Sarahjanus's Blog

February 24, 2012

Borderline Personality

I tried a few of the online tests and quizzes for Borderline Personality Disorder this morning. I’ve been diagnosed as having this Disorder. The diagnosis was part of a battery of tests run when “we” were trying to figure out what my problems were. My therapist and I came to the conclusion that I had insulated myself from some traumatic childhood event(s) but we were unable to release the emotions and eventually the therapy fizzled out.

The first quiz I tried returned a score of 27, which on their scale put me in the 24 to 32 category and made it “likely” that I had the disorder. The next category was 32 and up which made the disorder “severe”. That’s a bit of a jump if you ask me, all the way from “likely” to “severe” with the difference being how you answered a couple of questions.

The second quiz was longer and it returned a table of results;

Paranoid: moderate                Schizoid: high              Schizotypal: very high

Antisocial: high                       Borderline: moderate             Histrionic: moderate

Narcissistic: very high             Avoidant: high             Dependent: moderate

Obsessive-Compulsive: moderate

At least now I have something to do for the rest of the day, look up schizoid, and schizotypal. To tell the truth, there is nothing new or unknown in these results. I was finishing a degree two years ago and one of the credits was a course that required a series of introspective papers. The course was predominantly about Organizational Behaviour, but anyone who has completed one of these credits knows the over-arching concept; you cannot understand others until you understand yourself.

The two “very high” ratings are not positive areas of anyone’s personality. As you can imagine, I wasn’t too happy to get the ratings back. In the early event, the quizzes were supplied as part of the program and somewhat endorsed by the instructor. The caveat was that quizzes are only quizzes and the outcomes can be impacted by many factors. Anyone who has completed a university credit in research can list the factors so I won’t go into great detail here. Suffice it to say that being quizzed is enough to influence the outcome.

One of the most significant issues for me is the either/or answers. My example is; do you avoid social situations because they make you feel uncomfortable, yes or no? Well, I sometimes avoid social situations because I feel uncomfortable. There are other times when my confidence is sound and I have no problem in a roomful of friends, acquaintances and strangers. There are times when I enter a setting feeling confident but I quickly begin to feel as if I don’t belong so I begin to withdraw mentally and soon after, I will withdraw physically and leave.

Another question asks if I trust people upon introduction and will share personal information with them. That’s a poor paraphrasing of the question, but I hope you get the drift.

Do I trust people upon meeting them? No. I trust no-one. Eventually every-one will give you up. It is the way of the world. But, will I share details and confidences with acquaintances instead of with my friends and intimates? Yes, but I do it because I care less about what acquaintances think of me. When I meet some-one I can be honest and straight-forward with them. I don’t begin to lie to people until they become part of my life and then, I worry about what they think of me so I begin to control what I say so as to always appear in the best light.

Do I engage in risky and destructive behaviours? Yes. There has been a history of binge drinking, drug use, extra-marital affairs. I have ridden and continue to ride motorcycles. I’ve driven recklessly and crashed cars. I like parachuting, and flying ultra-lights. I’ve ridden bulls for the rodeo. The question becomes; did I do these things because of a personality disorder, or because I repressed the urge to cross-dress, ignored the latent homosexuality and refused to consider the very real possibility that I might live more comfortably as a woman?

Consider this, all of those behaviours began to gather dust and fade into my troubled past as I surrendered more and more to the cross-dressing drive. Allow me the opportunity to cross-dress for a few hours at least one day a week, and I become a very calm and at-peace individual. Even in times when I can’t dress, give me a few hours shopping for women’s clothing and the tensions will ease. So is the cross-dressing the answer or is it just another behaviour on the continuum of risky and destructive activities. The consequences of getting discovered and “outed” are pretty significant. I don’t know the answer to the question.

I have also been told by my unsuccessful therapist that I predictably engage in behaviours that are likely to destroy or at least disrupt my primary relationship and consequently my existing happiness. Again, the same question can be asked. Do I cross-dress because it is a true personality facet or is it just another way of ensuring that I will never be happy?

I have compiled my blogs into a volume to which I now add diary entries. Even here there are things that I can write to myself about without being ready to share them with the anonymous world. Is that the epitome of narcissism, not sharing personality quirks that might cause unknown and anonymous readers to think less of me?

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February 17, 2012

What I could have been.

It must be part of the evolution of becoming someone different. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me. Or, is it part of becoming myself after being someone-else forever? I don’t know.

I’m a late bloomer, so to speak. I didn’t begin to seriously cross-dress until I was in my fifties. I had some “moments” earlier in my life but like so many other things, I suppressed them and carried on being what I was expected to be. Sometimes I wonder if I am overly vague in what I write, so I will try to be a bit more specific here.

