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Is Your BPD Partner Ignoring Texts? This Might Explain Why

Few things cause as much anxiety as suddenly having your texts ignored, especially when there isn’t any overt reason for it. But for those who have loved ones with BPD, this may happen from time to time, leaving you feeling confused and probably quite upset.

There are many possibilities for why people with BPD ignore texts and suddenly cut people off, and although the person with BPD may feel they have a reason for it, it doesn’t always make sense. 

If we work towards understanding how people with BPD think and reason, it may help us understand why this is happening and how to deal with it. 

The Complexity of Communication for People With BPD

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a condition that affects how people manage and express their emotions, and how they communicate with others.  

Since they struggle to regulate how they feel and express it appropriately, it often means they don’t communicate well, or their communication causes conflict or stress. This results in very conflicted, unstable, and intense relationships

Part of the problem is that people with BPD can’t separate reality and reason from their emotions, and they base their interpretation of current reality on how they feel. And, since they are generally impulsive, they will react in a knee-jerk fashion to whatever they feel, even if it’s totally different from what’s happening around them.

If you have a loved one with BPD, you might be familiar with outbursts or dramatic responses to situations that don’t warrant that. 

For example, you ask your BPD loved one if they moved an item in the kitchen because you can’t find it, and they blow up at you for accusing them of losing it, even though that’s not what you were saying. 

People with BPD often have cognitive distortions that mean they see things in a negative light by default, which also impacts their communication. If they are stuck in a thought pattern that paints the relationship in a bad way or leaves them feeling worthless, they may be more inclined to snub you, treat you with disdain, or give in to aggressive outbursts.

A woman stares down at her phone in disbelief, ignored by her BPD partner
BPD Ignoring Texts

Understanding BPD Splitting

Part of these negative thought patterns is the fact that people with BPD think in a very black-and-white way that doesn’t allow for gray areas. They can’t see the bigger picture of reality, where people can be multifaceted with both good and bad traits and can only experience them as either good or bad. 

This is called splitting. It’s a thought process that occurs in the lives of people with BPD, where they see everything in extremes. It’s particularly relevant during the expected devaluation phase of the relationship, but we’ll touch on that in a moment. 

For now, it’s essential to know that BPD people will treat you based on their judgment of you, taking this black-and-white thinking into account. If they see you as ideal, good, kind, and valuable, they will treat you as such. If you’re not that, then you must be bad, mean, and worthless – and thus not worth their time.

Why Is My BPD Partner Suddenly Ignoring Texts?

For people with BPD, their reactions and behavior are determined by how they feel, and since they struggle with emotional regulation, that can fluctuate wildly. But there are numerous reasons why they think they need to create distance by not replying to texts. Let’s examine them. 

Devaluation

There’s a lot to unpack regarding BPD relationships and the pattern they inevitably follow because it’s the most likely reason your loved one suddenly starts ignoring your texts. If you’re unfamiliar with that, the basic cycle begins with the intense euphoria and mutual excitement of the idealization phase. 

However, it’s soon hamstrung by the BPD person’s lack of self-worth and their doubt in their own value, and it inevitably leads to devaluation. In this phase, the BPD person decides you aren’t worthy of their love and adoration, and they see your relationship negatively. Based on this, they will most often push you away.

This is where the ignored text messages come in.

To regain control of their emotions – and very often as a knee-jerk reaction to the negative feelings of devaluation – the BPD person will cut you off, ignore you, and generally try to go on with their lives as though you don’t affect them. It’s also possible that they are purposefully ignoring your texts to punish you for a perceived slight in the devaluation phase. 

It doesn’t always last, however, as they will most likely reach out again in the hopes of rekindling things – or having you pursue them – as a means of validation.

Fear of Abandonment

Part of the issue with idealization and devaluation, which we now know is part and parcel of who the BPD person is, is that they are inherently terrified of rejection. The fear is so intrinsic to who they are, however, that it’s always at the front of their thoughts. They are almost always expecting rejection and abandonment by their loved ones, regardless of what they do.

Deep down, the BPD person believes they are worthless and incapable of being loved, so they perceive they always need to earn the love they are given. When they are in a bad space, or some conflict in the relationship convinces them rejection is inevitable, they often preempt it by just ending things themselves.

We can see this as a desperate attempt to stay in control. After all, if they are the ones ending the relationship, then it’s not as though they were really rejected, right? It’s heartbreaking to consider the emotional toll this must take on the BPD person because, as we now know, their perceptions aren’t always correct.

Fear of abandonment can lead them to pre-empt what they expect to be a breakup by ending things from their side. Hence, ignored texts. Some also believe that manipulation plays a role for BPD people, primarily if they have caused a fight or have hurt you. Their purposeful ghosting you on text is in the hopes that you will reach out and try to fix things, taking the blame off them.

