As a person with BPD, one of the greatest challenge I have is maintaining interpersonal relationships; especially romantic ones. The following are specific problems I have within my relationship with Daniel.
Problem: Dealing with him isolating and not responding to my texts and calls. Putting aside the past, in general I have a difficult time with extended periods of no contact. The thing about Daniel is when he’s depressed he isolates. My black and white thinking causes me to always assume the worst. One of the major traits of BPD is, “frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.” So, even though we’ve talked about his ghosting me in the past, he hasn’t done it for almost a year, and we are both in different places; I still assume the worst when he doesn’t respond to me for a couple of days. This causes me to text and call him obsessively, which I know only causes him more anxiety and makes him want to hide even longer. The other aspect of this is, in the event that something is wrong or he is upset with me, I struggle with remembering I’m not going to make it any better by sending him 30 text messages in a row.
Challenge: How do I get through the times when he’s in isolation mode without going into a full blown panic?
Problem: I have some very strong feminist views, some of which Daniel doesn’t understand. I want to be clear on the distinction between not agreeing and not understanding. He has admitted he comes at issues from a very privileged place. We don’t always agree; for example, we both are passionate about women’s rights, but he tends to focus on larger scale issues. For instance, he has trouble understanding the role micro aggressions play into something like rape and violent racist acts. We also have slightly different views regarding prostitution (though I was able to change his view on this a bit). He loves the I’m so passionate, and he wants me to educate him. Here’s the problem, I’m so used to people who don’t understand my view point being ignorant, bigoted people. Because of this I tend to lash out at Daniel and attack him. He has worked in DC and is a political science major, so debating and discussion issues is something he’s good at face to face. I’m better at it on paper. I often get flustered and impulsively angry that I just start yelling. I’ll end up kicking myself for days and then typing out a perfectly mature and eloquent argument.
Challenge: How can I have conversations with him regarding issues he’s open to learning about, without flying off the handle? More importantly, how can I do this face to face and in the moment?
Problem: This one sort of goes hand in hand with the last point. Part of the reason I get so worked up is A. due to my anxiety and my tendency to make mountains out of mole hills and draw wild conclusions (oh he doesn’t understand micro aggressions, this must mean he slut shames women!) and B. My irrational fear that if we disagree on anything, it means we are doomed to fail. I also struggle with the fact he’s a tad less PC then I am.
Challenge: How can I get over the fear that disagreement=not meant to be together? How do I not nitpick about everything?