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Author Topic: 5.99 Relationship recycling [romantic partners]  (Read 63094 times)
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« Reply #40 on: January 31, 2011, 05:16:33 AM »

I think that a good rule of thumb, is that if they cannot articulate WHY they left you in the first place, in a way that makes sense to someone else besides you (because you could be in denial), then you have to face the real possibility that they don't understand why they left you and they are only compelled to repeat (ie, recycle) their behavior.  People who are mentally ill might do the same things over and over again, each time expecting a different outcome. 

What about when it is a situation where the person with BPD blames the other for everything, making it up all as it were out of mental illness, believes their own story, and tells it to others as if it is the truth? They are articulating it, but... It's false.

I think that's just a variation of the same thing. It sounds disordered, but in a slightly different way.

Have you read the Lessons?

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« Reply #41 on: July 22, 2011, 05:38:42 AM »

I needed the validation that reconnecting gave me.  This need for validation is a life long need of mine.  Since finding out about BPD, and the end of my marriage to exBPDw, I have done a lot of inward looking at myself.  I now understand where this need for validation originated.  It goes way back to a time I didn't know nor could control what was going on in my life.  While I think knowing where this all started is important, it is not the most important thing.  Once we realize that we must learn to validate ourselves, then the true healing can begin.  I believe God made us to want, desire and need companionship and love from someone else.  But, in an ironic twist, it seems in order to be able to have that in a healthy way, we must be capable of living alone and being happy in that state.  In other words, when I am perfectly OK with living by myself and with myself, then I'm ready to be in a healthy relationship.  Self validation is the antedote to re-engagements, and to getting tangled up with another disordered person.  I admit this may be a over simplification.  I'm sure there is more to being able to have a healthy relationship.  But I'm pretty sure that until we do love ourselves as we should, we are not ready for a healthy relationship. 

Sure... but I was perfectly happy living by myself and with myself. For ten years. Sure there were times I missed intimacy and the benefits, and I missed a deep romantic relationship, but I WAS happy. And that's what I don't understand myself. I didn't exactly "run" from relationships as if I was afraid of them, rather felt quite fine, strong and didn't feel "needy." I wanted to groom that. I had no desire and wasn't looking for a relationship when I met my SO. This is what kills me. 

There were red flags, I put my "foot down" so to speak a month after we met. The reply I got was so adult like, a "I'm sorry, and I promise to work on my insecurities" after I told her, "No, I really like you, am very fond of you, but I just am not willing to fix someone else's insecurities. I don't have them and don't want to take them on."

Her reply seemed adult enough. She asked me for a second chance, I agreed - I was VERY fond of her. And two months later... more time is invested.. more emotional fondness, more growth... and they come out again... and it was so much harder to deal with because of the investment.

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« Reply #42 on: October 13, 2011, 10:23:49 PM »

Recycling - what is it?

We often believe this is about the ex - to be contacted an ex with a personality disorder solely to bring the non back into the relationship. Characteristically, it is either a phone call, text, or meeting that leads to a reconciliation of the relationship.

To some, recycling is a source of envy from those who have been abandoned, and have had no contact from their exes, to a bonding phenomenon to those who experience communication from their ex frequently. If you look at it from a detached viewpoint, it has one thing in common, a desire to be communicated with by the non. It serves as a validation to the wounded non. It tends to keep us in a victimization mode, instead of a proactive one.

We are all people, very capable of making our own decisions. We cannot be brought back into a relationship if it is our desire to be out of it. Recycling gets its strength is from the wounded, confused, and indecisive non. We all can identify with this thinking, because we were all there at one point or another. It is a thought process where we take the feelings and "reality" of our disordered former partners over our own feelings and "reality." Oftentimes, our intellectual minds are telling us not to go back into the relationship, but our emotional psyche is screaming for the pain to stop, and personal validation. Thus, we, as wounded, confused individuals, reconcile with our disordered partners, ignoring the history, but blindly hoping for a change, and a different outcome. We still reconcile, on our own power, despite our knowledge and history.

