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Don't Leave Me! BPD and Abandonment

October 11, 2011 Becky Oberg

In 2000, I went through what people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) dread: almost total abandonment. The short version: my church believed my mental illness was demon possession, and I left. As a result, almost all of my "friends" from the church stopped talking to me.

The memory is so painful I'm not sure how I survived it. Yet I did, and you can survive perceived or real abandonment too.

Was the relationship worth it?

In cases where you feel abandoned, this should be the first question you ask. Was the relationship worth the suffering you were experiencing or are experiencing? Was it a healthy relationship? Are you better off without the relationship? If the answer is no, why are you dwelling on how upset you are?

This is not to downplay the pain of losing a relationship. Even in cases where you're clearly better off without the relationship, it still hurts. For example, I was upset when I broke off my engagement to an abusive and promiscuous man. But I looked at the relationship and realized I was better off without him. Did I honestly want to be shot with a pellet gun when he felt sadistic? Did I really want to be cheated on with two different women in the same week? The answer was an emphatic "no", and this insight enabled me to survive what felt like a very real abandonment.

What am I really missing, and at what cost?

This should also be an important question. What in the relationship is missing that's upsetting you? What is the cost of that need being met?

In my experience with the abusive church, I was missing a sense of belonging. I was missing feeling loved. But the cost was I had to compromise who I was. I had to deny the fact I had a mental illness, which meant I had to go without treatment. Since I was often suicidal, psychotic or both without my medication, this was not a healthy situation. The cost of an abusive fellowship was simply too great.

You may be in the same situation. You may feel you have to compromise your deepest held beliefs in order to feel accepted. It is important to remember that if you aren't accepted as you are, you aren't really accepted. If you can't be yourself, you aren't really loved. Is that worth the cost? Is sacrificing your identity for people who want you to be someone else worth it?

Can I meet this need elsewhere?

Answering this question requires a great deal of mental health and positive self-image, so be careful if you decide to ask it. The song lyric "Lookin' for love in all the wrong places" exists for a reason.

At first, I found this sense of acceptance from alcohol. It numbed the pain and made it easier to talk to people--or so I thought. My drinking buddies were my support system. However, I soon realized that drinking made my problems worse. In addition to having a mental illness and feeling like no one cared, I was an raging alcoholic. I was self-medicating, and it made my psychiatric symptoms worse. I no longer knew what was the alcohol and what was the mental illness.

I eventually found a way to meet my need for love in another church. They accepted me regardless of my problems--in spite of the alcoholism, in spite of the mental illness. They encouraged me to get help, and they held me accountable for my actions. Accountability may hurt, but it's a growing pain. No one holds someone they don't care about accountable for his/her actions.

While you may not meet this need with religion, there is a group out there somewhere that will love you for who you are. You just have to keep looking.

APA Reference
Oberg, B. (2011, October 11). Don't Leave Me! BPD and Abandonment, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, May 7 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/2011/10/dont-leave-me-bpd-and-abandonment



Author: Becky Oberg

Travis Normand  
May, 19 2017 at 1:22 am

very nice

Dee Sweet-Greenwood
March, 18 2016 at 10:15 am

It has taken me 21 years to process and finally overcome the fact that I was abondoned by my exhusband for a woman he met while in rehab. During the 21 years, I went through depression, 3 suicide attempts, high risk sexual promiscuity, moving out of the country, getting married, getting a correct diagnosis (BPD), going on medication, going to group as well as individual therapy. I found out who my real friends are, lost my religion but found my spirituality. I am alive, happily married and secure within myself. My sponsor once told me "If you are over 15 years old you aren't abandoned, people simply leave."

debbie seery
January, 3 2013 at 8:33 pm

January 4, 2013 at 2:22 am
I was diagnosed two years ago at the age of 58.
I was happy that someone finally diagnosed me correctly. I hit all of the points on BPD, and
I can remember incidents from childhood that indicated I had it then. I have fragments of personalities and sometimes feel like a ship without a rudder. I just go the direction of the wind without convictions and knowing if I’m doing the rigth thing. I always think the other person knows more and blame myself. I have been a cutter starting in my 30′s, I didn’t know others did it
too. When my children, twins, left for college out of state I became addicted to pills to numb the pain of the total abandament. I haven’ any family besides them so I lost my idenity of being a mother and have been in rehabs and mental hospitals many times since I turned 50. I’ve tried suicide several times and just wish I had a friend I could talk to. It is a very painful and hopeless future that I have to look forward to.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Becky Oberg
January, 7 2013 at 1:03 pm

I wish I could say something that could help. Is there a support group in your area? Ask your psychiatrist or therapist for a referral if you have to. You're not the only person who feels this way and you have the right to know you're not! You have the right to heal. Good luck!

debbie seery
January, 3 2013 at 8:22 pm

I was diagnosed two years ago at the age of 58.
I was happy that someone finally diagnosed me correctly. I hit all of the points on BPD, and
I can remember incidents from childhood that indicated I had it then. I have fragments of personalities and sometimes feel like a ship without a rudder. I just go the direction of the wind without convictions and knowing if I'm doing the rigth thing. I always think the other person knows more and blame myself. I have been a cutter starting in my 30's, I didn't know others did it
too. When my children, twins, left for college out of state I became addicted to pills to numb the pain of the total abandament. I haven' any family besides them so I lost my idenity of being a mother and have been in rehabs and mental hospitals many times since I turned 50. I've tried suicide several times and just wish I had a friend I could talk to. It is a very painful and hopeless future that I have to look forward to.

Sarah
December, 28 2012 at 9:23 pm

Thank you for this article. I very much needed it just now. I had to leave my church, which had been a big and important part of my life, for different reasons, but the pain is the same.
I have had serious difficulty with relationships, too, and the points you make about acceptance,are powerful to me ATM.
Thanks for writing this.

Brian
September, 6 2012 at 10:22 pm

I have been totally abandoned by my family, my love and my community. It is killing me.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Becky Oberg
September, 11 2012 at 4:36 am

I'm sorry to hear that. I hope things improve soon.

Gretchen
October, 16 2011 at 1:57 pm

I have a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder although I relate quite well to many symptoms of BPD. I have a counselor now who doesnt think I have BPD, but when I read your blogs and the comments, I am not convinced. . Storkette expressed exactly what I go through. I am currently in the isolating anti social phase. I am a very outgoing and 'happy' person. Then I get scared that they , (my perceived friends) are sick of me, find me annoying and think Im too needy, soo... bla bla bla.. what she said. Im so unwell right now, I am in the process of trying to get to the hospital. I dont actually believe anyone is my friend, ever. I have made it to 43 years old without a friend. LOL Even when someone says they are my friend, I dont believe them.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Becky Oberg
October, 18 2011 at 8:13 am

Good luck with whatever you decide. Take care of yourself and keep an open mind about friendship--people can be full of surprises.

Storkette
October, 12 2011 at 2:45 pm

Wow, I don't know how I would go if I experienced negativity from my church. Pretty sure it would kill me. But I think I'm at a place now where I know my friends, those true friends wouldn't do that. Although I still have thoughts that they will get sick of me, find me annoying, think I'm too clingy.. which then makes me go quiet and anti social (terribly unlike me) and then they will seek me out and i'll be reassured that its all ok.
I have just started reading your blog as the BPD is a new dx

erick velazquez
October, 11 2011 at 10:52 pm

cool story. im going through the same thing. i dont feel alone

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Becky Oberg
October, 16 2011 at 10:48 am

Hang in there. It hurts like fire, but it does get better.

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