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Author Topic: Is This Forum Objective?  (Read 18787 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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« 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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« Reply #30 on: August 14, 2010, 07:51:26 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.

Hm... .you might be right... .

... .but I have read that the reason more women are diagnosed with BPD than men - though BPD probably occurs just as often in men as in women - is that men with BPD are more often in jail or prison, because they act out in ways that get them in trouble with the law.

Some members here tell of the BPD sufferer in their lives being in jail or prison.  But it may be that some of the BPD sufferers whose behavior is worst - mostly men I suppose - are incarcerated and not causing problems that bring someone here.
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« Reply #31 on: August 14, 2010, 09:29:37 PM »

"There is no "one size fits all".

oh, if only BDPs could get some form of therapy or pill that keeps them from repeating the same cycle over and over again as if this quote were true, could there be hope for people suffering from such a way of thinking about those that love them are treated by BPDs
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« Reply #32 on: August 14, 2010, 10:03:55 PM »

Excerpt
Is there a way for you to qualitatively estimate the statistical validity of the feedback in this forum with regard to bias?

There certainly is “a way for you to qualitatively estimate the statistical validity of the feedback in this forum with regard to bias.”  And it was detailed by psychologist Wilfred R. Bion in his book "Experiences in Groups.”

Bion was a British psychoanalyst who began group therapy with veterans after World War II.  Eventually, he discovered that members in his group were, as a group, conspiring to defeat therapy. They did so with some very specific patterns. In every group, Bion noted that two groups were actually present: the work group, and the basic assumption group. The work group is functioning within the primary task of the group - that is, whatever the group has formed to accomplish.  In this forum, for instance- it is “facing the facts” and dealing with BPD.

The basic assumption group describes the tacit, underlying assumptions on which the behavior of the group is based. When a group adopts basic assumptions, it interferes with the task the group is attempting to accomplish. Bion specifically identified three basic assumptions: dependency, fight-flight, and pairing.

In Dependency, groups form and look to one leader; as in DBT group therapy. The essential aim of the group is to attain security through and have its members protected by one individual who defines "reality." (The same can also be said of couples counseling and looking to one person to define reality for two.)

In FIGHT, the group may be characterized by aggressiveness and hostility.

Take for instance, the identification and vilification of external enemies. This falls under the group’s charter and may even form the basis for the group. It is Us against “them.”  Nothing causes a group to galvanize like an external enemy. So even if someone isn't really your enemy, identifying them as an enemy can cause a pleasant sense of group cohesion.

A problem as Bion saw it, when the identification of the enemy caused members to form paranoid/schizoid positions to defend against their anxieties concerning the “enemy.”

So there's this very complicated moment of a group coming together, when enough individuals, for whatever reason, sort of agree that something worthwhile is happening, and the decision they make at that moment is: I am good and you are good and we all must be protected. And at that moment, even if it's subconscious, you start getting group effects. And the effects are seen in many online communities as well as town hall meetings.

At the heart of FIGHT is the basic assumption that I am good and He is Bad. Possibly the very reason the group formed in the first place- an assumption of an external enemy.

So there’s this “Us versus Them” aspect that Bion felt that was a defense against anxiety that suited the purpose or religious tenant of the group. Religious veneration. The nomination of a set of tenets. The religious pattern is, essentially, we have nominated something here that's beyond critique and you are either with us or you are against us. This is splitting of splitting.

You can see this pattern on other forums any day you like but not bpdfamily.com. Go onto a NPD forum, and try saying "You know, I think I may have some issues here and while my partner is at fault, so am I.”

Try having that discussion on the NPD forum. You'll simply be flamed to high heaven and eventually banned from the forum (like I was) because you're interfering with the religious text of splitting Us versus THEM. When vilification turns away to address personal behavior on the NPD forum, people would start bleeding from their ears, they would get so mad.  

According to Bion, groups that are maintained by one or two people as moderators can sometimes be their own worst enemy because the outcome of the movement through denial, anger, bargaining, depression etc., is left in the hands of one or two moderators with the responsibility for defining what your value is on their site.  

