When Borderline Personality Disorder Makes You Love Too Much
In such a dark and troubling world, can having too much love be a bad thing? If you have borderline personality disorder (BPD), then often the answer is yes.
The balance between caring for someone as a loved one, and being utterly consumed by their well-being, can be a blurred line for people with BPD. Perhaps the most painful realization of this is that people on the outside will probably never quite understand our intentions. What feels like kindness, compassion and affection to us, is often met with hostility, indifference or contempt by others. And the pain cuts like a knife when what we intend to be a show of love is instead interpreted as obsession.
The love a borderline experiences is a beautiful thing. I feel every emotion so deeply, far beyond the scope of those without emotional intensity. I don’t feel happiness, sadness, joy or fear… I experience mania, grief, elation and terror. I don’t love in a simple way — although, to me, it is the most natural feeling of all, like breathing. I feel such intense adoration that people sometimes can’t handle it. I will bend over backward to make you happy, to make everything perfect. The world is so black and white to me that I can’t possibly bear for you to feel down… so I make it my personal mission to help you feel good. It’s not uncommon for people with BPD to overly worry about their loved ones, especially if they feel there is actually something to worry about. If you are hurting, I take on your pain too, and this can be so overwhelming I buckle under the weight of it. If I make you happy, I am on such a high that nothing can touch me, and my heart swells with affection. And if you are mad at me… it’s as though I have committed the most atrocious sin, and the urge to punish myself for it becomes unbearable.
With such powerful attachments — whether it is towards a relative, friend or partner — the knock-on effects of change can be catastrophic. And when that person decides to break free, it feels like I’ve lost my whole world, and I wind up on the floor again, violently shaking and utterly inconsolable, entombed in grief and despair.
All I want is to make something positive out of my wild emotions. And often that most positive feeling is love. To me, making you feel appreciated every moment, loved every minute and supported every day is the best way I know how to do that. But it’s too much sometimes — I intend to be the perfect friend/relative/partner but instead my actions get lost in translation, and instead seen as suffocating, or in the worst case, manipulative.
I think those of us with BPD struggle with that reality more than we care to admit. All I truly want is to protect my loved ones from the kind of monsters I battle every day — the ones that creep in and remind me I am hard to love, worthless… so I end up being over the top in my displays of affection or gratitude to save my loved ones from those same feelings. It makes perfect sense in my head, but ultimately drives people away. And while some learn to embrace my intensity for what it is, many more choose to leave. And sometimes, knowing I simply love too much has me wishing I just could never love at all.
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Thinkstock photo via jesadaphorn