Life Traps | Pt. 22: Taking it personally

Posted by Maria

In this post, I will look at one of the most hurtful parts about being Borderline, the fact that I take almost everything personally. Opinions, random happenings I had no control over, and much more fall on my shoulders daily. All of this relates heavily to my Life Traps that make me feel inferior, such as Failure, Subjugation, and Hypercriticalness


I tend to take feedback very poorly. While I understand the need for some constructive criticism and suggestions to make things even better, it makes me feel personally attacked. Attacked in a way that any bad comments I get might lead to me thinking that I am a terrible human being and deserve to be punished by the scum of the earth. You know, the ones that just trolls and are toxic because that’s what makes them feel better. This all, just because I might’ve been told that someone is wondering why I don’t have matching socks on. 

I’m very rational and smart most of the time. Yet, when this feeling of having messed up so badly that I’m not worthy of anything good takes over me, I fail to see any sense. At that moment, there is only me, and the ‘fact’ that the person giving me feedback must hate me and want me out of their sight because I didn’t bring them something they enjoyed. Even if they actually enjoyed and gave me plenty of encouragement, the smallest, side clause of a suggestion to change something might send me into my dark spiral.

If only I had been better

Another thing that might make me spiral into depravity is a failure. And while it is somewhat understandable that my own fuck-ups would make me feel a tad bad, what about things I had no control over? There have been moments when things happen, such as ridiculously overpowered people in the PVP (Player vs Player) arena just wiping the floor with us, and I take it as my own lack of skill. I’ve been against hackers that are literally invincible, and I still think it was my fault, that I should’ve been better. Even when someone happens to be a terrible human being, and they choose to come at me, I think that it’s my fault for upsetting the person. That I deserved whatever came for me. 

This is how I’ve lived since I stopped being a giddy child somewhere around the age of 11 and started dealing with systematic bullying from people I had just a few months ago considered to be my friends. I’ve been conditioned to think that I am the terrible one from then on, and now I’m trying to find a way to re-wire my brain to a mode that understands that no, sometimes it was someone else’s doing, or maybe even nobody’s fault. There’s no need to think I’m a demon just because someone decided to point a finger at me!

Women are snakes, that makes me a snake 

One of the things making general discussion nigh impossible between me and my husband is that I tend to make generalizations to heart. When someone gives a critical opinion on women, the mentally ill, or a minority I support or identify with, I take it personally. Even if it had nothing to do with me as an individual. 

One such hot topic in our household is feminism. While I enjoy talking about the absurdity of the extremists, I often find myself in defense. Why? Because to me, you saying something like “Women are not logical” is a direct attack on my person. Even when I know it had nothing to do with me, and that the discussion was about extremists, violent, highly emotional, and illogical groups of people. Women are not logical, I am a woman, thus I am not logical. This kind of simplified, generalized internalization of things makes me very offended, very often. 

This also leads to the fact that my dear husband can’t casually come to me for intellectual debates about various topics. He has to keep his step light since he can’t know if I’m going to be triggered or not, and that takes a toll on the relationship. We are currently working on this, having amazing discussions while I’m not fatigued or otherwise stressed. Hopefully one day he can come to me and feel that everything is on the verbal menu.

Why are you grumpus?

When I consider everything to be caused by me (not in a narcissistic I’m the center of the universe kind of way, but instead the kind of way that stems from a lifetime of failure and subjugation), it brings difficulty accepting people’s natural switches in moods. Say my husband has had an annoying day at work, something bothers him, or he is just tired. Obviously, he wouldn’t be his best self and why should he? He needs rest and love to recover from the stresses, just like anyone of us would. Sometimes I am unable to provide that support.

I am unable to provide it because I see his grumpiness as something I’ve done to him. I must’ve messed up somewhere: Maybe the food was heavy on the salt? Maybe I didn’t give him enough attention? Maybe the server crashing was some cosmic punishment given to me for not meditating enough?

I know I can help him feel better, yet I’m frozen in fear, thinking that he must hate me now because I have failed him. And with people hating me comes abandonment. With anger and displeasement, I will suffer, and I will do so alone. That fear is about the most hindering thing in my life – I can’t stand thinking that I’ll be left alone, let alone thinking it’s my own fault if it happens.

You meant it!

I have a hard time recognizing intent, or actually the lack of it, in people’s actions. Everyone is continuously after my hide, the whole world. When I meet someone for the first time and talk to them, I start wondering what they are getting out of it, or what do they think they will get out of it. How will I be used today? 

It is incredibly difficult to see that some things might’ve just been accidents. I’ve spent a lot of my life being the emotional (and sometimes literal) punching bag for the scum of the Earth, so these days I see every hurtful thing as something that was meant to hurt me. And let me tell you, as a Borderline, I get hurt tons. 

My experiences throughout my life dealing with all manner of toxic beings has left me so wounded that my worldview is twisted beyond belief. It has taken loads of hard work to try to even begin to understand that I am NOT a punching bag. That I DON’T deserve to be punished for other people’s mistakes. That I am only responsible for myself, and by the extension of marriage, for my husband. I am here, I am me, and that in itself is worthy of respect and compassion. 

Do you take things too personally? Let us know in the comments!

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