Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) has at its center abandonment. Those diagnosed with BPD have a tremendous and often all-consuming fear of abandonment. They feel or perceive the threat of abandonment in many everyday relational situations. Along with this intense fear of abandonment people with BPD have an equal and intense inability to effectively cope emotionally with this fear of abandonment in ways that would be healthier for relationships. Often people with BPD being very triggered by their fears of abandonment are triggered into emotional dysregulation that leaves them struggling with often repeated flooding of feelings from the past that are re-experienced in the here and now.
Darren Walker writes: "As a BPD sufferer I am walking the path to recovery and making real progress. One step forward and three steps back. I am on a backward step right now which I see as integral to my learning. I feel that I am now at a point where I have dealt with lots of issues, and know myself a little better. But I still always stumble with, what for me is the core issue, the anxiety of abandonment.
My anxiety and fear of abandonment always shows itself whenever my wife wants to go out with her friends for a night. As soon as I am told she is going out I instantly feel these enormous anxious feelings start. I feel jealous, envious, and defensive all in a quest to avoid the fearful feelings of abandonment which are clearly old patterns that simply don't work anymore and yet they persist.
I've tried using logical thinking. I have plenty of reassurance from my wife. I can temporarily gain some respite from these fearful feelings through breathing but feel that I am only dealing with the symptoms and not actually addressing the deeper issues of my fears of abandonment that stem from my BPD mother who never showed me love.
My question to you is, 'How do I confront this issue of fear of abandonment and the feelings that I end up with'? I find it incredibly frustrating, and try everything in my power to change and address this. I clearly am missing the point somewhere, and have to admit that I don't know how to make real headway with this. Maybe I am not doing as well as I thought? That is how having all these uncomfortable feelings makes me feel."
The BPD Coach, A.J. Mahari responds:
One step forward and one or two or three or more steps backward is a common experience in the process of recovery from BPD. It might be helpful to think of the process as a spiral one rather than a backward and forward one. It is one of visiting repeatedly a fixed point or center while constantly receding from or approaching it.
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All responses given by The BPD Coach, A.J. Mahari, are meant to convey general information and are not intended to be in anyway a specific recommendation or commentary on any personal life situation. Coaching is not therapy. It is also not a replacement for professional therapy. Coaching can be an effective adjunct to professional therapy for those with Borderline Personality Disorder and/or their loved ones.