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What It’s Like to Lose Your ‘Favorite Person’ When You Have Borderline Personality Disorder

Like many other people with borderline personality disorder (BPD), I had a “favorite person” or “FP.” This is used in the BPD community to refer to the person your emotions become dependent upon. My FP was also my best friend “V” (not her real name).

“V” and I had a very intense and relatively short friendship. We met online, started talking and she became my FP very quickly. I could tell her anything and she was always there for me. If I texted her, she usually replied immediately. She never made me feel like I was being a burden. She was kind and caring. At the time I met her, I had already gone through some things in life, including losing people previously. I told her about it and she was understanding and showed a lot of care.

After several months of talking, things started to get more intense and my BPD attachment was growing stronger — without me consciously realizing this. Things started to get worse with my health (I actually don’t think this was a coincidence. This included panic attacks, extreme anxiety and general lack of self-care).

At the time, I had been diagnosed with BPD several months previous, however I did not pursue treatment (foolishly). But my BPD thrived on her attention. The more attention she gave me, the more I got hooked on it and the more attention I needed to get the same “high” or feeling of validation I felt when she showed how much she cared. I felt connected. I felt someone finally understood me for me.

I started to feel jealous when she said she was seeing other people, despite us being “friends” at this point. If she was ever busy, even if she told me in advance she would be busy, I would think I had done something wrong and she didn’t want to talk to me. She was entitled to go out and see other people and do other things. But of course, my brain took it as evidence that she was drifting away from me and didn’t want to be my friend anymore. I was constantly in fear of her leaving me and saw evidence in every tiny thing.

We would always talk about me. All our conversations revolved around my problems toward the latter part of the relationship. I did not give her space to talk about her, which was what the friendship was built on. I got absorbed in the situation between us and my fears to the point where we weren’t having any normal conversations. It was me being sad or moody, which in turn pushed her away. The attention she gave me made me feel like I was worth something. I needed the attention to validate me. As long as she cared about me, there was a point to my life. Without this, I felt empty.

It eventually got to a point where we were talking less. Then it advanced to me seeing blips of things online and believing it was evidence of her wanting to leave me. For example, seeing things with other guys. which then prompted me to act emotionally and cause conflicts. It all  seemed like it was over nothing to her, but in my head I was panicking. We both came to a conclusion it couldn’t carry on like that. I needed therapy to really take myself away from the situation and come back to normality.

She told me several times this needed to happen. I attempted to go to therapy and had a moment where I felt things were getting better, but I needed more and more evidence from her that she cared. Then I fell back down into this rabbit hole of overthinking and creating drama. I did not take anything seriously. As soon as “V” stopped replying to my messages, I would become convinced she had stopped caring. How could anyone show they cared more than telling me I needed therapy to help myself and save the friendship? In my eyes, they couldn’t, and something had to happen. It couldn’t go on like that.

My BPD consumed me entirely by this point. I had stopped doing my daily activities and talking to friends. I stopped doing just about doing anything for myself. And our interactions with each other became only conflicts or talking about my my BPD, as if it were all just in my head.

After several times of her asking me to go to therapy and to talk after, and me not doing so, things hit a wall. We had a conversation about all that had happened between us — the hurt and the conflict — and she came to the conclusion we needed space and time, for real. Then we could try to build the friendship again. I agreed to this.

I would then do risky things to try to gain her attention. For example, I would post things on Instagram to try to show her I was getting better.

However, some days later, I messaged her again in an emotional state telling her I missed her. In my head, I did not see this as wrong at the time. But I pushed a boundary after her asking for space.

The next day, after a brief conflict, she decided to block me. She was done. It drove me “mad.” My brain was filled with continual thoughts that she hated me, I was a terrible friend who was not worth anything and I could not cope with this. This is the point where I broke down. I was not in a rational mindset. I tried to contact her anyway I could to apologize for my behavior and essentially “beg” her to come back (the worst thing you can do). I couldn’t deal with the perceived abandonment and I didn’t know what to do.

After this, she sent me some long messages elsewhere explaining why she felt the way she did and why she had to walk away. I read these with closed eyes and tried to understand all she had said. She started to say things like, “My illnesses couldn’t justify me doing bad things.”

It was obvious it was too much for her and she started to see me solely as my illness. She said she wanted me to continue therapy but she didn’t know if we could be friends again. I replied saying I understood and I would give space.

Some weeks went by and eventually, I just couldn’t stick to it. I kept on pushing, needing her to show she still cared. I’d apologize a lot in messages, endlessly, repeating, with the same result. No reply or telling me to respect her choice. I felt a part of me died here. I felt no care from her anymore, the thing I dreaded the most.

Some more weeks went by and I broke down again and contacted her. Again apologizing. At this point, she called me “insane” and asked me to not harass her. Harass? I could not take this word seriously. How can I harass my FP?  Not understanding the reality of the situation, I felt I was talking to another person. I felt isolated.

My FP had finally left me. The one thing I had feared for so long had actually come true. By trying so hard to keep her near me, trying to prevent her abandoning me, I had actually made it happen. My desperate attempts to stop her from leaving had driven her away. And changed her opinion of me drastically.

So surely, this must have made me a lot worse, right? Well, it was terrible. I ended up in the hospital a number of times for being suicidal and I wasn’t looking after myself at all. I was constantly thinking and being sad about what had happened. This proved to me people would leave me unless I did things to keep them and it made me believe I was a bad person. I texted a few friends to tell them what had happened and they were sympathetic, but I was worried they didn’t get how bad I was feeling. So I did the thing I always defaulted to that would make people care. I hurt myself, which resulted in hospitalization.

Yet, I now realize “V” actually did me a favor. The one thing I was terrified of actually ended up making me better. For two main reasons. First, I felt so bad in those first weeks and months that I was suicidal. I wanted to die but I knew I couldn’t do that. I could never go through with it. And also, I couldn’t bear to keep feeling that bad. So the only other solution was to get better.

Second, it also proved that the idea I had to stay sick to keep people’s attention was totally wrong. In fact, the opposite had happened. By refusing to try and get better and trying to hold on so I didn’t lose “V” at all, I had lost her. I don’t want that to happen with anyone else so I had to make the effort to try and recover from my illnesses. It was the only option. I couldn’t completely fall apart again and put anyone through the destructiveness of my illness. It wasn’t fair to anyone, least of all myself.

Two months have passed since she made her decision. Following numerous attempts on my part to get her back, I am getting better. I have bad days but a lot fewer than I used to. I am making an effort with my recovery instead of resisting getting better.

I will always miss “V.” I hope one day she might give me another chance, but I am also prepared for the fact that day may never come. Either way, I will always be grateful for what she did for me. She made me realize a lot about myself and taught me even more. I thought her leaving would be one of the worst things that could ever happen, but I’m getting through it and it gave me the motivation to fight my illnesses and try and get better.

Getty Images: Victor_Tongdee