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Author Topic: Is This Forum Objective?  (Read 18670 times)
RonV

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« on: August 11, 2010, 11:39:15 PM »

Is this forum objective?

I've been participating in these message boards for less than one month and they have really helped me.  I am in a terrible, painful relationship, and the advice I've received here rings true.  It feels right.  I feel a connection with many people here because it seems like they have been through exactly the same terrible experiences that I have.  So, thank you, to everyone.  

Two observations I've made

  • Most of the advice here is "bad news now, designed to make you happy later."  In general, BPD is a terrible, painful, unjust illness that reeks havoc on the world.  People in such relationships need to gather their courage and re-build their lives.  Usually, it's not healthy stay in such a relationship because the abuse, manipulation, and inability to take responsibility for bad behavior is too much for anyone to handle.  And if you do choose to stay, you do so at your own risk, and after settling for what most normal people would consider to be a very rough existence.
 

  • Most of us on these boards, including me, have experienced tremendous pain and suffering at the hands of a BPD close to us.  That's why we're here- for support.


Does this mean we are biased?

One explanation: So, putting these two observations together, it dawned on me that we might be biased.  One explanation for A+B above is that there really is very little hope for rehabilitation with a BPD partner, and the best advice really is to "get out, and focus on making yourself happy".  Perhaps it's true that the only hope for those who want to stay comes from "coping" and "accepting less from your relationship" and "patients" and "focusing on yourself".  Perhaps the experts on these boards are right to tell us the facts, as they are, and it ain't good news.  It ain't an easy pill to swallow.

Another explanation:But there's another explanation too.  Perhaps the reason the advice is mostly negative is because all of the happy people have stopped participating!  :)o I believe this?  Heck no- from my current position, I believe the experienced members of this forum are spot on.  After all, I've suffered through a very painful marriage that's shaken me and my family to its core.  I'm very ready to be  told "I'm not alone" and "get out of that relationship!  protect yourself!  Protect your kids".  Perhaps it really is true that the legal/medical system is biased against fathers, doesn't care about a BPD label (unless the BPD does something really violent) and I have to prepare myself for really losing my tight bond with my children since my chances of custody are so low in my state.  

Are we characterizing things worse than they are?

But what if the success rate of treating BPD is actually pretty good?  What if I can in fact have wonderful, close relationship with my kids going forward if I'm just a bit more patient?  What if there's a way to contain the BPD's behavior and have a wonderful life without a messy separation?  If you pretend to believe this for a moment, hear me out... .

If most BPDs could be "cured" or "nearly fully contained" with time, therapy, and support, would their "non spouses" still be here on this board, looking for support?  No, they would likely be off living their lives.  The people here may be like me- in the middle of the most difficult, painful time of their lives.  We are looking for support in separation or support in coping with the BPD partner.  Clearly, a biased sample (but perhaps right).

Why ask?

I am raising this question because I'm very close to separation with someone I love very much (err... .I mean I'm in love with my image of this person before the BPD symptoms emerged... which in my case was a gradual process over 5+years, at their peak now).  I've become wise about BPD through reading, for years, and more recently through this board.  I do not want to fall into the trap of "trying again" for another 5+years, only to have more suffering, conflict, risk, and drama in my life.  My kids will be teenagers by then.  they might be permanently scarred if their dad stays in a relationship in which he's treated alternatively as a punching bag or an inanimate object, with no affection or reciprocation for what I do.  Separation may also be tough on them, but at least I'll be happier, and what little I see them I can be a shining beacon of hope for them.  I'm nearly ready to start getting my life "back" and accepting the loss of what I always dreamed marriage and fatherhood was about, and becoming happy on my own, and hoping for the best outcome while preparing for the worst with my children and wife.

So before I do it- I wonder, is there reason to believe that staying and coping and managing may actually have a good chance against the odds suggested by this forum, based on the bias theory?  My guess is that this forum is spot on, but I'm curious about what the "old wise people" here think of the "bias explanation" I've described here.  Is there a way for you to qualitatively estimate the statistical validity of the feedback in this forum with regard to bias?  Thanks so much.

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Matt
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2010, 12:12:59 AM »

Wow - good questions.

I'm going to nibble around the edges - just address a few of the things you have said.  Surely others will add their thoughts too.

First, I think it's important to remember that we're dealing with human beings - both the members here and the BPD sufferers in our lives.  So while we try to see patterns and offer help from what we have learned, it's important to remember that one size doesn't fit all.  What's best for me might not be best for you.

Also, the nature of this forum is, um, a forum - a place for a lot of voices to be heard.  Some of us have badges and stars and stuff, but none of us are professionals in this field.  We're students in the School Of Hard Knocks.  To get the value out of this place, each member needs to sort out what's helpful from what's not, and make his or her own decisions.

Regarding treatment, my understanding is that many - in fact probably most - of the BPD sufferers who get help and follow through with it are able to achieve remission of symptoms.  One study a year or so back by a group affiliated with Harvard Medical School showed that more than 80% of BPD sufferers achieved remission within 5 years (if I understood the study right and remember it well).  Other studies, and some members here, have found the same:  with treatment BPD can be fought.

But it seems pretty clear - and I can't cite any studies but we do have a lot of anecdotal evidence here - that most BPD sufferers don't accept help.  The nature of the disorder makes it difficult for them to accept the diagnosis.  I've had the chance to discuss that with a few professionals, and many members here, plus my own experience with one BPD sufferer, and that seems very clear.  Members have tried persuading, threatening, begging - nothing seems to help.  They have to decide for themselves to accept help, and few do.

