Perpetual first impressions


No calm acceptance. The feeling of dread never goes away.

I can be friends with someone for so long, years, but there’s never a quiet comfort. At least not one that lasts. Moments sure. Hours, sometimes. Something always creeps back. Doubt. Fear.

Always feel like I’m intruding into someone else’s life. Never sure if I’m wanted. Never quite sure if our relationship has changed or stayed the same. Reading too much into the subtle variations of each encounter. Everyone has off days, everyone has behaviors that change a bit, vary from mood or stress or some extraneous factor. For me, it feels like these things happen as a direct result of something I did or as a reaction to me. Did I say something wrong? Did I do something offensive? Is he mad? Does she not want to be as close to me now? These things probably did not happen as a result of something I did (or didn’t do), but I feel like it has, fear it. There’s never a constant, steady feeling of acceptance. Everything is dependent on the last meeting, the moment before. There’s a constant second guessing of Self. When so many things can go wrong, be taken wrong, how can you be secure that people don’t see each instance the way you do. But they don’t. At least, I don’t think they do. Friend told me I was a little more ‘verbally assertive’ the other night. I’d had a few too many drinks and had let down my usual filters. I asked him if that was a polite way of saying I was a bitch? He didn’t respond b/c I think he took it as a rhetorical question but now I worry that I won’t be invited over, that his wife will make things more difficult for me. Forget all the things I’ve ever done for them (watched their daughter when she was in the hospital, cleaned their house, made countless meals and desserts for them, etc.).  It all feels dependent on that one thing.

Like a perpetual first impression.

I’ve been best friends with Friend for almost a year, known him for years longer, and I can’t hold onto the belief that our relationship is stable. That it’s as strong or as close as it used to be. Even though aspects of it are changing, I can’t imagine that it doesn’t mean things will be less meaningful.  We were talking about ‘middle ground’ friends, having friendships with people that aren’t close confidants, but not held at arm’s length either. The whole time I was wondering if he still held me as a close confidant, wanting reassurance of this, and fearing that new middle ground friends would detract from our friendship.  I didn’t ask for this reassurance, this validation of the closeness of our friendship, mostly because I realize how incredibly annoying it is for people to constantly repeat this. Especially when he does randomly remind me that I’m his closest or dearest friend. I want it though.  More reassurance. Validation to calm inner voice for another few minutes. There’s no quiet slip into comfortable familiarity.

There are still times when I want more beyond our friendship, mostly because I see this as some kind of savior from my turbulence, but I wonder, would it really change anything? I have never had relationships where I didn’t second guess my thoughts and behaviors, didn’t obsess over the multitude of potential meanings from the words and actions of others (with one recent exception but I think I was already so tired of the emotional turmoil she put me through that I couldn’t care anymore).  Or if I didn’t constantly worry, I quickly became bored.

Can I have a comfortable familiarity without losing my interest? Without that hint of fear and anxiety gripping my heart and making me worry about losing someone, would I care as much at all if they left? Once that calm sets in, I no longer need to be there. I begin to look for other avenues of entertainment.

The fear makes me crave it. The comfort makes me tire of it. It’s impossible to just settle in.

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9 comments on “Perpetual first impressions

  1. Kinda like Cobain singing, "i miss the comfort in being sad." Becomes rather an addiction, or at least a sense that the anxiety is status quo normal. I've come to know, as I'm sure you do, that the feeling of "intruding" is a side effect of your own self-image.A friend on another blog was describing knowing in her head all the ways to resolve her self-situation, finishing with the phrase, "Oh trust me, if I had a curtain to hide behind, I could be the Wizard of Oz of (fill in the problem)". And that all that knowledge didn't help one whit in self-application. You've mentioned before your disconnect between heart and mind (excuse my paraphrasing if not quite right on). Probably none of the other things will resolve until you can declare that armistice between your two sides. I pray you will find that truce someday soon.

