Splitting, splitting, splitting. It refers to thinking in terms of black and white, good and bad, awful or wonderful. Everybody does it, although it's a hallmark of people with borderline and narcissistic personality disorders. Even therapists and others professionals do it, although they should know better.
Here are some examples of splitting from myself and the book "The One Way Relationship Workbook" by Lavender and Cavaiola:
- The person with the disorder either loves or hates you; there is no middle ground.
- He has a long list of people he now despises, and tells you involved tales about how terrible his ex-partners were and how he was victimized.
- At the start of your relationship she idealized you; now you're what the dog brought in.
- The relationship has high highs and low lows
- She says truly hateful things when she's mad.
- Your therapist always assumes one gender is at fault and the other is a victim of the other gender (either a man or woman)
The BPD world itself contains a lot of splitting:
- People assume all people with BPD are either low-functioning, suicidal BPs or high-functioning persuasive blamers (high conflict personalities). Some therapists I know have never encountered a person with BPD who thinks their problems are everyone else's fault. Some family members have no idea that there is a large population that is desperate for treatment. In this movement, we must come to understand that different subgroups exist.
- Some people think all family members have the same needs. In truth, partners, adult children, parents, siblings, coworkers, and others all have different issues and bring different things to the relationship. When professionals do seminars for "family members," each audience should be targeted and addressed, or there should be separate seminars for different types of relationships.
- Some people online--bloggers, web owners, people on online family groups and others have a very narrow view of problems and solutions. Some are very "staying" or "leaving" oriented, assuming people with BPD (and family members and their issues) are all the same. Some have been victimized-or feel so victimized--that they absolve family members of any responsibility and paint high conflict personalities and vipers, devils, and vampires out to seek blood.
Some of the most angry people out there are those who never chose the relationship (such as second wives and adult children). Their concerns are valid and real, and they shouldn't feel invalidated. However, as they say, some of my best friends truly are people with BPD who work very hard in recovery (see the two categories above) and are no monsters.They take the stigma against BPD very personally. I see them hurt, and it bothers me terribly.