"Perhaps it really is true that the legal/medical system is biased against fathers, doesn't care about a BPD label (unless the BPD does something really violent) and I have to prepare myself for really losing my tight bond with my children since my chances of custody are so low in my state." - I do believe, from my own experience and many others here, that there is often a bias in favor of custody for the mother.  In fact, many fathers seem to contribute to that bias, by not doing what they can to get more than, say, EOW (every other weekend);  either they don't want it or they don't think can get more, and they defeat themselves by not trying.

But (and maybe your state is so biased that it's an exception to this) I don't think for a minute that you should lose your tight bond with your kids.  I got 50/50;  I miss the kids a lot when they're not with me, and I worry about them;  but my bonds with both my kids (and with my adult stepkids too) are much tighter now than before I separated from their mom.  Lots of reasons for this, including the chance to be with them in a happy environment, without the stressful conflict between their mom and me dominating the house.  One big reason is that I am more conscious of my responsibility for meeting all their needs - especially emotional - than when their mom was in the house and I assumed she was doing more of that than she really was.

Even if your state is so biased that nothing you can do will get you more than EOW - and I haven't heard of any state being that biased - still, you can make the most of the time you get with them, and strengthen the bonds anyway.  Take care of your other business 12 days out of 14 so you can make the two you spend with the kids, all about them and their needs.  Plus, you can "cheat":  Find ways to be in their lives that add to those two days.  Take them to soccer practice when their mom is tired;  e-mail them and text them when it's appropriate;  phone;  and take them any time your ex can't or doesn't want to.  My 50/50 has turned into at least 70/30 - eight weeks out of the last ten for example - with no lawyers involved.  That happens pretty often:  the court says one thing but real life says another.  Many BPD sufferers can't handle the stress they feel when the kids are around and are glad to give up some time, so long as they can be seen by friends and the courts as "primary parent" or whatever.

As for your bigger question - whether this site has some bias because of who comes here and who stays here - that's a good question that I can't really answer.  We try to avoid automatic "Run!" messages when a new member expresses frustration with their relationship.  And by letting members choose which board to spend time on - "Leaving", "Staying", "Undecided" etc. - we let each member choose what kind of help they get.  (And of course members move from one to another as their situations change.)  Skip (our Grand Poobah) and others here have brought a lot of research to guide our efforts, but this community is made up of members who choose to be here, so it's surely not a random selection of those with BPD sufferers in our lives... .

Anyway, thanks for the challenge!  I'll watch to see what others say... .

Matt
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RonV

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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2010, 12:46:03 AM »

Matt, Thanks.  Your story is truly inspiring.  I am very, very, very happy for you!  What you say does make sense.  I believe I can make that happen, even if the deck is stacked against me.

BTW: I did not mean to suggest any of the experienced people here suggested that I run for the hills before first learning about my situation.  Honestly, i've spoken to professionals for years about my wife's condition and our marriage and the info I've read here seems at least as informed, probably more so.  This is one heck of a talented and experienced group.  How could we not be?  After all, as sufferers, and sufferers who love those who are abused by, we most likely really did try nearly everything to help our spouses before making a decision to separate.

The question of bias on the forum is still an interesting one.  My guess is that there is some bias for the reasons I suggested... .but, I also believe that the wisdom obtained from this forum is probably wisdom all the same... .It is consistent with what I've heard from professionals and loved ones.

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Abby Normal

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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2010, 09:31:58 AM »

I'm a newbie here, but have found the information, opinions, message boards invaluable.  I don't know if my marriage can be saved, but if my BPD husband stops drinking; then his rages don't occur as often if at all.  My responses and attitude towards him also affects his moods.

In response to you, as a male, getting custody of your kids -- the courts are much kinder than they used to be in this regard.  It used to be the males were the breadwinners, and they paid all fees while the women got full custody.  My stepson got full custody of his 3 year old daughter because her mother took drugs and all the kids ( she had 3 more by different men) showed a positive reading for meth. 

I don't think I agree with your assessment that spouses of BPD persons no longer participate when they're happy or if they've moved on.  Look at the moderators and length of time many have been here.  I used to post on an old MSN message board regarding relationships.  I started there as a person with a problem; I dealt with it, and then became a regular on the board helping people cope with their problems.  I stayed on the Board for four years.

If you're happy, then I believe your children are going to be happy or happier.  I think everyone wants peace in a realtionship.

.
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« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2010, 09:48:24 AM »

are many biased... sometimes... .but there are some  thoughts i have on it...

.maybe it wasnt BPD and it was a realationship that just went bad... .and they couldnt accpet that...

and some didnt have the strenth to stick it out... and they fell cheated... so who knows... .

maybe it was never love...

but its all up to the individual and the situation they are in... .

so its run... or stay and werk at it... options that are available in a typical... or normal relationship... then again what is normal,,

its all pick and choose the information here... .

but ultimately... .its up to the individudal

and not all situations are the same... .but the board gets you mind werking...
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« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2010, 10:03:22 AM »

Hi, RonV,

Like you, I'm very curious about possible success for families with a seriously mentally ill member. Having read all sorts of stories over several years in this community, I no longer look much to members like you (or me) for that positive prognosis. By which I mean . . . people who have tried many things over many years and feel they no longer have, say, a half-decade to spare to see if newer treatments and strategies might work for them.

