Borderline Personality Disorder – Nature or Nurture? A Personal Story

In my later school years I discovered a website called Recon, which is a cruising ground for gay men into BDSM, kink and fetish. Looking for an escape from my life, i would send messages to thousands of people and i’d be on the site every day. Eventually i met Master Marc, who treated me like a person rather than a sex toy and took an interest in my life. And that was when i began to slowly calm down, and look inside of my “self” and navigate out.

There was a lot of miscommunication during those early days. He often couldn’t understand my behavior, and it often appeared to Him that i was overly dramatic, but for me the emotions were so real.

When i watched the documentary above about borderline personality disorder, it reminded me of that time in my life. I remember once being told to stop manipulating and i genuinely didn’t feel that i was manipulating. It’s a harsh word, but it forced me to look at myself from a different perspective.

Now i have a much greater awareness of myself, and when i look back at the way i manipulated things as a kid, I can understand it in terms of BPD’s fear of abandonment. i was desperate to keep what i had found. Discussing Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms on PsychCentral, the author says:

These individuals are very sensitive to environmental circumstances. The perception of impending separation or rejection, or the loss of external structure, can lead to profound changes in self-image, affect, cognition, and behavior.”


They experience intense abandonment fears and inappropriate anger even when faced with a realistic time-limited separation or when there are unavoidable changes in plans (e.g., sudden despair in reaction to a clinician’s announcing the end of the hour; panic or fury when someone important to them is just a few minutes late or must cancel an appointment). They may believe that this “abandonment” implies they are “bad.” These abandonment fears are related to an intolerance of being alone and a need to have other people with them.  Relationships and the person’s emotion may often be characterized as being shallow.”

my Dad has a ferocious temper. Tiny things can trigger him to lose control. my Mom also had trouble controlling her anger when I was young. my Dad would yell and scream a lot, and he’d pick up things and throw them. When he got really angry he’d take me into the bedroom, lock the door, strip off my clothes and beat me. my Mom didn’t do much to protect me. Mostly she’d just keep repeating “apologise to your Dad, beg him, tell him you’re sorry”. But often i was stubborn and often i didn’t think that i had done anything wrong. my ADHD made me restless and inquisitive, and at the time it was undiagnosed so i was just seen at school and at home as “one of those kids that gets into trouble all the time”.

my Dad made my life such a misery that i can remember asking my Mom a few times why we couldn’t just die together, “you know, me and you and brother. We can just die and stop this life, and we’ll be happily ever after”. i really did just want to disappear from the world. It felt like too much pain for me.

my relationship with my teachers wasn’t much better. Having undiagnosed ADHD, i wasn’t able to keep up with school work, which got me into so much trouble. My dad seemed to be constantly yelling and throwing things, and i was always distracted and moving around, so i couldn’t finish my homework. One of my kindergarten teachers reported that i was a kid with high creativity, very kind and generous, willing to help my friends, but having attention issues.

As Asian parents, my parents just kept pushing because for them school results were the most important thing in the world.

So, as a result, i didn’t have a very secure home as a kid. It felt like i lived in a hostile world, at school and at home.

As puberty hit, I started to discover my sexuality as a submissive gay boy, and that added even more complication to my sense of self.

i remember i would wake up in the morning and start simulating social activities in school in my head. i would start worrying about who i would meet and how i should react to prevent judgement from my friends. when my friends turned away from me, i felt abandoned and started devaluing myself, searching my head for what i might have done that caused him/her to not want to be my friend. i would feel enormously sad when a friend didn’t reply to my message.

i remember every time my dad was home, the air was frozen, and i became so cautious of my breathing, my movement, my activity, my actions; so that my dad wouldn’t notice any questionable behaviour.

So, that was my childhood. i got beaten by teachers at school, bullied by friends, and abused by my parents because of the unfinished homework and my Dad’s irrational sensitivity. It was a horrible way of growing up, and i felt so bad that in primary school i once tried to drank a few cups of detergent, thinking i would just disappear from the world. It didn’t work out. i woke up in the middle of the night and start vomiting. No one figured out my suicide attempt, as i was just a little boy, no one thought a little boy would have suicidal mind, they just thought i had severe food poisoning.

Through my teen years i began to build up a mechanism to cope with the constant threatening conditions from my life. As i started journey deeper into my identity, i was lost in this constant hostility, i didn’t know who i was, and i started to behave as (i thought) others wanted me to behave. i tried to be a perfect friend, a perfect son (by behaving “numb” to my parents), a perfect student, and what not.

So, i guess for me my borderline personality disorder may have had a seed in nature. Perhaps i was born a sensitive kid or someone who processes stressful situations in a particular way. But i think most of mine is nurture. i think it’s been largely environmental.

i’ll save my adult years for another post at another time on this site, but basically it all hit a frenzy point in 2013 (my first year at university), with me pouring a lot of time and energy into reaching out madly in all directions for social contact and BDSM encounters. That included manipulation and lies that i’m not proud of.

It’s really only in the past 9 or 10 months, with a collar around my neck and a kind, caring and trustworthy Master who understands me, that i’ve managed to find stability, peace and love in my life. Everything has changed under my Master’s wing, and i’m in a safe place now. i don’t think BPD is over for me, i don’t think i’m “cured”. But i do feel safe and supported and able to look back into the past without it sending me into an uncontrolled spin.

That’s my story. How was it for you? Do you feel like it was nature or nurture? And is there a safe place for you? i’d love to hear your comments!

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