women with traits of bpd

Women With Traits of BPD: Why Can’t She Trust Me?

Understanding Why Women With Traits of BPD Lose Trust

If you have ever tried to get close to a woman with traits of borderline personality disorder, or BPD, you probably know firsthand that getting this individual to trust you is an ongoing uphill battle and in many cases literally impossible. Women with traits of BPD often interpret the innocent behavior of those they are close to as malicious or filled with negative intentions.

Although there are several different aspects of this particular behavior pattern, in this blog post we will be addressing one of the most common reasons that women with traits of BPD can never seem to maintain a sense of trust in their relationships with others. We will also be taking a closer look at how our misunderstanding of what is behind this distrust may actually be contributing to the frustration and pain we feel when trying to win over one of these individuals.

Most of us believe, when we observe the behavior of women with traits of BPD, that they are in a constant struggle to trust those who they are closest to. It can be baffling to witness them continually fail to trust people who are obviously not going to hurt them.  The key to understanding why no matter how hard we try we can never prove to these individuals that we are trustworthy may be very different than what you imagine.

The woman with traits of BPD might not be trying to overcome her lack of trust at all. She may, in fact, be distrusting you on purpose. In other words, what you are perceiving as her struggle to trust you may actually be a struggle to avoid trust at any cost.

This mix-up in the true motivation of the woman with traits of BPD can draw those around her into a destructive cycle of rejection. As painful as this form of repeated rejection is for those on the receiving end, the woman with traits of BPD may be getting relief from what she considers a very painful state.

Although it may sound odd to imagine someone needing to escape from a state of trust, the act of rejecting can be actually serve a very useful purpose for someone who is incapable of tolerating being rejected. In fact, this dysfunctional coping pattern of entering a state of distrust may be the only way she can allow herself to feel safe enough to stay connected.

Let’s now take a look at what trust may feel like to a person who is so sensitive to betrayal and rejection that they actually prefer the safety that doubt and suspicion provides. As it turns out, protecting themselves by deciding in advance that we are about to hurt them is an effective way for many of these women to navigate through their fears of intimacy while guaranteeing their emotional safety.

Unfortunately this wall of doubt and suspicion also guards against any form of emotional connection. Therefore, in order for her to get her closeness needs met while still guaranteeing she cannot be hurt through rejection, she must alternate between bringing those she cares about very close to her and then pushing them away. This behavior may be clearly hurting the ones she loves. However, the relief that being in a state of distrust provides to her may override her guilt about the pain she is causing.

In order to truly understand how the state of trust that most of us seek for comfort can be anything but comfortable for women with traits of BPD, we must also take a look at our own relationship to trust. Let’s start by looking at how most of us perceive or define trust in our relationships with others.

Trust: An Asset or a Liability?

If you are like most people, you consider trust to be something positive, something you give to others so they can relax in their relationships with you. You probably experience trust as a state of mind which you try to achieve. Because we experience trust as a rewarding aspect of relationships, it may be eye-opening to realize that trust for those with traits of BPD is often perceived as a liability in a relationship.

Not only do some women with traits of BPD try to avoid trust to maintain their sense of comfort within their close relationships, but they may actually use distrust as a defense mechanism that allows them to manage their deepest fears of being used or rejected. It is this defense mechanism that creates in some women the near-paranoid state of mind from which our innocent intentions can so easily be interpreted as malicious.

Like all defense mechanisms, chronic or irrational distrust is not a behavior pattern that can be directly addressed. Defense mechanisms kick in when our deepest primal instincts to protect ourselves are triggered. Just as we are wired for fight or flight when our physical wellbeing is threatened, we also have defensive reflexes that protect us from psychological threats.

A woman with traits of BPD often has extraordinarily high sensitivity to threats to her emotional wellbeing. These defenses are very powerful and will keep her from being able to see reason even in the face of clear evidence that her suspicions are unfounded.

Although this type of coping mechanism may seem extreme, the behavior itself is understandable. Like all behaviors associated with BPD, the behavior itself is actually quite recognizable when we see it in a less extreme form. In fact, most of us have probably engaged in this defense mechanism at some point in our lives.

We all tend to fall into this pattern from time to time to protect ourselves when we are worried that those who are supposed to care about us might not. Let’s take a quick look at how the average person might use this defense mechanism.

