Candy-HeartsRather than do a boring explanatory “sorry for the eon between posts” post, I thought I’d save the life updates for another time and get right to a topic that I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time in relation to BPD.

Anyone who has (or knows someone with) BPD knows that this disorder is first and foremost a bane of interpersonal relationships. In a way, I know that’s a misleading thing to say, because as I learned through my treatment, BPD actually stems from a singularly terrible intrapersonal relationship (your relationship with yourself). But regardless of its root cause and ultimate healing, BPD usually manifests itself worst and most frequently in our relationships with the ones we love. And for many borderlines, it’s not with ALL the ones we love, it’s only with THE one we love – the boyfriend, wife, best friend, confidant, etc. – our rock, our other half, our anchor in the storm, our everything, our knight/damsel in shining armour, slaying our demons and healing our wounded hearts with perfect and boundless understanding.

If it seems like I’m slathering on the irony a bit thick, that’s mostly because I am.

Like every personality disorder, BPD is healed from the inside out. Never the outside in. Period. I firmly believe it can be caused and prevented (at least partially) from the outside in. I desperately (emphasis on the DESPERATE part) wanted to believe that it could be treated from the outside in, for years upon wasted years. But I can now finally accept what I couldn’t for the vast majority of my life: it’s up to me to love myself, care for myself, know myself, and save myself.

But does this newfound insight protect me entirely from that hallmark of BPD, the toxic lure of…

The Crush?

No, it does not.

Before I go any further with this post, let me clarify that I am deeply in love with my incredible, thoughtful, patient, affectionate, caring, ridiculously hot boyfriend. I still get that fluttery feeling when he smiles at me, I picture our life together with great happiness, and I’m struck at least once a day by the re-realization of how handsome he is. What I’m talking about in terms of crushes is not a genuine desire to be with anyone other than my partner, although for many (most?) borderlines, I think it often turns into that.

In our endless quest for a person that will complete us, borderlines pounce, with terrifying and painful eagerness, on anything remotely resembling their phantom god. And heaven help the person who ends up on that pedestal. You’ve unwittingly entered a vortex of emotions, where your every sentence, action and yes, even inaction will become the purported cause of another person’s happiness or misery, elation or despair. We’ll think about you constantly, obsess over what your thoughts and opinions might be, find every detail of your life fascinating, and want to be in your presence every minute of every day.

But rest assured, you won’t be in your lofty hot seat forever. That’s because BPD runs in cycles, and you’re just one of them. You’ll only be the Crush until you “fail” in some way. Or maybe it’ll take a few failures. Either way, once you seem anything less than the perfect completion of our being, you’ll be supplanted by the next Crush. The one that truly knows us. The one that really understands and cares – not like you, you horrible monster.

Sometimes the Crush is sexual in nature, but a lot of the time, it’s purely platonic (and, we like to tell ourselves, more legitimate because of that – this person TRULY cares because they help us even without the prospect of sex in return). Sometimes it’s a purely mental obsession, with someone dead or famous or otherwise impossibly distant from us. But the biggest danger, of course, is when a real living breathing person shows up in our life to act out the role. Because then we realise, deep down, that this relationship can only end in flames (like all our other crushes) and it’s going to actually tear our life apart if said person is, for example, a long-term partner/spouse, a co-worker, a boss, etc. etc. Hello, drama, nice to see you again – weird how we keep encountering each other…

Even for recovering borderlines (read: me), the Crush can be one of the hardest things to manage. All it takes is a bad day with your significant other and a kind word from someone else, and you’re back at the mercy of wistful fantasies about how the perfect person would understand, and the perfect person would do this, that and the other thing, etc. etc.

In this way, the Crush is an emotional insurance policy. We don’t have to admit the terrifying reality that we are alone, essentially and permanently, and that we must learn to love and save ourselves. Neither do we have to experience the full pain of failure when yet another person lets us down – there’s always our back-up, our big gun, our true soulmate.

I think many people would argue that there’s no harm in crushing, but I hope I’m making it clear that that couldn’t be further from the truth. When you keep running to crushes, you’re running away from yourself – from the truth of what it takes to get better. When you constantly have the refuge (even the mental refuge) of another person’s embrace, you won’t waste time and energy fixing core problems in your real relationships: that’s too painful, too messy, too imperfect. Better to just hold on to the idea that somewhere, somehow, someone is capable of that perfection. Worst of all, when you have the comparison in your mind of what your Crush would have said, how they would have helped when your other loved ones didn’t, you pit the people who really care about you against a magical, non-existent fantasy that they will never, ever live up to.

I could go on and on about this topic, having an absurd amount of experience in it (unfortunately), but for now, I’ll confine myself to asking: has anyone out there ever had a Crush turn out well? I’m asking because mine is going REALLY well (like, marriage direction) and I’m fucking terrified of screwing it up or sliding back into old habits just when it matters most…

Cat xxxx


Author: halfasoul

I am a lot of things, but for the purposes of this blog, I am a textbook case of borderline personality disorder (BPD). My intention is that this blog give others with BPD - as well as those that care about them - perspective, insight, and hopefully, even a little bit of hope, help or comfort regarding the nature of this very strange and overwhelming disorder.

