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Author Topic: BPD BEHAVIORS: Did she ever love me? [romantic partners]  (Read 39801 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2008, 10:34:14 AM »

Yes, females struggle with this question also.

My personal experience with this question mostly comes after an argument. See, I'm still staying and trying to work things out. My BP SO is sort of like Ava Marina's, a Dr Jekyl in that he can be extemely sweet, loving, kind, affectionate, and thoughtful for most of the month. He can be calm and understanding about many of life's curve balls and mistakes, and even put up with the pressures of dealing with teenagers and children in general. It is approxiamately once a month that he goes into his Mr. Hyde routine and rages at me. You never know exactly what will set him off. Sometimes it is something little the kids do or forget to do. Sometimes it is a comment I will make that he sees as not supportive or defensive. That is why you feel like you are walking on eggshells, cause what is ok yesterday, may be too much for today.

During one of his monthly rages, he will admit:
I don't love you
I don't respect you
I don't want to be with you

That is when the question for me happens - does this man love me?

Since I am still with him, I chose to believe that yes, he does. I believe that while part of him is the darkness, that there is more to him than that. I don't believe he means those things, even as he says them. I see a little boy in his eyes, who is crying out for understanding and help. I believe he lives with the regret of what he says. I am trying to teach him not to react in that way, and many times I am successful. He doesn't get that bad as often. He is learning to communicate with me in a more adult fashion.  I truly beleive that he has a desire to change, and he is taking St Johns Wort, which seems to be helping.

I didn't cause it. I can't change it. I can't cure it. I can only work on myself.

So for now, I answer yes to the question, but it still lingers in the back of my mind.
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« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2008, 10:53:09 AM »

I had kindof an a-ha! moment in the car the other day, while listening to a certain passage in an audiobook called "Train your mind, change your brain", which gives a weird mix of neuroscience and buddhism and talks a lot about research into the brain.

The section that caught my attention is one on "attachment", which is sortof like bonding, but more to do with what happens between a caregiver and infant/toddler when the child is hurt, upset, or ill. When parents respond in a consistent, supportive, loving way, the child learns they are valued and can count on their parents in times of need. Other reactions to the child cause confusion and mistrust to develop. The theory is not proven, but it does have some validity and support in the professional community. BPD and attachment problems are related in some way, though the evidence is far from definitive that one causes the other.

The studies mentioned in the audiobook showed that when people have a history of secure attachment they are more likely to show compassion and empathy towards other people who are in distress. People who are characterized as either avoidant or insecure/ambivalent show much less concern for others, and the focus seems to be on relieving their own distress rather than the others'.

How does this relate to love? Secure attachment means the child was able to count on their caregivers. For whatever reason, avoidant and insecurely attached children were not (that doesn't mean the parent was abusive - there are many factors in attachment, including the behavior/temperament of the child themselves).

Love is about trust. Many people with BPD have an extraordinarily hard time trusting anyone, including ourselves. We often hate ourselves. But we also don't trust other people to be there for us when we need them to be. That is a pervasive, lasting pattern in some BP's lives. It's the abandonment fear, of course, but it's also a fundamental inability to believe in the love others have for us - perhaps because our own upbringing showed we couldn't rely on others, or that they were inconsistent in their caregiving. So if we can't trust you to stay, to be there when we need you (staying = "proof" you love us), then how can we have the courage to be vulnerable enough to love you back?

I was insecurely attached, btw. My parents were well-meaning, loving people who tried their best to be good parents, and for the most part they were. But there were issues despite that. Because I was adopted, there was a noticeable difference in personality between us, and that caused friction. I also had untreated ADD, and that can be taxing for any adult to deal with, but especially for 2 teachers who know their child is bright and can't understand her behavior in school. As teachers, they were also somewhat controlling, because that is all they know how to be - it worked well in the classroom. My mom was both over-involved in my life (no boundaries) and at the same time, somewhat emotionally cold (I needed LOTS of love as a kid, and I know that clingy-ness can be exasperating to many adults). Finally, my parents didn't seem to protect me or offer comfort when I needed it - especially against my brother, who was emotionally abusive. I learned I couldn't really count on them, and to a certain extent, i still can't. There were other things that contribute to my BPD, of course - things having nothing to do with my parents.

