Adult Separation Anxiety in Borderline PD

April 16, 2024 Karen Mae Vister

Understanding my adult separation anxiety in borderline personality disorder (BPD) involves delving into its complexities and origins. My adult separation anxiety in BPD is more than just feeling uneasy when separated from loved ones; it's a deep-seated fear of abandonment that I can trace back to childhood experiences of neglect, loss, or inconsistent caregiving. These early experiences created a heightened sensitivity to perceived threats of rejection or abandonment in my adult relationships.

Adult Separation Anxiety in BPD: The Needy Puppy Analogy

Reflecting on my own experiences with separation anxiety in BPD, I recall moments from my childhood when I anxiously awaited my mom's return from work. Stationed by the window, I'd wait, unable to focus on anything else until she was safely home. Separation anxiety in BPD made me feel like a needy puppy, constantly tethered to my mom for reassurance and security. Through trauma therapy sessions, I began to unravel the roots of this issue. I realized I had placed my mom on a pedestal, viewing her as my favorite and most important person, even above myself. This perception made any time away from her feel like a small death, intensifying my separation anxiety in BPD.

As an adult, I've noticed these patterns recurring. Placing those closest to me on pedestals only intensifies my fear of being apart from them. These feelings evolve into a sense of isolation, leaving me to ponder whether my loved ones miss me as much as I miss them. This cycle of doubt only deepens the sense of disconnection I feel. It's reminiscent of being that scared little girl waiting by the window. These days, feeling like a needy puppy who is afraid of abandonment brings about a lot of shame. Instead of succumbing to these scary feelings in adulthood, my BPD attempts to protect me by convincing me to push my loved ones away. This can look like exhibiting hot and cold behavior and accusing them of indifference.

Adult Separation Anxiety in BPD: Cultivating Secure Attachment

Adult separation anxiety in BPD has this twisted effect on me where I almost crave for my loved ones to experience the same level of paranoia I do. It's like I've conditioned myself to only see love or care when they're going through emotional chaos like me. Lately, I've been asking myself why I would want to drag them into this mess of neediness. Why does seeing them emotionally secure sometimes scare me?

In therapy, I've been delving deeper into understanding the intricacies of secure attachment in BPD. Secure attachment is simply a better way for me to navigate intimacy. Secure attachment is not just about feeling close to someone or relying on them for support; it's about having a consistent and reliable connection that fosters trust, emotional safety, and a sense of belonging. Secure attachment means feeling confident in expressing my needs and emotions, knowing they will be met with understanding and care.

Check out my video to discover the strategies and insights I've gathered on cultivating secure attachment while healing adult separation anxiety in borderline personality disorder. I talk about the practice of communicating openly, learning to acknowledge and address my triggers without burdening my loved ones and expecting them to walk on eggshells.

APA Reference
Mae, K. (2024, April 16). Adult Separation Anxiety in Borderline PD, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 29 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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