Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Relationship Recovery Step 3: Do The Work

So you've gotten out of a relationship, and you've felt the pain, and then you've committed to letting yourself heal. No hiding from the pain or the healing that you need to go through.

What's next? Doing the work.

The work. What work?

Aaaaah, this is where the fun really begins.

Pull Yourself Apart

You've felt pain, and you're feeling pain. You now need to make sure that you don't feel pain like you are feeling again.

*This is the only way that we will make change is to feel this pain, then commit to not feeling this way again.*

For some, you were in a bad relationship. The relationship was dysfunctional from the start; you were scarred, but you'll be okay.

For most, you had a pattern of bad relationships. This one was the coup de gras, the icing on the cake, the REALLY bad one, the one that made you decide that change was required.

For my borderline relationship, I had a number of *okay* relationships before that. I was always looking for sparks, and whew, did I find it with the borderline.

Eventually, the sparks get to be too much, as I learned.

Doing the work requires a number of steps, which is self-investigation. These steps will go into future steps as well, but this step requires actually making the commitment to doing the work of healing, getting better, then determining how you will never fall into the trap of a dysfunctional relationship (for the purposes of this blog, a borderline relationship) again.


Ask yourself the hard questions. You've probably been hurting so badly since the initial breakup that you've been in the blame mode, but it's time to look inside. As the pain subsides, look into your inner core, learn about yourself and who you really are:

  • What am I really about?
  • What do I like? 
  • What do I dislike?
  • How would I rate my life? Is it that bad, or is it good?
  • What do I want to change?
  • How can I make these changes?
Then, ask yourself the questions that you want to ask the least:
  • Why did I get into this relationship with a Borderline?
  • What needs did the BPD fulfill?
  • How did the BPD fill my needs? What need did they meet the best?
  • Is this need reasonable and realistic?
  • Do I need to adjust my needs and expectations?
  • What needs did the BPD not meet?
  • How dysfunctional was the relationship in the end?
Ask yourself the hard questions. Write them down and think about all of your responses.

Get Ready to Meet the New You

The process that you are about to go through will enable you to grow like you have never grown before. You will become the person that you always wanted to become.

This process will take time, it won't be easy. It will hurt, you will take some steps backwards, but in the end, if you Do The Work, you will come out of it a new person that you admire.

One person said that being in a relationship with a BPD and coming out of it is like steel going into the fire. You can be burned by the experience, or you can survive the fire and come out like brandished iron which is nearly impenetrable.

If you Do the Work, your self esteem will go through the ceiling and you will feel better than you ever have, every day. 

Welcome to your new life. Get ready for Step 4 -- Start a Me Project.


  1. Thank You for continuing this blog. It literally saved my life. I'm about to this third step in my progress after the brief but painful relationship ended almost 2 months ago.

    And thank you for responding to my lengthy e-mails (from a fellow music lover!). I've been meaning to get back to you from when you asked how i've dealt with the loss of my brother. It's a long story, so i'll have to write another lengthy e-mail about when i find the time. Lets just say i have done and continue to do plenty of soul searching. It completely changed my approach to life, in both positive and negative ways. It most certainly gave me a much needed wake up call and an appreciation of things that most people would overlook and pass over. The one thing it taught me the most is that there is much more going on under the surface of life than we often know is even there. Perhaps the greatest gift is knowing how to look for these subtle undercurrents.

    I was reading on another blog how dealing with a BPD relationship can open up wounds that were left unhealed from your past. This is certainly the case for me. The pain i've experienced is very similar to what one goes through with a death in the family. It's a very unpleasant, longing feeling that nothing seems to satisfy. The pain has gotten a bit better over the past week. I think i've finally turned a corner in part to meeting some new people who have given me hope again.

    Thanks again for doing what you do. It has been perhaps the most support i have gotten through this entire eye opening ordeal.

  2. I also want to thank you for the advice and guidance that you provide on this blog. I've been reading it for a while, ever since my BPD ex-girlfriend abruptly ended our relationship in December 2009, and I've wanted to write on numerous occasions but I often don't know where to even begin. It's been 5 months now since our 2 year relationship ended, and I still struggle every day with my emotions and self-doubts. It was the most exhilarating, yet unstable, relationship that I've ever experienced. It's blogs like yours and a few others that have helped me immensely in trying to recover from this BPD rollercoaster ride. One day I hope to provide details of my experience so that I can help others, and myself, in some way.

