Last Mental Health Monday, I mentioned the Most Valuable Person, and re-reading the post, I realized I didn’t define it well. I mentioned going through multiple MVPs, but let’s go through what I mean by that. When I say the Most Valuable Person, or MVP in the context of Borderline Personality Disorder, I mean the person we use to define ourselves by. Now, this can be an external person, or this can be our internal core self. With a person who has BPD, the MVP is nearly always external, especially without treatment or self-awareness.
How The MVP Works
The MVP is not a person with whom we are in love. However, they will frequently take the form of a significant other, because the feeling of having an external MVP can be mistaken for being in love. I’ll get to that in a bit. First, the MVP is the person that is the mirror for our sense of self. They are the person we use to build our self image around, because if you remember, I described the unstable sense of self in my previous article. I also describe it here on YouTube.
That unstable sense of self necessitates finding some way to stabilize it, so we latch onto someone we perceive as having a strong sense of who we are as a person. We rely on their interpretation of us and try to fit ourselves into that perception. Sometimes we begin to mimic our MVP out of a sense that this will give us our identity.
Now, this may seem like attention-seeking, until you understand that having a core sense of self is a deep-seated need in humanity, and not having that sense can disrupt a large part of life. Now. Here’s where the issue of it coming into the realm of looking like love comes in. The need for the MVP feels like a form of love, but it is very, very conditional. See, there are still moments where we recognize ourselves in the mirror. And that causes problems.
Splitting on the MVP
Splitting is the concept of intense idealization and devaluation. The MVP is often the target of this idealization and devaluation. They are an angel when we are in the hurricane trying to find ourselves in the storm of our disorder and they are the calm windbreak able to stabilize everything. But then they call us out on something. We’re being unreasonable. We’re not being sane. Some little thing sets us off. And they are the devil. They’ve never done anything good for us. One of the things that causes splitting is the idea of the sense of self. When we don’t recognize ourselves and need an image to reassure us, they are an angel swooping in to save us from the madness.
When we do recognize ourselves in the mirror and the image doesn’t match the one our MVP is giving us, we get angry. Very, irrationally angry. Some of us lash out and attack the source of that anger. Some of us implode and attack ourselves. That’s another conversation. But either way, we get angry, filled with rage. We don’t see the angel in front of us anymore. So what is there to do about it?
Learning the Internal MVP
Most people who have a healthy self image have an internal MVP. They are their own Most Valuable Person. They define themselves by their strengths, weaknesses, talents, abilities, and individual core values. It is in learning to define ourselves this way that people with Borderline Personality Disorder can begin to find a sense of peace. That said, this is not an easy thing. We learned from a very young age that our core self is “bad” and only by serving our external MVP can we truly be “good”. We approach self from a sense of shame. So we must learn to part with that shame and become confident in who we truly are as individuals, as people, as humans who have worth of their own. We must become our own MVP.