Updated: Oct 17, 2022
People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are known to have unstable relationships. Which are often experienced as toxic. Aside from the fact that people with BPD generally create conflict in their relationships, they are often unconsciously attracted to those who also display toxic behavior.
In this article, we'll discuss why someone with borderline keeps getting themselves into toxic relationships, how to get out of a toxic relationship, and how to avoid toxicity altogether.
Toxic tendencies in relationships from someone with Borderline
The core problem for someone with BPD lies in their fear of being abandoned. As a result, they display behavior that comes from jealousy. When the person with BPD feels abandoned, which can come out of the blue, they often exhibit 'push' and 'pull' behavior. They 'push' their partner away and start little conflicts to test if their partner would fight for them and the relationship. The 'pull' part then comes into play because the person with BPD wants to do everything to not be abandoned.
Idealization and quickly devaluing the partner due to splitting is also one of the main reasons the relationship experiences a lot of conflicts.
BPD and the toxic relationship cycle
Someone with BPD might keep saying that they want to find a partner who is kind, considerate, gentle, loyal, honest, and compassionate, and yet they keep finding themselves with someone who is quite the opposite. But why is someone with BPD attracted to someone toxic, and how can we break that cycle?
While they may say they'd prefer someone with more positive qualities, they seem to be blinded to those people when they show up in their lives, and there's some psychology behind it. It is correlated to our childhood, our relationship with our parents, and their relationship with one another. At that moment, we get our first impressions of relationships and form habits and beliefs about love. If we have a parent who is distant, neglectful, egocentric, or abusive then there's a tendency to wind up with partners who embody those same characteristics.
Because when we meet someone who has the same characteristics, there's a familiarity that feels comforting. Someone who has all the positive qualities may lack that sense of familiarity and doesn't interest us. It is known that BPD is often caused by childhood trauma related to parental relationships. As a result, they prefer the excitement of conflict because it's familiar and perhaps because it's chemically addictive.
When you come close to breaking up but then decide to get back together, it's like hitting the reset button and starting the relationship all over again. Just like starting a new relationship, you experience euphoric hormones like serotonin and oxytocin. People with BPD mistake the chemical high for love, and as long as they're dependent on that high, they're going to keep creating conflict in their relationships or stay with someone who creates conflict.
Leaving a Toxic Relationship