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

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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.

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Unsplash photo via Matthew Kane

Originally published: January 29, 2018
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