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Author Topic: How do you know it's not you?  (Read 13481 times)
francienolan
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« on: March 16, 2010, 04:25:28 PM »

I was talking to someone yesterday about trying to figure out exBPD and she said something like, How do you know you're not the Bullet: comment directed to __ (click to insert in post)$$hole? It kind of floored me and I'm still thinking about it today.

Maybe I was the one with BPD (or something) all along. I'm in psychotherapy, on anti-depressants, living alone, don't have too many friends, have trouble meeting people, and spend the majority of my time ruminating over my last relationship. My ex has a ton of friends, never got upset about anything, had no problems moving on, and is able to make friends at the drop of a dime. Although I feel like I was subjected to emotional abuse during my relationship, it pales in comparison to some of the stories I've read on this site. Maybe it was emotional abuse at all, maybe I'm just really sensitive. I mean really, maybe I've been the disordered party all along and just don't realize it? How do you know?

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GCD145
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2010, 04:28:56 PM »

Francienolan-

This is a very common question on these boards.  The answer seems to be that the very fact you question yourself indicates that you are not the pwBPD.

On the other hand, it doesn't matter.  A miserable relationship is a miserable relationship no matter who's "fault" it is.  And, truth be told, no matter who is the pwBPD and who is the non, both share blame for the relationship's failure.

GCD145
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francienolan
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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2010, 05:26:06 PM »

You're right. I know I'm as much to blame as he is, maybe even more so.
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squaredots
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2010, 07:10:24 PM »

If you are seeing T then you should get some grounding there. BP's can be notoriously gregarious and will be the biggest noise in the room. They pick on people they can control - maleable or easy to manipulate. An exception to that might be if they see you as a social or economic leg up, in which case you are also fair game - up to the point where you have either served your purpose, or shown that you are more in control than they can deal. Control is always at the heart of the issue. You need to stop listening to negative voices. From my own experience, it is usually dependency and approval issues that keep us glued to these types. If you just care less, you can detach and no need to beat yourself up. In any case, so what about a label. What matters in the end is that you find a life that works for you, and if you have kids, that you show them how you can be happy. It really has nothing to do with an ex relationship. Life is more than that.

You just need to know that you are ok, on your own, you have everything you need. Believe  . . . be nice to yourself.
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francienolan
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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2010, 07:43:24 PM »



If you are seeing T then you should get some grounding there. BP's can be notoriously gregarious and will be the biggest noise in the room. They pick on people they can control - maleable or easy to manipulate. An exception to that might be if they see you as a social or economic leg up, in which case you are also fair game - up to the point where you have either served your purpose, or shown that you are more in control than they can deal. Control is always at the heart of the issue. You need to stop listening to negative voices. From my own experience, it is usually dependency and approval issues that keep us glued to these types. If you just care less, you can detach and no need to beat yourself up. In any case, so what about a label. What matters in the end is that you find a life that works for you, and if you have kids, that you show them how you can be happy. It really has nothing to do with an ex relationship. Life is more than that.

You just need to know that you are ok, on your own, you have everything you need. Believe  . . . be nice to yourself.

Dependency and approval issues and listening to negative voices... .that's where I have the most problems. I'm taking steps to create a life that makes me happy, but it's been hard getting over this. I feel used and kind of duped sometimes. Especially when I see how quickly he's moved on.
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centella
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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2010, 10:37:40 PM »

My ex has a ton of friends, never got upset about anything, had no problems moving on, and is able to make friends at the drop of a dime.

Your question has been mine as well lately. I have suffered a great deal of abuse, and you can read the description here, https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=115240.msg1135079#msg1135079  and I still find myself wondering if he is not absolutely sane and I am the crazy one. I've reached the conclusion, that we both made mistakes, that my behavior was not the best, but it still does not justify his behavior. Also, I have told him from the beginning that I was a recovering pwBPD for the last 10 years and that even though the traits were gone completely, they could also appear. And I can see now that he has used my honesty, my disease to make me feel guilty and act like he is the sane one and I was the one to blame. We, who acknowledge that there's something wrong and seek help to make things better are actually the sane ones. My X also knows a lot of people, but the truth is that they don't know him at all and he is the first one to admit that he keeps his personal life to himself. They idolize an actor, and his play is his everyday life. The moment he realizes that someone knows who he really is, he shuts them down of his life completely. Also, he never invites all of his friends to the same place, or else they would cross stories and he would be caught up in his lies. I am making new friends, not many but they are real and they know who I am. Don't beat yourself up because he seems better than you. It's not a contest on how many friends you have or how fast you can get over things, just keep searching for your balance. We all should search for balance, even the ones who look absolutely normal because it makes us learn a lot about who we are and where we want to go.
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kj1234
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2010, 11:27:22 PM »

I probably have some of the traits in some ways of thinking, maybe more than the average person, but we all do to some extent.  We all can have natural fight or flight responses, some degree of cognitive distortion in some circumstances, etc., etc.  I also have reached a fairly ripe age and have failed to have a permanent relationship.  It can be scary.  But I also have a pretty high degree of self knowledge and self acceptance at this point.  In my earlier years I may have lived a little more similarly to a BPD, but thankfully I have grown up over the years.  We can't really choose our own parents or parenting, but that is just a fact of life.

It is important to look at ourselves and our behavior.  First order of business though, after getting blindsided and/or abused by a BPD or other disordered person, is self-protection.  For me, 11 months have passed now and I finally feel ready to dig into some of these questions.  I have scheduled an appointment with a very good T with the intention of examining these things in myself now.  Soon I think I will close the door in my mind to stbxw and SS and it is time to look at me again.  All this learning about BPD and other things has given me more framework within which to learn more about myself.  Am I BPD?  I don't think so at this point, but I think the events in my early life had all the ingredients to make me so and I have some traits.  Life used to be more torturous for me, to tell the truth.  I am very thankful that it is much less so now, with only occasional periods of extreme pain, like after stbxw pulled all her crap, which I am still dealing with.  Many people would have dealt with it more quickly or been able to let some of the stuff go more easily.  With regard to that, what helps me most is to try to do the right things, or the things I feel I must do, then to accept that as who I am at the moment and move forward.

To comment on the idea of making friends at the drop of a hat, that can be a skill and can be a manipulative one at that.  What is the quality of the friendships?  To what degree does the person have boundaries within those friendships and balance them appropriately with other relationships?  Nobody can have hundreds of friends to whom they give much and take much.  I have found it useful in the past (found the exercise in a book) to list the top 10 people in my life and try to identify just what is given and taken by the other party and myself in the relationship.  It's an interesting exercise.
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« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2010, 11:51:21 PM »

making friends easily is a borderline trait. they are very engaging.

that's how she hooked you. my ex is like that. whenever we would

go out, i'd go to the john & by the time i got back she'd be chatting

& laughing with at least one person. they're slick as hell. look, when

you're an absolutely ruined person inside, you had better be able to

hide it, & hide it well. they know this. & the fact that you ended up

with a BPD pretty much says you're a decent hearted person. they

need people with kind hearts to prey on. emotional destruction is

the mission. hardened people are too much work, plus they run the

risk of getting played themselves, & they can't be arsed to feel

one-upped in any way. so yes, they need an easy target.
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centella
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« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2010, 12:14:24 AM »

look, when you're an absolutely ruined person inside, you had better be able to hide it, & hide it well.

I don't quite agree with this. In my observation one should never have to hide who he truly is, as others should never have the power to take advantage one one's vulnerabilities. I don't mean one should brag about how ruined he is, but if one is committed to an intimate relationship, then he should always be honest with the person he's engaging with and by doing so, one is also being honest with himself. It is up to the person who receives that honesty, to give it back as well.
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« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2010, 12:19:07 AM »

i was referring to the borderline person, & how they have to hide their toxicity
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centella
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« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2010, 12:25:15 AM »

I'm sorry, I misunderstood. English is not my first language, and this happens sometimes.   
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« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2010, 12:38:33 AM »

no worries!
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Howzah
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« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2010, 02:35:31 AM »

Excerpt
you had better be able to

hide it, & hide it well. they know this. & the fact that you ended up

with a BPD pretty much says you're a decent hearted person. they

need people with kind hearts to prey on. emotional destruction is

the mission.

I disagree with part of this

I wouldn't say emotional destruction is their mission. It is not the intention of someone with BPD to purposely destroy you emotionally. They have a severe mental illness. They don't regulate emotions like we do. This causes them to rationalize things completely different than a normal person. They convince themselves you deserve it when they can't handle the true intimacy of the relationship. It's not rational. It's delusional and erratic thinking based entirely in emotion.

It has taken me a long time to grasp their reality. We only truly know what we experience. What we feel. We can only judge others based upon our known reality. You really need to understand that people with BPD cannot control themselves. They can't control their behaviors. Yes, some are aware there is something wrong, but if you were in their shoes would you want to admit you had a severe mental disorder with no known cure? I'm not saying we just forgive them and say "Oh well, that's just BPD!"... absolutely not. We need to hold them accountable for their actions and fix ourselves. That means getting the hell out of the relationship and as far away from them as possible. Not allowing someone so destructive , chaotic, and mentally ill to have such a huge negative impact on our lives. Our problem is we don't accept the disease for what it is. We try and rescue. You can't rescue a dog with rabies or teach a rattlesnake not to bite you.

It just is

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VanessaG
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« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2010, 05:54:55 AM »

Oh heavens, I think we can all find ourselves in DSM-IV if we try hard enough!   Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)

A couple of months ago, I found this website.  I had ended an emotional affair, essentially, with the uBPDm in my life, which had started while I was having an extremely rough time in my marriage.  My H has a PD too, but his is much more difficult to classify, and he's higher functioning (who knew?) than the uBPDm with whom I'd sought refuge.  My H is more of an avoidant/narcissistic type, very withdrawn and a workaholic.  (He is in T now.)  So of course the BPDm was like a breath of fresh air when he came with all the flattery and mirroring and instant intimacy.  Until the controlling, jealous, endless black hole of need revealed himself. 

In any case, when I found the website, I admit it, I read a lot.  I read everything and then I went to the library and started going through DSM-IV.

I decided that maybe I was histrionic.  Maybe these men weren't so bad, and that maybe I was really the one at the heart of the problem. 

I really, seriously, fell down the rabbit hole.   

In my next T session, I shared all of this with my T and we spent a lot of time talking about healthy ways for me to satisfy my own overwhelming urge to UNDERSTAND and to put some limits on it so I didn't get quite so wound up.  She said, if anything, I could go the way of General Anxiety Disorder if I continued to spin and ruminate and lie awake trying to figure things out.  We all have our healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms.  Analysis is one of my healthy ones; overanalysis to the point of obsession is one of my not-so-healthy ones.   Smiling (click to insert in post)

And then she laughed and laughed and laughed and told me that I was in no way, shape or form histrionic.  Not even close.

I think whoever said the mere fact that you are contemplating and examining your own role in this is the best indicator that you are NOT the one with BPD was right on the money.

VanessaG

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francienolan
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« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2010, 06:19:01 AM »

My ex has a ton of friends, never got upset about anything, had no problems moving on, and is able to make friends at the drop of a dime.

Your question has been mine as well lately. I have suffered a great deal of abuse, and you can read the description here, https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=115240.msg1135079#msg1135079  and I still find myself wondering if he is not absolutely sane and I am the crazy one. I've reached the conclusion, that we both made mistakes, that my behavior was not the best, but it still does not justify his behavior. Also, I have told him from the beginning that I was a recovering pwBPD for the last 10 years and that even though the traits were gone completely, they could also appear. And I can see now that he has used my honesty, my disease to make me feel guilty and act like he is the sane one and I was the one to blame. We, who acknowledge that there's something wrong and seek help to make things better are actually the sane ones. My X also knows a lot of people, but the truth is that they don't know him at all and he is the first one to admit that he keeps his personal life to himself. They idolize an actor, and his play is his everyday life. The moment he realizes that someone knows who he really is, he shuts them down of his life completely. Also, he never invites all of his friends to the same place, or else they would cross stories and he would be caught up in his lies. I am making new friends, not many but they are real and they know who I am. Don't beat yourself up because he seems better than you. It's not a contest on how many friends you have or how fast you can get over things, just keep searching for your balance. We all should search for balance, even the ones who look absolutely normal because it makes us learn a lot about who we are and where we want to go.

