Borderline Personality Trigger: Canceled Plans

April 17, 2018 Shelby Tweten

Borderline personality triggers can include cancelling plans, which is a type of abandonment (it can feel that way to people with borderline). The borderline personality trigger or canceling plans causes me to overreact and feel betrayed. Learn more at HealthyPlace.

There are many borderline personality triggers, but my biggest is canceled plans. With canceled plans comes that common borderline feeling of abandonment all over again (Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms, Diagnosis). Let's talk about how much consistency, communication and changes in plans can all lead to a borderline personality trigger for me.

What Helps Me Cope with My Borderline Personality Trigger?

Communication and Consistency Goes A Long Way

It's honestly not that hard to make me happy. All I require is to hold to your word when it comes to plans; and if you can't, I need full communication as to what went wrong. I don't know what it is but something in me clicks if someone goes back on his or her word.

A big part of my coping mechanisms for my borderline and bipolar is creating a routine so when I plan something out my entire mental stability is dependent on it happening. It's one thing if you are already a flaky person because then I expect that from you so there is no disappointment. It's when you come off as a very consistent person and then out of nowhere, I'm getting let down, that my world comes crashing down.

Canceled Plans Feel Like Abandonment in Borderline Personality Disorder

I seem to put my trust in people a little too much. I view plans as you caring to see me and spend time with me, so when you cancel, I feel like you no longer care about me--I feel abandoned. I am immediately flashed back to the feeling of loneliness that I felt as a child. I feel that you are going out of your way to hurt me (Anxiety Says Everyone Hates Me). It doesn't even matter if you have a solid excuse; if you don't handle the situation like you would with a child, I will not comprehend what's going on (Can People Without a Mental Illness Understand Us?).

This Borderline Personality Trigger Makes Me Hate Myself For Caring So Much

I completely understand that having borderline personality can lead me to overreacting and being "dramatic," but I don't need you to keep rubbing it in my face. For some reason, people who don't understand borderline personality disorder seem to continue to freak out that I am freaking out. What does that lead to? It leads me to hate myself more and more because I can't get you to understand; because, at that moment, I don't understand.

All I feel is pain, confusion, anger and hurt. This is when I turn to self-harm, not because I want to feel more pain because I want people to see the pain I feel on the inside. My goal is to try to learn that things come up and not everyone is out to get me just by canceling plans.

APA Reference
Tweten, S. (2018, April 17). Borderline Personality Trigger: Canceled Plans, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Shelby Tweten

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April, 30 2024 at 1:29 pm

I do not have a BPD diagnosis (or think I should), but I can relate to much of what you're saying. I had a parent who was bipolar and struggled with addiction and who ultimately died when I was in my twenties. My other parent was extremely religious and I was raised in a controlling and punitive environment. I am extremely codependent on my intimate partners but can simultaneously hold others at a distance when I feel overstimulated or just want to be alone. I too am very triggered by perceived abandonment and really struggle to communicate with others because I feel too much too intensely and cannot make others understand it..I don't always understand it. Despite all of this, I feel very triggered by this post?? I have a friend who also struggles in the same ways I do, but I suspect it is much worse for them. I notice they ALWAYS have plans even when they feel burned out because they are terrified of being alone. We used to be very codependent on one another but now I find myself keeping my distance. And sometimes for unrelated reasons, I have to cancel plans. OR I will state upfront that I tentatively agree to the plans but reserve the right to cancel if I don't feel up to it. I don't know if that makes me a bad friend or not; I have been in counseling for years learning how to hold space for both myself and others. And sometimes that looks like cancelling or rescheduling. I know that this is a trigger for my friend- they not so casually mention other "flaky" friends in conversation- but at what point am I supposed to cater to someone else's (sometimes irrational) needs at the expense of my own peace? Why do I have to give you a play by play of my thought process (and maybe a doctor's note) to get out of doing something? What's an acceptable reason to cancel? This friend recently encourages me to just say I don't want to do something (almost aggressively mind you), but when I do, I feel like I get the silent treatment or otherwise passive aggressive responses. And I am constantly hearing stories about this person's disappointment in other friends who cancel or are perceived as flaky. I want to give them space to process their feelings about cancelled plans, but sometimes I feel annoyed and overlooked. Like their pain is more valid or important than my own. I have not had the courage to talk to my friend about this but feel I need to soon or else I will continue to harbor resentment. Anyway, I know there's room for all of us to feel our feelings but it's so hard to navigate right now. I have been a caretaker in one form or another my entire life. I really need to take care of myself and not feel guilty about it. The end!

August, 9 2023 at 11:16 pm

I have a very close friend with BPD. I have adhd, depression, anxiety and a lot of physical health issues so there are times when I've made plans with them to talk on the phone or hang out and have to cancel at the last second. Cancelled plans seems to be one of their main triggers as well. What is the best way to cancel plans that might help them not feel abandoned?

June, 26 2021 at 10:22 am

This was so helpful for me today! I was in tears, trying to "keep my cool" through messages with my gf this morning. Two days ago I asked her if I could come visit (she's about an hour away) and she said yes. Today she tells me she has to work and asked if she could see me another time this week...i instantly KNEW she no longer loves me. Even though I messaged her what i assumed would be "typical" replies. Something a "chill gf" would say. Something reasonable and understanding...even though what's in my head is the opposite. She responded like I was being difficult. It made me feel so hopeless because I wasn't even saying what i was feeling which was 10000% more intense...thank you for putting this experience into words that others may not be able to articulate themselves! You've helped me a lot today! I may even just send her this link!

June, 29 2021 at 7:03 pm

Thank you for your comment! I am not the original author of this post, but I'm glad to hear that this helped you. Having someone else wrap words around something difficult you're experiencing is important and validating.

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