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Author Topic: BPD BEHAVIORS: Did she ever love me? [romantic partners]  (Read 43594 times)
oceanheart
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« on: January 24, 2008, 09:29:24 PM »

Did she ever love me?
One question often pondered by realationsionship partners is "What was the true nature of the relationship? Did she (he) love me?"

The purpose of this workshop is to explore the nature of BPD love.  

[The main text of this intro post is an extended version of the essay I wrote to accompany the article How a Borderline Relationship Evolves, by Roger Melton, MA. The approach I’ve taken in writing what it’s like to love as a person with BPD has been mostly academic and abstract, more about the process of it rather than the feeling of it. I’ve stayed away from becoming too emotionally detailed because even though I am mostly recovered, it still is a painful subject, made even more so because I am single. Those old ghosts sometimes come knocking, still.]

Anyway, input, reactions, thoughts, opinions, solutions (lol), etc. about this subject would be welcome and appreciated.

What’s it like to love when you have borderline personality disorder?
...I don’t know, but only because when I was not yet recovering from BPD as I am now, I couldn’t love. Not because I wasn’t capable of it (after all we people with BPD are still people) but because it wasn’t really love. It certainly felt like love to me – the only way I knew love to feel: desperate, overwhelming, consuming, and ultimately destructive. Love was like Hiroshima. It truly was a feeling of searing heat.

It was that way from the beginning of a relationship, and it was certainly that way at the end of one, and there was always an end because no healthy, normal human interaction could survive that kind of intensity. But at the beginning there was always positive passion, which understandibly made the non-BPD patner feel so exquisitely wanted. At the end of it, the passion was as strong as the start, but regardless of who ended the relationship, it was wholly negative.

People with BPD are intense by nature: one of the disorder’s basic structures is mood lability. But the force of our love – and our hate, though never indifference – comes from something altogether different: from the deep emptiness inside us, where no warmth seems to reach. It’s an absense of a sense of self, a sense of being a good person, and comes from a lack (or perceived lack) of getting our primary needs met when we were children, for whatever reason: abuse, neglect, trauma, difficult innate temperaments, invalidation, loss of a caretaker, harsh environment, whatever it may be.

Love, for an adult, unrecovered BP, is still about getting those driving, unfulfilled needs met. It’s about finding THE person to love us unconditionally who will never leave us and who will make our lives bearable, who will give us a reason to live and give us back ourselves. Ultimately, that’s why it can’t be love, because romantic love is between two people who can experience emotional intimacy and who see each other as partners and as ends in themselves. The unrecovered person with BPD is not capable of that kind of selflessness and sharing: the partner remains an object to a BP, whether the BP is conscious of it or not: the partner is the “cure” for our lonliness, a source to feed our neediness, not a person in and of themselves.

So when our partner lets us down – for, as being humans they inevitably will – the once burning hot passion becomes a roaring fire of hatred or a self-immolation of agony and sadness. We don’t always mean to hurt the people we love, sometimes we don’t realise we have hurt the people we love, and often we hate ourselves because we have hurt the people we love. We want those we love to be with us and to stay with us, as does everyone else. That we folks with BPD are usually the very reasons those people leave is a pain beyond knowing: the thing we want the most is the thing we know least how to have. How horribly pitiful that is. Unless we grow and change and learn healthy ways, this will always be so in our lives, which means we will never truly experience the greatest thing that makes life worthwhile: love.
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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2008, 11:05:02 PM »


I used to write things like this in many a thread...

BPDs:
  • DON'T KNOW HOW TO LOVE
  • DONT KNOW WHAT LOVE IS
  • JUST DONT WANT TO BE . . .
 
  • They will do anything to win at whatever they think it is that's gonna make them happy or better than us. . . (really)
  • They will take no hostages, just leave a trail of victims..
(i have found it to be too true - sadly)


I quit writing those lines a while back; after I finally accepted it and the fact that she was not going to do what she needed for herself. She had the opportunity to improve and the structure in-place. She chose not too. In so doing she further demonstrated that she doesn't love herself yet... at least not how she should.

I quit writing them because it *hurt too much* to accept and understand both at the same time.




So when our partner lets us down – for, as being humans they inevitably will – the once burning hot passion becomes a roaring fire of hatred or a self-immolation of agony and sadness. We don’t always mean to hurt the people we love, sometimes we don’t realise we have hurt the people we love, and often we hate ourselves because we have hurt the people we love. We want those we love to be with us and to stay with us, as does everyone else. That we folks with BPD are usually the very reasons those people leave is a pain beyond knowing: the thing we want the most is the thing we know least how to have. How horribly pitiful that is. Unless we grow and change and learn healthy ways, this will always be so in our lives, which means we will never truly experience the greatest thing that makes life worthwhile: love.


