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Author Topic: 5.01 | Are we victims?  (Read 26675 times)
TheDude
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« Reply #30 on: February 16, 2013, 08:40:33 PM »

I might have pondered the notion of being a 'victim' (among a slurry of many other thoughts) after the first 'ejection'. Now, after #4... .  no. It's said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results... .     my baggage
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« Reply #31 on: February 16, 2013, 08:53:02 PM »

I might have pondered the notion of being a 'victim' (among a slurry of many other thoughts) after the first 'ejection'. Now, after #4... .  no. It's said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results... .     my baggage

You and me both.  Learning to do things differently isn't easy.
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« Reply #32 on: February 16, 2013, 08:53:16 PM »

One of the most frustrating things about my experience with pwBPD is the fact that though I can take responsibility for myself and make my choices accordingly - for example, standing up for myself, initiating NC when the situation becomes too bad, admitting to wrong when I am wrong - the other person is almost exempt from these same things.

As such, though I am not a victim of being stuck in such a situation (because I damned well can get myself out and choose to not stay), I feel like I am sometimes the victim of someone's instability... .  and without any recourse for action or responsibility on the part of the unstable person.

Let me see if I can explain myself using an example not related to the situation that brought me to this message board:

I work in customer support and sometimes (I'm being very serious here), I get a customer who - at the very beginning of the encounter and conversation - starts blaming me for everything wrong including things I have no involvement and no control over.

Though I can tell myself, "Calm down, don't take this personally.  You know that logically, this actually has nothing to do with you, etc etc ad nauseum," the fact is, that incident happened.

I can prevent myself from feeling too bad about being someone's whipping post, but I can't prevent people from choosing me to be their whipping post.

Does that make any sense?

Sure I can interrupt the person and say, "I am sorry you are having such a bad experience with this and I would be more than happy to help, but I need you to please calm down first so we can talk about this," but... .  before I could even interrupt to stand up for myself, I got screamed at from the moment I said hello.

I can prevent myself from STAYING a victim, but I can't prevent myself from BEING a potential victim of someone's wayward and misplaced anger, frustrations, whatevers.

Basically, being in the situation in the first place.

Getting out of victim mode is easy enough once you understand what you're dealing with (I did not say it isn't painful, however), accidentally landing yourself in such a situation (like with my work)?

Not so much.
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GreenMango
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« Reply #33 on: February 20, 2013, 02:04:53 AM »

Excerpt
I can prevent myself from feeling too bad about being someone's whipping post, but I can't prevent people from choosing me to be their whipping post.

Does that make any sense?

It does make sense that it's frustrating or hurtful they might "try" to use you or choose you.  People are going to try to push boundaries in life.  It's up to us to identify these boundary violators and protect ourselves.

Have you read the workshop on Boundaries: Living our values?
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« Reply #34 on: February 20, 2013, 02:32:25 PM »

Well I agree with the spirit of what you say.  But the "choose" part I think it's a little to black and white.  A lot of our choices are not conscience; that goes for the person with BPD also.  What we have to determine is if we are capable of looking at our own wounds, whether we have the courage to change a system of beliefs that were developed to help us survive but yet do not serve us anymore.  It's not our fault.  It's not their fault necessarily either.  It's the most painful lesson I am learning in life having married my pwBPD.  I am not healing as quickly as I like; but I will heal.  We also are not all our wounds either.  We have very positive traits, which is why the pwBPD more than likely chose us.  When they mirror us it the positive in us that we either do not see or do not own.  Which is why if feel like they took us with them.  But they didn't they actually left the good with us if we have the courage to see it.

I like this perspective.  I resonate with how you see it a whole lot.  I agree that there is a lot we do not choose.  I also think that hard things give us things we would not consciously choose, like humility and compassion, qualities that are so important in creating loving relationships, raising kids, and being part of our communities and society.  We often choose to avoid pain, and BPD people often bring it forth. 

At the same time, it is easy to get stuck in our weakness, rather than enter into new and scary territory. 

