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Think About It... As an adult child of someone with BPD, you've likely been cultivating and honing certain beliefs and behaviors since infancy. As a baby, you viscerally sensed anger, frustration, and despair through your parents' touch, voice, and you felt tension tightening the air...what you learned may have helped you protect yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally from your borderline parent, but it's probably not serving you well now". ~ Freda B. Friedman, Ph.D., LCSW, Surviving a Borderline Parent
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Author Topic: The BPD NPD couple, my parents probably?  (Read 3159 times)
busybee1116
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« on: July 26, 2012, 05:56:48 PM »

I came to believe that my mother has BPD about 18 months ago.  I just thought my dad had gone crazy after living with her alone too long.  I restarted therapy a little over a month ago and it's become clear that a lot of my unresolved issues (perfectionism, guilt, shame, cognitive distortions) have more to do with my father.  I have a lot of conflicted feelings about him and you all have helped me recently.  Particularly NewPhoenixRising, PF Change and DoubleAries for making me consider NPD.  You have great radars!

At T today, I brought a homework assignment I'd been working on (about cognitive distortions), and in it I explained some things about my dad and what it was like growing up.  We've talked about him in other sessions, but this was more specific.  I did the homework last week, before the idea of NPD, and didn't mention anything to her about wondering if he has N traits. She read through it all and them asked, "does your Dad have much...empathy?" And I asked, "Do you mean, is he a narcissist?" Apparently she's suspected he has N traits.  We had an interesting discussion after that...

So crazy to me, because he seemed normal/the more stable parent compared to her to the point I can't see he's the one projecting so much guilt, shame.  He plays the stoic, the martyr, above reproach. 

I've requested the BPD NPD Couple by Lachkar from the library.  I know a few of you have PDs of many flavors in your lives.  How do you handle it?  It stresses me out to think I have double the trouble, although in reality nothing has changed except me  wink  do I just use the same tips and tricks with NPD as I do BPD, or do they have a different handbook?
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ShadesofGray
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2012, 06:10:51 PM »

That's a good question.

I deal with my mother (BPD with NPD traits) differently than I do with my father (not BPD, but is NPD).

Their abuse was very different, and the fact that dad was enmeshed with mom made things more complex.

You'll find that it's not uncommon to have one parent with BPD and the other parent with NPD. They attract one another.
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NewPhoenixRising
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2012, 06:23:20 PM »

Quote
I know a few of you have PDs of many flavors in your lives.  How do you handle it?  It stresses me out to think I have double the trouble, although in reality nothing has changed except me  wink  do I just use the same tips and tricks with NPD as I do BPD, or do they have a different handbook?

First of all, I'm sorry to hear your parents have this dynamic.  It's not easy.  It's the same dynamic my parents have (uBPDm uNPDd).  But your father sounds different than my father.  NPD comes in different forms (classic, covert, etc.).  My mother is a Queen BPD, which models a NPDish stance also.  

There is definitely a difference in the way you will want to approach a pwBPD vs. a pwNPD.  

I have to go do some painting on our house now, but I'll revisit this thread later.. Glad you're finding some resources and have a good T  Doing the right thing  
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"Power isn't a means, it's an end. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power."  ~ George Orwell
busybee1116
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2012, 06:42:27 PM »

First of all, I'm sorry to hear your parents have this dynamic.  It's not easy.  It's the same dynamic my parents have (uBPDm uNPDd).  But your father sounds different than my father.  NPD comes in different forms (classic, covert, etc.).  My mother is a Queen BPD, which models a NPDish stance also.  
Happy painting!  I look forward to your wisdom!

