BPD: Friendship Betrayal – Sexual Assault & Accused of “Playing the Victim Card”

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering.

This article was written in August 2018.

As someone whose fear of abandonment is as extreme as it is, the very last thing you would ever expect me to do is put an end to what little relationships I still had in my life. Self-sabotage and attempts to push people away out of my own fears and insecurities, sure. That’s not an uncommon cycle of symptoms for borderline personality disorder. But never would you see me leave a friendship behind on purpose. I’d never make that decision — I couldn’t.

I push people away; I test the limits of what someone is willing to put up with and for how long. More often than not, I’m not actually truly aware that this is what I’m doing. It’s self-sabotage. It’s also a kind of self-defense mechanism.

To the outside world, to the people on the other side of it, I can guess it looks and feels a lot like manipulation.

The idea of choosing to leave someone in the past, especially when I don’t have many people in my life anymore to begin with, is one of the hardest things to wrap my head around. Even still, 10 weeks after I suddenly found myself in this very situation, the thought is absolutely ludicrous.

My last true friend — whom I’d grown up with, who literally saved my life after a suicide attempt and whom I trusted more than anyone… violated that trust.

Hanging out on the day in question, he was suddenly quick to change his mind about how much time he had for me that afternoon. It was originally just a quick trip into town for some groceries — any excuse to get out of my isolation and even better, back with my best friend, no matter how little time. He has a busy life. So, it meant a lot to me on the drive home when he suggested we watch a movie or a couple episodes of a TV show — he could squeeze that into his day. Anything he did meant a lot to me, especially when he’d find some extra time like this to hang out and keep me company.

So, the unimaginable happened. And in the aftermath of it all, it’s been a lonely battle in my BPD mind of knowing this new isolation I’ve found myself in is for the best.

To this day I still can’t imagine what he was thinking.

Nothing violent occurred, but he crossed lines he had no right in crossing — as a friend, as someone with a significant other, as someone who knew about my past physical and sexual assaults. Just as a human being in general.

What should’ve been just 80 minutes of enjoying catching up on a TV show together, turned into 80 minutes of me on the brink of a full-on panic attack, of me wanting to break out of his hold and off of that couch, wanting to scream and cry and yell at him, get his hands off of me, away and out of my house. But instead, I stayed frozen. Considering the situation being the very last thing I could ever imagine happening with him, it dawned on me I clearly didn’t know what he was capable of.

No, the assault wasn’t violent, but he had no right in touching me like that. Knowing how fragile a state I was in at that time — he took advantage of it. He knew better than to touch me anywhere close to where he did.

He’s the nice guy; the one who talked about how disgusting the stigma was that women are actually ashamed and scared to say anything, afraid of not being believed — of the victim shaming. When I’d start to blame myself for what happened, or even question if it was my fault, he’d put a stop to it.

And now, here we are. From denying anything happened, then saying he didn’t think it was a big deal… to accusing me of harassing his girlfriend (which was me simply telling her what happened and saying no to her insistence to fix things — which meant she clearly didn’t believe me). And worst of all — he accused me of playing the victim card.

There’s no justifying his actions or reactions. He stopped being my friend that day. And it was both the easiest and hardest decision I’ve had to make. But I made it without hesitation because I don’t want someone like that in my life, even if they were the last person in it. Even though it means making my worst fear as someone with BPD come true. It’s what’s best for me and my well-being — my safety.

I’m an open book. I wear my heart on my sleeve, even though I’m both ashamed and embarrassed of my life (and lack of one) I know I’m not alone in this. I’m not alone in the isolation and anxieties of BPD. I’m not alone in being left, or betrayed, or violated. I know this, but I still feel like it all the time. I feel like an idiot, honestly. How could I have been so wrong about someone I’d known most of my life?

So after all that being said, though written long before now, this poem of mine still feels very relevant. It’s something I desperately needed, still need, to hear… and I know someone out there right now needs to hear it too.

Saying “I’m sorry” might not mean much, but I mean it.
I’m sorry for the hurt. I’m sorry for everything you’ve been through
and for all of the people who left you.

