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When Borderline Personality Disorder Makes You Mistrustful of Loved Ones

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I was first diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) during a hospital stay in 2013. I was 20 years old, horrified to my bones, and distrustful not just of myself, but of every person in my life. Wearing only paper and chewing my nails to the point of drawing blood, receiving the diagnosis felt to me like being tossed into a nearly frozen lake.

Albeit sometimes fragile, I’ve worked hard since then to gain a bit more stability, some elbow room and freedom from my illness — but the sense of mistrust hasn’t faded. Driven by a fear of my own wild emotions, an earmark of the condition, this tendency to sniff out (and when I can’t do that, simply create) signs of dishonesty has been an exhausting and destructive habit.

Only yesterday did I learn many people strive to trust others. The ability to trust a friend, family member, religious influence, or anyone else is often considered a rewarding achievement. In contrast, I actually very easily trust anyone and everyone, but I strive not to. Trust is a liability, something that too often in my life has led to abuse, scarring, or otherwise damaging consequences. It isn’t that I’ve lost the ability to trust. It’s simply too difficult to let myself do it very often anymore. It would be like tossing myself into that ice cold body of water.

If you love someone with borderline personality disorder, please understand your loved one can trust you. It’s their personality disorder that may not, that may whisper to them warped “logistics” that can breed intense paranoia.

You see, I care for my loved ones even more deeply than my words could explain. My desire to trust them, to see them as a safe place, is actually overwhelming. Both out of true, healthy love and the paradoxical, unhealthy symptoms of my illness, the urge to see their innocence and warmth is central to my fantasies.

Sometimes, it can be hard to control it. After all, it’s spent years controlling me. To some extent, the personality disorder was always seen as the part of my mind that kept my heart safe, even if that meant keeping my heart alone or in fear. Many of us may still be figuring out where the borderline ends and we begin. We may get it wrong sometimes, and that can hurt you. Please understand that I am — we are — sorry.

To my BPD brothers and sisters, as I always say, please remember you aren’t as alone as your illness can make you feel. You aren’t an empty, hollow person in a world of overflowing monsters. Put on a warm life jacket, take that icy plunge, and remember to take gentle care.

Image via Thinkstock.

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Originally published: October 28, 2016
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