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Will my close friend with BPD come back to me in time after pulling away?

S

SS135

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I have a close friend who has recently been diagnosed with BPD. I've only known her 18 months but we've got really close in that time. For most of it, she was on anti-depressants. She came off them a few months ago. She started getting angry at me for small things and I didn't understand why, then she stopped speaking to me altogether apart from when I saw her as part of a group but even then she would avoid me as much as possible. I was really really hurt by this but I didn't know she had BPD at the time. This went on for a few weeks and I found out the same was happening with her other close friend, which made me feel like it was less personal but it was still really upsetting.

The next part is hard. We went on a night out for her birthday. We weren't speaking but she'd invited me and the other friend she was angry with a while back and we knew she'd be angry if we didn't go, even though she didn't like us at the time. Long story short, the night ended with her attempting suicide and me saving her life. For the next week after that, we were back to speaking every day. We had a booking from a long time ago to go to london that weekend and she insisted we still go. While there, she decided we should see Phantom of the Opera, which she'd seen before a couple of times. I didn't know the plot but it involved scenes of how she tried to kill herself, which I had seen. I was understandably triggered by this. She claimed she'd forgotten but I don't believe that. I think she was angry with me for taking control and saving her life when she'd already made the decision. But in my triggered mind, she was going to kill herself right there in the theatre and I stupidly said "You couldn't have forgotten that happened.".

I know you can't say that to someone with BPD. You can't tell them they were lying to you and go against what they've told you but I couldn't stop myself in that moment. She went into a toilet cubicle and slammed the door in my face at this point. She'd slammed a door in my face the night I saved her so this triggered me even more. I was begging her to come out, telling her I was scared. Again, I know I can't do this but I was triggered and had no control. She got really angry with me and we left. She called me a drama queen and told me to sort out my problems which was so hurtful. After a minute or two I had control of myself and I apologised to her, saying I knew it wasn't her fault and I was getting myself sorted (I'd booked an appointment with a therapist). She wouldn't take it and told me she didn't want to talk about it and couldn't even deal with her own trauma, which was at least honest.

She then spoke to a friend on the phone who seemed to manage to rationalise it with her to some extent. She came back, bought us some doughnuts and we talked about nothing for a while. Then we went home on the coach. After that I tried to speak to her a couple of times over the next few days by message but got one word answers and then no reply at all. I haven't heard from her in a couple of weeks now. I've been researching this and I'm guessing it's splitting. I know she's done this before and with her it can last a really long time, maybe even a couple of months. She's never done it to me before though. My question is whether I've gone too far and she'll never come back or whether there's still a chance for us to be friends in the future. I will still see her sometimes as we're in the same group of friends so we won't be cut off completely but she'll just avoid me or make polite conversation at the moment. Does this sound like too big a thing or do I just need to be patient? I really want her back in my life but I know if I say anything to her she'll just explode on me. I'm just really hoping in time she comes round and realises that I'm always there for her and want to help her get better.
 
M

Mistral

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I would leave this for now. She will come back when she is ready to. It will probably take a long time though. She needs a lot of professional help it would seem. BTW the Phantom of the Opera incident was probably subconcious and not a deliberate way of reminding you of anything.
 
S

SS135

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Thanks for your reply. I'm trying to leave it for now but it's really hard as I'm concerned and I don't know if she's safe or not. I have a mutual friend with her who thinks she is safe at the moment and says she's planning to start therapy and has already been going through a workbook in her own time while she waits for help. Do you have any insight on whether it's a sensible thing to do to send her a message saying I don't expect a reply from her but I'm thinking of her and hoping things are getting better for her and that she can contact me any time, or is this likely to make things worse? I don't want her to think I've given up on her and that she can't contact me when she wants to. I've seen her in our group of friends (she isn't that close to them and they don't know anything about what has happened) and she's barely been able to make eye contact with me. She's been part of group conversations that I'm also part of and has actually directly replied to me in those a couple of times recently so I'm not sure but maybe that means things are starting to improve and she's starting to feel a bit less anger towards me. I have no experience of people with BPD, as I've only known her a couple of years and she was on anti-depressants from when I met her until recently which stopped her acting like this but also stopped her feeling like herself and made her unable to accept that there was something she needed to deal with. I wasn't even aware of what was wrong until after the attempted suicide when it all came out. At the moment I'm not contacting her, I'm just saying things I would normally say in groups she's part of. None of it is directly addressed to her but if she responds to anything I say I respond appropriately, as I would normally. Is this the best I can do? What I'm most worried about is her not coming to group things any more (she seems to be coming to less and less) and me not seeing her again. I feel like if that happens there might be no way back for us, and that's why I'm thinking of sending the message saying she can always contact me, but I'm not sure if that will just make her annoyed. I know it's different for different people, I'm just wondering if there's an obvious thing to do for someone with BPD in this situation as it's really hard for me and I'm not sure how to move on from the trauma I experienced without talking about it with her.
 
S

SS135

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I would leave this for now. She will come back when she is ready to. It will probably take a long time though. She needs a lot of professional help it would seem. BTW the Phantom of the Opera incident was probably subconcious and not a deliberate way of reminding you of anything.
When you say it was probably subconscious, do you mean subconsciously she wanted to make me watch it or subconsciously she wanted to watch it herself?
 