.

Centella,

My ex acted in a similar way to me. In my case, I didn't have BPD but I was pretty open with him about having had severe clinical depression. When we first started dating, I was going to therapy 2X a week to make sense of my life. He questioned this and said something like, "well, exactly how sick are you? Even my friend who has bipolar doesn't go to therapy twice a week". I answered all of his questions and basically explained what therapy is and how going 2X a week helped at the time. And ever since then,  he would bring up how unhappy I was or how unhappy I seemed, even though within the last year and a half, I've done everything I could to improve myself and I've made strides. I took my meds, went to therapy, did things that I loved again, quit a job that wasn't for me, found something that I love to do, decided to go back to graduate school, and moved out of my family's house. Not to mention opening myself up to another human being (who ended up spitting it back into my face, but I digress), leaving that negative relationship, and moving out on my own.

I'm doing the work and trying to figure out my piece of this relationship, but some days it just gets really hard. Some days I really go to the extremes--I either blame myself and go back to thinking about where I went wrong or I completely blame him and feel like, does no one see what this guy did to me? and what he continues to do? are people so blind? And I know I have to find a balanced way to look at the relationship because neither extreme is very healthy. But for the past couple of weeks, I've just been really sad and it's gotten really hard.
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francienolan
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« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2010, 06:47:51 AM »

Oh heavens, I think we can all find ourselves in DSM-IV if we try hard enough!   Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)

A couple of months ago, I found this website.  I had ended an emotional affair, essentially, with the uBPDm in my life, which had started while I was having an extremely rough time in my marriage.  My H has a PD too, but his is much more difficult to classify, and he's higher functioning (who knew?) than the uBPDm with whom I'd sought refuge.  My H is more of an avoidant/narcissistic type, very withdrawn and a workaholic.  (He is in T now.)  So of course the BPDm was like a breath of fresh air when he came with all the flattery and mirroring and instant intimacy.  Until the controlling, jealous, endless black hole of need revealed himself. 

In any case, when I found the website, I admit it, I read a lot.  I read everything and then I went to the library and started going through DSM-IV.

I decided that maybe I was histrionic.  Maybe these men weren't so bad, and that maybe I was really the one at the heart of the problem. 

I really, seriously, fell down the rabbit hole.   

In my next T session, I shared all of this with my T and we spent a lot of time talking about healthy ways for me to satisfy my own overwhelming urge to UNDERSTAND and to put some limits on it so I didn't get quite so wound up.  She said, if anything, I could go the way of General Anxiety Disorder if I continued to spin and ruminate and lie awake trying to figure things out.  We all have our healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms.  Analysis is one of my healthy ones; overanalysis to the point of obsession is one of my not-so-healthy ones.   Smiling (click to insert in post)

And then she laughed and laughed and laughed and told me that I was in no way, shape or form histrionic.  Not even close.

I think whoever said the mere fact that you are contemplating and examining your own role in this is the best indicator that you are NOT the one with BPD was right on the money.

VanessaG

Yeah, I've asked my T several times if she thought I had a PD or something and she said absolutely not. While we all have the traits to some extent, few go to the extent where it warrants a diagnosis. I guess that's comforting.

Thanks for your help guys. It's been a bleak couple of days, so I really appreciate it.  x

 

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GCD145
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« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2010, 06:52:02 AM »

I just wanted to clarify what I meant by "share the blame" in my initial post.

Unless you are actively using the tools that you can find on the "staying" board- validation, radical acceptance, SET, etc, chances are you behaved in a way that fueled the pwBPD's fears and behaviors.

We all have our issues, and most of us who find our way here suffer from codependency.  This is the exact opposite of what a pwBPD needs.

GCD145
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francienolan
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« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2010, 08:05:42 AM »

GCD145,

No doubt. I was not up for the job of being his full-time emotional regulator, validator, caretaker, etc. I read all of the tools on the "staying board"--some of them I did intuitively without knowing they were a tool and some of them not.  I respect people who actively try to accept their pwBPD as they are and faithfully apply these techniques, etc.

However, I see a contradiction here. You say most of us who find our way here suffer from codependency. I look at these tools and the amount of mental effort to actively use them and to me, it seems that they foster codependency too. You are always having to check yourself and your behavior. No matter how much you try to emotionally detach yourself from the equation, the truth is--you are still there, a person, a part of this relationship in which your thoughts, feelings, etc will always take a backseat to pwBPD. And from the stories I've read on the Staying board, sometimes no amount of validation, no amount of making them feel safe is ever enough.

Contrary to what you say--Whether you use the tools or not, being in a relationship with a pwBPD requires a certain amount of codependency. In truth, all relationships require a certain amount but more so with pwBPD. It's not for me and I'm tired of feeling bad about that.

What about what I need? I would rather have a give-and-take, a healthy relationship, a partnership, someone who believes in me as much as I believe in him. If I wanted a full-time project, I would restore an old Jaguar. At least then I could look forward to a better ride.

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« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2010, 08:26:11 AM »

GCD145,

No doubt. I was not up for the job of being his full-time emotional regulator, validator, caretaker, etc. I read all of the tools on the "staying board"--some of them I did intuitively without knowing they were a tool and some of them not.  I respect people who actively try to accept their pwBPD as they are and faithfully apply these techniques, etc.

However, I see a contradiction here. You say most of us who find our way here suffer from codependency. I look at these tools and the amount of mental effort to actively use them and to me, it seems that they foster codependency too. You are always having to check yourself and your behavior. No matter how much you try to emotionally detach yourself from the equation, the truth is--you are still there, a person, a part of this relationship in which your thoughts, feelings, etc will always take a backseat to pwBPD. And from the stories I've read on the Staying board, sometimes no amount of validation, no amount of making them feel safe is ever enough.

Contrary to what you say--Whether you use the tools or not, being in a relationship with a pwBPD requires a certain amount of codependency. In truth, all relationships require a certain amount but more so with pwBPD. It's not for me and I'm tired of feeling bad about that.

What about what I need? I would rather have a give-and-take, a healthy relationship, a partnership, someone who believes in me as much as I believe in him. If I wanted a full-time project, I would restore an old Jaguar. At least then I could look forward to a better ride.

To add to your post, I didn't even know my stbx had BPD. Therefore I had no clue of how to respond to her attacks. The only thing I knew was to defend my self and always wonder, "why is she so angry, why is she so emotionally distant, why does she say those things to me, etc... ." Our, or at least mine, were mostly reactionary to her evil. I'm generally happy-go-lucky and freespirited but this woman has broke me down. Yes, i stuck around and my own naivete kept telling me "keep loving her and she will love you back. it will eventually be ok." That may have been a rational thought on my part, especially if I were with someone that was healthy, but I really had no clue what i was up against. I suspected a PD early in the realtionship but me being the "fixer" thought that I could work things out. Again, if i were with someone healthy that might have worked. My stbx has no empathy and could never understand, hear or accept my feelings towards anything. I have said to her for many years you either don't care or have no clue about my feelings. Now, I know she just didn't have the ability to know or care. 
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« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2010, 08:47:22 AM »

I decided that maybe I was histrionic.  Maybe these men weren't so bad, and that maybe I was really the one at the heart of the problem. 

I really, seriously, fell down the rabbit hole.   

And then she laughed and laughed and laughed and told me that I was in no way, shape or form histrionic.  Not even close.

I think whoever said the mere fact that you are contemplating and examining your own role in this is the best indicator that you are NOT the one with BPD was right on the money.

I've snipped this a bit to carve out the common bits to my experience, but lemme give Vanessa an "amen". 

I checked myself into therapy about two years into the relationship with my uPBDgf, after a particularly volatile and crazy-making period.  I had suggested counseling because I was trying to prod her into going; however, the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if the problems I'd had in my marriage weren't very similar.  My uPBDgf persuaded me that I was a narcissist and emotionally abusive.  As Vanessa said: you can find yourself in the DSM, if you look hard enough.  I finished the job of persuading myself, and yes, "down the rabbit hole" is spot-on. 

My T also laughed and basically said: it's pretty much the definition of a narcissist that they would not ever consider themselves to be the problem and check into therapy.  Therefore, pretty much by definition, you are not a narcissist.  Further, when I spent time enumerating the traits that I identified, my T pointed out that we all have these cluster traits - in varying degrees - and they are actually, to some degree, healthy to have!  These traits are part of our make-up precisely because they do, in some contexts and to some degree, confer real benefits - think about how successful sociopaths are in capitalist business - evolutionary benefits even.  Look at these traits in the frame of the old toxicology paradigm: everything is toxic, therapeutic or harmless, it's just a question of dosage. 

I still stuck with the therapy and counseling, because my counselor said to me, "Why are you here?  What do you want?"  I said I was unhappy with my life and I was tired of that, and I just wanted to be happy.  We started there and found plenty to work on without having to find a clinical label for some kind of psycho-pathology in the DSM.  In other words: you can improve your mental health, well-being and general happiness in counseling, even if you're not "broken".
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« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2010, 09:01:28 AM »

However, I see a contradiction here. You say most of us who find our way here suffer from codependency. I look at these tools and the amount of mental effort to actively use them and to me, it seems that they foster codependency too. You are always having to check yourself and your behavior. No matter how much you try to emotionally detach yourself from the equation, the truth is--you are still there, a person, a part of this relationship in which your thoughts, feelings, etc will always take a backseat to pwBPD.

Your thoughts, feelings, etc may always take a backseat to the pwBPD - in the pwBPD's mind. They don't have to always take a backseat in your mind - even if you stay Smiling (click to insert in post)

And from the stories I've read on the Staying board, sometimes no amount of validation, no amount of making them feel safe is ever enough.

Enough to what - fix them?  No ... .that's not what (or who) the tools are for Smiling (click to insert in post)

It's not for me and I'm tired of feeling bad about that.

What about what I need? I would rather have a give-and-take, a healthy relationship, a partnership, someone who believes in me as much as I believe in him.

Don't blame you ... .no need to feel bad about that choice  x  The existence of tools for help with Staying is not a slam against anybody who chooses to leave. Not at all.
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« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2010, 09:06:29 AM »

My uPBDgf persuaded me that I was a narcissist and emotionally abusive.  As Vanessa said: you can find yourself in the DSM, if you look hard enough.  I finished the job of persuading myself, and yes, "down the rabbit hole" is spot-on. 

My therapist (after assuring me - in somewhat similar circumstances - that I did not have a diagnosable mental disorder) added that diagnosis is only one piece anyway, and not the most important piece.

Does the person function - work, parent, etc. - in society? Do they treat others appropriately? These are much more important than diagnosis, ultimately.
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« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2010, 09:25:57 AM »

Unless you are actively using the tools that you can find on the "staying" board- validation, radical acceptance, SET, etc, chances are you behaved in a way that fueled the pwBPD's fears and behaviors.

We all have our issues, and most of us who find our way here suffer from codependency.  This is the exact opposite of what a pwBPD needs.

GCD145

I agree that many of us on this site suffer from codependency, but I don't think there's anyting more codependent than using the tools on the staying board to sustain a BPD relationship.  I tried validation and radical acceptance in the latter parts of my relationship with my uBPDxgf.  In the process, I tolerated more BS than I ever should have.  I attribute this to my codependency; that I would bend over backwards and show endless kindness, warmth and love to a person who treated me like Bullet: comment directed to __ (click to insert in post))#*&.