A person experiencing a re-engagement, has a fear that resides in them, that despite their knowledge and history, they are afraid that they will resume a relationship, beyond their control. It lends a victimized thought process, simply because they do not understand the dynamics at play. The are hurt, and confused, lacking a true sense of direction, and having more doubt than confidence in their decision. It is their desire of wanting a good relationship with the disordered person that overshadows the acceptance of the disordered person, the disorder, and the dynamics that flow out of the relationship. Usually, the disordered person is seen as two people existing in one body. There is the loving, euphoric, fun to be around person that everyone adores, and then there is the raging, manipulating, dark side that we tend to want to keep away from. It is because this split exists in our minds, that the doubt is allowed to linger and grow, giving us hope that the next time will be different. We try to chose one side of the person, rather than accepting that there is one person with vast ranges of emotional capacity, from the far left side of bad to the far right side of good.

Once the acceptance of the person as a whole, instead of parts, happens, we can then decide if it is worth it to us to continue to have them in our lives as romantic partners. Once we make up our minds about what it is we truly want, then we can see their behavior as what it is. It no longer is a recycle but a cry out because they, themselves are hurting. It can even be a simple communication that although the relationship has been lost, they, too, mourn this loss as we do. It can even be that they are having second thoughts, that wont matter now, because we have a clear definition of what it is that we want. It can be a number of understandable things, but because of the clarity that exists in our minds, it isn't a recycle any longer.

Relationships are hard, by nature, and when a disorder is in play, they tend to be very difficult to the point of confusing. The end of a relationship is hard as well, because it is usually one person, desiring something out of a relationship that doesn't exist in the current one. A disordered relationship is two fold for the non. Usually the non wants parts of it, and not other parts of it, and has the desire to keep the ones they like and discard the ones they don't. Look at your relationship. Does this dynamic exist?

Even in healthy relationships, there are many questions and feelings post relationship. It is quite natural, and everyone has the right to seek answers to questions, to have communication between the partners to evaluate their own roles in the failures of these relationships. Usually, the end of the relationship does not mean the end of the friendship that existed. After a time of detachment, the friendship can general be resumed. There are communications about what to do with items left over from the relationship, and also feelings left over. This is all completely natural. Due to the dynamics at play, these scenarios are viewed as re-engagements because of the confusion, hurt, and lack of insight by the non at the end of a disordered relationship.

If you fear a reconciliation, keep in mind that you have to decide to reconcile. It cant be done on both sides by one person. You do have a choice, and a voice. If you are conflicted about your choice to reconcile, you may need help to sort out your feelings.

I now feel empowered with these words of wisdom...look at the BPD as a whole person ..so accept that Hyde and Jekyll are on and the same...with ultimately the same motivations..

power lies within the non...the BPD just keeps looping..finally I think I get it.  So what causes a BPD to move forward? The lack of response and drama?  I could never understand why my uBPDh was not happy with his first wife...beautiful, funny, great mom/wife who never questioned his actions or demanded his attention..but I guess thats why when I appeared (his angel he lied to say...a halo of light around me -but now I'm a "2-bit whore") on the scene he thought I was his savior...that he could rely on me to protect him and support him...make him feel desired and important because I "validated" him or engaged with him...and of course since I was a succesful career woman then all the better...so he probably felt "safe" about jumping ship to sail with me...which was totally shocking to his first wife as she was used to his "recycling"...he had left a few times before..so she really did not believe that he was gone until he skipped out on his son's football game to hang out with me...(light bulb shining brighter)...and his immediate family did not believe it either and probably remained supportive of the first wife because they probably thought his affair with me would blow over...as all the other affairs had. MMMMMmmm

But no one, including him, realized how determined I was to believe that the world was not filled with men like my NPD father...so I chose to view him through rosy glasses and treated him like he was a victim ...a victim of his parents and first wife...he convinced me that they never really cared about him...and pure ignorance had me up the ante even more when I

suggested that we all meet to discuss the issues at hand and to reassure his family and first wife that I had no interest in taking what was theirs.   So his BPD mind then had to quickly strangle any possibility of everyone getting along and so instead starts telling me that his family said horrific things about me.  (what I should of asked  myself back then was why would he encourage animosity between all of us if he was really serious about his "soulmate love for me?  Triangling. Andnow when I'm ready to divorce if it can be peaceful he needs to drum up some drama so that he does not need to take responsibility for the r/s ending...he never did file for divorce with his first wife..she filed...and a month later when I snooped into his wallet he still had her photo and love notes displayed (in his wallet).  Wow!

