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Author Topic: SELF-AWARE: Are we victims?  (Read 11039 times)
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« Reply #50 on: February 04, 2015, 11:28:22 AM »

We are the victims
Finding out that someone we care about is mentally ill is such a relief. It explains so much of the horror and confusion we have gone through. It clearly shows who’s right and who’s wrong. We now know who’s sick and who’s well. This clearly proves that we are the innocent victims in this relationship….

I would like to gently challenge that notion.

The trouble with being a victim is that this kind of thinking keeps us stuck in a dysfunctional pattern.   If we are a victim, then we can’t be blamed. It absolves us from all responsibility. It reinforces the thought patterns that we can’t do anything about the abuse. That we are helpless.   It prevents us from reaching for the tools to grow so that we too can heal ourselves. It hides the choices we avoided. It repaints the responsibility we dodged. While it may feel good to be relieved of that responsibility, it isn’t the healthy road to take.

Our dreams and fantasies are that the pwBPD in our lives will suddenly get therapy and become “cured”.  If they were “cured”, then supposedly everything would be OK. Sadly, this dream misses a major component – us.  We too, are sick. How you may ask? Because it takes two people for an argument. It takes two people for emotional blackmail to work. It takes two people if someone is being abused. It takes two for most of lifes events. We choose to stand there and listen as they screamed and yelled at us. We choose to not walk away when things became uncomfortable. We choose to plead with them during the long stretches of silent treatment.  We choose to continue living there. We choose to stay in contact. These are choices that we made. Yes, they were out of love, but love for whom? Why did we love them more than we love ourselves? Why didn’t we protect ourselves? Why didn’t we take care of ourselves? Without changes in us, things are doomed to fail.

The real hope lies in helping the non take a step back from the dysfunction. To untangle the emeshment. To allow the pwBPD to feel and maybe learn from their mistakes. To remove their unhealthy coping mechanisms – their inclination to abuse us. To provide them with the opportunity to make healthier choices.  

"We" need to take action. As the mentally healthy healthier person, the burden is on "us" to do what is right.

How do you feel about this?

Do you see yourself as the victim?

Are you ready to take charge of your life?


It is a great post. I also realized that I need to take the responsibilty of myself. I allowed him to do all these bad things to me again and again, while a normal person would leave at once.

Now I am leaving him, leaving from his abuse.
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Tim300
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« Reply #51 on: February 04, 2015, 01:02:59 PM »

We are the victims
Finding out that someone we care about is mentally ill is such a relief. It explains so much of the horror and confusion we have gone through. It clearly shows who’s right and who’s wrong. We now know who’s sick and who’s well. This clearly proves that we are the innocent victims in this relationship….

I would like to gently challenge that notion.

The trouble with being a victim is that this kind of thinking keeps us stuck in a dysfunctional pattern.   If we are a victim, then we can’t be blamed. It absolves us from all responsibility. It reinforces the thought patterns that we can’t do anything about the abuse. That we are helpless.   It prevents us from reaching for the tools to grow so that we too can heal ourselves. It hides the choices we avoided. It repaints the responsibility we dodged. While it may feel good to be relieved of that responsibility, it isn’t the healthy road to take.

Our dreams and fantasies are that the pwBPD in our lives will suddenly get therapy and become “cured”.  If they were “cured”, then supposedly everything would be OK. Sadly, this dream misses a major component – us.  We too, are sick. How you may ask? Because it takes two people for an argument. It takes two people for emotional blackmail to work. It takes two people if someone is being abused. It takes two for most of lifes events. We choose to stand there and listen as they screamed and yelled at us. We choose to not walk away when things became uncomfortable. We choose to plead with them during the long stretches of silent treatment.  We choose to continue living there. We choose to stay in contact. These are choices that we made. Yes, they were out of love, but love for whom? Why did we love them more than we love ourselves? Why didn’t we protect ourselves? Why didn’t we take care of ourselves? Without changes in us, things are doomed to fail.

The real hope lies in helping the non take a step back from the dysfunction. To untangle the emeshment. To allow the pwBPD to feel and maybe learn from their mistakes. To remove their unhealthy coping mechanisms – their inclination to abuse us. To provide them with the opportunity to make healthier choices.  

"We" need to take action. As the mentally healthy healthier person, the burden is on "us" to do what is right.

How do you feel about this?

Do you see yourself as the victim?