When we find ourselves doubting the loyalty of those we care about, instead of letting ourselves sink down into a fearful state we may choose to puff ourselves up and tell ourselves that this person wasn’t worth it in the first place or that we never trusted them or that they simply are not worthy of our affection.

Many times when our suspicions are proven wrong, we find ourselves in the embarrassing position of having to admit to ourselves or others that our earlier assessment of this innocent person was not only wrong, but also somewhat irrational.

As we look at the patterns of women with traits of BPD, we eventually discover that all of their negative behaviors are normal human reactions to common fears around betrayal and rejection. But there is one more aspect to this behavior that causes us confusion. In order to understand this aspect we must turn our attention to what is often referred to as fear of intimacy.

women with traits of bpd

Fear of Intimacy In Women With Traits of BPD

Although we may be familiar with people who have problems trusting others due to fear of intimacy, most individuals with this problem seem to respond in a different way than those with traits of BPD. People with fear of intimacy very often will wall themselves off emotionally. In other words, they usually try to either stay away from very close relationships or maintain emotional distance when they are in them.

The difference between the average person with fear of intimacy and a woman with traits of BPD is often the presence of a single trait or personality characteristic. This trait by itself is not problematic for most people. However, when paired with the trait of emotional oversensitivity, it creates a perfect storm which drives the behavior of push and pull so often seen in women with traits of BPD.

The second trait that fills in the missing puzzle piece surrounding distrust in these women is an unusually strong need for closeness. This continual longing for closeness that drives them to seek out connection is equally strong as their fear of betrayal. When these two traits pair together the resulting ricochet effect from the two competing fears can psychologically batter those who try to get too close.

Let’s now take a look at how these competing traits compel women with traits of BPD to at first draw us in and then, when we are too close for comfort, to push us away. You may have experienced this pair of traits as one painful event where you finally achieved enough trust to let your guard down only to find yourself rejected and labeled a villain. Or you may instead have experienced this push and pull as a constant series of rejections followed by repeated attempts to then win you back.

In order to move one step closer in understanding to this push/pull behavior pattern we will need to examine how people cope with the all too human fear of getting hurt by a person we are supposed to trust.

Are You Being Tested

When we find ourselves doubting the intentions of those we are close to, we have two options in resolving our suspicions. We can choose to give the person the benefit of the doubt by remaining emotionally open and asking them if the action was malicious. This can be risky because by giving benefit of the doubt, we may end up being painfully rejected. 

Our second option is a much less risky approach.  Instead of giving a benefit of the doubt, we can do the opposite and decide in advance not to trust. It is this second option that the person with traits of BPD will often choose in order to resolve their suspicion without having to expose themselves to the possibility of painful rejection.

By deciding in advance that the action was malicious and closing down emotionally, the woman with traits of BPD can find out whether she has been betrayed while hiding safely behind the accusation of disloyalty. This test is performed by proclaiming in advance that a person has malicious intent and then deciding from the innocent person’s reaction to this accusation whether to believe them or not. 

This form of testing seems highly manipulative, yet is not an altogether conscious act. As with all other defense mechanisms, these behaviors are driven by unconscious psychological forces that kick into gear in order to provide protection from feelings that are too uncomfortable to face.

Even though we may not be able to blame a woman with traits of BPD for her inability to trust, the unfortunate truth is that without trust it is impossible to have a secure connection which is essential in a healthy and productive relationship.

In Part 2 of Women With Traits of BPD: Regaining Her Trust, you will be presented with a simple formula that you can use to overcome the fears around trust that prevent so many women with traits of BPD from having healthy and productive relationships.

Related Posts:

Women on the Spectrum of BPD: Did She Really Love Me?

BPD and the Nice Guy Personality Type

Did Your Ex-Girlfriend Have Traits Of Borderline Personality Disorder?

Breakups With Women With Traits of BPD – Five Misconceptions That Keep Men From Letting Go and Moving On

Identifying Traits of BPD In Women Before Relationship Commitment

Romantic Idealization And Devaluation In Women With Traits of BPD

Women With Traits of BPD – Why Men Stay

Did Your Ex-Girlfriend Have Traits of BPD: How to Let Go of the Good Times

Did Your Ex-Girlfriend Have Traits of BPD-The Defense Mechanism of Projection

Note To Readers: I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you who have taken the time to post in my comments section. Your questions, opinions and personal stories form an invaluable contribution to this important discussion.

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