T said same thing, that there are many different forms.  She thinks his linear/clinical/unsentimental way of thinking, need to keep up appearances (having the perfect looking family--what atheist makes sure whole family attends church?, high expectations that created anxious perfectionist kids, being a know-it-all, expert in his field) and martyr/superiority complex (making negative comparisons, denigrating others, cutting off people who no longer see him as superior) all point to narcissism. She said narcissists are deeply wounded people who try to cover for that by filling the bottomless pit with superficialities. If everything looks okay, it must be ok, and ignore how bad I really feel inside.  And that atheist who attends church because he thought it would give us good moral instruction--she said that's an example of covering shame--he believes his values aren't good enough to teach his children and atheists aren't moral.  She also said staying with a uBPD wife is like supporting evidence.  Still wrapping my head around it. 
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kris38

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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2012, 10:28:56 PM »

Busybee
Wow! We have so much in common. It is very overwhelming, isn't it? I also just discovered my mom's BPD (waif, sometimes witch) and my dads np(prickly). My only sibling is also the waif. Since it is fairly new, I'm wondering if you are experiencing the intense emotions I am? Are you so sad and depressed, confused and scared? I feel like no one really gets how I feel except my online friends here.  When you described your dad...so much like mine! He loves to make fun of me for mistakes I made as a teen...like getting a traffic ticket. He can go to McDonalds and if they get his order wrong, he humiliates them...so embarrassing.  He is also atheist or agnostic, not sure. I wish I had advice for you, but I have currently cut off almost all contact with them. I now am trying to decide if I can have a relationship at all. I want to go back into therapy, but they currently can't get me in...

I would bet, though, that there are similarities on dealing with both- strong boundaries, taking care of yourself, correcting cognitive distortions.  I would love to hear what you find out.

Good luck! My thoughts are soooo with you!

Kris
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doubleAries
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2012, 10:57:20 PM »

BusyBee--
I just had a T session today (which I was REALLY looking forward to, after the past week!) and he reminded me of something he told me before that I only partially absorbed. BPD is basically all the other PD's rolled into one. And there will be one of those that stands out a little (or a lot) more than the others. AND THAT HE TOLD ME TO READ ABOUT ALL OF THEM (which I forgot to do, but am now doing in the past week). That's where Christine Lawson comes up with her 4 "types" of BPD's:
Witch---BPD with an emphasis on histrionic disorder (and/or ASPD)
Waif--BPD with an emphasis on dependent PD
Queen--BPD with emphasis on narcissistic PD
Hermit--BPD with emphasis on avoidant PD

You may find (in relation to your dad) interest also in OCPD (which is not the same as OCD).

I like the wikipedia pages about these, because not only can you click on the other PD's from the same page, but at the bottom of each page is what is called "Millons subtypes" (because each PD also has its own subtypes). And instead of just the DSM-IV criteria list of symptoms (which includes the full criteria for dx--not just "traits"), there are more detailed explanations/examples of each criteria. Because sometimes I'm not "clicking on" the symptom list until I see some examples or explanations, then it's like  Thought

I know what you mean---my dad so seemed like the reasonable "normal" person COMPARED TO my mom. That being the key--COMPARED TO. Seeing him individually though, has changed my perception of him. A LOT.

But think about it--how could a "reasonable, normal" person stay married to a BPD for many, many years? And in some ways, this changes the way I see myself--(self posed "observance" from the past): "if reasonable, normal dad can deal with this, then there is something wrong with me for struggling with this" you know--the fault is mine! (taking responsibility for the wrong thing, and ignoring the ones I should be seeking)

Personally, I am right now finding that in many ways my dynamic with my dad has a lot more to do with the changes within I seek than my mom does.
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we must come to know we are more than anyone's opinion--including our own
kris38

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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2012, 11:08:58 PM »

Double aries
Good information! You clarified a lot for me. I suspected my dad was either OCPD or NPD ...now I see why I couldn't figure it out.

So study all PDs? Are you overwhelmed? I find that I'm so hungry for information, but maybe am too consumed. I guess I just feel like I finally have so many answers and questions. Does that ever calm down? Great info! Thank you. Don't mean to ask too many questions...
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doubleAries
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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2012, 11:47:08 PM »

kris38---
many pwPD's don't just have one PD (and of course, as I said, BPD basically being all of them rolled into one) and I found the "Millon's subtypes" extremely helpful.