The way we love is unique and special, and
they don’t know what they’re missing — pity them.
They lied and betrayed you, leaving you alone
in pieces over their abandonment;
no goodbyes or explanations — they took the coward’s way out.
Be grateful to at least know the truth, even without the details.
You do not want or need people like that in your life.

And I know it doesn’t take away that ache in your chest and
I’m sorry. I’m sorry, more than I can say, that they turned out
to be temporary or even worse — one of life’s lessons.
But you will find people who are meant to stay,
or they’ll find you. You will. Maybe not today or tomorrow.
Be patient, do not give up hope.
Do not shut everyone out, no matter how tempting.

Your mental illness is something that makes you special.
The ability to love and feel like we do is special,
despite it feeling more like a curse most days.

We are not meant to go through this world alone.
Remember that. Make peace with it and take care of yourself.

You do deserve love. To love and be loved in return.
It won’t be like this forever. It won’t always be like this.
Being open and able to trust, to live with your heart
on your sleeve is a gift and
I am so sorry they took advantage.

And I know saying “I’m sorry” doesn’t mean much… 

but I mean it.

https://themighty.com/2019/05/borderline-personality-disorder-sexually-assaulted-friend/

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Living With BPD & My Heart On My Sleeve

Published originally on May 3rd 2018 on themighty.

I don’t mean to live with my heart on my sleeve.

I’ve lost a lot of people in my life. Quite a few have come and gone, but that’s just life, right? It’s not the end of the world, right?

Sure. Of course it’s not literally the end of the world — that’s absurd. But it is the end of something. It’s the end of something in my world and in my world, I have the misfortune of feeling everything on a whole new level of intense.

Losing someone important leads to questions and doubts, especially if there is no closure. It leads to anxiety and a fear of letting someone else in.

That’s what borderline personality disorder (BPD) does. We love and we love so fiercely, so purely. Being told to “get over it” or “that’s life” or “you’ll meet other people” and of course, “it’s not the end of the world” does absolutely nothing to someone with BPD other than feed all of the negative emotions being felt, and they get bigger. 

Included in my story are pieces of writings — each written to different people who were in my life one day, and gone the next. I feel it’s important to show the progression — or lack thereof, maybe. Kind of a timeline of how long something like this can affect someone with BPD. 

Letter #1: December 2015

I think I took you for granted, and you took advantage. 

My biggest fear was losing you and you knew it. I told you. I begged you. I made you promise you wouldn’t be like them — I couldn’t lose you like them. “Please don’t vanish from my life,”
“I’d be an idiot to lose a friend like you,” that’s exactly what you said. 

You’re one year gone — what the fuck happened?

One year gone, one year of silence. There is no excuse. 

So what went wrong? Your thought process to just abandon without a word or explanation. Just total silence.

Nothing justifies this. 

I guess I thought you’d always be around, that I was important to you. And now in your absence, I’ve lost myself. I’m tearing me apart and going through every little detail, except the details are hazy now. Like I have the evidence of your presence but my mind isn’t connecting the dots anymore and I just wish so badly that I could forget you altogether. Because you’re one year gone.  

You’re one year gone and as much as I hate it all I can say is… I miss you.  

“Get over it, that’s life. People come and go, it’s not the end of the world,” but it’s not like I can just shrug it off and pretend my whole world didn’t change because of it. Like nothing is missing from everyday life. There is no replacing this person who left, no matter how angry and hurt I am at them for leaving, it’s them and they were important to me.

How are we expected to trust other people when the ones that were crucial to your life, people you trusted wholeheartedly, just up and left? Decided this friendship or whatever kind of relationship just wasn’t worth it — because being around someone with BPD is too much to handle. It’s true that it’s hard to handle a lot of the time and I know it. I’ll be the first one to admit it. But there’s nothing much more I can do about it other than just try and manage the best I can every single day, because it’s a part of me. A huge part. This is who I am.

I love wholly, honestly and to a fault. My heart is open and beating on my sleeve for everyone to see. 

For me, one of the hardest things about living with BPD is the idea of letting go. Accepting the fact someone’s gone and most likely I’ll never know why, nor will they come back. Letting go of what I had left of this person — the photos and memories. Those certain songs we loved or that reminds me of them will sting for a long, long time.

