As someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, I’ve struggled with interpersonal relationships. I often choose to isolate myself. I live alone on a sinking island in the middle of a large body of water and prefer it. Ever since my best friend moved away in second grade, and maybe partially because my dad traveled and wasn’t home for most of my childhood, I struggle with abandonment issues, always worried the people in my life are going to leave.
When I do make a choice to choose a friend, I’m a ride-or-die person. I wouldn’t abandon someone because of my fear of this being done to me. Since the fear is so intense, I have a hard time accepting that sometimes friendships end due to logistics and it’s not personal. Friends move away or lose touch. (In my mind of course, we don’t lose touch, if we really care about each other we stay in touch and visit when we can).
If there’s conflict, we work it out. We address any issues that need to be confronted and handle them in order to move on. To me there’s nothing that can’t be resolved as long as both people care about each other. You talk it through, you work it out.
Not everyone has this mentality, so I end up hurt and disappointed. Since I’m pretty anti-social, keep a tight social circle and would rather have a few close friends than lots of “acquaintances,” if one of the close friends abandons me, it sucks. It makes me withdraw even more. I’ve worked with my therapist on this, and she’s pointed out that perhaps I need to take a look at the friends I’ve chosen; before blaming myself for being abandoned, sometimes it’s necessary to take a look at the people “abandoning” or ending friendships with me and see what they have in common. Am I the easiest person in the world to be friends with? No. I’m a Gemini with BPD and a Philadelphia sports fan. But am I the worst person to be friends with? Also no. I’m pretty caring, thoughtful, and often fun to be around, and loyal.
I don’t like to be friends with boring people. So I may or may not have chosen some friends who’ve been on the toxic spectrum in the past. In leaving, they’ve made me feel like shit about myself since all I did was try to be a good friend to them. But it isn’t necessarily that I’m the common denominator, they are, and it was time in my life to start choosing healthier interactions.
What I’ve learned is that I can choose not to receive that feeling of unworthiness. Just because I was broken enough at the time to accept an unhealthy relationship with you, to try to fix you because of my former savior complex/lifelong codependence resulting from trauma doesn’t mean I have to keep repeating those patterns. I can choose better. I can choose healthy partnerships with people who are committed to improving their mental health, to giving and receiving equally in a relationship, to spending time with people who deserve all my Papyrus cards, thoughtful gestures and words because our interactions are wholesome and nurturing.
I wish I’d realized this sooner but I’m here now and grateful. I can put unhealthy choices behind and make healthier ones now, in the same way I don’t always go through the McDonald’s drive-through; every once in awhile I eat a salad too because it’s healthier. It just takes a lot of work.