I had a youth that was tarnished by a constant but not over-whelming sense of “not belonging”. I was a boy but not one of the boys. I had my male friends but they were my friends in a way that was never influenced by gender. I had few friends that were girls because I was socially awkward and felt inept. I was an emotional child and never particularly athletic. I was also the first-born for my parents, so I carry the scars of the first child, the hopes and expectations that didn’t materialize. I am now estranged from my parents. I am told by my S.O. that, since my parents are in their 80’s, they will pass without me correcting the relationship and I will live with the regret of not correcting before then.

My cousin is gay. As a youth he carried himself with an effeminate manner which caused my parents to believe him to be gay even as a teenager. We were only a year apart in age. I knew he was gay because I was intimate with him as a teenager, pretty much every chance we got. We lived a long distance apart so time together tended to be family vacations or holidays. Creating time together out of sight of the other family members was difficult when everybody was staying in the same house, but we usually managed something. There was only one time when we returned from a disappearance, having been gone too long for the cover story, that I thought our parents were wondering just what we had been up to.

This rather lengthy recounting is to establish a context. My father despised/despises homosexuals. He only tolerated my cousin because, like my aunt, he never had to deal with it directly and his nephew was family. He could turn a blind eye to it. I was always certain that I could never reveal any of my youthful escapades to him without getting a beating. I never did reveal them. I got smacked around for being late and I got smacked for doing simple everyday things wrong. I wasn’t about to broach any significant matters with him, sexual or otherwise. I learned that the path of least conflict was conformation, and so my life-course was set.

I conformed to expectations. I remained clearly hetero-sexual in spite of the pattern of less-than-stellar hetero-relationships. I didn’t ever let anyone get close to me emotionally, and I acted out.

Here I am today, sitting at a keyboard, dressed as a woman, feeling a level of comfort in my own skin that has eluded me for all of my life, which brings me back to my thoughts on evolution.

Suppressing my personality and conforming denied me the opportunity to go as the person I might have been. It also means that my dressing has had to go through a huge set of phases and stages quickly, to catch up with the mental and physical person. I began with shoes, added nylons, and then outer clothes before returning to under-garments, then make-up, wigs and forms. I had a stylized idea of how I should dress, which nearly always meant skirts or dresses.

My “conforming” personality is quite conservative, although it often screams out to be noticed. This life-long style is influencing how I dress as a woman, but that influence is waning. I now consciously move away from the drab colors, searching out the bright colors that I truly want. I made a pact with myself to not buy anything grey, black or blue unless I am absolutely certain that it is appropriate.

I have always been aware of the images of cross-dressers as middle-aged men dressed in ill-fitting lingerie. I knew that wasn’t me, but I have come to realize that lingerie is an important part of my attire and something I wish to acquire. I have a lot to learn about lingerie, what I should wear when etc. but it is now an accepted and sought-after part of my wardrobe. When I put on my outer clothes, I want to know that my under-garments are attractive, and matched. This is not like my drab under-wear, wearing whatever is in the drawer simply because it is convenient. Now, as I dress in the morning, I expect to see bright colors, fitted properly and coordinated top and bottom.

Since the beginning of this year, and it being winter in Canada, when I dress, I dress for comfort. I wear jeans, leggings or yoga pants. If I wear short-sleeved tops, I wear a sweater. Last summer I tried to wear a skirt every-day that I could, regardless of what I was doing.

Now, I have evolved. I dress as femininely as I can but as comfortably as I can for whatever it is I have to do. Jeans and flats in the house are the way. I would be ever so happy if I could go to the shops dressed as I am.

This is the evolution that I am wondering about, rocketing through the phases because I started so late in life. I have to wonder how I would have evolved if I had acknowledged this segment of my personality much earlier in my life. Would I have evolved to the same conservative styles? Or, would the greater length of time and the earlier start have allowed me to break out of the conservative mold and be more flamboyant. I know the women that appeal to me, and I mean in terms of attracting my attention, rather than sexually stimulating. They are the ones who would be described as well-dressed, or as having an under-stated class. They are not flashy, not overtly sexual in their style.

I am not longing to have my life back to do over. I am just wondering what path it might have taken if I had been more honest with myself and others far earlier.

I’ve written before that I am a coward. I still avoid confrontation, not as much as I once did but certainly more than my own ego is happy with. I’m not stating that my domineering father is responsible for that portion of my personality but he certainly was an influence. He might well have been the stressor that caused a pre-existing flaw to flourish rather than wither. In fairness, although I don’t believe it but I have to say it, perhaps he was a good man and I am just a flawed child who grew up to be a flawed adult.

Regardless, where I am now is not where I ever expected to be. My career was successful. I conformed well and advanced well. I achieved the goals I had set for myself and I am happy with the outcomes. I always knew the drive to cross-dress lived in me. I knew it never erupted before because my fears of being found out out-weighed the drive. In the end, the drive overcame the fears of being found out. I do not yet have the strength of personality to crawl out of the deep recesses of the closet I live in. I will probably never have that strength.

It is worth noting though, that I am a much happier person in all the segments of my life since I acknowledged the drive to cross-dress and began to explore the possibility that I might have lived a better life as a woman.

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