This post is a bit TMI at times talking about sexual incidents in my past and since I don’t usually post in that much detail if it’s not your thing I would skip this one. I was hesitant to post this before therapy but I’m finding it difficult to try and bring this up on Monday so I’m hoping this helps.
Growing up one of my self sabotage methods was sexual activity, tied in with relationships. My poor boundaries means I have been hurt and treated in ways I really wish I hadn’t been and are things I need to process til today. I need to explain, I guess, that I have had the fair share of attention growing up. I would have friends who were male and they would admit at some point or another that they had feelings for me, but it wouldn’t go anywhere. Some of the problems kicked in when I would date people I didn’t like and engage in sexual behaviours with them. At the time I didn’t feel bad because I knew they had genuine feelings for me me but looking back, I really wished I had a greater sense of being okay with being alone. It’s okay though, I try not to beat myself up about it, it was all I knew at the time. I did cheat on my ex at the time with them though, despite us being together for 2 years and being ‘serious’ (as serious as you can be from 16-18). This was partly because I didn’t know how to break up with him and the pain of being in a painful relationship meant I took it out in this way. It’s like I knew it was wrong but I just hid it, and would do it again.
We broke up and it got worse when I got to uni, although I had a great relationship in the beginning of my second year, we broke up for reasons out of our control. I then stayed single for a while until I met a douchebag of an ex I spent 3 months with (M) where he only bothered to see me about 4 times in total. I didn’t like him, we had nothing in common, and yet not only did I date him, we slept together (yes, it was awful), it’s like I didn’t know how to say no or that I could say no to sex, or that I don’t have to date people I don’t like. I just gave him a ‘chance’ and paid for that. He lost complete interest in me as soon as I slept with him, probably thought it meant I was ‘easy’ (yeah one of those guys) and would see me as little as possible except once when he did decide to see me, he called me over to his house for more terrible sex and the preceded to watch a show on his laptop. He eventually broke up with me (he broke up with me, how I wish it was the other way around) but man I’m glad he did. I just hated that he felt he had a ‘one up’ on me because he slept with me. Of course guys can do that, but when the girl does she’s (insert whatever derogatory names they want to use). I moved on, enjoying my lectures, my times out with my friends. My BPD at the time was a lot more impulsive so I wasn’t in ‘pain’ so to speak, and when I was due to the issues at home, I had a good support network including a great best friend at the time. My Bpd was manifesting in parties, drinks, weed, so to be honest, I was having a whale of a time I fit right in with the ‘wilder’ Uni crowd.
I then met my next ex at a house party. He just happened to be a friend of M’s, they weren’t too close but in the same friend group. This ex I spent about 18 months with. Looking back now I see he was one person who was able to deal with very borderline moments despite neither of us knowing I even had BPD. I would struggle with fear of abandonment and get into arguments but he would always be there trying to apologise/make sense of what the heck I was actually fighting about. I would spend all my time with him which I know now is part of the disorder but he didn’t seem to mind because he was really soft as a person and being an introvert himself he loved being around me all the time too. He had some trust issues with me though, it wasn’t helped by the fact that he couldn’t get over my history with his friend. I was faithful and didn’t even have the desire to look elsewhere as my needs were met and I was truly happy.
But the way his friends spoke to me at times, just makes me wonder. Why did I let people speak to me that way? Treat me that way? I remember clearly sitting with one of them on a pavement once, him pointing to a hotel across the road and asking me if I wanted to go with him. Now a part of me gets so angry remembering this, what the hell did he think I was? But at the time, I stayed quiet. I suck at sticking up for myself in those situations. I had told him when I was single that he was nice and I had dated the wrong guy (M). So I guess he used that against me. This came from a habit that if I found a guy remotely nice as a person and in some way attractive I would start to get feelings for him and want to pursue something with them. I know it was just me trying to find love and care from someone that I thought could potentially give me those things but it just meant I was scoping anyone I thought I could get something from and it puts you in dangerous situations. What I hate the most about this kind of impulsivity is that you end up putting your welfare in someone else’s hands. They can talk to you in that kind of way, (or worse) and you’re just left to deal with it.