 

Letter #2: June 2016

I spend so much time living in anger these days that I think I’m starting to forget the good things. And maybe I should… but the thought scares me. It breaks my heart just thinking about it. I’m not sure if I should go on as best as I can like you never existed, or just try keeping the bad in the very back of my mind and remember an old friend held so bittersweet in my heart. Because it had to have been real at some point, right? So here are 10 things I want to hold onto for as long as I can, even if they sadden me to think about at the same time:

1. Your childlike sensibility; watching The Cartoon Network on your couch with your cats. I never thought I’d miss that innocence you’d held onto now that it’s gone.

2. Your “granola” upbringing, courtesy of your hippie mother. You loved nature and would feed the squirrels outside your window. I miss you feeding the squirrels. 

3. Blue eyes. Beautiful.

4. Your intelligence — the random facts and trivia. Always something new to say.

5. Unashamed, but quiet for the most part, like me. 

6. The texts you’d send when I wasn’t at school, asking where/how I was.

7. Your laugh; contagious, and always made me smile. 

8. How open you were. How comfortable it was to be in your presence.

9. Your forgiveness when I messed up bad… something I could never fully seem to do in return for you. 

10. That bond we had, like in the movies. Like sisters separated at birth.

And despite everything — all of the bad that’s happened — I cannot and will not regret you. Because no matter how badly things ended, no matter how hurt I was (am), you were my sister. For the better part of five years we were inseparable. We were sisters. 

I regret a lot of things. 

I will never regret you.

So I’ve managed eventually to come to a place of some sort of acceptance. But it took a long time. It has taken years. And that’s only just for a few people — there are more that still weigh on me every single day. But if I can get to that place with these few, then I know that there’s a very real chance I can with the others. I’m holding onto that thought so tightly.

My biggest fear has always been losing the few I let in. I’ve faced my fear time and again and you’d think I’d be stronger for it, better for it, but the truth is, I just became even more afraid. And I hated them for it — for walking away, leaving me lonely. But it’s only now — ever since my BPD diagnosis — that I understand. At that point, most of the anger turned from them and back onto me. I expected so much from them. And they never signed up for this — someone so afraid and fragile. Someone so unstable. Overly emotional. I idealized them: my best friend, my confidant, my brother, my sister, my favorite person. And in my panicked attempts to hold them closer, I only made them push even farther away and it broke me. Every time. Even worse is never having closure.

 

Letter #3: March 2017

I guess I’m learning I don’t need you — not really. Not in the way I was so convinced of. Of course it’s the saddest thing when two people grow apart when they’re so ingrained into your everyday, your first instinct to go to them. It’s always the saddest when you really thought you’d last.  

I think you’ll always be there somewhere in the back of my mind. 

And today that 3OH!3 song came on shuffle and my immediate reaction was joy, remembering every single time we sang it together, but just a fraction of a second later joy faded into a stomach-turning sadness. Because you’re the only person I want to sing along to this song with, but you’re not around anymore, so I try my best to avoid the band altogether. I know — I hope — that as time goes on, the sadness won’t be nearly as painful. Five or 10 years from now I will hear this song and you’ll still be there, but I’ll smile and be able to sing along again. I’ll let myself feel it. I’ll let your memory wash over me and it’ll probably still hurt a little. I’ll feel everything that went with having you in my life — the good and the bad. I’ll feel it all and I’ll miss you all over again and slowly but surely, I’ll learn to be OK with that.  

You’re reading this, and you know who you are, I’m sorry for what went wrong. I know my anxieties make no sense to you. My, at the time, undiagnosed BPD made you even more confused. Because I have more bad days than good. I’m stuck holding onto people who left long ago and I hold grudges longer than anyone should. I’m hard to love, but you were here at one point. I think that means you did. Or at the very least, I know you at least tried. That’s my hope — I’m hard to love, but I hope you tried.  

Honestly, I can’t say I like living with my heart on my sleeve — it makes me vulnerable in so many ways and easy to be taken advantage of.

