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Think About It... Some members think of "triangulation" as a dysfunctional behavior perpetrated on them by a person with BPD. And why not - this is how we often see triangles when we are in them and the '"odd man out"! However, seeing it this way is exactly the opposite of what we want to do to end the drama.. ~ Skippy
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Author Topic: High functioning vs. Low functioning BPD  (Read 2053 times)
redberry
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« on: July 15, 2012, 11:03:44 PM »

I don't mean to use the word "loser" as a pejorative to insult anybody, but when I think of the basics of what our society expects, it is a pretty accurate word to describe my ex.  "winning" isn't exactly what comes to mind (if I am being honest).  I can tell myself time and again he's "trying," but his attempts at a successful life prove futile and only set him farther back, every single time.  He always, and I mean always, sabotages himself... and in the process digs his a hole a little deeper.

My ex waif has a dead end job that he hates, no money, was served an eviction notice for unpaid rent, mounds of debt, terrible grades and suspended from college, no realistic prospects for financial or career success, a string of failed relationships, a drinking, drug, and gambling problem.  He goes through life with an angry/depressed look on his face, overdue bills, nobody wants to share living space with him because he doesn't pay his bills...  I don't see things getting any better for him, in fact they have gotten progressively worse.

I was just wondering if other people who were involved with BPDs (especially waifs) saw similar (self-imposed) struggles that are really unnecessary?  It is this reminder of his slowly spiraling downward lifestyle that gives me strength to stay away.  I don't want his ever expanding list of problems to become my problems.
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CaptainM
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« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2012, 11:31:29 PM »

I was just wondering if other people who were involved with BPDs (especially waifs) saw similar (self-imposed) struggles that are really unnecessary?

Definitely. My ex would set her expectations of herself so high and yet put so many impediments in her own way it made things so incredibly hard for herself and only further reinforced her own feelings of failure and the world being out to get her.

Where I would try to roll with the punches an accept good things when they were within reach, my ex would find praise so hard to fathom that even rewards to her career were looked at with suspicion or as though she wasn't good enough to fulfil expectations.

Despite all this she still managed moderate success in her career and in a few other aspects of life - but it was always (and I'd wager always will be) a constant struggle to keep that ship steady.

Quote
It is this reminder of his slowly spring downward lifestyle that gives me strength to stay away.  I don't want his ever expanding list of problems to become my problems.

Absolutely. We can't help those who don't want help, and we often have enough on our own plate as it is.  Doing the right thing
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maria1
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2012, 01:27:31 AM »

Mine wasn't/isn't a loser by most standards. But he lives largely off other people. He has spent all his divorce settlement money on an Audi tt and furnishing a beautiful flat. The flat he bought with money from his mother.

His ex wife worked in a well paid job and he made a big deal of the fact that he worked part time to do the child care. Now I realise he loved working part time. He's a self employed craftsman and very good at what he does.

He owned a successful business for 10 years and says he got out when it was really successful as he couldnt cope with the stress of success. No idea if that's true but I do think the business did well.
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Slowlybutsurely
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2012, 01:45:29 AM »

Mine was the opposite of a loser. She had such charisma, a good job, many gifts and talents, a million friends, her finances 100% together, beautiful and successful. She had everything but good emotional/mental health. Very sad.
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This board is for members with failed or failing relationships that want to detach from their relationship and relationship wounds. If you are still analyzing the decision to stay, please post on Undecided: Staying or Leaving
All members living with a pwBPD should learn to use the Stop the Bleeding tools - boundaries, timeouts and other basic tools - to better manage the day to day interactions with your partner. If you have questions on any of the tools, feel free to go over to Staying: Improving a Relationship with a Borderline Partner and ask for help. :-)
anna58

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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2012, 02:31:03 AM »

Mine always struggles and blames his childhood or society. He knows his mind is unbalanced but won't go to therapy or take medication (he used to be addicted to valium). He is proud that he keeps going and pushing through despite how bipolar and unbalanced he is.

He is a writer and has had no income for at least 2 years. He won't accept "lowly" work. He isn't really looking for freelance work; says it's not out there. He wrote and sold a script in Los Angeles, for a lot of money, about 5 years ago. He is talented. But can't make his way in the world. He is homeless. Stays with friends or travels and gets short-term rentals. Unstable. Very unstable.

He finds a woman (like me) and then follows her, befriends her, and latches on to her.  Looks like I'm "it". Dammit. I am struggling to stop with my codependent stuff. Writing this helps.
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the_way_back
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2012, 06:49:04 AM »

Yup

Mine has even started to dress and behave like one.

