Recently I have developed self-awareness into when I idolise people.
A key characteristic of BPD, idolising means that I have very clear black and white thinking. In general, I either LOVE or hate you. To be truthful I don’t hate anyone. But when I like someone they become my obsession the only thing I think about.
I have recently become obsessed with Utred Ragnarson, a Saxon, raised by Daines and the main character of ‘The Last Kingdom’. So you have probably googled him…You are probably thinking this is the teenage girl inside me that is swooned by Alexander Dreymon’s handsome looks… think again. My obsession is often driven by a person’s ability to overcome the odds, their passion, and care for others.
As for Uhtred, on the outside he is a warrior but on the inside he tormented by his identity. Despite his bravery and his fearlessness, all he truly desires is to be accepted and find who he is in the world. Even if this means changing from Viking to Saxon to Viking constantly to please those around him.
Because of this connection I have identified, the last month all I could think about was Uhtred. I started speaking like him, watched all his interviews, thought about taking a Viking sword skill class, I’m reading the books, and now watching all the seasons again with my husband…
Similar to my Uhtred obsession, there is always a person in my life that I have put on a pedestal. In my eyes, this person can do no wrong. They are the person I wish I could be. Strong, generous, intelligent, wise. They make me feel safe and accepted. The danger of this, is that I can become so attached to that person that I start to think I am that person, as with Uhtred. I let their values and their opinions become mine. I need constant reassurance from them and I am terrified they will leave me. So I do everything in my ability to keep them close.
So understandably this person might want to create some space from me, or heaven forbid see another friend. But as with my black and white thinking. I drastically jump to conclusions thinking they hate me. They don’t want to be my friend and therefore I need to back track and save myself the hurt of reject and hide as if I never existed. This can be extremely destructive to the people, groups, places and routines I form.
So with reflection, I have developed a list of strategies I use to help reduce in Idolising people.
- After every person I meet I evaluate my feelings rationally. With BPD I often walk away thinking “I LOVE that person!” or “I really dislike that person”. I challenge this idea and say to myself “You don’t know someone after one meeting. So how can I decide if I dislike someone?” I often read people’s thoughts about me always coming to the same conclusion… “that they didn’t like me” which is often not true. And if it is true, as my psychiatrist says “Laura, you can’t be liked by everyone”.
- I have identified that characteristics that results in me idolising someone. Generally, this person is older than me, female, intelligent, helps others grow, non-judgemental, loves dogs, shares the same interests and values, admired by many, a teacher or mentor and someone I would like as a parental figure.
- I distance myself before I become obsessed. So instead of seeking this person’s advice routinely first, I have learnt to broaden my friendship group and seek counsel from others. Not just this one person.
- I physically create space between me and this person. This does create anxiety for me because I don’t want this person to think I don’t like them. So this might mean, instead of having a long conversation that bears my soul with them I keep things more general. A ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ is often sufficient.
- I will build my network of friends to include males. I find males often provide a different perspective that challenges me.
- I admit that I have idolised this person. I let others ask me “are you starting to attach too much”. I have made others aware that I need to create space so that I don’t become too attached at the moment.
- I keep tabs on how much I contact them. Email, text, messenger, face to face. haha
- I keep tabs on how much I talk about this person to my husband. Justin has seen me idolise person after person and with that being hurt each time. Find someone who knows your weaknesses and that can give you an honest opinion.
- I keep tabs on how much I give them, this includes energy, time and money. When I idolise someone there is no expense I will not spend to be close to you.
- I have made the decision to have a larger group of church friends who I see as a group rather than individuals. So If I see this person I idolise I like to make sure someone else is present. It’s like a reality check. “Laura you are being creepy”.
- Realise the characteristics you idolise the person for you have too (although you are blind to). Therefore, you do not need to spend all your time with this person to feel good about yourself. Find hobbies and interests that show you are intelligent, kind and caring. Such as volunteering, art, babysitting.
- Start thinking about the bigger picture for the people you think don’t like you. “did they really mean to give me that look”, “You don’t know what kind of day they had”, “They didn’t mean it like that”, “Am I thinking too much about the unspoken words?”. “They could be busy and that is why they haven’t replied or couldn’t catch up”.
- The big one. Do I tell them? This is pretty scary. I don’t recommend doing this unless you know this person can understand your behaviours. I am very open with my church friends (who have shown unconditional love and acceptance) that they need to look after their own health. Being open means that I can at least acknowledge and start developing an awareness into this behaviour. It also means that as a group we support each other, which is more powerful than one.
- Recognise and spend time with your spiritual self. The one person who knows me inside and out, and my desire for connection is Jesus. He is the only one that can help fill the void inside of you.
I know it’s hard. Inside you are so lonely that you’re a desperate to connect with that person you admire above all else. It comes from a place of love. The truth is you need to connect and love yourself first, rather than findings it in other people and objects.