The Mighty Logo

When Borderline Personality Disorder Makes You Fear Being 'Forever Alone'

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Tonight, I share the usual concoction of my mind’s thoughts onto a group of friends who know me well and love me anyway. The panic of forever being alone, the frustration with post-divorce dating, the existential dread and fear of abandonment — all common things for them to hear about. My friend Amiee says the same thing every time I express these thoughts: “Someone will love you. You will get married again. Everything is OK.”

I don’t know if this common with borderline personality disorder (BPD), but I often have little belief that tomorrow will come or that someone in this world could love me unconditionally and stay with me through my disorder, despite all the friends and family who do. BPD is the monster within me that, once I introduce it to potential partners, it either sends them running or pushes them away.

Amiee says, “Your diagnosis does not define you.”

My comeback: “But it sure does explain a whole hell of a lot.”

Borderline personality disorder, for me, is characterized by very specific traits (I hate the word “symptoms”):

  1. A debilitating fear of abandonment
  2. A constant need for attention, validation and reassurance
  3. A lack of identity
  4. A lack of structure
  5. Wavering obsessions with certain people that you love intensely and then immediately hate — intensely
  6. Black-and-white thinking: Only being able to see anything as either 100 percent good or 100 percent bad
  7. A voice screaming in the back of your mind, telling nobody will ever love you and everyone will leave you — so you better leave them first

These things often get in the way of potentially lasting relationships. My life with BPD has left me with a long string of lost lovers and abandoned jobs; they all started with intensity and ended in a glorious loss of interest. It’s a lot to keep up with. I’m constantly feeling overwhelmed yet unsatisfied and in the pursuit of changing myself in hopes that it might make me “happy.”

The more I learn about this monster, the more I understand myself, like why all relationships would start on fire then unravel into accusations and then he would ultimately leave me. Or why lacking a sense of identity would lead to me sacrificing myself on the altars of toxic abusers. But the more I learn about this monster in my head, the more tools and armor I can pick up to slay it. The better I understand why it bites, the better I can tame it. I know I went through something that changed the structure of my brain and now I have to live my life fighting the lies in my head that scream, “No one loves you!”

I am not solely Borderline. My diagnosis does not define me. But if I do fall in love with someone, I will need them to meet the monster. To learn its habits, to know I might cry, lash out and push him away because I’m just afraid of being alone.

It’s so important when Amiee tells me I am not my diagnosis because she sees me as a whole. I may not actually believe the future is coming, that I’ll survive another day or that anything good will happen in the future. But there is part of me that hopes that she is right. That there is a man out there who can look at me and see me as all sorts of things. I am a wonderful, loving and fascinating human being who just happens to have a monster in her head. I hope he admires how I fight it and that he’ll stand by my side with a sword in hand.

Unsplash via Darius Bashar

Originally published: October 9, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home