17 thoughts on “Crush”

  1. So glad to see your blog this evening. So much of what you write resounds with my crazy. For me too the most difficult part is recognising that I have to heal myself, slowly and painfully, and with 1 step forward and 2 back. Still struggle immensely with the whole self care – how do you care for yourself when you feel you don’t deserve any care? The fact that you see the dangers of crushing is a huge positive though – you might not feel it but you’re a real encouragement to fellow battlers. Thank you x

    1. Thank you so much for commenting, madsadgirl4. For a variety of reasons, I don’t like to use the word bitch, but… self-care is one thing I might use it for haha. :/ You are right, it’s definitely a process. And I do believe in using pharmaceuticals if necessary to get to the place where you can at least want to get better. I’m sure it’s not like this for everyone, but to me, finding the right anti-depressant (Wellbutrin) was like being bedridden and then finding out there is such a thing as a wheelchair: it helped me at least go through the motions and get around until I could try and walk on my own. So that was the beginning of attempting self-care for me. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and for *your* very encouraging comment – keep in touch! xxxx

    2. How do you do it though whats your advice for maintaining the crush. Iv done all of my dbt therapy but interpersonal skills and after 3 years i finally met someone i actually kind of like. and im trying to be mind full of everything

      1. Hi lingeringimagination, thanks for commenting. It was amazing to come back to this post because just over two years later, I am actually married to the person I was talking about in this post and still maintaining a (healthy) “crush,” even though I definitely wouldn’t say I’m cured of BPD, so I know it is possible. I would recommend three things to stop falling into this particular cycle of BPD:
        (1) Learn to be your own savior/knight-in-shining-armour. This involves a significant amount of time and therapy to learn to both love and rely on yourself so you don’t keep thrusting other people into that role.
        (2) Remind yourself that healthy relationships are much more important and rewarding than short-term “crush” feelings — and those crush feelings come and go in normal cycles for any long-term relationship. It’s not normal to feel in love with someone all the time. For this, I actually have a specific journal where I write down kind things my husband has said to me, nice things he has done for me, times I have felt connected to him or we’ve made great memories, etc. I read it when old habits creep back into my life… i.e., when my BPD is making me feel like he doesn’t really care about me or can’t understand. So it’s kind of like my real/wiser self telling my BPD self what it needs to hear in those bad times.
        (3) Get a bigger support system than one person. I believe we all need a bare minimum of three helpful/supportive people “in the know” about our BPD. It could be a priest, a therapist, and your husband, it could be two friends and one online friend, it could be three family members, whatever — but I firmly believe that BPD is far too big a problem for one or two people to tackle alone. Just my thoughts, hope they help at all and thank you again for reading -Cat xx p.s. I know it’s really easy to be scared of close interpersonal relationships (because they can be SO HARD with BPD!) but if I can do it, anyone can! Hoping for the best for you ❤

  2. That was so incredibly well written and right on the money that I am in jaw dropping agreement. EVERYTHING you wrote was spot on, that if I could find the reblog button on this phone i’d press it immediately.

    As per your question, if the crush in question meets the criteria of what you look for in the crush which you so eloquently wrote about, then unfortunately according to my therapist, and what i’m beginning to see no. For as long as you have a sort of dependency on your crush being other than their imperfect selves, and more like the perfect person that is making you feel comfortable then it will end bad. I’m learning the difference between want and need. Us, with BPD, “need” the crush because our own reality feels too hard to face and bear. However, a healthy mindset recognizes that there are certain people who will set us at ease and make us happy and we of course want that person in our lives, even to marry, however because it’s a want we are also able to see ourselves surviving without the person. I am learning that being able to stand a forgotten text reply, or temporary space (like them being away for a weekend), can only occur naturally when I have processed and understood that their presence, both in reality and in the obsessive crevices of my mind, is not fundamental to my remaining calm and sane.

    1. Yes, EXACTLY, lauraly18! I’m now in the stupid position of wanting someone to be perfect and simultaneously hoping to god that I never find anyone “perfect” again because it’s too easy to fall back into old false logic if they seem that way. So I kind of welcome the reality-check/learning experience when my boyfriend hurts or disappoints me, but then inevitably also feel angry and hate him (in a temporary, old-self way) and immediately start thinking of all the ways we are not right for each other because if he REALLY loved me he would do x, y and z. So dumb. And then when I’m back in my rational, non-BPD mind, I can appreciate the fact that we probably ARE really right for each other because this is the first relationship I’ve had where we are being real, imperfect people who can (usually) accept that we’re both going to mess up sometimes. Argh. Thanks for reading and commenting, take care! xxxx

  3. In regards to your question on marrige with personal experiance & being bpd myself i can say yes, purely on the fact that i met my now wife when we was 13yrs old. Yes i rushed into it & tryed so hard to stop feelings of abandonment every time we were apart & split her black when i coud not stop it. We have now been married near 5yrs & even tho i still have have “disagreements” when i think shes done wrong i tell myself we have been through alot together & still are but she is very understanding of me & can see the signs when i need space etc & tbh i woud not want it any other way

  4. I have BPD and I’ve NEVER had a crush, let alone any relationship, turn out well. They always eventually fall from their unrealistic pedestal, and I run.

