The infamous favorite person... the person that someone with borderline personality disorder filters their world view around... the source of comfort... the everything. Take one glance across BPD forums and you will find countless posts devoted to the favorite person, also known as the 'FP.'
Your favorite person could be anyone... a relative, parent, best friend, lover, etc. It could even be someone that you just met.
The difference between having a "best friend" and a "favorite person," especially for someone with borderline personality disorder, is the intensity and obsessive thoughts that surround the favorite person.
Now, a relationship with the favorite person can be healthy... but first, let's go through the more toxic relationships with the favorite person. Unfortunately, us living with BPD have a tendency to push away the person we see as our favorite person, especially because we feel such intense fear of abandonment.
What is a Favorite Person when you have borderline personality disorder?
When you have borderline personality disorder, your favorite person is the person that you are emotionally dependent on. There is a constant fear that this person is going to leave your life and you devote the majority of your time and day to the needs of this person.
There is a great comparison that when you have borderline personality disorder, you are like a puppy that doesn't want its owner to leave. The favorite person is the owner that you are begging to stay. When they leave, even though you logically know that they'll come back, you destroy everything and throw a tantrum. Then, when the favorite person returns, you act like nothing happened.
In an extreme and often toxic case of being with a favorite person, this is a pretty classic example.
Other examples of what it's like to have a favorite person while having borderline personality disorder:
- Feeling a surge or jealousy when the favorite person spends time with another person or compliments another person.
- Changing your thoughts or opinions to match your favorite person's thoughts or opinions.
- Switching between idealizing the favorite person and devaluing the favorite person, in the matter of seconds.
- Mentally creating a fantastical world where you are connected to the favorite person, though it may not be realistic.
- Needing a constant supply of attention from the favorite person and going through what feels like withdrawal, when your favorite person isn't there.
Having a favorite person is intense, especially when you have borderline personality disorder.
Keeping your relationship with your favorite person healthy
You can definitely have a healthy relationship with your favorite person. Lots of Reddit posts and bloggers talk about how the "favorite person always leaves. They never stay."
With my earlier favorite persons, I noticed the "abandoned dog" effect that I mentioned earlier in this post. I would get upset and throw a tantrum if they weren't giving me enough attention or have a fit until they came back to me. This is manipulative and impulsive. Eventually, my favorite person would get tired of my bullshit and leave.
But, there are ways to have a healthy relationship with your favorite person:
1. Keep the relationship mutual
Your favorite person needs to be okay with knowing that they're your favorite person. You don't need to let them know all the details that it contains, but let them know that they are a big part of your life and you appreciate having them around. Let them know that sometimes you're insecure of your friendship with them and may need lots of reassurance that everything is okay.
Also, ask them if there are any needs they have that you haven't met. Do they need some space? I know it's terrifying to give your favorite person some space, but giving them some room to breathe is respecting their boundaries.
A relationship with your favorite person needs to be built on mutual respect and care.
2. Never make assumptions
Assumptions are the devil when it comes to having a relationship with a favorite person. The borderline brain likes to think in black and white, saying that "this person hates me." "They're leaving me forever." "They're the worst."
If your favorite person hasn't texted in a while, ask them, "Hey, is everything alright? I'm just worried because I haven't heard from you in a while."
If your favorite person hasn't made time for you lately, respect that they're busy. Don't make the assumption that they hate you.
Assuming the worst will bring out sides of you that will lash out and throw tantrums, to "test" your favorite person. You want to make sure that they don't leave. Don't give in to that emotional temptation.
3. Have other friends outside of your favorite person
It's easy to give everything and anything to your favorite person because you give them what you'd like to receive in return. However, it's a lot of pressure on a single human being, to hold up to the expectation of a favorite person.
Instead, have other friends. If you like gaming, make some gaming friends that you spend time with. If you like hiking, join a hiking club. Date. Go to Meetups. You need to have other friends to help you balance out the intensity of putting all of your needs on one person.
Also, don't create your schedule or plans around your favorite person. You may feel tempted to put that favorite person first, but then you won't be upkeeping your other relationships. Care for and respect your other friends, even if they aren't your favorite person.
4. Don't have expectations
This one is the one that I struggled with the most, but has also helped me out when it comes to my own favorite person relationships. It's to cultivate a mindset that your favorite person might leave someday, but that's okay. I only want to enjoy today with them and whatever happens, happens. I can't control it.
When I have a favorite person, these days, I go into it with the mindset that I want to respect and adore this person, on mutual terms, but never demand that they stay with me forever. I don't think about the future. I don't let the anxiety of them potentially leaving me, affect me.
Instead, I practice gratitude.
I am grateful that my favorite person is with me today and I am happy that we are getting time together right now. I won't let the worries of tomorrow dampen what I have today and therefore, less lashing out.
5. Therapy and medication is okay
There is a fear of getting help, especially when you have borderline personality disorder. In the age of the internet, we have read that therapists generally don't like working with us because we are so manipulative and difficult.
And that's okay.
There are also plenty of professionals that do want to work with us.
Seek therapy so that you can talk about your relationships with your favorite person and friends. Get an unbiased opinion to help you navigate the hardships of those friendships so you can stay healthy.
Medication can also help with the intensity of the emotions that come with being with a favorite person. Don't be afraid of trying different medications from your doctor until you find something that works for you.
Other resources that are out there are:
- I Hate You-- Don't Leave Me
- This is Not the End-- Conversations with BPD
- The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook
Please note that everything in this post is anecdotal and should not be taken as professional advice. These are based on my own experiences as someone living with borderline personality disorder.
This post was originally posted to the Misfits blog.