Those people will defend that value- and therein lies the danger of getting messed up and hurt when you really need help. This is what Kathi Stringer calls the “The Non Dilemma” (Everyone should read this:)www.toddlertime.com/dx/borderline/dilemma.htm  

(In my opinion, I do not see this happening at bpdfamily.com- especially notable since we are addressing this very question in your post.)

The opposite of FIGHT was what Bion noted was FLIGHT-  the group may chit-chat, tell stories or continue behavior that serves to avoid addressing the task at hand. (The good news is that bpdfamily.com has a Board for this- level 6)

Flight is salacious talk or emotions that groups always devolve into, away from the sophisticated purpose of moving through the therapy.  It can also involve enabling, as members can encourage others to remain as victims in their next relationships (“OMG I met another BPD!”) while never realizing that they may be the common denominator of being drawn in.

Because of this, it’s very important to understand W. R. Bion’s notion of “social stickiness” - that is, the idea that people will often stay in a group in order to maintain the appearance of being united against an enemy and to uphold ideals of polite victimization, even though they dislike the idea. But it’s often safer to remain with what you know rather than attempt the unknown of self discovery and leave the forum.

Bion felt that the outcome of group efforts should involve: “the emergence of truth and mental growth. The mind grows through exposure to truth.”  The foundation for both mental development and truth are, for Bion, the emotional experience.

What’s fantastic about bpdfamily.com is that the forum has different boards. Each board has a different phase. The process of moving through these boards should be noted as L3 purging, L5 introspection and L6 building a new life. Many people get stuck or jump ahead when they shouldn’t and need a gentle nudge now and then. I find there is enough written material and enough wonderful people on this site to help me through the process without judgment.

“A pattern will arise in which there is some group of users that cares more than average about the integrity and success of the group as a whole. And that becomes your core group, Art Kleiner's phrase for "the group within the group that matters most."  These are the administrators, board advisers, and ambassadors, a core group that arises to care about and garden the group effectively.” Shirky 2003

bpdfamily.com does a better job than any other forum I know- to garden the environment, to keep it growing, to keep it healthy and to push people beyond their stages of denial, grief, depression – and into acceptance.  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)


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« Reply #33 on: August 14, 2010, 10:26:04 PM »

2010 - I really like your post. I really don't have a big long post for you back, but I just wanted to say that it was very well written.  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #34 on: August 14, 2010, 11:34:35 PM »

2010, very well written and informative.  Your post makes a lot of sense.  Thanks.
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« Reply #35 on: August 14, 2010, 11:43:35 PM »

yeah, the same ganging up can happen on the Spath, Sociopath/Psychopath forum with Religious people who wonder why Spaths have destroyed their lives and even exist, then at the same time believe in only "god's perfect creation" and not evolution,, or Schizophrenia forums when u can see there is something odd about the behaviors of those that stay for years with someone clearly saying "leave me alone, look,, i wont take a bath for months, chainsaw down our walls and paint all the furniture white while i see you have sex with 4 people on that furniture after i've done that!"

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« Reply #36 on: August 15, 2010, 08:45:52 PM »

If I'm interested in objectivity, I refer to the professional journals and articles; if I'm interested in reality, I come here.

The difference? Professional research has very clear indicators, dimensions and limitations of the phenomena they wish to study. The reality of pwpds is not anywhere as succinct-or limited as the objective research proports to illuminate. Attempts to "capture" the experience of living with a pwpd in an objective format is clearly a worthy undertaking-and hopefully, will lead to more areas of research in the future-isn't that one of the objectives of research?

In the interim, there are always choices-and opinions, objective or subjective.
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« Reply #37 on: August 15, 2010, 09:30:13 PM »

 Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #38 on: August 16, 2010, 11:21:09 AM »

Great thread. In the interests of being brief and not repeating... I TOTALLY agree with Skip's articulate and as usual balanced & insightful comments.
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« Reply #39 on: August 16, 2010, 01:09:02 PM »

Great thread. In the interests of being brief and not repeating... I TOTALLY agree with Skip's articulate and as usual balanced & insightful comments.