For me, the BPD person in my life is my DH's ex wife, so I did not have to directly "choose" her, which seems so perfect as the lessons I have learned from her are ones I really avoided most of my life.  And I am in a really different place than I was for the 2010 posts... .  I am in a place where I am more willing to see what I can consciously choose to change in me... .  and it is very mystifying!  But I am open. 

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« Reply #35 on: March 13, 2013, 11:17:40 PM »

"It took realizing that she wasn't doing anything "to" or even because of me.  She is just being her, trying to make herself feel better... .  which I used to think the only way she could do this was to make the rest of us feel bad."

I like your healthy perspective, its encouraging for me.
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« Reply #36 on: March 14, 2013, 09:27:17 PM »

Well I agree with the spirit of what you say.  But the "choose" part I think it's a little to black and white.  A lot of our choices are not conscience; that goes for the person with BPD also.  What we have to determine is if we are capable of looking at our own wounds, whether we have the courage to change a system of beliefs that were developed to help us survive but yet do not serve us anymore.  It's not our fault.  It's not their fault necessarily either.  It's the most painful lesson I am learning in life having married my pwBPD.  I am not healing as quickly as I like; but I will heal.  We also are not all our wounds either.  We have very positive traits, which is why the pwBPD more than likely chose us.  When they mirror us it the positive in us that we either do not see or do not own.  Which is why if feel like they took us with them.  But they didn't they actually left the good with us if we have the courage to see it.

I like this perspective.  I resonate with how you see it a whole lot.  I agree that there is a lot we do not choose.  I also think that hard things give us things we would not consciously choose, like humility and compassion, qualities that are so important in creating loving relationships, raising kids, and being part of our communities and society.  We often choose to avoid pain, and BPD people often bring it forth. 

At the same time, it is easy to get stuck in our weakness, rather than enter into new and scary territory. 

For me, the BPD person in my life is my DH's ex wife, so I did not have to directly "choose" her, which seems so perfect as the lessons I have learned from her are ones I really avoided most of my life.  And I am in a really different place than I was for the 2010 posts... .  I am in a place where I am more willing to see what I can consciously choose to change in me... .  and it is very mystifying!  But I am open. 

Rough day -- I lost it mostly. Got stuck in my weaknesses and turned on others as they turned on me. Not sure who was mirroring who... .    Like I wasn't choosing, letting others actions choose for me.

qcr
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« Reply #37 on: March 15, 2013, 08:30:45 PM »

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. [emphasis added]

Excellent insight!

Why did we love them more than we love ourselves? Why didn’t we protect ourselves? Why didn’t we take care of ourselves?

The suffering I endured in my recent relationship forced me to learn to take care of myself. One lesson this experience taught me was that being responsible and accountable for myself -- and an equal partner in a healthy relationship -- entails taking care of myself. In many respects I don't know how to take care of myself. I didn't believe I could learn. Taking care of oneself was, to put it euphemistically, discouraged in my foo. My probably BPD mother took it as a betrayal (unless she was in distancing mode). Taking care of oneself inflamed my raging father. My (unconscious) expectation for years was for the other person to take care of me. I was vulnerable to being seduced by that promise.

I was both powerless to stop the pain and powerless to leave. Learning to take care of myself became do or die. I started to ask the question, What does taking care of myself look like right now? I didn't always get an answer but even asking the question was a big shift for me.

To provide them with the opportunity to make healthier choices.



I came to feel I was being irresponsible, not only to myself but also to her, by remaining in the relationship. Even though she's responsible and accountable for her behavior, I saw that I was (codependently) interfering in her life and growth by not allowing her to suffer the consequences of her behavior. I was appalled at how I had become a toxic enabler.  

"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?

One narcissistic hazard for me is thinking that because I may be "healthier" I'm also superior.  Have to watch this in myself.

Do you see yourself as the victim?

I was a victim of my uBPDxgf's hurtful behavior. That is difficult to accept, but I think it's essential. I choose not to remain a victim:

Quote from: Patrick J. Carnes, The Betrayal Bond
[Survivors] of any form of abuse have [the] essential task [of transforming suffering into meaning]

Are you ready to take charge of your life?