She can't keep anything stable or consistent. She quits jobs (or gets fired) after a year or so. She's never tried to do anything about being financially secure and uses others as "meal tickets" and uses our children as leverage to do this.

Sad really.
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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2012, 07:20:26 AM »

yes, he has very low-end jobs that he is ashamed of, and he finds them hard to keep. 

he is obsessed with "being successful," and cannot seem to do it.

his boss/sponsor/friends have asked me why he works the jobs he does, and why he always loses them. 

he himself calls himself "a loser" "a retard" "dysfunctional" when he is not projecting that onto me.

once we were in a counseling session and he just kept saying he just needs to stop being a loser and be successful, just had to find a good job. 

funny things is i don't CARE about that stuff..i mean, it did open my eyes when i saw hiim losing these easy jobs left and right. it would be NICE if he could keep a job, or make some money.  he does work hard, and works 2 or 3 jobs to pay the bills. until he sabotoges or gets fired again.

he wears the same jeans over and over, and dirty, smelly, holey socks day after day sometimes.  i don't know if loser is the right term..it is more like ILL or DYSFUNCTIONAL.   but, yes, many in our culture would say he's a loser. 

he is so charasmatic though and good looking, and smart,  that i think this is overlooked, until he's been at a job for a while or until people get to know him.

(i guess we all equate loser with lack of money or job and winner as job and money) wink
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« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2012, 07:38:04 AM »

Wdone is right I think, these are traits that stem directly from the illness itself.

My own ex was extremely intelligent, but the stress of dealing with regular lectures, lessons and exams was too great for her.  Since dropping out of college she has only been able to find basic, unskilled work that she hates, working for people she considers to be idiots.  It rarely takes very long for her to lose her patience and her temper and tell them where they can shove their job.

Many BPD sufferers (if not all) also tend to also have addictive personalities.  This can manifest itself in alcohol, drugs, gambling, spending sprees that cannot be afforded, promiscuous sex, and of course the addiction to the relationships themselves, which they repeat over and over without ever seeming to learn from the cycles.  None of this is going to leave them in a great position in life.
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MaybeSo
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« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2012, 08:56:27 AM »

No, he has two college degrees and owns his own professional firm.
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« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2012, 09:10:25 AM »

Yes,
She grew up with money and felt entitled to everything she had.  She had college paid for and dropped out after two years (before I met her).  Held a job while we were dating but had no ambition to do anything else.  Then she got pregnant with our 1st child and we got married.  From then on I was her sole support until about 5 yrs ago when a trust was activated in installments.  Even then she couldn't control her addictions (spending, alcohol, drugs).  She had every opportunity and the means, time and money to go back to school or even get a job, but chose to sit at home and do nothing but get drunk/take drugs and wallow in self pity.  I used to tell her if she didn't like how her life was going she could change it if she wanted to.  She never listened to my advice and always took it as critism.  She also surrounds herself with "losers" like herself so she doesn't have to feel worse about who she is. 

T. Moore
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« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2012, 09:16:27 AM »

Mine always struggles and blames his childhood or society. He knows his mind is unbalanced but won't go to therapy or take medication (he used to be addicted to valium). He is proud that he keeps going and pushing through despite how bipolar and unbalanced he is.

He is a writer and has had no income for at least 2 years. He won't accept "lowly" work. He isn't really looking for freelance work; says it's not out there. He wrote and sold a script in Los Angeles, for a lot of money, about 5 years ago. He is talented. But can't make his way in the world. He is homeless. Stays with friends or travels and gets short-term rentals. Unstable. Very unstable.

He finds a woman (like me) and then follows her, befriends her, and latches on to her.  Looks like I'm "it". Dammit. I am struggling to stop with my codependent stuff. Writing this helps.

Anna,
Admitting that you're co-dependent is the first step to becoming healthy.  Self awareness is the key to healing.  I believe most if not all of us on these boards are co-dependent in some way or we never would have gotten involved in these unhealthy r/s's to begin with.  Remember the five stages of detachment and practice them.  It will help you through this.

T.  Moore
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Want2know
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« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2012, 10:48:24 AM »

I was just wondering if other people who were involved with BPDs (especially waifs) saw similar (self-imposed) struggles that are really unnecessary?  It is this reminder of his slowly spiraling downward lifestyle that gives me strength to stay away.  I don't want his ever expanding list of problems to become my problems.

Hi Redberry,

It's good that you understand that being in a r/s with someone who does not have the qualities you want can create problems for yourself.  Lesson learned.  I was in the same boat and thankfully, I let that boat sail on without me last September when we finally broke up.

