A Common BPD Trigger Seen in Borderline Personality Disorder Relationships
If you’re new here, I’m Audrey: a mom, wife and blogger formerly diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. My goal for this blog is to help raise BPD awareness, dispel common BPD myths and help other people with BPD and their BPD relationships. This post touches on a common BPD trigger and is written for both people with BPD and their partners. So you can easily share this post with your partner and go over it together.
A trait of healthy relationships is spending time apart—either alone or with friends. However, going out without your BPD spouse or partner can be a huge trigger for some. Like saying no to someone with borderline personality disorder, leaving someone with BPD alone can lead to intense emotional responses or blow up fights. This isn’t because the person with BPD wants to be difficult. It’s because of their fear of abandonment.
Even though I’ve been in therapy for over a decade and I, as of 2022, do not meet the criteria for a BPD diagnosis (after suffering with untreated BPD for 17 years), the trigger of having my husband make plans without me has only significantly improved in the last year. This was such a debilitating trigger for me for the longest time, with every single partner I had. Simply being aware of the trigger wasn’t enough to stop the feelings that ate at my core and it wasn’t enough to keep me from reacting.
Something else had to be done.
Saying no to someone with borderline personality disorder can be tricky. Enforcing boundaries can result in unpredictable reactions or “BPD episodes.” If you love someone with borderline personality disorder or have a spouse with BPD, you may regularly walk on eggshells and not know when you’ll see a glimpse of BPD’s rage or feel the effects of your loved one’s fear of abandonment. You might feel like you can’t do anything right or that you’re always setting them off. You might be emotionally exhausted and at your wits end, ready to call it quits.
Understanding BPD & “BPD Episodes”
When you don’t have the condition yourself, it’s hard to understand why your loved one with BPD has these explosive reactions when you go out without them, say no or otherwise assert your own boundaries. This “no” could be to a plan, an idea or a request. Whatever it is, you need help navigating how to say no to someone with borderline personality disorder.
You may believe your loved one is being dramatic, over-zealous or too sensitive. You may worry they’re being manipulative or controlling. You may wonder if they’re just abusive. In reality, it’s more likely their fear of abandonment and rejection has been triggered by your “no.”