Borderlines & Love At First Sight

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Love at first sight is the concept of falling in love with someone when we first meet them – quite self-explanatory. Mixing Borderline Personality Disorder with this concept can be detrimental and disastrous, especially one has not begun recovery. This is not to say Borderlines cannot fall in love quickly, nor that a newfound relationship can’t last, but mainly that it can, and most always is unhealthy.


A prodominant trait about BPD is black and white thinking. This is applied to everyday situations, where the individual will only see something as all good or all bad; there rarely is an in-between. Our relationships are not safe from this, and often crumble on our part because of it.

Love at first sight is accompanied with the honeymoon phase. Everything seems to be going well. This partner is providing for us, willing to take long car rides to visit us, loves our favourite movies, can have meaningful conversation and is great in bed. We believe that we’ve never been with someone this amazing or loving, and could be convinced this person is the one.


Taking this stance is idealization, and overly common in BPD. We are looking through a positive lens, and any bad trait is not apparent to us yet. Somehow, we are capable to ignore the bad, or it just hasn’t been presented to us yet. We become enamored with their personality, their looks and their willingness to be there for us. Negativity seems impossible, and we have set high expectations that no person could ever meet, setting ourselves up for failure.

It is quite possible that, with such a short period of time, they’ve been in a good mood and have only been showing their positive traits, but as things settle down and they realize it is getting serious, that front comes down. Humanity comes through.

Maybe they are loud-mouthed, have disagreeable opinions, spend too much time away from home for your liking, participate in a lifestyle you do not approve of or have other traits you are not fond of. It is human to have these traits and is, for the most part, okay. But, not for someone with BPD.

For someone with Borderline, this person has changed. Their personality was faked, and they’ve been dishonest. We feel tricked. We fell in love mindlessly without taking into consideration the humanity of this person. We have fooled ourselves into a fantasy that can never become reality.


We begin to realize that this person was never and will never be all good. They become all bad. They’ve rubbed us the wrong way. Next thing you know, we’ve cut them out, and moved on; ready for another black and white heart-break.

Breaking black and white thinking:

To change our habit of black and white thinking, we must break the habitual cycle.


Challenge it. Try to view things from a different perspective. Observe a friend; notice how they have good qualities and bad qualities. Maybe you feel they don’t listen to people enough, but they have always been there for you. Anytime you catch yourself thinking  in extremes, remind yourself that this is not the full person and that they are not “all” anything.

Step back. Catch yourself when you start idealizing someone. Take a step back and consider why. Is it happening because of a recent tragic event, a vulnerable emotion, adrenaline or it being a newfound experience? Begin to understand your personal reasons for letting yourself idealize someone and let yourself down with unattainable expectations.


Accept reality. Understand humanity. People are good and bad. They may be a good listener, but make selfish decisions. They may believe racism is wrong, but still act in homophobic ways. They may give you a gift, but talk behind your back. It doesn’t mean any of these things are right or wrong, but it’s important to accept that everyone has their quirks and edges, that no person is perfect or will ever be perfect. Accept that other people make mistakes, too; whether they are sick or not. Even in the happiest relationships, the couple makes sacrifices regarding the things they don’t like about one another. It is not your responsibility to love or hate everything about anyone.

Practice. Attempt to look at things in a gray perspective. Observe others, locations, systems, political views, art pieces and yourself. Practicing to view yourself in an objective manner may actually build self-acceptance and understanding. When you accept that you are human; that you have qualities and faults, you may begin to love yourself, and accept others for their imperfections. Disappointment and let-downs will be lesser.


As you gain experience with these techniques, a spectrum of shades will be apparent to you; you will be able to be more critical and objective in relationships, understanding the difference between your behaviours and develop a positive outlook on relationships. You will become more tolerable of people and their faults, making your love life go smoother as partners will feel accepted and understood by you.

You must remember that this takes time. You cannot possibly expect yourself to be great at this skill overnight. Allow yourself to grow slowly, at your own pace, with no pressure.


How to Understand BPD

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Borderline Personality Disorder is a complex concept on its own, but having it as a disorder is a whole other whirlwind. It’s called a personality disorder, but is mainly related to behaviour, and that is confusing on it’s own.

If there is an individual in your life with this disorder, they will need your understanding to feel less alone, and accompanied through the battles. If they are explaining and expressing their emotions to you, but you aren’t registering it, it’s a conflict. It will push them further away and their trust will plummet.


You may be involved with someone who is practically obsessed with you one minute, and the next, is dreadful, angry and possibly mean. It’s a switch. You may be confused and not know how to react, nor fully understand why they are behaving in that way.

You know they have a mental illness called Borderline Personality Disorder, you may know the main components, but you just can’t seem to grasp an understanding. The moment you think you’ve got it down, something changes and you’ve lost touch with your personal definition.

How can I understand Borderline Personality Disorder?


Research. No one ever learns anything unless they do the leg work. Look into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), read the BPD criteria for diagnosis, look at various resources listing the emotional and behavioral components, and refer to personal experiences of individuals.

It will be a lot to take in and understand all at once, so take this process slowly. Understand that, as people, we cannot comprehend information immediately upon reading it. This is a complex disorder that will never be the same for two individuals. Though it is important to research the psychology and the methods of diagnosis, it is also important to refer to that individual in your life.


Listening. Listening will be a good portion of your research in understanding. It is one thing to refer to legitimate documents that state the normalities and common grounds for BPD diagnosed, but to hear the experience from someone who struggles with it will trigger your compassion and comprehensibility. When you hear it from a person instead of reading it off a screen or paper, you can relate better. You will be able to hear their twists, turns, triggers, emotional states and their wishes for the future.

