Saturday, 6 September 2014

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BPD and relationships

Hello! You may have noticed I've been absent for a while. It was due to relationship problems. I wanted to write a post about BPD and relationships since I first started this blog, but now I realize that it is an issue too big to sum it up in a single post, so I will make a section and write different posts about it, and about different types of relationships (love, friendships, family). This post is therefore a very brief introduction of what is to come.

So, as I was saying, there were some major ups and downs in my relationship. And my grandmother passed away on Wednesday night.

Many mental issues bring along some relationship problems, but borderline personality disorder is known for its unstable interpersonal relationships factor. 

This is something I can perfectly relate to, as since I was 11 you can observe in my life a series of unstable relationships both in the love life area and in friendships. Within my family it wasn't so noticeable until I turned 16, but it began to became more and more present from then onwards.

When talking about the phases of those relationships, psychologists always refer to 'idealization' and 'devaluation'. Let me talk a bit about how those feel just to make it clear for the rest of the posts to come. (I guess they appear differently on everyone, but there are probably some common factors).

Whether it's in love or in friendship when you idealize someone, it feels like those people are the best people you have ever met and will ever meet. You feel like you would do anything for them, like you would give them everything. You feel like you can't imagine life without them and sometimes even like you can't live without them (here some dependance factor comes in). At the same time, you expect those people to do the same for you: to do anything and everything for you and to give you everything.

One of the problems in BPD is the constant fear of abandonment which is one of its main symptoms. This, combined with idealization, as you're probably already seeing, doesn't play along too well. If you expect someone to be willing to give you everything but at the same time you're scared as hell that they'll leave you, you're probably sooner or later going to start acting erratically to try and keep them there.

This is also one of the reasons why generally nothing the person does feels like enough. You have idealized them, they seem perfect, ideal, they are some kind of God or Goddess, but they're really not, they are just a human being. So whenever they do something that you don't like, or think it's not good enough (which will probably be very frequently since you expect oh so much from them), you'll feel quite disappointed.
When this happens you might either blame yourself, or you begin to devaluate them.

If you devaluate a person, you fall into the contrary opposite of idealization. You only see the negative aspects of the person. You forget all the good things they ever did, focusing only on the negative, maybe even thinking they tricked you into thinking they were good. Some people treat the other person badly after having devaluated them. When this has happened to me, I've simply lost all interest and stopped talking to them, lost all contact, not wanting to know anything about them anymore, even maybe thinking they were bad people.

People suffering borderline personality disorder are known for their 'black and white' point of view, and it is no different in relationships. It is important to try and realize when the phases of idealization and devaluation are happening. If any of those thoughts appear, like radical thoughts about a person, whether they're good or bad,  you should let your therapist know. You may not get worried if the thoughts are all positive but idealization is not a positive thing either since you may seek to satisfy someone else's needs before yours even if it interferes with your health/mental health as it happened to me in December 2013.

After this has happened it is typical for BPD  to try and search for protecting mechanisms to try and not fall in the same trap again. If they think someone hurt them, they may not want to get close to people in fear of getting hurt again. Pushing people away is very typical in BPD. But that doesn't stop us from getting hurt, it only leaves us alone.

Have you gone through any of these phases?
Please leave a comment.
If you want to talk more privately about it, then feel free to send me an email to

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