My boss has Borderline Personality Disorder – Part 2

Every month the amount of people coming to the blog to find out how to deal with their BPD boss grows. For every one of you coming here to try to find out how to deal with someone that has BPD I want to hug you! Part of that may be my overly sensitive emotions and tendency towards inappropriate relationships, but more so it’s because I can see you’re going through a difficult time with someone you’re stuck with all day. That is an extremely difficult thing to deal with.

Something I mention in my first post about this topic is that you can’t change the person. That if it gets too bad then maybe look for a new job. Which is entirely unfair. I can hear the “that’s ridiculous!” and “That’s unfair!” and “Why should I be the one to change?!” screams coming through as I read my own words. And to these I respond, “yes” and “it is” and “you shouldn’t”. So why then do I leave that advice there?

The fact is we can’t control other people. We can only control ourselves. I’m not saying that the tough manager shouldn’t be held responsible. Everyone should be held responsible for their actions. But you can’t control your boss any more than I can control you. So then the question may come up of why their manager isn’t doing something about it. Maybe you can’t control them, but certainly their boss can hold them responsible, right? To which I argue, who says they’re not?

I recently fired someone, and ya know what? It took over a year. In a large corporation an HR department needs strong documentation of what the issue is, how it effects the team, how it effects the business, and proof that the employee has been made aware and given all necessary tools to change. If that can be proven and the changes have not been made, then the person can be let go. I was stuck in a situation where the employee did not work in the same office as me and I had to rely on others to provide feedback. If they didn’t then I had nothing to go off of. I needed proof that the employee was not improving despite the additional discussions, warnings, and trainings she had received. There were people who wondered why I wasn’t doing anything, but refused to provide feedback at the same time. I was doing site visits, asking for feedback, documenting everything possible. I was assigning training classes, following up, and more. I was stuck with a system that needed people to speak to me and people that refused to speak.

The manager of your BPD manager might be doing things that you aren’t aware of. Maybe they’re tying to document and people aren’t speaking up. Maybe they don’t know. Maybe they’re in process providing new trainings and looking to see if it helps. We don’t know what’s happening behind closed doors. We can’t assume.

So along with taking ownership of your actions, make sure to document things and speak to your bosses boss when needed. Do so tactfully and in detail. Don’t speak on mental illness, that will make things far messier. Instead speak on specific examples of things that took place. It may take time to see improvement, but that doesn’t mean that the person isn’t being held responsible for their actions.

Here’s some examples of how to provide feedback:

Instead of “She just doesn’t understand boundaries” say “I stated last week that I am uncomfortable with her hugging, and yet she has continued to hug me.” Notice how the first statement is vague and could mean she walked past you too close for all we know. That will barely get a reaction from the big boss. The second statement, however, is an ethics violation and potentially sexual harassment. The person you report that to has to immediately follow up with some form of action.

Instead of “She has a bad temper” say “She began yelling at me in front of the team yesterday. I felt embarrassed and struggled to focus on my work the rest of the day.” The first statement could be her temper or your thin skin, no way for an outside party to know. The second statement is clearly her reacting poorly to a situation in a way that negatively impacted your work and employee moral. The first statement makes a manger want to say “work it out” while the second is likely to prompt a verbal warning if it’s the first documented offense or written warning if it’s been documented before.

Sometimes this still won’t make things change. I don’t know why, I’m not there. And it may still come to a point where you have to leave because the environment isn’t getting better. I get that. I’ve been there. I had a boss that had extremely high turnover and had a way of making her boss believe that it was because she had developed them for great things, when everyone who worked for her knew it’s because we’re all trying to get away from her. I attempted to provide feedback, my manager knew I might so never had anything in email. It was my word against hers and hers always won. I tried to switch teams and was told that I needed to learn how to work with others, and would not be allowed to work for anyone else. Meanwhile this boss was treating me and many others horribly. I left the company. They lost my skills and experience because of her. I was not the first, nor will I be the last. Last I heard from a previous coworker, her relationship with her boss doesn’t seem to be quite the same. She’s not on such a high pedestal, she’s not getting to run her team however she wants anymore, and her work is being more closely monitored. Enough people provided enough similar, and constructive, feedback that it’s finally being looked into. But not until after I had to get out.

