They say you can’t love another until you learn to love yourself. In a way I think that’s true because low self esteem often means that love hasn’t been a familiar concept throughout their life. If you grow up seeing love around you then you are able to better understand it and are able to actually know what is love is and what isn’t. Children have the belief that their parents are infallible and will justify all they do as loving because they are the caregiver. It’s a natural instinct. Growing up, questioning certain actions can be hard and so the idea of love becomes distorted. Is love really what was around me or did I simply believe it was love because that was what I was supposed to think.
I believe that the part of BPD that makes relationships hard is the fact that love has been so twisted that we’re never quite sure what’s love, what is sheer desperation and what may actually be abuse. Children are sponges, absorbing everything, good and bad and a confused child will always become a confused adult.
While I do love my husband, I believe that our ways of loving and what we feel is love are very different. We have both experienced love in different ways through our families in our early years and we build on that. Now that we are away from that we’re able to try and figure out together what love means and work on concepts that we may have wrongly picked up. Luckily for me, he has no trouble with seeing love as a positive thing whereas at times, the word love can strike fear into my heart.
I’ve learnt that love means opening up and giving your whole self to another person which frankly, is the most terrify thing I can imagine. It’s a vulnerable place, being totally open. And with an identity crisis and low self esteem you can’t even open up to yourself let alone another human being.
I may be only able to give so much but I can’t give what I don’t even know I have. More often than not, he will know more than I ever have to say out loud.
So while my love may not be conventional, it is what I am able to give and what I am able to understand. Maybe one day I’ll get there, I’ll think “this is a new kind of love, a better kind of love” because hell sometimes the love my husband shows me can be scary because he’s so besotted and I just don’t understand how he does it.
I guess the first step will be to learn to like myself. When I can finally open up to myself then maybe I’ll try moving onto the love stage.Then, I might just be able to remove the fear of falling madly, deeply without worrying that it might kill me.