M

Mistral

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When you say it was probably subconscious, do you mean subconsciously she wanted to make me watch it or subconsciously she wanted to watch it herself?
I mean that sheprobably had forgotten about all the content in the show when she suggested it as something to go to when you both in London. It is a bit like when you watch an old film on TV which you had forgotten that you had seen before, but towards the end of the film you realise that you had actually seen it before.
 
S

SS135

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Hmm I'm not sure because she also talked about going to see Woman in Black and that also has a lot of suicide including a scene showing what happened to her. She didn't mention seeing anything else, just these two things. I really don't know if I can get her back or not but I hope so.
 
M

Mistral

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I see what you mean. This could be just a phase that she is going through. I suppose it is pretty futile to guess what anybody's motives are for doing things, whether they have BDP or not. However, people with BPD usually have issues with abandonment. I would not make any "decision" to end all contact, but if she suggests that you go with her to something like these shows again, I would make some excuse not to go.
 
S

SS135

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I see what you mean. This could be just a phase that she is going through. I suppose it is pretty futile to guess what anybody's motives are for doing things, whether they have BDP or not. However, people with BPD usually have issues with abandonment. I would not make any "decision" to end all contact, but if she suggests that you go with her to something like these shows again, I would make some excuse not to go.
I definitely don't want to end contact with her but at the moment she won't contact me because I questioned that she'd forgotten it happened and I suppose this triggered her. I'm hoping it's just her BPD and she will come back when she's over it as I think this is the usual pattern with people with this condition. I really miss her and am not able to process the thought of losing her at the moment after everything that's happened so I really hope she will start talking to me again at some point. I have a plan to send her a Christmas present and card saying that I don't expect to hear from her until she's ready but I haven't forgotten her or given up on our friendship because I don't want her to think I've rejected her, as I know this is something she is afraid of and triggered by with her condition.
 
M

Mistral

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I definitely don't want to end contact with her but at the moment she won't contact me because I questioned that she'd forgotten it happened and I suppose this triggered her. I'm hoping it's just her BPD and she will come back when she's over it as I think this is the usual pattern with people with this condition. I really miss her and am not able to process the thought of losing her at the moment after everything that's happened so I really hope she will start talking to me again at some point. I have a plan to send her a Christmas present and card saying that I don't expect to hear from her until she's ready but I haven't forgotten her or given up on our friendship because I don't want her to think I've rejected her, as I know this is something she is afraid of and triggered by with her condition.
I see. Frankly, questioning motives is like a red rag to a bull for someone with BPD. Even if you are correct about her motives, questioning them would probably have caused a big swell of negative emotions. I would still keep in touch but go light on any explanations. In fact anything more than a friendly greeting would be risky in my view.
 
S

SS135

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I see. Frankly, questioning motives is like a red rag to a bull for someone with BPD. Even if you are correct about her motives, questioning them would probably have caused a big swell of negative emotions. I would still keep in touch but go light on any explanations. In fact anything more than a friendly greeting would be risky in my view.
I know, I would never normally have done this but I was triggered myself by seeing it and it just came out. I didn't have any control over what I was saying at that point and I feel awful for it even though I know I'm right that she hadn't forgotten. I would rather just never discuss it and slowly get back to a place where we can be friends as I'm happy to put it aside as a symptom of her condition and what she's been through. As soon as I said it I apologised but the damage was already done at that point. I just really hope there's a way back for us. I suppose therapy makes this a lot more possible but I know that could take a really long time. I know she has had arguments with another friend in the past who told her that if she kept behaving the way she was then she'd end up with no friends and she managed to get past that, which I assume would have triggered her probably just as much so I think there's still some hope but I'm not sure. I really don't want to leave things so unfinished - that's going to be almost impossible for me. Is it best to just wait it out?
 
M

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I think patience is certianly a virtue in these situations.
 
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SS135

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I think patience is certianly a virtue in these situations.
I hope so. I really didn't mean to upset her - it was just impossible for me to control what came out of my mouth when I was triggered like that - I completely lost control. It made me appreciate how she feels when she says things to people though. I wish we could have a rational conversation about it but she's not capable of that at the moment. I was feeling a bit more positive when we had those small amounts of contact in group messages but when I saw her in person she definitely wasn't ready to speak to me. She didn't seem angry though, more like she was feeling guilty but hating that she was feeling that way. I just kept my distance but made it clear that I was happy to speak to her if that was what she wanted so hopefully that was the best thing I could have done.
 
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You apologised to her. It was more than what mny people would hve done. You perhaps should protect yourself a little more. Make sure you are in a good place to deal with friends who have behaviour which is unpredictable and frankly challenging.
 
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SS135

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Yes I know I need to start protecting myself and I have started therapy to learn to deal with what I've been going through. I think the hardest part is the uncertainty of whether she will ever want us to be friends again or not. If I knew for a fact that it was over forever, yes it would be hard but I would at least have an absolute certainty scenario that I could learn to deal with. Not knowing makes me overanalyse everything in every group chat that we're both part of and it's really tiring. I know there's nothing to be done about this but I just wish there was some way of getting a straight answer. Almost everyone I've spoken to thinks that she will want to be friends again in the future but nobody can go into her head and find it out for sure so it's really really difficult.
 
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