Some people have a BFF, others have a “bestie.” Meredith Grey called Christina Yang her “person.” For some people (like me) who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder, we tend to develop enmeshed relationships with a person that then can be referred to as our “Favorite Person” (or FP for short).
Having an FP can become quite a dangerous and troublesome thing for someone who struggles with Borderline Personality Disorder, though. That person becomes our everything: they become our voice of reason, our emotional regulator, our decision maker, and often our obsession. We live for that person, and we stay alive because of that person. Moments without our FP seem more like years, and without them, we feel that we cannot even breathe.
I spent a decade having an FP without either of us even realizing that’s what was going on, but when she finally realized, she cut ties immediately. This came just as I was beginning to gain momentum in my recovery and derailed my progress significantly (but that’s not what this story is about).
After losing her, I told myself that I could never have an FP again. Knowledge is power, and the knowledge I gained here was that the pain of losing this person was too much for me to withstand again. At first, this caused me to pull away from everyone, thinking that would save me. It didn’t. Anyone who has any sort of mental illness knows that you need people, even if it’s just a small support system. So, I tried keeping myself within tightly confined boundaries. That didn’t work either and honestly felt almost worse to be talking to a friend and constantly questioning every word or action wondering if I’m pushing the envelope too far.
I can feel myself desperately trying to replace my FP even now. I want someone to be my “person.” The only trouble is, my life is fairly limited right now. I have two amazing friends, both of whom are fully aware of my borderline personality disorder, but they have each made it very clear that they are here for me for anything except they will not allow our friendships to become so enmeshed to get into FP territory. I had a spell for a couple of weeks where I tried to fill the void with my therapist but, despite how amazing she is, she is very professional and very busy.
So, in the end, I’m still left without. Though it is for the best, it’s very hard. I worry that I am going to do something stupid or start clinging to someone that I shouldn’t. I find myself starting to develop relationships outside of my tiny circle and it feels great in some moments, and like I can’t breathe the next. I find myself worrying for hours on end about what these new people in my life are thinking, and what I am feeling or thinking too.
Part of it is that I am afraid of becoming so close to someone again; part of it is that I am terrified of rejection. I don’t know that I will ever fully understand people and how to engage in relationships correctly or effectively. My former FP left me a voicemail with a powerful statement as she wrote me out of her life: “I hope with enough therapy and time that someday you will finally be capable of real and sustainable relationships…but it won’t be with me.” Those words left me crushed, as I think they would leave anyone. It also raised the question of if I have ever really developed a real, sustainable, healthy relationship with anyone.
I was reminded of this last night after a wonderful conversation with a truly beautiful person. I enjoyed the conversation so greatly, but then I found myself trapped in the anxiety: Am I doing it to myself again? What will she do when she really gets to know me? How long will it take for her to see the monster that I am and abandon me too? Can I survive another heartache? I just laid there in bed, feeling the urges to self-harm and suicidal thoughts begin to envelop me.
I just want to have a person, a bestie, or even just to feel like I belong. I want nothing more in this world than to feel loved and to love others. Does anyone else want that, too?