I learned this long ago. I realized it before we ended. I committed it my heart after we split. But I refused to accept it. I loved her (as much as 'I' could). I detested knowing and understanding the truth to that which I knew. 

That is part of the reason I refused to give up... to get re-engagemented... to self-re-engagement...

She loved me as best as she knew how. I loved her the best I knew how. I too have a PD and I understand that I need to love myself first before I can really understand the what-how-&-why of real love. I realized that long ago.  Even before understanding my own defect(s) I realized that she did not realize that *love* in herself.

She was happy and feeding off of me. She didn't love herself, she never had; so she never knew what love was for or about.

Ocean notes that >>>when our partner lets us down...<<< it can ignite the torches which illuminate the inevitable the path downhill. I also noticed that when the BPD realizes they have made mistakes, when they let the non-partner down, that they will begin the sabotage cycle as well.

I am learning to love myself and I am learning about my PD. The more I do the more I can understand how the BPD doesn't understand "love". Remember that above I wrote "I loved her (as much as 'I' could)."  There is a reason the as much as 'I' could part is in blue. I too have to learn more about love. I think many nons need to learn more of themselves and their own love and reason for "acceptance of status-quo" better and in doing so they we will have a better understanding of how the person with the PD has this challenge with "love".

No, they never really love/loved us. But we can love them.

bumpy
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Ave Marina
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« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2008, 12:03:30 AM »

In my heart, I believe that my ex really did love me. I also believe that he was capable of love. He expressed this in many ways when he wasn't in the BPD mode. I believe that he would have hung the moon for me. He would have done anything to protect me from the "evils of the world." He was kind and generous. He never missed our "monthly anniversaries." He did a lot of sweet things for me as an expression of his love. I would come home from work and he would be folding my laundry, or be cooking my favorite meal. I was always getting "just because" handmade cards, and little gifts and flowers. He would cry when I would bring him a little gift or give him a sentimental card for whatever the occasion. He loved children, and they were drawn to him. When we hugged, we held on to each other tightly. Many times there were tears between us as we embraced. Unfortunately his BPD got in the way. Every three weeks or so he would go off the deep end, and Mr. Evil would emerge. The least little thing would set him off, and he would be off on a tirade. It's like the sweetest guy in the world left and some other entity entered his body and took over for a period of time. In his irrational mind, I was expected to accept the Mr. Hyde part of his personality. When he was in this personna, I was supposed to sit there and take his rages, and name calling etc. Whenver this passed, he would return to normal and be my prince charming once again. It's like he never remembered what took place, or played it down as "one of our little spats." His ability to show love and affection were abounding. He dearly loved his Grandmother, sister, and niece. He talked to his Grandmother almost daily. To this day, I believe that he loved me and probably still does. The BPD is something that is out of his control. I feel that he is well aware of his personality defect. He just doesn't know how else to be. Sadly, I believe that there is a really good person deep inside that would like to come out. The BPD is holding him prisoner. This isn't to justify his behavior. No matter what the reason, nobody should have to endure verbal or physical abuse from another human being. That is why I ultimately chose to leave the relationship. I am sad for him because he is so miserable in himself. Capable of love? I do believe that some BP's are capable of loving. Just my dime's worth.

Ave
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This board is intended for general questions about BPD and other personality disorders, trait definitions, and related therapies and diagnostics. Topics should be formatted as a question.

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« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2008, 07:20:46 AM »

Ocean,

Although I have told you this before I must say it again, I am so very sincerely impressed with your ability to not only take an honest look at yourself with all your strengths and frailties...but, your eloquence in being able to express it.

Because of your words and as well other things I have read or come to understand since my marriage ended, I know that DB never truly loved me, not in the true/real/normal sense of love...he cannot, he is incapable.  His illness started showing at a very young age and has gone for well over 30 years basically untreated, it is about need, not love which are very different emotions.

It was one of the hardest things to come to grips with when it was all over, that none of it was really real.  I simply fed a need, and when I expected something real in return he could not give it and instead hurt those who cared the most. 

It was all he could give, but, it certainly wasnt love as a healthy person knows it.  I tried, Lord knows I tried to show him real love, urged him to get help, begged him to do something to save the relationship...he didn't...he couldn't...

Ocean - your bravery, honesty and ability to understand your own illness is nothing short of amazing, I know you are still working on it, there are still times where it is painful and hard...but, you are doing what very few BPD's do...becoming healthy and facing it all with grace and understanding...you have my respect and  xoxo
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oceanheart
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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2008, 09:00:04 PM »

She had the opportunity to improve and the structure in-place. She chose not to. In so doing she further demonstrated that she doesn't love herself yet... at least not how she should.