Anyway, it wasn't until I found a source of attachment as an adult that I could have a stable base to begin to give genuine love. My maternal grandmother provided that, starting when I was 19, and she continues to provide that even though she died 3 years ago (I finally achieved object constancy!). Then at 32, I met my best friend and he showed me I could trust other people, that there were good, decent people in the world. Finally, at age 34, after my breakdown and brief hospitalisation and subsequent recovery efforts, I found . . . myself, and was able to start loving the person I was (thanks to the example of the acceptance and love for me from the 2 special people in my life).

I guess I attached to myself, since that's the only true source of unconditional love we have as adults. And therefore, I was able to start giving love back. I'm doing so with my parents now, even though it's been a difficult relationship (for me & for them) between us most of my life. I'm trying to do so with my brother, even though it's been a very difficult relationship between us most of our lives. I'm doing so with the few close friends I have. I hope one day to be able to give that kind of real love to a partner.

I sincerely believe that I was not capable of doing so before recovery. If we with BPD are children emotionally, grasping so desperately for our fundamental need for unconditional love to be met, how can we find space in our hearts to include anyone else? But I do respect the experiences and beliefs of Ave and United, who have gone through different things with their SOs than I have in my own life. I could be wrong. Perhaps love is love, and even through their neediness your partners saw you for yourself and loved you for that, instead of what they wanted from you. Just please know that if they didn't - and you may never know the truth - it was no reflection on who you are as a person. It doesn't mean you aren't loveable, that you aren't worthy of love, that you don't deserve love. I hope you know that - really, truly know that.

ps - Bumpy, I didn't title the workshop, Skippy did. I imagine he did so that way because the majority of people diagnosed as BPD are females, even though it seems the majority of people on this site are female partners of a male with BPD (with the exception of female partners of a female with BPD).

(((ben))) I wish you peace of mind and heart, soon.

(((((elph))))) cry You're a strong person and you've come a long way from that hard moment, sitting on the floor, but I'm sorry you had to go through that in the first place.

Chili - excellent point when you said, "So, if he couldn’t love my “imperfections” then he really didn’t love me." You are your imperfections along with your good qualities, and you deserve respect and love and acceptance anyway!
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« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2008, 09:43:54 AM »


Love is about trust. Many people with BPD have an extraordinarily hard time trusting anyone, including ourselves. We often hate ourselves. But we also don't trust other people to be there for us when we need them to be. That is a pervasive, lasting pattern in some BP's lives. It's the abandonment fear, of course, but it's also a fundamental inability to believe in the love others have for us - perhaps because our own upbringing showed we couldn't rely on others, or that they were inconsistent in their caregiving. So if we can't trust you to stay, to be there when we need you (staying = "proof" you love us), then how can we have the courage to be vulnerable enough to love you back?


I hope my comments here don't violate the policy of this board section. If they do please let me know and I'll avoid this in the future.

Love is built out of a few things and trust is one of the cornerstones. When I finally realized my ex didn't truly believe I loved and cared about her I found myself without any trust in the relationship. If someone doesn't trust you they most likely cannot be trusted themselves. Once I recognized that loss of trust the whole cycle took a life on of it's own. She'd say "You seem distant" and I'd say, "yeah, I became distant when I noticed you were distant". Loop endlessly. I didn't grasp the reality I was dealing with at the time but I do remember specifically feeling like if I was not there with her all the time then I could not feel safe in the relationship. After about the fourth time I heard "I feel like you don't care about me." I realized how easy it would be for her to latch on to someone else who could feed that need.

Love is not about need. That is fear.

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« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2008, 04:27:48 PM »

Once again Oceanheart,

I must thank you for sharing your insight.  I truly appreciate it.

Schwing
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« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2008, 11:11:03 PM »

disco - I totally "second" chilli (well said, btw): everybody's contributions are important here. You said, "If someone doesn't trust you they most likely cannot be trusted themselves". I can't agree more. I don't know if you've read any of my other posts, but I'm rarely defending the behavior of people with BPD, even though I am one such person. Rather, I seek to explain it, out of my own need for understanding, while also hoping it maybe helps clarify it a bit for others, too (you're welcome, Schwing smiley). I didn't mean to suggest that partners stay around so that BPs can feel secure (in most cases I don't support the partner staying at all, for the good of both people). The person with BPD feeling secure isn't what happens, is it. What often happens is what you said - they seek to assuage their fears by getting their needs met by other things (affairs, drugs, eating, cutting, etc).

