When I discovered sports as a way to cope with my chaotic home life during high school in the mid-1970s, about half of my softball teammates were gay. The girls who turned out to be my two closest friends on the team, our catcher, and our centerfielder, were both gay. I had a huge crush on our coach, who we all called Monte, a shortened version of her last name. She was gay as well, and although none of us knew it for sure, our “unofficial” assistant coach was her partner.

I’d never questioned my sexuality before, but immersed in that culture, I began to wonder if I was gay as well. I felt comfortable hanging out with my two close teammates away from school. On the weekends, I’d go over to one's apartment, and we’d do bong hits in her bedroom and listen to Kansas records. I don’t remember whether her parents were home. If they were they never bothered us.

At home, I had no one to talk to about my confusion. My father was sober by then, but he’d retreated into the depression he’d been medicating with booze. When inebriated, he was verbally and emotionally abusive, with a cruel and sarcastic tongue. Sober, he was just mean. My mother was working to support our family; once my father lost his job, he never worked again.

In college, it was the same. And after college, I played in the New York Advertising Co-Ed Softball League and partied with the men and women from all the different ad agencies at a bar on Third Avenue. I never got asked out and as I watched couples form, I wondered what was wrong with me.

I would be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder several years later, following diagnoses of anorexia and major depressive disorder, after two suicide attempts and numerous incidents of cutting—and following several psychiatric hospitalizations.

Many clients who suffer from BPD have a history of abuse. One study states, “Among multiple identified risk factors, one of the most influential elements is exposure to an adverse childhood experience in terms of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.”

Although my father verbally and emotionally abused me, he did not sexually abuse me. When I was on a long-term unit for patients with BPD, my psychiatrist there implanted false memories of sexual abuse by my father into my brain. For years afterward, I was convinced I’d been sexually abused, and I rattled off the proof to anyone who would listen. It would not be until years later, when I was seeing a psychiatrist, Dr. Lev, who specialized in treating BPD with transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP), that we were able to dissect the situation and examine my suggestibility and vulnerability at that time, not to mention my blind trust and idealization of that earlier psychiatrist. Dr. Lev and I were never able to determine the psychiatrist’s motives in doing what he did.

One of the DSM-5 criteria for BPD is “impulsivity in at least two potentially self-damaging areas (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).” My impulsivity manifested itself primarily in cutting, which is a different criterion. Impulsivity wasn’t one of the criteria I met when I was diagnosed with BPD. Although the concept didn’t exist when I was diagnosed, I believe I was a "quiet borderline."

Another study states that “those with borderline personality disorder are more likely to exhibit greater sexual preoccupation, have earlier sexual exposure, engage in casual sexual relationships, report a greater number of different sexual partners as well as promiscuity, and engage in homosexual experiences. In addition, patients with borderline personality disorder appear to be characterized by a greater number of high-risk sexual behaviors; a higher likelihood of having been coerced to have sex, experiencing date rape, or being raped by a stranger; and the contraction of more sexually transmitted diseases”

This was not me. Toward the end of our work together, Dr. Lev and I came to the conclusion I was asexual. I shrank from any sexual contact with men or women. This is part of the reason I believe I was a quiet borderline, but also an anomaly even within the borderline community.

A study that looked at symptoms of BPD that predict interpersonal stressful life events in older adults states that "only BPD was associated with interpersonal events, suggesting that the constellation of symptoms in individuals affected with borderline pathology is particularly detrimental in relation to interpersonal functioning in older aged community residents."

I don't believe I have a detriment in interpersonal functioning. I have a small, but close circle of good friends whom I talk with and see often. I have my family. My supervisor at my new job told me I seem to be fitting in well.

Some asexual people choose to be in sexless relationships with people of the same sex or the opposite sex. I don't feel that pull. I'm exhausted after working all day and spending a couple of hours writing notes. I not only relish my time alone, it's absolutely necessary for me to be able to recharge and refresh.

The study that looked at older adults also stated: "As individuals approach later life, certain features of BPD continue to serve as important risk factors for stressful life events of an interpersonal nature." Just as I do with my history of depression, I do wonder if there is a specific life event in my future that might prove so stressful it will unlock features of BPD I've worked to hard to overcome.

If you or someone you love is contemplating suicide, seek help immediately. For help 24/7 dial 988 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. To find a therapist near you, visit the Psychology Today Therapy Directory.

QOSHE - Borderline Personality Disorder and Sexuality - Andrea Rosenhaft Lcsw-R
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Borderline Personality Disorder and Sexuality

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14.05.2024

When I discovered sports as a way to cope with my chaotic home life during high school in the mid-1970s, about half of my softball teammates were gay. The girls who turned out to be my two closest friends on the team, our catcher, and our centerfielder, were both gay. I had a huge crush on our coach, who we all called Monte, a shortened version of her last name. She was gay as well, and although none of us knew it for sure, our “unofficial” assistant coach was her partner.

I’d never questioned my sexuality before, but immersed in that culture, I began to wonder if I was gay as well. I felt comfortable hanging out with my two close teammates away from school. On the weekends, I’d go over to one's apartment, and we’d do bong hits in her bedroom and listen to Kansas records. I don’t remember whether her parents were home. If they were they never bothered us.

At home, I had no one to talk to about my confusion. My father was sober by then, but he’d retreated into the depression he’d been medicating with booze. When inebriated, he was verbally and emotionally abusive, with a cruel and sarcastic tongue. Sober, he was just mean. My mother was working to support our family; once my father lost his job, he never worked again.

In college, it was the same. And after college, I played in the New York Advertising Co-Ed Softball League and partied with the men and women from all the different ad agencies at a bar on Third Avenue. I never got........

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