When those of us with borderline personality disorder (BPD) feel our emotions, we feel them so intensely it feels inhumane. On top of that, there is a misconception about us — that we lack empathy — but that couldn’t be the further from the truth. Sometimes, I feel so bad for others that feeling bad for others even triggers my depression. Dealing with such intense feelings, even about what would seem like “small things” to the average person, makes me wish I had none at all.
There are a few reasons why I wish I had no feelings, but the first reason is that I end up feeling terribly bad for people who have done me wrong, while simultaneously feeling remorse for whatever conflict occurred.
I have a bad habit of going out of my way to make things right with people because having negative standings with others makes me incredibly anxious. Knowing people dislike me makes me feel like the world hates me. I also end up feeling guilty and this intense guilt causes me to take the blame for everything, even if I know in my rational mind, the situation was entirely not my fault. Sometimes, I even feel bad for people I should be angry at due to an offense they’ve committed against me, but my intense level of empathy makes it so that the anger goes away and is immediately replaced by regret, sympathy and a yearning to make things right with that person. It seems to me that most people would be able to simply move on from a dispute, but I cannot. I have to know someone doesn’t hate me. Things have to be mended or it will fill me with anxiety.
The other part is, I often feel like my emotions control my entire life. I understand that we can control our actions, but if you’re anything like me, simply feeling the intensity of the emotion is enough in itself. I don’t want to feel this intensely anymore. It hurt too much and should be deemed as inhumane for any one person to feel as deep as this. Yet, I have no control over whether the feelings come or go. For me, this has got to be the worst part about having BPD. Yet, it seems like one of the core issues. I want to be able to feel emotions in a lighter way like everybody else, but I’m always the one who appears overly dramatic.
What people don’t get is I appear “overdramatic” because my emotions feel that dramatic. I am being honest in those moments, not seeking attention or trying to show off or anything. It’s really embarrassing when I get in those modes as well. It’s almost as if I live on the soap box. I can come across as too much to deal with and overly sensitive. Sometimes, it feels like the world wasn’t made for a person like me. Speaking of normal, that’s the other thing. Each time I have an emotional meltdown, I feel like me expressing those emotions is absolutely necessary because of how intense they feel. Sometimes, I feel if I don’t express them, I’ll end up in a worse position down the road since repressing emotions is unhealthy.
Then, after they go away, I end up feeling like I pushed everyone away, annoyed everyone and like even the people who do stick around get drained by me. It’s something I just cannot help but it seems like no matter how hard I try, I will always end up letting all of my emotions out and isolating myself on accident. I try to tell myself that it’s not worth it but my intense emotions win, every time. They have the steering wheel. They call the shots. Emotional intensity is a rebel in its own right. My emotional intensity has caused me to lash out in inappropriate ways and burn bridges with people I really loved. They’ve literally ruined my life and they continue to be a heavy burden on my shoulders. I will always wonder what it feels like to have “normal” emotions and not to feel so intensely but I’m afraid I will never know.
The one thing that does seem to encourage me about by emotional intensity is that I am honest and am one of the most truly empathetic people I know. However, sometimes, I feel that is not enough and I question why I still thrive and why I still even try. I wish I had more encouraging things to say but unfortunately, this is something I am still working on.
So my question to you: How do you cope with your very intense feelings and how has this affected your life and relationships?