Eventually, I grew enough of a spine to stop tolerating the intolerable.  She disappeared and married someone else within months.  And while a part of me has been left thinking "if only I continued to tolerate her behavior better", that's my codependent side talking.  The part of me that isn't codependent is the part of me that says things like "I have a right to expect honesty, stability and fidelity from a woman who claims to love me."  

I agree that standing up for myself did fuel my ex's BPD-based fears, but that wasn't based out of codependency.  Codependency was what allowed me to enable the behaviors of a tragically sick person.  What ultimately triggered her fears was my re-discovery of my self-respect.
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« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2010, 09:37:02 AM »

I attribute this to my codependency; that I would bend over backwards and show endless kindness, warmth and love to a person who treated me like Bullet: comment directed to __ (click to insert in post))#*&.

Eventually, I grew enough of a spine to stop tolerating the intolerable.  She disappeared and married someone else within months.  

I agree that standing up for myself did fuel my ex's BPD-based fears, but that wasn't based out of codependency.  Codependency was what allowed me to enable the behaviors of a tragically sick person.  What ultimately triggered her fears was my re-discovery of my self-respect.

Wow... .my experience, to a T.  Mine was not unfaithful, but yes, the more I started to stand up for myself, the more it pushed her buttons, particularly when I was no longer willing to engage in the fights. 
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« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2010, 09:39:15 AM »

To those of you pointing out that using the tools on then staying board foster codependency:

I agree and I disagree.  The difference seems to be radical acceptance.  Codependents want to change their partner.  Nons who stay must give up the notion that they can do this.  

But, hey, I have no experience with staying. If you tried radical acceptance, StillChasing, and felt that it fostered codependency, then you know more than I do, because I came to these boards after I was already out of my relationship.  I'll take it one step further: I have little or no idea of why most of the people who choose to stay do so.  In some cases, there are children.  In others, it appears that the non has made a decision that the benefits outweigh the negatives.  That's a personal decision, but not one that I could see myself making in the context of my stbxw.  Maybe there are people who are so wonderful that dealing with them having serious emotional dysregulation disorder is somehow worthwhile.  Maybe it's all FOG.  Who knows.

I think this has been a good discussion.

And to those participating, can you ever see a pwBPD analyzing their motives and actions like this?  Thinking about these issues will lead to us being better, stronger people and potential partners.  We will grow and change, and hopefully learn from our experiences.  

GCD145

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« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2010, 10:14:55 AM »

To those of you pointing out that using the tools on then staying board foster codependency:

I agree and I disagree.  The difference seems to be radical acceptance.  Codependents want to change their partner.  Nons who stay must give up the notion that they can do this.  

But, hey, I have no experience with staying. If you tried radical acceptance, StillChasing, and felt that it fostered codependency, then you know more than I do, because I came to these boards after I was already out of my relationship.  I'll take it one step further: I have little or no idea of why most of the people who choose to stay do so.  In some cases, there are children.  In others, it appears that the non has made a decision that the benefits outweigh the negatives.  That's a personal decision, but not one that I could see myself making in the context of my stbxw.  Maybe there are people who are so wonderful that dealing with them having serious emotional dysregulation disorder is somehow worthwhile.  Maybe it's all FOG.  Who knows.

I think this has been a good discussion.

And to those participating, can you ever see a pwBPD analyzing their motives and actions like this?  Thinking about these issues will lead to us being better, stronger people and potential partners.  We will grow and change, and hopefully learn from our experiences.  

To get quasi-philosophical, I think the codependence is a priori, not a posteriori.  It's not that the tools for staying foster codependency; they are legitimately effective techniques for sustaining the relationship.  But the desire to sustain an obviously unhealthy relationship is indicative of codependency in the first place. 

Radical acceptance works, as does validation.  But a healthy, non-codependent person would never see the need to adopt these practices to begin with.  A healthy, mature person in a relationship generally thinks "I will treat my partner with love, respect and honesty, and expect to be treated the same way in return.  If the other person does not want to/is incapable of treating me that way, the other person simply isn't The Right One for me."

A codependent person looks at a troubled relationship, and rather than thinking "My needs aren't being met; it's time to move on," he or she instead thinks, "what can I change about myself and my behaviors to save this relationship?"  I asked myself this all the time, and it was completely due to my codependent fears.  I'd be lying if I claimed those fears aren't still with me -- I still worry I'll never find love again -- but at least for today, my need to respect myself is stronger.  Lying to me, stealing my money, and sleeping with other guys?  Those are dealbreakers. 

The codependent in me thinks "She must treat me like crap because I deserve it.  I'll try to be a better person.  Perhaps there are techniques to save this relationship."  The self-respecting person in me replies "No. She treats me terribly because she's disordered.  She can't love me, but I can start loving myself and move on from this situation."

And I think you hit the nail on the head, GCD, regarding your comments on people with BPD not being able to analyze questions like this.  I'm 99% sure that if a person is asking themselves "how do I know it's not me?", then it's not them.  I think most of us have plenty of work to do on ourselves -- the fact that we let ourselves get hurt by disordered people suggests we have room for personal growth -- but not as if we have BPD. 
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« Reply #26 on: March 17, 2010, 10:36:46 AM »

I am not sure I understand co-dependency. Seems it is a term that is used frequently, and has become a bit of a catch-all. Perhaps there is a continuum of co-dependency. The line is blurred, as , I feel that in most relationships, people are dependant on each other to some extent.

A guy whose writings on PD's I read, Richard Skerritt, take issue with labeling folks that get involved with PD's and stay too long, co-dependant. HE points out several things on this issue.

First, he points out that a loving, healthy person is willing to tolerate some bad behavior when he or she is in love.

He also points out, rightly, that the behaviors , most often, seem  to appear after serious enmeshment, like kids, marriage, and mortgages, etc. These factors, and a healthy person's commitment to the vows, cause folks to stay much longer than thye would without them.

I know for me, had these abusive behaviors reared their head before marriage and pregnancy, I would have bolted. But, I am not ahamed of having tried to fix things and to appease because I was so concerned about my kids, and I took my vows seriously.

I think many of us have wondered if it was us with the disorder and many have inquired of their therapist and been told no.Being in a relationship like this makes you question all types of things about yourself, you adequacy, your attractiveness, your alleged abusiveness etc. This self doubt is very painful and rocks you.
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« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2010, 10:40:42 AM »

Ok, I understand that the tools are not used to fix or change the pwBPD.  Rather, they are a way to understand them and to cope with their behaviors and enforce certain boundaries. What I meant was these tools will never be enough to make the non an equal part of the equation.

My ex would frequently say "You have to accept me for who I am." That's pretty much radical acceptance in a nutshell. I get that. But where is the limit? The non does the work, accepts the person for who they are, and decides to live with it. But in the process, doesn't the non end up changing for pwBPD? And what does it mean to have a relationship like that? Is there an "I" even present in the relationship anymore? Definetely not to the pwBPD--I think we've already established that. How far can you go without getting any of that love and acceptance in return?

I think, in light of having found out just how quickly my ex has moved on, I'm trying to work through the "what could I have done better?"/"will he be different with the next person?" questions. After my friend made the comment about how do you know it's not you, it got me into this thought spiral. One minute, I feel justified in my actions and confident that I made the right decision and another minute, I feel like maybe it was all my fault.

You know what, I do accept him for who he is. And I say no thank you. If the next chick accepts him for who is and wants the full-time job of being his SO and it all works out happily ever after, then I accept that too. Now excuse me, I have an old Jaguar to restore.
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« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2010, 10:52:18 AM »

StillChasing:

The only thing that bugs me is that you seem to be saying that no healthy person would stay in a relationship with a pwBPD.  I agree with you; I just think we're going to be stomped on by outraged people from the staying board who don't see themselves as unhealthy.

Ron7127:

I'm starting to think that initial codependent tendencies can become exacerbated over time in a relationship with a pwBPD, by the processes you so nicely described.  However, there is no doubt that by the time my marriage ended, I was an enmeshed enabling codependent mess.  Was I that way before?  I don't think so, but it's almost impossible to remember who I was before I got burnt to a cinder and covered in sh&t.

This discussion is really really good.  It probably belongs on "Taking Personal Inventory" the least-used, most-neglected and probably most valuable part of these boards.

GCD145
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« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2010, 11:00:47 AM »

StillChasing:

but it's almost impossible to remember who I was before I got burnt to a cinder and covered in sh&t.

Why does this happen?  I really can't get a handle on who I was before this relationship and who I am now.
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« Reply #30 on: March 17, 2010, 11:07:56 AM »

Excerpt
This discussion is really really good.  It probably belongs on "Taking Personal Inventory" the least-used, most-neglected and probably most valuable part of these boards.

I didn't even know about that board! I will go check it out  Smiling (click to insert in post)

By the way everyone!... .I love your posts! Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #31 on: March 17, 2010, 11:12:42 AM »

I just think we're going to be stomped on by outraged people from the staying board who don't see themselves as unhealthy.

My view of my own unhealthiness has oscillated ... .

I was definitely unhealthy at the beginning - and probably through most - of our relationship. There was a whole flag corps on the field waving red flags, and I refused to see them.

By the time I started to become healthy, we had been together for years, had children. Which complicates things immensely.
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« Reply #32 on: March 17, 2010, 12:05:27 PM »






A codependent person looks at a troubled relationship, and rather than thinking "My needs aren't being met; it's time to move on," he or she instead thinks, "what can I change about myself and my behaviors to save this relationship?"  I asked myself this all the time, and it was completely due to my codependent fears.  I'd be lying if I claimed those fears aren't still with me -- I still worry I'll never find love again -- but at least for today, my need to respect myself is stronger.  Lying to me, stealing my money, and sleeping with other guys?  Those are dealbreakers. 



And I think you hit the nail on the head, GCD, regarding your comments on people with BPD not being able to analyze questions like this.  I'm 99% sure that if a person is asking themselves "how do I know it's not me?", then it's not them.  I think most of us have plenty of work to do on ourselves -- the fact that we let ourselves get hurt by disordered people suggests we have room for personal growth -- but not as if we have BPD. 

I agree totally with this first paragraph. We constantly ask ourselves what behaviors do we change about ourselves to make our relationship better? What do we change to make them happier. I don't believe BPD's ask themselves these questions because they are constantly in victim/blamimg mode. Mine used to flat out proclaim "I know I am not the crazy one."

And I third the notion on the second paragraph. As we are on here, in bookstores, and other websites trying to figure out what the hell just happened or what can we do to be better people, they are on facebook, other social networking sites, and searching for "sexy singles" cruises. Thier self refelction is very shallow if it is present at all. By definition, they can't reflect on themselves or that would take away from them being extreme victims.
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« Reply #33 on: March 17, 2010, 12:08:25 PM »

To those of you pointing out that using the tools on then staying board foster codependency:

I agree and I disagree.  The difference seems to be radical acceptance.  Codependents want to change their partner.  Nons who stay must give up the notion that they can do this.  

But, hey, I have no experience with staying. If you tried radical acceptance, StillChasing, and felt that it fostered codependency, then you know more than I do, because I came to these boards after I was already out of my relationship.  I'll take it one step further: I have little or no idea of why most of the people who choose to stay do so.  In some cases, there are children.  In others, it appears that the non has made a decision that the benefits outweigh the negatives.  That's a personal decision, but not one that I could see myself making in the context of my stbxw.  Maybe there are people who are so wonderful that dealing with them having serious emotional dysregulation disorder is somehow worthwhile.  Maybe it's all FOG.  Who knows.

I think this has been a good discussion.

And to those participating, can you ever see a pwBPD analyzing their motives and actions like this?  Thinking about these issues will lead to us being better, stronger people and potential partners.  We will grow and change, and hopefully learn from our experiences.  

