(Jess over at BPD Bunny inspired me to write this post. Thanks, Jess!)
One of the prevailing stereotypes about people with BPD is that we’re needy. In all honesty, I have to say that I consider myself a needy person. It’s something I’m working on. However, I disagree on using the term “needy”. It makes it sound as though people with BPD are clingy and annoying.
This need to have people around us comes from our visceral fear of abandonment. It’s not something we control. It’s a fear just like any other. Some are afraid of cockroaches, others are afraid of heights, still others are viscerally afraid of being alone/abandoned (enter the life of a person with BPD).
I’ve had this experience with countless people, but especially with my Ex. As I’ve said before, he was marginally abusive and it was a completely inconvenient relationship. However, whenever he became mad at me and wanted to end the relationship, I would panic because I immediately thought I would be abandoned. So, I would lay the blame on myself. I was always the problem, he was always right. Thus, there must be something wrong with me and that’s why he wants to abandon me, I would think. I would then feel like the clingy girlfriend, scurrying at his feet to avoid being dumped because, hello, I NEEDED him, or so my irrational brain would think. I preferred staying in a bad relationship over abandonment.
It also happens with M. It’s something I’ve been meaning to discuss with her, actually. I’m so attached to her that my irrational brain prefers to stay depressed than recover. It thinks: If I get better, then the inevitable corollary is abandonment. And, hello, nobody with BPD wants to feel abandonment. It literally feels as though you were sick and your heart got ripped out.
Still, this constant need to have certain people in my life is something I, at least, am not proud of. I don’t know about others with BPD, but my thought process is exactly like the picture I linked to this post: I NEED YOU, but you probably think I’m clingy and pathetic, and I am sorry for that because I feel ashamed and like a child. But please don’t leave! It’s a vicious cycle.
So, a big stepping stone for those of us with BPD is learning to be alone. And, not necessarily alone in the sense of not having anyone around us, but learning to be independent and regard others as separate entities. For example, I have to learn that I am a strong adult woman and I don’t constantly need a significant other to live my life. Also, I have to learn that were I to not see M anymore, it would not mean abandonment, but the end of therapy and thus, my recovery from BPD and depression.
Let’s see if I can convince my irrational brain of all of this. In the meantime, I’m off to study.