“Hello. I love you. Won’t you tell me your name?” Boundaries and Borderline Personality Disorder — That’s what this post is about.
When I first meet someone, I know that all of my insecurities come up. I desperately want everyone to like and approve of me. Of course, this probably stems from a childhood in an invalidating environment, but knowing that doesn’t make it much easier to navigate this world as an emotionally sensitive person.
When it comes to complete strangers, I’ve gotten a lot better. I used to over-disclose my business (really personal things) within the first conversation I’d have with someone — even if I might never see that person again. Maybe, deep down inside, I hoped that the “right” person would hear my story and give me some wisdom to help me heal.
When I realized that most of the time, after revealing way too much of myself to someone I didn’t know, I would feel “dirty,” or embarrassed, I began to apply the skills I was learning in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) to such opportunities. That’s how I was able to get better around this.<[p>
As far as what I’m noticing nowadays, I have this new co-worker — the only other female on staff. We get along SO well and have a ton in common. We spent last Sunday together bowling and doing fun things (here’s that blog post), and every day at work we end up laughing and spending time together.
The thing is, my emotions for her are becoming intense. I went so far as to jokingly say, “I love you!” today, to which she replied, “Me, too” and giggled…but I’ve been obsessing over it the entire afternoon. Why did I have to do that? I was doing so well holding back and reigning in the intense emotions so as to know push her way, come off as a psycho, or do any other damage to this friendship we are building.
Yes, I am being harsh on myself. I’ve stepped back, taken a deep breath, and decided that I need to be more compassionate. I am out of practice with this whole friendship thing — in fact, I’ve always had issues with being very intense, attaching very quickly, and having issues with boundaries. Being able to at least have a couple of true friends (and to capable of being a true friend in return) is part of my idea of “building a life worth living,” a phrase coined by DBT founder, Dr. Marsha Linehan.
My DBT group leader recommended this book to us before:
Can you relate? How do you handle when your emotions get intense around others?