These episodes may reflect the individual’s extreme reactivity troubled by chronic feelings of emptiness (Criterion 7). Easily bored, they may constantly seek something to do.
source: BPD Today
So what are chronic feelings of emptiness? For me it is like this…
It’s a overwhelming numbness an empitness to the very core of your being.
Something vital to existence is missing.
A huge void needs to be filled.
Unable to feel anything.
Someone could crack the funniest joke and you stare at them blank faced unable to crack a smile even tough you know what they have said is really funny, it just washes over you not touching a fibre within you.
Something terrible could happen right in front of you and you would not cry or feel sad, again it just breezes past not touching you at all – other than a faint knowledge that you ‘should’ be feeling something, but nothing happens.
When consumed by this emptiness it will often prompt self-harm, undertaken in a vague attempt to feel – to see if you can still feel. Sometimes cutting will work and as you feel pain, then comes relief that you can actually still feel – that you are not numb, that you do exist.
Because when the emptiness devours you it is like you don’t exist.
It is a very surreal experience, almost an out of body experience. It’s like looking at yourself from a distance, you can see you are there and that things are going on around you but you are detached from it, hence no feelings.
Sometimes the cutting doesn’t work, so you cut more wanting to know how much it takes to stimulate feeling.
Luckily, as with any BPD emotional state the chronic feelings of emptiness that numb you to any occurrence are unstable, everything a BP feels or doesn’t feel is unstable, transient. So eventually it passes, overtaken by some other emotional state, although this could take hours or days.
The chronic feelings of emptiness are also closely linked to the unstable sense of self of BPD. It’s that phase of running on automatic pilot.
Doing things, but not really being there.
Not knowing who you are, what you are.
A fake, a phony, a robot, an actor in a play.
One of the important things during the phase of chronic emptiness is to avoid isolation, being along enhances and prolongs these periods – the difficulty is being able to avoid isolating oneself is a struggle when you have no motivation.
It is also a time when there are no masks in place, you are open, bare and vulnerable. Having no ability to feel for yourself it is a time when mirroring others feelings can just possess you, then at least you may ‘appear’ to be someone, something. Having no sense of self at these (and other times) makes it easy for you to slip into a role that gives you meaning, existence – even if it is only temporary.
It can be like ground-hog day, replaying the same scenes over and over, but nothing changes – until it does, often with a snap, bang or crash back into reality that stings, but the pain is irrelevant – because at least you are feeling again!
That is chronic feelings of emptiness as I see it.
How does this experience compare with your own?
Can you describe how ’emptiness’ feels to you?
- Impulsivity and Borderline Personality Disorder (showard76.wordpress.com)
- Do Borderlines lack Empathy? (showard76.wordpress.com)
- Boredom and Borderline Personality Disorder (showard76.wordpress.com)
- Borderline personality disorder – PubMed Health (bipolarmuse.com)
- Excellent Article on DBT and Addiction… Please Read (addictionts.com)