Someone reached out to me yesterday and asked if I would be writing again soon and because I’ve been doing so badly I have been putting it off but actually, maybe there’s something useful in getting it out of my noggin and into something at least a little productive so here I am after another night of sitting up worrying about every bad thing I’ve ever done with a headache from exhaustion.
BPD and rejection, the never ending cycle it would seem for those of us with this diagnosis. I’m dealing with rejection right now so naturally everything in my life has fallen apart and I haven’t left my bed since Saturday. Once again, I am obviously not speaking from a place of someone that’s recovered and can therefore give fantastic advice on how to deal with this crippling fear of abandonment but I can brainstorm with you and maybe we can figure it out together.
I think the first thing to note when we go through what we perceive as rejection and subsequently take a tailspin into self destruction is that it isn’t our fault. The extreme reactions we have to emotional triggers happen because of a neurological difference between us and a ‘normal’ brain. The Amygdala in a Borderline brain is notably smaller than that of a healthy brain, the smaller the amygdala the more overactive it is which basically means emotions are felt much more intensely by someone with Borderline.
When I feel like I’m being rejected by someone or something, because of course it doesn’t always have to be a romantic rejection it can certainly be from friends, job interviews and almost anything to be honest, I feel like a child again. I can’t describe how intense that feeling is, it’s almost like someone’s plotted against me for months and has set out to destroy me and because we all fear this abandonment so much to begin with when it eventually happens it perpetuates this feeling of being worthless and unlovable. Unfortunately I think a lot of my ‘borderline behaviours’ are what drive people away to begin with which means the cycle goes round and round with no real way of stopping itself.
So how do we deal with this hyper-sensitivity towards rejection and abandonment? Obviously I don’t know for sure but I have some tips for getting through that crisis period that have helped me.
Think about another time you’ve felt rejection in the past and hopefully you will realise that you no longer feel that same extreme emotion when recalling the memory, therefore this current rejection will become easier to deal with in time just as other rejections have.
Realise that you have such a strong reaction to abandonment because of a deep emotional wound created in childhood and this has left us excessively alert to any suggestion that someone may be about to reject or leave us whether they are or not. Remember that these ‘suggestions’ or gestures could be a result of a number of things and may not actually mean you’re about to be abandoned.
In DBT you are taught to use your ‘wise mind’ which involves being a detective almost and second guessing our own thoughts. For example a friend hasn’t replied to a text you sent yesterday and you think it means they never liked you and don’t want to be your friend, (If you don’t have BPD this will sound extreme but it is exactly what happens) if we use our ‘wise-mind’ we can check whether these thoughts are true and if we can’t find a reason to make our thoughts into a fact then we can deduce that what we are feeling is probably not logical.
Understand that rejection sucks for everyone and if you really are being rejected do not obsess over the person/event/situation that caused the rejection ( I know, easier said than done) we cannot control other people and getting hung up on the what ifs will leave you in emotional limbo forever.
Wishing you a good week,