I’ve been with my BPD boyfriend for almost a year. I love him so much but sometimes he’s really hot, and then artic cold! I don’t understand how he can be so loving one minute and then it can be like that love was never there at all the next minute. Do people with BPD push-pull people they really want to be with?
Pushed and Pulled
Dear Pushed and Pulled,
I don’t want to say we only do the Push-Pull thing with people we want to be with, but we really ONLY Push-Pull people that we want to be with. Or more accurately, Push-Pull people we want in our life and want to be close to in some way, be it family, friends, lovers, significant others, whatever.
At least that’s my experience.
It’s going to be different for different people and depend on how sensitive they are to the particular situation. We must remember that everything is relative to the individual. However, from my experience, if I don’t like you, aren’t close to you, or just generally aren’t interested in you… you can’t evoke the emotional connection in me that makes me want to be super close, and then freak out at the potential consequences of loss that that closeness could bring. In short, if you’re not someone I’m close to, there’s zero probability that you’ll get the Push-Pull.
That’s not to say that you can’t piss me off or get some kind of emotional response. But unless there’s some kind of major incentive I probably won’t try to reconcile with you, and even if I do, it’s not the same thing as an intense Pull Back, it’s simply a matter of maintaining some aspect of social or professional accord.
For the whole Push-Pull to be an issue at all, it means there has to be some deep emotional connection or a desire for one. The Push is usually inspired by that person reacting to the idea of losing that connection, or feeling suffocated from that connection, because the loss would be heart breaking or they feel like they’re losing themselves in some way b/c the connection is overpowering their tentative sense of identity. But once the Push has occurred and that’s had a minute to sink in: then the realization of that loss is right there in our face, and we feel what it is to not have that person in our lives, and that is a whole new kind of terrifying.
There’s a lot going on with the whole Push-Pull ordeal: Herecheck it out, I’ve written a lot about it. But I’m fairly confident in my assessment that it doesn’t happen with people that we don’t want to be close to.
Disclaimer: this does sometimes occur during the break up process when we know we don’t want to be with someone, but the loneliness is also unbearable. It can be confusing to feel the loss, not understand what’s really going on with your feelings and then reacting to the loss in a way that isn’t actually healthy: returning to the failed relationship. We’ll call that a “negative” Push-Pull… when the Push-Pull is inspired from actually not wanting to be in the relationship.
Communication is key! Also, pay attention to the previous context of your relationship. If it really feels like it’s out of the blue and up until that point their interest has been right with you and intense, then it’s probably a “positive” Push-Pull where they want to be with you, but they’re afraid to be with you.
If they’ve generally been distant, unresponsive, snippy or confrontational, and uninterested… they may just not be that into you. That happens with BPD too. I’ve dated lots of people that I just didn’t connect with, felt really bad about hurting them so I’d stay longer than I should have (Boring-Ex), but ultimately I didn’t want to be with them.
However for you, if he’s being very loving and it feels like he wants to be with you, then all of a sudden he’s a million miles away, it’s probably more along the lines of the “positive” Push-Pull. It happens, the best thing you can do is try to communicate and get to the heart of the issue so you can reduce the occurrence in the future. Hope this helps!