I suspect the future of bpdfamily.com probably lies mostly with the younger of the "newbies" who arrive here every day. The ones who have been in a relationship for mere months, or a very few years, and who do not yet have children. Or have very young children not yet greatly affected by a parent's mental illness. "Validation," "boundaries," focus on the self, awareness of a child's vulnerability to a parent's disorder, may prove to be life-altering tools in their hands. All these tools can be found here.

I think I will always visit this website for that window on the future. This board definitely gets your mind working, as TonyC says. 
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« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2010, 11:26:58 AM »

In response to you, as a male, getting custody of your kids -- the courts are much kinder than they used to be in this regard.  It used to be the males were the breadwinners, and they paid all fees while the women got full custody.  My stepson got full custody of his 3 year old daughter because her mother took drugs and all the kids ( she had 3 more by different men) showed a positive reading for meth.

I know it's sick, but this made me laugh.

The reason is, my lawyer told me that in my state the only way a father can get full custody is if we could prove that "she's a crack whore".  (My apologies for the language but that's exactly what she said.)

So Abby, you are citing your son's experience - getting custody because the kids all tested positive for meth - as an encouraging example for men.  That's pretty close to what my lawyer said!

But this is too thoughtful of a thread to hijack it into whining about how the courts are unfair;  I just felt like I had to point that out... .

Matt
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« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2010, 12:04:29 PM »

I'm sure there is some bias. This is a support group. If you go to a Chicago Cubs website they are probably biased. Someone who has been in one of these r/s for a long time can't help but feel that a young person that is 6 months in should be thinking about getting out. Many of us can see exactly where something is headed.

I'm a little biased about the new ones that have been cheated on 3 times in the first year & got beat up twice but truely love the pwBPD. I want to tell them to run. I might try to lead them in that direction but they have to figure it out themselves.

I think people need to try & work things out but the odds are not good. Sure, I'm biased.
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« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2010, 12:29:53 PM »

RonV - I have had the same question run through my mind.   The responses vary over time, some weeks the tone is more gentle and forgiving and at other times the tone is angry, BPD hater time. 

I think that most of the books you buy give a very rosy picture of recovery.  I never got a real sense of how severe the mental illness was.  The books don't paint a clear picture of people that have to hit rock bottom to get help.

They inevitably begin with a woman who learns about BPD from a friend or spouse and is instantly relieved that she has a "name for her pain" and has found some process to recover.  I thought telling her about BPD would get the same reaction - didn't happen. 

There does seem to be a sentiment that the best thing is just total cold turkey NC.  You will get many more strong opinions from people who were hurt and cheated on.

The statement is exactly what my experience was - It took a long time (years) to put the clue together and she fell apart very quickly.  I wondered, where did this person come from?  I can't imagine living with this suffering and conflict.

I am raising this question because I'm very close to separation with someone I love very much (err... .I mean I'm in love with my image of this person before the BPD symptoms emerged... which in my case was a gradual process over 5+years, at their peak now).  I've become wise about BPD through reading, for years, and more recently through this board.  I do not want to fall into the trap of "trying again" for another 5+years, only to have more suffering, conflict, risk, and drama in my life.
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« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2010, 02:36:42 PM »

Truly, what one reads here any given day is biased.

People, in general, seek therapy and/or support when they feel crisis in their lives. This is true for us. This is also true for persons with borderline personality disorder.  he bias is toward crisis.

Everyone that I know that has been successful in a BPD relationship has learned that they were also a contributor to the problems and changing themselves was an important part of turning things around.  

Everyone that I know that has successfully recovered after leaving a BPD relationship discovered that they had issues that lead to the problems in their lives.  Addressing these issues werre important in managing the post relationship life.

Turning it around means improving - but digressions are part of that process.  In some cases this is a manageable process.  In others it is more trying.

Leaving sometimes works out and the couple does better living parallel lives. Some leavers have spent 5-10 years in constant battle over the children and with each other or been divorced by the kids - it can be tough when you are the enemy.

Some of our loudest proponents of NC have instantly jumped back into their prior relationships when given a chance and did all the same things (and got the same results).

There is no "one size fits all".

You really need to ask the hard to predict questions.

Is there enough basic material that with new attitude and leadership (yours), that the relationship (and the spouse) can be turned around?  This is very doable. But it also depends on the people (how much work does she need, how much do you need), and the damage done and the motivations (ability to motivate)... .

Is it better to mark time for a few years until the kids move out (mature) rather than spend the same few years in a custody dispute and post divorce conflict and turmoil.

Is there a maturity that would make living apart work better for the kids?  Have you studied the skills needed to do that?  Can you line up the right resources (lawyers).

We are learning that borderline personality disorder is a spectrum disorder - so not all pwBPD have the same hill to climb. And we know that many of the significant others are subclinical - would not be diagnosed by a knowledgeable professional.

And we've also learned, and rarely talk about, the fact that our members are also on a spectrum   ranging from emotionally traumatized to pathologically ill.

There is an incredible wealth of information on this site - I learn something every day- I think that is true for most.  

Relationships in general take a lot of maturity and trust - many fail for lack thereof.  BPD makes this harder.  :)ivorce is costly.  Many people jump into the same fryer again, or spend years recovering and trying to find themselves.  

Whichever direction yo go from here will take a lot of work - the best thing you can do (in addition to accessing the questions above) is fully understand the pros and cons of the choices before you.

One mans opinion... .

Skippy

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« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2010, 02:49:33 PM »

Excerpt
So, putting these two observations together, it dawned on me that we might be biased.