GCD145

GCD145, hi,

I would like to give you the perspective of someone who has chosen to stay and later had no choice but to move on. I chose to stay because deep inside I could see who he really is. And I was hoping that with the right amount of love, understanding and dedication, he would realize how sick he was and he would start treating himself. As I am a recovering person with BPD, and managed to stay 8 years without traits, until I fell in love with him and the traits started revealing themselves, I was truly hoping that what happened to me, recovery, could happen to him. I have given him the perspective of a pwBPD, and he would identify himself with it. There was a time when he has admitted that he had a problem, but right after he locked himself up in his nutshell and when I got to communicate with him again, I realized he was even more sick, as he changed his family name and decided that all his family was dead. I suppose this happened because he couldn't deal with the fact that he was sick. It causes a lot of pain to accept the disease, and the inability to deal with such pain triggers the brain to split, again. It's a vicious cycle that we can't control. We have to be very brave and face our demons and this can cost us our own life. I remember that in my case the pain got so severe that 4 months after therapy I've hurt myself physically to easy the psychological pain, and nearly got myself killed. But I was so determined to fix myself, that I was the first one to ask my parents to drive me to the hospital. So upon all my memories, I stood. But what happened was that one year after trying so hard to help him, he was getting more and more in denial, hiding behind my own disease, as my codependency and also my traits were becoming more prominent. Until I have taken the very painful decision of putting him in a place where he would have to chose. I asked for some of my needs to be met, and I have also confronted him with his behavior and all he did was to delete me from his life completely and end any kind of communication. This was 3 weeks ago. I felt devastated as you all may know how it feels when we realize the relationship has ended completely. I still feel that I gave up on him, and I feel bad for it, because I have an idea of what he's going through right now. But I just knew deep inside that even with my experience I was not ready to help him. And after crossing every limit of my own strength, every limit of my resources and fail completely to help him, it was now time to invest all that energy into something I know for sure is not a lost cause: it is time to help myself. Some pwBPD do get better, some completely recover, and knowing this, was reason enough for me to stay. But this knowledge, couldn't keep me from leaving in the end. I don't believe that staying or leaving can determine how healthy or unhealthy we are. To do this, would be like trying to measure the amount of pain we've suffered thus far, which is impossible. The way I see it, it is a personal choice. We as individuals have our reasons to make our own choices and because one has chosen to do something, doesn't mean that it is best for the rest of us to choose the same.

Centella



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« Reply #34 on: March 17, 2010, 12:23:33 PM »

Maybe I was the one with BPD (or something) all along. I'm in psychotherapy, on anti-depressants, living alone, don't have too many friends, have trouble meeting people, and spend the majority of my time ruminating over my last relationship. My ex has a ton of friends, never got upset about anything, had no problems moving on... .

This is a very common question on these boards.  The answer seems to be that the very fact you question yourself indicates that you are not the pwBPD.

Fact check... .  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

This is a common statement made on message boards "the very fact you question yourself indicates that you are not the pwBPD"

It's not true.

pwBPD almost always know something is wrong and questions themselves.  Most people with BPD have low self esteem and think something is wrong with them.

I'm not suggesting that the thread host has BPD ( I have no reason to think that) - but I am suggesting that the statement is incorrect.

Hope that helps.
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« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2010, 12:38:37 PM »

Skip:

Thanks for the correction.  Do you think that pwBPD ever wonder if they have BPD, though?  My stbxw thought she had everything under the sun EXCEPT a PD.

Centella: My story is like yours, except I don't think I am a pwBPD.  I too saw the good, and thought I could fix it, but I couldn't.

Anyone who reads this: please please PLEASE do not let this form the basis of a "staying" vs. "leaving" feud.  Please?

GCD145
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« Reply #36 on: March 17, 2010, 12:55:27 PM »

Maybe I was the one with BPD (or something) all along. I'm in psychotherapy, on anti-depressants, living alone, don't have too many friends, have trouble meeting people, and spend the majority of my time ruminating over my last relationship. My ex has a ton of friends, never got upset about anything, had no problems moving on, and is able to make friends at the drop of a dime. Although I feel like I was subjected to emotional abuse during my relationship, it pales in comparison to some of the stories I've read on this site. Maybe it was emotional abuse at all, maybe I'm just really sensitive. I mean really, maybe I've been the disordered party all along and just don't realize it? How do you know?

francienolan, I have been pondering this as well for a long time. uBPDw jabs at me with comments that continue to chisel away at what is left of my self-esteem. The lower the self-esteem, the more negative we become on ourselves.

I think before we learned about our SO's condition, many of use were at emotional lows in our life. We sought help and learned about the condition of our SO. I know when I learned about it, my well-being soared because I found out it all wasn't my fault. But that was 3 or so years ago. Even though I am wiser and have attempted to use the tools when I can, she has ramped up her symptoms.

Now the feeling of being wrong before has been replaced by a trapped feeling, and allowing myself to stay trapped and thinking being in this relationship is better than being possible alone has caused me to question my own sanity. They beat you down until you don't think you can make it on your own. Amazing. To think back when I was a teenager and the free and independent spirit I was, and self-sufficient, who didn't need a momma to cook for me or wash my dirty underwear. How I let this transformation happen... .that makes me worry about ME.
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« Reply #37 on: March 17, 2010, 01:19:24 PM »

How do you know it's not you?

You can't - not without getting a full mental health check up from a trained professional.

Saying "if you are asking this question, then you must be healthy" is not accurate, since as Skip says, many BPD sufferers constantly question the pain they feel and the hurt they cause to others.

My stance?

While it feels good to have someone to blame (the pwBPD) and a label to explain what happened to you (I'm codependent or whatever), this still all plays into the whole "I'm a victim" mentality, which will keep you stuck and doesn't encourage you to look in the mirror at your own decisions that got you to where you are... .True growth occurs when we stop pointing fingers outward and start to examine ourselves... .

Read Us as victims for more info on that one... .

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« Reply #38 on: March 17, 2010, 01:38:38 PM »

I have seen the enemy and it is ME.

I think we all have some degrees of BPD, like fear of abandonment, anger, controlling but the key difference is that we can TEMPER our such feelings with logic,  experiences, self introspection,  and with trust. BPD cannot temper their feelings at all, and consequently they lash out at their partners.

The main thing is that we see our weaknesses and seek help to change, but BPD does not. By acknowledging our own weaknesses, we can then let go of the guilt, learn from the mistakes, and grow from there. From the day my 1st wife died 5 years ago, I have changed a lot and continued to learn and change every day. I have become much more at peace with my life, my children, my future and best of all is I am at peace with ME.

An issue that many of us have struggled with is we can fix ourselves but how do we fix or change our partner for the better. THis will be a struggle now and always will be as long as we are human. We cannot change our partners, though we can shape him/her somewhat, by practicing being compassionate, loving, and patient. For those that can not be shaped or changed then we just have to move on, because we are asking something that cannot be done. To stay and expect perfection from our partner is PURE LUNACY from our part. 
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« Reply #39 on: March 17, 2010, 01:42:26 PM »

Skip:

Thanks for the correction.  Do you think that pwBPD ever wonder if they have BPD, though?  My stbxw thought she had everything under the sun EXCEPT a PD.

Hi GCD145,

I don't know if this helps, but in my case, when I first searched for help with 16 years old, it was because I knew there was something wrong, because of several signs, such as being a great student but incapable of managing school, resulting in failure after failure, or not to mention the suicidal attempts or being caught up in my own lies and not being sure of which was true or not. I was pretty sure that there was something wrong, but back then, when I searched for help, I did it originally as a victim, for all the abuse suffered in my father's hands. It was only 2 years later, when I truly assumed the commitment of helping myself and had the immense luck of finding an incredible therapist, that I've come to realize the real chaos that was in my mind. And it has taken me years until I could realize the real meaning of having BPD, since approaching the disease as a victim of the untreated pwBPD has made me once more read and search for everything about it in an attempt to understand in the best I can, (something I had done a while back for myself). And honestly, I still don't think I know exactly what BPD is, nor if I still have it or not. But I assume and take responsibility for my actions. And I can identify what a normal behavior is and I can identify if someone is being mean or not. And I do see that I could never hurt someone else the way he has hurt me, sometimes without showing any kind of empathy for my pain. Or maybe I could do this as well, hurt someone, because I'm a human being and I can make mistakes, but then I would be beating myself up and kicking my conscience for the rest of my life, for doing so. And I think that in here lies the difference, most of the times he is not aware of the damage he causes and if someone confronts him with it, he bursts into hanger and shuts that someone out of his life forever. It is complicated. The only thing I'm sure is that I do need to become a better person, and as I become better, there's always a reason to become even better again, so this quest may take my entire life to be succeeded.
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« Reply #40 on: March 17, 2010, 01:50:10 PM »

This is all fascinating stuff.  Thank you.

On the topic of "if you're thinking you're BPD, you're probably not" and the fact that it is not necessarily the case, let me offer up my experience with my uBPDp to see if it resonates with anyone else.

He did, in fact, know that there was something not-quite-right with him.  He had a drinking problem, and occasionally questioned whether or not he was an alcoholic.  At various times, he would confess the following:  "I am hard on people", "I used to have anger issues", "I can't shake the feeling that I don't really MEAN anything to anyone", "I have a fantasy that she will rescue me."  

That said, when I suggested (and this was before I knew much of anything about BPD) that he seek counseling, that he had demons that he needed help fighting and that there was a wonderful man in there if only he could slay them, he absolutely, steadfastly refused.

The impression I've gotten, from what I've read here and in some of the recommended books, is that pwBPD rarely seek treatment or even a diagnosis.  It sometimes happens as a result of a suicide attempt, or as a resolution to an ultimatum from a spouse/partner.

So, truly, what is the likelihood that someone who has researched BPD to some degree, and is, in fact, part of a discussion group like this one, actually HAS it?  I would say unlikely, though of course, certainly not impossible.  The impression I get is that most of our own insecurities after a period of time with a pwBPD is what is termed "fleas."

I use a pseudonym here, but have spilled enough facts about my pwBPD that if he ever came here and sleuthed around, he could easily find my posts.

But I know that the likelihood of that is about nil.

Thoughts?

VanessaG

PS  Good book on co-dependency is Codependent No More by Melody Beattie.  Highly recommended by me.
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« Reply #41 on: March 17, 2010, 02:06:32 PM »

I think I know it is not me because people like me, long term. I get along with my co-workers, friends,and family-long term. I have a good job history. I had excellent credit before the marriage. I never cut myself, had an eating or substance abuse problem and was neither promiscuous or unfaithful. I did not insult people or speak poorly of them behind their backs. I never XXX'd someone out of my life for a perceived slight. My kids love me and do not fear me. I do not overspend or steal and I seldom lied(although I started to to my ex-wife to avoid conflict). I was happy, for the most part and did not feel empty(until I got married to her. Then, I was lonely as hell).

I think one of the keys to answering this question is to try to look at yourself honestly before involvement with the PD person. You will find the usual flaws and blips. But, nothing as pervasive as the person with the PD has.

I researched my XW's past, after finding out about her affairs. She had been involved in affairs with two married guys before(and probably more, but these were the ones folks knew about). She had slept with her highschool soccer coach for two years, cheating on her boyfriend.

She had quit college  her senior year and shacked up with a married guy in a neighboring town, sending home fake transcripts to her folks, who thought she was in school She told me she had graduated college and kept up that lie for 9 years.

When we were looking for a house, my realtor informed me that her credit was so bad, she could not be on the mortgage. HEr parents describe her a a habitual liar, without a conscience and advised me to divorce her. She has been arrested in front of our kids for failure to make court appearances on misdemeanor driving charges. She drove our car for 3 years without her license, unbeknownst to me.

She routinely doused  me with cold water when I showered and when I was clothed, once. She told me I was "like a woman" and that i had no penis or balls.

No doubt in my mind that I was married to a disordered woman.

