Thursday, June 09, 2016

Abandonment isn't Always Physical

One thing a person with borderline personality disorder struggles with is the fear of abandonment. A person will at times resort to a number of ways to prevent that abandonment including extreme people pleasing behaviors. But abandonment isn't always physical. The person doesn't have to leave to be abandoning his/her partner. The abandonment can be purely emotional. That can make it much harder to endure. Because here, the person is still there physically but isn't there to connect with you emotionally. You're stuck, feeling rejected and unsure how to change things. What's worse is that trying to change things by talking to the person who is abandoning you can lead to invalidation. When the person doesn't see that he/she is disconnected or worse, sees that they are but blames you for it, what can you do?

Relationships are like gardens. 

You can plant the seeds or put the seedlings into the ground but the responsibility doesn't end there. You have to continue to nurture your garden. You have to water it, you have the prune the dead leaves, kill bugs. You don't just leave your garden wanting for water or nurture. If you do, it will likely die. Sure you can kind of keep it alive by watering it just before it totally dies off, you can probably do that for a long time but the garden will never fully thrive, it will never reach it's full potential of beauty without being nurtured and watered and taken care of.

That has been the state of my garden for a long time. I've hung in there, nearly dead, desperate for that bit of water and when I get it, I drink it up greedily and I'm able to continue on for a little longer. And yet, it's not enough anymore. A life worth living is not being a garden in a constant near state of death. Being abandoned by a gardener who only waters me when he wants to see my flowers does not make my garden beautiful and vibrant. I can not rely on him to give me what I need.

I've spent many years trying to please people. 

Growing up, it was my parents. I worked hard to get good grades only they weren't celebrated. I often did what they wanted even when it wasn't what I wanted. It did nothing. It didn't make them love me any more and in the end, when I finally did start to break away, it lead to tragedy. Not that I'm at all responsible for that tragedy but their need for control (control I was trying to take back for myself and away from them) did lead to their own impulsive and destructive choices.

And my reaction to that was to make sure that didn't happen again. Don't make waves. Don't make anyone mad. Conform. And I did that and slowly, I lost myself. And like it was with my parents, it wasn't enough. It never is. And now, as I'm finding myself again, the rejection worsens. The divide grows deeper and the garden is left longer and longer without care and water.

But I know better now. 

I'm not 23 anymore. I have learned that my happiness is important and while others may abandon me, I'm still here for me. The only person I need approval from is me because this is MY life. It is up to ME to make my life a life worth living, to decide what values I will live by. I can't live for others anymore. It doesn't make anyone love me more or want to be with me more because it's not real. Holding back who I really am from others keeps me from living life fully. I can no longer let my fears of abandonment keep me from living a life worth living.