Are you ready to take charge of your life?


There's a lot said here.  I mostly agree with it. 

There are aspects I disagree with.  I think I was a victim.  I don't think it takes 2 to have an argument or abuse -- someone can unilaterally blindside someone with this.  I think a lot of nons got blindsided and rightfully tried to work through the relationship for some period of time.  Once the non is aware of BPD and has time to read about it, and experiences the full threat of it, the non who stays could perhaps be considered to be in a "delusional" state rather than a "victim" state.  However, every relationship with a pwBPD is different and there may be complex or even admirable reasons for the non staying in under certain circumstances.  For the above reasons, I think this original post is overly harsh towards nons who got tied up with a pwBPD -- although I do like how it encourages nons to set themselves free. 
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ennie
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« Reply #52 on: February 07, 2015, 12:22:06 PM »

I am not sure if I said this in earlier posts, but I think the word "victim" has different meanings and contexts.  There is "victim" in the sense of the Karpman Rescue Triangle, which represents roles that we play in a conflict dynamic, where we go back and forth from Victim to Persecutor to Rescuer:

                                                       Persecutor
                                                            ^
                                                           /  \
                                                          /    \
                                               Rescuer-----Victim


His insight is that the roles are volatile, meaning that we tend to shift from one to another quickly.  For example, I rescue my "non" husband by taking the kids when BPD mom is not available and he is working; I feel like and play the victim of this to try to get him to do this less and say no to her; when it does not change, I take a persecutor role, being mad at him and expressing it.  Then I feel guilty and rescue, etc. 

The way out of this is to be up front about what I want and ask for it, to take care of myself and do what I need to to be okay with where my wants are not granted, and to develop some way of making peace with what is. So there are clear means for dealing with my tendency to play a victim role when in a challenging dynamic. 

This is distinct from actually BEING victimized.  Being victimized tends to result in people playing that role in situations where one is not a victim, in my experience... but they are two different things.  When someone harms a child, that kid is a victim, meaning that they lack power in a situation in which someone is harming them.  BPD mom was victimized in a true way--she was physically beaten and locked in a closet and forced to be sexual with her mom's boyfriends.  Now, she is an adult woman, who has power.  She can leave if a man is harming her.  She can say no if she wants.  But it is comfortable for her to frame things as a victim, where we have the power.  It is much harder to tell DH and I what she wants than to tell us we are bad and she is a victim to try to get us to do what she wants.

Being in a victim in fact, not as a role, is characterized by actual powerlessness, and actual abuse.

So in this scenario, as a stepmom walking into a family, there are ways I am actually a victim.  I do not have power to alter the kids parenting plan or parenting arrangements, but if I am in this family, I am affected by this plan.  I am powerless to make up for pain in the kids related to their mom. At times, I receive actual abuse--BPD mom threatening to harm me, the kids screaming at me it is my fault their mom is angry.

I do have some power--I could leave.  It is important to acknowledge actual victimhood, because part of coming to peace is to recognize the ways I have no power, in fact, rather than chasing trying to cause change where I cannot. 

Once I distinguish between actual victimhood and playing a victim role, it is easy also to see that the kids, and BPD mom, and DH, all have much more actual experiences of victimhood than I have... which helps me not to get attached to playing a victim role. 

The "feeling" of being a victim--my anger at BPD mom for creating harm to her kids, for being irresponsible in ways that result in me wanting to take responsibility for things I really would not like to deal with, my anger at DH for not setting boundaries--all of these are ways I am affected by people's choices over which I have no control, but I am the one making the choice to do the things that feel unpleasant to me.  I am doing that.  These parts do not involve abuse of me.  They do involve some abuse of the kids.  But not of me.  So playing a victim to coerce someone else just feels bad, and is less effective than just asking, receiving an answer, and when it is no, figuring out what I want to and can do about that. 

There are real ways my BPD ex wife in law does victimize people around her.  She hits, pinches, yells, says the meanest things she can think of, tries actively to get the kids to not like me, tells people they are bad and evil if they do not do what she wants, threatens to kill people, has tried to hit us with her car, lies to authorities about our behavior in a way that could have serious penalties if she is believed.  That is abuse, and we are all the victims of abuse.  But that is limited. 
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VinnyH

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« Reply #53 on: March 09, 2015, 06:09:58 PM »

My wife is uBPD. She is high functioning and invisible. There is a stigma attached to mental illness, and I was prejudiced. How can someone have clinical depression, they must be weak. How can they be suicidal, they are quitters. When I look back at some of those beliefs, before I sought out therapy, I am embarrassed by my previously held opinions.

