Breakups suck. Going through a breakup when you have borderline personality disorder doubly sucks. And don’t even get me started on what it feels like to get dumped.
Oh, sorry, did I say dumped? I meant “abandoned forever because I’m a worthless piece of shit and nobody will ever love me, etc, etc, etc….”
One of the most self-destructive symptoms of BPD is an intense and overwhelming fear of abandonment. This fear often triggers the display of other symptoms – erratic moods, paranoia, splitting and impulsive behaviour, all of which are great at creating unstable, toxic relationships and making our fear of abandonment a self-fulfilling prophecy.
However, even though most of us are pretty used to breakups, we often deal with them very, very badly. This is because breakups are our biggest fear and can initiate some of BPD’s most life-threatening symptoms: chronic emptiness and suicidal thoughts.
I’ve had depression since I was a pre-teen, but my depression after a breakup can get really, really bad. Here are some little titbits of wisdom when it comes to going through a breakup when you have borderline personality disorder.
Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself If Your Relationship Fails Because of Your BPD
Honestly, I’ve beaten myself up so much in the past. I’ve fallen into deep self-hatred plenty of times, telling myself that I deserve to suffer for my clingy, neurotic bullshit. However, attacking myself only made my symptoms worse and didn’t lessen any of the pain of the breakup.
Don’t attack yourself for your mistakes – learn from them. Take accountability and (preferably with the help of a therapist) identify what you need to work on. BPD IS curable but it takes time to dismantle cognitive distortions and unlearn self-destructive behaviour.
Remember That Your Feelings Are Perfectly Valid – And Totally Normal!
Have you ever helped your heartbroken friend through a breakup? Have you ever watched Bridget Jones’ Diary? Have you listened to any music made since the beginning of time?
Research shows that heartbreak has many debilitating physical and mental symptoms – it is even capable of causing physical pain and is renowned for its ability to turn even the most optimistic, level-headed person into an emotional wreck, so just because your ex is telling you that you’re ‘crazy’ or ‘overreacting’, doesn’t always mean that you actually are. Sometimes these are just comments made by someone who wants to downplay their shitty actions.
So, don’t automatically dismiss your inability to eat, sleep and go five seconds without bursting into tears as symptoms of BPD. In fact, these are all perfectly natural reactions to having your heart stomped on and tossed in the trash.
(I’m over it … I promise 😛)
Don’t Beg, Blackmail or Manipulate An Ex into Talking / Staying With You
Most of the time you don’t even realise you’re doing it. It’s like the fear and desperation clouds any sense of clarity (and dignity) that you’ve ever had. However, this behaviour only leads people to feel validated in their decision to leave you, and next they’ll be calling you ‘batshit crazy’ for bombarding them with messages about how much you love/hate/miss/want to kill them.
Best to just go no contact.
Stay The Hell Away From Drugs
Look, I know it hurts so freaking bad. You’re all over the place with feelings of rage, despair, fear and emptiness. But one of the worst things that anyone can do after a breakup is use drugs to try and push those feelings away, because guess what?
To get through this breakup, you need to allow yourself to feel every single little thing – even if it feels like torture.
Instead of trying to push away those bad feelings, try applying them instead! Create art with them or craft them into a story or a song. Channel them into your exercise. Allow yourself to acknowledge, question and understand your emotions. In time, those emotions will become less terrifying and easier to deal with. Also, having positive outlets is an excellent way to practise self-care, which is also a really important process in the months after your breakup.
Try creating a self-care checklist with a range of different activities to keep yourself occupied, productive and way-too-busy-to-be-thinking-about-that-person. It’s a win-win.
Allow The Breakup To Motivate You To Change
One of the best things that you can do is use this experience to study your relationship-behaviour, particularly in the context of BPD. Ask yourself: was I too co-dependent? Jealous? Hot and cold? Whatever the problems are, identifying and working on them is not only amazing for BPD management and recovery, but it will also provide you with the clarity that you need to accept the end of the relationship and move on.
Also, when I took the time to reflect on the relationship, I realised that it was toxic and unhealthy. This is something that I never would’ve realised if I hadn’t got dumped over text and went through months of subsequent mental trauma. Silver linings, right? 😁
Keep a Diary
Keeping a diary really helped me to organise my thoughts and control my emotions. It was also an incredibly useful tool for any time I felt like reminding my ex
how much I loved him how great I was doing without him. Instead of texting him, I’d just scribble it down in my diary. A few hours later I’d look at what I’d written and be so, so glad that I didn’t send it to him in a message.
Cry loudly to that song, bitch about him to your friends and eat as much Ben and Jerry’s as your stomach will allow
Because those are the rules, right?
If you suffer from BPD, please reach out to me! I’d love to have a discussion about it as I’ve never known anyone else to have it, and it’s made me feel pretty alone at times ☹. Also if you have any other tips, feel free to share!