Having BPD means that you probably have problems with interpersonal relationships, The DSM-5 has specific criteria for a diagnosis. Symptoms in borderline personality disorder occur in 4 domains: affectivity, interpersonal functioning, impulse control and cognitive. It is required to have 5 our of 9 traits to meet the criteria for a borderline personality disorder. Every Border (someone with BPD), has their own set of traits, and no two are the same. One of the symptoms that is a catalyst for most who suffer from BPD is instability in interpersonal relationships. My experience in my own social life has been rocky. There have been some good highs, but also some of the worst lows.
The world was collapsing, and the only thing that really mattered to me was that she was alive.― Rick Riordan, The Last Olympian
One reason some have trouble socially is because they spend all of there time and energy on their favorite person, or FP. A FP is different than a best friend or spouse. However, a best friend or a spouse can be a FP. A FP is someone who you value and devalue. You put them on a pedestal and love them in every way. Or they are the worst person in the world and they obviously hate you. But their opinion holds more weight than anyone else’s combined. But this can be stressful for the FP. Can you imagine having someone ask you what your opinion was on what kind of dish soap they should buy. I don’t have to imagine, because I’m the one asking. I try my best to mitigate the stress I cause and limit the questions I ask.
My favorite person tends to be the person I am in a relationship with at the time. Only recently have I had female FP. My past thought process decided that all women are crazy and I know because of my woman-ness I know how women think. It’s a big joke to make fun of women being flighty and crazy. But everyone is different, and most people can maintain an emotional state level between 4-7 on a scale of 1-10 on average. Those with BPD can go from 1-10 in less than 5 minutes. This range of contrasting emotions can make keeping a friendship, FP or not, difficult.
Growing up I was terribly unpopular and ridiculed daily, and not just at school. So, my social skills never fully developed. Because of this and various other factors, I haven’t kept a close friend for more than a year. I will move from person to person. Reliving the ups and downs throughout each one. And this happened with every relationship I had. I realized one day that my issues with relationship all ended the same, horrifically and the only common denominator was me.
Socially, I handle myself well, post-therapy. Pre-therapy, I never left my house. I went to work and the grocery shopping. That’s it. I had been battered by so many tumultuous relationships that I recoiled inward. I didn’t seek help until it was almost too late. I learned late in life what it takes to be a good friend and maintain a lasting friendship; Going through DBT and EMDR therapy helped me to lessen my daily distress levels and that helped with my emotional outbursts. I started going out, meeting new people, building new friendships. And this time, I worked hard to use my DBT skills and be mindful of my surroundings, and more importantly, how I affect them as well. Understanding how people may intemperate my actions and how I behaved when emotional helped me to be more mindful.
Now, almost three years after completing therapy, I am thriving. My circle has grown significantly, and I have a lot of support. I am rather upfront about my BPD, but a lot of my friends have no idea. I don’t enjoy speaking about my daily struggles (lol I guess, used to). But I do reflect on them heavily. If you, or a loved one has BPD, please know: this too will pass.