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When Borderline Personality Disorder Makes You Feel Like a 'Bad' Friend

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My borderline personality disorder (BPD) makes having friendships difficult. It makes me act in certain ways I’m not proud of and it’s caused some friends to end my friendship with them.

However, some people have told me I’m a good friend. They seem to want to be around me. I don’t really understand why. Sometimes I think they just feel sorry for me, but I do believe them when they say they want to be friends with me. I just think they are wrong.

With people I am very close to, I need a lot of attention. Every time I get their attention I feel guilty, and resolve to leave them alone and stop bothering them from now on, to keep my problems to myself. But I can never stick to it, because it’s part of my BPD. I am working on it, but for now, it means being my friend can be hard. I don’t blame people for leaving, and I’m grateful to those who stick around.

I have a friend at work who I’m close to and who I tell a lot of things that are going through my mind. This friend is very sensible and mentally healthy and knows how to try and help me while making sure I don’t become dependent on her — as I have done with countless others. But I feel really sorry for her. I feel like I must be really annoying, even though she tells me I’m not. I feel like she must dread every day at work because I’m constantly bothering her.

Recently, we went trampolining together and I paid for her ticket because I felt like I owed her for being my friend and being so good to me. It made me feel good to do that because I felt then that things were more equal between us, that I had paid her back in a small way. However, we went out to lunch together a few weeks later and she insisted on paying for my lunch because I had paid for the trampolining. At first I felt a bit upset by this. If she bought my lunch, I felt I would owe her again. But when I tried to explain this to her she said, “You don’t have to compensate me for being your friend!”

That was really nice to hear. It made me feel like she genuinely enjoyed being friends with me and that maybe I do have some true friends who actually like me and understand I act in certain ways because of my BPD. I hate myself, but maybe I am wrong to do that because obviously not everyone else hates me. Maybe I am capable of being a good friend, despite the problems that my BPD causes. And that can only be good for my self-esteem.

Unsplash photo via Elijah M. Henderson

Originally published: November 3, 2018
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