BPD & Friendship: My lonely road

I had a difficult phone call today. I was speaking to someone who had been a dear friend to me for several years.  I hadn't spoken to her since August, when I broke her heart by dropping out of her wedding (as her bridesmaid) just weeks before her big day.

I had begun to grow distant from her since she announced that she was engaged.  The most obvious explanation would be that I was jealous. This happens to a lot of women when their friends marry.  But that wasn't it. I'm in a long term relationship in which we both feel comfortable being together without marriage. It was something else.

I've always found it challenging to keep friends and to enjoy true, reciprocated intimacy with another person, in friendship.  It likely goes all the way back to the foundational years, where I spent much of the time in "survival mode," and always hoping that "someone" would come to my rescue. This pattern, like most others that we, as humans, experience, remaining unresolved, came right along with me into adulthood. That's why, when I began to really connect with Maria (not her real name, out of respect for her privacy),  I was careful to monitor that I was not overbearing, so as to push her away. It took a lot to push her away.




Maria was *always* there for me. Whether she was at work, school, or even if she hadn't gotten a wink of sleep...she would take my call, which usually led to an in-person visit. We'd often enjoy a coffee together or talk and linger over a meal.

Maria is in the counseling field, and although she is several years younger than me, I often looked up to her. She was pursuing and achieving her educational and professional goals and was out in the world helping hurting people - including me...which I subconsciously and unintentionally turned into a "problem."

Looking back, I called on Maria whenever I was afraid. If I had an anxiety or panic attack, I called her, and she soothed me. She picked me up, built back up my confidence, and made everything ok. She was my rescuer. My friend.  She was always there for me...and I tended to have one crisis after another, never really giving back to her in a way that she felt honored and loved. She is who I should have learned to be for myself. She did what someone should have done for me when I was a child. Shoulda woulda coulda.

Ultimately, I cried today at the loss of my friend. She, at this time, is not interested in investing the energy she believes it would take to give me a second chance. I'm so thankful for the time she's been in my life. I pray that I can grow for this experience toward having a real friendship. I pray that, if it's meant to be, Maria will let me back in her life and allow me to grow to become the friend I should have always been for her.

I hope that I can truly learn how to BE a friend.

8 comments:

  1. I'm crying. I wish I couldn't identify with this as much as I do. It's so hard always creating these "problems" that are or arn't. Then amplifying these problems to the point of being intolerable. And of course the next step- making a rash decision to dramatically alter the situation almost always leaving me *alone*.

    I try to stop this cycle. But when I'm in the middle of it I'm blind to it.

    Love you. Love getting to know you. You have so much healing power you share with us. Thank you.

    - Leslie

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  2. Dear Leslie,

    If you are crying, it means your heart is ready to grow, and that you are ready to receive more in your life. It means you have empathy and that you can relate. I am sending you a huge hug right now, and lots of love.

    May you grow in wisdom every day, as I hope to.

    Thank you for your very kind words of encouragement!

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  3. I'm so glad I took a look at this. I can to really relate to this. It makes me realise how lucky to have my best and really only friend in my life (he really understands te bpd though i admit i do push it to near limit).

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    1. Thank you for commenting. As I said via Twitter, CHERISH that friend. ♥

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  4. 22 years ago i was dx with BPD. and for the first time a few weeks ago i have a new counselor that is helping me via DBT to learn how to be ok. in those years i have had and lost so many friends. people who cannot handle the feelings associated with people like us. i have learned that people who are "whole" are that way by not having hurting people, especially one with BPD, in their lives. so the people who have the ability to understand and stick by me in any capacity have either dealt with mental illness in their family or have a background in mental health or nursing.
    it is good to know the "why's" of what is happening. with DBT i am looking forward to gaining skills to move forward and being whole. reading about Dr Linehan having the courage to share her story gives me hope. that someone that has helped so many people through her own pain to create DBT lets me know that it is something that will truly help.
    thank you for your blog. i just found it. i look forward to reading more.
    this entry really hit home with me.
    people want me to be a certain way to be friends.
    and that is so difficult and doesn't feel worth the effort.

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    1. I am excited that you are embarking on learning about DBT and how the skills can help you as someone with BPD. They have truly changed my life, and I have hope for you, too! Thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to comment. ♥ Debbie

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  5. I absolutely adore your blog. So many posts resonate with me. You, putting yourself 'out there' like this makes me feel less alone.
    Thank you

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    1. I am so happy to hear that, Stephie. Thanks for taking the time to let me know. And, you are most definitely not alone. ♥ Debbie

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