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The 2 Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder I Struggle With the Most

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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is something quite complex. I’m a believer that each person with BPD will experience it differently. For starters, there are nine possible symptoms and a diagnosis of BPD only requires five of them to be met. Here, I’m going to focus on two symptoms I struggle with managing. The reason I focus on two is because these symptoms often intermingle with one another. They are: frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment and the devaluing and idolizing of a person.

I can pinpoint the development of these particular symptoms to when I had my first girlfriend in high school. While it has been nearly eight years since the relationship ended, it had a lasting effect on me. This relationship was very abusive. It was also on and off. I loved her (idolized her) when I was with her and hated her (devalued) when I wasn’t. The relationship was on and off for a year and a half. Thus, I endured a year and a half of verbal abuse, being repeatedly abandoned and devaluing and idolizing my girlfriend. The resulting symptoms of frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment and devaluing and idolizing grew stronger with age.

In every relationship I have had, I would repeatedly profess my love to my girlfriend. I am unsure if they knew this was one way I thought I could convince them not to leave me. I believed if they knew I loved them, there was no way they could leave. And when we got in an argument it would be, “please don’t leave me.” Arguments meant — and still mean — that a person is going to leave. So arguments have to be avoided.

One breakup that occurred led me to threaten to take my own life. This was another frantic attempt to avoid abandonment. It turns out she left even as as a friend because of it. When she stopped talking to me long-term (she still hasn’t spoke to me to this day), I thought she was the worst person ever. I loved her enough to die for her and I hated her at the same time. Yet even though I “hated” her, I had to reach out to her despite her asking me not to. Allow me then to fess up. I reached out so much that I got two warnings from the police and banned from my college campus (where she is still a student). I always said things like, “please talk to me. I’m really sorry.” Frantic efforts to avoid real abandonment. Despite all of this, I can see today that she had every right to decide to discontinue communication with me. And I see it’s not my problem and I cannot control her. Yet, I also know if she were to come back and ask to be friends, I would accept the offer.

It wasn’t until my most recent relationship that I left someone myself. The relationship lasted for a little over a year. It still lingers in my mind. And it was on and off frequently. Sometimes she left me and sometimes I left her. I couldn’t be with her without fearing she was going to leave me again. She is still in my life as a friend. And I still fear one day she’s going to up and block me from every single way I can contact her and never speak to me again. When she ignores me, I message her over and over again as I attempt to avoid her abandonment. She’s gone for months and not spoken to me. And in those months, I hate her. When she ignores me, I hate her.

I was recently speaking to this person. I felt that she was ignoring me. Yet I loved her. I had to talk to her. Thing is… she wasn’t talking to me. So when I said “goodnight” and I got “K” for a response, I instantly hated her. I told her to talk to me whenever it was convenient for her then. “Whatever bye” was her response. My fear of abandonment was instantly triggered that very second. I sent about five or six text messages apologizing and telling her not to leave me because I never wanted to lose her. This would be an example of frantic efforts to avoid imagined abandonment. In reality, she just meant “bye” for the night. And when she got back to me and explained her behavior, I suddenly loved her again.

This, dear readers, is how frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment have affected and do affect my life. This in combination with devaluing and idolizing someone is exhausting. And it’s very difficult to function in any other way. These two symptoms of BPD are only how I experience them. Others with BPD may experience them in a totally different way.

Getty Images photo via AnkDesign

Originally published: March 20, 2018
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