Ready and willing, I've set my intention, but it hasn't been easy to actually do so.  Or rather, it's been a process of healing and acceptance. Doing so requires me to accept that neither my foo parents nor their surrogates will ever give me the unconditional love I needed as a child.  They're not capable of it. And the opportunity is long past. Gradually, I'm accepting responsibility for learning to reparent myself. This is both bitter and liberating.

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« Reply #38 on: April 10, 2013, 01:04:44 PM »

Mostly I've seen myself as victim in my r/s. After things really got worse and the r/s ended I started to see my role.

I really regret, that I didn't see that before. In the first place, because maybe maybe maybe that would have been an opening to work towards a better life together.

In the second place: if I had known years ago, what I know now, I would have hold my boundries (or looked for help on them).

Strange thing: my stbxw always claimed I was the one with a psychproblem not she. I should get help. I ignored that (or rather: I would disagree). Nowadays I know better.
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« Reply #39 on: April 11, 2013, 01:05:28 PM »

I have been aware this week how there are some situations in which it is very hard to allow myself to see myself as a victim, and others where I am creating a victim stance to get power when truly I am not a victim.  My T was encouraging me to really feel sorry for myself, to really feel my sadness and say, "Poor me" about the havoc that BPDmom has wreaked in my life. 

I am so resistant to that.  I want to take the higher ground, which for me is: 1) the awareness that BPDmom of my SDs has it much harder than do I, and is really trying to deal with her feelings, not mine; 2) he behavior may feel awful to me, but it is so much worse for the kids, and even DH, that I do not have a "right" to feel or think "poor me" (that and the awareness that "poor me" is relative); and 3) I am pretty happy, have a great life, and am not mentally ill... .   so what do I have to complain about? 

But at the same time, I have no problem whatsoever feeling sorry for myself with DH... .   when he makes appointments and forgets to tell me and I have to cover or bail on him.  When this happens a lot, I whine and cry and snivel and say it is not fair and play the victim.  Fat lot of good that does!

But in reality, I think I truly am the victim of BPDex's behavior.  The kids, who I love deeply and who love me, come back from their mom's saying, "Why do you hate my mom?" and "My mom says I do not have to listen to you!" and "you are not family, you are just a friend, so mommy says you should not come to my play,"  and worse--during custody litigation, the kids were instructed to keep a journal of every bad thing I did at our home; I would find little notes with accounts of my evil behavior, "Ennie told me to not hit my sister and then I had to wash three dishes, and I told her, 'I am angry at you!' and she said, 'I hear you but that does not mean you do not have to do the three dishes.'"  Very funny.  MEAN ennie. 

Also, I have been directly accosted, my arms held down, she has threatened to kill me.  I witnessed her trying to hit DH with her car, doing about 30mph on the wrong side of the road.  She has threatened to call the cops on made up stories about me abusing the kids. 

The most pervasive and painful harm is the damage she does to the good feelings of the girls about their dad and me, and the good feeling in our home as a result.  We can always pull it back from the edge by the end of our time with them, but it is so painful to have this covert hatred being fed to the kids, all the secrets and lies they live in with her.  And the fact that our excellent parenting thus is defeated.  Lots of stepkids hate their step-parents, but my SDs love me.  My T told me that kids love mom no matter what, but they love step-mom only if I am good for them.  So if I do something that does not work, the love goes away a little, and if it works, the love is there.  That feels pretty true.  And I work really hard to be a partner to the kids, to listen to their feelings, set clear boundaries, express my feelings, and ask them for what I want rather than demanding.  To make it clear that it is not mandatory, but I have a clear boundary, so if it is with me, they need to work with me, and likewise I will work with them.  The result is that they really are so willing to work with me, even when upset.  SD13 recently told me, "I am grateful for how you express your anger to me, and for how you let me express my anger."  That was so meaningful to me. 

