“She has no common sense.”
“She’s just a dumb blonde.”
“She’s kind of ditzy.”
“She never seems to know what’s going on.”
These are phrases I’ve heard said about me my entire life, and not just by my abusers. To most people, I do come across as a little ditzy or scatterbrained. It doesn’t help that I happen to be blonde, because blonde haired people have to work twice as hard as everyone else to be taken seriously, since the (false) stereotype that all blondes are intellectual lightweights doesn’t seem to be going away.
I prefer to think of myself as an Annie Hall type. You may remember the 1977 movie starring Diane Keaton as Woody Allen’s (brunette!) scatterbrained but quirky love interest. I think I talk and act a lot like Annie Hall. At least I like to think I do, because Annie had a lot of charm and was loveable too. She was also a lot smarter than she appeared.
It gets tiresome being thought of by others as less intelligent than I actually am (my IQ is actually very high) and I get self-conscious about appearing “dumb.” My self-consciousness only seems to make the problem worse though, because it causes me to make silly mistakes and do or say socially awkward, dumb things out of nervousness.
For over a decade I thought I had Aspergers, because not only am I socially awkward, I often seem to be “out in space” and not really aware of what’s going on around me. It’s hard to hide this from others, and sometimes people talk down to me in a patronizing or condescending way, believing I can’t understand simple directions or information. I resent it when people do that.
I’m not an Aspie, and I definitely don’t lack intelligence. But dissociation is a symptom of both complex PTSD and BPD, and this is what I think is happening when I seem to be off in some other universe. When you dissociate, you’re not really in your own skin, and are not present in the moment. You’re outside yourself, stuck in the future or the past, and not paying much attention to the material reality of the moment. As a child, my report cards alsways had comments like, “Lauren does not pay attention,” or “Lauren spends too much time daydreaming in class.” I wonder now if I was dissociated whenever I was daydreaming.
Dissociative episodes can be very scary, but if you spend most of your time only slightly dissociated, you might not even notice that anything is wrong. You’ll just come across as being a bit “spacey.”
Derealization and Depersonalization in BPD and NPD