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What Lack of Identity Feels Like With Borderline Personality Disorder

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A symptom of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a lack of clear identity and sense of self. It can feel like you’re empty; nothing feels like your own. I feel like an empty balloon, nothing but a collection of interests, feelings, thoughts and hobbies… except they’re not mine. Or at least they weren’t.

The way I see it, I was a balloon floating through the air, hating every aspect of myself, until I found someone I looked up to. Not someone I wanted to take style tips off or connect with about neutral interests. I wanted to be them.

I stripped away all the parts of them I wanted to be, and I moved on. I do this with everyone I meet; I built a whole new life and personality based on what I saw in others, but never what I saw in myself.

The glue. The glue is the validation, and the confidence someone else has, the way they carry themselves, the way they’re so sure of who they are.

I don’t know who I am anymore; what I was, it wasn’t what I wanted to be. I’m constantly searching for pieces of my new self in people to fill the void left from erasing my existence.

I am a balloon. The scraps of who I want to be are soaked in the hopes of one day being confident and knowing who I am. Soaked in hopes of being sure of myself.

They’re slowly pasted onto my shell, left to dry while I discover the parts I want to add to my papier-mâché creation, pasted on in layers until a new shape is entirely formed, then one day when you’re not even looking, the balloon inside pops.

Having no sense of self, or an unsteady sense of identity, feels like the newly-formed shape, but you can feel the space where the balloon has popped. You don’t know how to re-inflate it, so you keep sticking until something makes sense again.

I’m afraid of what I am beneath all this. I’m afraid I never knew who I was before I started sticking.

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Originally published: November 7, 2017
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