I don’t have many friends. I really don’t socialize that much. I like being reclusive and hiding out in my apartment taking naps and living life on my own terms. Still, despite this sense of independence, I long for some sort of social life. People call me if there is a wedding, funeral, or emergency. They don’t call me for a beer or evening of fun.
… at least so I thought. There are a handful of friends that actually do/did call once in a while (more often when we were located close together, ie. college etc.). They are all good people with good hearts; who are very tolerant of my moodiness, odd behavior, and black or white thinking that characterizes my BPD. Maybe they suspect there is something wrong with me. Maybe they don’t. Perhaps they identify with some of my quirks and BPD tendencies that are present in everyone, except under much better control. The one question I ask myself: how is it possible they ended up in multiple relationships with people who have BPD?
“Jacob” was a close friend during college. We both shared interest in music, playing in the school’s concert band and taking music composition classes. Jacob went on to major in Music with an Education Certificate. I put music performance aside my Junior year in college, mired in depression and gambling addiction. It may have been for the best: the perfectionism of music and nervousness I experienced performing just weren’t worth the effort.
Jacob and I parted ways after college, although we occasionally still trade Facebook messages. He furthered his music studies to the graduate level, took on a high school music teaching job, and now teaches at a major university.
During college, Jacob and I shared a common frustration of not being able to connect with women. Shortly after college ended – during the course of Jacob’s transition to graduate school – he finally met a girl and they hit it off. He was very happy and in love. His girlfriend was pretty, fun loving, and seemed like a good match for him. She joined him at graduate school, sharing an apartment and a couple dogs. They had a good relationship for a couple years. Then, things appeared to get rocky. They broke up and got back together, fought, and eventually called it quits. Jacob has moved on, although I’m sure he still has feelings for this girl.
“Frank” is a friend I made during my initial years in Costa Rica. He’s originally from England, and was part of the team that hired me to do internet marketing for an online gaming website. The very first night I was in Costa Rica, Frank and other office colleagues took me out, and we all had a great time. Frank and I connected, enjoying high stimulation activities like drinking, gambling, and hanging out in loud discotheques. Frank also loved to travel, and his sense of adventure and need of companionship often meant I joined him on his journeys. We went to many different places, met different people, and did things I probably would never do by myself.
Our relationship changed as time progressed. We didn’t do the party scene as much, mostly because it tired me out and I got terribly hung over from the mix of alcohol and anti-depressants I take. We still hung out constantly, however, going out for meals, attending work parties, or taking weekend beach trips.
About two years ago Frank met a girl seemingly out of the blue. I actually met her a few weeks after they started dating seriously: Frank tends to get hyper focused on new people and new things in his life, to the point that he sometimes excludes others. I already knew this about him and it was fine by me. It was good to have a break from life in the fast lane with him, and I was genuinely happy he met a new girlfriend.
Unfortunately, in the ensuing months, Frank’s relationship rapidly deteriorated . At first, Frank and his girlfriend were all over each other. Frank bought her an engagement ring and they were already talking about marriage. It seemed to move almost too fast, but that was how Frank operated. He is very insistent and hyperactive, so an engagement after 5 months of dating for him would equate an engagement after one year of dating for anyone else. Once the ring was on his girlfriend’s finger, things turned very bad.
She stole from him, cheated on him, and caused a myriad of problems. Frank indicated at one point it was possible she was pregnant, but he didn’t know for sure because he knew she was disappearing to see other guys. This was all happening after she and Frank moved in together, sharing their apartment with her 5 year old daughter from a previous relationship.
What was looking like a bad choice on Frank’s part ultimately became ugly and horrendous. His girlfriend did a complete 180 on him, having him arrested for false charges and trying to get him deported from Costa Rica back to England. She even accused him of molesting her daughter, an utterly false charge with no basis in reality. Frank may have his peculiarities, but he is no child molester. In the end, he had to jump on the next plane out of Costa Rica, leaving the girlfriend from hell – and the otherwise enjoyable life he built – behind him. He has never returned, fearing Costa Rican authorities might have a sealed indictment against him. Now Frank and I just talk on the phone every couple of weeks, nothing like we were while he has in Costa Rica with me.
Frank’s ex-girlfriend later gave birth to a baby boy. It is still unclear whether or not Frank is the actual father. This additional footnote to a year from hell still bothers him to this day: is he a father or not? Did he do the right thing leaving the country? He may never know, and now must move forward with his life regardless.
Here’s where Jacob from college and Frank from England intersect. After Frank fled Costa Rica, court ordered psychological evaluations of his ex-girlfriend revealed that she most likely had a bad case of Borderline Personality Disorder. Similarly, a few months after Jacob left his girlfriend, he sent me a note revealing that she had just been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and/or Bi-Polar II disorder.
This is a very strange coincidence indeed. Two completely (and I mean COMPLETELY) different people who have never met both ended up with BPD relationships in their lives, which tortured them and caused mountains of stress.
Here’s the kicker: Do they know that I ALSO have BPD? It is a very interesting twist and coincidence in my life that I can’t comprehend. What is it about Frank and Jacob that attracted them to BPD girlfriends and unknowingly to a BPD guy friend (me)? What if I told them I had BPD? Would they never speak with me again?
Do some otherwise “normal” people act as magnets for those with BPD; or is it the other way around? Do we with BPD gravitate to certain people who will tolerate us but who will ultimately have the good sense to leave us behind once we’ve ruined part of their life?
I’ll probably never tell Frank or Jacob I have BPD…they would probably flip if I did. To be clear, I haven’t wreaked the kind of havoc on their personal lives that their BPD ex-girlfriends did; but I’m sure they wonder about my mental health.
In this case, the relational model called the “six degrees of separation” falls flat on its face. You would think it would dictate some degree of distance from people with mental health problems that are not part of the “normal” population. These two unlucky souls have had wretched BPD girlfriends in their lives, and they may not even realize I, their other friend, has it too.
What do you think?