I have BPD and I get attached too easily. Is there anything that I can I do to control this?
Last Updated: 10/30/2021 at 1:44pm
Jessica McDaniel, LPC, LCPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
I have been practicing cognitive behavioral psychotherapy since 2007 with a diverse group of adult clients with various diagnoses, all races, and socioeconomic classes.
Top Rated Answers
Absolutely! BPD comes with a lot of hardships but, with time and effort, you can learn coping skills that will make them a lot easier to manage. Becoming easily attached to people is a legitimate struggle, especially if they reach 'favorite person' status as is common with BPD. In light of that, learning how to enjoy your own company as best you can might be a good place to start. Nurture hobbies or develop new ones, practice your preferred method(s) of self-care, familiarize yourself with mindfulness techniques if you haven't already. Forming quick attachments can inadvertently lead to rejection, which is extremely difficult to process when you care about the person. If that resonates, I want you to know that the reactions people have to you do not define your worth. You are deserving of companionship and attention, but you can't dictate how other people act, so try to kick things off by giving those things to yourself. The way you treat yourself teaches others how to treat you. Another area you might want to focus on is the way you perceive how others are behaving. BPD likes to make it difficult to address situations objectively. If someone you really care about lets an entire day pass without messaging or calling you back, the sky might as well be falling. When you're stuck in that spiral, it can cloud your judgement, and the result may be an impulsive decision. At the time, it makes sense, but the consequences can sometimes be regrettable. If you relate to that, please know that it's something you can learn how to manage. Coping skills might not always work and the issue will likely shrink over time rather than disappear completely and that may seem discouraging, but your overall happiness is worth the effort. Try to make yourself aware of warning signs that might indicate you're in an emotionally charged mindset. When you start to notice those signs, it could be beneficial to stop what you're doing and take a breather. Reach out to someone you trust if you can, let them know what you're going through. They might be able to help you rationalize the situation. If that's not an option, you can try making a pros and cons list regarding what your next step should be—e.g., "Pros of messaging 'X' again versus cons." Think back to past interactions and see if you've exhibited any behavior the person has responded negatively to. Of course, it's up to you decide what needs to change, but acting on impulse can potentially lead to accidentally overstepping boundaries you forgot were in place, so try to be mindful as best you can. You should never feel obligated to discuss your BPD if you don't feel comfortable doing so but, if you meet someone you trust enough to give them some insight into how your brain works, it might help them better understand what you're going through. Letting the right people have access to information like that has the potential to help cultivate a relationship built on understanding. If you think it might help, you can always test the water beforehand by asking their opinion on mental health in general. Their reaction might let you know how receptive they'll be. That said, always be careful and put your own comfort and safety first. Lastly, try practicing forgiveness — mostly in regards to yourself. Coping with BPD-related attachment issues isn't impossible, but it is difficult, and there's no exact science that teaches you how to do it flawlessly. You're only human, so please be kind to yourself whenever possible. All the coping skills in the world can't guarantee a 100% success rate but your fumbles do not define you anymore than your achievements do. You are worthy of love in whichever of its many forms appeal to you and you are capable of receiving it. So, keep that in mind when things get hard — say it to yourself a thousand times a day if that's what it takes for the message to sink in. You're worth the effort, always have been and always will be.
I would firstly suggest identifying exactly what your attachment style is; secure, anxious, avoidant-dismissal, avoidant-fearful (it may be multiple or all). This will give you an indication as to what you need to work on. E.g. If your attachment style is anxious, you’ll tend to be a lot more clingy. I’d then suggest that you hone in on those traits, working through them by exposing yourself to situations that require you to not be clingy etc.; whether that’s taking a break from your comfort zone of people or what not. However, you must be kind to yourself! Don’t push yourself beyond your ability; build up to it. You know you the best, and having BPD is not easy, it affects people in several different ways. So I guess what I’m trying to say is, that you need to know how far you can push yourself, and then you should push yourself that far, to try and improve on your ability to control your attachment traits. Unfortunately, there’s no exact answer to this question. However, if you’re able to identify, practice and then act, I think you’ll be able to manage a little bit better. Talking to and working on these traits with a trained professional therapist, is an extremely good idea on top of all of that. I hope this helps! -C.
This is hard to answer because I have struggled with this most of my life. I was diagnosed BPD in my early 20's. I'm now in my 50's. When I make a friend, it usually turns sexual or romantic. Then the relationship runs its course and they leave... and I have no friends so I am forced to reach out again and because I crave that deeper personal connection with someone in which I can share everything with them, the cycle starts all over again. Does that sound familiar? What I can suggest to you is to try to be friends with groups of people rather than hanging out one-on-one with people, but even that's not a fail safe for two reasons. 1) your need for that deep connection with another human being won't be fulfilled by group interactions and 2) Because sometimes even in groups, I tend to rank people and find the person I have the most chat chemistry with and then focus specifically on them. I don't know if you do the same. The only other thing I can suggest is to try to look at these people you're meeting as though they are a professor, employer, sibling, etc.. someone that you wouldn't be romantically attracted to. But again, the relationships with these people won't be as emotionally fulfilling. If you're okay with that, then that would be the direction to go.
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