The egregious abuse is burned in my mind and helps me realize that it was not me. I have never treated anyone as she did me andas she treats others.

I do need to look at what part of me allowed this to happen and why I stayed so long.
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« Reply #42 on: March 17, 2010, 02:42:52 PM »

... .when I suggested (and this was before I knew much of anything about BPD) that he seek counseling, that he had demons that he needed help fighting and that there was a wonderful man in there if only he could slay them, he absolutely, steadfastly refused.t No More [/u] by Melody Beattie.  

This is true for most people with mental health issues... .unless they are in emotional crisis. Did any of us go to a T when things were OK?

I also think that I would expand the possible issues that a non may have beyond codependency to include narcissism or narcissistic  traits, low self esteem/self image, life crisis (divorce, death, loss of job), shyness/ limited dating skills, substance abuse, etc.

And I would add, that it is not likely just one party that has issues... .it's more likely both parties are dealing with things, one more than the other.  


And my last comment would be that everyone that I know that made significant progress (either leaving or staying) discovered that they had a much larger role in the problem than they thought.
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« Reply #43 on: March 17, 2010, 04:07:48 PM »

I have to disagree with Skip. I am by no means perfect. But,(and I know this is subjective), I played no role in the problem other than tolerating it too long. And, that was primarily due to the masking during courtship and my concern for my kids.

I think many nons are way too hard on themselves. I was relatively inexperienced in romance and was very trusting. I guess being trusting can be labeled a bad thing, but, I certainly did ot want to be mistrustful of my spouse.

Yes, we need to learn from this. But, I just do not see how I contributed much to this. And, if anything, I was way to willing to accept responsibility for things beyond my control.
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« Reply #44 on: March 17, 2010, 05:47:57 PM »



I have to disagree with Skip. I am by no means perfect. But,(and I know this is subjective), I played no role in the problem other than tolerating it too long. And, that was primarily due to the masking during courtship and my concern for my kids.

I think many nons are way too hard on themselves. I was relatively inexperienced in romance and was very trusting. I guess being trusting can be labeled a bad thing, but, I certainly did ot want to be mistrustful of my spouse.

Yes, we need to learn from this. But, I just do not see how I contributed much to this. And, if anything, I was way to willing to accept responsibility for things beyond my control.

Hi Ron7127,

I'm truly sorry for all you've been through.

I'd like to say that we can only take responsibility for what it is within our control. However, there's an ancient universal law that stands for cause and effect. Every action we take, leads to a certain consequence, either good, bad or sometimes neutral. And sometimes, not acting at all has its consequences as well. In my opinion, we cause them to feel certain emotions, and perhaps that is our primarily role in the problem even if we're not aware of it. And then, it follows by not knowing how to deal with their response to their own emotions. It's not a process of beating ourselves up because of what we should've done, it's more a process of introspection and self growth that only one can do for himself.

But again, all this is debatable since each experience is unique and only you two know exactly what happened in that relationship.

It's just the way I see things, doesn't mean that it's right. I just like to keep an open mind and explore all possibilities.

Take care,

Centella
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« Reply #45 on: March 17, 2010, 09:31:54 PM »

Centella, thnks.

I agree that myrole was to have not set boundaries. But, I thought my wife cared for me and I never expected to heve to enforce boundaries as I assumed she had my best interest at heart, initially.

I ran this by ny therapist, my role, and asked if I could have done anything to change her behavior by having battled her constantly. He s\assured me that all that would have accomplished was to end the relationship sooner, which would have been a good thing.Once we had kids, I was scared of losing them. So, I stayed until the discovery of the serial infidelity.

Thank God, she cheated. It was the bright linr for me and I got out.
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« Reply #46 on: March 17, 2010, 09:42:58 PM »

you can improve your mental health, well-being and general happiness in counseling, even if you're not "broken".

in that case i'm up for a lot of improving, cause i'm shattered, tattered, torn & battered~
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« Reply #47 on: March 17, 2010, 09:53:23 PM »

StillChasing:

The only thing that bugs me is that you seem to be saying that no healthy person would stay in a relationship with a pwBPD.  I agree with you; I just think we're going to be stomped on by outraged people from the staying board who don't see themselves as unhealthy.

A very good point, GCD.  I should note that I'm basing my beliefs on my own experience; that the only reason I put up with what I did was because of my own codependence.  There are some tricky situations in which a person stays out of necessity -- possibly for economic reasons or out of fear of losing custody of children to someone with BPD -- so I'm sympathetic to that.  I'm also sympathetic to people who stay out of love.  I used to be one of the latter, so I understand it all too well.  But I truly believe that anyone who wants to commit themselves to a person who abuses them, belittles them, threatens them, lies to them, and betrays them, should really think hard about why they want to be with such a person.  In my own case, I never would have taken my ex back after the first affair if I had any sense of self-respect.  I mistakenly thought that my forgiveness would show her how much I loved her.  Instead, it only showed her how much of a sucker I was, and she continued to play me much longer than I should have let her.  Shame on the disorder for causing her to do that, but shame on me for letting it happen in the first place.

I also think that I would expand the possible issues that a non may have beyond codependency to include narcissism or narcissistic  traits, low self esteem/self image, life crisis (divorce, death, loss of job), shyness/ limited dating skills, substance abuse, etc.

And I would add, that it is not likely just one party that has issues... .it's more likely both parties are dealing with things, one more than the other.  


And my last comment would be that everyone that I know that made significant progress (either leaving or staying) discovered that they had a much larger role in the problem than they thought.



I agree with much of that, Skip.  Like I noted earlier, most of us should take a long, hard look in the mirror, and try to get to the bottom of what's wrong.  :)o many of us still have room for personal growth?  Absolutely.  But I don't think (m)any of us are suffering from BPD.  I truly doubt we'd be here if we did.  

How am I so confident that I'm not suffering from undiagnosed BPD?  Because in my relationship, I wasn't the one that professed my undying love to my significant other, told her I wanted to move in with her, marry her, and have kids with her... .and then cheated on her less than 12 hours later.  That, and about 50 other red flags.  

I could easily be diagnosed with Idiotic and Gullible Boyfriend Disorder, but BPD's not my problem.  
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« Reply #48 on: March 17, 2010, 10:09:40 PM »

I have seen the enemy and it is ME... .

Amen to this. Same here.
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« Reply #49 on: March 17, 2010, 10:12:07 PM »

I have also wondered.  Lucky for me that my exhusband reminds me often that he is the problem (or the bigger problem, I obviously have some issues)  

Just yesterday he texted me how much he missed me and still loved me etc.  Thats nice, except for the fact that he got married again earlier this year... .hmmm... .oh but hes so unhappy with his wife and was forced to marry her... . Healthy people don't do that sh!t.  Healthy people don't triangulate their wife and exwife.
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« Reply #50 on: March 17, 2010, 10:31:33 PM »

Excerpt
I also think that I would expand the possible issues that a non may have beyond codependency to include narcissism or narcissistic  traits, low self esteem/self image, life crisis (divorce, death, loss of job), shyness/ limited dating skills, substance abuse, etc.

And I would add, that it is not likely just one party that has issues... .it's more likely both parties are dealing with things, one more than the other. 


And my last comment would be that everyone that I know that made significant progress (either leaving or staying) discovered that they had a much larger role in the problem than they thought.

Skip- this is where I'm at right now. Realizing that my *actions* were *reactions* to efforts of trying to control the disorder only to cause more disorder.

There was no order in any of my actions- only reactions to someone elses fear. 

Thinking that I was safe and that issues were solved after every reaction was wrong. Everytime I thought it was solved was just my own narcissism setting me up for a downfall. I really thought I was a great person- a great mediator- a great partner- but I wasn't taking care of myself. I was letting another person (with a character disorder) dictate what would fill my life- what would get my attention and what would exhaust my energy- making me appear as frazzled and out of sorts as a crazy person in an asylum... .and trying harder and harder to fix what wasn't mine to begin with.

My childhood taught me how to do that.  I spent most of my time dealing with other's issues. Rarely did I concentrate on my own. Now I see the wisdom in placing myself first.

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« Reply #51 on: March 19, 2010, 09:24:18 AM »

Excerpt
I also think that I would expand the possible issues that a non may have beyond codependency to include narcissism or narcissistic  traits, low self esteem/self image, life crisis (divorce, death, loss of job), shyness/ limited dating skills, substance abuse, etc.

And I would add, that it is not likely just one party that has issues... .it's more likely both parties are dealing with things, one more than the other. 


And my last comment would be that everyone that I know that made significant progress (either leaving or staying) discovered that they had a much larger role in the problem than they thought.

Skip- this is where I'm at right now. Realizing that my *actions* were *reactions* to efforts of trying to control the disorder only to cause more disorder.

There was no order in any of my actions- only reactions to someone elses fear. 

Thinking that I was safe and that issues were solved after every reaction was wrong. Everytime I thought it was solved was just my own narcissism setting me up for a downfall. I really thought I was a great person- a great mediator- a great partner- but I wasn't taking care of myself. I was letting another person (with a character disorder) dictate what would fill my life- what would get my attention and what would exhaust my energy- making me appear as frazzled and out of sorts as a crazy person in an asylum... .and trying harder and harder to fix what wasn't mine to begin with.

My childhood taught me how to do that.  I spent most of my time dealing with other's issues. Rarely did I concentrate on my own. Now I see the wisdom in placing myself first.

The problem that I have with this in the first place is this - if we dont know what we're doing is wrong, we're going to continue doing the wrong thing.

In a normal non-non relationship, you talk things out, you work them out, and you move on. I've had a normal non-non relationship and when we'd talk things out, we'd be ok. But you can't blame yourself because you were reacting normally/logically to an illogical situation. Someone in another thread said that  - "you can't apply logic to an illogical situation" and its SO TRUE.

So how can you be a narccisist (sp) if you dont know you are reacting wrongly to a situation to begin with? And if you know the truth and react differently once the truth is found, does that still make you a narccisist or does that make you human? Most of the time we dont know we're dealing with a pwBPD or dont realize the extent (my case. He told me he had BPD from the start and I didn't do my research. Thats my bad... .)

Hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20 and looking back I see a lot of things I should have done differently having known what I know now. But generally when you are dealing with a pwBPD you can't expect them to react the way you've had people react in the past. For instance, if you are with a non, they dont generally fly off the handle and have a nervous breakdown because you say they dont have a jawline.

That doesn't make you less at fault. But it does make you human because you didn't know everything in the first place. You didn't know that your actions/reactions were "wrong" to begin with.
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« Reply #52 on: March 19, 2010, 09:59:36 AM »

Excerpt
I also think that I would expand the possible issues that a non may have beyond codependency to include narcissism or narcissistic  traits, low self esteem/self image, life crisis (divorce, death, loss of job), shyness/ limited dating skills, substance abuse, etc.

And I would add, that it is not likely just one party that has issues... .it's more likely both parties are dealing with things, one more than the other. 


And my last comment would be that everyone that I know that made significant progress (either leaving or staying) discovered that they had a much larger role in the problem than they thought.

Skip- this is where I'm at right now. Realizing that my *actions* were *reactions* to efforts of trying to control the disorder only to cause more disorder.

There was no order in any of my actions- only reactions to someone elses fear. 

Thinking that I was safe and that issues were solved after every reaction was wrong. Everytime I thought it was solved was just my own narcissism setting me up for a downfall. I really thought I was a great person- a great mediator- a great partner- but I wasn't taking care of myself. I was letting another person (with a character disorder) dictate what would fill my life- what would get my attention and what would exhaust my energy- making me appear as frazzled and out of sorts as a crazy person in an asylum... .and trying harder and harder to fix what wasn't mine to begin with.

My childhood taught me how to do that.  I spent most of my time dealing with other's issues. Rarely did I concentrate on my own. Now I see the wisdom in placing myself first.

Your post describes my situation so well that I'm wondering if I have an alternate personality who posts when "I'm" asleep!

