Something I dont like to talk about a whole lot is the myths surrounding being in a relationship with someone who has a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. I find most articles available on the internet have a very negative impact not only towards the person suffering, but also to the partner/lover/non label person you may be involved with, wether it be sexual, intimate, committed and so fourth. I like to have a loyal, mutual relationship where I be with someone and they will be the only person involved in the picture. Unfortunately that hasn't always been reciprocated with me.
Ill speak about my dating history quickly. I have had three relationships where I have committed, and they have committed 'in their own ways'. I have been involved in love triangles, experiments, brief 'seeings' and all sorts on my journey through finding someone I can have a trusting and loyal relationship with. I dont venture out to seek relationships, more experiences. I have never believed in forever or even seeing myself with a long term partner. I cant predict futures or where I will be in my long process of recovery as well. I know there is someone else out there who would be suited to me and be able to understand my illness to the full extent it needs. But I must write about this topic so society can get a better understanding on the whole myth surrounding BPD relationships. I want to put those negative myths to bed.
The most nerve racking thing for me is not the normal things that make people nervous when they start a relationship with someone. You have the usual thoughts of being naked with someone and thinking 'what are they thinking of my body' Revealing a naked body is easy for me. But what is the most petrifying thing for me to reveal is the mask that hides my BPD. I have learnt over time not to be scared to tell partners of my diagnosis. I have chosen in the past not to tell partners because of these negative articles readily available on the internet to sabotage any understandings I may need to form a stable relationship with someone. Its not the diagnosis itself, but the negative stigmas attached to being with someone who has Borderline.
People tend to reveal their diagnosis in hope that the person we have come to trust will be able to not believe in the stereotypes attached to BPD (manipulative, dishonest, evil, crazy). You also do yourself the honour of being able to accept that this is a part of your personality (not the definition of it) and you are also very aware of your flaws. You try countlessly to maintain and regulate your emotions on the daily, so imagine meeting someone who can heighten those emotions. Its a beautiful but very fragile thing.
Then you get the thoughtless comments attached to when you tell someone about BPD diagnosis you may be seeing, due to them not being able to understand. I was recently seeing a girl who was certain her ex had a diagnosis of BPD (not that it should matter). She always had a negative reaction when she spoke of him. Maybe he did have a diagnosis, maybe he didn't. The point is, we aren't the abusive, manipulating type you have convinced yourself we are because of some buzzfeed article you found one day when scrolling your facebook. We are human beings, capable and deserving of love. Not deserving of these negative attachments around our disorder.
Then we get the people convincing us we aren't 'mentally ill' and that 'we have a choice in our behaviours' when reacting to certain behaviours. As I have wrote in the past, if you cant separate our illness to who we actually are when we are mentally well, then that is you not being able to be supportive or try that extra step harder to try be more supportive by having a general understanding about mental illness on a whole level. Its so simple to me, but to others it seems when it comes to having a general understanding, its written in a foreign language or its not important if its not similar to what they suffer from. Everyones illness and pain is valid!! Dont ever disregard that or neglect someone of that feeling.
We aren't going to try take our lives each time you want to leave. If someone wants to leave you because of your illness, then they aren't the right person for you, no matter what excuse they feed you to make themselves not feel as guilty for leaving. What I have learnt is do not cling onto someone who doesn't want to be there for you. My suicide ideation is something that is there with me daily, wether I have a partner there or not. Do not let someone come along and make it about them. Do not feel ashamed for doing your best to live a life with that idea in your head more than people may realise. Its not their responsibility to take that away. But if they want to be in a stable companionship with you, its their responsibility to understand that about the suicide and self harm episodes that stem from the BPD illness.
There are symptoms that sometimes trigger our BPD episodes. For example, attachment and fear of abandonment is attached to BPD. We are constantly in fight of wanting that closeness, but not holding onto it too tightly as people come and go very easily when they learn you have BPD. The right people stay of course. When I am mentally stable, I have no separation or fear someone I am seeing is going to leave. But due to dating people in the past who 'dont know what they want', it tends to throw me off when one minute they are excited to hang out with me and the next couple of days they dont want to see me or speak to me. Its enough to drive any sane, stable person off their stable rope they have grounded so tightly. Some days it made be very challenging, but a lot of things are challenging. We aren't as difficult as you may think if you just opened your mind and accept the illness for really what it is, not a personality flaw, but an illness.
At the end of the day, every relationship is going to have its hardships, no matter what you suffer from. This is why these BPD myths need to go out of the window. Every person I have come across has displayed symptoms of BPD in relationships'. Every single person I have dated have shown my fears attached to some of those symptoms. What makes a relationship last is being understanding of the other persons illness. What is detrimental and damaging is chucking in the towel after reading these outdated articles. If you really love and care about someone, you will make it work, regardless of the other experiences people have had with the rollercoaster diagnosis that is Borderline.