At this point in my detachment, I no longer wonder or have an emotional attachment to his success or failure.  I am wondering what it might take for you to feel the same way?  Looking at the Stages of Detachment (to the right of the screen and in the Lessons), what phase do you see yourself in right now, and what do you think you can do to move towards the final step of Freedom? 

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“Dance as though no one is watching you. Love as though you have never been hurt before. Sing as though no one can hear you. Live as though heaven is on earth."~ Souza

redberry
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« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2012, 01:25:33 PM »

Interesting posts you guys!  I appreciate them all.  It really makes clear the difference between high and low functioning BPDs.  When I thought about low functioning, I had an image in my head of someone who barely gets out of bed, doing drugs all day, not part of society, can't hold a job, or make friends, etc.  When I thought about high functioning,I picture someone successful, able to reach their goals, where the disorder is well hidden and their life looks like they have it together.

Sometimes I can't decide if my ex is high functioning or sort of medium/lower functioning.  He can hold a job (doesn't get fired), but he doesn't stay around for more than a year or so and jumps to something else which may or may not be a financially smart change, usually burning a bridge with the old employer in the end.  It's never a "promotion," always a lateral move at best.  Every one of these jobs are kind of dead end and low paying, but at least he's working.  Educationally, I'd say he is low functioning.  He can't achieve any educational goals, he starts out okay for a few weeks but always sabotages himself by blowing off school, drinking and partying, and has an abysmal overall academic record.  I guess he's mostly "high functioning" overall, but I don't think there's any chance of long term success for him.  Self sabotage ALWAYS happens at some point.  I can't picture any other scenario other than him jumping from menial job to menial job for the rest of his life.  If he does manage to swing a job upgrade, he will certainly torpedo it and fall down to the bottom rung of the career ladder again.  When I step back and look at that reality, it is very sad.

Want2know, I am glad to hear that you were able to detach.  I am much more detached than I was 8 months ago, but it is certainly a process and I'm not fully there yet.  I'd say I'm still processing some of this.  I guess I'm a slow learner.  My T says that I am doing fine and detachment just takes A LOT of time.  The T is right about that.  I'm human, though, and I sometimes wonder if I will ever be fully detached where I truly do not care about my ex and his misery.  He doesn't have me crying daily anymore, far from it, so detachment is very much happening...  Slowly, but surely.  smiley
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Want2know
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« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2012, 01:45:00 PM »

I'm human, though, and I sometimes wonder if I will ever be fully detached where I truly do not care about my ex and his misery.  He doesn't have me crying daily anymore, far from it, so detachment is very much happening...  Slowly, but surely.  smiley

Glad to hear you are feeling better than 8 months ago, and that you are working with a T.

I guess what helps me about getting over wondering about my ex and his misery is that by thinking about it, I know it's not healthy for me.  What benefit do I gain by thinking of if he's happy, sad, miserable, etc.  Do you see any benefit that you are gaining by caring or wondering how he is? 

 

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“Dance as though no one is watching you. Love as though you have never been hurt before. Sing as though no one can hear you. Live as though heaven is on earth."~ Souza

emdily

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« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2012, 02:40:55 PM »

Wow-- I am seeing so many aspects of my 2 BPD exes here. Anna- that sounds like my ex husband exactly! He is writer and very entrepreneurial, and I used to run a business with him. He is super charming and talented, but almost every project he's done results in burning bridges with people and employees, being in over his head and debt at the end. I am so glad my finances aren't intertwined with his anymore. He is also very sloppy and messy and his apartment is disgusting. Also an alcoholic and smoker and slept around when we were together and REALLY slept around after we broke up.

My most recent ex (a woman) was "successful" in many ways- multiple degrees, languages, travels, etc. Was finishing a phd program and teaching right before I met her. Clean to to point of OCD. Looks good on paper, right?

Also is a raging alcoholic and pot smoker, and has a history of cocaine which I am still not sure how much she was/was not using when we were together. Extreme social anxiety to the point of being an agoraphobe. She had slept with her students in the past. When I met her she was "taking a break" from the phd program and teaching and was semi-employed.

Man, I know how to pick them, right?
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gina louise
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« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2012, 04:14:55 PM »

My H had large gaps in his employment history and had a period where after his divorce (years ago) he took a job well below his skill level just to be working, although he was capable of far more success at work.
he had left a great job in the IT field to (supposedly) care for his Mom with alzheimers-but she still had her husband caring for her-so I believe that was just a story and he was in real trouble at work. I think he may have had an affair, and his wife found out and it blew things outta the water. then she had an affair to retaliate. he was unable to cope and he left his job and was in some sort of inpatient facility-he said once in passing that he had a nervous breakdown...but I never know what's true and what's old fiction. when I press him he says he cant recall. or it's not important.