She loved me as best as she knew how. I loved her the best I knew how. I too have a PD and I understand that I need to love myself first before I can really understand the what-how-&-why of real love. . . . She was happy and feeding off of me. She didn't love herself, she never had; so she never knew what love was for or about.

No, they never really love/loved us. But we can love them.
Really good points, Bumpy. That old cliche, which is oh so true: if we can't love ourselves we can't love another. And BPs hate themselves, for the most part, or don't know their true selves (AJ Mahari had written extensively on the latter subject of "false self", I'd recommend reading her stuff - she's posted here at FtF, too). I'd be interested in what you think about your own sense of love, given your own struggles with a PD.

Ave - I believe we with BPD are capable of love, but only because I believe it comes standard on the human model, so to speak. It's there, it just isn't being used in the majority of people with BPD (just my opinion, of course), because so many weren't taught how to use it. We were taught the opposite, maybe: how to hate (mostly ourselves), how to mistrust, how to fear. It wasn't necessarily a parent who taught us that, it was often just life itself, or specific traumas, or abuse, which damaged the ability to love in a real sense.

It wasn't impossible: I loved my Grandmother more than anyone, and not (just) for selfish reasons: I loved her for the wonderful person she was. I loved my best friend, too, because he accepted me but also because I have never known anyone as special as he is. Deep down I loved my FOO, but only recently could I feel it because of a lifetime of resentment had obscured it. I have never truly loved in an adult way any partner I've been with. For one thing, I wasn't with them long enough to develop deep, true intimacy. For another thing, I mistook my neediness for love, for love itself. It's different if someone's with their partner for a long time, maybe.

Not to rub salt in a wound, Ave, because I know you've been through a lot recently, but do you think he loved you when he was Mr. Hyde? Wasn't that as much him as the wonderful Dr. Jekyll side? For you, did his abuse cancel out all his sweetness?

elphie (love right back at'cha), why do you think it is he couldn't ever get help? was it too painful for him to admit he was wrong? Did he believe he loved you and that he didn't have to "prove" it? What's it like to love someone who is incapable of giving back that same level of love (if that's not too painful to think/speak about)?

leo, I like your analogy of the script writer, because it's like we're writing the fiction of our lives and how we're supposed to be acting, as if we're characters. i.e., this is how love's supposed to look, this is the "love scene", this is what romance is about. But it's all fake: it's all 2-dimensional props, a darkened movie set after the cameras are gone...
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2008, 09:21:20 PM »

Oceanheart,

I appreciate your thread here and I'm glad you asked me about my own sense. ...am thinking about it now...  usually I just kinda take it for granted that I can love, I can learn to love better, blah blah blah.

I will be happy to share my own views and too contrast them to how I see xBPDso. (after I can relfect on it more)

for now I'll just note:
i know love to many degrees (as you do with various people). my idea of love has been polluted from transgressions in my past and I thought and confused the feelings that love meant and was related to sex, or money, or any (and I mean "ANY") affection. I also thought I *had* to love any and everyone that gave me a moment of time and concern.

my ideas of love have been so distorted that feeling the pitter-patter of infatuation can make me think I am in Love, that this is real love. A great round of sex with even a stranger can trigger love in me as those who loved me as a child rewarded me with affection and gifts to cover their actions.

for me to know me and to love me, i first have to identify the different ways that i see and feel love. from there figure out how i have twisted them.

i am glad you have this thread, i think Mr T is about to take me this direction in T next week. It funny how the board often fits in with my life...

anyhow, i think my ex (and I do love her still - for real) has a past like mine and so she got everything confused too.

bumpy
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« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2008, 05:03:37 PM »

oh boy... this thread real tugs at the heart... i still cry some nights at what my once bpd SO said... when she broke up with me... she said she "thought" she loved me and never did... but then she went on to tell me that she couldn't be happy with anyone because she wasn't happy with herself... a week later.. i was gettting hate mail from her... and the weekend of the break-up she was telling me how much I she loved and needed me... ugh... the worst part of this whole recovery process... is that it wasn't real.. the love... mine was.. but hers wasn't.. it was a need... and now she's saying the same things to her new bf that she said to me... and i'm going to be remembered in her book for a 1.5 year relationship the same as a 2 month relationship with another guy... i meant nothiing to her... and everything she said was just a web to get me sucked in... and worst of all i still love her and think about her constantly... i just wish she would have gotten help like she said time and time again...
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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2008, 09:15:46 PM »

Ben, I'm not sure I've met you yet... If not, "Hi! I'm glad you're here!" Your post brought to mind the point of the ever-so-common "spare/new" person. Let's not forget that many with PDs will bounce from one to another...

"Did she ever love me?"
                      ... did she?

