I just want people to like me || Living with Borderline Personality Disorder
Moving away from the more light-hearted jokes of the drag reviews and getting a bit more serious. Not the first time, not the last time, but I’m more nervous about writing this piece than any other piece I’ve written so far, because this feels like admitting to a shameful secret that I should never, under any circumstances, talk about.
And it’s those shameful feelings that we need to talk more about, because chances are someone else feels much the same way. I want this blog to become a safe space where people can talk about things they never imagined they’d be able to open up about, and feel seen and held and supported because at the end of the day we’re all just trying to get through life. One foot at a time. Anyway. You’ve read the title of this post, you know what it’s about.
I just want people to like me.
This has been an ongoing trait for much of my life, but one that’s been exceedingly hard to acknowledge and come to terms with. I know, sounds weird, right? Surely most people want to be liked by the people around them. I say most people because I know there are people out there who don’t give a monkey’s about whether or not they’re liked, and to those people I say TELL ME YOUR SECRETS.
Getting off topic again. For me, it goes way beyond just hoping that my friends and acquaintances like me, and maybe giving a passing thought to it every now and again. I’m struggling here to explain it, because I genuinely don’t know how most people feel about this, or what most people think because my thought patterns aren’t like most people’s. The need for people to like me is all consuming. The thought that people might hate me and not tell me, might find me annoying - all those sort of things - is all consuming and all encompassing and can very easily take over. I find it very hard to distract my mind when I’m latched onto the idea that someone - without giving any reason whatsoever - might not like me.
The thought that the people in my life might hate me is the cause of some of the worst anxiety I’ve ever had. I can spend from 10pm to 3am sat bolt upright and trying to breathe because all I can think about is what I’ve said and done recently, how people might have taken it, and whether or not they now hate me.
Even just the simple act of messaging someone I know can have me over analysing for hours, deleting the conversation, muting all my notifications - and finally plucking up the courage to check only to find a sensible, reasonable response. I cannot bear the thought that I might be annoying. I cannot bear the thought that the people I like and the people I want to be around might not reciprocate those feelings. I have to try very, very hard to not be ‘too much’.
Because a lot of the time, I do feel like I’m too much.
Too loud, too annoying, too big, too mouthy, too insert-adjective-here-I’ve-probably-thought-it. I want, more than anything in the world, to be a person people like. To be a person that people want to be around because they enjoy being in my presence. To be someone people feel comfortable around. To not scare people off by being too much or doing something weird or showing that more than anything in the world I just want them to like me. Even just writing this post, knowing that some of the people I want to like me might read is is causing my palms to go a bit clammy, my heartbeat to race, my breathing to become shallow.
Please like me.
It is, I will admit, a weird one. I genuinely don’t know what the response to this post will be, but I don’t think I’m alone. The fear of being abandoned, and doing anything to stop the perceived abandonment even if it was never going to happen, is something that many people with borderline personality disorder struggle with, and for me it is a constant daily battle to try and appear ‘normal’ within my friendships and with acquaintances. My rational brain knows that if people talk to me, and smile when they see me, they probably don’t mind (or even like!) having me around. The bigger part of my brain panics the minute I open my mouth, and goes haywire the second I leave somewhere analysing everything I’ve said and done.
I don’t even really know if I’ve managed to get across the depth and breadth of my feelings about wanting people to like me, and the lengths I have to go to not to come across as weird. For once - I am really struggling to find the words to describe it.
I wish, more than anything else, it was socially acceptable to just be able to ask people if they like you or not. Just a quick two minute conversation would save hours of anxiety and overthinking and stressing. I can see a friend, and spend every single day until I see them again stressing about whether or not they actually like me. If I could just shoot them a quick message? Then I would know where I stood. Even if the answer was ‘no, I don’t’ - at least then I wouldn’t have to worry.
On that note - please tell me if you don’t like me. I won’t be offended, I’ll be more relieved than you’ll ever know.
Anyway. I think I’ve gone on for quite long enough and I don’t really know if I’ve hit what I wanted to say or got all my points across. But essentially, it all boils down to an overwhelming need to be liked that controls my every day and my every mood. I would say it’s the one thing that affects my life more than anything else. I can deal with the low moods, I can deal with the self-harming, I can generally deal with the anxiety that comes out of nowhere. I can’t deal with the idea of not being liked, and that the people I like and am friends with or would like to be friends with don’t feel the same way, but there’s nothing I can ever do about it because I can’t ask them. That would be weird, and then they definitely wouldn’t like me. You see how the spiral starts?
And yes, I’m well aware that I come across as slightly unhinged in this post. But I still think it’s an important thing to talk about, and I just hope that if anyone relates to this post, they can find solace in knowing they’re not alone.
Have you ever felt this way? If you feel comfortable, share your experiences down below and we’ll get a conversation going. I love you, I see you, and I’m here for you.