Coping with Losing Your Favorite Person (while living with BPD)
I met my first favorite person when I was in junior high. We were like two peas in a pod, two outcasts, from the crappy middle school that we went to.
He was perfect.
And then, one day, he moved. He was busted, a year after we met, for something illegal he carried to school with him. He said a quick goodbye and was gone.
Poof! Just like that.
Note: When I went through middle school, it was common for kids to not have cell phones. social media/messengers were still rare. He left me no way to contact him.
I was in pieces. I had no idea where to go from there and it felt like something I looked forward to, daily, was taken away from me. It felt like I was the shell of who I used to be.
A QUICK REFRESHER ON THE ‘FAVORITE PERSON’ (FP)
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.
If you’re curious about learning more about “favorite persons,” check out this blog post first.
GETTING YOUR MINDSET RIGHT
The initial shock of losing your favorite person can send you spiraling into an episode. You might be in denial. You might want to beg, curse, and plead until this is no longer a reality.
I’m not going to give you a magic formula or tell you a few words to make that pain go away… in all honesty, you have to allow yourself to feel the hurt that comes with being human, but not act on it.
Yes. Feel terrible, fall apart, curse at your pillow, and cry your eyes out, but don’t do anything to your favorite person.
In fact, the only thing you should do with your favorite person is to tell them that you don’t think you should have contact anymore, until you can move on.
What? Are you crazy?
But here’s the thing… the more contact you have with your favorite person, the harder it is to feel better. It’s like picking open an old scab, over and over, never truly letting it heal.
So if they (or you) choose to end the relationship, you need to establish no contact and some firm boundaries.
- Let your former FP know that you’d reach out when you are ready but to please not contact you, otherwise.
- When your friends ask you about your former FP, let them know it’s a sore topic and you’d like to change the topic.
- Block their phone number, unfollow from social media, temporarily.
And then sob right into your pillow and give yourself space to grieve. If you are terrified of being alone, you can check out some online support groups to help get you through the night.
STAYING SAFE AND NOT DOING ANYTHING STUPID
When living with borderline personality disorder, it’s easy to do something cringey or embarrassing… like saying “Fuck it!” and going to a party, getting trashed, and then calling up your former FP, crying and snotting all over the phone.
This would be a good time to remind yourself that you are capable of doing silly things, and that it will only cause you embarrassment in the future.
So avoid it.
Stay away from booze, drugs, or anything that will alter your mind (aside from your medication).
Don’t go to places that they are known to frequent. (Eh hem… don’t randomly walk by their place of employment).
Nope, don’t go on their social media pages or check the pages of their other friends.
Resist the temptation.
Now that that’s out of the way, we need to replace those cringey things with doing something more productive.
- I love online chatrooms because it gives me an outlet to talk to others, anonymously, without being judged.
- Hang out with other friends that you haven’t talked to in a while.
- Do something you used to love, before you met your favorite person.
- Go thrift shopping (so you don’t spend too much).
- Take a shower.
- Take a nap.
When you have had someone so close to you leave your life, you have to learn how to live without them. Rediscover tv shows. Try something new. Rewire your brain to think through your own lens, instead of filtering it through the likes and dislikes of your favorite person.
Don’t “find yourself,” but instead, recreate yourself.
HEALING IS NOT LINEAR
What this means is that you will not progressively just get better. You might have a good day, only to have a shit day tomorrow because you saw someone eat a banana split and your favorite person loves banana split.
Things are going to suck for a while. You might accidentally see an update from your former FP’s life and see that they’re doing really well. It might make you feel worse.
When the darker days come, you need to keep coping. Keep talking in chat rooms. Keep going to your therapy appointments. Keep watching that new tv show that you discovered. One foot in front of the other.
This is how the healing process looks. It’s ugly. It’s stressful. It’s so miserable and time consuming, but it needs to get worse before it can get better.
But the good days do come. You’ll have a day where you go 5 minutes without thinking about your former FP. Then 30 minutes. Then an hour. Then a few hours. Then a whole day.
What you do today will determine how you feel a week from now. If you’re practicing healthy coping methods now, you will feel so much better in a week. If you’re spending this time stalking your former FP on Instagram, you’ll likely to be doing the same thing next week.
We’re creatures of habit… so we need to unlearn the unhealthy codependent stalkery habits that sometimes come with having a favorite person.
DON’T WAIT FOR SOMEONE TO SAVE YOU
I am guilty of having done this… where I jump from one favorite person right into another one. I immediately devalue the favorite person that left me, and put my new favorite person on a pedestal.
But that doesn’t mean I’ve gotten over the previous FP, even if I cut them out of my life permanently. It just means I am ignoring the pain and self-medicating with a new person.
And who wants a relationship based on trying to rebound on someone else? No one.
Instead, it works better to realize that you are not in a good place. Your mind is not healthy enough to have a favorite person right now. So, keep yourself in check. Don’t allow yourself to go arms swinging right into another favorite person.
Handle your shit, first.
Be grateful that you had your favorite person, for as long as you did. Think about what experiences and lessons you have learned from that person. Practice personal gratitude for the time you had together, rather than demonizing that former favorite person.
When you are in a better state of mind, you will move on. There will be someone new that you meet, that takes an interest in you. You’ll feel the initial sparks of finding a favorite person, and the joy of your new FP will add some color into your world.
This takes time… you can’t rush it. You can’t force it. You can’t jump from one FP to another, expecting it to be perfect.
MOVING ON AND REBUILDING YOURSELF
It might take you weeks, months, or even years to fully move on from your favorite person. I know that right this second, it feels impossible. It feels like you’ll never get over the favorite person.
Retrain your brain. Keep using the coping techniques we talked about.
Eventually, you do move forward. You grow. You feel healthy enough to welcome a new favorite person into your life.
Because you are more resilient than you think you are.
And you got this.
This post was originally written for The Fractured Light.