So today I answered my ‘first question’. These are questions given to you by your sponsor everyday that you have to answer about your addiction. I feel super vulnerable and although I’m not crying on the outside I feel emotional. I knew I had the addiction but actually writing it out and later, verbally telling someone about all the ways in which it has impacted my life just makes it so real. I identified with all the characteristics of the condition and it’s tough to see that written down on paper. I always used to use romance and relationships as an escape from my pain. I only realised I had BPD at 23 and while I read some articles and joined an online DBT course back then too, I couldn’t really recover because there were too many triggers in my daily life for me to focus (aka. my marriage and the fact that we used to live with my in-laws which came with it’s own set of triggers). I just feel like there’s so many things ‘wrong’. Recovery takes up most of my days. I haven’t even applied for any jobs so far. I am going to make myself apply tonight (doesn’t help that I just hate the applying part of it).
I had gotten myself into many self-harming situations because I used sex as a way of escaping. I had drunken one night stands and then romanticised about how we’d start dating and be happily in love when I didn’t even know the guy and all it had meant to him was a one-night quickie that I had made waaay bigger in my brain. I had also slept with people I didn’t even like and would come home and cry. I remember distinctly a time when I was 17 coming home and jumping into the shower crying and trying to ‘wash off’ what had happened because I felt so digusting. Unfortunately last October was my last experience of this. As I had/have a compulsive need to always be in a relationship to help me shoulder my BPD storm and to feel good about myself I dated someone I wasn’t attracted to, didn’t even like his personality (he was quite a jerk and at times had told me to ‘kiss his ass’ and to ‘shut my mouth’ – charming!) and we slept together. Some part of my brain thought this was love. It was really just my dependency and need to be in a relationship as I couldn’t face life alone.
A relationship for me meant someone is there for you, they listen to you and your problems, give you time and attention and make you feel good about yourself. Unfortunately it meant I couldn’t grow as a person, it was my addiction to these feelings of highs and excitement and romance and emotional support that stopped me from learning to love myself and to stand on my own two feet, to face reality as it is and focus on improving my life. I don’t want a relationship born out of a need, out of an addiction, I don’t want to be with someone I don’t even know or like as a person, let alone love, just because I ‘need’ a relationship. I am single for 37+ DAYS running now and yes I am forcing myself to face this addiction, notice it and break myself from it’s cycle. I want to love myself for me and to know I can handle life by myself and fill it with things that make me feel good, and face the sucky parts that are my reality. I used to use the high of the daydreaming and of romanticizing about the person and our life together as an escape from the reality of my life and it’s problems (particularly my family and financial problems) and it didn’t ever really save me. It’s the same way in which people might use alcohol just so that for a couple of hours they can feel great and forget about the reality of their life situation and escape. Relationships aren’t meant to be an escape. I don’t want to use people. I don’t want them to give me my dream life and ultimate happiness, that’s not their responsibility. Yes you can build one together but you can and should focus on making your own dream life. I want to feel good about my life, not hate it.
This is a new value to me about what a healthy relationship for me would be. I want to love myself as I am on my own without feeling ‘defective’ because I’m single. I don’t want to use sex as an escape or a way of self-harming to escape from stresses in my life or because I feel chronic emptiness due to my BPD. I want to be in a relationship when I feel good about myself when I know it’s not coming from a place of addiction. Because I know that man as a person and I like who he is and the way he acts in his life and his morals. I want to know him as a friend and I want to be in a good place mentally in my life and have my own hobbies and interests that I don’t abandon once he enters it. I want my relationship to be mutually supportive, that we both help each other be happy some of the time. I don’t want to place all of my happiness on one person and I don’t want them to be my ‘end all and be all’ of my life. A relationship is not a ‘goal’ to be obtained. It is not the ‘happily ever after’ or ‘the end’ of life or the book of my life. It is another chapter and the story will continue so I need a life of my own that continues and I need to have other things that bring me joy and have my own happiness outside a relationship. I want to make them happy too and be emotionally available for them. I don’t want my fear of abandonment to consume my relationship. I don’t want to be needy and dependent and afraid they will leave me. I want to face the traumas and be in a relationship with a sense of security. I want to bring things to the table, positive qualities, empathy, stability, a listening shoulder. To face struggles together. I don’t want them to rescue me and I don’t expect life to be without problems after a relationship, because life doesn’t work that way. There will still be problems in my life and I need the mental resilience to handle them without falling back on them and expecting them to deal with everything.
This was a huge essay but I really needed to get it down because getting it down means admitting it and facing it and realising what I need vs. what I thought I needed.