How do you detach and process the pain?
Detaching can be difficult. Rationally, we understand that leaving is the healthiest thing we can do now, yet our emotional attachment is undeniable. This conflict confuses and intensifies our struggle and we may feel trapped by our desires to rekindle a relationship that you know it isn't healthy - and may, in fact, not even be available to you - and our own fears. Our emotions range between hurt, disbelief, and anger.
The tools listed below can help you break away from a partner with borderline personality disorder and they offers suggestions on how to make it easier on yourself and your partner. There is no quick fix. This is a painful process.
Typically a person healing from a painful loss will move through the detachment and grieving stages. Depending on where you are it pays to focus on particular aspects of your healing. To give two examples:Example 1 (too fast)
: When you have just learned or decided that your relationship is failing you may be inclined to say: I may be sad (grieving: depression) and I need to do some something new (detachment: creative action). That can backfire later as you have not processed your pain and even worse may carry some rubbed off BPD behavior into new activities, which will perpetuate the pain.Example 2 (too slow)
: You truly feel the anger. You ask yourself what is going on in myself? While these are natural and necessary steps - after a while you will turn in circles. It is time to move forward. You may be inclined to tell yourself not to look at your anger as a first step and then to get going once the anger subsides. That it will backfire - try not to think of a pink elephant - what happens in your mind? To move forward you have to let go, look at the next stage and focus your mental and emotional resources to climb up this step.
Once in a while it is necessary to take a stop back, gain perspective and think. Where am I and how do I move forward? Writing on the board can play a critical role here as it can act as a log enabling you to reflect and also help others to provide some outside perspective to you.
The workshops and tools are grouped around the 5 stages of Detachment and Grieving. As there is some overlap between the two we have also grouped the tools together accordingly. Tools for acknowledgment of loss and overcoming denial
1.1 Exiting a BPD relationship
Overview of the process in the words of members including a good discussion of NC.
Read more: TOOLS: Exiting a BPD relationship [romantic partners]
1.2 Understanding why breaking up is so difficult for you
Learn about the biology of breaking up and what works and what doesn't work.
Read more: PERSPECTIVES: The Biology of Breaking Up - why it hurts [romantic partners]
1.3 Painting our ex black - healthy idea?
It's very easy for a group of wounded people to get together on a messageboard and let the validation overflow and not get down to the hard part of self discovery. We want to mindful everyday that we are here to heal - not hide from our pain and growth..
Read more: Painting our ex black - healthy idea?
1.4 Can we be friends despite the break-up?
A question everyone naturally asks. Break-up hurts and we want to minimize the pain. Is staying in touch the solution?
Read more: Leaving and grieving/Being "friends" after a break-up
and US: Contact with our BPD after the breakup
1.5 Let's come together - again - and again - and again...
Relationships with a pwBPD can be turbulent. Other relationships can be turbulent too. Break-up and make-up are part of it. But when you truly want to detach this is not what you want. How do avoid ground-hog day?
Read more: US: "Relationship Recycling" - What is it?
1.6 Codependency is a disease of addiction
The preferred "drug of choice" is another person. Codependence is a tendency to behave in ways that negatively impact one's relationships and quality of life. This behavior may be characterized by denial, low self-esteem, compliance, and/or control patterns.
Read more: Article: Codependency: When Our Emotional Issues Affect Our True AvailabilityTools for dealing with anger
2.1 Angry, very angry?
When breaking up the pain is intense and your emotional temperature is at boiling level (cooking oil - not water
). You sometimes don't recognize yourself anymore. So how can you overcome this roadblock to recovery?
Read more: Respecting our anger
2.2 Anger keeps us connected
The worst part of anger is - it keeps us connected when we desperately want to detach. Overcoming this roadblock requires a shift of thinking.
Read more: US: Do not allow others to 'rent space' in your 'head'
2.3 Resentment and ruminations keep us stuck
Resentment is a mental process in which we repeatedly replay a feeling, and the events leading up to that feeling that angers us. With resentment, we re-experience and relive events in ways that affect us mentally, emotionally, physiologically and spiritually in destructive ways.
Read more: US: Has the anger gone too far [romantic partners]
Read more: US: Dealing with ruminations Tools for self inquiry
3.1 It takes two to tango
The person with BPD made us mad. Everything is our partner's fault. But is it really? It takes two to tango and where did we enable the dysfunction, what do we own? Going down that road requires some distance but is essential to recovery and improving even beyond what we ever were. Let's be honest about ourselves.
