Men & BPD: The Breakdown after the Breakup

November 20, 2014
Men & BPD: The Breakdown after the Breakup

men BPD breakupWhether you are a male or female with borderline personality disorder or BPD traits dealing with the heartache of a romantic breakup, it’s important to have compassion for the fact that you face additional challenges compared with a young adult who does not experience the exquisite level of emotional sensitivity with which you are so familiar. In many senses, your vulnerabilities run deeper. While the psychological constructs are not dissimilar between a male and female going through this experience, how you express the pain and other intense emotions may be very different.

At the core for many who suffer from BPD is a high sensitivity to being invalidated. For our inner child, the ultimate in invalidation is abandonment. Not all people with BPD experienced abandonment as children, but many have. Any trigger that reopens this wound, such as a romantic partner calling it quits, can cause a spiraling of emotions that can lead to feeling completely and utterly emotionally dysregulated. It is from this place of dysregulation that we may act in ways that do not best serve us and do not help repair a damaged relationship.

We must learn and acknowledge that all of us have the ability to be insensitive toward our partner, but we need to learn to how manage our behavior in healthy ways. How we choose to behaviorally respond to intense emotions inevitably has an impact the relationships that matter most to us. We may, through habit, unskillful behavior, and simply not knowing any better, push people away, creating self-fulfilling prophecies of abandonment, when this is far from our true desires and intentions.

There is a spectrum in terms of how the despair experienced due to heartache is expressed. Many men with BPD are able to cry and express their emotions. Many others express their aggressions with self-harm. Others express their anger through outward aggression.

No matter the behavioral response to the emotional trigger, in order to find emotional balance and healing, one must take responsibility for his responses and recognize that if the response is unhealthy, it can be changed.

In our society, women are generally encouraged and supported when they express vulnerability, whereas men are usually not offered this type of support. Knowing that there is a population of young adult men suffering from BPD and borderline traits and a lack of intensive support is the main reason why we stepped up ten years ago through our accredited OPI Intensive as the first and only treatment program in the United States offering residential treatment to young men who suffer from this disorder. It is essential that young adult men suffering from borderline personality disorder have ample opportunities in a safe, therapeutic, caring environment to express vulnerabilities and to connect with the realization of what is important in life in order to heal and move forward.

The loss of a lover can be devastating for someone who suffers from abandonment issues, and intensive support may be needed to help reduce and replace self-sabotaging, self-destructive coping strategies with healthy, productive skills and behaviors that enhance hope. Our supportive treatment team works to help facilitate a sense of resiliency in young men with this disorder and to help them acknowledge their innate ability to make it through a difficult emotional time. We help prepare young men to be able to handle the difficulties in life that can be particularly dysregulating, such as a breakup.

Men in our society, especially emotionally sensitive men, whether they express this sensitivity in a vulnerable or unskillful manner, are often acting from old wounds of abandonment. They are all too often misunderstood, judged, feared, and discriminated against, which only adds to their sense of pain and alienation. It is important that a young man is supported in finding a process of healing by working toward acceptance that a relationship has not worked out, as well as his role in it, and through that acceptance develop a faith that it doesn’t mean that he, as a man, is incapable of loving or being loved.

Realizing this, truly and deeply, with the proper support and guidance, can be a pivotal turning point. One moment of believing that you are worthy of healthy love and capable of reciprocating it can be incredibly powerful. We work with young men who have been through painful breakups to help them to realize that while they may still love their ex-partner and this feeling and all of the associated feelings are real, and while both parties may have tried their best to maintain the relationship, sometimes things do not work out, and while the pain seems like it can’t be survived, it can, and you can come out stronger, wiser, and having healed not only the heartache of the current situation but perhaps also a piece of the wound of abandonment from the past.

We can help you to find your passion, to discover, tap into, explore, and develop your own unique talents, gifts, and abilities that lead you to figure out who you are – whole and complete on your own, so that you are able to feel strong. You’ll then be able to bring this sense of wholeness to future relationships from a place of greater strength.

If you need help, reach out. Support awaits you. You do not need to go through this alone.

At OPI, we offer compassionate, clinically sophisticated intensive residential help for young adult men and women who suffer from borderline personality disorder or BPD symptoms, including genetic testing to determine the best course for medications, if needed. Rather than a sterile, hospital-like environment, we offer beautiful accommodations in luxury apartments just outside of Los Angeles.  At our OPI Intensive program, we treat the individual, not the diagnosis.  Our clinical team is made up of a diverse community of passionate, highly skilled individuals working together with you to help you find your joy and express it.   For more information on OPI Intensive residential programs and our measures to help young adults with Borderline Personality Disorder, call us at 866-661-3982 or click HERE to submit an online form. We’ll be in touch promptly.