BPD - Fear of abandonment and how it affects me

One of the nine symptoms of BPD is fear of abandonment. When I speak to people who do not have BPD they hear this and think "well surely no-one want's to be abandoned" and yes they are right however, for someone with BPD this fear is intense and is not comparable to slight anxiety or worry.

People with BPD will go to great lengths to avoid real or perceived abandonment. They are hyper vigilant and always on the look out for signs from loved ones that they are losing interest or considering leaving. For example, If a partner does not reply to messages within, what someone with BPD deems to be, a reasonable amount of time it can cause anxiety, anger, jealousy and fear.

For me this BPD trait manifests itself mostly with partners and friends and can trigger other BPD traits.

  • I find it hard to believe that people actually keep me in mind when we are apart, that I don't deserve their love or affections. While I don't want to be seen as clingy and jealous, that is exactly how I end up coming across. Texting and calling frequently, becoming overbearing and possessive because I am just so scared of losing that person.

  • I have an unexplainable fear that something bad is going to happen when those I love are not near and that I will never get to see them again. This is one of the reasons I always say I love you to those I love and this isn't exclusive to romantic relationships.

  • If I get even the slightest impression that someone is criticising me it feels like I am being stabbed straight through the heart and it's pure rejection, but if someone praises me I feel that they aren't being genuine and I can't trust them.

  • I become attached very easily which can lead to obsession and having a 'favourite person' which is rarely healthy. I crave affection but when I am given it I cannot just enjoy it because I am so wrapped up in preventing the loss of their affection.

  • I have also stayed in relationships that I should have left much earlier than I did as I didn't want to be the cause of a breakup. Regardless of how a relationship or friendship has ended I always end up ruminating on what it was I did wrong.

  • I have a very harsh inner critic and often compare myself to others and seek validation and reassurance from my partners. The 'light' side of me that I mentioned in my previous post is much more logical and can see things clearly and provide self validation rather than rely on others.

  • This fear of abandonment can make the mood swings of BPD even more extreme, I can switch between clingy and people pleasing one day and defiant and angry the next. This can be super confusing for those around me and ultimately ends up pushing them away.

  • I have been known to 'test' people and when they 'prove me right' I feel justified in my actions as 'I knew they would let me down eventually' not always realising it was me who pushed them away.

All of the things I have mentioned above can put a lot of strain on a relationship so it has been really important for me to learn how to self validate and not rely on other people. I am by no means 'fixed' but I can recognise when I am being unreasonable or driven by fear - usually anyway!

I follow a lot of body positive and sex positive creators as well as mental health advocates on Instagram and YouTube which has been a massive help for me. Really limiting who I follow on my social media platforms has reduced how much time I spend comparing myself to others and letting my inner critic loose. Take back your power!

Tanya x


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