But all this great parenting gets lost every time the kids go to mom's, and they come back believing their mom's story about me--that I am an autocratic, bossy, mean step-mom who wishes she had her own kids so is trying to steal BPDmom's and never let's DH be in charge, who wishes the kids did not live here, who is abusive and mean and has no power and should be ignored.  Who is the only parent in the home . When in truth, DH is the main guy, does all p/u and d/o from school, homework, any "punishment", is the person in charge, and I am more the emotional referee, mentor, communication stickler ("Can you try saying that a way your sister might be able to better take in?".

That is the biggest hurt.  And I do feel "poor me." 

I think the reason it is so much easier to play the victim is that with DH, I am playing the victim to gain power.  I want to convince him to do it different, and while it is rarely successful in the long term, in the moment, my despair does impact him.  With BPDmom and the kids, my despair is not effective.  I have very little power to influence BPD mom out of my victimhood, so I discount it and move on to more useful tools.  But what that leaves behind is the loving part of me that got crushed by her hatred, and the way it seeps through the kids and causes terrible pain to my beloved husband and myself.  No amount of compassion repairs those wounds--they have to be felt and lived in order to be recovered.  So there is a way I miss out by not allowing myself to feel my victimhood when it is real, and not just a power-play. 
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« Reply #40 on: April 13, 2013, 03:07:05 AM »

No one has the power to make me feel bad about myself unless I let them.

Why would I let them?

Is there a pay off for me?

Yes ... .   attention.

I like attention
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« Reply #41 on: April 13, 2013, 04:32:42 AM »

Thinking about it: probably we are victims.

Victims from ourselves/our history, that has made us bear the cross we all did, even when we should put that thing aside and go our own way.
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« Reply #42 on: April 13, 2013, 09:39:28 AM »

Sometimes I lose my way when I forget to take care of my own needs - shift into depression and anxiety. This is when I slip effective use of validation and values-based boundaries. Most especially with my BPDDD26 - I play the victim triange with the most damaging effects with her.

I get something from moving between rescuer (to her victim state) and victime (to her persecutory state). I am rarely in that persecutor position. And then we get stuck here. Often she is struggling with her emotional dysreguation, most often with losses in a r/s with friend or bf. Stresses of the impending consequences of bad choices (ie not doing her probation and most likely going to jail soon for 10-11 months on DWAI). I tend to self-protect from her raging response by withdrawal and avoidance. And she comes after me to support her - meet her needs for her, though I am really powerless to accomplish this no matter how much energy I put into rescuing. So then she attacks me, and the cycle begins again.

As I am surfacing from recent disconnect and depression I can see again how this game of victim does not meet my needs or support my family in meeting their needs. I realize I cannot meet their needs for them - I think being victim is all about getting needs met ineffectively. A breakdown in the connection between my thinking brain and my feeling brain -- the bridge in my brain is not functioning well enough.

I reach out to the fledgling support group I am working to build around me - here at bpdfamily.com, with a closer connection to my dh, finding new T that can support both my psych and spirit... .   So I am getting my own needs met in positive ways and can step out of the victim - rescuer - persecutor game. And breathe again.

qcr
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« Reply #43 on: April 13, 2013, 11:48:32 AM »

No one has the power to make me feel bad about myself unless I let them.

Why would I let them?

Is there a pay off for me?

Yes ... .   attention.

I like attention

Great insight!

I was raised with Buddhist parents who were therapists.  For me, it has been a real realization that it is more complex than that.  Sure, theoretically I could be totally at peace with BPDmom's meanness, but the reality I am experiencing is more like a dance.  And I am aware that I am not entirely in control of me, but have more choice regarding what situations I place myself in, how depleted I am, etc.  That when I am at SD9's baseball game and BPDmom is extremely rule and yells mean things at me in front of the kids, I still do not feel happy and peaceful and fine.  I know she is doing her best, know it is not about me, I can respond with kindness and not make it all about me, but I still go home and have uncomfortable feelings.  There is something about her energetic field, also, her way of being, that includes so much more than words.  She affects me.  That is real. 

