Friendship and Borderline Personality Disorder

The second question in the “31 days of BPD” challenge asks why your last friendship ended. Now I don’t have any friends (unless you count my husband) and haven’t had any in a long time.

Friendships for me were usually short-lived. I had one friend in elementary school who stayed friends with me for the three years that I attended that school, but we didn’t have much contact after I left the school. I’d call her a few times, but she’d never call me and I eventually gave up.

With my seventh grade school for the blind friend, the same happened. We were good friends for the entirety of the year I spent in that school. I’d say we were best friends, but in all honesty she was my only real frined even though I got along quite well with my other classmates and some older girls too. Anyway, after I left the school to be mainstreamed, I spoke to her a few times on the phone, but I’d always ask her to call me and she never would.

I think I must’ve burdneed her with my problems, being bullied and isolated in mainstream school, but I don’t remember. This was in any case what caused my few mainstream school friendships to end. Right when a girl started hanging out with me, I’d open up and tell her my problems. While that wasn’t the actual reason my friendship with four girls in seventh grade mainstream education ended, it probably did contribute.

This was the only friendship that truly was broken. I reemember it was at the beginning of eighth grade. We’d had to do a graded music performance, which I apparently screwed up. I don’t remember how, but somehow I screwed it up, giving the other girls a bare pass. They ignored me for a week, one girl in particular but she was supported by her three friends. Then, when I apologized for whatever I did wrong, they said they forgave me but never quite grew the friendship back.

This all happened when I was a teen, and I’m not sure it’s truly BPD that caused me to be overly open. It could have been my autistic social cluelessness combined with the fact that, well, everyone needs someone to support them and I didn’t have any adults who did. However, rapidly growing attached to people is a common BPD trait. I am not really sure I have this trait, as it’s not really that I overestimate how close I am to people.

With my now husband, I saw him as an acquaintance when he was visiting me on the psych unit on a weekly basis. I didn’t grow a true attachment to him till we started dating. However, I did open up to him too soon, sharing my suicidal ideation at his first visit to the hospital.

This could be related to BPD in a way, in that I particularly open up a lot when I experience strong emotions. Another thing, however, is that I open up more to people I barely know than to those who should be close to me, like my family. I don’t have a clue whether this is a BPD or an autism thing or not.

Linking up with Saturday Sharefest at the Recovery Bloggers Network. The Recovery Bloggers Network is a new project, where I and another blogger hope to connect bloggers who write about mental health, addiction, recovery, or healing from trauma or abuse.

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6 thoughts on “Friendship and Borderline Personality Disorder

  1. I hardly have any real life friends.I have a disconnect with anyone who doesn’t have a mental illness. I just ended a friendship based on that disconnect I sense – when I told my former friend I struggled with major fatigue from a med change, she texted me “good luck!” with no offers of help. She lives four minutes away from me.

    A month later she wanted to arrange a playdate for our kids and I lied and told her they were busy every day.

    I know that the my belief seems limiting and weird, but I would rather be friends with someone with bipolar or depression than someone who doesn’t need psych meds! The only exception to that rule is my husband and my dog Lucy. Thank you for sharing your experience – I enjoy your clear, honest writing.

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    1. I can relate to feeling a disconnect with people who don’t have some kind of mental health struggle, though my husband is mostly neurotypical and sane. In the psych hospital, I can tell people’s diagnosis usually by how I get along with them, getting along best with those with personality disorders and worst with those with schizophrenia. It’s probably because those with schizophrenia I see here tend to be on the edge of psychosis, so I don’t mean to say I wouldn’t be able to get along with anyone who had this diagnosis. I do agree that people who’ve had a good deal of life experience, whether it’s due to mental illness or trauma or whatever, tend to be the more empathetic people.

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  2. My best friend has BPD. It’s difficult for me because sometimes I feel as though she really just needs too much from me. I’ve done quite a bit of reading on it though and I try to remind myself that friendship is a two way street. I don’t let her push me away either, although somtimes she tries. Thanks for your post.

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  3. I have interesting relationships with my friends. We can see each other maybe once a year and then pick up where we left off easily. I have two young children and friendships are very difficult to maintain when all I want to do is sleep or have a little personal freedom. My husband is my best friend, he counts.

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