  3. I am 1 year 9 months post BPD. I certainly feel alot better than i did. Let's face it,it couldn't have been any worse. Lost my home and my mind. The BPD is now part of another family. He replaced me very quickly. Yet i cannot even date anyone. He has been on holiday with his new partner while i am still picking up the pieces. Financially as well as emotionally. He even took her to the same holiday destination we had been. The one i'm still paying for. The BPD has no conscience. It's been a long hard road of recovery. One that i'm still on but thanks to you and everyone on here i will make it to the end and therefore a new beginning.

  4. Hazel -

    I can completely sympathize with the betrayal you probably felt when the BPD quickly replaced you with someone else. The same thing happened to me. Only three days prior to our final break-up, she had told me that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. She had expressed her deep love for me on many other occasions, including her desire to marry me. Of course, these loving words were accompanied by periods of withdrawals and short break-ups, which made me very hesitant to commit myself to marriage. Then, about two weeks after our breakup, she was already seeing someone new, putting their picture up on Facebook shortly thereafter. She told me once a few weeks after the break-up that she was going sightseeing to a place that we had planned to see together, and I later learned that she took the new guy with her. All of this from a woman who told me repeatedly, for two years, that she would never be able to love anyone else besides me. I still have much difficulty grasping how someone who supposedly loved me so much could discard me so easily and move on to someone else. It has made me lose faith in people, unfortunately. I've been trying to pick up the pieces for 5 months now and it hasn't been getting much easier, like I hoped it would. Hearing other people's similar experiences has provided some comfort and understanding, thankfully. I have also reconnected with my faith, which has also helped. Forcing myself to have no contact with her and blocking her on social network sites have been necessary. I wish the best for you and others who have had to experience this mental and emotional abuse.

  5. I too can sympathize w/ Hazel. Before I broke it off with my BPD ex, there was a few weeks where she used her facebook page to openly chat with all the dudes she kept waiting in the wings. She knew i read her facebook page so it was like a big FU to me. I know that on facebook you have to consciously friend people, so it was no accident when the guy wearing only his underwear in his profile pic popped up and i knew that the girl i once thought i loved was actually a two timing turd. With other dudes she openly discussed going to visit them when she had time off from work - this coming from the same person who complained that we didn't spend enough time together, which was total BS.

    No remorse whatsoever on her part. I continue to be alone - unable to physically date anyone yet because the thought of my ex still makes me physically ill. But with the BPD - i'm sure it was on to the next guy even before we ended. These people should not be allowed to date. Absolutely sickening.

  6. Once again I find myself totally relating to what everyone has posted about their own experience. It's been 7 months since the final break up and while she has been able to move on and sleep with/date several men, I find myself physically unable to date or even go there. I'm still stuck on all the "future" ideas and plans we had and sad at the loss of that. I am still learning about how quickly she was in another man's bed after she broke things off and have come to the conclusion that she probably had already cheated on me before doing it and was probably afraid I would abandone her for it so she left first. Funny thing is that I probably would have forgiven her and kept at it. something that I would no longer do. Not quite sure how to get the false idea out of my head that she was the "one" and all is lost.

  7. This site has helped me realize that I am not alone of the experiences I went through with my ex-bpd. I also don't feel like I am going crazy having now read people's feelings about their pain and how difficult it is for them even a year or two after the the relationship ended. Even though family and friends are a great support they can't fully understand. But someone who has been in a relationship with a partner with BPD knows exactly why the breakup is so difficult and why recovery is such a struggle.
    I am so greatful for this site. I wish you all well in your healing and know that you deserve a relationship that allows you to be yourself. It is the only way to true happiness, you need to remember your self worth.


Please tell me your story and how it relates to Borderline Personality Disorder. I appreciate any and all comments that you leave on this blog, and as long as they do not contain inappropriate language or are not on-topic, will publish them. Please note that I cannot respond to blogs as this is an anonymous blog. However, I will publish all appropropriate comments.