I think this board lets everyone express what has happened to them and their loved ones. No two situations are the same. Everyone is at a different stage in their relationship, coming here to find answers, discovering about their partner and eventually coming to understand themselves better.

The various solutions people have found that work for them, may not work for me, but it gives me insight and ideas.

It is up to each individual to make their choices in life, this site allows us to support each other and bounce ideas and feelings off of each other.

I feel that their is a majority of people here that feel NC is the way to go, I dont feel that in my case, yet saying that I dont have the need to contact my ex, if she contacts me I feel confident in myself not to get emotionally attached, right now its over and for the first time there is no idea or thought or dream of reconnecting as a partner. So its a good feeling to be not connected to her yet not having to fear having a conversation with her.

I also sense there is many people here that dont have empathy for their PD exes, mostly because of the hurt they have been through, but I look at them with pity and as people suffering an illness.

Excerpt
But what if the success rate of treating BPD is actually pretty good?  What if I can in fact have wonderful, close relationship with my kids going forward if I'm just a bit more patient?  What if there's a way to contain the BPD's behavior and have a wonderful life without a messy separation?

Each situation is different. It is impossible to say which PD partner is close to wanting help. From what I have experienced and read here is, the main criteria for staying in a relationship is whether or not that PD partner wants to get better and seeks help, of course it also depends on how their illness effects them and what their partner is willing to sacrifice.

Excerpt
If most BPDs could be "cured" or "nearly fully contained" with time, therapy, and support, would their "non spouses" still be here on this board, looking for support?  No, they would likely be off living their lives.  The people here may be like me- in the middle of the most difficult, painful time of their lives.  We are looking for support in separation or support in coping with the BPD partner.  Clearly, a biased sample (but perhaps right).

I see it as being given more information so we can make our own decisions.

Excerpt
I am raising this question because I'm very close to separation with someone I love very much (err... .I mean I'm in love with my image of this person before the BPD symptoms emerged... which in my case was a gradual process over 5+years, at their peak now).  I've become wise about BPD through reading, for years, and more recently through this board.  I do not want to fall into the trap of "trying again" for another 5+years, only to have more suffering, conflict, risk, and drama in my life.  My kids will be teenagers by then.  they might be permanently scarred if their dad stays in a relationship in which he's treated alternatively as a punching bag or an inanimate object, with no affection or reciprocation for what I do.  Separation may also be tough on them, but at least I'll be happier, and what little I see them I can be a shining beacon of hope for them.  I'm nearly ready to start getting my life "back" and accepting the loss of what I always dreamed marriage and fatherhood was about, and becoming happy on my own, and hoping for the best outcome while preparing for the worst with my children and wife.

So before I do it- I wonder, is there reason to believe that staying and coping and managing may actually have a good chance against the odds suggested by this forum, based on the bias theory?  My guess is that this forum is spot on, but I'm curious about what the "old wise people" here think of the "bias explanation" I've described here.  Is there a way for you to qualitatively estimate the statistical validity of the feedback in this forum with regard to bias?  Thanks so much.

I think the best feedback is by the success of NON's who have improved their lives, by the continued destruction of PD partners lives who dont seek treatment, and listening to yourself. Can you find your happy place with her? Or without her?

As mentioned above, I get the feeling there is a lot of discuession about NC, at times in the past I thought it was okay but never felt right about it, so for myself I dont see NC as an answer, but that is for my situation, for others, NC maybe their only choice. Each to their own.

I dont see a bias, I see people sharing their life experiences, through sharing here, and living my life, I am finding out what is best for me, what works, and what doesnt.

I am not sure if you are looking for rock hard statistics. But even if you had them, they would just be that, statistics. It's like having cancer and being told you had a 17% chance of survival if you take treatment, you would have the option of treatment or declining. In the end, it would be your choice based on your life experiences and where you are in your life. Some would take treatment and others wouldnt. Neither choice would be wrong. Maybe the doctor makes a mistake in the diagnosis or treatment. A person makes a decision based on the best information they have at that moment. Nothing in life in guaranteed, or almost nothing.

Not to confuse the issue but maybe she isnt straight BPD, maybe its a combination of PD's, or maybe it is something other than BPD that is causing the problems... .the variants are endless... .A person makes a decision based on the best information they have at that moment.

I am sorry you are going through all of this, I hope you can focus on your kids and yourself, I know I was tunnel visioned, spent all my time thinking about her issues, when I started looking at myself, working on me, things became clearer, its tough making the big decisions when your heart says go left and your head says go right.

Best wishes, and great post, I hope others contribute their ideas and thoughts
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« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2010, 02:52:29 PM »

One aspect of this I've thought about a lot - but no easy answers of course - is the concept of "chosen" and "unchosen" relationships.  I think this spectrum explains a lot of why we have different views and make different decisions.

"Chosen" usually means relationships we chose to get into, and can (maybe) get out of just by choosing.  An example is someone whose boyfriend or girlfriend seems to have BPD or another problem;  if there are no kids involved, it's a relationship you chose to be in, and you can choose to end, with relatively little drama (or at least maybe without lawyers).

At the other extreme are those members whose kids seem to have BPD or another problem.  You didn't choose that, and you can't un-choose it;  you can "go NC" but it's still your child and always will be.  Similarly if it's a parent - NC is an option but the relationship is still there and the BPD shadow will never fully go away.

Quite a few of us find ourselves in relationships that are in-between those extremes.

A common example is, if you have kids in common, you can end the relationship with your spouse or significant other, but you're still connected through the kids.  LC or NC may be options but it's very complicated;  you may have to put the kids' interest ahead of your own and maintain a relationship you would prefer to end altogether.

