I hold back in relationships. I hold back getting close to people. I feel bad because I know how much baggage I have. I know how damaged I’ve been.
Fortunately I’m starting to understand how much I’ve healed too. How much I’m capable of getting through. How much I’m capable of repairing. I don’t always feel like a strong person, but yanno what… I really am.
People have asked me if Borderlines believe they’re damaged goods.
I can’t speak for all of us, but for me I can answer this with a resounding “Yes”.
At least I used to. Now I just kind of do. Regardless, in the past I have vehemently believed this. Completely.
There have been plenty of times when I’ve wanted to be with someone, or I have actually been with someone, but at the same time believed that I had just too many issues to be able to do so. Even during periods where I’ve felt relatively okay it’s caused me to hold back and not be really open with the person I’m interested in. I have all of the unjustified guilt. Guilt over feeling bad, that I have had cause to feel bad. Guilt for things that haven’t necessarily been my fault.
For example. I’m Major Depressive. I have done absolutely everything in my power to not feel depressed. I have a chemical malfunction in my neurology that I’ve fought with diet, exercise, therapy, medication (okay yeah I’m definitely feeling A TON less depressed now), kicking bullshit people out of my life, and I don’t even really feel depressed anymore… Yet, I feel guilty because I can’t be this happy go lucky person that I think people want to see. Frankly I’m kind of an artsy introvert with a major nerd girl streak. I’m not some kind of peppy cheerleader. However, something inside me believes completely that if I’m not some picture perfect presentation of what people want then I won’t be accepted for who I actually am. Perhaps this has to do with growing up being told that I need to stifle myself, and that I’m too difficult to be loved, but pssssh.
Especially during times when I don’t feel great about myself, especially my self-esteem, my self-image, and my self-talk is very low, I feel like I’ve been through too much damage and shattering to be loved. I feel like my personal past is too much of a burden to expect anyone else to bear with. Not carry, that’s on me, but even the thought of expressing what I’ve been through and allowing others to see the kind of trauma that I’ve had to deal with, makes me feel like I’m too broken to be together with someone else. Frankly I’m not sure I have the right to expect or even hope, that someone will accept me with all of that.
It feels like so much to me. Maybe there’s an aspect of not being able to put myself in someone else’s shoes and see how they could appreciate the magnitude of what I’ve been through, while at the same time recognizing that I am a stronger person for it, without feeling the weight of all of that as if it were their own trauma… because when I empathize with someone I really care about, I feel their hurt like a ton of bricks weighing me down into an early grave. It’s hard to recognize that other people can see a different perspective of who I am, appreciate where I’ve been, without feeling the need to carry around every single bit of broken history like shards of a shattered past cutting into my skin.
I remember everything that I deal with. Just because I’ve made mistakes, recognized those mistakes, actively made the choice to not go down that kind of destructive and hurtful path again… to be a better, kinder person now and into the future…. I still feel the importance of the poor choices I’ve made in my past. They stay with me. I don’t feel like they’re magically forgiven and I can let them go. It’s like a geographic topography where the broken hearts, hurt, pieces, glass, debris, sadness, and pain create striations in my emotional psyche that are only slowly and thinly covered by new growth and fresh emotional landscape. It’s never truly let go of. It’s all still there, just under the surface. Even if the surface is now a better, wiser place more conducive to healthy growth.
I’ve felt alone for so long, it takes so much for me to really feel connected, that I’m not really sure what it is to feel like I belong with someone. No matter how close I do get, and I have managed to form some very healthy internalized relationships, I still feel like an outsider on some level. That I don’t deserve to have that complete connectedness with someone. No matter how much I may want it. Because I do feel guilty about having so much built up inside me that I view as bad.
So I struggle with wanting to be with someone, but also not believing I really can be. I know I have quite a lot to give, but I don’t want to make anyone receive everything else that I’ve also had to go through.
Maybe I just don’t understand relationships from that other perspective. All I have is my own and my own concept of how I feel other people’s burdens. Maybe that’s not realistic for how other people feel. I don’t ever expect anyone to take the weight of my past from me. I don’t expect anyone else to “heal me” or “make me feel better”. All of that is on me. I am responsible for my own healing. But I still feel like I’m too broken for someone to completely understand or fully accept.
It feels really stupid to say too, because my family, my friends they DO know (You may have noticed that I’m not exactly afraid of talking about my life, haha). Over the course of the years I’ve spent developing these relationships they do understand and fully accept what I’ve been through, as a part of me. They have seen me overcome and move forward. They do accept me, completely and absolutely, for the person that I am. I see this. Not just in their words, but in how they actually show their support for me and show their love for me. I see it. And yet…
I don’t know. Something doesn’t quite click for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love them and am beyond grateful for them. In no way do I take my relationships for granted. That’s not a question. But even now, there’s this feeling of something being missing. I’ve been so damaged that I’m not sure whatever that mechanism is that really bonds you to another person is capable of being completely fixed. Like trying to re-flatten a piece of paper after it’s been crumpled up. You can get close, and it’s definitely still usable, but you can still tell it’s been wrinkled.
I guess everyone has their wrinkles though. It’s funny too, because never do I hold the trauma another person has been through against them. It never bothers me when people confide in me. It never makes me think any less of them. In fact, it usually makes me think more of them for having been through so much and remain capable of continuing on. That’s strength. I feel that for other people… but someone, not for myself. I don’t know how to reconcile that.
I’m in no way saying that it’s not possible. Just that this is an experience I’ve had and am still going through… and need to continue working on. People ask me if I think I’m damaged goods… and after the momentary annoyance of being objectified as merely a societal product… yeah I do. Because I have been damaged and I am not really sure how to forgive my past. Even the parts of my past that aren’t actually my fault. For as many beautiful features as I have, somewhere I believe that the people around me deserve someone that is less flawed. More perfect. Like it’s my choice to decide what anyone else believes they deserve. Even though I would be furious if someone made that choice for me.
It’s complicated living inside my head. I think that’s true for many of us. Borderline or not. Especially when you’ve been hit in your sense of self-worth and self-esteem for so long, when maybe you never developed a good sense of what it is to truly value yourself as a whole human being, it’s difficult if not impossible to internalize how someone else could.
It’s difficult to even look in the mirror some days. Let alone accept the person we see reflected back at us as someone worthwhile. Teaching self-acceptance. Internalizing a sense of accepting one’s self. It’s a lesson I think many of us need to work very hard at. Because we may not know it, but we are worth it.
I doubt I'm alone in feeling like this, but for anyone else's sake, I wish I was.
I doubt I'm alone in feeling like this, but for anyone else's sake, I wish I was.