For me, what keeps me in there getting sucked in emotionally to her bizarre behavior is fear and my desire to plan to avoid feeling ways that have been hard for me in the past.  Namely, I am afraid of my SDs being mean and extremely hard on DH and me, as it is really hard for me to live with people who are actively saying painful things on a regular basis, and even when I am able to find my way through and just see them as doing their best with some difficult feelings, it is still painful for me to experience them saying really painful stuff to their dad.  I am afraid of being in pain and afraid of the ways I try to avoid the pain by being less present.  I am afraid of feeling overwhelmed by that pain, afraid of wanting the people I love to go away and leave me alone.   
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« Reply #44 on: April 13, 2013, 11:55:23 AM »

Sometimes I lose my way when I forget to take care of my own needs - shift into depression and anxiety. This is when I slip effective use of validation and values-based boundaries. Most especially with my BPDDD26 - I play the victim triange with the most damaging effects with her.

I get something from moving between rescuer (to her victim state) and victime (to her persecutory state). I am rarely in that persecutor position. And then we get stuck here. Often she is struggling with her emotional dysreguation, most often with losses in a r/s with friend or bf. Stresses of the impending consequences of bad choices (ie not doing her probation and most likely going to jail soon for 10-11 months on DWAI). I tend to self-protect from her raging response by withdrawal and avoidance. And she comes after me to support her - meet her needs for her, though I am really powerless to accomplish this no matter how much energy I put into rescuing. So then she attacks me, and the cycle begins again.

As I am surfacing from recent disconnect and depression I can see again how this game of victim does not meet my needs or support my family in meeting their needs. I realize I cannot meet their needs for them - I think being victim is all about getting needs met ineffectively. A breakdown in the connection between my thinking brain and my feeling brain -- the bridge in my brain is not functioning well enough.

I reach out to the fledgling support group I am working to build around me - here at bpdfamily.com, with a closer connection to my dh, finding new T that can support both my psych and spirit... .   So I am getting my own needs met in positive ways and can step out of the victim - rescuer - persecutor game. And breathe again.

qcr

Me, too!  qcr, as usual, I so relate to your experience!  I did not choose the BPD person in my life, so it is less about my harmful choices, more about my way of relating to the suffering in me and others, and the fact that I am afraid of missing my own life as I duck into myself to avoid the pain.  I mope.  There is a way that in depression and anxiety I give myself permission to avoid the people that are painful for me.  But the crux for me is that with kids, I do not want to avoid them because I love them and my presence adds strength and goodness to their lives, and I truly think that our interactions are liberating for them both... .   but I have to crawl through the hard edges of their anger to get there, and sometimes I just want to run away. 

I too have a pretty new T, for the past 6 months or so, who I really like and who really helps me to get to the unseen, emotional aspect of it, to be more in my feelings so I do not have to hold on to them. 

I am more able to let go when victimized, but it is still not fun for me.  I want more fun in life!
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« Reply #45 on: November 26, 2013, 07:20:32 PM »

I don't see myself as a victim. Having been reared by an uBPD mother set me up to think that the responsibilities in relationships fall on me. It took more than a year in therapy, a handful of books, and working with abused kids to admit that what I experienced was abuse and was not something I could have prevented.

Before I knew the extent of the BPD traits my boyfriend has, I volunteered some of that information to him. When he went into crisis mode, it all came flying back. I'm not a victim but he definitely has been using my vulnerability as a weapon. This has been an exercise in not accepting all of the blame in a dysfunctional situation. It helps that in the relationship I have with my boyfriend that I have the power to decide if I stay or go.
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« Reply #46 on: November 26, 2013, 07:45:55 PM »

I understand this completely, I never ever felt that I loved her more than I loved myself. I told her many times that I felt as though I loved her more than SHE loved herself. I added that because she didn't love herself that there was no way that she could love me. She was killing herself with speed... Smoking it. I tried to show her that there was a better way... .She was diagnosed BPD  and on antidepressants when I met her. She self medicated with other drugs but mainly meth... .Train wreck. I surley am to blame for keeping her as long as I did. Tried to get her out of my house. She refused to leave. I had no working knowledge of BPD. If I had taken the time from my busy life to educate myself more I would have known that she needed therapy to go along with her meds. When she was out of speed and her meds she became nothing short of a monster. It was a living hell and I victimized my self through ignorance.
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« Reply #47 on: November 27, 2013, 09:31:04 AM »

This is a hard one.

