They urged me to wear make-up and contacts and to style my hair.
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Wasn’t my fear of abandonment, to some extent, universal? Who can’t relate to the experience of wanting so desperately to be loved by another person, and being willing to do almost anything to receive that love, to feel deserving of that love?
The line between our universal fear of abandonment and a “pathological” fear of abandonment — Borderline Personality Disorder— felt all too subjective to me.
The diagnostic criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder are five or more of the following symptoms: I was told that I exhibited frantic efforts to avoid abandonment, an unstable self-image, recurrent suicidality and self-harm, emotional instability, and inappropriate anger (this last “symptom” was in part due to my anger toward the mental health system).
The idea that not only was I weird, awkward, unattractive, and overly emotional, but also had a disordered personality, only exacerbated my fear of not being good enough for those around me.
But I’ve also begun to think: even if Borderline Personality Disorder were a valid construct, does meeting the criteria for the diagnosis necessarily mean something is wrong with me?