I felt that he was just unable to cope with change...good or bad. Anything new would set him into a tailspin. He's extremely stressed when beginning a new job with new people. And he's on a new job every year or so...

he now bewails the short sighted and selfish choices he made with regards to work and finances-yeah maybe blowing 30K on a partial face left, lasix and tooth bonding after the divorce was UNWISE!(I didn't know until after we'd started dating. that was a huge secret of his) And hopping from job to job every year or two makes him look like a gypsy!

he has no retirement to speak of and no benefits- except he gets those from me and MY retirement.

I hate to see when he's much older, and unwell and has real problems to deal with.

he can barely cope when life is fairly good.

I am working on detaching so when my time comes to jump ship I can...without getting tangled up.
I really wonder how it's going to be as he ages.
GL
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nocrazy
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« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2012, 02:09:08 PM »

My uBPD NPD ex H was a terribly low functioning sloth as an alcoholic, all except for creatively, which came to him with ease, although he could do nothing productive with it at all.
Genius talent, without one skill to bring that into any kind of focus.

He was so low functioning that he would sleep around for shelter and drinks. He would take himself to the hospital and admit himself just about every few weeks. Then would flee the hospital before being treated. Always said he thought he was going crazy from panic, or was dying from alcohol.

Then he got sober, started to work, started to excel, and then got a raise, then a promotion.

He is very high functioning in the work department right now, straightened out his credit, too. Then started buying things...then more things...then loans, then a new car, a newer car, a new house...

he started to become obsessive about material aquisition, his appearance. This rail thin vagabond started to work out two hours a day, tanning at the gym. Needed an Ipad, Needed the best new car. It just looks manic, driven and excessive to me, but the rest of the world just sees the "success"

Now, I am not sure, but he seems to have backed himslef into a corner with loans and debt, has a house in forever 'closing' stage.
He says he kicks a** at work, (which is a family company, his brother is his boss...) and I know for a fact that he was kicking butt, for while when he lived here, but now, I have no idea what is true.

he's always saying he has no money, now. Pays me the minimum support.

He is socially well regarded, and everyone is so proud of him getting sober, and what an extreme and total turnaround he made of his life!

BUt, inside our house, for the last two years since he came from rehab, life was a living heck. He was more and more disordered, one thing after another.

really, I think he is high functioning at work, and money, but who knows?

As far as everyday life, parenting, keeping facts clear, emotions, he is VERY low functioning.


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BreatheEasy
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« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2012, 10:27:32 PM »

My exBPDbf is a psycharist believe it or not. He is doing his residency currently. He would go back and forth from low functioning to high. It went in cycles and it depended on what the current crisis was that he was going through. It fascinated me how he could be low functioning by missing school/work, eating brings, drug binges, insomia, sleeping the whole day,depression all for weeks and months at a time. Then he could lose weight get himself together the next few months.

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« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2012, 11:33:27 PM »

So what does it say about us that we were with these people, regardless if they were high functioning or low functioning?  If you were with someone that you would consider not having ambition and not being able to stick it out in any job vs. someone that had ambition and could manage maintaing some high level job...how does that reflect on you or me?

Mine was what I would consider low functioning, however, I have always had stable, good paying employment.  Why was I accepting of his life style?  Had he had a good paying job and could handle financial matters, what difference would that have really made regarding the abuse I let myself endure?

That seems to be the question to ask.  Not how they were, but why we allowed ourselves to stay with our partners as long as we did.  What lesson did you take away from your experience?

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“Dance as though no one is watching you. Love as though you have never been hurt before. Sing as though no one can hear you. Live as though heaven is on earth."~ Souza

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« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2012, 06:59:42 AM »

I would say that we (nons, co-dependants, etc..) have either a lot of hope, "magical thinking" or don't value ourselves too highly. I know that was the case with both of my past r/s. The 10 year one included a lot of hope and magical thinking, plus at a certain point feeling "trapped" b/c we have a child together. He was also a Narcissist and was very very skilled at drawing people into his schemes.

The second r/s was only 9 months but should have been 2 months. I felt sorry for the person and all of their trauma and hard times, and allowed them to take me on a ride.

I hope I have learned something from these relationships... I really do need to work on my self esteem though.
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