Impulsivity

Impulsive behavior is a main symptom of BPD, and the drive that people with BPD have for immediate gratification is one of the reasons they tend to do risky things on the spur of the moment. Experts believe it’s part of their desire to control their emotions or to feel something since feelings of ‘numbness’ and ‘emptiness’ are also often a problem in BPD. 

This kind of reckless behavior can lead them to believe that ignoring you on an impulse will either have you chasing them (which helps them to feel validated) or they will find something or someone better – perhaps a new relationship that will not have them doubting their worth. Of course, this isn’t justified, but it’s a perfectly acceptable thought pattern for the BPD person.

Self-Isolation

As a disorder, BPD often occurs alongside other mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. Since these share many characteristics and feed into each other, it’s also possible that your loved one with BPD is experiencing a depressive episode, causing them to self-isolate and withdraw. 

It’s also worth noting that people with BPD fixate on a Favorite Person in their life and build all of their plans and routines around this person. Should there be conflict, or this person is out of reach for a while, the BPD person is very likely to withdraw into themselves until their person is available again.

Emotional Reactivity

For the BPD person, emotions are ramped up much higher, deeper, or larger than what we consider ‘normal.’ They tend to experience emotions much more intensely, and since they struggle to regulate what they feel and react appropriately, their reactions are generally way out there, too.

This emotional reactivity means the BPD person’s response to the emotions they feel don’t fit the situation – their behavior is often dysfunctional, disproportionate, or inappropriate for reality. For example, if they’ve had a fallout with you, they may cut you off for days instead of taking time to cool off or solve the problem. 

Self-Destructive Behavior and Emotional Overwhelm

We’ve touched on how deeply the BPD person feels things. If you take a moment to consider how we sometimes feel overwhelmed by big emotions, it helps us imagine how much more intense it must be for someone with BPD. Feeling an overload of negative feelings must be taxing. 

Sometimes, the person with BPD shuts themselves off from the world in a frantic effort to gain control of their emotions. 

But sometimes, their emotional overwhelm is so much that the only outlet they have is to engage in self-destructive and reckless behavior as a means of controlling something around them. This can look like self-harm, risky actions, or careless activities. Sometimes, ignoring texts falls into this category.

A woman is ignored by her BPD partner and stares down in concern at her phone
Why is my BPD partner ignoring texts?

How To Cope With a BPD Partner Ignoring Texts

If you’ve recognized some of these possible reasons why your partner with BPD is ignoring your texts, you can breathe a little easier knowing it’s not your fault and that it’s something that, despite being incredibly painful, is not an unknown phenomenon in the world of BPD.

Here are some things you can do to cope with a BPD ignoring texts.

Understand The Reason Why They’re Ignoring Your Texts

As confusing and scary as it may be, knowing that there are reasons should set your mind at ease a little. At the very least, hearing that it’s nothing new and that there is a disorder that explains why it happens should bring some relief.

The reasons why BPD people act the way they do don’t often make sense to the rest of the world, but it’s worth considering that while we can’t justify it, we can explain it.

Create Boundaries 

Next, it’s a good idea to set some boundaries and expectations.

This is a crucial part of any relationship, and it’s incredibly challenging for those who love someone with BPD because boundaries are often perceived as a means of keeping them out of your life.

But, with good and clear communication, you can develop boundaries and expectations with your BPD partner, stipulating how and when contact occurs and how to deal with conflict or emotional turmoil between you. Ignoring someone on text isn’t a healthy way of coping with any of the above.

Take Care of Yourself

It’s not a cliché when it’s true, and taking care of yourself first is vital – not in a selfish way, but with the understanding that you cannot pour from an empty cup, nor can you tolerate or allow behaviors and actions from your BPD loved one that hurts you just because they have a condition that explains it.

Seeking help as a couple is naturally the best solution for both of you, and the guidance and support you’ll receive will be invaluable in dealing with the challenges you face. 

But you must also be attentive to your emotional needs and mental well-being. It’s not easy being in a relationship with a BPD person, and having a reason for their behavior doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect you.

Many people experience BPD relationships as traumatic, especially when the disorder is undiagnosed. Don’t hesitate to invest in your health and healing – especially if you want to be there for the BPD person at the end of the day.

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When To Consider Moving On

It’s never easy to advise people on calling a relationship quits. So, how do you know it’s time to move on? Here are some signs that the relationship may just be too emotionally draining to maintain:

  • Your partner with BPD is unwilling to get help and supports
  • There is toxic or abusive behavior from the BPD person that causes you emotional or physical harm
  • Your BPD partner’s behavior is getting increasingly erratic or intense, and you feel afraid
  • The relationship cycle of idealization and devaluation has repeated one too many times – and nothing has changed
  • Your feelings toward your partner have changed as a result of all the negative experiences you’ve had together
  • Other people (such as children or family members) are being negatively affected by the BPD person’s behavior

As a final note, it’s crucial that you know there is nothing wrong with deciding to end a relationship when the above factors are present. You are just as deserving of a happy, fulfilling relationship, and when the opposite is the norm, it’s not healthy for either of you to continue pretending it is.

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