If you’re reading this blog post, you’ve likely done enough research to have established that you’re overly attached to someone. Whether you’re feeling anxious about losing them or trying to create a healthier dynamic, you know something is not quite right.
How do you stop having a BPD ‘Favorite Person?’
Establishing firm boundaries and practicing clear communication are the first steps to a healthier relationship where your life isn’t centered on one person. Learning not to take offense to their need for space and investing in yourself are essential tools if you want to stop having a BPD ‘Favorite Person.’
- What Is a BPD Favorite Person (FP)?
- How The Favorite Person Attachment Forms
- The Impact of FP Attachments For People With BPD
- How To Stop Having a BPD Favorite Person
- Finding Emotional Autonomy
What Is a BPD Favorite Person (FP)?
The ‘Favorite Person’ (FP) is a term used to identify the most important person in the life of someone with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Since BPD people struggle with managing their emotions, they don’t do boundaries well, and despite feeling deeply for someone, they may have difficulty balancing the relationship with their FP.
The FP can be any significant person in your life, whether it’s a friend, a family member (a parent or sibling), or a romantic partner – the FP is your “go-to” person. They’re the one you confide in, talk to about absolutely anything, and the only person you want to spend time with.
It goes a little deeper than just being attached, however.
For those with BPD, the FP is the person they rely on for their comfort, happiness, and validation. This means they are over-involved with every aspect of their life; they will find any excuse to spend time with their FP, and their entire future is contingent on the presence of this one individual.
But since there aren’t healthy boundaries, the BPD person’s clinginess and constant need for attention becomes smothering.
A BPD person’s relationship with their FP will affect their mood, confidence, self-worth, and sense of security. To summarize, the FP unknowingly carries all the responsibility for the BPD person’s happiness and well-being with them.
For more on FPs, here’s a relatable video explainer:
How The Favorite Person Attachment Forms
Experts believe that people with a history of trauma are most prone to BPD and having a favorite person, especially when they have a childhood characterized by caregivers who don’t validate their emotional experiences.
BPD hallmarks include an intense desire for intimacy, connection, and validation because of this, which leads people to actively seek it out in adult relationships.
But since the BPD person doesn’t have an awareness of healthy connection, they become infatuated, enamored, and caught up in just one relationship, pouring their all into it.
At the same time, BPD people fear intimacy because their past experiences teach them to expect rejection. At the same time, their perceived worth and self-image are generally distorted, which results in a deeply troubled, tumultuous, and confusing relationship.
The BPD cycle is as much a cause for unhealthy connections as it results from it, with the initial phases of the relationship making the BPD person feel euphoric.
The Impact of FP Attachments For People With BPD
Having one person you love and adore can’t be all bad, right? Unfortunately, when it comes to the BPD FP, the impact of this dysfunctional attachment is severe.
For the BPD person, having that FP in their lives is initially good – they find meaning, have goals, and they may even have dreams and plans that all center around this person, which can sound good to the outside world.
But the reality is that it all hinges on one person: the FP. And if the FP inevitably asks for some space, the BPD person’s whole world comes crashing down around them.
It also means that the BPD person experiences intense emotional ups and downs, depending on the FP. Because their life revolves around the FP, if they don’t have access to the FP or they have to share the FP with others, they become anxious, withdrawn, and even depressed.
The fact is that their entire emotional state depends on the FP.
For the FP, things are just as confusing.
Initially, it may seem fantastic to be doted on, but it soon becomes smothering. It isn’t easy to be your own person when the BPD person is so focused on building their life around you that your very identity becomes theirs.
Carrying the responsibility for ensuring the BPD person is always happy means intense compromise from the FP – only one person fills your time, and any attempt to create space or invest in other relationships causes a meltdown in the BPD person.
Relationships with this level of inconsistency cause anxiety, and many will actively want to escape it.
How To Stop Having a BPD Favorite Person
If you want to work towards a healthier, more balanced relationship, the best thing (and most rewarding in terms of outcomes) is to get professional help. However, if that’s not possible right now, here are some strategies that will bring some relief and allow the relationship to develop along healthier parameters:
1. Set Clear Boundaries
Being firm in how much time you get to spend with your FP is vital to not only their wellbeing (no one wants to feel suffocated) but also for you to allow you to develop your own identity. This can look like how often you talk and see each other and what actions, topics, and behaviors are appropriate for your relationship.
2. Practice Clear Communication
Learning to communicate effectively means saying exactly what you mean, identifying your expectations, and amending them if it doesn’t work for your FP. At the same time, the FP must be able to communicate their needs and expectations without you having a meltdown – remember, a person actively putting boundaries in place wants to have a relationship with you. Otherwise, they’d leave.
3. Accept ‘No’ Without Taking It Personally
It may not be a big thing for you since you’re happy to spend every waking moment with your FP, but you must understand that they have their own life, identity, and other relationships. When they cannot spend time with you or have plans with other people, it’s not a personal attack or a rejection – it’s a reasonable expectation you must learn to live with.
4. Avoid ‘Reactions’
One of the challenges of living with BPD is that your emotions dictate your behavior – and since you struggle to regulate emotions, the feelings are often as big as your reactions are. Learn to take a moment before reacting to any situation because knee-jerk responses often damage a relationship and will likely only make you feel worse about yourself.
5. Broaden Your Horizons
When your whole life is focused around one person, and you’re trying to learn to live a more balanced life, it’s easy to feel despondent, lonely, or bored when they are not there. Finding your interests or hobbies will not just help fill the time, but it’ll also make you feel better about yourself. Taking a course or learning a new skill will benefit you.
6. Stay Aware
Learn to identify and acknowledge when your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are overly involved. While striving to give our FP space, you may find another person who suddenly meets all your needs. Be aware that shifting your focus to a new FP will only propagate the cycle afresh. If you can identify it in advance, you have the chance to adapt your behaviors to a more appropriate level first.
Finding Emotional Autonomy
Navigating the emotional labyrinth that comes with having a BPD ‘Favorite Person’ is by no means a linear process; it’s complex and fraught with challenges.
But if you’re willing to acknowledge the issue and strive for a healthier relational dynamic, that is a major first step, one that cannot be understated.
Making the transition from emotional dependency to emotional autonomy isn’t just beneficial for you; it also allows the FP to breathe, freeing them from the weight of being your emotional linchpin.
And I know that’s not what you want for either of you.
I’d also like to note that the need for professional help in this journey can’t be overstressed. While these strategies can provide some relief, they are no substitute for tailored therapeutic interventions.
A qualified mental health provider can help you explore the roots of your attachment issues, arm you with effective coping mechanisms, and guide you in the often muddled journey of setting healthy boundaries.
It’s equally crucial to understand that progress will be marked by both breakthroughs and setbacks. And that’s okay.
Emotional growth doesn’t happen overnight.
Every step forward, no matter how small, is a move towards a healthier you and healthier relationships. Remember, the goal is not to sever the connection with your FP but to rebalance it— to transform it into something that enriches rather than consumes you.
To the FPs out there, if you find yourself on the other end of such an intense relationship, remember that boundaries are not barriers but frameworks that allow relationships to flourish.
You too could benefit from professional guidance to navigate the complexities of being someone’s FP.
It’s not about shifting the responsibility but sharing it. This way you can foster a balanced relationship that is nurturing for both parties involved.