There is no space in love for need, not the bottomless kind that BPs have. A partner can't feed the need so that it's satiated, just like a black hole doesn't get full, no matter how much matter it sucks into it... That may seem like a harsh metaphor, but I'm not saying the person is the black hole - I'm saying their NEED is. I don't have that need anymore - I trust people - and someday I'll be able to love another person for who they are, not what I could get from them. But until there's significant recovery in their life, people with BPD will act - and react - out of that driving, desperate neediness, not love.

***disclaimer: I don't pretend to speak for all people with BPD. I am only one person and my experiences are unique, as are those of every other person with BPD. There is common behavior, but there are also individual differences. My opinion is just that, and reflects my own beliefs. And, I have been known to be wrong, oh, once or twice or so grin***
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« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2008, 02:44:49 PM »

There is no space in love for need, not the bottomless kind that BPs have.

And see, I have struggled for a while because I believe my ex believed THAT IS HOW IT IS SUPPOSED TO WORK. On top of her emotional dysregulation she was also raised in a very isolating religious environment (jehova's witnesses) with a stepfather that exudes the patriarchal archetype. In otherwords her best examples of relationships in her life were ones that were built around needs being met, performance. Also, her childhood was very isolated socially so she could only interact with other jehova's witnesses. Kids would bring cupcakes to school for birthdays and she'd have to sit in another room. So her social development has been stunted too.

I remember her favorite movie was the camelot movie with richard gere and sean connery. Her face would light up when it came on and I believe she believed that's how love should be, the man giving everything including his life to ensure the happiness of his wife.

Why am I saying all this? Perhaps the controller in me wanted to hope that if I could show her this isn't how it worked then maybe she'd snap out of a fog and it wouldn't have meant her personality problems were malignant.

But to her love is something you give and take based on performance. It would be weak otherwise to give such a gift to someone who doesn't "deserve" that treatment because they let you down in some way, right? Yes I'm being facetious. I think that's why my love for her turned out so dangerously the opposite, because I was trying to demonstrate that a person CAN love in the hardest of times. I made it my martyrdom to try and make a point. Unfortunately a knight in shining armor doesn't look handsome anymore when they're being burned at the stake.

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« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2008, 02:55:26 PM »

disco - I totally "second" chilli (well said, btw): everybody's contributions are important here. You said, "If someone doesn't trust you they most likely cannot be trusted themselves". I can't agree more. I don't know if you've read any of my other posts, but I'm rarely defending the behavior of people with BPD, even though I am one such person. Rather, I seek to explain it, out of my own need for understanding, while also hoping it maybe helps clarify it a bit for others, too (you're welcome, Schwing smiley). I didn't mean to suggest that partners stay around so that BPs can feel secure (in most cases I don't support the partner staying at all, for the good of both people). The person with BPD feeling secure isn't what happens, is it. What often happens is what you said - they seek to assuage their fears by getting their needs met by other things (affairs, drugs, eating, cutting, etc).

I'm very familiar with your stance on things. I've read every free article of yours and even paid for one, the non-dilemma - do borderlines love.

I highly respect your work and I really appreciate what you've done to help explain things. I honestly wish there was another name for borderline personality because I truly believe my ex could benefit from reading your work. You have a way of explaining what's going on that's comforting to those who suffer and gives them a sense of acceptance for themselves without leaving them justified in staying that way. My only issue is the name borderline. I can't even hardly say it without images of fatal attraction showing up. And it's not so much I'd be worried about shocking her, it's more so that a wall would come up instantly as she said to herself "well I don't boil bunnies so this definitely isn't me".

But back to the point of love and trust. She had said on several occassions that I must not care about her, that she must not be important to me. I was completely hurt by that as it was a total negation of my love for her. I'd rather she said she doesn't love me because I'm fat.