Also keep in mind the potential for your boss to change. I recently called an employee “sweetie”. A habit of mine outside the office that accidentally slipped at the office. He reported it to my boss who mentioned it to me. Not only am I being more careful what I say to him, I am more careful what I say in general. I need to change to ensure my team feels comfortable at work. Whether the change is before or after an employee leaves, it is possible.

I’m wishing you all the best in your career! Please remember that things can get better and less stressful even if it requires tough choices to be made.

I will not

I will not rage quit my job today.

I will not allow a single email to determine my career.

I will not allow this bitch to get to me, even after nearly three years of her hacking away at my mental state at work.

I will not rage quit my job today.

I will not stay up all night.

I will not be up all night afraid of the dreams that will haunt my sleep.

I will not allow my stress from the day to determine whether or not I will sleep that night.

I will not stay up all night.

I will not spend the day in tears.

I will not hide and cry all day over the devastation in this world.

I will not dwell on my personal experiences of loved once trapped in past shootings and replay the fear in my head while others face this new terror in their own lives.

I will not spend the day in tears.

I will not give up.

I will not forget that this day is temporary.

I will not allow the insanity of my current life and stress levels to destroy the future I am always fighting towards.

I will not give up.

By a robber in the woods

A very dear friend of mine attempted suicide this weekend. She survived and is safe in a psychiatric hospital right now. But I spoke with her today and she still seems overcome by the depression and the sorrow she faces. I looked briefly through photos of us over the past few months and can see, now with clarity, the smile on her face and the sorrow in her eyes.

I am in hermit mode while I safely heal my own broken heart as she exhaustedly fights for hers. I await to see the success of her fight because I cannot bear it to think she may lose. She is strong, though she doesn't see it. She is brave, though she sees only her fear. I will see the truth of her on her behalf while she navigates the dark woods of her depression.

I do not claim to be religious but have studied numerous scholars of numerous religions. One of the things that has always stuck with me was the idea by Martin Luther in the 16th Century that suicide did not mean that the soul was damned. That having your life taken by the despair the devil attacks you with is no different than being murdered by a robber in the woods. I believe that to be true.

My friend was attacked by a robber in the woods. She survived but continues to fight through these horrifying woods of her mind. I hope she receives the guidance she needs to make it out. Whether through a god, a therapist, a friend, or a family member. I want her to come safely out, back into the sunshine that will heal her.

Shifts of mood

I’m shifting from depression to anxiety which sucks but also gives hope. This is common for me when I’m about to feel better. What gives me hope the most though isn’t that I’m likely to feel better soon, but that I recognize it. For so many years I did not recognize my cycles, and it made them more intense and frightening. I felt more desperate and wanted to give up so often. Through 2 years of therapy I am just now finally getting to understand my own mind, my mental monster. I’m so proud of this, and so glad that I stuck with treatment. 

I want to encourage all who face these mental monsters to stick with treatment. You may not see results for quite a while, but stick to it anyway. You didn’t learn to tie your shoes, or ride a bike, or add fractions over night (ok, fractions are a bad example, I’m not sure I ever really learned that). You learned through constant effort. Therapy is the same. Stick to it, keep trying, keep learning. And when you have sessions where you’re yelling at your therapist that “this shit is stupid!” And she asks “what do you want to do?” Schedule your next appointment. That is what you want to do, even if you don’t recognize it right away. Stick to it. I believe in you and your ability to win this fight, and I believe in using all the resources available to you. 
Namaste y’all – I bow to the divine in you

I will know that I am dreaming and I will take control

You may or may not remember, but a few months ago I was talking about my attempts at lucid dreaming (or as I call it, mindful dreaming). Well, I haven’t spoken of it since then, but only because their was nothing to report. I have continued working towards this goal but as my mental state was fluctuating it was not happening. Well now it is, kind of.

Every night I go to bed mental focused on the statement “I will know that I am dreaming, and I will take control.” This along with my practicing a dream test (trying to push my hand through a solid object) are my main techniques to try to become aware within my dreams. 

Over the last week I have been dreaming that I am lucid dreaming. So like my dream self would fall asleep in the dream and have a lucid dream. It sounds weirder than it feels lol. But last night I got a step closer. I woke up in the middle of the night and recognized that I was mid-dream and likely to continue it if I fell right back to sleep, so I began to focus on my statement as I fell back to sleep.

Shortly within this dream I recognized it for what it was. I was not aware enough to control my environment, but still enough to consciously make my own decisions within the scenario playing out. Definitely a step in the right direction and I look forward to continuing this practice.

