I hit a bump in the road with relations, this one really hurt because I could not explain my actions, and I could not show why or how I did the thing that I did, and could only stand there and be wrong. The community that would understand this is you because no one else knows what happens when the pressure and claustrophobia sets in. I guess it broke my heart because I know I am not that person but how do you explain the pressure, that I couldn’t control, that the guilt tore it open and I just could not say no. I tried to control the environment and I tried hard to follow the DBT script and its process but the history hit me over the head and I could not hold on to the logic when the triggers overwhelmed, do what a logical person would do.
Since, I’ve been in a depression, and part of making myself know that I am not an amoral person has been to read the literature and write, to know that this is not me, its a disease I fight and at times fail, and I failed big this time. I need to find it in me to know and believe in myself and continuing progress. That support will come from many places and does not need to be from a relationship because I understand its hard to see us and understand us, that we do things that are incomprehensible that we regret and want to bury, that loved ones cannot separate their hurt from the disease. It pains when they shut us out and I am trying to swallow the rejection which is now onto the abandonment and my depression. But support can come from this blog, from the mental health community, from my doctors that know me. But, here is one of the articles that helped me a little, some of you may have read it already and I think I have too, but it was good to re-read.
Why Are BPD Relationships So Complicated?
Some features of borderline personality disorder strike at the heart of what makes us able to have good interpersonal relationships. Some of these features are:
Low emotional intelligence
There’s more than one way to be smart. In addition to the kind of intelligence you can measure on an IQ test, there’s emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is about monitoring emotions—both your own and those of the people around you—and then using this knowledge to guide your thinking and actions. Many people think BPs don’t have empathy. They do—it’s just that their own emotions are so intense they can be oblivious to the emotions of those around them. They’re like a drowning person who grabs on to a would-be rescuer and pulls them both down.
Impulsive aggression is what happens when the other shoe drops, when the eggshells break, and the emotional roller coaster takes a 180-degree turn. It can be triggered by immediate threats of rejection or abandonment paired with frustration. The aggression can be turned inward (self-injury, suicide) or turned outward.
Impulsive aggression is associated with a biological “tug-of-war” between the logical and emotional aspects of the brain, in which the logical side loses.
Think of impulsive aggression as a “border-lion,” a ferocious beast that is uncaged when BPs’ emotions are so strong and overwhelming they can no longer be contained. It is not exclusive to BPD, but a component of several impulse control disorders such as intermittent explosive disorder.
Whether the border-lion is turned inward or outward, it is one of the top barriers keeping BPs and those who love them from developing the close, trusting relationship each partner yearns for.
It’s going to be tough, but try to hold fast to the notion that your family member and the border-lion are not one and the same.
In addition to fearing abandonment, people with BPD are overly sensitive to rejection. They anxiously await it, see it when it isn’t there, and overreact to it whether it’s there or not. This is why small slights—or perceived small slights—can cause major messes.
People with BPD may seem as mature as any other adult in social or professional situations. But when it comes to coping with strong emotions, they can be stuck at a child’s developmental level.
Starting a Romantic Relationship with Someone With BPD
Given all the difficulties that exist in BPD relationships, why would anyone start a relationship with someone with BPD? First, it is important to remember that despite these intense and disruptive symptoms, people with BPD are frequently good, kind, and caring individuals. Often they have many positive qualities that can make them great romantic partners some of the time.
In addition, many people who have been in a romantic relationship with someone with BPD talk about how fun, exciting, and passionate a BPD partner can be. Many people are drawn to a BPD partner precisely because people with BPD have intense emotions and strong desire for intimacy.
BPD Relationships and Sex
Impulsive sexuality is one of the symptoms of BPD, and many people with BPD struggle with issues of sexuality. In addition, a large percentage of people with BPD experienced childhood sexual abuse, which can make sex very complicated.
Research has shown that women with BPD have more negative attitudes about sex, are more likely to feel pressured into having sex by their partner, and are more ambivalent about sex, than women without BPD. Unfortunately no research has been done on sexuality in men with BPD.
The key to maintaining a relationship with someone with BPD is to find ways to cope with these cycles (and to encourage your BPD partner to get professional help to reduce these cycles). Sometimes partners in a BPD relationships are helped by couples therapy.
BPD and Romantic Relationships: Breaking Up
Many issues arise when a BPD relationship is ending. Because people with BPD have an intense fear of abandonment, a break up can leave them feeling absolutely desperate and devastated. Even if a relationship is unhealthy, a person with BPD can often have trouble letting the relationship go. This will particularly true of long-term partnerships or marriages.