  5. I have been on the receiving end of the BPD “crush” and the ensuing devaluation. It is so incredibly painful to have someone you really love and care about push you away. Is there anything you would suggest to the non-BPD to help us show the person we love that we care and aren’t going to leave?

    1. Hello and thanks for reading!

      Man, that is a tough one (wish I had a more insightful opening to reply with). The terrible, cliched, hard fact of the matter is that you can’t do a thing as long as your beloved borderline isn’t actively trying (and I mean with all of their might) to change. :/ I’m sorry. I wrote a couple of posts that may help: 5 Best Things to Say to Someone with BPD and the Five Worst. At the end of the day, your loved one is in for a long fight that’s never going to get easier until they realise they are the only one who can fight it. It is possible that they will hate you, disown you, or even harm themselves, but no matter what they say, please believe me: a) it will NEVER be your fault, and b) They will see and be eternally grateful for all the love that you tried to give them one day, even if they never tell you so. That’s how I feel when I look back on the people I hurt and “hated” in my worst BPD moments. I really feel for you and wish you all the best in your situation. Take care of yourself and please keep in touch if you have any more questions xx

  6. “Sometimes the Crush is sexual in nature, but a lot of the time, it’s purely platonic (and, we like to tell ourselves, more legitimate because of that – this person TRULY cares because they help us even without the prospect of sex in return)”

    Oh man. This hits hard. A very close friend of mine once opened up to me, after years of friendship, about her childhood and mental health issues. I had already been attracted to her for some time but had never been interested in her romantically. We were very close for a time and she was so loving, that I fell in love with her. It totally ruined our friendship. After being rejected romantically, I realized that I had been a little too codependent with her (okay, a lot) and attempted to establish boundaries where none existed before, to help me regain sanity since at this point I was really driving myself crazy wanting her, and she was always touching me…I told her the touching had to stop. It took a few times to sink in…the last time, I even had to yell at her after she asked me “don’t you like it?” She took my rejection of her touch as abandonment and began to split me black, and nothing I have done since then has been able to mend this rupture. Now, nearly a year later, she has painted me more black than ever, and she can’t accept that I still feel the same kind of friendship-love that I always did and would feel that way whether she returned my romantic feelings or not. And I kind of understand.

    1. Thanks for reading, Tom. I’m glad you understand that your friend’s behaviour (especially the splitting black/white) was apparently driven by BPD and not a true reflection of the relationship or your efforts. Hopefully you continue to get space and self-awareness as you recover from such a close relationship with a toxic person, and hopefully she gets the help she needs xx

  7. This really helped me as I have BPD and insecurities in myself. I literally get these crushes on people who make me feel safe and supported and it ends up badly. I think I’ve only ever truly loved a few times and because I’m getting older I want to meet someone when I’m ready and have it work, with the baggage and with happiness. Do you have any tips on how to stop these thoughts? I’d love to hear some. I’ve started to realise that I am crushing on 4 people because of my inability to be proud and happy of myself. Plus they literally make me feel like a million bucks. I’m trying really hard to not get attached and to look at it like they are just supporting me. If you have any insight, I’d love to talk. Thank you.

    1. Hi Dante, Thanks for reading and for commenting. Ah the people who make us “feel like a million bucks” – a very addictive feeling indeed, and for good reason – we really aren’t that great at making ourselves feel that way! Without knowing anything about your particular situation, I would say that the more you love yourself, the more you can love someone else instead of simply *needing* someone else (sorry, I know that’s a huge cliche, but it’s also true!). But when are you ready to love yourself? No one can just decide they’re ready (I would have decided a lot earlier if I could!). For me, I realised I was ready when: a) I was genuinely sick of drama, misery, and unhappiness; b) I was so desperate to feel better that I would even do things I REALLY didn’t want to do (like therapy); and c) I gave up the dream of a saviour or white knight, and fully let the truth sink in: that we are all essentially alone with ourselves and must fight our own battles. At that point, I felt ready to start fighting that battle, rather than wasting my energy fighting everyone/everything else. After that realisation, it was a little bit easier to avoid a crush, because I knew no one held the keys to my happiness but me. I mean it was still really tempting, and I’d let my imagination run away with me, but only in my mind – because I knew the reality was just more drama and misery for myself. Not sure if that helps at all (I’m fairly useless before my morning coffee, please excuse this rambling/poorly written response!) but please keep in touch. I will be sending positive vibes your way xxxx

  8. Im sort of speechless reading this. I have not seen alot from other people with BPD so reading this felt like someones mind that actually works like mine. Thank you for this post

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