NOw that I have awareness of the condition, the abusive behaviour and manipulation I suffered through over 28 years of marriage, I have difficulty wrapping my head around my blindness. I see how it has affected my children, and I am saddened that I didn't do something earlier, maybe I could have spared my family the heartache, been in a better financial position, not participated in some destructive behaviour myself. I am now more the person I was before my wifes BPD became much more apparent. I went to counselling initially because my wife insisted i am mentally abusive and controlling. Turns out, I am not. When I shared this with my wife, instead of understanding, she became critical of therapy, and derisive of my attempt to get healthier. Thats when I realized that my wife is BPD.

I felt victimized at first, and it took some time for me to develop insight into the challenges I have personally, particularly the co dependent nature of our relationship. When I  asserted myself, using my therapeutic skills, the more pushback from my spouse. After a few weeks, my wife called to say she was moving out... temporarily. With my daughter... in other words, no discussion..I am leaving... after 28 years. I saw a counsellor for 3 months, and boom... she is moving out.

So now, there are separation issues, selling the matrimonial home, division of assets... the whole 9 yards. She uses my daughter for her emotional support, and it is taking a big toll on my daughters health. My heart goes out to her, but she sees me as the tyrant in this as well. My daughter is 19, a college student, but she is enmeshed with my wife.

Thankfully I have support from my therapist, and my close friends and family.
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« Reply #54 on: March 24, 2015, 07:15:56 PM »


When I first saw this, it was a three column list that describes the characteristics of victims, survivors and thrivers.  I lost the table when trying to transfer it here, but it works just the same in a list I think.  I go back to it often, to see how I'm doing. 

I tend to swing all over the place, but I've been having more thriving days than victim days lately. .....big sigh....for now, anyways.

Hope it helps someone else,
C.


From Victim to Survivor to Thriver
©Barbara Whitfield 2003

Victim                     
Doesn’t deserve nice things or trying for the "good life."
Low self esteem/shame/unworthy
Hyper vigilant
Alone
Feels Selfish
Damaged
Confusion & numbness
Overwhelmed by past
Hopeless
Uses outer world to hide from self
Hides their story
Believes everyone else is better, stronger, less damaged
Often wounded by unsafe others
Places own needs last
Creates one drama after another
Believes suffering is the human condition
Serious all the time
Uses inappropriate humor, including teasing
Uncomfortable, numb or angry around toxic people
Lives in the past
Angry at religion
Suspicious of therapists-- projects
Needs people & chemicals to believe they are all right
"Depression"


Survivor 
Struggling for reasons & chance to heal
Sees self as wounded & healing
Using tools to learn to relax
Seeking help
Deserves to seek help
Naming what happened
Learning to grieve, grieving past ungrieved trauma
Naming & grieving what happened
Hopeful
Stays with emotional pain
Not afraid to tell their story to safe people.
Comes out of hiding to hear others & have compassion for them & eventually self
Learning how to protect self by share, check, share
Learning healthy needs (See Healing the Child Within & Gift to Myself)
See patterns
Feeling some relief, knows they need to continue in recovery
Beginning to laugh
Feels associated painful feelings instead
Increasing awareness of pain & dynamics
Aware of patterns
Understanding the difference between religion & personal spirituality
Sees therapist as guide during projections
Glimpses of self-acceptance & fun without others
Movement of feelings

Thriver
Gratitude for everything in life.
Sees self as an overflowing miracle
Gratitude for new life
Oneness
Proud of Healthy Self caring
Was wounded & now healing
Grieving at current losses
Living in the present
Faith in self & life
Understands that emotional pain will pass & brings new insights
Beyond telling their story, but always aware they have created their own healing with HP
Lives with an open heart for self & others
Protects self from unsafe others
Places self first realizing that is the only way to function & eventually help others
Creates peace
Finds joy in peace
Seeing the humor in life
Uses healthy humor
Healthy boundaries around toxic people, incl. relatives
Lives in the Now
Enjoys personal relationship with the God of their understanding
Sees reality as their projection & owns it.
Feels authentic & connected, Whole
Aliveness


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