Unlike my other articles, this article does not aim to inform or educate. It's a relationship story between two people with BPD that I personally want to share. I've written this straight from my bleeding heart and insightful mind.
The past years of my life haven’t been the best. I was mostly struggling with BPD and depression. I had to attend multiple therapies because I was suicidal. At one point, things got so bad that I was being kept in a mental hospital. Once I was released, I gave life another shot, but I soon fell back into a pit of despair. I made plans to end my life a few months later. But then, on 18 September 2022, everything changed because I met the love of my life.
What it's like to love someone with BPD
The moment I saw her dancing, she was already smiling at me. I got mesmerized. Everyone around us faded away as soon as we locked eyes. She was all I could see, and she made me feel as if I was the only one alive. She never stopped looking at me with those beautiful eyes. And now, when I close my eyes, I can still see the image of her smiling at me for the first time. I knew from the very first second that she was the one. For the first time in my life, I didn’t hesitate, and I immediately approached her. It felt as if something entered my body for a moment and gave me the courage to push forward. It wouldn't be an interesting love story if there wasn't a twist. Because when I started talking to her, she didn't understand me. I thought maybe it was because of the loud music or my bad accent, but no. I figured out that she didn’t speak the same language as me, which only made everything even more special. We communicated through our eyes, which acted as the windows to our souls. It all didn't feel real. I'm usually not someone who is spiritual, but it all felt magical. It felt as if we were on the moon together. Only the two of us, while everyone else was looking at us. But then reality kicked in, and she suddenly had to leave. When her hand slipped from mine, I immediately felt empty.
Fortunately, though, that is not how the story ends. After an hour, she came back only to look for me, and despite all odds, she was successful in finding me. As if fate didn’t want us to be separated. There were so many people.. why was I the one? This has been on my mind ever since. After spending time together, we both were afraid of the other not having the same intentions. We went for a walk and communicated through google translate. Even if it was a little silly, it made our bond feel very special. We could have both decided it was too much of a hassle, but we were so in love with each other that we attempted to translate every word. That, in my opinion, is true love and dedication. She talked to me about her life at home and mentioned that she would be returning to her country soon. We decided that we wanted to see each other as often as we could until she had to go back. The time spent together was the best time of my life. I would teach her English, we would go for walks in the park, go out to parties, explore new cities, and swim together at the beach. We made beautiful memories that I was never going to forget. We began to build a relationship based on trust, commitment, communication, and the purest form of love.
However, there was a lot of fear on both sides underneath it all. We were terrified of losing all the wonderful things we had together because we were both constantly fighting the fear of abandonment. We both questioned whether we would ever see each other again when it was time for her to depart. The night before she left, we stayed up all night so that we could enjoy every last minute of each other's company. We cried, laughed, and everything in between. Everything that happened until this point didn't feel real. I found everything I wanted in life, but it was going to disappear. I gave her my necklace, and she gave me her bracelet so that we would have something to hold onto. She then stepped into the bus, and it was a heartbreaking moment. She had left, and I'd never felt so empty before. Our love was so strong that I began to wonder whether I had ever experienced true love before meeting her. The separation was so painful because we didn't know if we would ever see each other again. Every evening, I would learn her language. It made me feel as though I was with her. We fought for the relationship despite our fears that the other person wouldn't want to commit. Sometimes these fears took control, making it difficult for us to maintain stability, but we pushed through it.
After a month of being apart, I made the best decision of my life. I flew out to her and moved in so the relationship could continue. My friends, family, therapy, hobbies, career, and pets were among the things I left behind. Everything felt very surreal when she picked me up at the airport. I was so happy to be able to see her again and couldn't believe that it was all really happening. Living abroad at first was both challenging and incredibly exciting. Everything was just different. English was a language that very few people could speak, and I was far from what I considered home. But it was all worthwhile because I was establishing a future with the love of my life. We frequently talked about how much we loved one another and how unlikely it would be to ever find someone in such a beautiful way again. Although I've never considered starting a family, I wanted her to be the mother of my children. But unfortunately, there was another side to all of this. The emotional baggage we were both carrying from our childhoods, which now developed into BPD, had a significant impact on our relationship. The only distinction was that she was not aware of her disorder at the time, whereas I have undergone numerous therapies and devoted years of my life trying to understand this disorder.
Love and BPD
Out of fear and insecurity, we would say and do things that would upset each other. My insecurity stems from my conviction that, no matter what, everyone will eventually leave me. Her insecurity was built on not being able to trust other people's ability to love her and the belief that she is unable to make other people happy. These insecurities exposed the worst aspects of who we were. For instance, when we were out with friends, I would get frustrated when she couldn't give me enough attention. I felt abandoned, isolated, and alone at the gatherings because I didn't speak their language. As a result, I would give her the silent treatment and guilt-trip her because I felt hurt. In such a scenario, my ultimate goal was to have her fight harder for me, but things quickly got out of hand because my actions triggered her fear. It was never my intention to hurt her. I got carried away and was unaware at the time. For her, insecurity often led to anger outbursts and blame shifting. When she got insecure about something, such as my happiness with her, she would burst out in emotion instead of being able to communicate her feelings appropriately. All she wanted was reassurance that I was happy with her. But when her emotions took over, it was like talking to a completely different person. It didn't matter what I said or did. Maybe because I’ve gone through Emotion Regulation Therapy, I was able to stay more composed than her, or it’s just a personality difference. But within arguments, I had to calm her down and bring her back to reality while trying to control my own emotions and avoid becoming triggered, which most often was unsuccessful.