No fair kissing up to the teacher.
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« Reply #40 on: August 16, 2010, 02:33:13 PM »

Very funny Matt... Smiling (click to insert in post) BPD is a spectrum disorder and highly co-morbid with other disorders, mood, substance abuse, etc... While there are some evidence based (clinical, academic research that is not biased by therapists in the US wanting to sell books, ie: in Europe and Canada, managed health care is not big business) patterns to the this disorder, people with mental illnesses have periods of wellness and periods of illness based on their own unique genetics and strengths.

The reality is if one actually searches the research the percentage of pwBPD that actually are sucessful in treatment is very, very low... Debate over the definition of "recovery" means as opposed to healthy, capacity for loving r/s... Just because one stablizes doesn't mean they are going to have healthy r/s... Sorry, not buying the spin by therapists making huge careers and financial gain about how treatable this chronic, severe mental illness. I am hopeful that just like the tremendous gains in knowledge about the treatment of schizophrenia for example, in the next 10 years with neuroscience gains... this illness will be more treatable.

The majority of "nons' on here are posting about undiagnosed BPD's, but all are struggling with high levels of unhealthy conflict, trauma, abuse and often substance abuse...

That being said, this is a fantasic site of support that doesn't endorse any one position, but that of the so called "non" taking responsiblity for their own choices and then make a decision. So wide range of nons, from healthy to pathological.
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« Reply #41 on: August 17, 2010, 10:19:51 AM »

Very complicated issue, Ron -

First off, this site, in general, does have a bias, and in some instances is biased in a way we don't even realize. The premise here is that we, the participants, believe a) we are Nons (meaning a non-BPD), and b) that we were with someone who was a BPD.

Secondly, our overall view of a relationship is a bias. Some of us believe in self-sacrificing and seeing it through to the bitter end no matter what. In which case one's perspective is that of someone needing help processing what's being done to them by their BPD and how they can turn it into a growing/loving opportunity instead of one that rocks the foundation of their relationship. In order to remain with their BPD, basically they take on the role of selfless caregiver ad infinitum.

Others seem more ready to take action to protect themselves in the wake of abuse BPDs tend to perpetrate and are willing to stick it out provided their efforts are rewarded in some way along the way.

However, regarding most forms of bias that could exist within the individual or even certain collective boards, there is enough variety throughout the different members and boards for the bias to be greatly minimized.

For instance, there's a "Staying" board, yet there is one geared toward divorce. Each has a multitude of topics within the board that balances out the bias. And, let's not forget, given the insightful participation by members such as you, Ron, we are kept very honest here.

Lastly, in trying to make the best decision for yourself and your spouse... .sometimes there's only so much you can do with all the information and ability you have. While the thought of "saving" someone does seem noble, there is a lot to be said for saving yourself and the many (children) and letting the BPD survive on their own.
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« Reply #42 on: August 17, 2010, 11:10:58 AM »

Excerpt
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.

As I read this question what occurs to me is the more difficult choice you are trying to make... what to do and the impact it will have on you and your children.

I wish there were an easy answer, there just isn't. You are handling a complex situation, my hope is you will seek help beyond this board, the advice of a professional counselor that will help you discover the solution that works best for you and the support you will need no matter what your decision. Living with a BPD partner, examination of our own behaviors, and the ability to understand the inner plays of our needs versus our S/O needs is difficult, my hope is you will find resources to help you.

About objectivity... well, none of us can be objective due to the glasses we wear and our filters as we process information and relate the experiences through the filter of life experience. We all have bias, being aware of those biases and working through our bias and how we relate is the key to self awareness.

What are you willing to live with and how equipped are  you to handle the outcome of your decisions? That is key... .

Take care.