Team love ❤️ 

It has been a very crazy week at work. Some massive departmental changes threw the whole team out of wack, and we are short staffed while I finish interviewing, and then a very critical member of the team was out sick. Yes I appreciate that you did not spend the entirety of your shift vomiting on your desk, but work just got significantly harder and it was already a mess.

Ya know what? We pulled through! The day had everything done on time and beautifully, we’re set up for success tomorrow and feeling good. Yes everything would have been faster and smoother if it wasn’t all wonky right now, but I am so proud of the work my team got done! 

It is hard sometimes for them to accept my compliments and know how much I truly do appreciate them. So I want it to be known, when a manager tells you on a stressful day how wonderful you are, that you really did keep everything going well, that you are amazing. Believe it!!! Your manager is telling you the truth!!!

I adore my employees and am so proud of what we can accomplish as a team. I hope you all have people in your life that make things a bit more smooth. Whether at work, school, home, or wherever. Surround yourself with a great team. 

Sometimes I teach what I need to learn

When my son gets upset he yells “EVERY TIME!” Because “every time” he wants to do something brothers in the way, and “every time” he has to be the one to clean, “and every time” something goes wrong. So I’m asking him to change the words “every time” with the word “sometimes”. “Sometimes” isn’t yelled, and it’s not final, and it leaves room for success and failure so there is always a chance to improve. 

He told me today that “sometimes” he has trouble listening, and he does things wrong. I hugged him and said great job saying “sometimes”. And you know what? Sometimes momma has trouble listening and does things wrong. “Really?” He asked? Yes. But that is how we learn. It’s okay to make mistakes, because it is only sometimes, and then we do better.

What shocked me most about this conversation was that his sometimes focused on him. I was trying to get him to stop yelling about his brother and suddenly he opened up on something that was bothering him personally. I could see stress lift off of his little shoulders and knew that some of that anger was directed internally. Something I never recognized in him before.

I need to learn from the example he showed today. Sometimes I too will struggle to listen, and I will do something wrong. But it is okay, because it is sometimes. So sometimes I will succeed, and that’s what makes the struggles worth it.

Coping with BPD – Forgiveness 

When dealing with BPD it is critical that we learn to forgive ourselves. And this is where I most fail.

There are times that I will allow my emotions to get the better of me. I will snap at my husband. I will cry at work. I will have panic attacks in store parking lots. I will refuse to meditate out of mental exhaustion. I will forget to eat until it makes me sick. I will cut myself. I will burn myself. I will hide and cry uncontrollably. No matter how successful my treatment is, I will occasionally go backwards.

It is during these times I must forgive myself. I must love myself. Falling backwards is not failure, it is success, because I picked myself up again. When you fall, when your struggle gets the better of you, you are not failing! You are pulling on strength that you didn’t know you had and surviving for future success. Never forget that!

When we struggle and begin to feel the pain and heartache of that, the first step towards healing is forgiveness. Forgive yourself for the step back, and promise to love yourself as you begin to move forward again.

Coping with borderline personality disorder

I’m a data nerd. I research everything and love learning new facts about virtually anything I can. In fact a large portion of my job is data analysis. So when I was diagnosed with BPD the first thing I did was research, I wanted to gather as much data as I could so I could live a healthy life.

Upon starting my research my biggest concern was in how my disorder affected those around me, especially since I so consistently felt like I was detrimental to society. As I attempted to research I found website after website plus books, articles, and more on how to deal with someone who has BPD. Yet I couldn’t find any help on how to deal with your own BPD.

At that time I was already beginning to feel suicidal, needless to say it didn’t help to be told over and over again that people like me are simply a problem to be dealt with. It took me a long time and a lot of therapy to get past that and it still pops up in my head when my self esteem dips. So I want to share my tips for dealing with your own BPD. What has worked for me, what helps in my work and home life, what I force myself to do when my disorder tries to take control.

This will be a series of posts, so stay tuned. My hope is that this helps others who are trying to find their own support. And the first thing I want to say to all those seeking advice on dealing with their BPD is that you are not a problem, you are not detrimental, you are not a burden, and you are not alone. You can succeed in life no matter what your brain tells you, and you can have healthy relationships no matter what relationship issues you’ve had in the past. No matter how hard it is, you absolutely can have an amazing and healthy life, so never give up.