Many misunderstandings were brought on by the language barrier and the methods by which we each expressed our feelings. One incorrect word or phrase would set off the other person because we would feel threatened. When even the smallest thing went wrong, we immediately started to think that we would lose each other, which made it always spiral out of control. We frequently believed that we could read each other's minds, which made us engage in an argument on false assumptions. We would both often start these arguments in order to get reassurance. We feel better about ourselves and the relationship when we see the other person fight for it. But the problem was that our ego made it hard for us to reconsolidate after an argument. We blamed each other for everything, and every fight went slightly further each time. It often lead to the point where she made regrettable threats to end the relationship, which I previously did as well but quickly learned not to do. Whenever we were about to part ways, I was able to snap out of the negative thoughts and put my ego aside due to my fear of abandonment. My fear actually made me focus on de-escalating and resolving the conflicts since I was afraid of losing her and felt like I had to do something about it.
We often sat down together and decided that we needed to change our behavior and be better to each other in order to stay together because that’s what we both ultimately wanted. We made plans and promises. Over time, I was able to adapt and learn from our past arguments, but she couldn’t. She couldn’t snap herself out of the emotional outbursts. The same cycle kept happening. Her actions were primarily motivated by insecurity. And her response to the insecure attachment was anger. Unfortunately, during the outbursts, it was too difficult to get her to stop doing what she was doing. Eventually, one day, I believed her when she said that she wanted to end the relationship. And so she made me fly home. In the previous instances, even though it was painful, I knew she was threatening me out of fear. But to my surprise, this time, she also regretted it moments later, but it was already too late. After all the fights we had, it was bound to happen. Nothing was changing, so it was only a matter of time before the bubble bursts.
Are BPD relationships doomed?
We separated, even though we didn't want to. Our mental illnesses got us to this point. Traveling all the way back home from the one I love the most and not knowing if I would ever see her again was one of the hardest things I've ever done. My body didn't want to take a single step. I couldn't stop looking at our pictures. I thought about all the things we've shared with each other. I thought about her smile and the way we met. I constantly tried to convince myself that me being gone was better for both of us. But even though it was extremely painful, it was a good choice to take some time for ourselves and rethink everything. When I left, we discussed everything that needed to change if we ever wanted to get back together. And since we still loved each other, we didn't want to give up.
Until this point, you may think to yourself that this relationship was a complete disaster, and you may be right, but all of the toxicity came from insecurity, ego, and trauma. We both were fighting for our relationship with a mental illness. And even though I could manage mine a little better, it wasn't good enough. We never meant to truly hurt each other, even though we did. I was very forgiving because I knew that any toxic behavior we both exhibited was driven by fear and insecurity. It doesn't make the toxic behavior acceptable, but it gave me hope that the relationship might still work out. Only through change, with understanding as its first step, can there be an improvement. We still wanted to fight for the relationship and fix our problems together. We were motivated to disprove our friends and family's opinions about us being together. We both made the decision to focus on ourselves for a bit while we were apart. She decided to seek counseling in order to manage her emotions better. There was progress, and we both still believed in a future together.
But then, once more, out of fear and insecurity, another argument started. During the argument, she impulsively made a comment about something very specific. It was extremely random, prompting me to wonder if she had not just made it up. She had previously acted impulsively, so I wouldn't be surprised if she lied. As I confronted her with my gut feeling, things spiraled out of control. She got extremely upset for accusing her and threatened to break things up once more. I convinced her to phone me later that day. She cried for hours about how I had hurt her feelings for not believing her. I felt sorry and tried my best to make things right. I also promised to figure out the truth for both of us. But a week later, I eventually found the evidence that I was looking for. I caught her red-handed lying to me all this time. Even though I knew it all along, it still hurt me very deeply. The most painful part was that even when I provided her with the evidence, she refused to tell me the truth and persisted in lying.
I can understand how she became tangled up in a web of lies. At the time, she was seeking reassurance due to a sense of insecurity, which led her to act on an impulsive thought that quickly grew out of control. For me, personally, the issue wasn’t that she lied, but rather all that followed. She got angry at me, manipulated me, blamed everything on me, and didn't tell me the truth when I caught her red-handed. She decided to continue lying because, for her, there was no turning back. After all, admitting the truth would severely harm her self-esteem because the lies had gotten so big and involved other people.
In the end, a mental illness makes you do stupid and hurtful things.