**The ideas contained in this post are the opinions of the writer and communicated without reference to supporting documentation. The writer also recognizes that BPD is a disorder that affects both males and females, and uses of “she” or “he” in the communication of ideas are not intended to covey sexual bias.
Getting rejected can be a hard thing for anybody to experience, no matter if that person has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), or not. It hurts to hear “no” when what you really want to hear is “yes”. And of course, if the situation or person matters more to the person making himself vulnerable, then it hurts more as well to get the rejection.
But for those who experience their emotions with greater intensity (i.e., those with BPD), it can take more time and skill to work through a rejection compared to the average person with a “less emotional brain”. Instead of just hearing “no” and then being a little disappointed or disturbed and moving on with life, a rejection can be like being punched in the gut when you have BPD. In other words, the experience of being rejected becomes a sort of “emotional injury” and leaves the person with BPD wondering if the rejection means “he isn’t worth loving at all”, or “if it will ever be safe to make himself vulnerable again”.
The true challenge of rejection involves working through the “rejection feeling” instead of seeking out ways to avoid it, such as imagining the situation will eventually change or refusing to risk rejection again in the future. Another challenge is to try and maintain critical/rational thought about the commonality of vulnerability and rejection between humans. As is the case in many Borderline Personality Disorder challenges, it becomes necessary to BOTH honestly face emotions while also working at being as logical as possible.
For example, a person with BPD might notice that experiencing rejection is difficult, even “crushing” or “heartbreaking”, and that this is understandable because the desire to connect with other humans can sometimes be so strong. These emotions are also understandable for persons with BPD are naturally sensitive and passionate (and therefore easily vulnerable to hurt), and likewise because they tend to love and care with “all of their hearts” whenever they do love and care. A person with BPD may furthermore have past experiences of rejection with significant others that linger as memory and sensitivity, and that may get triggered when new rejections are experienced.
Some sort of validation of rejection is needed to work through a rejection experience if you have BPD. Without applying validation on some level, then the likelihood of resorting to avoidance tactics remains strong. It’s also important to remember that validation doesn’t mean at all that a person with BPD should get his way because he feels so strongly about something, but only that his feelings are understandable. Unfortunately, it is common for people – even people with BPD – to confuse validation with “enabling immaturity” or “weakness” when in fact it is a highly functional skill to apply because it helps to settle intense emotions and to think more rationally.
I have written two articles about validation if you would like to learn more about it… article one, article two. For very good reason I revisit the concept of validation in several of my articles at BreakAway MHE… that being that validation is often misunderstood and severely lacking in families, relationships, and childhood development – with the long-term consequences including people getting and remaining unwell in their mental health, over and over again, generation after generation.
An example of practicing logical thought in order to work through rejection would be to consider that interest, desire, and fondness for other humans can be experienced on multiple occasions during a lifetime. There is an abundance of love opportunities and possibilities between humans simply because there are so many of us. It is also logical to consider that all relationships have challenges and conflicts, and that the “good feelings” that arise when relationships are being pursued do not last (the honeymoon ends). These kinds of facts can be hard to keep in mind when feelings like rejection are being experienced, although they can also help keep you wise when you may otherwise make unwise decisions.
If you are reading this article and have struggled with rejection as part of your BPD, I hope you can see the potential for working through the difficulty and remaining wise/stable. I have had to do it myself as well, and while it wasn’t necessarily easy to do, it was possible. Indeed, working through life (even with strong emotions) becomes possible when you learn more about yourself and your condition and what you can do to help yourself. Believe it or not, the benefits of emotional sensitivity can definitely outweigh the costs when you are working towards being an effective emotional manager.
And since a person with BPD can love so intensely and with all his heart (and even deeper), the person who gets to receive this love is one of the luckiest persons alive. That lucky person becomes even the luckier when her passionate partner has developed an ability to understand and manage his mental health, and therefore becomes fully capable of sharing every wonderful gift that comes part-in-parcel with emotional sensitivity. In particular, when a person genuinely works through his BPD, he also develops an acute understanding of the differences between authentic (real) love and inauthentic (fake) love, and therefore can offer this precious gift to others in relationships.