“And what if – what are you if the people who are supposed to love you can leave you like you’re nothing?” – Elizabeth Scott, The Unwritten Rule
People leave. This is a fact of life that sadly, most of us are familiar with. However, borderline personality disorder comes with the added intense fear of being rejected, abandoned, or otherwise left alone. And each time someone leaves your life, it only adds to the already present fear – I know this all too well. We’ve all been through it. A relationship ending, a friendship dissolving, a death – an ending that results in a person leaving your life.
If you’re interested in the psychological side of it all, here’s a little something for you to read.
I’ve never been able to cope with people leaving my life or being rejected. I remember friends at school deciding to change groups and hang out with other people – I mean, why would they do that? They’re supposed to be my friends, why would they want to hang out with anyone else? God, the arguments in the playground… The first time I fell madly in love with a guy (at age 12) he said he wasn’t interested – so I proceeded to spend three hours outside his house, writing with chalk on the pavement that I loved him. Eeesh. And that’s without the countless letters I wrote him… If you’re reading this, sorry Joe.
I took abandonment and rejection like bullets to the heart. People put it down to just being an angry, clingy teenager with all those raging hormones and wonky brain chemistry. I mean, I was diagnosed with depression at 13 but most things were chalked up to teen angst. Adults suck sometimes.
After my dad died when I was only 15, I would say that’s when my abandonment issues got worse. I was always afraid that people were going to leave me in one way or another. Even if it meant pushing them away first, I’d do it to avoid the pain of being left alone – I would go to pretty extreme lengths just to feel safe. I only went to the first university that I did because my Manipulative Ex told me he couldn’t guarantee he’d be faithful if we went to separate universities. HUGE RED FLAG for non-borderline people, right?
I’ve seen friends come and go, and it’s been tough. Then, Mom died. My BPD started to manifest in more extreme ways, and I lost a whole friendship group over a severe psychotic episode – seriously guys, thanks for that, you say you noticed my behaviour got worse after my diagnosis, so you just left me to it? Awesome. But, that wasn’t the worst thing that happened. Nope. That would be the abandonment prior to my diagnosis by The Ex.
Long story short, The Ex was the saviour of my life after Manipulative Ex left me an empty shell. We were together for three years and man, was I in love. We weren’t perfect and I was always scared of him leaving me – especially when he was lying to me about what he was doing on the internet when I couldn’t see. Eventually, I broke it off and we became friends. He promised we would always be friends. Don’t believe me? Here are some messages sent not long after my mom died;
He attended my mom’s funeral, as did his own mom. I had been with my Other Half for three weeks at this point, and he had to accept that my ex boyfriend was still so close to me and my family that he was by my side on the worst day of my life instead of the guy I was dating.
Months passed. I spent Christmas 2013 with my Other Half, the old friendship group and The Ex. Sounds awkward, most of it was spent drunk. I thought things were good. “I’m scared of losing you,” I had said. “You won’t, at all. We’ve been through too much,” he had replied.
Well, four months after Christmas, he blocks me on every social media site, tells me to never contact him or his family again, there is a skirmish over getting my things from him and they’ve probably since been dumped or burned. There was no warning, nothing. The only thing I could do was block him out of our shared Steam account – I warned him to get his own account but he never listened – and that was that. And it broke me. My best friend, the only other person I had loved as much as my mom at that point, dropped me like a weight.
It’s taken me a very long time to deal with it. I don’t think I will ever be really over it. I have seen him since, and it was painful. I’m sure he has his reasons, but I will never know why.
He was the first person I wanted to tell about my BPD diagnosis because of what we went through with my mental health when we were together. I did a few things during our relationship that I am still ashamed of, but can be explained through the disorder. I feel like I could make peace with the worst things that happened when we were together – but that will never happen.
According to shared friends, he called me jealous, possessive, troubled – I know now that I lost nothing. But the time spent picking up the pieces of him leaving, I can never get that back.
The one thing I want to say with this rambling entry? Don’t make promises to people that you don’t intend to keep. I get that things change, you meet new people and life can take you to different places than where you originally were – but if you need to go, then go kindly with the person you’re leaving knowing that it’s not because of them, that there is nothing they can do to change what is happening, and that whatever relationship you had with them was real. For fucks sake, spare them the misery of wondering what happened.
Letting go is hard. Being the one left behind is the hardest.