5 Things I Wish My Friends Knew About My Borderline Personality Disorder


I can imagine that having a friend with borderline personality disorder (BPD) can be quite frustrating at times, but I hope to help explain to everyone why some of us may act the way we do and help end the confusion others may have about BPD.

1. Having BPD can mean waking up every day with persistent insecurities.

It can be anything from my weight and appearance to opinions and thoughts or personal mannerisms. I’m afraid that everything I am will be judged negatively, and I believe this even when my logic tries to tell me otherwise. You can tell me I’m beautiful or intelligent a hundred times, but chances are I won’t believe you; my mind won’t let me. Because of this, as a friend, please don’t give up on me. If you feed into those insecurities, it can continue to solidify them.

2. Rejection is my number one fear, and I’ll do anything to avoid it.

I’ve found this is where people get the most upset with me: “Ny, he’s not abandoning you, he just needs to go.” What you may not understand is I think I’ve done something wrong, that I made that person not want to be around me anymore. Too annoying, too ugly, too persistent, too clingy. I think of any and everything I could have done wrong, and I believe all of it. And because of that, I’m embarrassed. I’m upset with myself for being so silly, angry at myself for being so uninviting, angry at that person for leaving me. The problem is I can’t let them leave; I need them to be here so I can be safe, so I can be whole. Whatever they need, I’ll do it. Please understand I don’t want to be so needy. I wish I could accept short-term departures, but those hours feel like days, and those days feel like months. Please be patient with me.

3. I self-harm a lot.

I started at 8, and now at 16 it’s a full-blown addiction. I know the bruises, cuts, tears and burns may scare you, but sometimes it feels like I need them to feel OK. Please understand that, as a friend, I understand it can make you feel helpless, but it makes me feel helpless, too. And my self-injury has nothing to do with you, it has to do with my own self-hatred and impulsivity. Understand that I want to stop just as badly as you want me to stop, but sometimes emotions can overtake your logic, and there’s nothing anyone can do. Just be there when those mess-ups happen. The worst part is being alone.

4. I have a dominant inner child I regress to.

This can be hard for a lot of people to grasp, but I need reassurance when it occurs. When I get scared or sometimes too happy, I revert back to a younger age, and I need to be loved as if I was that age. Sometimes it involves using a bottle or surrounding myself with stuffed animals. Anything to take me back to childhood feelings of safety. In these times, I need the person with me to go along with this. Being in this mindset feels like the safest place I can be, and I understand it may seem strange, but it’s exactly what I need.

5. Last but not least, I can experience severe anxiety.

It can be extreme to the point of screaming, crying, tearing hair out, yelling, regressing, shutting down, falling apart. I’m fully aware this can be embarrassing as a friend, but this is the time you’re needed most because I’m the most vulnerable. Vulnerability is terrifying, especially on top of experiencing a panic attack. This can be the hardest part of a friendship, but I believe it’s also the most important. Protecting the one you love when they need it.

Now, I know what I’m asking can be quite emotionally investing, but it’s what I need to be successful, and there’s nothing wrong with asking for a little bit of help, especially from a friend. So now, I hope you know, and I hope you understand what someone with borderline personality disorder might need from you.

Image via Thinkstock.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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