Read more: Workshop - US: The dysfunctional dance - self inflicted wounds
Read more: Don't let them control your life! [romantic partners]
Read more: The Three Faces of Victim - Lynne Forrest
3.2 Our emotional health
After riding the roller-coaster your emotional system is out of whack. Things don't feel normal anymore and you have lost a solid feeling what normal is. A therapist certainly can help here. Some tricks from the DBT toolbox can be beneficial too. Emotional balance can be enhanced through mindfulness.
Read more: TOOLS: DBT for Non Borderlines- Mindfulness
3.3 Taking personal inventory
Thinking about yourself is hard and sometimes painful. But it is a necessary ingredient for growth. What was it in you
that drew you into and kept you in this dysfunctional relationship? Who have you become after staying for so long? This is a process and takes time. Time away from "them". You are focusing 100% on yourself. Thus you have a protected and less noisy space on this board to do it.
Check out: Taking personal inventoryTools for processing and getting through the struggle of bargaining
4.1 Did she really love me?
In the back of your mind despite all distance between you there is this question nagging. Did she love me? Could she have loved me at all? What is love anyways?
Read more: Caution may trigger. Reflect not react! US: Did she ever love me?
4.2 Acceptance of your loss
How do you accept a loss of something that really defined your life? When do you know you are ready?
Read more: Acceptance - the final stage of grieving
4.3 In sickness and in health?
We are truly committed and are proud of it. We are resourceful. We can fix everything. Over time the situation changes and we change. How do we deal with it?
Read more: US: In sickness and in health?Tools for dealing with depressionDepression often is temporary and will heal given time. However clinical depression is serious condition where professional help is need. If in any doubt please seek help to prevent escalation and speed up your healing. No advice below can substitute for an individual assessment and targeted treatment.
5.1 Are you depressed?
Failure of a relationship is pulling one down. It is normal to feel depressed for a while. In addition being exposed for a long time to the extreme and unpredictable ups and downs of a BPD relationship is also disorienting. You may not be sure anymore how you feel at all.
Read more: Test: How are you really?
5.2 Taking care of the basics
We read it all the time - "take care of yourself"...
We're told all the time - "take care of yourself"...
No one ever tells us HOW ?
Many of us are so trapped in the FOG of emotional blackmail, that we have no idea how to even begin to "take care of ourselves".
Read more: US: What does it mean to take care of yourself? Tools for starting something new
6.1 Self respect
Our self respect, our self esteem and our belief in ourselves is slowly destroyed over time as we are exposed to the criticism and abuse of the pwBPD. The constant barrage of what we do wrong, how we aren't good enough, the listing of all of our faults and flaws - this toxic negative brew is bound to poison our sense of ourselves. The good news is: It can be changed...
Read more: US: Self respect and our sense of ourselves
6.2 Rebuilding our lives
You are ready to start out on something new. And new is not necessarily a new intimate relationship. Best would be starting small and working your way up. Rebuilding or maybe setting up for the first time a robust system of values and boundaries that protect you. So how do you do this? Frankly the leaving board is the wrong place. Too much acute pain is here. What what helpful at the start to validate your situation and get better now may hold you back. It is now time to put one feet into the out to others in a similar situation dealing with a different set of problems.
Join the Building a New Life After the Relationship
board.Tools for acceptance and embracing the new situation and recognizing the freedom you gained
7.1 Your are entitled to take the initiative to share in life's riches
I am entitled to take the initiative to share in life's riches. A simple statement, yet for many who lived or were raised in a BPD environment, one that is hard to take to heart.
Read more: US: Positive entitlement--taking the initiative to share in life's riches
7.2 Are you ready for a new relationship?
Most people have two bottom-line fears when it comes to relationships: the fear of rejection and the fear of engulfment, which means the fear of losing the other or the fear of losing yourself. These are deep fears that start in childhood and may continue throughout your life, making it difficult for you to be fully emotionally available in a relationship. These fears do not just go away. Until you develop a powerful loving adult self, you may take rejection personally and not know how to handle loss. Without a strong loving inner adult, you may allow others to control you, giving yourself up to prevent rejection.
Read more: When are we ready to start a new relationship?
7.3 Where do you want to go now?
The world is a fantastic place to explore and enjoy. You have worked hard to rebuild your life. You are free to start or not to start a new intimate relationship. The wisdom of the board has limits - you reached them. You may decide to slowly drop off the board - we are always glad when you come back once in a while to tell us how you are doing
. You may decide to stay on the board and help others
. You may choose to decide to enable others to help others