attention on *her* timetable – but once you do give it to her, she ultimately runs away. In fact, the only sure way to get attention from her…is to ignore her. She will literally do backflips on the floor then, rolling over like a puppy. It is truly remarkable. [You’re learning the ways of being with a BPD, my friend]
6) Cats will disappear for hours in your own apartment, for no rhyme or reason. They will then come out once in a while to see what you are doing. This is NOT to satisfy your needs – it’s to satisfy their boredom. [They want to know that you’re still there. They care for you and want you around BUT they do not want you chasing them. There’s a reason BPD’s always have cats lol]
7) Cats’ curiosity and at times recklessness gets them into trouble sometimes; e.g. zooming into and then subsequently getting locked inside closets for hours. It has never, not once, stopped her from doing it again.
8) A cat will completely ignore you and the toy you just bought her – and then go happily play in the box it came in. By herself. [Yet in the morning the toy will be on your bed next to your head]
9) Last and most important lesson I’ve learned – you CANNOT “train” a cat. They train YOU. [I disagree. At the end of the day, you feed the cat. They will be waiting for this food from you daily thus why they respect you]
They will never change their behavior for you. EVER. For example, they will never learn how not to be a cat just because you really wish they were a dog, or are used to only handling dogs, etc. They have instant amnesia combined with high intelligence and infinite stubbornness.
They will continue to pee on your beanbag chair if they decide to do so, and will still look at you like “What?” (my solution was to hide the beanbag chair in a closet, until I can figure out a better solution). [In other words, you can’t control a cat. This is true when it comes to relationships – you cannot control your partner. It is not your job to. Successful partners know that the key to relationships is freedom]
I know that my BPD GF is not my pet, and I also know some of the above are not exact correlates, but still the similarities floored me. Basically – it was easy being a dog owner.
But I’ve had to *work* at tolerance and understanding, and make some *major* ego sacrifices to be a cat owner. Meaning – I have GROWN as a person. [What you’ve learned here is that freedom is a key component to dating your girlfriend. Good job on realizing this]
And the thing is – I still keep her around. I really love my cat (regardless of the above, and maybe even *because* of some of the above), and at this point I don’t want to be without her. Whatever that speaks about me is almost irrelevant to me, because I don’t really care. I just know I love her – even if she is a cat.
Thanks for letting me share.
One of the best wedding vow I ever heard was a guy marrying a high-profile girl. All he said was that he promises to give her the freedom she needs to continue to pursue her dreams throughout life. I shed a tear.
– Rick Reynolds