But now that time has passed I could see this was a forewarning. An imagined scenario:" I felt like I wasn't important to you anymore. I felt like you didn't care. XXXX does care about me and he pays attention to me like you never did and that's why I slept with him, it's your fault for not caring about my needs before yours. I had no other choice" This is exactly the kind of conversation I knew would have been inevitable had I stayed with this person for years.
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« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2008, 01:11:52 PM »

woops, for some reason I thought you were aj, oceanheart. Regardless, your thoughts and words are a great asset to this board and I really appreciate your perspective.
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« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2008, 02:17:59 PM »

I'm very familiar with your stance on things. I've read every free article of yours and even paid for one<snip>
I highly respect your work and I really appreciate what you've done to help explain things.

woops, for some reason I thought you were aj, oceanheart. Regardless, your thoughts and words are a great asset to this board and I really appreciate your perspective.
  ::giggle::
I think Oceanheart's words, style and messages are awesome too. Heck, I'd pay to read 'em if i had any money left.



I honestly wish there was another name for borderline personality because I truly believe my ex could benefit from reading your work. You have a way of explaining what's going on that's comforting to those who suffer and gives them a sense of acceptance for themselves without leaving them justified in staying that way.

My only issue is the name borderline...
I too can understand that -to a point. But it's not the name (though awful as it may sound) that matters and hurts. Its the criteria, the symptom, and the cause-affect that is the problem. A name is a name, calling Borderline a different name won't make the problem any more simple to see, face, understand or accept. In fact, the name implies nothing of the sort. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder relates to the illness; it's doesn't explain it any better though. Call it BPD then. That means nothing.

Quote
But back to the point of love and trust. She had said on several occassions that I must not care about her, that she must not be important to me. I was completely hurt by that as it was a total negation of my love for her. I'd rather she said she doesn't love me because I'm fat.
again, back to the topic the symptom and topic...

my ex was similar (somewhat) but from the side of telling me that I shouldn't care for/about her. Not that I didn't.
Her's was one of self-esteem, an inability to see that she deserved and was worthy of love, and having little or no real love for herself.  Whereas I read your's to be self-esteem and feeling/imagining that you didn't love them. I too was devastated by this because I had gone to the greatest length to demonstrate my love and to show her that she deserved love and that she should be proud of herself too -even after the split, after accepting treatment (though not yet aware of the "name").

They each share that same common thread - self-esteem and self-love.

And until they (all PDs) can understand that in themselves it is basically impossible to really love another. Yeah, they can love you, what you do for them, and how you make them feel. But sadly from my understanding of PD love that's where it so often comes up short.
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« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2008, 07:30:35 PM »

I have come back and forth to this thread because I want to comment/contribute, but each time I start to write something, I cancel my post because I am not sure I even know myself.

Did my ex ever love me?  Yes, he did.

BUT----when this disorder came to be in him, I have learned that he did not.  Not that healthy beautiful love.  Whatever he may have felt for me (guilt, pity or security) was not the kind of love the drives someone to growth and evolution.  What he was feeling was driving him further into an abyss and therefore it ran from it. 

I struggle with the did he love me question in the course of the aftermath of his eruption into borderline hell all the time.  Those tender intimate moments, those divine out of body kisses, they were real.  I am not wishful thinking.  They were real.  But those were fleeting moments and few and far between.  Because the reality is there was mostly blame, anger, rage, lying, etc. that were the extent of our dealings with one another.  The thing is, I think because he is in bondage with this disorder, he is unable to fulfill the needs of a relationship.  When things were light and easy and good, we had our greatest strides, but the moment they became touch/feely and hard then things went south.

I often wonder why all the other women...and more and more as of late I think it is because he gets that light and easy feelings that make his world easier.  The early stages of those affairs feed him his supply of "good".  The minute they become challenging, then well we know what happens.

He can't handle the work of us, the challenge of overcome this pain.  He loves me, but he loves his need to feel light and airy more.  It sustains him.  When I show conflict, question him, challenge him or "reveal" him, it SCARES the hell out of him.  Those are the core things he needs to suppress about himself.  He needs to keep thinks light and easy in order to manage and cope with those difficult feelings stirring within him.  So does he love me as a borderline, no, not at all.  I am his mirror to his real self.  Looking at me is a direct reminder of WHO HE REALLY IS.

So, not sure if that contributes at all, but I just am realizing that borderlines only love what or who suppresses their fears, guilt, shame, hurt, and pain.  They will cling to whatever and whomever takes them away from all that, no matter if it is wrong or who it will hurt.  What they love is "light and easy".

oneflewover         
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