Having Borderline Personality Disorder and Being in Love
I feel as though I am looking through somebody else’s eyes into a reality far from my own. My head isn’t a part of my body, and my brain cannot seem to connect the two. The world is foggy, the air thick and heavy. I feel the crushing weight of being alive, while simultaneously feeling as light as a feather. I am floating through the days as they blur into each other, so dissociated I can barely recognize myself anymore. Living with borderline personality disorder feels like I am constantly walking on eggshells in my own mind.
I’m trying to convince my mind that this is not me; it’s simply a part of who I am. I will have to take the highest of highs with the lowest of lows to survive. Constantly switching between admiration and wanting to run from those I allow to get too close. I am holding my head in the palms of my hands, my internal thoughts screaming at myself for being such a flawed human being. It’s not my fault. But it is my fault for pushing those who care away.
Since the age of 13 I have been in serious relationships, and I feel like it’s all I know. It’s put a lot of strain on how I see myself and how I feel I should be. I mould myself to the girlfriend who is kind, nurturing, and loving for the sake of keeping another happy. And I don’t know if who I am is true or just the parts of other people I have taken with me. I don’t feel like I have my own identity because I constantly immerse myself in the lives of others. I am so deeply afraid of being abandoned and allowing myself to become vulnerable to anyone who has the power to break my heart. In the past I have stayed in relationships for far too long with people who were wrong for me in so many ways simply because I didn’t want to “give up,” because I have always seen giving up as a sign of weakness. I still don’t know which thoughts are mine and which thoughts are the product of years of emotional abuse and trauma. This leaves me feeling unsure of anything and my defense to this is to dissociate and disconnect. Can I still be hurt if I’m not all there to begin with?
I have never known love as something that genuinely brings me joy until I started dating my current boyfriend almost nine months ago. When we started seeing each other romantically I almost convinced myself that I didn’t have this personality disorder that causes me to have self-doubt and abandonment issues. I convinced myself I was better and I wasn’t going to fall in to these patterns of questioning everything and pushing people away. I can slowly feel myself finding ways to sabotage something so special to me, and that is causing a great deal of distress and anguish. My mind is finding ways to tell myself it will only end in heartache, that I am better off alone. All I had known is the fire of a passionately abusive relationship and the mediocre love that simply brings me comfort. After all I have been through in past relationships, anything healthy doesn’t feel quite right and I feel like something is missing. It has taken me so long to try to unlearn these habits that I have known as “love,” the abusive behavior I received in my first and the emotional pain I inflicted in my second. I am not able to love easily, and trust is something I have struggled with most of my life. I have been taken advantage of sexually, financially, and emotionally. Because of this, I find myself in a difficult position when faced with a love that feels as right as this. I don’t know how to react, and I find myself swaying between two extremes: allowing myself to get so close to another, to expose myself in such a way that leaves me feeling naked and raw, and closing myself up like a wilting flower and hoping they can still see the beauty in my rotting discolored petals.
I have read and seen so much negativity surrounding BPD, and it terrifies me that the stigma behind it has painted me in a light that could make you love me less. I am not just the ugly sides you sometimes see. I am all of the passion, the overwhelming fits of laughter and happiness, and the chaotic madness you have fallen in love with. I am the storm and the calm afternoon breeze all at the same time. For so many years I have been “too much,” “not enough” and have endured the question, “Why are you like this?” far too many times, and although I know I will always exhaust those who delve deep into my life, I am finding the balance inside me to calm my mind of these reoccurring thoughts of self-destructive behavior and sabotage in relationships, platonic and romantic. The intrusive thoughts I think and the emotions I feel are beyond my control, but how I choose to deal with them as they arise is up to me. I choose to be gentle on myself, I choose to make healthy decisions to get myself closer to where I want to be, and I choose to let the terrifying unknown space between now and then inspire me and not push me further into the deep hole of despair I know all too well.
If I ever feel weak I can find comfort in knowing I have made it this far, and that alone is enough proof that I am strong enough to keep going. I have the strength to continue love.
If you or a loved one is affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
Photo by Tahlia Gorring