Friday, July 6, 2012

Ask Haven: Changing Plans

A Reader asks: My Borderline girlfriend keeps changing plans to meet up with me. Does this mean she doesn’t like me anymore? Or is that normal?

Well, I’m not your girlfriend, I hope, but if you were dating me it would probably have next to nothing to do with you. I change plans on the people I date, and friends, all the time. I hate that I do this. It’s not that I don’t love or care about my boyfriend. It’s not that I don’t want to spend time with my friends. 

Sometimes the thought of going on it public just creates the most insane about of anxiety in my though and I literally cannot drag myself out of the front door. The mere thought of walking out that door can reduce me to a puddle of blubbery shaking tears.

If your Borderline has an eating disorder or body dysmorphic issues she may be feeling too self-conscious to function publically. She’s probably stressing over something that you think is miniscule and not very important, but to her, to me, it’s all we can see for a while. The big glaring flaw, that huge reminder of our imperfection, the proof that we failed and maintaining the standard of beauty we hold for ourselves. It’s not fun. No one hates this more than us. When it comes to being social when I’m feeling self-conscious it can become hard for me to breathe and function at all. All I can feel are everybody’s eyes boring into me, judging me. It becomes too much pressure for me to deal with.

It’s not always that bad, but all the day to day stuff is very dependent on how I/we feel. If I’m really stressed out, it translates physically into how tired and worn down I can feel. My limbs feel heavy and I don’t want to go out. I’m pretty sure anyone that has had any kind of stress in their life has felt like this at some point. Having Borderline Personality Disorder makes you more sensitive to stress and things that cause stress so it may happen more frequently.

Same thing with depression. One minute I can feel okay enough to go out, and an hour later I might be too depressed to pull real pants on. It has nothing to do with you. Well, in a way it can. I hate letting the people I care about, or am trying to show a good impression to, see me when I’m really low. I hate letting people see me upset and depressed. If we have plans to go out and I can’t shake those bad feelings and I don’t think I’ll be able to hide them, I will second guess my ability to be the kind of person I think you want to be around. I’ll ruminate on all the ways the evening can go wrong. I’ll envision the disaster waiting to happen until not leaving the house becomes the best way to actually save the relationship/friendship…. But mostly it’s the best way to keep myself from feeling even shittier about feel crappy and potentially bringing down the joy of the people around me.

For me, this is pretty normal. I am getting much, much better about this! It takes time though and some good therapy in my case.

If you keep making plans to go out and she continues to cancel, maybe you can present other options: stay in and watch movies, play Apples-to-Apples, video games… hang out in a way that has less social pressure and less stress. Let her know that you don’t care what you’re doing as long as you’re doing it with her, because like most people, Borderlines need that validation that the person we care about really appreciates being with us.

Then again, if you’ve been out a few times and she just keeps cancelling and never texts or calls you back, then she may just not be that into you. Take a hint. 

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