The unequivocal should be Yes. But the equivocal choice(s) we all seem to pony up to that answer are...
Yes!
Yes she loved me...
She loved me the best she could... or best she knew how...
Maybe she loved me...
I think she did...
I hope she did.
Did she?

It awful...

And then we get thrown the "next man" (aka Mr. Rebound). Or worse than that, he's not the rebound at the all. He was the security blanket that kept her shrouded, warm and safe from our reality on her journey out and beyond...

"Did she ever love me?" is one way to look at it. It can make it easier in a way...
Did she love ME? I think is the hard one to swallow. The ever component is the one we choose to reflect on and to remember. It is indicative of the good-times that we had. Those when we were idolized, on the pedestal and painted more whit than snow...


ever, ever, ever... it can be interpreted in two manners
A. Ever having been at least once...
B. Ever meaning "really"
I know it really means A but I can easily confuse it with B

We chose to over the look the cold and hard part of the reality in demise.
It didn't matter if she ever did.
It matters more if she really did.
And beyond that... do she still?

In order to be a "still" there has to be an ever. Too bad for me that is in the past because I still love her.  cry


bumpy



ps - OceanHeart...
I think it was very clever of you to word the topic: Did She ever love me.
I think -just from my quick reflection- that this more often seems to be a male type question. Now I could be wrong, and could just be thinking that because I identify with it so well... But I wonder...

Is more a guy thing... Do the women not have this "question/fear" as much or as strongly as men do?
Heck, that might be an answer... as stronlgy... perhaps as males everything must be defined (outlined).  Hmmm...

Or perhaps you're just baiting us. what a clever way to gather a group of men that are softies... LOL    wink
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elphaba
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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2008, 09:36:02 PM »

Quote
why do you think it is he couldn't ever get help? was it too painful for him to admit he was wrong?

Ocean,  I think in many ways he absolutely cannot face that something is that wrong with him, that perhaps it is just a phase...well 37 years is a long darn phase...and in many ways at this point he actually identifies himself with being miserable, so if he isn't...he doesn't know who he is, if that makes sense.  

What burns even more is that he's not struggling with any of it at all, he simply moved to the next person who would feed that need, the need is being fed, so in his mind he's cured...until he cycles again, drives the next group of people out of his life, blames them and again moves on.  He'll never deal with his illness, he may never be held accountable for all that he has done, he's surrounded by enablers and a FOO that too so desperately needs to belive that he'll just get well...

Quote
Did he believe he loved you and that he didn't have to "prove" it?
I think he doesn't understand what love is, that is love vs. need...he cannot love in the traditional/normal way, and no, he never thought he had to prove it...I did, daily...or else he felt "unloved", but, I was just expected to deal with his inabilty to prove it.

Quote
What's it like to love someone who is incapable of giving back that same level of love (if that's not too painful to think/speak about)?
 

I'll be really honest here, because it is the only way I know how to be...What is it like?
Like the most painful thing you can imagine, like literally tearing your heart out of your chest and handing it to somone who looks at it and goes..."gee...thanks...what else ya' got?"  To this day, even writing that has brought tears to my eyes, I still don't sleep very well and I still struggle with the question as to why I accepted so little for so long.  What was/is it in me that made me want to be loved so much that I settled for what I knew for a long time was so much less than I deserved.   It is like having the life slowly drained from you, drop by drop...

One night near the end it had gotten really bad...I sat on the kitchen floor and told him he needed to do something to save the relationship, to save me...that this was killing me and that I was literaly drowning in my own dispair...he walked away, left me sitting there in tears and went to play guitars with his buddy...I think a big part of me died that night.

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Bumpy Road
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« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2008, 10:25:33 PM »

One night near the end it had gotten really bad...I sat on the kitchen floor and told him he needed to do something to save the relationship, to save me...that this was killing me and that I was literaly drowning in my own dispair...he walked away, left me sitting there in tears and went to play guitars with his buddy...I think a big part of me died that night.

Elp,

that's so awfully sad... not just the quoted part either. I am sorry for you.

Quote
I think he doesn't understand what love is, that is love vs. need...he cannot love in the traditional/normal way, and no, he never thought he had to prove it...
I think that's what it is for many of us that were in relationships. We were the "fill" to the need. That's what they loved. It wasn't us, it was still them. They got their "need" fix and we got screwed, abused, and left broken hearted. I guess it's the same for family members too.

And proving it... Heck, I had to prove it all the time although I never "had" to prove it... I showed it on my own in normal ways without condition... Still, she demanded more. And those demand seemed to different than the "worldly" needs, but she never appreciated them... She needed it -she got it -she just didn't see it or accept it.

Why do we settle for so little... (i guess that's gotta it's own workshop)
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