Very interesting and very insightful thread.  Thank you all for sharing your wisdom and to help me grow.   
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« Reply #43 on: October 24, 2011, 12:13:04 AM »

I think that a good rule of thumb, is that if they cannot articulate WHY they left you in the first place, in a way that makes sense to someone else besides you (because you could be in denial), then you have to face the real possibility that they don't understand why they left you and they are only compelled to repeat (ie, recycle) their behavior.

Yes, a thread full of good insights. I think I overlooked this many times, i.e., my ex not being able to articulate. When he tried to re-engage and clearly said he wanted me back he would then say that he didn't know what he wanted--I think he said that every time he also said he wanted me back. He said it the last time when I finally said no, and I am still wondering whether if I knew what I now know (about BPD) when he asked whether we could get past our "impasses"  something could have changed. Probably not, since the impasse from my side was the other women he chased as soon as he dysregulated. I am not so sure that he could get past that particular impasse. I know I cannot, but there is this lingering doubt in my mind because I refused to even discuss it because I was so hurt. I feel like it was my last chance to say: there has to be T. I then went NC. I don't know.


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...growing in knowing...

« Reply #44 on: November 13, 2011, 02:50:30 PM »

VERY helpful workshop!  Looking back on our recycling (until i found this board), i admit i was generally the one who initiated re-engagement.  this board has helped me so much in seeing what *i* need to do for myself on my own end in terms of validation, etc., rather than hoping that Dr. Jekyll can come through for me (in hopes that Mr. Hyde would not reappear).  i am so thankful to all the members on this board who helped me see that i was STUBBORNLY holding onto an illusion of what i wanted our marriage to be, holding up blinders to all that was dysfunctional, violent, draining and destructive.

Currently reading:  Can't Live With 'Em, Can't Live Without 'Em:  Dealing with the LOVE/HATE Relationships in Your Life by Stephen Arterburn MEd & David A. Stoop PhD
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« Reply #45 on: November 28, 2011, 11:10:34 PM »

Wow...in the process of breaking up with my BPDbf.  There have been many breakups along the lines of "I hate you!  We're done!" and then three hours later we tacitly agree that Nothing Happened.  Except every single time, I believed and grieved.  I guess I sure didn't learn.

We tried and tried--he really did do a lot of work on himself, and so did I, but it's not going to be enough.  He's also bipolar and has PTSD, yippee.  And over the last few weeks as we deal with living together, still loving each other and wanting to stay friends...I am realizing a lot about what I want and don't want.  I do fear the breakup--not so much true recycling but as has been mentioned here, inappropriate contact (he still wants to hang out and watch movies and TV, he still anticipates us playing online games together, and worst of all, I know he still anticipates me paying for things.  It's very, very hard to put down boundaries on that, and I'm hurting to the tune of having maxed out my cards and lost about $60K over the last few years trying to placate insatiable needs.)

We are seeing a therapist, I will bring up what my boundaries are and state them in front of a witness as it were about what is and isn't acceptable.  He takes meds and is a type I diabetic, so he could play the "I need my insulin" card.  I really hope not. 

Man, I am not looking forward to this, but I would rather deal with this than the violence, fear, and well...there it is, FOG. 

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« Reply #46 on: February 13, 2012, 12:25:45 PM »

I think that a good rule of thumb, is that if they cannot articulate WHY they left you in the first place, in a way that makes sense to someone else besides you (because you could be in denial), then you have to face the real possibility that they don't understand why they left you and they are only compelled to repeat (ie, recycle) their behavior.

I ended it but i could tell him why. . .he could never articulate why his behaviour towards me and hence our relationship changed so dramatically and was now filled with manipulation, lies, mistrust and doubt.  Just kept going around and around in circles, was involved with other women, but seemed to be thinking/hoping he could get away with it.

Probably not, since the impasse from my side was the other women he chased as soon as he dysregulated.

This is how i feel. . .i think i could have dealt with all of his other BPD behaviours, knowing what i do now. . .but not the constant doubt of if he dysregulates, he'll be cheating.  As i've recovered i hold no false hopes of any intimate relationship with him. . .but i still miss the person and i deeply regret that it feels like we have ended on bad terms because of the need of NC.
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« Reply #47 on: February 13, 2012, 07:18:02 PM »

Hmmm, I notice that my last post on this thread was in November and it is now February. No way do I want that BP crap back in my life. I do miss the good parts but there is no way my ex could have ever learned how not to be a serial cheater. He was incapable of emotional learning of any kind. Good riddance.


