Today’s topic is already often considered a curse word, and when it comes to someone with Borderline Personality Disorder it can get pretty dangerous for the individual. The Life Trap of Dependence, or in other words, being dependent on people too much, is something I struggled with for most of my life, and am trying to mend these days.
A brief summary based on what the book, Tunne Lukkosi by Kimmo Takanen, tells us of the Life Trap of Dependence:
I am unable to take care of myself, I don’t even trust I could do it. I need others to carry me, to take care of me. Like a child, I am not someone who is making my own path, and the anxieties related to adulthood are hard for me to cope with. This makes it so that I may be avoiding choices that would make me more independent.
Making decisions is very hard for me because I don’t trust my judgment. I sit on it for a long while, ask for opinions and guidance, and even after getting the validation I seek, I may be unsure of what to do. Every bad choice, perceived or real, makes me even more uncertain of new choices.
I get anxious and desperate when faced with more responsibility than what I am comfortable with. I avoid anything that would bring me these feelings, which leads to avoiding being challenged, responsible, and having initiative. Sometimes even the most normal everyday chores feel overwhelming.
When compensating for the Life Trap of Dependence, I may try to be overly independent. I will not ask for help, even if I would truly need it, and I might make sudden, rash decisions. As The Trap might have formed as a coping mechanism, I may get together with a strong person who will take care of me, but also rule over my life – making the dependence on the other person stronger and the Trap more powerful.
At first glance, this might not seem too bad.
In my case, however, it got to cosmic proportions that lead me into a state of not having control over my own finances, not having clean clothes. Not being able to get anywhere and adopting a very poor diet. At the end of it I was convinced that I will literally die should I be on my own.
I became someone who has issues with normal things, such as taking care of bills, calling to get my own appointments, even calling my family members. I got severe anxiety if there was even thought of me having to go somewhere on my own, and when it came down to money I was absolutely terrified.
All through my life, I feel as though I have not got much support for my choices. Parents, friends, teachers, everyone just seemed to know better. As a result of this and the other Life Traps, I started always making sure what I’m doing is right and proper in the eyes of others. Every real choice I made for myself to this day has been questioned and sneered at by someone in my circles.
The responsibilities of a ‘’normal’’ life are too much for me.
I can not for the life of me work in a regular nine to five type of job, it would break me. The demanding nature of ‘’you have to’’, makes me want to hide in the darkest corner of the closet and never come out. Sometimes I’ve had days when I get an anxiety episode because I need to do the dishes, vacuum, and cook on the same day.
When I am faced with a new thing, such as a food that I even decided I want to try, I start questioning the idea as something stupid and a thing I should’ve never even thought of. I really don’t want to be put in a situation where I have to make a choice, as it makes me terrified. After all, I wasn’t allowed to make any real choices in my life without judgment until recently.
Here is a story for you:
I’ve been doing such a great job keeping the meltdowns under control, that my husband decided to take me to the store – I could have any treat I wanted! Now, normally I would be thrilled, and I was for a while since we lead a sort of strict life in the Vana household to make sure my gorging and snacking doesn’t get out of control. When I got to the store I got immediate anxiety, to a level of a panic attack. How am I supposed to choose? Why are you doing this to me? Even if I pick something it’s not going to be what I can take!
In the end, I managed to pick out some options and gave my husband the last say. A point to note here is that I could’ve truly picked out anything I wanted, so long as it was reasonable. No more having a bag of candy a day for this emotional eater!
The years of having been conditioned into thinking that I am incapable of making any sort of decisions lead me into being terrified when faced with a choice of snacks.
Sometimes I overcompensate, and it gushes out in bursts of defiant, loud rage. I have been known to scream at my husband for him wanting me to be at home, as we both know I can’t handle a job most people can. The home is where I thrive, as a woman and a writer, yet sometimes society gets into my head and I feel trapped.
I’ve also been known to randomly start searching for apartments, make plans for businesses, or just shut down and refuse to accept even the food that is in the house because it wasn’t gotten by ‘’my money’’. The pain of having been deprived of any resemblance of independence floods out and I become desperate to try and prove that I can make it on my own – even if it means I hurt the ones I love in the process.
I think I have a sort of idea where this Life Trap might’ve come from, as when my core family broke apart when I was 11 or 12 years old, I was alone with my thoughts and struggles. I went online and searched for people that made me feel better and became addicted to it. Later on, I found someone who promised I would be taken care of, and I made them my messiah. I was desperate to find someone who would save me from the darkness.
Alas, my life took a turn for the worse as I got ruled by someone who couldn’t even keep their own life in order.
The book tells me that when the Life Trap of Dependence starts unraveling, I will gradually feel more able to make it on my own. I won’t avoid learning new things and will know when to ask for help, trusting myself and my ability to make decisions more. I will even be able to tackle challenges that previously seemed too much!
This journey is well on its way, as my husband is very brutal about some things. He does not take my calls unless I’m in a very bad place mentally, he doesn’t make my appointments, he put me in charge of the house… All of these things I am only learning now, as previously they were out of my reach.
He has given me the support in things I really needed it, such as healthier living and writing, which is something I did not have before. All of this gives me the joy and terror of being more free with myself, knowing that I chose this marriage and whatever came with it was told to me before it happened.
So while I still am with an incredibly strong person who is watching over me and guiding me, sometimes holding my hand tightly, I can feel confident in myself and in my choices. I am slowly walking the steps of life in the direction I have always wanted to go to.