Updated: Mar 13
For someone with Borderline Personality Disorder(BPD), the end of a relationship can be emotionally devastating since their fear of being abandoned has come to reality. When a relationship ends, someone with BPD may suffer from increased internal conflict, extreme loneliness, and even depression, as well as increased dissociation. They may feel the need for a fresh start and have rebound relationships.
For someone with BPD, being abandoned feels as if the person who left just died. They grieve the loss of this person, and their whole world can feel like it has been shattered.
The end of a relationship for someone with BPD
It often feels for those with BPD that it is impossible to live after their loved one has left them. They may resort to desperate methods such as constant messaging/calling, self-harm, and suicide attempts/threats, in an attempt to persuade them to return or stay. While these measures may appear extreme or even manipulative, they are motivated by a sense of desperation.
They may also experience rage from feeling betrayed, especially if their loved one previously stated to love them. While someone with BPD can't comprehend how their partner stopped loving them, it may feel as if they've been deceived all along. They might say things like "But I thought you loved me?" and become verbally or physically aggressive. This emotion is linked to their desperation, and it might feel overwhelming and out of control.
Their internal conflict gets worse temporarily
Someone with BPD naturally struggles with low self-esteem, self-doubt, and identity issues. These conflicts grow much more intense when their fear of abandonment is realized. They believe they aren't good enough, that they will never be loved again, and that it's better off being dead. All of the nasty things they've imagined about themselves have been verified in their minds. This can be too overwhelming, leading to self-harm or even suicide attempts.
Dealing with loneliness and sometimes even depression
They may assume that others think they're crazy or that their friends and family have betrayed them by failing to understand their behavior. This may cause the person with borderline to push everyone away, making them feel more isolated and alienated. They often don't want to leave their house or room, don't want to communicate with anyone, and just want to sleep forever, similar to someone suffering from depression. They completely cut themselves off from other people and reality.
Experiencing an increased amount of dissociation
People with BPD dissociate a lot more in this period since being abandoned is so difficult to deal with. Dissociation is a mental state in which a person distances themselves from reality. It can make a person feel unreal or as if they are floating above their body, and it can cause temporary memory loss. When you are not mentally present, it is simpler to deal with stressful situations. This is, among other things, a way to cope with being abandoned.
The need for a fresh start
People who have borderline personality disorder typically want to reinvent themselves. They believe that a fresh start is required to retake control of their life. People's self-criticism and self-worth may drive them to make radical adjustments after a breakup. However, this sensation is generally temporary, since this reinvention is a facade, and if they strive to maintain it permanently, it will slowly crumble their reality. While it is possible to make minor, positive adjustments to your lifestyle or character, it is difficult to entirely reinvent yourself in one go. With this, they are avoiding rather than dealing with their discomfort. The underlying feelings of loss and desperation will remain this way.
Having rebound relationships
Someone with BPD may seek a rebound relationship after the breakup. They will usually put their heart and soul into this new relationship, idolizing their new lover. This idolization will be short-lived, and the rebound will begin to lose its charm. They will then begin to devalue this person, perceiving them to be flawed, worthless, or only having negative traits.
These behaviors are coping techniques, and with time and/or therapy, these behaviors and feelings will disappear. This does not imply that the person no longer suffers from BPD, it indicates that they have dealt with the situation. If they have another break-up, these feelings and behaviors will almost certainly resurface.
How do you end a relationship with someone with a borderline personality disorder?