When you listen to them, try to take mental or physical notes for yourself. If you are together, observe behaviours and reactions, and study the limits. You may notice that their fear of abandonment is stronger than their dissociation, or that their self harming urges arise when being let down.


Reflection. Take time for yourself to absorb. Sit and think through situations, keeping in mind the legitimacy of BPD, but the individual case as well. Try to sort through better ways to respond, or offer them healthier coping strategies that you can do together. Also try to make associations with things you’ve read that align with things they’ve said.

Question yourself. How would I feel if I had BPD? What would I like to hear? How can I be more present and compassionate?

Think of their disorder as an orange. Every orange appears to be the same on the outside; a thick skin, with the same ol’ colour and bumpy texture. But whenever you cut into an orange, you can see the individuality. The segments are different sizes, the skin thickness, ripeness and smell varies, as well as cell placement. No two oranges are the same, though they appear to be. If you don’t examine that individual orange, you will never see it as an individual. It will always just be another orange in the basket.


Acceptance. Though you can’t come to acceptance with someone having BPD as simply as you could with accepting that there’s rain on a Saturday afternoon, you must try to get to that state. Acceptance is complicated, and humanity sometimes does not accept injustices or negative outcomes, but this is one that cannot be changed without recovery.

If this person is important in your life, you must persist in understanding and keep up with their rollercoaster, without becoming their therapist (the disorder will latch onto that support and spiral out). Take everyday as it comes and offer the best you can to being an understanding partner. Encourage recovery, but do not demean them for their disorder.

Expect that things may not go the way you or they have planned. Accept the swings and complexity of BPD, and help them fight it. Accept Borderline Personality Disorder as a fact of life and a constant struggle that can be fought.


Understanding. Come to a place where they feel understood by you. Without experiencing it, it is impossible to understand what this disorder truly is. Constantly strive to understand, even if you never will completely.

The best thing you can do for them is be there, be open to listening and learning.

A post revealing how to understand your own disorder is coming soon.



Why Do Borderlines Give The Silent Treatment?

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Everyone needs quiet time now and again, but there are times where someone may be purposefully giving you the silent treatment. Someone who is not mentally ill may have reasons that are comprehensible, but one diagnosed with Borderline may be harder to read. It may anger you as you try to understand what they are so upset about, and it could seem entirely illogical, but to that individual, it makes all the sense in the world.

Someone diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder will get very emotionally involved in a situation and take things to heart. A miniature comment with no true significance can destroy them. If you are an individual who is not entirely emotionally connected, understanding the heavy relation to emotion may be a complication, and cause you to be cold-hearted towards your loved one who is struggling. In response to the overwhelming emotions and the distance they sense from you, they may give you a harsh silent treatment as a defense mechanism.

They believe that their providence of the silent treatment will get a message across to you, and possibly encourage you to apologize and make things right again. It could also be for much needed space.


What is causing the silent treatment?

Anger & Hurt. A diagnosed BPD individual will sense emotions much more harshly than someone who does not struggle with a mental illness, and in an attempt to cope with the emotions, they may hush up. It may be a way to blame you, and make you reliable for their feelings, which is not your responsibility. It could be a tactic to get you to come to them, as they may feel that they always come to you. And though it may seem unkind on their part, they desperately want communication with you, and in an emotional state, have put a barrier and want to stick to it to the very end.

Mistrust. This is a strong topic with the diagnosed individuals. Mistrust comes along when you have toyed with their emotions, lied, are avoiding them, getting angry when they open up, etc. The may feel that they have been cheated, or that they made a mistake by bringing you into their life. Their silent treatment could be their time to reflect on the situation and come up with a final decision, or get you to come to them with an apology and an offer to be more trustworthy.

Testing. This isn’t something Borderlines like to admit, but we are the leader of many games and tests. We may be evaluating your behaviour to our rejection of communication. Are you okay with it? Are you going to show up at our door with roses and fancy dinner reservation? Are you going to get frantic like we do? We evaluate our observations and take note of your reactions like you’re a lab rat. In the future, we may use it against you as well.


Stress & Dissociation. Dissociation is not overly talked about, yet is something that is quite common in a Borderline diagnosis. In situations of stress or high tension, possibly with discomfort, we may dissociate and no longer be mentally present. We may not be in control of our reactions, nor realize what we are doing. Our mind is so overwhelmed with constant thoughts, and we lose track of ourselves.

Abandonment Perception. Abandonment is a hot topic amongst those with BPD and one of the core reasons an individual would get diagnosed initially. It is written in the disorder that we are terrified of abandonment and may abandon ship when we think we are about to be abandoned.  Someone diagnosed with Borderline will feel loneliness very intensely, and large distances between the ones they love will leave them with a sensation of loneliness and loss, and possibly abandonment. They may blame the other individual involved irrationally and assume they no longer care. It could very well be perceived as the silent treatment, when in reality, it is us abandoning you first. We want control over that situation and so we take it. We take it and disappear without a word, leaving you stunned in our mess.

Defense. It is quite simple. Being silent when we are constantly taking initiative is taking control back. Constantly communicating with someone and being turned down creates vulnerability, and ceasing that behaviour gives us the impression of self control and power.

In the end, we all want to feel like we matter. Whether we’re testing you, are being defensive or want you to come to us, our silent treatment is valid to us, and we need it to be understood by you.


How can I better the situation?

Sometimes, you can’t. If it’s been a long period of time, some of us will move on, some of us won’t. I would suggest putting effort, asking them how they feel and offer to change what is bothering them, ensuring that your relationship is important to you. Stress that they matter to you, and try to be present in their life as much as you, especially when they need it.

Refer to S.K. Bosak’s post about how a Borderline feels receiving the silent treatment.