Another example of a mid-point on the chosen/unchosen spectrum is a stepchild - the child of your ex who has BPD.  You can end the relationship - you may have no legal obligation - but depending on how long you were together and the specifics of your relationship with the stepkid it may not be much different from how you feel about a bio-kid.

(These two middle-of-the-road examples are me, by the way:  No purely "chosen" or "unchosen" relationships so no easy answers.)

When we talk in this community, we are often talking from different points of view, because someone in an unchosen relationship with a disordered person sees the relationship as stressful but forever;  at the other end of the spectrum you may say, "But I love her so much!" but you still have options those in an unchosen relationship don't have.

The structure of the boards helps a lot with this, since parents of pwBPD can gather on "Supporting a son or daughter with BPD";  those with BPD parents on "Coping with parents with BPD";  etc.

Still, if we keep this spectrum in mind, we can often see why someone's input seems "biased" - it reflects their own experience which may be at a different point on the spectrum from yours or mine.
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« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2010, 12:21:28 PM »

first, Eng123 
Excerpt
The books don't paint a clear picture of people that have to hit rock bottom to get help.

I just finished reading 'get me out of here'  by Rachel Reiland.  Quite revealing to the inner thoughts of a pwBPD, and helps me understand my BPDw somewhat more.

As to the thread subject:

No, the forum is not objective per se.  We are here seeking support from others who can empathize with our situations.  "Shared trauma" allows us to share possible techniques to reclaim our lives and get some control and happiness by learning to accept we can only change ourselves.  Control what we say, how we say it, when we stay, when we leave, etc...   Having some insight that others are dealing with the same craziness that I am, and finding ways to do so myself.

I'm not sure the "Undecided: Staying or Leaving" section is necessary.  It seems to be just a part of "Staying" since if you are not "Leaving" then you are "Staying" until you decide to leave (it's really one or the other... .Undecided means staying for now) 

The bias of the posters is where the support comes from.   Smiling (click to insert in post)

MrWitsend

member of "staying until I decide to leave, and making the best of my situation while staying"
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« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2010, 01:48:51 PM »

I'm not sure the topic of mental illness or any psychiatric disorder can really be broached "objectively." Of course, since we're all telling personal stories, we're all subjective. I think it's more important that this forum is revealing. To read about others' experiences with BPD partners often answers our own question, "Am I going crazy here? Or is there something seriously wrong with my partner?" At least a hundred times a week, I ask myself, "Am I the one who's crazy? Maybe my BPDh is right. Maybe I'm the one with the real problem." I think we all fall into this kind of thinking at some point, and this board helps to confirm that what we're experiencing is very real, and that while we NONs play a role in the relationship, too, we're not "crazy." For me, it also helps me to recognize patterns, because if I see other members going through the same cycles in their relationships, I can get closer to forming my own prognosis for the chances of recovery for my BPDh.

I think if we want "objective," it's best to read qualified books about BPD. I've read quite a few thus far... .ultimately, they all contain the same information, but reading it in numerous sources also helps to confirm that I'm not just imagining my BPDh's behaviors.
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« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2010, 02:14:18 PM »

Interesting questions and responses so far. 

We have had a few members stop posting because things have improved in their relationship (almost always after years of therapy) and they are out living their lives now.  Some of them stop in occassionally to say hello in the Staying forum.  But, I think these are the exceptions. 

Others have commented on this, but you'll notice that each forum has a different "voice" too.  The divorce board is a very different conversation and tone than the staying board.  As you might expect, Undecided (where we are now) is more pessimistic about the prospects of improving a relationship than Staying.  With the exception of a few veterans who make it a point to read through Undecided now and again, the members here seem to be relatively new . . . and hurting.   

Both the individual opinions here, and the collective "voices" of the boards, are certainly biased, usually against maintaining the relationship.  But, staying in or leaving a relationship is a personal choice that most here respect.

Read all you can and listen to your own gut to sort it out.   



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« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2010, 02:43:33 PM »

This is a good discussion.  I wanted to point out something though.

When it comes to our relationships with our BPD loved ones, what we are dealing with, what we are exposed to involve intense emotions, deep attachments, strong desires and excruciating pain.  Words such as "soul mate" "trust" "betrayal" "love" "hatred" "abandonment" get batted around all over the place.  There is not very much "objective" about the experience of all of these things.

It is difficult, or impossible to treat objectively, that which is most personal and "subjective."

Excerpt
sub·jec·tive –adjective

1. existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought ( opposed to objective).

2. pertaining to or characteristic of an individual; personal; individual: a subjective evaluation.

3. placing excessive emphasis on one's own moods, attitudes, opinions, etc.; unduly egocentric.

4. Philosophy . relating to or of the nature of an object as it is known in the mind as distinct from a thing in itself.

5. relating to properties or specific conditions of the mind as distinguished from general or universal experience.

6. pertaining to the subject or substance in which attributes inhere; essential.

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« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2010, 02:49:02 PM »

The title of this post caught my attention. I saw the original question was from someone in a marriage with a BPD.

My experience is my parents are uBPD and most likely my FOO is rife with personality disorders. Long story short, I was abused verbally, physically, and sexually by both uBPDparents most of my life. Three years after I married, uBPDparents kidnapped me and my kids. Six years ago, with the help of the police, I got away from them and have been NC since. I have been blessed to receive lots of helpful counsel.