  2. All that knowledge and it doesn't help a whit. Unfortunately that seems all too true. Cognitively I'm very self aware, but you have it right, that disconnect between my heart and my mind needs to be reconciled. I'm working on it. Believe it or not it's actually getting better. It's not a fast process though. Thank you for your thoughts and words.

  3. You just said all of the things I have tried my whole entire life to say and never could. You just wrote everythign I have ever felt inside of me and how you did it I have no idea, but you did it very well. Writing this is so important and will be so helpful not just for people who suffer from this but for their family and friends. You can give them some sort of understanding. You will be their voice for all of the people who are like me and just can't find the words to explain it.Thank you for doing this.

  4. Wow. You've just put into words exactly how I've always felt lol. I barely even bother making friends anymore because I can never truly settle into the relationship. There's always a sense of unease on my part. To much reading and interpreting. Always this feeling of something being lost in translation. Some kind of disconnect. Even if everything is easygoing and there is a great connection at one particular moment, it means nothing the next. And for the few people that I do meet and happen to click with, that feeling always creeps up at some point.So yeah, most of my 'friendships' really don't even develop past the acquaintance phase; and for the ones which do, they usually flicker out at some point. Some sooner than others. Nice post. Look forward to reading your pov on other topics. (Recommended here by The Notable Path)

  5. That unease, the never quite comfortable. It's one of the more insidious of problems, because it's not out of control, it's not over emotional acting out… it's quiet, doesn't cause shear panic, there can be a relative calm… but in that still feeling like you don't quite belong. It makes me wonder if I'll ever find someone I can just sit with and feel like I'm actually with them, not just sitting next to them. I hate it. Glad to have you. Tell TNP thanks =)

  6. I've only ever met one person in my life who I actually connected with and was completely comfortable with (not surprisingly, he was the aspd/npd type). But needless to say, due to other issues, I ended up ruining the relationship beyond repair :(So yeah, back at square one lol.

  7. I guess to me it just seems like you've chosen the wrong person to be your "best friend." A married man with a daughter will never give you what you seem to want. I know you fear abandonment in most of your relationships, but the fear is probably more acute in this relationship simply because it is a fairly realistic possibility… The liklihood of abandonment or at least a significant change in the relationship would be true for anyone in this situation – I think it has little to do with your BPD. What you (you, him, the wife) are doing now simply will not sustain itself.You are playing with fire here. It seems like you put a lot of responsibility on other people for letting you down or pulling away or not meeting your needs. But here, it seems like the responsibility is yours…what do you expect from a married man, a father? And it sounds you are heavily involved in their lives…babysitting, cleaning, cooking – all the while what you really want is a romantic relationship with this man. It doesn't seem good for you or for them.And I've noticed you seem to demonize the wife who, sure, may be a nasty person. But you say she makes things "difficult for you." Aren't you making things difficult for her? You are "the other woman." After all, he married her, not you. He is staying with her, not leaving to be with you. You can dislike the wife, but I feel like your contempt would be better aimed at your "best friend" – he is the one with the commitment to his family, and the one toying with you.Even your use of the phrase "best friend" seems almost…desperate? You say you've been "best friends" for less than a year. Is is possible to become so close in such a short amount of time? It reads like the label is very important to you. Like your "ownership" of him as a friend – YOURS – is important to you. Like a club for the two of you, and no one else is allowed in. I predict this will end badly. Not because of your BPD, but because it's a story as old as time…

  8. I wanted to add – I hope that comment is not too harsh. I didn't mean for it to be. A point I was trying to make is that if this relationship ends up causing you pain, it's not necessarily because of some failing on your part. Or because the symptoms of your BPD took hold and destroyed a good thing. It's because he's a bad guy who wants to have his cake and eat it too.

  9. The is directed to the previous anonymous poster: If you really have to ask whether or not it's possible to become so close in such a short amount of time- then you CLEARLY have no fucking clue what BPD is about lol.

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