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« Reply #48 on: February 13, 2012, 08:15:43 PM »


    When there are more than 4, 5, 6 "break-up/make-up" cycles in a relationship there is something seriously wrong. And when this happens, the conventional relationship expectations are pretty much out the window.

    ...we're probably at 100+. Urgle.

    Why do we get caught up in cycles? Trying to figure that one out.

    Are we returning to this person because we are in love with them and the relationship has a chance, or are we returning to this person because they feel safe?

    Because I'm in love with her and the R/S has a chance.  Probably not a great chance, but a chance.

    Are we afraid to be alone?  

    Deathly afraid.  But, also pretty sure that I'd find someone.

    Do we have our own abandonment issues?  

    Definitely.  Dead father, early age.  Tend to go to pieces.

    Are we fearful that we cannot find someone as good as them again?  

    Nope. Nope. Nada. F* no. Except, maybe, for her smile and the way we laugh together. The next will be better, but less similar, I think.

    Are we fearful of the next step (dating, financial issues, etc.)  

    Of course, but not too much - everything is survivable - just a PITA.

    Why do our "BPD" partners recycle?

    From the above - fear she won't find someone better (because of her mental issues), fear of financial issues and dating, abandonment issues, and love. We're also both a bit lazy, and divorce is a lot of paperwork.

    Inability to deal with acute loneliness. Not particularly.

    Severe insecurity / needing validation (from someone that highly values them) Maybe.  But her friends do better than I.

    Shame / wanting to prove they are a good person (to us or themselves) Not so much.

    Immaturity/Manipulation/Control - the break-up was just a way to get their way. Oh definitely.

    Abuse - the break-ups were mostly a way to hurt me.

    Scripts - apparently her parents did this a lot.

    If You Want to Stay in the Relationship: The ability to end break-up/make-up cycles and stay in a relationship takes a deep commitment by both partners.  This often means structured rehabilitation (counseling, workshops, classes, self-help programs, etc.).

    If you are both open to restarting the relationship, remember the problem isn't going to go away without work. Hope is not enough (on both sides).

    You may believe that your partner has changed, will change, is sincere this time, will get into treatment if only you come back. They may believe that the you changed.  But unless there is specific work on some serious level is going on - don't count on it.

    So far, we've been sticking with DBT and MC. I tried therapy for a while - it was modestly helpful and am currently attending a support group. I'm semi-independently working on boundaries, assertion, and providing a low-stress environment for BPDw. Mindfulness has been helpful, validation very modestly so.

    If You Want to Leave the Relationship: The power to end the relationship and end the toxic break-up/make-up cycles lies with you... not your partner.  Moreover, it doesn't help us to blame it on your partner - that tends to make us think that they have a power over us.  Besides, if you both repeatedly recycled you have condition this behavior as "normal" in the relationship - just look at these numbers of break-up/make-up cycles in a recent BPDFamily poll

    So sincerity is not the issue.   The issue is whether the person with BPD (as well as you) can follow through with an emotional commitment.

Not sure.  I'm giving it about 6 more months - so is she. The marriage has actually improved a lot and, even though she talked about divorce in January, the discussion was a lot less heated.  (Admittedly, did pack her bags.)  It just feels like the oscillations are damping out, pretty rapidly.

Marvin Martian
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The only easy day is yesterday.

« Reply #49 on: April 21, 2012, 08:00:39 PM »

I think what makes it so hard for me to stop "recycling" - if indeed that's what I've been doing - is the knowledge (reasonably sure - I'm more confident about it than many other things that I "know") that what drives the breakups or bad spells is mental disorder.

Because if something is driven by disorder, then there is always the possibility that upon, ah, re-ordering, that things will get better. That possibility is especially tantalizing when the person in question is your wife of many years, and the mother of your children.

So I don't think it's quite as simple as just hoping foolishly that a leopard will not have spots. I think it's more like hoping that a person who coughs on you all the time might eventually stop (or diminish) the coughing, with proper treatment.

Auspicious, your word were pretty helpful. I do accept that she isn't two persons, but one that can get a bit dys-regulated, and tipped over. But at times when she is working on things [like after she read high conflict couple] she is amazing. Yes she is really that amazing. But it is what it is today, and sometimes things are rough, but there is always hope for the future. And with hope and effort, skill, and understanding, she may be freed from the disorder, just in  the way people can recover from a physical ailment.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2012, 08:05:05 AM by an0ught, Reason: Fixed quoting » Logged
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