But this forum has helped me more since I found it a few years ago. To be able to understand that I am not alone, that other parents act like mine, etc.

Since I've gone NC, I have worked very hard to redeem my life back: lost a lot of weight, remarried my ex, got off addictive meds, have my own house, etc.

The FOO could claim: "see, survivor is fine. we didn't damage her. look how good she is doing." They might very well be claiming this.

To answer your question about being married to a BPD: I always thought that my "dad" might not be just like my "mom" as she was physically and verbally violent towards me. But towards the end of my "stay" with them, he also began becoming verbally abusive and I've began to understand that some of what they did to me was actually sexual abuse. The contrast was there at times between the two. I always wondered if he had left my mom, would things had been different for me. I do believe he is/was her enabler. The last time I was beaten by uBPDm, uBPDf did physically pull her off of me, pinning her arms to her side while she hollered at him to let her go. But when the police came, he enabled her saying "survivor" wouldn't leave. For me, that was a truly defining moment... that I could finally be free and realize that he was not going to protect me in any way anymore, but had truly become one with her evil.

This board has been really instrumental in helping me keep my sanity in the midst of so much insanity in my FOO.

So sorry for what all of you are going through in your marriages. But I do have to ask you: don't you think that staying in an abusive marriage and your kids watching and observing how you are treated, that your kids are learning a skewed version of life? I know you want to be there for them and fear you will lose them if you leave your spouse.

Believe me, no one believes in marriage more than I do. I am married to the same man, twice. During the period of time that I was held hostage with threats by my uBPDparents, I treated my ex horribly. I apologized to him in detail for what I did to him and he has forgiven me.

Just some thoughts...

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« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2010, 04:00:32 PM »

Forum is by all definition a forum or better word migh be :SUPPORT GROUP. Of course, people in the forum and support group come together because of something in common, in this case, it is BPD. Many times our feelings and post are influenced by our own experiences. To have a neutral opinion than one has to seek professional counseling. Hopefully, by sharing our experiences, we can see that :

1. we are not alone, and we are indeed OK and not the bad guys as painted by our BPD's so. That is huge.

2. The strategies of BPD are quite similar so that we can see it, detect it, and deal with it effectively.

Like anything else in our lives, we must make decision for ourselves. With the information on this forum, one can hopefully make better decision, be it staying or leaving.
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« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2010, 04:09:24 PM »

This is a good discussion.  I wanted to point out something though.

When it comes to our relationships with our BPD loved ones, what we are dealing with, what we are exposed to involve intense emotions, deep attachments, strong desires and excruciating pain.  Words such as "soul mate" "trust" "betrayal" "love" "hatred" "abandonment" get batted around all over the place.  There is not very much "objective" about the experience of all of these things.

It is difficult, or impossible to treat objectively, that which is most personal and "subjective."

Excerpt
sub·jec·tive –adjective

1. existing in the mind; belonging to the thinking subject rather than to the object of thought ( opposed to objective).

2. pertaining to or characteristic of an individual; personal; individual: a subjective evaluation.

3. placing excessive emphasis on one's own moods, attitudes, opinions, etc.; unduly egocentric.

4. Philosophy . relating to or of the nature of an object as it is known in the mind as distinct from a thing in itself.

5. relating to properties or specific conditions of the mind as distinguished from general or universal experience.

6. pertaining to the subject or substance in which attributes inhere; essential.


Yeah, but... .

Getting some of this stuff out of the purely subjective realm, and applying some good thinking to it, so it's not so confusing - seems to me like that is a big part of what we try to do here.

For example, we have learned some ways to communicate with a disordered ex, to make things work out for the kids you have together.  And if we use those methods, things usually go OK, and if we don't, things usually escalate.  I'm not sure if that's completely objective - not sure it's "science" - but it's pretty useful knowledge - not purely subjective either.

Other examples are the tools taught on the "Staying" board, and the importance of validating the perceptions of a child with a borderline parent.

It's all based on patterns:  We can't predict for sure how any one person will behave - especially a person with a psychological problem, who we only know about from what a member tells us.  But we can see patterns common to people with BPD.  And we can reasonably assume that, in most cases, members come here because someone in their lives shows signs of BPD.

So we can help each other a lot, by studying the patterns, and finding ways of dealing with them that seem to work.

We can also find and share information from professionals who work in this field, and it is sometimes very helpful.

None of which makes it completely objective of course... .
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« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2010, 04:55:50 PM »

Forum is by all definition a forum or better word migh be :SUPPORT GROUP. Of course, people in the forum and support group come together because of something in common, in this case, it is BPD. Many times our feelings and post are influenced by our own experiences. To have a neutral opinion than one has to seek professional counseling. Hopefully, by sharing our experiences, we can see that :

1. we are not alone, and we are indeed OK and not the bad guys as painted by our BPD's so. That is huge.

2. The strategies of BPD are quite similar so that we can see it, detect it, and deal with it effectively.

Like anything else in our lives, we must make decision for ourselves. With the information on this forum, one can hopefully make better decision, be it staying or leaving.

All very good points, OnceConfused.

It is very important that we have a portfolio or resources as you say and a therapist is a central part of that mix.  I would also add scientific and reputable articles.  My experience was that the synergy of these 3 elements kept me grounded even in the worst of time.

When our members bring what they have learned from their therapist and read to the community to discuss it, dissect it, get pointers on how to live it - that's where we see a lot of growth.  Teaching others is an incredible way to learn because you extract yourself from the biggest bias of all - our view of ourself.



