6. Self-blame and Self-sabotage
Many with Quiet BPD have a tendency to blame themselves even when it is not their fault. You may have an underlying sense of dread that your presence is a nuisance to others. You may ruminate a lot and go over interactions in your mind, only to harshly scrutinize what you had said or done.
You tend to shoulder too much responsibility for conflicts or arguments in a relationship. Even if you were abused, you may blame yourself rather than directing your anger towards the people who have hurt you. You may also have a tendency to over-apologize for things.
Always blaming yourself contributes to low self-esteem, which can also result in a tendency to self-sabotage. For example, having a good relationship or working at a job where you are appreciated fills you with uneasiness. You doubt yourself and deep down do not feel you deserve to have good fortune, appreciation, and love. You would rather turn away joy than to later be disappointed. Therefore, you push away opportunities and hope. This pattern stops you from reaching your full potential.
7. You Avoid Conflicts and Anger at all Cost
A lack of emotional validation is at the core of the BPD wound. It makes sense, therefore, that you would want to seek from your partner or those who are close to you what you have wanted all your life but could not get. You may be constantly trying to make ‘everyone’ happy. Perhaps you put an excessive amount of time and effort into being a mediator, confidant, and peacemaker. Or you are unable to say no, even if it means sacrificing your own needs. You may do anything just to avoid conflict and anger.
When you get emotionally attached to someone, you sensitively hang on to their every word and action, constantly trying to decipher if they like you or care for you. Even at the slightest hint that someone might be upset with you, you feel your world start to crumble. You become incredibly anxious about potential rejection if friends or partners don’t keep plans or return your calls.
Because you are afraid of conflict, you are always editing and checking yourself to make sure you never offend anyone. You may feel rigid, contrived, and not able to enjoy friendships and relationships in a carefree way.
“They didn’t realize that her clumsiness was not the ordinary kind, not poor coordination. It was just because she wasn’t sure where the edges of her body ended and the rest of the world began.” ― Margaret Atwood
8. You Fear Both Abandonment and Intimacy
The stereotypical image of someone who has BPD is that they are clingy and needy. A person may fight, beg and cry to stop imagined or actual abandonment. The fear of being left behind causes chronic anxiety, panic attacks, and hyper-vigilant physiology. In terms of attachment patterns, these behaviors relate to the anxious-ambivalent attachment style.
However, with Quiet BPD, your fear of abandonment may titrate with an avoidant attachment pattern. (Or, you may deep down be anxious-ambivalently attached, but in terms of behaviors, you act with avoidant tendencies.)
You do not only fear abandonment but also fear intimacy. You may avoid relationships altogether, or you may avoid exposing yourself. The moment a romantic partner comes close to knowing the real you, you find a reason to break things off. Convinced that you would eventually be abandoned, you would rather end the relationship before it ends on you.
When you feel anxious in a relationship, you are more likely to withdraw rather than raise conflicts, which hinders you from building lasting and fulfilling partnerships.
9. Your ‘High Functioning‘ Facade Keeps You In Deeper Isolation
It may be due to your childhood or social conditioning that you have developed what psychologists call a ‘false self’. You hold up a ‘happy, successful, and normal’ image even when you are paradoxically crumbling on the inside.
You are likely highly driven and perfectionistic. You have a tendency to compulsively ‘fix things,’ both in your career and personal life. You may obsess in finishing a task even if that means you have to sacrifice rest or the quality of your relationships. Your perfectionistic tendencies are by and large rewarded by society and might have brought you many career successes.
You set very high standards for yourself and others; you work hard, but get frustrated when others underperform or don’t follow rules. You are highly disciplined, and most of the time you keep things under control. Most of the time, you don’t really need or want others to tell you what to do. Because of your appeared competence, you can come across as being aloof or dismissive of input from others.
You maintain a facade of perfection and keep up with your external achievements, because somehow somewhere, you feel that you are not fundamentally and inherently worthy of love. You trade your time for recognition and your soul for external approval. As you hide behind the socially successful persona, others do not get to know the real you and do not see that you need help. This leaves a void in your heart, and the pain of not living a full life will eventually erupt.
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King Jr