“I hate you, don’t leave me” is a borderline mantra. It is a theme driven by a lack of known
true self and primitive fear and anxiety generated by profound intrapsychic wounds in early developmental
years by those later diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This dance or dynamic of pathological
regressed relating on the part of those with BPD is the root cause of so much pain for those with BPD and
those who love and care about them in relationships. It is a central causative reality as to why so many
relationships fail. Those who are non-borderline in relationships with those with BPD need to understand
why they are hated one minute and loved and/or needed the next minute.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) profoundly inhibits those diagnosed with it from bonding in healthy ways that can then lead to productive relating in any and
all forms/types of relationships.
It isn’t really possible to bond with others in healthy ways when one does not know who they are and is not bonded to one’s own true self.
Most with BPD struggle with intense and very unstable relationships. All-too-often relationships just don’t work for them or those who love and care about them. There is a tremendous amount of pain that those in these relationships experience on both sides of the Borderline Personality Disorder fence.
Why is it the case that more relationships than not with and for those with BPD do not work out or last?
Put simply, it’s that Borderline Dance of “I hate you, don’t leave me.” This dynamic dance is set in motion when the person diagnosed with BPD tries to be close to someone. It kicks in for most when they are in a relationship in which attempts at intimacy are made.
In order to be able to be truly intimate and not threatened and/or triggered by it one has to be able to tolerate distance. Many with BPD are unable to tolerate average healthy distance that is necessary in healthy relationships. Rather they experience this distance as rejection and/or abandonment. The intense feelings that these feelings of rejection and/or abandonment fuel is the impetus that causes those with BPD to feel a desperate need to defend against the very one they love and partly want to be close to. This distances the borderline’s partner in often abusive ways and leave the borderline feeling rejected and/or abandoned again. It is a very self-defeating circle to be stuck in.
For most with BPD, until they find themselves and reclaim true self and personhood in therapy, intimacy and being close to anyone is far too threatening. While they may really want to be close they fear it with as much, if not more, intensity, and end up defending against it and pushing away what they really want in need with and from the other person. This sets up the borderline to continue to re-experience this upheaval as rejection and/or abandonment which in a cognitively-distorted way then supports the borderline belief that they are not safe in trying to be close and that they need to defend. Thus a virtually unending cycle of self-defeat is perpetuate by many with BPD. This borderline cycle leaves those close to the person with borderline in a double-bind “no win” situation.
Why do those with BPD fear closeness and intimacy?
Closeness and intimacy are feared because lacking a stable sense of true identity those with BPD fear being engulfed which is tantamount for them to being annihilated and seeking to exist. What gets set up in relationships for those with BPD is the re-playing of their past relationships. Past relationships which often were riddled with emotional trauma, mixed messages, and insecurity. The feelings of being engulfed as a child feel annihilating because one is needy and
dependant upon parents or caretakers.
This child-like neediness is re-enacted with those who have BPD in intimate relationships (and sometimes in friendships too) because it is all those with BPD know. They know a fear that is so deeply ingrained in a profound woundedness that is then played out over and over in a repetition compulsion the genesis of which has at its source a deep-seated need to resolve the primitive emotional and developmental conflicts generated in the borderline’s experience of being neglected,
abandoned, rejected and invalidated (real, actual and/or perceived).
This Borderline Dance of “I hate you, don’t leave me” puts an enormous amount of pressure and responsibility upon the friend or non-borderline partner. Many with BPD transfer their personal responsibility onto a partner. More often than not the partner of someone who is in the active throes of BPD (usually untreated)
is seen more often than not as the parent of the borderline in what are constant triggered, fragmented, dissociated ways that the borderline is
experiencing his/her past in most here and now relational moments.
The Borderline Dance of, “I hate you, don’t leave me” is a very painful dynamic for the borderline and the non-borderline partner to be in. It is important to gain awareness and understanding of this in order to seek help and to have an opportunity to change this dynamic before your relationship is lost to it. Professional intervention is necessary to take this unhealthy and painful dynamic and to help the evolution from this dance to healthier ways of relating.
If you have been diagnosed with BPD (and you haven’t already) you need to get professional help to take responsibility for your own behaviour and for any and all pain that you are
causing anyone else as well as yourself. If you continue to believe that it is your partner’s fault or responsibility you will continue to remain stuck
in a very painful dynamic within a relationship that likely isn’t working and won’t or can’t survive as such.
If you are the non-borderline partner and you believe you are in this dynamic and dance of “I hate you, don’t leave me” with your borderline partner it is crucial that you understand you cannot change it or change your borderline partner, you must take care of yourself and hope that your borderline partner will seek professional help. Borderlines can be helped by competent therapists. They must be willing to get this help themselves. If they are not, than as the non-borderline partner in the relationship you really must assess your needs and perhaps get professional assistance yourself to determine what is best for you (and any children involved).
For more on this and many other BPD-related issues please check out the ebooks written by © A.J. Mahari about
various aspects of BPD – available now at PhoenixRising Publications
© A.J. Mahari Thursday December 22, 2005 – All rights reserved.