Managing Grief in BPD Recovery

July 11, 2023 Karen Mae Vister

I've encountered an unexpected companion in borderline personality disorder (BPD) recovery. That companion is grief. It's like saying goodbye to that fun (and toxic) best friend who used to call the shots in my life. Embracing the unknown and forging my own trail is a bit intimidating, especially when BPD's been riding shotgun for way too long. Grief in BPD recovery is making itself known.

Saying Goodbye to Traits in BPD Recovery Is Causing Grief

BPD Symptoms Were Trusty Shields Protecting Against the Sting of Rejection

There's a subtlety to the very term "personality disorder." In my experience, personality disorders and their traits are not things you can simply will away overnight (or even in a couple of years). Those BPD traits have become part of me. 

First up, we've got the sweet art of rejection evasion in BPD. When that whiff of rejection hits, I've got the traits. I know just how to toss those relationships aside, making sure I'm the one walking away first. In my mind, I'm untouchable, unscathed, and ready to move on to the next adventure once I've painted the previous one a total nightmare.

But that's not all. These BPD traits have gifted me with this uncanny ability to don a mask. I can become whoever I need to be, always agreeable, always likable, just to avoid that dreaded rejection.

These traits may have their tricky ways, but they've been my trusty shields, protecting me from the sting of rejection and helping me navigate life. And now, in BPD recovery, I've grieving them.

Unmasking False Narratives: Breaking Free from BPD

I've come to realize the false narratives BPD relies on to keep me entranced. I started to ask myself, can I really dodge rejection completely? No, I can't. No matter how agreeable or likable I try to be, I can't control how people feel about me. In the long run, these traits have kept me from experiencing genuine connections as my authentic self.

Instead, my relationships start morphing into mundane tasks, like some neverending audition I must ace. And honestly, I'm not even sure what I'm auditioning for. But the moment I decipher that I'm likable and won't face rejection, it's like I can finally exhale. The trouble is, I'm not being desired for who I truly am but rather for this curated version I've presented.

Grief in BPD Recovery Is Worth It

I'm finally ready to consciously leave behind these ingrained traits. And I wrote this to describe what it feels like to stand at a crossroads, caught between the exhilaration of newfound strength and the tender ache of bittersweet growth. In other words, BPD recovery creates a need for grief.

In the face of triggering events, the right choice isn't always obvious. When encountering the shifting dynamics within my closest bonds, my knee-jerk reaction is to welcome the soothing embrace of my old comrade, BPD, to make everything better, if even for a split second. But I've journeyed too far along the path of BPD recovery to tread that familiar route. The path to recovery may be unfamiliar and challenging, but it's one that leads to a life of liberation, where I can finally shed the weight of my mask and embrace my authentic self.

APA Reference
Mae, K. (2023, July 11). Managing Grief in BPD Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 24 from

Author: Karen Mae Vister

Karen Mae Vister, author of her blog, Over the Borderline, dedicates her work to providing valuable content and support for individuals on the path to recovery from borderline personality disorder. Find Karen Mae on Instagram and her blog.

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