When Borderline Personality Disorder Makes You Apologize for Things That Aren't Your Fault


I am pretty well known among my friends and family for apologizing profusely. I do it all the time. I’ll apologize for things that aren’t my fault, for things I have no control over, for things that had nothing to do with me — the weather for example. The list is never-ending.

I actually have a routine with some people. “I’m sorry,” I’ll say automatically. They will fix me with a look and I’ll laugh, “I don’t need to say sorry for that.” 

It’s funny, it’s a joke, it’s endearing. It’s just part of who I am.

But it’s difficult to explain why I do this. Why do I feel the need to apologize all the time? Why do I take the blame mentally for things I don’t need to?

It all comes as part of my borderline personality disorder (BPD). I constantly feel I am not enough. I feel like I am not good enough. I am terrified people will wise up eventually and realize I am not worth their time. Realize I am worthless, I am useless and I should never have been born. These are the thoughts that go through my head constantly on a loop.

So to avoid this, I apologize.

I’m sorry the TV was too loud when it came on. I’m sorry the wind pulled the door out of your hands and wrenched it
away from your arm even though I had nothing to do with that. I’m sorry you were late to meet me even though that wasn’t my fault either. I’m sorry that sometimes I get nervous and uptight. I’m sorry that sometimes I get quiet. I’m sorry that I need reassurance that I’m not a terrible human being. I’m sorry I gave you your birthday card late. I’m sorry your exam was hard. I’m sorry work was a bitch. I’m sorry you’re cold. I’m sorry I’m cold. I’m sorry you’re ill. I’m sorry that other person was mean to you. I am sorry I am not good enough, I am not enough for you and am too much for you at the same time. I’m sorry for being sorry. I’m sorry I apologized.

I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so goddamned sorry!

Those two words slip out automatically, I can’t stop them, and I can’t control them. I’m learning. I’m trying to learn and I am trying to control myself. I am trying to stop apologizing all the time. I am trying to learn my worth. It’s baby steps.

But in the mean time, you will have to forgive me the occasional “I’m sorry” while I get there.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Unsplash photo via Matthew Kane


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Borderline Personality Disorder

asian woman alone in dark room with head buried in arms

Why I Miss Being in a Psychiatric Ward

Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here. It sounds weird, right? Why would someone want to be deprived of their [...]

Why I Don’t Want to Change My Borderline Personality Disorder

Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm or experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here. I sit across from my psychiatrist and he talks at me. This is [...]
25 'Embarrassing' Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder We Don't Talk About

25 'Embarrassing' Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder We Don't Talk About

When you live with a health condition, oftentimes there are some unwanted — or “embarrassing” — symptoms you have to learn to live with. This is something many people who live with borderline personality disorder are familiar with. Maybe your intense fear of abandonment affects your ability to have stable and secure relationships. Maybe you [...]

When Borderline Personality Disorder Makes You Believe Your Feelings Are 'Wrong'

I’m not certain I know who I am. Since beginning a dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) course, I have learned to become more aware of my thoughts, and it’s frightening me. I am finding it increasingly difficult to be mindful, to stay present. I was brought up to believe my feelings had no weight. I was [...]