We allow ourselves to be victims.We have a choice whether we stay or go or cling to this sort of relationship.

As my therapist said, If I was healthy mentally I wouldn't have stayed in this.

She is right. So victim... .not sure of that. To them we are not a victim or a casualty. This is their disorder and it's also their norm.
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« Reply #48 on: December 25, 2014, 09:23:25 PM »

UFN... .  I love this thread!

I think it's important to be the victim initially because in many ways we were victims of abuse in one form or another.  Being a victim serves an important purpose.

Those of us on this board are BPD victim advocates because we know how it feels.  Being a victim allows us to be validated and comforted with gentle kindness.  However, it is up to each one of us to eventually throw our victim status into the wind and not let it define us as a person.

I was a victim of emotional abuse.  I refuse to let this abuse define who I am as a person.  I'm thankful for the loving kindness I found on this site which allowed me to move beyond what was done to me and define myself because of who I am.

tailspin

I think this just might be the perfect response!  Smiling (click to insert in post)  This is an instance where two opposing thoughts are equally true.

The truth is that I was a victim - of intentional deception, chronic lying, infidelity, and emotional abuse.  I did not introduce any of those hurtful, relationship-destroying behaviors into our relationship - my exBPDgf did. It is important to grieve that abuse - but not remain in that grief - or I run the risk of solidifying my identity as "victim."  I must guard against the temptation to do that.

It is very important that we not give ourselves permission to remain in the life stance of victimhood.  We must make every attempt to heal - to accept that we actually did have a part in the dysfunctional dance, to heal ourselves, to accept the sad, messy, disorder of BPD in our partners, and to move on to live happy lives that include the possibility of healthy, whole, love-filled relationships.
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« Reply #49 on: December 25, 2014, 10:58:08 PM »

A lot of therapists who are paid walk away walking away is a good option you have to be brave to step up an try an stop the carnage
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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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« 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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« 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: July 14, 2015, 06:58:34 AM »

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

":)epression"


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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« Reply #55 on: April 12, 2016, 05:13:13 PM »

One of the big life lessons I have learned in working with my BPD ex-wife-in-law (my DH's ex) is that if I am blaming, it is always projection.  Projection in my view is when I have a feeling I reject as not okay, I put it on someone else by focusing on their behavior.  That is never as powerful as focusing on my own experience.  As I am growing more capable of setting boundaries with my BPD ex-wife-in-law, and growing to like her more, I notice so many ways i have made assumptions by believing my blame stories. 

For example, BPD mom of my SD15 yelled at me in public and told me how mean I am last week, when SD15 and I went by to pick something up (with advance notice and permission). If I started telling you or a friend how terribly she acted, it is almost always because I feel uncomfortable.  Like my reaction is bad, or I should be less scared.  Or because I am fearful that SD15 will reject me.  If I feel okay about being afraid, fine with SD15's possible rejection (after all, no loyalty bind could be more pronounced!), then I stay at ease and my reaction is, "wow, my heart is beating fast! That scared me!"  rather than "She is totally out of control!  What a terrible person!" 

When I am good with me, there is no need for blame.  And without blame, I get more of what I need. SD15 does NOT have a loyalty bind, but can say, "Oh, I am sorry you are scared, ennie!  I know that is hard for you!"  And I can care about her mom while still not wanting to be around someone saying those words much, as I do not like feeling afraid. 

There is a place for assessing someone else... .generally ,that place is in response to a direct request, or a request for feedback on her impression.  "Why is mommy so angry?" "How come mommy is so mad at you?  "Why don't you like mommy, she says you hate her?"  or as they get older, "How do you think my mom's anger has affected me?" 

