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Why does someone with Borderline keep getting into Toxic Relationships?

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

The behavior we're willing to tolerate from another person is equivalent to the amount of respect we have for ourselves. The more respect we have for ourselves, the less toxic behavior we're going to accept from someone. If you find that you're putting up with a lot from your partner, you may need to take a deep and honest look at yourself and see whether or not you need to gain a higher level of self-respect. Most people know that they deserve to be treated better, but they still allow others to treat them poorly, be taken advantage of, or be manipulated by them.

In a lot of relationships, there is a certain level of insecurity. Since people with BPD struggle with loneliness and low self-esteem, they feel like they need someone else to be able to feel loved or valued. They rather want to be with anyone than be alone, even if that is someone who doesn't truly value them.

Instead of asking: 'why does my partner treat me like this?'. You should ask yourself: 'why am I putting up with it?'. Forget about trying to understand their motivation for treating you that way. It comes back to your insecurities and the fact that you're relying on someone else to fulfill those needs for you.

If you got out of a toxic relationship, you have to figure out why you got yourself there in the first place. If you don't, you'll find yourself in another relationship with someone doing the same things all over again. Once you begin to gain more self-love and self-respect, you're simply not going to put up with that kind of treatment from anyone. You're not going to be so easily deceived, manipulated, and taken advantage of.

Keep in mind that the person in your life who is toxic probably doesn't realize that they're toxic, and you might have some toxicity of your own that you're not fully aware of.

Is it possible to step out of the cycle to not fall in love with toxic people? I'm not saying that it's necessarily easy, but yes, it is possible. It's a pattern, and the thing about patterns is that they're deeply rooted, and the first step is to recognize that pattern. Look at your specific situation and your past relationships.

The love and respect we have for ourselves are always going to be reflected in our relationships. We choose a partner who reflects the way that we feel about ourselves. If we want a partner who is more loving, considerate, compassionate, and respectful we also have to cultivate these things within ourselves.

The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself because it sets the tone for all other relationships.


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