Sometimes I feel consumed too. Especially since I haven't even had contact with my witch BPD mom for 22 years. Sort of "why bother now?" but actually it has been VERY helpful for me. As a kid (and as an adult, even without contact) it was a big mystery, and my mom seemed so unique and unexplainable. Now, she looks pretty text book! It was a relief to know there was actually a name for this (which I only learned 4 months ago), but even more so, just to understand the parameters of what this mystery actually was. If the "monster" has a definable shape and size, then it isn't endlessly, infinitely HUGE.

For example, as a kid I did not understand "projection". Now that I do, I see many incidents/events/situations from the past a completely different way. And most importantly, I see my own reactions/attempts to cope completely differently, and now understand why those attempts didn't work (incorrect conjecture/base info--understandable for a little kid). And even more importantly, how I have carried those same (ineffective) coping skills into my adulthood.

As long as I don't lose track of the point (how to improve my own life), then I don't feel consumed. If I'm just trying to figure her out (with no other purpose) then I am consumed. Understanding THAT has been what has helped "calm it down" for me.

But at first, I was completely overwhelmed. I knew my life was getting ready to change forever--and that has certainly been the case. No regrets though---for me, ignorance is NOT bliss.
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kris38

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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2012, 12:02:01 AM »

Millon's Subtypes...I will get that. I definitely see what you mean. As long as I am focused on my health..it's ok. But, I don't think I will ever really figure them out. Are you NC with all family? I ask because I just came back from my cousin's funeral. He hung himself on the 16th. In going to the funeral,, I reconnected with family I hadn't seen for about 6 years. It turns out, my aunt seems BPD too and I have been split black by her along with one of my other cousins. Then I discovered her other son- the all good child doesn't speak to his three young daughters. It just seems like my entire family is a toxic mess that I didn't recognize before. And what I struggle with the most, is I want a family, but it may not be possible...
Thank you...you help so much!
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NewPhoenixRising
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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2012, 12:40:55 AM »

busybee, here's a good starting point for understanding how to communicate/not communicate with your uNPDd busybee:

http://www.psytalk.info/articles/narcissist.html

Your last post actually got me thinking about being raised in an insistent Christian environment.  I was.  Our church was Lutheran and my mother made sure we made it to church/Sunday school/vacation bible school/confirmation class/and confirmation.  We may have missed twice from the time I was born to the time I was confirmed at 16.  I guess I am guessing prior to when I became aware smiley

What got me thinking is that I don't remember my mother teaching me any bible stories or even quoting the bible.  She only used a few quotes in order to control us (ie 'Honor your father and mother' - usually stated with anger).  She also never stated what her actual beliefs were, other than referring to God and Jesus in rather vague ways.

Now why would someone who made us all go to all those church activities for 16 years, and collectively more, never voice any beliefs of her own or even reference the bible, other than to control her children ?  hmm..  Probably for very similar reasons to your father.  

This was one thing I had not really figured out in all the analyzing I've done with my mother.  I assumed she really believed in the Christian concepts, and it was one thing she really tried to give us that was part of herself.  I did learn a lot about morals from going to those church activities, but I now believe she was not doing it to share part of herself.

And your post, along with some others, has helped me to understand that my mother has both very strong BPD behavior as well as very strong NPD behavior.  DoubleAries, you put that in my head when you originally posted on the Lawson BPD mother categories - that Queens have a high NPD tendency.  I had forgotten that over the years, as I read Lawson's book in 2004.  Then after reading a post Randi Krueger put up earlier today, it was really set in my head.  

So, I'm still learning too.   It's both a disappointment that my mother was not giving a part of herself in giving me 'her religion', and a relief in that it explains that the BPD/NPD was all-pervasive.  My mother is now a complete puzzle smiley  So thanks DoubleAries, busybee, and Randi Krueger.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2012, 12:48:50 AM by NewPhoenixRising » Logged

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