Valentine’s Day Ruminations on Love

They’ve got this love thing figured out.

After my last blog post, I was overwhelmed by everyone who commented and messaged me. To all of you who did, thank you so much. You may think that I get messages like that often, but it’s actually quite rare. Anytime someone lets me know that they’re a regular reader, it leaves me flabbergasted. It always surprises me that what I have to say is important to someone out there. You guys made me feel incredibly supported. The whole experience of writing that post was a healing process for me. Unfortunately, along with healing, comes pain. I know that this is the good kind of pain, the good kind of sadness, but nonetheless sadness.

When I woke up on Monday, I could hardly breathe. There was an enormous pressure in my chest, strangling my lungs from the inside. I didn’t want to leave my bed to start the day — I wanted to disappear into a cave, cease to exist. I hurt for myself, for the girl who suffered so much. I hurt for my friend, who told me that he, too, had BPD. I hurt for all the people I’d let down. In the nightmare that caught me just before dawn, I was talking to my ex. I don’t remember what we said to each other, because it doesn’t matter. All of a sudden, I found myself face-to-face with his mother. She was faceless, because I’ve never met her. But she was real to me then, and so was her agony. She was screaming at me to leave her son alone, sobbing hysterically in the way that parents do when they’re completely helpless to save their children. She looked at me as if I was his murderer and he didn’t speak. His silence was an indictment.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. I’ve never given the arbitrary holiday much thought — I couldn’t tell you what I did last year or the year before that. This year, though, I’m thinking about love. More specifically, I’m thinking about my ability to love. Although the commercialized aspect of Valentine’s Day is annoying, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking the time to reflect on your love life. If you’re single, are you happy? If you’re in a relationship, are you happy? Though people commonly assume that relationships make people happier, it’s not necessarily true. Those who are coupled up often have the same number of, if not more, issues.

Am I capable of love? Yes, I have loved before. I’ve loved fiercely and loyally. I’ve loved so much that I hated myself for what I was doing to the person I loved. I’ve loved so much that I wished I could love just a bit more so that I wouldn’t have to leave. I’ve loved so much that I couldn’t leave. I’ve loved so much that I did leave. But what is wrong with my love that it makes the people I love suffer? What is wrong with my love that I always end up leaving? What is wrong with my love that I have never given someone the power to break my heart?

I know what is wrong — deep down, I believe that I am unloveable. This pervasive thought clouds all of my relationships. If I do believe that someone truly loves me, then I cannot love them because anyone respectable would not love me. If I do not believe that someone truly loves me, then I cannot love them because I am terrified of being abandoned by someone I love.

This Valentine’s Day, I feel broken. I feel lacking. I feel scared. I feel like I’m living a lie — if Hans knew me as I actually am, as I’ve been, he would never love me. The thought makes me want to run. It leaves me grasping for reasons not to love. It makes it impossible for me to believe that he cares, despite all the evidence for the contrary. It confuses the hell out of me. When I feel that he is distant, is that his being emotionally unavailable or is that me misinterpreting everything because on some twisted level I am looking for confirmation that I. Am. Not. Loved?

Does it make me brave or stupid to be in a relationship when I’m like this? I don’t know, but I do know that I’m fighting with everything I have. What about you? Do you have this love thing down pat? What do you find most difficult about love?




One thought on “Valentine’s Day Ruminations on Love

  1. I also have BPD and a boyfriend (we’ve been dating for a year and a half). He cheated on me, twice. We had several fights about the situation that never touched the underlying issue in our relationship – the definition of myself (perhaps ourselves) as someone unworthy of love. Cheating was not the cause of this definition. Eventually, we were able to bring our concerns, fears, and pain into a meaningful conversation about our lives and our relationship. We each have our own issues, and this was not an easy conversation. I told him about the fear of abandonment that paralyzes me. I told him about the empty, weightless feeling I get when I’m not really me or even in a body at all. I told him about the seemingly inexplicable rage that I feel when I anticipate rejection or abandonment. I shed all of the concerns that run around my brain driving me crazy and farther away from him. It was scary, I thought he would run away, leaving me alone with the realization that I am unlovable. But he didn’t run. He helps me calm down, he helps me breath again, he helps me remember who I am – maybe it’s a dumb decision to subject him to my inadequacies, but it’s one I am standing by. I think that we both felt inadequate in some ways. I didn’t feel worthy of his love, he didn’t feel worthy of my love. I fear and worry that he will leave me for someone more stable (not only do I fear this, I frequently wonder how it hasn’t happened already). He fears that I will leave him for someone else who can make me laugh or make me live. But being honest about these fears, and feelings and experiences that spark them, has helped immensely. It’s tough for me to face a situation where I think I’ve found proof that I am unworthy without being angry and defensive, but telling him early when something is bothering me has avoided a lot of mental anguish on my part. I don’t know the best way to handle a relationship, but I can say that overcoming my fear of vulnerability and opening up to my boyfriend has been one of the best decisions of my life.

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