Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) has a knack for messing with a lot of things in your life on a daily basis - your mood, your emotions, your self-control, and even your relationships. One of the trickiest parts about BPD, however, is that it is marked by constant inconsistencies in identity and self-image. Your identity, personality, and even your opinions can change depending on who you are with. While the severity of this symptom depends on the individual, many people with BPD experience some hardship in grounding themselves in their identities.
This begs the question, how do bisexual borderlines form and relate to their queer identities?
The case of the bisexual borderline in particular requires further examination apart from other queer identities, such as gay and lesbian borderlines.
Bi people are traditionally ostracized and erased from the LGBTQ community because of their ability to have heterosexual relationships. This does not, however, make a bisexual person any less queer or less deserving of a voice in the LGBTQ community. Unfortunately, bisexuality is highly stigmatized by both the straight and queer communities, often hailed as a “phase” or an inability to choose a side. Bisexuals are viewed as hypersexual, greedy, and as having a penchant for cheating. Above all, they are “confused.”
In essence, bisexuals are told by the world that their identity is not real or valid, and many are often left questioning their identity.
Borderlines, through a glitch in brain chemistry, constantly question most of their identities anyway. So if someone with BPD is bisexual, they are saddled with a double blow: a society that forces them to question their bisexuality under the guise of “confusion,” and a brain that questions any identity posed to it, including sexual orientation.
How does a bisexual person with BPD form their queer identity under such circumstances?
Everyone is different, and I imagine that most borderlines realize they’re gay like anyone else. She sees a pretty girl, rapidly gets a crush, and realizes, “Oh, that feeling there, that’s a gay feeling.”
The real issue borderlines have is not forming, but keeping their bisexual identities and trusting that the gay feelings the have are genuine.
You see, because borderline emotions and identities change so rapidly, people with BPD often question whether or not feelings they had for someone - or fashion they were fond of, music they listened to, movies they liked, anything period in their life, really - sprouted from genuine like or love of those people and things, or if those people and things were just phases of BPD-induced identity change. Maybe the gay was just a phase, she’ll think. Maybe the gay part of me was never real.
There’s a great thing about identifying as bisexual, though. It’s not 50/50.
You don’t have to like men half the time and women the other half. There are more than two genders, and you don’t have to split yourself evenly between all those either. And guess what? If you’ve had a crush on a woman, somewhere, deep down, you’re a little bit gay (bisexual) if you want to be. And chances are, if you’ve had a crush on one gal, you’ve had crushes (and maybe more than crushes), on a few other gals. If you look back, you’ll probably find that you thought that one girl was really pretty in sixth grade, and oh god what you wouldn’t do for that other one with the long brunette hair and a heart-melting smile in junior year.
When you’re borderline, you trust your identities are real by holding on to small touchstones, seemingly unimportant memories that provide continuity over the course of your life.
Borderline bisexuals may have to question their identities a whole lot more than other people do. But luckily, bisexuality as a label is much more accepting and fluid than society is. Fluidity is the key that allows borderline bisexuals to continuously question, experiment, reform, and reaffirm their queer identities in an otherwise rigid world.