When you live with borderline personality disorder, it can be difficult to accept love, even when those offering it are people you know and trust. So when that feeling does come, it’s something one tends to remember and hold on to — especially if its source surprises you.
One person told us they felt loved whenever they had their picture taken. Another felt loved when they got any sort of attention — good or bad. One person said that being asked to rate their mood on a scale of one to 10 made them feel validated and secure.
Many people with BPD live with the constant fear of abandonment, so when you find something that makes your relationships feel solid, it’s worth seeking that feeling out when you can (so long as what you’re doing is safe and healthy). We asked our community the most surprising things that made them feel loved, and their answers were diverse and unique. We hope that, like them, you’ll find this feeling where you least expect it — and when you need it most.
Here are 15 of the most surprising things that made people with BPD feel loved:
1. Being Asked to Take a Nap
“Being encouraged to have a midday nap, when the morning has exhausted me.” — Primrose R.
2. When Someone Comes to You for Support
“When my boyfriend lays his head on my chest after a hard day. It makes me feel powerful, when most of the time I feel weak and useless. Him being able to find comfort in me, makes me feel loved and needed.” — Shannon H.
3. When You Accidentally Insult Someone but They’re Chill about It
“When someone notices me trying to backtrack a comment because I’m worried I accidentally said something that might make them feel less good, some friends notice and kindly interrupt to remind me that they understood what I meant, and that they know I love them regardless of what mistakes I might make. It feels really good.” — Morgan H.
4. Being Asked to Rate Your Mood
“My fiance always asks me to rate my mood out of 10 and always validates me when I answer.” — Alisha O.
5. Your Wedding Ring
“Constant reassurance that you are going to stay and minimizing that fear of abandonment. My wedding ring was a big thing as it showed me my wife loves me everywhere I go just by looking at my hand.” — Paul F.
6. When Someone Asks If You’ve Eaten
“When someone lovingly asks in the proper situations if my basic needs are being met… ‘Did you get enough sleep last night?’ or ‘How did you sleep last night?’ or ‘Have you eaten yet today?’… It not only reminds me to eat and take care of myself, but also that I am loved and they care. They are often correct about it. It’s already hard to manage BPD, but when exhausted and vulnerable because you’ve not eat for over 20 hours or slept for more than two, it is real easy to get symptomatic.” — Kellyann N.
7. When People Respect Your Desire to Be Alone
“When I tell my sister and mom I need some time. They don’t push they wait for me to text or call whether it be one day or five they completely understand I am not in the right headspace. That’s love. When they understand and don’t get upset with me.” — Tiffany M.
8. When Someone Takes a Picture of You or With You
“A symptom that affects me most is not recognizing myself. I can’t tell you who the person in the mirror is, or find myself in photos. But when people take photos of me and write nice things about me, it makes me feel so much better. I don’t know the person in the photo, I can’t even tell you what I look like, but compliments make that easier.” — Emily S.
“When they take pictures of me or of us together… It grounds me. It makes me feel like I’m secure in their love and that they want proof that we were together.” — Chesca F.
9. When Someone Tells You the Reason They’re Upset
“When they take the time to help me understand why they’re feeling a negative emotion or seeming like something is wrong. If they don’t explain it to me, I will automatically think it’s my fault. And I will make up stories in my head in order to justify that thought. They show they really care when they take a moment to explain what is really going on.” — Holly A.
10. Getting Attention
“When I get attention, even if it’s negative attention.” — Samantha M.
11. When People Remember Who You Are
“I have this fear of being forgotten, so when people remember me, remember who I am or how we met, man! I love that!” — Mary Kate W.
12. When Someone Arrives Early
“Someone being earlier than me because they cared that being on time is so important to me.” — Ebony S.
13. Eye Contact
“I feel loved when my partner looks me in the eyes when we are talking, especially when he is telling me he loves me. It helps me feel more connected and grounded.” — Kaleigh M.
14. When People Talk About You
“It’s surprising to me how my mood will rapidly change if someone expresses a fact or anecdote about me or my personality. It’s almost as if it makes it obvious to me that they are paying attention and invested in me. When someone says something as simple as ‘You tell funny jokes’ or ‘You don’t like tomatoes,’ my mind feels at ease because they notice me and the things I try to express about myself and that is validating.” — Alexandra P.
15. When Someone Else Starts the Conversation
“When people make the effort to speak to me first. It’s almost like, I’m always shocked that someone has took the time to think about me and cares enough to want to talk to me without me having to instigate it.” — Jade Marie S.