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« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2010, 08:07:17 PM »

Just some random thoughts --

I think that most of the books you buy give a very rosy picture of recovery.  I never got a real sense of how severe the mental illness was.  The books don't paint a clear picture of people that have to hit rock bottom to get help.

They inevitably begin with a woman who learns about BPD from a friend or spouse and is instantly relieved that she has a "name for her pain" and has found some process to recover.  I thought telling her about BPD would get the same reaction - didn't happen.

It's typically the same book that tells you not to mention BPD to the person you suspect may suffer from it, nor to leave the book out where it can be found.  So where does that leave the reader?  (Truthfully, in a struggle to set my own boundaries with the precise wording, timing, justification to satisfy my X -- in that respect, largely futile.)  I kept hoping to find a book that would give me a success story about a BPD guy, with details very similar to my marriage, but I don't think that would have changed my situation at all with my uBPDXH.  In fact, I bet the closer it resembled my marriage, the more X would have resisted.

Maybe that's part of the issue -- at least for me, the closer I got to the truth with my X, the more explosive things became.  So, one on one with him, objective and straight to the point became scary.  I was conditioned to avoid it and he was an expert at finding a path of tangents that would never lead back to the topic at hand.  But wow did I crave some validation -- somewhere -- for what was really going on.

I've found here a remarkable sense of community -- as a resource (forum) for objective information and place (huge sigh of relief for both head and heart) where there is subjective support and feedback.  It's the best balancing act that I've found in trying to deal with all this.  It allows for the "chosen" and "unchosen" relationships, as you say, Matt, and I think there were very insightful choices made in the naming of the various boards.  IMO, the undecided board is crucial, since it's the boat that so many people are in -- it validates Undecided as part of the process, I really needed the support that that the limbo was OK. until something deep inside me finally spoke.  But that's just the decision that worked for me.  I think it's important to honor the potential difference between staying and being undecided; it's a personal call and God knows, it can vary day to day.

It's tempting to be so rigidly reformed that I'd want to persuade a decision but there's an obligation not to.  I hope I don't -- unless someone is in physical danger.

The irony for me was that in the parade of marriage counselors that X and I saw, I ended up actively searching for someone who COULD be subjective enough to catch what was going on, X being high-functioning and deceptive enough that he seemed to grow in his power to pull off his act.  It wasn't until I got here -- totally sight unseen, that there was a sense of other people getting it.

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« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2010, 09:20:37 PM »

RonV,

I deeply sympathize with your situation. I'm glad you found this website and I'm glad you are reflecting about what is presented here. You are wise to not simply trust because you want to trust.

You realize that you just started posting, as I did, without proving that you were particularly qualified to help anyone. So you know that you can take what rings true and leave what doesn't seem to fit. You also realize that there is another layer beyond you and me -- better prepared to say something with real weight. That adds a lot of value in my mind.

Plus there are resources available that are clearly objective and extremely helpful. There is a degree of homework, or research, that is necessary to increase your knowledge base.

But there is nothing like the personal testimonies and deep sharing to validate your experiences and feelings. The people rooting for you are rooting for themselves because we want so much to stop the abuse, make free decisions, and find the peace we imagine.

I don't know much about this board because I have been dealing with issues about my mother since I joined. But I left my husband when I was pregnant with our first child because he was emotionally abusive. My hope was that he would want to work on the relationship but he didn't and he filed for divorce. It was the best thing for me and DS but it was painful and I would have preferred to "fix" things. If I would have had to leave my child, I don't know if I could have done it but I'm pretty sure I would have been destroyed by trying to stay. So I don't have anything of value to say, except I hope you have a strong faith life.

Trysohard
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« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2010, 12:12:48 AM »

I can say that I am biased - to what pertains to my situation.  I'm a non-non.  My husband has 3 children with his ex (uBPD).  The kids live with us, not mom, and visit her on wknds.

I am very much biased to the fact that fathers should be given equal rights to custody cases.  I am also biased to the fact that courts do not look at fathers very easily as the 'primary caregivers'.  I really truly feel for fathers who hurt, struggle and make every attempt to carry on with their lives involving their children as much as possible all the while being broke - emotionally, financially, spiritually. 

I admit it - I'm totally biased in that respect.

I am also biased in the aspect of children who are raised by a BPD parent.  I despise the emotional (and sometimes) physical turmoil that these children are subjected to.  I am biased that the courts do not want to spend more time evaluating or giving enough thought that there really are mothers out there who should not be allowed to be involved in their children's daily lives.

To the relationship factor - I am less biased. I try to understand people's perspectives on whether or not they should stay or should go.  I accept their decisions.  Sometimes I have a difficult time fully grasping the reasoning, but I do try to understand it and I do accept it.

Being a stepparent to children who have suffered extreme emotional trauma due to having a BPD parent and another one who somewhat enabled it for so long is the most difficult thing I have had to deal with in my life.

I can deal with the person with BPD just fine.  I have no issues there.  She may not like the way I deal with encounters (matter of factly, no fake smiley smile, and hold her accountable for her actions), but I certainly have no qualms in dealing with her in that way.

I guess my relationship is what you would call a 'chosen' one.  I chose to be with my husband, but I did not choose who was his ex-wife.    However, by choosing to stay with my husband, I have also chosen to deal with the ramifications of who was he was married to prior.   But I could have walked away from him and the kids. I did not.

So I can definitely say that I am biased in a lot of my posts when I am speaking to a man who has an ex with BPD and shares children.  I am definitely biased when speaking with a man who is going through the court system over custody. 

