An “FP” (or Favorite Person) is a person who someone with mental illness relies on for support, and often looks up to or idolizes. Common with borderline personality disorder (BPD), it’s often that someone has a minimum of one FP, but a person can have many.
Personally, I don’t think people with BPD actively seek out FPs, but it’s just a phenomenon that occurs with them, as they need constant reassurance and someone to assist them when they are feeling emotional or making decisions. Recently, I’ve been stuck without an FP, but I’ve also been an FP which is a weird sensation for someone with BPD. Because of this, I decided to compile a list of things FPs need to know about what to expect.
1. It’s not really your choice.
And, to be fair, it isn’t the other person’s choice either. You can’t force yourself to be someone’s FP and it takes a lot for someone to suddenly stop seeing you as their FP. It’ll just suddenly happen as your relationship (be it platonic or not) grows. They may grow to depend on you more, but at the end of the day, you don’t really decide this and neither does the other person.
2. You probably won’t be told that you are their FP.
Chances are, you aren’t going to know you are an FP by the person telling you, You’ll instead know by their actions. In all likelihood, the other person doesn’t realize you are their FP or won’t want you to know in case it freaks you out. So, don’t expect a beautifully written letter in calligraphy informing you of your FP status. It’ll be something you figure out in time.
3. They will probably turn to you for approval and advice.
A big thing about BPD is seeking approval and having an inability to maintain and regulate emotions and healthy relationships. As a result, we do a lot of stuff that isn’t exactly healthy. This is where you step in.
You may constantly be referred to for advice for everything — from the very small to the huge. Either to hear you say, “you did the right thing,” “I’m so proud of you” or “Here’s what I think you should do…” Don’t be surprised if you are constantly getting messages or phone calls about the fact that they need your help with something that you think they should be able to decide for themselves.
4. You can do no wrong… except perhaps this…
Jealousy is a big thing people with BPD have to deal with because when we feel, we feel completely. It takes up every cell of our being and it’s impossible to do anything else but that. When you are an FP, there is very little you can do that we perceive as wrong. Except perhaps invoke jealousy by spending time with others, or not answering messages.
Now, some people will get aggressive, in which case, get out of there now. You need to look after you first and any aggressive behavior isn’t safe, nor fair, for you.
Others, however, will be subtle. Either sending a few extra messages or asking when you do respond if you love or like them, perhaps even if you are mad at them. A simple reassurance to say that you do love them helps in ways that most probably don’t understand. However, it can get annoying. One of the people I ask if they are mad at me all the time gets super frustrated, but I can’t tell. If there is silence and there has been some form of altercation, and I can’t logically think of a reason why they aren’t angry with me, so I’ll assume they hate me. I need that reassurance that I am OK.
Possibly finding a way around this, maybe messaging that you won’t be contactable at these times and making sure you have set times for yourself is probably one of the best ways to achieve this, to avoid miscommunication for all parties.
5. You don’t have to do everything.
I know from being an FP that I did everything I could to be there for them. But, as much as the person who has the mental illness matters, so do you. If you can’t do everything and you don’t want to do everything, you don’t have to. Put in boundaries, saying what you are comfortable talking about/helping with and what you aren’t. At the end of the day, the most important person to you is you and that’s what you need to focus on. Some people revel in the idea of being an FP. others? Not so much. Make sure that before you take care of someone else, you are able to take care of you too.