BPD: Will Any Relationship Do?
Borderline's need to make honest attempts at the healthiest relationships they can create and need also to know when they aren't ready for a primary relationship. Just any relationship is not the answer to what most borderlines need.
Being in a relationship is not necessarily better than being single. Believing that any relationship is better than no relationship is a way that borderlines re-play out their pasts and an unhealthy way that they try to have their needs met for them. Many borderlines will benefit from looking at this issue of relationship and what the goal is in having one.
Often, for many with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), the fear of being alone, and the inability to cope with being alone means that any relationship will do.
This can be much more problematic than helpful. Trying to have your needs met by someone else and relying upon them to make and or keep you safe is just another way of staying the same. Staying the same means continuing to be in the enormous amount of pain that most borderlines are in. If you are looking to someone else to keep you safe you have put yourself in the role of a child. The relationship that you have then is likely one of parent to child, not an equal, reciprocal, adult to adult relationship.
Being in this type of relationship (and they are often abusive relationships) is a way to continue to re-play out your past. It is a way to be re-victimized time and time again. The same is true of co-dependent relationships. Mind you any relationship in which one partner is in the parent role and the other in the child role is likely very co-dependent to begin with.
Using someone else to do for you what you need to do for yourself will only add to your pain and to your loss, in time, it will not help you to heal or to be happy.
Some people are able to work out their co-dependent issues and their borderline issues while still in a relationship. For many though this is just not practical. Sometimes being one your own is the only way that you can truly learn how to take care of yourself, meet your own needs and find and maintain your own safety.
I used to be in a place where I thought any relationship is better than no relationship. That has drastically changed in my life the healthier I've become. It was not an easy transition. It was not a transition without pain, anxiety, and fear. But, it is a tranistion that was well worth all the struggling to learn and understand that it took me. It was well worth the pain. It was part of my becoming an adult.
Do you ever just feel SO relieved when someone expresses an interest in you - when they like you? Do you stop to consider whether or not you even like them? Being liked by someone is wonderful but it cannot be fulfilling on an adult level if you do not reciprocate the same feelings for the person that likes you.
What about what you want? What about who you'd like to be with? What about first understanding what type of person would best suite you?
Too many borderlines rush into too many "bad" relationships out of fear of not being in a relationship. The cost of this can be very high and very painful. You cannot possibly relate successfully in an adult relationship until you know who you are, until you can take care of yourself, and until you know what you want.
The answer to the question, "Will any relationship do?" is NO not just any relationship will do. If you take that route you are actually blocking your growth. You will cause yourself more pain. You will be responsible for hurting the person that you enter the relationship with as well.
Borderlines need to learn how to relate to themselves first. Then and only then can they be at all ready to relate in a healthy adult manner within the bounds of a healthy adult relationship. Relationships often mirror past family relationships.
It is important to do your work, emotionally mature, and to be aware of your triggers before you drag yourself and someone else though the ringer of trying to "raise you". You owe yourself more than this and you deserve more than to just repeat your past over and over, again and again, in the most pain-filled way possible.
Choosing to be in an "unhealthy" realtionship because you don't know how to be alone is a way of re-abandoning yourself. You will also feel abandoned over and over again by the person you are in this kind of relationship with. They will become the parent that you had most difficulty with and you both will suffer greatly for choosing to be together. Just as any with BPD needs to "emotionally grow up" before they can successfully have a healthy adult relationship; anyone who enters into a relationship in which they are the "parent" of their partner also needs to look at their reasons for doing this to themselves.
Many who have BPD need to learn that being in a relationship cannot make you better or change your life. You need to make you better and change your life. I often wonder how borderlines expect to parent their children when they haven't yet learned how to re-parent themselves which is no easy task at all.
Do yourself a favour, take things slowly. Work at meeting your own needs first. There is nothing shameful or incomplete about being on your own so that you can meet your own needs and take care of yourself. It may seem scary and it can be trying but the alternative is to stick your head in the sand choosing to believe that any relationship will do when most people know fully well this is just not true.
© A.J. Mahari, August 10, 2001