I am definitely biased when reading about children of a BPD mother (whether adult or minor).

For people who are in a relationship with no children, I can be more neutral. With children - I tend to be a little more biased in favour of the children.

So yes. I'm biased.   

Marlo

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« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2010, 12:16:53 AM »

I think most of what we say here has to "technically" be considered subjective to some extent and that is one of the difficulties of dealing with BPD and other disorders as a "non".  What I mean is:

Most of us are not mental health professionals, so even if our observations are considered objective our judgments rarely will because, according to mostly-accepted wisdom, we are not qualified to make the judgments.  I don't fully accept this because I don't think "non-certified" human beings somehow lost their judgment because others became qualified, educated professionals.  But I do respect those professionals and don't claim to be a better judge than they are, at least until any specific one convinces me.  I don't think that has happened yet.

Not all people, apparently not even all mental health professionals, even believe in these disorders the same way or accept the DSM classifications.  I know some people who say all these "personality disorders" are just an excuse not to call a scumbag a scumbag.  I'm not absolutely sure they are not right.  And those classifications are changing.  Plus there are the comorbities.  Plus the nature of some of the people we think are pwBPD is to be deceitful and false, so things are naturally confusing.  And who can really say for sure what is going on in another's mind to motivate the behaviors.  Maybe what we assume is just another mask for something even worse.  It's tough stuff to get a handle on.

We are telling our own stories through our own eyes, so that also is naturally somewhat subjective, even for the most objective person.

I agree with someone who said it is more important that the posts are revealing.  Eventually we have to find a practical way of dealing with what we experience, whether objective or subjective.  If this stuff were a well-developed, universally accepted, easily identified and diagnosed thing, we would not all face the challenges we do in convincing other people, ourselves and the courts of what the truth is and how much we are or are not also responsible.  Maybe some day there will be a simple test we can give someone and objectively say they pass or fail.  I doubt it.  Society would not allow it.  To do so would present other dangers and not be in the interests of a fairly large proportion of society.  So, I think we are stuck with subjectivity and have to decide for ourselves what is reasonably objective.  That's just life.
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« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2010, 12:42:40 AM »

Great point, KJ -- there's no litmus test or blood test and many times it's about evaluating patterns of interaction unwitnessed by professionals or even third parties.

But I don't think the issue is just the presumption to diagnose, BP or not.  It's tempting, I guess to consider the validation of common experiences here as proof of objectivity -- when maybe it's better considered a tool to increase our awareness.  We're judging our own relationships -- in those dances we're in various states of burn-out, denial and fatigue, and with BP's who may find our objectivity to be a threat.  So at least for me, being here has been finding out what objective can mean again -- there wasn't much to be found in the TWILIGHT ZONE.
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« Reply #25 on: August 14, 2010, 02:04:20 AM »

My thoughts are in unison with Katecat and the reasoning of working for so long to make the marriage somewhat work but not able to invest another 25 yrs into it with all the mental illness disfunction and abuse.

In the meantime, If I would of known about this website/disorder 10 yrs ago, there may have been a different ending? who knows?  but what I do know is that many of the new ones here have such a great opportunity to learn so much more than I knew while dealing with so much abuse and madness that left me virtually braindead to what I needed for me...

So I too look to future generations to be able to find their balance much more than I was able to.

But even with all the validation and tools in the world... you still have no way of knowing what your breaking point is and where you end up saying...

"no more. i cannot take this another day... "   it really is a case by case basis... .
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« Reply #26 on: August 14, 2010, 09:37:21 AM »

One thing the original poster said that struck me was:"If most BPDs could be "cured" or "nearly fully contained" with time, therapy, and support... "Someone with BPD can recovery with therapy. But all to often I see people crossing their finger and hoping their BP will change if they just love them enough and keep sacrificing their own happiness and accept the abuse. This is not only unrealistic, it is unhealthy. It keeps people stuck and makes things worse. Randi KregerAuthor, The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder"
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« Reply #27 on: August 14, 2010, 03:49:30 PM »

Good point Randi,

I am so glad you brought that out.  I was guilty of just trying to "love" it away when some firm boundaries and knowing my limitations were certainly in order.

And thats where this board can help so many others to do it right and not just accept the abuse as just "the way they are... they can't help it? "   no, that only helps them and us stay right in the same mess...    being abused and taking care of everything for them... Not a good combination by far!

Thanks again for all your hard work and wonderful contributions...  

Sincerely,

1bg Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)  xoxox
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« Reply #28 on: August 14, 2010, 03:55:36 PM »

very good point indeed. 
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« Reply #29 on: August 14, 2010, 07:16:46 PM »

My understanding is this board represents mostly the worst cases of BPD, and most of them situations where the person in question is does not admit their disorder or attempt getting treatment. There is a limit to the amount of progress someone with BPD will make if they are not in treatment. If a partner gets treatment, it can help improve a relationship with someone with BPD, but whether or not that will be enough to satisfy the partner is another question. So yes, the board is biased, plus a LOT of people who are still angry at their exes hang around, so that adds to the vibe.

I've been posting here regularly in Staying for over two years, and due to the work I've done on myself, and the amazing work my partner has done on herself, things are very good with us. I am one of the lucky few around here, but I know there are lots more like me out in the real world--most of them never have the need to come to a board like this one.

I must say though, I'm not proud of a lot of what I've allowed myself to endure on my way to this good place, and if we'd had children, I would NOT have exposed them to a life like mine has been on and off over these years.
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