I have been let down. Led on. Betrayed and abandoned too many times to count in my 24 years by people I thought I knew and trusted, that I thought cared about me, loved me. And maybe they did. Or maybe they didn’t. Either way, living with my heart on my sleeve like this opens me to being hurt again and again. But it also has shown me the kind of love and loyalty I possess. How it’s nearly impossible for me to give up on someone or something I care about unless they do first and even then — if I love you, I love you. That’s it. And that’s what they left behind; the same love the heart on my sleeve can’t stop looking for. So though it leaves me open and vulnerable, it’s also probably my greatest strength.

https://themighty.com/2018/05/bpd-borderline-heart-on-sleeve/

Hush (poem)

Got this little poem called “Hush” published today over at Horn & Ivory Zine for their last issue!

Fun story behind it – I wrote it during my recovery from surgery back in January while loving my life on morphine! I have very little memory of actually writing it but I’m proud of it. It’s actually a song still in progress – the poem version of it just got published first.

Thanks to the folks at H&I ❤

HUSH
by forrest jamie
He’s playing me
acoustic heartbreak in
the scale of Lies
but it’s my time now. It’s my turn
so hush down and close your eyes.
No, you don’t know this one,
only I know the words to this song.
Hush down now and close your eyes.
I’ll sing us to sleep –
you for a few hours,
me forever.
A Tylenol lullaby bye baby,
composed of some whiskey and codeine.
A cocktail hymn of shallow breaths and SSRIs.
My narcotic lullaby bye baby,
for your ears and one night only.
Under stainglass stars and porcelain moonlight.
My lethal lullaby bye baby,
my song of goodnight
(goodbye.)
hi

Comfort Zone: A Letter to My Depression

Another article of mine was published on The Mighty the other day! This one took a lot for me to submit – the thought of people reading it was terrifying, which I took as a sign that I had to do it.

I couldn’t tell you why, but it became abundantly clear at age 10 or 11 that I was “broken.” It was like something inside of me cracked and out came depression, seeping from my mouth, my eyes, my skin. So sudden and out of nowhere. And I didn’t have the words for what was wrong with me then, for what I was feeling – all I knew was that I wasn’t the same person.

I can’t remember for the life of me, and I’m not sure I even want to. I know I was far too fresh to be so cold, too young to feel so old, too innocent to be so broken – a child bombarded with mental illness. A child so angry not knowing why and as for life, I just wanted to forfeit.

For the life of me I can’t remember — when did I become so jaded? When did my life begin to end? How have I survived so long in this purgatory and can I ever really start living?

I don’t know who I am but I know this isn’t who I want to be.

I’m talking to you. Depression – my uncomfortable comfort zone, I don’t. want. you. Loosen your grip on me please, I think I have something to live for. I think I’m just a small part of something that’s been saving me and I think I could do something more, do something good out of what you’ve done to me. If I can keep going from the words of others, the knowledge that I am not alone, perhaps my words can be that for someone. I don’t want this to have all been for nothing.

Depression, you stole me way too young, way too early in life. I wasn’t given a fair chance but I am still here. I am. still. here. That has to mean something.

Because at 12 years old, just a child, not being able to imagine life beyond the next year — how. dare. you. How dare you throw your dark blanket over my fragile body, so heavy, that all dreams and possibilities started to fade in my preteen mind? How dare you numb this young heart and dull the memories. How dare you take up all of my time. And I know now that it’s not my fault but it’s my mind and my mind has been taken over by this illness — by you.

Depression. Where I once saw vibrant colors, now muted shadows and I tried so hard to see through it. I swear I tried to see the truth but depression, you are so good at making me the fool.

I’ve had enough. Far too long, I let you win. I let you control and take and take some more and time passed and now thanks to you I can’t remember how I even got here, but I am.

And I know. I know you are not something a pill or a combination of pills can make disappear for good. You are not something a brain surgeon can cut away, but I know I can live. I’ve been surviving, merely existing for over a decade, but this time I want to live. I will not let your false comfort smother me anymore.

Depression, you’re an uninvited illness in my mind but I can and will fight back this time. In my 23 years, I’ve just been existing but I swear I’m going to learn to live with you.

I’m done being ashamed of my mental state.

https://themighty.com/2017/06/depression-ready-to-live-not-survive/