What is it about breakups that all but destroy us? I see people have relationship breakups all the time, and they cope, they survive but me? Well, I’m borderline, and borderlines do not handle breakups.
I thought honestly about the what and the why I am affected by these things more deeply than others.
Doctors will often say (as mine have) that a cornerstone of the problem is ‘daddy issues’ or ‘mummy issues’ – being unwanted or abandoned by a parent. Yes, this happened, but I have never felt this as an emotional reality. It is merely a fact, a bullet point in a list of actual things that have happened to me. I do not ‘feel’ any of these facts.
I have gone through life utterly unfazed by the fact that my father didn’t want me. So what? I had grandparents, and they were great. What purpose is a man other than a sperm donor? It is the female who is the nurturer, isn’t it?
Fathers are irrelevant.
Or so I always thought. My third ex-husband’s closeness to his children confused the living daylights out of me. It was great for him and them, but to me, it was weird and obsessive.
I now know that it was good and healthy and normal.
So does fear of abandonment and pre-birth rejection play a part in my distress without me knowing it? I think, perhaps it does. Somewhere deep inside where I cannot reach, it is a possibility. For I cry silent tears for others. When others express, then I feel the pain. But I tell myself it is their pain, not mine. But is it?
I try to be in charge of breakups. They don’t often happen to me. I will boot people out of my life before they can hurt me because I know I cannot handle that pain.
Rejection, abandonment or even the mere prospect of it sends me into screaming emotional agony. It really does feel that I won’t be able to survive, and I don’t want to. That may seem over the top to others, but it one of the most devastating parts of being borderline.
But it is not just the abandonment issue itself. I will take every single word uttered during the break up deep into my heart. For example, if a bloke tells me I am too creative and not practical enough, then I immediately see my creativity as a negative. I will take criticism of that part of me from someone I care about, worship and adore as a cue to turn against that part of myself. My knee jerk reaction is ‘if I stop being a creative person, maybe I will be liked/maybe he will love me/maybe I will be important.’ I will then actively seek to crush that part of myself.
But being creative is one part of my identity that is stable.
Creativity is a part of me I quite like, but I also fear it as my soul shows through, and I am used to my soul being rejected. If my creativity is rejected, so am I.
Without it, I am lost and have no way to express – so I enter a terribly destructive whirlpool and spiral further down into the ever welcoming arms of the abyss.
Although I am creative, I also used to be practical. I would pride myself on being able to span the divide between the logical/rational brain and creative. Being ‘not practical enough’ means that again, I must turn that inwards into profound self-criticism. I self-talk my failures and I struggle to do the simplest practical things now. My confidence in attempting anything is shattered.
One word is all it took even with a kind and gentle break up: ‘… enough.’
So a break up to me is a total rejection of myself as a whole; I am not good enough, I am not worthy, everything that is me must be abhorrent and needs to be destroyed. Every single mote of me is beyond loving.
To me, it is never, ‘we just don’t have anything in common.’ It is always heard as ‘you are just not good enough for me.’ ‘I don’t love you’ is ‘you are unlovable.’ And so on …
I am so unstable in my own sense of identity that I must be what the ‘he’ in my life most wants and desires and I will rip myself apart to fit into what ‘he’ wants, thereby destroying anything that attracted him to me in the first place.
Attempting relationships is, under the circumstances, a significant strain on the mind and the body. The stress levels and self-pressure become unbearable, and so I overreact at the slightest thing which generally alarms the object of my desire, and my behaviour causes them to do that which I most fear. They reject me.
Although I have this understanding now, and with awareness, a degree of self-control, the fear of rejection is still too high. I am not yet strong enough or confident enough to be ME. Without that, I risk falling back into bad man pleasing habits. The cycle will repeat, and I am afraid that I will not survive another hit.
I have been alone outside of a relationship for some years now. For me, being alone means staying alive.
Loneliness is survivable, rejection and breakups may not be.