Throughout their entire life, the Borderline client has confused sensations of painful longing and yearning to have their love returned or reciprocated, with the emotion of love itself. Their in-utero attachment to a mother with BPD features is maintained as an unrequited craving that begins in the first weeks of life outside their mother’s womb. Hence, painful sensations of yearning and longing for affection and warmth, has become the Borderline’s definition of what “true love” is supposed to feel like.
These grossly distorted ideations of “love” follow them for a lifetime, unless highly specialized assistance is able to introduce alternate feeling associations that accompany a genuine attachment experience. If healthy transference within the therapeutic relationship has opportunity to grow and flourish, the BPD client learns what a nourishing, satisfying emotional bond feels like and means to one who’s able to accept and welcome it.
Throughout various phases of treatment, the Borderline both longs for, and resents their practitioner. In many instances, this as a love/hate relationship for a BPD client. Genuinely solid recovery work anchors a client, which helps them begin to feel stronger and safer~ but concerns over feeling dependent on you (or needing you emotionally) trigger their need to push away or test the therapeutic relationship. They do this with all potentially meaningful connections. Don’t expect to be the exception.
[This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The Borderline Personality Client.]