Not everyone with bpd is the same...but maybe some can relate. Here is one of my relationship survival tactics. I hate it. But it’s true. Sadly it’s been true my whole life. I just began dbt and therapy and I hope it helps.
“I’m always looking for clues”
I am highly observant and extraordinarily perceptive. I have been this way for as long as I can remember. It’s part of my personal evolution. When you trip on a curb, you’re likely to remember that curb tomorrow aren’t you? Pain hurts. But I think most would agree that being surprised by pain hurts worse. Maybe it’s the shock. Maybe it’s the sting. Maybe it’s that we never got the opportunity to plead. Maybe it’s the absence of choice to run from it like we get when we see it coming. I don’t know. I do know I don’t like pain. I’m sure you don’t either. Some learn to appreciate pain, as a “teacher,” they say. And good for them. But I’ll be the unruly student. Especially when it comes to emotional pain. If it hurt just a little, and then went away, I think I’d do better letting it have its place. But when I get hurt emotionally, the pain consumes me. It wrecks me. It breaks me down and folds me up. My own personal pretzel drama. And to be surprised by pain, well, that is not a classroom I am well suited to attend.
But I am well trained. The “Self Learner.” In the art of avoiding the surprise of pain. Disappointment. Rejection. Abandonment. And being observant is my first line of defense. I’ll look for social cues. Like your body language. Your expressions. Not just what you express, but how you express it. And I’ll run that through my flawed but useful database of your past “tells.” I’ll listen to your tone of voice, your tone of text. I’ll re-read your messages to figure out what you “really” meant. It’s all on my radar. If your arms are folded. If your eyes look frustrated. If your smile is forced. Are you attentive or looking off into nowhere? Many times I’ll have to ask you to repeat yourself, because I will have been paying more attention to “what you’re saying” than what you’re saying.
And when I pick up on a “tell”...well it’s my interpretation that is the most “logical.” Always assuming the worst is coming, I begin the boxer’s defense. I’ll move in close, and smother, where I can’t be punched, or push away and stay far enough out that I can’t be reached. Either way I saw it coming. No surprises. And that is how I survive. If I can see it coming then I can plead, or put up walls. Or I can run.