GCD145
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« Reply #53 on: March 19, 2010, 10:20:38 AM »

I think my main (though surely not only) issue is that with a whole flag corps on the field waving about 50 red flags, I'm like "flags, what flags?"
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« Reply #54 on: March 19, 2010, 10:36:59 AM »

pwBPD aren't another species . . . it's a matter of degree vs. kind. And it's fluid, situational.

Excerpt
healthy <---------------------------------=--------------------------------->unhealthy

Notice they're on the same dimension. Where do you fall? I'm much more to the left when I'm not in a relationship with someone with mental health issues. Aren't we all? We are interdependent and react to what's around us. So being with someone with problems would probably magnify our own, especially if we historically have weak boundaries [e.g., 2010's comment: "My childhood taught me how to do that."].

But perhaps I'm being too B&W  Smiling (click to insert in post) and it's more than 2 dimensions. I really rather prefer 2 axis, but couldn't think of any. Any suggestions?

Just a thought - would a "healthy" person be less likely to be moved towards the other side? Because they would have a core inner health? And how do we find and keep that?
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« Reply #55 on: March 19, 2010, 12:07:33 PM »

Just a thought - would a "healthy" person be less likely to be moved towards the other side? Because they would have a core inner health? And how do we find and keep that?

I think a truly healthy person would notice the red flags and run away entirely. But how many "truly healthy" people are out there anymore?
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« Reply #56 on: March 19, 2010, 12:13:49 PM »

Just to confuse things further, there's "health" and then there's "health" ... .

A couple years ago when my wife was projecting hard, I asked my therapist about whether he saw anything to diagnose in me.  He didn't, but said that the bigger question was how people function.  Even if he had diagnosed something in me, I was doing well with my job, parenting well, relating well to people (in general   ), having a stable, functional life as much as circumstances allowed. What would it even mean to say "both of you have a disorder"?
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« Reply #57 on: March 19, 2010, 01:26:51 PM »

Disorder causes ripples... .the extent to which the "waves" cause problems in your life could determine how disordered you are?

I'd say one major component of "health" is just homeostasis/balance, which is true for our bodies' health. And since I think mind is from body (and isn't separate or categorically different), it follows our mind wants to maintain that calm, steady state, too. I can feel a sense of peace starting to re-assert itself now that I ended my toxic relationship. Maybe because it's easier this way (to not fight all the time), but maybe also because health feels good and natural without so much having to try. I dunno what I'm trying to say, but I feel it's right Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #58 on: March 19, 2010, 01:47:17 PM »

[/quote]
For instance, if you are with a non, they dont generally fly off the handle and have a nervous breakdown because you say they dont have a jawline. [/quote]
LMAO! Sorry, I know this varies from the more serious discussion but is this also a trait of pwBPD- the lack of a jawline? Mine has no jawline. It goes cheekbones to chin. She is very beautiful , though, just no jawline. Sorry to break up the discussion. Now we can get back... .
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« Reply #59 on: March 19, 2010, 01:52:35 PM »

Excerpt
For instance, if you are with a non, they dont generally fly off the handle and have a nervous breakdown because you say they dont have a jawline.

LMAO! Sorry, I know this varies from the more serious discussion but is this also a trait of pwBPD- the lack of a jawline? Mine has no jawline. It goes cheekbones to chin. She is very beautiful , though, just no jawline. Sorry to break up the discussion. Now we can get back... .

LOL! no no - I meant that generally people dont have nervous breakdowns based on minor comments. LOL

The story behind that is we were talking about how we use facial hair to create jawlines and I said "I can understand why you do. You have a round face so you dont really have a jawline" and he freaked out and told me that "my attractiveness is all I have left and you just told me I dont have that anymore". I didn't realize that no jawline equated to unattractiveness... .

Of course any time I'd do or say something, it was the end of the world and whatever it was I was saying or doing was all he had left in the world... .*rolls eyes*
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« Reply #60 on: March 19, 2010, 09:33:55 PM »


Excerpt
I also think that I would expand the possible issues that a non may have beyond codependency to include narcissism or narcissistic&nbsp; traits, low self esteem/self image, life crisis (divorce, death, loss of job), shyness/ limited dating skills, substance abuse, etc.

And I would add, that it is not likely just one party that has issues... .it&#039;s more likely both parties are dealing with things, one more than the other.&nbsp;


And my last comment would be that everyone that I know that made significant progress (either leaving or staying) discovered that they had a much larger role in the problem than they thought.



Skip- this is where I&#039;m at right now. Realizing that my *actions* were *reactions* to efforts of trying to control the disorder only to cause more disorder.

There was no order in any of my actions- only reactions to someone elses fear.&nbsp;

Thinking that I was safe and that issues were solved after every reaction was wrong. Everytime I thought it was solved was just my own narcissism setting me up for a downfall. I really thought I was a great person- a great mediator- a great partner- but I wasn&#039;t taking care of myself. I was letting another person (with a character disorder) dictate what would fill my life- what would get my attention and what would exhaust my energy- making me appear as frazzled and out of sorts as a crazy person in an asylum... .and trying harder and harder to fix what wasn&#039;t mine to begin with.

My childhood taught me how to do that.&nbsp; I spent most of my time dealing with other&#039;s issues. Rarely did I concentrate on my own. Now I see the wisdom in placing myself first.




From what I&#039;ve been discussing with my T, I feel like this was my issue as well and it was born in childhood. Always trying to please other people, to be the &quot;good girl&quot; and do whatever I have to do to make sure others were ok, happy, etc. My needs, thoughts, and feelings came second. I can see how this played out in my relationship with my ex. I was just repeating that same pattern and trying to resolve it. Trying to get that unconditional love that never came no matter how hard I tried.

I was aware of some of this going into the relationship. I was in therapy before my relationship began and learned then how I&#039;ve repeated this same pattern over and over again in romantic relationships, work relationships, friendships, etc. I went into this relationship with the determination that THIS TIME THINGS WILL BE DIFFERENT. I was more proactive about identifying my needs, being vocal about them, etc. Even though the red flags abounded (as early as the first date), I saw this guy as really in need of that same unconditional love that I was always chasing and found myself wanting to give it to him, to show him that he was worthy of it, that I was capable of it, etc. Part of me felt sorry for him in the same way that I felt sorry for that little girl (me) who would contort herself any which way to make mom and dad happy. I identified with it and made it my own. And there I was, repeating that same pattern again.

I thought I was doing the right thing (after all, I was the one in therapy and I had so much insight) and that one day... .just look at what the love of a good woman can do!&nbsp;  
My question now is what was I expecting? What was I hoping to gain and what would the result have changed? What would it have meant?








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« Reply #61 on: March 19, 2010, 10:07:11 PM »

I just think the mistake most of us make is to expect the pwPD to be somewhat normal. I don't beat mysekf p for this. I'd never heard pf {D's before the abuse started and I egan researching. Now, I know what to look for. I don't think I have qny bigtime issues , other thanpast naivete and being too trusting.

These do not really require therapy, just education, which I now have.The therapy did provide the education re who I had been dealing with too.
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« Reply #62 on: March 20, 2010, 05:01:39 PM »

co-dependency, co-dependency, co-dependency... .I just don't buy into the idea that caring about someone who has a problem means I have a problem called "co-dependency". If one goes by the popular definition of co-dependent just about anyone who is sociable has co-dependent traits. 

I read great definition the other day that sounds very much outside the box that has coined the concepts of "co-dependency" (paraphrase) a co-dependent is someone who benefits from and therefore encourages another person's addictive or otherwise maladaptive behavior.

Sure, we all contributed to the relationships we had with the BPDs in our lives. I was so hungry for attention that I went right for the bait and was hooked before I knew what was happening. I knew so little about BPD. I had no way to interpret what was happening so I let him convince me that *I* was the one with the problem. Classic abuse.

So, find your own weakness, find the soft spot, and just move it to a more protected location. It is your treasure. It is precious. Just stop calling it names that it does not deserve... .
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« Reply #63 on: March 20, 2010, 05:13:57 PM »

Sorry, where in the thread do you read the mention of co-dependency?
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« Reply #64 on: March 20, 2010, 05:33:27 PM »

Excerpt
co-dependency, co-dependency, co-dependency... .I just don't buy into the idea that caring about someone who has a problem means I have a problem called "co-dependency".

That isn't what co-dependency is

Co-dependency is when you suffer massive amounts of emotional and sometimes physical abuse yet still stay in the relationship. You become a walking doormat but believe yourself to not be lovable. You have no self esteem, so you rationalize and excuse horrible treatment by someone who says "they love you", even though the vast amount of their actions and behavior would show any rational person how that isn't true.

We are not healthy people for being in these BPD relationships for any significant amount of time. That's why none of this has anything to do with BPD. It's not about fixing the relationship with your BPDSO. It's about fixing you. It's about figuring out how we took the abuse for so long, made excuses for it, romanticized a mentally ill person abusing us for so long, ect.

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« Reply #65 on: March 20, 2010, 05:44:55 PM »

Excerpt
We are not healthy people for being in these BPD relationships for any significant amount of time. That's why none of this has anything to do with BPD. It's not about fixing the relationship with your BPDSO. It's about fixing you. It's about figuring out how we took the abuse for so long, made excuses for it, romanticized a mentally ill person abusing us for so long, ect.

Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #66 on: March 20, 2010, 06:35:18 PM »

A very difficult and worthwhile article and exercise. I'm still on step one... .
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« Reply #67 on: March 20, 2010, 08:06:55 PM »

Excerpt
co-dependency, co-dependency, co-dependency... .I just don't buy into the idea that caring about someone who has a problem means I have a problem called "co-dependency".

That isn't what co-dependency is

Co-dependency is when you suffer massive amounts of emotional and sometimes physical abuse yet still stay in the relationship. You become a walking doormat but believe yourself to not be lovable. You have no self esteem, so you rationalize and excuse horrible treatment by someone who says "they love you", even though the vast amount of their actions and behavior would show any rational person how that isn't true.

We are not healthy people for being in these BPD relationships for any significant amount of time. That's why none of this has anything to do with BPD. It's not about fixing the relationship with your BPDSO. It's about fixing you. It's about figuring out how we took the abuse for so long, made excuses for it, romanticized a mentally ill person abusing us for so long, ect.

Very true
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« Reply #68 on: March 20, 2010, 09:15:50 PM »


I love that website. When I first broke up with my ex, I found it very empowering. I think I need to go back and read it more often.
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« Reply #69 on: March 21, 2010, 11:00:26 AM »

Excerpt
co-dependency, co-dependency, co-dependency... .I just don't buy into the idea that caring about someone who has a problem means I have a problem called "co-dependency".

That isn't what co-dependency is

Co-dependency is when you suffer massive amounts of emotional and sometimes physical abuse yet still stay in the relationship. You become a walking doormat but believe yourself to not be lovable. You have no self esteem, so you rationalize and excuse horrible treatment by someone who says "they love you", even though the vast amount of their actions and behavior would show any rational person how that isn't true.

We are not healthy people for being in these BPD relationships for any significant amount of time. That's why none of this has anything to do with BPD. It's not about fixing the relationship with your BPDSO. It's about fixing you. It's about figuring out how we took the abuse for so long, made excuses for it, romanticized a mentally ill person abusing us for so long, ect.

Maybe I had a completely different experience but I disagree with this. I met a guy who was my ideal type physically, who also seemed interested in me ! OMG! Within 3 weeks of meeting him, he was homeless so I couldn't let a fellow human being live on the street. Now mind you in hindsight I see that he manipulated my "humanitarian" nature (My T's words) but it just went downhill from there.

