Filling the Bottomless Void

October 26, 2010

When Jessica went out, she wore the brightest red lipstick she could find and the shortest skirt she dared to wear. Not because it made her feel pretty, but because she was screaming for attention. There’s certainly nothing wrong with expressing your sexuality. But when the motives behind such expressions indicate profound insecurities, then it’s time to take a deeper look.

The more people complimented Jessica, the more dependent she became on such validation. But it was never enough. No amount of compliments could fill the void she felt inside. This was yet another negative side effect of her Borderline Personality Disorder.

BPD is crippling disorder that leaves its victims without a sense of self. A BP teen grows up with a profound identity crisis. They may dramatically change their appearance on a regular basis, absorbing outside influences like a chameleon. They may change their hair color, get tattoos. They may go through a goth stage only to go through a hip hop phase years later. Many adolescents go through such an identity crisis, but for BPs the search for acceptance is much more desperate.  Most kids grow out of this stage. Many BPs do not. Without a sense of self, they grow up without self-esteem. Adult BPs then continue to rely soley on other people for validation. Which is why they always seem starved for attention.

BPs in a relationship demand all their partner’s time. If they don’t get it, they punish their partners (sometimes with infidelity). Or they accuse their partner of being untrustworthy (relationship sabotage). Like a 2 yr old, they cry if a partner leaves them for just a few days. It triggers their fear of abandonment. This phenomenon is what the experts call object constancy. BPs lack object constancy. That is they freak out when a lover is unavailable.

Jessica, like most girlfriends, would wear her boyfriends shirts or sweaters as a reminder. If we weren’t dealing with a borderline, such an act would seem sweet and endearing. But it is in fact, a sign that a borderline is becoming more insecure. The more serious a relationship gets, the more insecure a BP gets. An insecure BP looks for attention elsewhere and pushes lovers away. In the end, even the most dedicated lover could not make Jessica feel loved enough.

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