I think that noticing that I never need to blame when I do not not judge myself lets me let go of stressing about BPD mom's behavior.  I do not feel like a victim, because it is really somewhat unrelated to me, how she acts.  I used to feel like she was causing me problems, but now I am not really attached to what she does, so it does not bother me.  A huge thing for me was letting go of attachment to how the kids feel about me in response to her, to letting go of needing their feelings to be consistent.  It does not hurt that after 9 years, they really love and trust me.  IT would be harder to not blame mom and feel myself to be her victim if the kids hated me... .but luckily, that is not an issue!

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Bushido
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« Reply #56 on: April 28, 2016, 05:30:08 AM »

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?

Great reading Smiling (click to insert in post)

I can´t say i´m the victim.

But too many things done the wrong way. . . must be part of the problem.

I did my best, Gave it my all. but doing something the wrong way. . . even if it´s for the right reasons. . .

is still creating or adding to the problem.

I didn´t know any better so i can still walk away with the " did my best attitude"

And i do think in my case . . .the biggest mistake i made. . . was not letting her just do her thing, make a mistake, and learn from it.

Sadly the relationship has come to an end. . . but still there is at least a chance to learn something from it.

For me . . and for her.
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anon72
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« Reply #57 on: April 28, 2016, 05:39:36 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?

Great post.  Once I learnt about BPD and have done some healing, I have been making my best effort to disengage and not allow her to abuse me in any way, shape or form.  I am still learning to create boundaries and stop these unhealthy patterns.  Thank you for reminding me that we are not victims, but need to adjust our responses to heal and move on.  And the burden is on us to do what is right to help ourselves, and I choose self-love and taking charge of my life!

Thank you for sharing Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #58 on: May 21, 2016, 06:44:39 PM »

I do "get this" NOW. I think being in an evangelical church for all those years set me up for failure unfortunately. I believe I truly understood that I was witnessing a "craziness" or "wrong" or whatever word you want to use, I DID know that what was happening wasn't "normal" but with the advice I was getting from ignorant (but well-meaning) people was all about "being a good wife" and it was really the opposite of what I needed to be doing. Setting boundaries, taking care of my needs as equal to his and my children's, NOT standing there "taking it" etc. But when you don't know what you don't know, how the hell are you supposed to KNOW? Im still pissed as you can see... .But Im getting better.
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« Reply #59 on: May 26, 2016, 03:49:58 AM »

Victim? No.  Target? Yes.

I was a victim when I was a child being raised by an alcoholic narcissistic mother and alcoholic enabling father.  I had no choice, voice, or resources. 

Now, with a BPD step-daughter, I often feel like a target, but not a victim.  Maybe I am kidding myself with the distinction, but I am well aware that I have choices.  I can leave.  I've left other family members who have refused to treat me with respect and consideration.

In truth, I feel a small measure of responsibility that she is the way she is.  If my understanding is correct, that childhood trauma (and perhaps genetic tendency?) is a contributing causality of BPD, then I have to pony up. 

That is not to say that she gets to play the guilt card carte blanche, but... .

Was it wise of me and my husband to take our years worth of custodial visits in one lump sum over the course of the summer vacation (she lived several states away from us) and subject her to the emotional trauma of ripping her away from friends and family in the hometown to come see us, only to rip her out of our arms and put her on the plane back to the maternal unit? I think some of her abandonment issues are legitimate.

Why didn't I intervene more when I heard her stories of how badly her step-dad was treating her (slapping her, calling her names, leaving her with his pervy dad)?  The constant groundings for the slightest infractions.  Babysitting her little sister to the exclusion of doing normal childhood things. Maternal unit dismissed my and her father's concerns claiming exaggeration.   Yeah, she's got anger issues.  I would be angry too. 

I do feel like a target though.  I feel that she directs her anger at me almost exclusively.  When she melts down and rages, it is directed at me, even if her father is the one that started the conversation that led to the meltdown. And I am heartily sick of that.  She just can't bring herself to direct her anger at her dad.  He finally sees that though.  This last meltdown was an eye-opener for him. 

So, no.  I'm not a victim, I just can't yet bring myself to cut the cord, give up, and walk away. 



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