I talked to my T about codependence because my best friend was like "you are codependent". I'm like "I disagree. I can't just put someone out on the street". My T agreed. She said that if I were codependent I wouldn't have even considered my needs because I'd have been too ragged to. Instead I made sure that I was doing what I wanted to do, going out with my friends, despite his meltdowns and protests (he tried very hard to keep me away from my friends), etc. I didn't let him rule or ruin my life. He did to some extent. Or at least for the 8 months that he was around.

I think maybe why I'm so different is I had anger problems to begin with and the more he was around and pulled his $hit the more angry I got and the less I was willing to take/tolerate. I supported him for 6 of the 8 months because I could (I make enuf money that its not a problem).But once I saw that he wasn't trying, was too busy laying in bed for two months watching streaming netflix... .Or sleeping with anything he could get his hands on, I just said why am I bothering? and gave him the boot. It ended REALLY badly but I think it just took me hitting my limit to give him the heave-ho.

Of course its not without its issues... .i'm scared now to walk from my garage to my apt (about 50 feet away), and I keep finding eggs (literally, eggs) he's hidden in my room so they'll rot and explode... .but having my life back is worth any temporary (albeit disgusting) stink I may find.

He's also blocked through my wireless carrier and I've made filters so any emails that come from any of his known email accounts will be automatically deleted. I dont need that crap in my life. I dont need his BS in my life, and I certainly dont need his mental illness in my life.Someone who can take everything I tried to do for them (make sure he had a roof and a place to stay, fed, etc) and act like because they rubbed my back once in a while or brought me water when I was coughing when I was sick is the same thing is obviously sick in the head. I bent over backwards at every junction I could and my repayment is rotten eggs because I couldn't take the abuse anymore... .Yeah thats enough to make me realize that I dont need that bullsh!t. and he's not worth it, nor was he ever.

And something that constantly sticks in my head that my best friend said to me one time is this - "You are not responsible for him." I am NOT his caretaker, nor his whipping boy. I am not his money-tree, nor mother. I was being a partner for 5 months, then friend for the last 3 (after I broke up with him but still tried to be there for him), but he made sure to crap all over that. So now I am nothing to him. His loss, not mine.

Edit - after re-reading this, it sounds like I'm saying I had no fault. Thats not the case. I recognize and realize my fault in it as well (though I refuse to take a 50/50 split.) In the end (after the break-up before the moveout) I would fly into my own rages. At one point, after having gotten into my email (changing passwords didnt deter this guy... .) for the 7th time, I had him on the floor in front of me while i looked down on/at him screaming obscenities. Imagine a 6'6 300 pound guy cowering in front of a 5'5 260 pound guy... .its almost comical if it hadn't been so sad. But that was also my trigger to get the frack out of there... .Or rather to get him out.

My T said that the word for me was "victimized". He saw what a good nature I had and chose to take advantage of it.

Sorry, little long there. My bad.
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« Reply #70 on: March 21, 2010, 11:58:48 AM »

making friends easily is a borderline trait. they are very engaging.

that's how she hooked you. my ex is like that. whenever we would

go out, i'd go to the john & by the time i got back she'd be chatting

& laughing with at least one person. they're slick as hell. look, when

you're an absolutely ruined person inside, you had better be able to

hide it, & hide it well. they know this. & the fact that you ended up

with a BPD pretty much says you're a decent hearted person. they

need people with kind hearts to prey on. emotional destruction is

the mission. hardened people are too much work, plus they run the

risk of getting played themselves, & they can't be arsed to feel

one-upped in any way. so yes, they need an easy target.

Ditto. That's exactly how mine was too. And in addition she would drop friends just as easily. That usually happened after they called her on her ___ or started to open up and ask her to do the same. Ha, I just remembered that one of her favorite quotes was from some hip-hop song, "play game before game plays you."  That says it all.

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« Reply #71 on: March 21, 2010, 12:13:09 PM »

There are a few a good workshops and threads on some of these issues:

1. US: Why we stay - Traumatic Bonding, Intermittent Reinforcement, Stockholm Syndrome.

2. US: Why we don't see it coming and why we stay.

3. Why Do WE Walk on Eggshells?

And I'm sure there are many more helpful discussions. But the common thread is: what can I do to help/change/control myself. That's where the focus has to ultimately lay - "the why of I" . . .

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« Reply #72 on: March 21, 2010, 02:24:59 PM »

Yes, we have to change to see red flags and be less naive. But, "co-dependency" is way overused, IMO.

Look, I take pride in having been a giving person,willing to compromise and help someone out. It took some time, due to courtship masking, for me to realize that my ex did not feel the same way in was in this entirely for herself. I guess I had not encountered many people like this and had a hard time accepting that the person underneath the mask was the real her. No one told me about all her weird past behaviors until after the fact.

It is just too simplistic for me, the concept that one should bolt immediately, when their are kids to consider. I detached for a good long time before divorcing, hoping that her behaviors would change. I simply could not believe this was who she really was. These folks do not reveal themselves right away. They chip away at you until you question yourself.

Most of the folks posting on these boards are intelligent, articulate people who have led their lives in a responsible, caring way. Thye have the typical insecurities that most people do, but not some deep problem like co-dependency, IMO.

I have found that many things in life are somewhat the luck of the draw. Just because you were fooled does not make you some masochistic , low self esteem type. One's self esteem can be fine, but, after dealing with someone with a PD, it is often damaged for a while.

Yes, it is not all that productive to go back and try to figure out how you may have acted differently, to have affected the relationship. I believe that there was nothing one could have done, with the PD in place.

But, it does help to know about the existence of these things and their subtler manifestations that may be evident in courtship. Best to err on the side of safety. In the past, I gave the benefit of the doubt, but no more.

I am sure this has resulted in my eliminating certain relationships with individuals who were not PD'd, but merely had some bad luck in their pasts. But, I cannot take that chance, again.
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« Reply #73 on: March 21, 2010, 09:38:11 PM »

Excerpt
I think maybe why I'm so different is I had anger problems to begin with and the more he was around and pulled his $hit the more angry I got and the less I was willing to take/tolerate. I supported him for 6 of the 8 months because I could (I make enuf money that its not a problem).But once I saw that he wasn't trying, was too busy laying in bed for two months watching streaming netflix... .Or sleeping with anything he could get his hands on, I just said why am I bothering? and gave him the boot. It ended REALLY badly but I think it just took me hitting my limit to give him the heave-ho.

I think you just described codependency. Here's the definition of Codependency from the book Codependent No More:

A codependent person is one who has let another person's behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person's behavior.

This is what I understood from what you wrote:

1. you became upset when he wasn't doing what YOU thought he should (codependent).

2. You became upset that he wasn't trying (codependent) to do what YOU thought he should.

3. You supported him for months (codependent).

4. you suffer from a lot of anger (codependent).

A person's limit would have been giving him the phone number for the nearest shelter and allowed HIM to get his life together.

I strongly recommend watching this youtube video:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCG1Owc4cZ0
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« Reply #74 on: March 21, 2010, 10:00:18 PM »

Excerpt
co-dependency, co-dependency, co-dependency... .I just don't buy into the idea that caring about someone who has a problem means I have a problem called "co-dependency".

That isn't what co-dependency is

Co-dependency is when you suffer massive amounts of emotional and sometimes physical abuse yet still stay in the relationship. You become a walking doormat but believe yourself to not be lovable. You have no self esteem, so you rationalize and excuse horrible treatment by someone who says "they love you", even though the vast amount of their actions and behavior would show any rational person how that isn't true.

We are not healthy people for being in these BPD relationships for any significant amount of time. That's why none of this has anything to do with BPD. It's not about fixing the relationship with your BPDSO. It's about fixing you. It's about figuring out how we took the abuse for so long, made excuses for it, romanticized a mentally ill person abusing us for so long, ect.

Well said... .Perfect!
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« Reply #75 on: March 21, 2010, 10:05:33 PM »

I read my Codependent No More to search for something that I had read that helped me understand a codependent pattern. Here it is:

Codependents are caretakers - rescuers. They rescue, then they persecute, then they end up victimized. Study the Karpman Drama Triangle. The Karpman Drama Triangle and the accompanying roles of rescuer, prosecutor, and victim, are the works and observations of Stephen B. Karpman

This was it. This was the pattern. This is our pattern. This is what we repeatedly do with friends, family, acquanintances, clients, or anybody around us. As codependents, we may do many things, but this pattern is what we do best and most often. This is our favorite reaction.

We are the rescuers, the enablers. We are the great godmothers or godfathers to the entire world, as Earnie Larsen says. We do not only meet people's needs, we anticipate them. We fix, nurture, and fuss over others. we make better, solve, and attend to. And we do it all so well. "Your wish is my command", is our theme. "Your problem is my problem," is our motto. We are the caretakers.

What's a rescue?

Rescuing and caretaking mean almost what they sound like. We rescue people from their responsabilities. We take care of people's responsabilities for them. Later we get mad at them for what we've done. Then we feel used and sorry for ourselves. That is the pattern, the triangle.

Rescuing and caretaking are synonymous. Their definitions are closely connected to enabling. Enabling is therapeutic jargon that means a destructive form of helping.
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« Reply #76 on: March 22, 2010, 02:01:53 AM »

Excerpt
I think maybe why I'm so different is I had anger problems to begin with and the more he was around and pulled his $hit the more angry I got and the less I was willing to take/tolerate. I supported him for 6 of the 8 months because I could (I make enuf money that its not a problem).But once I saw that he wasn't trying, was too busy laying in bed for two months watching streaming netflix... .Or sleeping with anything he could get his hands on, I just said why am I bothering? and gave him the boot. It ended REALLY badly but I think it just took me hitting my limit to give him the heave-ho.

I think you just described codependency. Here's the definition of Codependency from the book Codependent No More:

A codependent person is one who has let another person's behavior affect him or her, and who is obsessed with controlling that person's behavior.

This is what I understood from what you wrote:

1. you became upset when he wasn't doing what YOU thought he should (codependent).

2. You became upset that he wasn't trying (codependent) to do what YOU thought he should.

3. You supported him for months (codependent).

4. you suffer from a lot of anger (codependent).

A person's limit would have been giving him the phone number for the nearest shelter and allowed HIM to get his life together.

I strongly recommend watching this youtube video:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCG1Owc4cZ0

We looked into shelters for him - they were all full.  

Here's my questions -

When should you help a fellow human being? When should you not? You see someone homeless that you want to date, hearing their sob stories (IE "I moved here for a guy and he booted me once I got here." {that was what happened and how he ended up on the street} Red flag, yes. But I was stupid, and heavily attracted).

When you DO help someone, when does it become codependent? Is it automatic codependency if you do help someone you are dating/attempting to date? Is it "rescuing"?

Is it wrong to expect the person you are helping to try and help themselves as well? Or to at least somewhat appreciate the help you are giving them? And if so, why?

I'm ok with accepting a label such as codependent but I need to understand how I got to that in the first place when I can't understand how helping someone is a bad thing. Did I expect at least some common courtesy? Yes. My T agrees that its not wrong to expect that. Whats your take?

Excerpt
Codependents are caretakers - rescuers. They rescue, then they persecute, then they end up victimized. Study the Karpman Drama Triangle. The Karpman Drama Triangle and the accompanying roles of rescuer, prosecutor, and victim, are the works and observations of Stephen B. Karpman

This was it. This was the pattern. This is our pattern. This is what we repeatedly do with friends, family, acquanintances, clients, or anybody around us. As codependents, we may do many things, but this pattern is what we do best and most often. This is our favorite reaction.

This is interesting wording. Especially the victimized part. My T said that I was victimized by this man (her words) because of my caring nature. He took advantage of it.

I dont see that pattern throughout my relationships overall (friends, family, etc) but I do offer support when needed. What does that make me? A sometimes-codependent? Or just a nice guy?

When is it appropriate to offer help to friends, family etc?

