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Jealousy in Borderline PD Relationships

April 2, 2024 Karen Mae Vister

For someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD), a complex emotion like jealousy in relationships can be particularly intense and pervasive. I'm afraid of how jealousy tends to impact my relationships and self-perception. But these days, I strive to question its origins and implications. Here's how I've handled jealousy in relationships with borderline personality disorder.

Jealousy in Borderline Relationships: Identity Formation and Fear of Abandonment

Exploring the roots of jealousy in BPD relationships sheds light on its connection to identity formation and interpersonal dynamics. When freshly diagnosed with BPD, I'd often grapple with a fragile sense of self, marked by feelings of emptiness and instability. This lack of a solid identity fueled a constant need for validation and approval from others. As a result, the idea of sharing the affection and attention of my loved ones triggered intense feelings of loss. 

The fear of abandonment led to a constant state of vigilance and insecurity. The closer the bond, the more acute the jealousy became as the fear of losing that connection intensified. Reflecting on personal experiences, jealousy in BPD relationships felt like a persistent sense of competition for love and acceptance. 

Jealousy in Borderline Relationships: The Quest for Validation

Without a firm anchor in my own identity, I relied heavily on mirroring others to define myself. This tendency to emulate external personalities can blur the lines between my own desires and those of others, leading to a sense of emptiness and confusion.

As a result, jealousy in BPD relationships led to anger that served as a means of asserting control and reaffirming my existence in the face of perceived threats to my identity. The pangs of fear and jealousy were so sharp I justified passive-aggressively fighting for what was mine. I'd counterintuitively start fights to make my partners prove their love and affection to me so I wouldn't have to feel insecure. Of course, that only pushed them further away.

Jealousy in Borderline Relationships: Managing Emotions

When considering how to manage jealousy in BPD relationships, the importance of validating my feelings stands out. It's tempting to let jealousy morph into indignation, yet if my loved ones aren't intentionally harming or betraying me, these accusations aren't justified. Accepting my uncomfortable emotions allows for meaningful dialog. While it may not always feel instinctive, prioritizing honesty in my relationships is needed for growth and understanding. Once I started digging into my insecurities, it was like stepping into a whole new world. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) techniques helped me challenge irrational beliefs, and I soon began developing coping strategies to manage intense emotions like jealousy in BPD relationships. 

The resiliency I've gained through DBT has given me the ability to face past traumas head-on. In my 30s, I pursued somatic therapies, like eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), to help me uncover where my fragile sense of self came from. This psychotherapy helped me process traumatic memories, unlocking profound levels of emotional healing.

While fear and jealousy in BPD relationships still lingers today, it now feels more like a subtle prick rather than a devastating blow. 

APA Reference
Mae, K. (2024, April 2). Jealousy in Borderline PD Relationships, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 16 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/2024/4/jealousy-in-borderline-pd-relationships



Author: Karen Mae Vister

Karen Mae Vister, author of her blog, Over the Borderline, dedicates her work to providing valuable content and support for individuals on the path to recovery from borderline personality disorder. Find Karen Mae on Instagram and her blog.

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