When Borderline Personality Disorder Makes You a Jealous Friend

Jealousy is not exclusive to borderline personality disorder (BPD), but as you might know, those with BPD feels things very deeply… and unfortunately that sometimes includes less favorable emotions, like jealousy.

I didn’t have many friends growing up. Part of that was by choice and partly because I genuinely thought no one would like me in the first place, so any affection or friendship I was offered, I turned down because I truly didn’t think I was worth it. It wasn’t until my early 20s that I started branching out and made a few really close friends. Growing up with very little socializing, I didn’t ever really experience the normal emotions that come with relationships — one of them being jealousy — which I recently have began to struggle with.

I only have three friends that I would say are very close friends, and unlike me, they grew up with healthy, normal friendships with others — so I’m not their only friend. But to me, they’re my only friends. Which I don’t say in a sad way, I am truly happy with their presence in my life. But I’ve noticed when my friends spend time with their other friends, this little fire of jealousy appears in the back of my mind. Oftentimes it feels like a stab in the back, even though rationally I know it’s not! They aren’t spending time with other friends instead of me, or enjoying their friendship more than ours… but it’s incredibly hard not to feel that way.

There’s one girl who one of my friends is close with who I am not fond of, and she’s not fond of me either, and getting past the feelings of “if my friend had to choose between me and that other girl, there’s no way she’d choose me,” is hard. I’ve never been a jealous person, and usually I have been someone who thinks, “the more the merrier,” but when it comes to these friendships I have with people who are the most important people to me, it’s been obvious that I struggle with comparison and jealousy — both which are very unfavorable things. I oftentimes compare my time with me friends to what I see on social media posts of my friends time with their other friends. The past year of my life has been filled with obstacles, and serious situations and quite a lot of turmoil, which has lead to serious talks and heavy conversations. Comparing that to fun, and laughter and good times my friends have with other friends is hard to look past.

I know I am a person who has a lot of “emotional baggage,” and while that’s not by choice, it is what it is. And when you’re young and in your 20s, you come to find that sometimes that’s enough of a reason for people to not want to be friends with you. It seems like most people are looking for a good time — bar nights, movie dates, wine nights, brunch etc… and while it’s not that I can’t do those things, it’s just that emotionally I’m usually so drained that I just want to sit on a couch and talk and cry about the things happening in life. Yes, I am so insanely grateful to have the friends I do — the ones who allow me to do just that and still stay by my side, but I also worry I’m not giving them a fulfilling friendship a lot of the times, and that worry is what fuels this jealousy I feel within these friendships.

Jealousy is not an emotion I ever want to feel, I try really hard to push the feelings of jealousy away when they come. I find it helpful to think, “I love this friend right? Yes. Well the friendships they have with others helps their happiness, which is more important to me than where their happiness is coming from.” And I also try to stop comparing everything. Just because they have friendships with others doesn’t take away from our friendship, and it’s important to remember no two relationships are the same. How I feel about my brother is one type of love, and how I feel about my closest friends is another, or how I feel about my cousins is separate type of love. I love them all, and if I had to choose between them I couldn’t, because they are all important and meaningful in different ways… but the common denominator is love. So applying that thought process to my friends and those around me helps me rationalize the anger and jealousy sometimes.

But at the same time, I think expressing feelings of jealousy, like any other emotion, is so important. When you’re able to talk out your thoughts and feelings, you are able to rationalize them, which helps keep you sane. I think we forget everyone has feelings. Jealousy is just another emotion you feel and you get to choose if you hold on to it, or sit with it for a moment, and then let yourself move on.

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Unsplash photo via Sam Burris

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