Today I want to focus on my other diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. To be diagnosed with BPD, in general, you must meet a certain number of traits but the driving and primary issue is normally/often an abnormal fear of abandonment. We all have fear of abandonment to some extent. Losing a loved one, suffering from a bad breakup, perhaps children of divorcees. These all hurt and can leave a scar. Here's the difference. What borderlines experience is:
The 9 symptoms of BPD
- 1) Fear of abandonment. People with BPD are often terrified of being abandoned or left alone. Even something as innocuous as a loved one getting home late from work or going away for the weekend can trigger intense fear. This leads to frantic efforts to keep the other person close. You may beg, cling, start fights, jealously track your loved one’s movements, or even physically block the other person from leaving. Unfortunately, this behavior tends to have the opposite effect—driving others away.
I can't function when I am triggered, mostly revolving around time. I have had many instances in life where I have been left waiting...once stranded in a cabin as I waited for my girlfriend and child to return from a "shopping trip" only to find out the next day they were on an airplane. As I sat in the cabin and the realization kicked in....I have had a relationship where they were unfaithful. I knew and the last day I waited for her to come home, not knowing...yet knowing...where she was. I sat on my stoop and waited...
So it sorta sucks to be my wife, close friend or some family members :-( I say that sort of tongue in cheek as I do support people and am a good guy. But....if I don't know where my wife is, she doesn't call...or worse even when her being late isn't her fault....I fall apart. I have driven home from work mid-day, only to find her napping..or the ringer off (Back in the day lol).
It's not fair to them and I have to risk making them walk on egg shells. One day my wife put perfume on before work, I'm sure to cover up missing a shower...and her job was care taking of an elderly lady, and it freaked me out. I had to sit all day while she worked because she was unable to communicate during work. Now in my recovery I was able to (mostly) practice my skills. Breathing...being present, grabbing the cat, talking to my Dad, etc....I was able to talk rationally to my wife that evening about my irrational fear. That's a big step for me.
But it didn't ease the fear.
I'm not sure my fear will ever be healed. I have to learn how to manage it. It has been and remains to be the most difficult part of getting better for me.
The way my mind works is if I begin to feel abandonment, real or perceived...or am triggered...or am having a bad day I can begin to freak out and cry thinking that one of my kids may die, or my wife or Dad, even myself. Why...I don't know. If I go back into therapy one day this will be where I want to start.
Here's the rub though. I am learning to enjoy my family and close friends more. Appreciating them, trying to be more tolerant. Loving them. I can choose to live in fear or I can choose to not let it have a hold over me.
It still doesn't fully heal that fear. I'm not sure it ever will
Like I said, this has been the hardest piece for me to accept. I'm learning good self care is huge. Have to be careful not to get stuck there.
I don't have all or any of the answers maybe, but I can share my experiences and hope it can connect to you in some way