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.