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Borderline Personality Disorder: The Primary Relationship

Many professionals believe that the basis of Borderline Personality Disorder lies in the primary relationship – that broken relationship between the child and its mother. They purport that a person with Borderline Personality Disorder, when in the active throes of the disorder, is reliving the past (what happened in childhood), at the core wound of abandonment.

The core wound of abandonment arrests the emotional development of a young child who is then at high risk to develop Borderline Personality Disorder. This is because the emerging “authentic self” (true self) is psychologically killed by all that the very young child cannot cope with at that age. Thus begins an unconscious pattern that carries the child into adulthood, as the intolerable nature of this pain leaves the very young child traumatized by his/her primary relationship, experiencing the creation of a protective false self.

In essence, the primary relationship is the first love relationship of your life - the relationship with your mother. This relationship is ruptured when, as a child, your primary needs – physical and emotional – are not met. It can be ruptured by neglect/abandonment, anger, abuse, and/or inconsistent parenting.

It is this ruptured primary relationship that impacts the later “stormy” interpersonal relationships in adulthood that are characteristic of people with Borderline Personality Disorder. The borderline keeps re-enacting the traumatic loss of his/her primary relationship and the feelings of helplessness that originally accompanied it in childhood. As adults, when people with Borderline Personality Disorder try to have a relationship, unconsciously they will doom it to failure, as they cast the person into the role of their original primary caregiver (mother), and relive their unresolved, traumatic pain, thus continuing the cycle (and pain) of the core wound of abandonment.

The here and now for people with Borderline Personality Disorder, especially when trying to relate to other people, is lost to their past, over and over again, and in ways that just continue to increase their own suffering and the pain and suffering of those around them as well.

Most, if not all, behavior of the person who has Borderline Personality Disorder is driven directly (or indirectly), by the fear of abandonment as well as the fear of re-experiencing the intolerable pain of his/her original core wound of abandonment by the primary relationship.

If you have Borderline Personality Disorder, know that it is this core wound of abandonment that has left you unable to be alone, and the reason that you have so much difficulty trying to alleviate your pain. It is also this fear of abandonment that has left you without the skills necessary to relate to, much less attach or bond with, other people in anything but unhealthy (toxic) ways, no matter how much you want/need to; thus, just increasing your emotional pain that much more.

It is through a growing awareness of, and insight into, your damaged primary relationship that you can (and, hopefully, will) choose to change your life. This is also a process that can be quite painful, as you relive the pain of the past in order to get over it. The pain, however, is the pain that you have needed to feel, face, grieve, and heal all of your life – it is the very pain that has controlled you all your life until you have finally reached this very point. You must feel this pain in order to heal it and, once and for all, to be free of it.

Once you understand how you have been keeping yourself trapped in the past and in all the pain of that past, you can move to the next level of recovery: the ability to change your future. In order to create change and to recover from Borderline Personality Disorder, you must choose it, and then be committed to it.

About the Author

David Oliver is the founder of a one stop source of information on how to cope and deal with borderline personality disorder.

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