I'm trying to understand, cuz at this point, I'm like ":)DEERRRR". LOL

I fully admit I shoulda seen the red flags from the beginning, or rather heeded them and ran away, but I didn't. But I dont understand how ignoring red flags makes me codependent.
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« Reply #77 on: March 22, 2010, 04:54:24 AM »

You see someone homeless that you want to date,

Maybe this should be red flag #1?
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« Reply #78 on: March 22, 2010, 06:00:40 AM »

By the definition cited above, I doubt too many of us are codependent. I had no interest in rescuing anyone. I was looking for a healthy, normal relationship, with mutuality.

There were no outright signs during courtship that my XW needed a whole lot of help. She worked, was fit and good looking, and was fun and sexy. In no way did she show signs of what was to come.

However, once there was serious enmeshment, with a baby on the way, a mortgage, and marriage, she began acting much differently. I stayed in because of my commitment to my vows and my children.

I think this is true for a great many of us. We did not know about what lay beneath the surface. So, we did not go in as rescuers. We wound up doing some rescuing, particularly finanacially. But, we were looking out for ourselves, as well, as we would have gone down with the ship had we not worked extra jobs to try to keep afloat.

Finally, something happens that makes you see the light. In my case, it was the discovery of infidelity, a very bright line for me where I have zero tolerance. It might be something else for someone else, like financial abuse, verbal and emotional abuse. I have too high a tolerance for those things, having been raised with them.
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« Reply #79 on: March 22, 2010, 09:52:41 AM »

You see someone homeless that you want to date,

Maybe this should be red flag #1?

I know this sounds like a "duh" situation from the other point of view as well - believe me. But in this economy, its not uncommon anymore to hear sad tales. *shrugs*. Everyone knows someone or someone through someone else whos lost their job, whos gone homeless, whos this, that and the other. Or at least I have.

I'm really not known to be a rescuer. I'm just not. In fact if I AM codependent its going the complete opposite way typically. (IE I'm so independent that I refuse to allow anyone to help me, etc.)

I hate being made to feel "bad" because I tried to help someone. I think thats why I fight the codependent label so much - because I, at my core, was trying to help someone I saw needed it. Did I let myself get walked on? Yes. But according to the "definition" of codependence, that right there means I'm codependent. I just dont get how helping someone is wrong. But I maybe I'm just not looking at the big picture. To me, the help was financial. I was helping someone financially, but I took on a whole host of other issues and problems with that financial help. I didn't know that when I took it in, but... .I dunno. i"m more confused than ever. I'm going to talk to my T further. I feel more lost than I did before   ?
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« Reply #80 on: March 22, 2010, 10:12:26 AM »

BrienBear, we are all the ultimate, final authority on ourselves, and only ourselves.

There is empathy, with boundaries, which is healthy interdependent relating. And then there is empathy, without boundaries - and possibly with personal motivations (even though the person may be unaware of them) - which is the hallmark of "codependent" relationships. If you don't like the word, don't use it, that's definitely your prerogative! Labels help us understand a commonality of behaviors. I don't walk around saying "I'm a person with BPD", but being diagnosed BPD helped me understand some patterns I was in and of course then helped me change those patterns once I saw how dysfunctional they were.

All I would suggest is that you take a look at the situation you were in with "fresh eyes": try reading your posts without perhaps feeling as defensive and see if there's anything there, that were you another person, might be indicative of an issue. But only you can decide this - and I'd like to point out that therapist guidance is wonderful, but again they are only there to help YOU in your self-discovery/growth/healing process.

btw, if you want to know about different flavors of CoD: this article lists a few, like denial, low self-esteem, compliance, control.
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« Reply #81 on: March 22, 2010, 10:30:17 AM »

As an afterthought on "nice guys", from the very quotable - tho sometimes annoyingly over-the-top - site, Heartless hit_es International:

Excerpt
In the book "The Gift of Fear," Gavin DeBecker defines "niceness" as a "strategy of social interaction" and not evidence of innate goodness. So what he is saying is that being "nice" merely means your behavior is not offensive but does not mean your motives are automatically pure or good. Being a "nice guy" has been discussed elsewhere so there is no need to go into great detail here, but the bottom line is that trying to "be nice" or to use one’s social charm to achieve one’s social or sexual objectives is just as manipulative as anything else. The details are different, but what is at the core is the same.

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« Reply #82 on: March 22, 2010, 10:39:14 AM »

I think thats why I fight the codependent label so much - because I, at my core, was trying to help someone I saw needed it. Did I let myself get walked on? Yes. But according to the "definition" of codependence, that right there means I'm codependent.

Yes.

I just dont get how helping someone is wrong.

When you help someone at your detriment, that is unhealthy behavior. 

oceanheart amke a good point too - we sometimes help others because it puts us in a superior position in our mind - helps us define our our self worth. This two can be unhealthy behavior. 
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« Reply #83 on: March 22, 2010, 10:50:58 AM »

I love the heartless hit_es site.

This is going to take a crapload of self-reflection.

Sorry to the original poster for hijacking your thread :-/

Thanks all. Smiling (click to insert in post)

Is it possible to be codependent in one relationship but then not have had others either before or after that... .?
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« Reply #84 on: March 22, 2010, 10:56:55 AM »

Yes, but many of us were not faking being nice for manipulation, IMO. Motivation is not easily discernible. Only the individual knows what was in his/her heart. There are kind, altruistic people in the world who beleive in being good to others because it is the right thing to do.

Bottom line, if you stayed in one of these relationships too long, after tolerating a lot of abuse, you need to learn from it and avoid acting in this way in the future. You may not be co-dependent, but , merely uninformed or misguided.

I think very few of us would have stayed in so long, but for the complications attendant to marriage.
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« Reply #85 on: March 22, 2010, 11:00:15 AM »

As an afterthought on "nice guys", from the very quotable - tho sometimes annoyingly over-the-top - site, Heartless hit_es International:

Excerpt
In the book "The Gift of Fear," Gavin DeBecker defines "niceness" as a "strategy of social interaction" and not evidence of innate goodness. So what he is saying is that being "nice" merely means your behavior is not offensive but does not mean your motives are automatically pure or good. Being a "nice guy" has been discussed elsewhere so there is no need to go into great detail here, but the bottom line is that trying to "be nice" or to use one’s social charm to achieve one’s social or sexual objectives is just as manipulative as anything else. The details are different, but what is at the core is the same.


Interesting site!

I found this especially insightful (or maybe hitting too close to home  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) ):

The Man With No Spine - A parable for "Nice Guys"
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« Reply #86 on: March 22, 2010, 11:07:48 AM »

Nice thing about having whatever issue on may have allowing a relationship with a BPD is that it is emminently fixable relatively easily, IMO. You just stop taking crap and act reasonably. Biggest factor , IMO, is losing the fear of being alone, without a relationship. Once one realizes that life goes on and can be very fulfilling without some type of romantic relationship, it frees you up to reject or bail on the messed up ones.
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« Reply #87 on: March 22, 2010, 11:09:18 AM »

As an afterthought on "nice guys", from the very quotable - tho sometimes annoyingly over-the-top - site, Heartless hit_es International:

Excerpt
In the book "The Gift of Fear," Gavin DeBecker defines "niceness" as a "strategy of social interaction" and not evidence of innate goodness. So what he is saying is that being "nice" merely means your behavior is not offensive but does not mean your motives are automatically pure or good. Being a "nice guy" has been discussed elsewhere so there is no need to go into great detail here, but the bottom line is that trying to "be nice" or to use one’s social charm to achieve one’s social or sexual objectives is just as manipulative as anything else. The details are different, but what is at the core is the same.


Interesting site!

I found this especially insightful (or maybe hitting too close to home  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) ):

The Man With No Spine - A parable for "Nice Guys"

I was JUST READING THAT! Literally right after I got done I switched tabs to here and BOOM LOL

That site is amazingly hilarious - and hits the nose. Hard. LOL
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« Reply #88 on: March 22, 2010, 11:10:18 AM »

Yes, but many of us were not faking being nice for manipulation, IMO. Motivation is not easily discernible. Only the individual knows what was in his/her heart. There are kind, altruistic people in the world who beleive in being good to others because it is the right thing to do.

Bottom line, if you stayed in one of these relationships too long, after tolerating a lot of abuse, you need to learn from it and avoid acting in this way in the future. You may not be co-dependent, but , merely uninformed or misguided.

I think very few of us would have stayed in so long, but for the complications attendant to marriage.

And I dont even think I stayed that long. 8 months. LOL It just left me with a deep resentment that I should have cut off at the 3 month mark... .or maybe the first day mark !  Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #89 on: March 22, 2010, 11:12:27 AM »

Only the individual knows what was in his/her heart.

We may not readily realize what was truly driving us.  We may be in denial.  We may just be generous.

This is why a personal inventory is so important.
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« Reply #90 on: March 22, 2010, 11:37:34 AM »

i have spent hours thinking the same... .

my ex praised me for 5 months, made me feel like i was her rock, then when  she ended it she blamed me and listed all my down falls sying i would never have a relationship to which 2 days later hse denied saying...

I told her all her bad points and listed how she treated me bad to clear my name or wrong doing, she clearly didn't like it as she threatnd me with the police for harasment,  since then we did exchange some txts to whci she even admited i could find better and also said some one that really loves me wont try and change me...

thing is my life still isnt great with out her while she seems in a great place just now...
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MxMan
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« Reply #91 on: March 22, 2010, 12:42:56 PM »

As an afterthought on "nice guys", from the very quotable - tho sometimes annoyingly over-the-top - site, Heartless hit_es International:

Excerpt
In the book "The Gift of Fear," Gavin DeBecker defines "niceness" as a "strategy of social interaction" and not evidence of innate goodness. So what he is saying is that being "nice" merely means your behavior is not offensive but does not mean your motives are automatically pure or good. Being a "nice guy" has been discussed elsewhere so there is no need to go into great detail here, but the bottom line is that trying to "be nice" or to use one’s social charm to achieve one’s social or sexual objectives is just as manipulative as anything else. The details are different, but what is at the core is the same.


Interesting site!

I found this especially insightful (or maybe hitting too close to home  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) ):

The Man With No Spine - A parable for "Nice Guys"

I have to admit this triggered some emotion in me. I can take it for its intended humor but I was pretty consistently demonized for being "nice" by my ex. In one of her depressive episodes she looked at me with a look of utter disgust and hatred and said "how can you be so... .GOOD". It was as if I was the scum of the earth. And she said to others "he's nice & he treats me good but nice is so pedestrian and it means nothing". It was as if she hated me for that very thing. It gets pretty tiresome being reprimanded for noticing the good side of a person. When someone snaps at you for saying "he seems like a good guy to me" with a "WHY CANT YOU JUST TAKE MY SIDE?" retort it pretty much sucks. I, for one, found it a losing proposition. If I was nice I was demonized. If I was forceful I was "being an ___hole." When I tried to be supportive of her idiotic move to drop her meds I was wrong. When I told her it was making her worse and was affecting MY life I was belittled and ridiculed to her "friends" for not being considerate of her "medication problems".

While I agree there's a line where it becomes unhealthy theres a difference between being nice and being a pus. Or between being nice and pretending to be nice to take advantage of someone. Being nice means not belittling people for their shortcomings, not taking advantage of people for their kindness. To me it means treating people with kindness and respect. And everyone deserves that until they prove otherwise. Packing all of her belongings after I kicked her out is probably viewed by some too nice. But had I not done that the separation would have dragged on for weeks and months. A visit once a week to pick up 2 shirts and some meaningless knicknacks wasnt getting the move done.

hmmm. guess there are some things I havent quite come to closure on yet.
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ron7127
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« Reply #92 on: March 22, 2010, 12:57:39 PM »

The classic no-win deal, MX. Just be glad it's over.
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MxMan
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« Reply #93 on: March 22, 2010, 01:19:34 PM »

The classic no-win deal, MX. Just be glad it's over.

Believe me, I'm very glad. Just found it interesting that this touched a nerve.
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