The worst part is, my own ex-husband did this to me, maybe it’s not the worst part because it happened even after my ex-husband. Near the end of my marriage my ex had at some point decided that all we should have is a sexual relationship. Probably because my ‘crazy’ was too much for him. It hurts that I continued to engage him in that way because I was trying something, anything, to keep us together. That’s the problem with BPD, you can at times, do the stupidest things to save losing out on someone. Even when it’s a damn good idea that they leave. This is pretty TMI now so if anyone doesn’t want to know Id suggest not reading the rest of this…….We had spent a night over at a hotel during a weird period where I had moved back to my mums and I didn’t know whether our divorce was truly going to go ahead or if things might get better. We slept together and DURING the act the man I had spent 3 years told me, still inside, that ‘the next man to marry me will be so lucky’. Well, thank you for the compliment on my sexual prowess, whilst also making it clear you are so over me that you are able to tell me in the moment that you’re already wondering who will get to be next and how he’s going to be getting a good thing, sexually, only of course. What the actual fuck. The worst thing is, it did happen again after that, me hoping that he was coming over to see me because he had feelings for me. Our last ever conversation with our divorce finalised was him telling me that he can only give me a sexual relationship with sexual advancements because he can’t commit to anything. Lovely. He wasn’t like that before, I truly feel like something morphed in him and he thought he would just use me because my BPD meant I wouldn’t see it clearly and would let him, and it’s true, because I did. I’ve even read threads with men posting that a guy shouldn’t get involved with a BPD woman emotionally but just ‘sleep with her’. It’s horrendous and it is out there.
Cue 2015 and only three or two months after this. I hadn’t learnt my lesson and was again out there looking for something meaningful. Forget time to heal, because BPD doesn’t look at that. It just looks for another person to latch onto. This is TMI again. I was seeing a guy I again wasn’t attracted to and he slept with me without my permission promising he wouldn’t. Next thing I know he was inside me. I didn’t even realise I was crying afterwards because a serious boundary had been violated. I should have been angry, I wasn’t, because I just don’t see it. I just don’t realise that I can say no, or get angry.
I still find myself realising some guys are nice and then wanting to impulsively tell them so hoping they will take it further, despite them not being a good match for me. The only reason a lot of this has happened is because I let it happen. We teach people how to treat us and what they can get away with. I can’t get upset that things like this are happening if I keep repeating the same behaviours. Luckily, I don’t anymore. I don’t tell them because I know it’s just that part of me seeking care and comfort. In a way my last ex was healing for me because he was so respectful of boundaries and so caring. Now I’m single, I really don’t want a bad experience again.
Underneath all of this, and the thing I really need to talk about in therapy is, apart from sex I don’t understand what else a man could need or love about me. That if they knew the real me, the BPD me, about how crazy I can get or dysregulated, they will either jump ship or just stick to sex. I don’t know if that makes sense. I guess my underage cam girl days taught me that, when I was seeking comfort I was being exploited and I allowed myself to be so maybe I learnt that that’s all I am good for? I don’t know but it’s a horrible core belief to have. I have just experienced that too many times. A part of me also knows sex is a tool to keep someone from leaving so yes, they do stay, but it ends up only being for that. This warped belief has also led me to accuse guys who are emotionally involved with me as ‘just wanting me for sex’ because my mind jumps to that fear. It’s like once anything sexual is involved it means they can’t possible have feelings for me too. I am really afraid. I am terrified of going through things like that again. Not of those kinds of men, but of my own inability to say no, or to realise when I am in a bad situation, or to not act out. What if I don’t stick up for myself again? What if I get emotionally involved and try to use that kind of tactic to keep someone again? What if they realise they don’t want to be with me but that they can use me because I will have trouble saying no?
I know I have a lot of DBT under my belt now and I had no such shennanigans with my last ex as I stuck to my values etc. and I was able to break up with dignity but he also made it really easy for me because he knew a lot about my BPD, I had told him from the get go. But not all guys are understanding or thoughtful, not all of them will want to help me even when we’ve broken up. Some like to take advantage or make you feel worse because they have issues of their own and I really don’t want a run in like that.
I chose a male psychologist so that I could talk about this and feel safe in the knowledge that I won’t be taken advantage of, that a man can care about me and help me get better without exploiting my weaknesses so I really hope I have the courage to bring it up and I really hope sharing it will help me process it. Gah, I just wish it wasn’t so deep-rooted.