C
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« Reply #43 on: August 17, 2010, 03:58:19 PM »

About objectivity... well, none of us can be objective due to the glasses we wear and our filters as we process information and relate the experiences through the filter of life experience. We all have bias, being aware of those biases and working through our bias and how we relate is the key to self awareness.

And a good therapist told me the same about herself.  On the outside of the situations of her clients and with the vantage-point of professional training, for sure, but still looking thru her own glasses.
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« Reply #44 on: August 17, 2010, 08:43:23 PM »

I was thinking something along those lines.  Why does it have to be termed biased?    

I think that there is a place for everyone here depending on the different level of the relationship that they've experienced...

The disorder spares noone... it is what it is...  but if you are on the staying board... you will get the help you need there...  and /or divorce board...  it will be tuned into your needs in that way...  

Regardless if it is biased or not, it is helping us to deal with what we need at that particular time.

Biased has a negative connotation that I don't really feel applies here. I feel it is as objective as it needs to be... .based on the individuals staNPDoint as was already stated...

biased meaning... ?  We lean a certain way due to our preconceived idea's and thinking?   Well I guess we all do that depending on how much we have endured or what we have personally experienced.  

And that will change as we grow or change as individuals too... .depending on our emotional makeup...  

Tough one...   biased I suppose isn't a bad thing right?  not in this light... .IdeaRed flag/bad  (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #45 on: August 17, 2010, 10:36:06 PM »

First off, this site, in general, does have a bias, and in some instances is biased in a way we don't even realize. The premise here is that we, the participants, believe a) we are Nons (meaning a non-BPD), and b) that we were with someone who was a BPD.

Jeffree made some good points.  On point a) above, though, I don't think that is right.  I think a "non" is a person in a relationship with a pwBPD, but that doesn't necessarily mean the "non" is not also a pwBPD.  Someone else can say for sure.  It's too late at night for me right now to look it up.
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« Reply #46 on: August 19, 2010, 07:58:27 AM »

Yes, non-BP means a person in a relationship, including those with all kinds of mental health diagnoses.
First off, this site, in general, does have a bias, and in some instances is biased in a way we don't even realize. The premise here is that we, the participants, believe a) we are Nons (meaning a non-BPD), and b) that we were with someone who was a BPD.

Jeffree made some good points.  On point a) above, though, I don't think that is right.  I think a "non" is a person in a relationship with a pwBPD, but that doesn't necessarily mean the "non" is not also a pwBPD.  Someone else can say for sure.  It's too late at night for me right now to look it up.

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« Reply #47 on: August 20, 2010, 02:55:47 AM »

I've been at these boards for five years, on and off, and I think if there was a little village on the internet called 'My pwBPD got better and we're living happily ever after' - there'd be a big neon sign here directing you to it because someone would have found it and they'd want to tell everyone how to find it.
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« Reply #48 on: August 20, 2010, 09:29:31 AM »

Excerpt
I've been at these boards for five years, on and off, and I think if there was a little village on the internet called 'My pwBPD got better and we're living happily ever after' - there'd be a big neon sign here directing you to it because someone would have found it and they'd want to tell everyone how to find it.

My partner is doing amazingly well, has been on a real upswing the last year and a half that she's been doing DBT (almost all symptoms GONE), and I'll tell you, once she is "totally cured" you will not see me around here any more, you will not see me at some happy board either, because BPD will not be an issue in my life any more. 

And we all need to keep in mind, being in a relationship brings out the worst in people with BPD, and our stuff can really mess them up as well.

And one note about "non"--yes, that is a person involved with someone with BPD. However, most people who are not messed up themselves would start a relationship with someone with BPD and get out fast. Those of us who stay in the relationships and are therefore nons, would have codependent traits, BPD traits, dependency traits, all kinds of traits of mental illness, or we would not remain partners with the mentally ill.
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« Reply #49 on: August 20, 2010, 10:48:25 AM »

Boy You said a mouthful there peacebaby, Idea Idea Idea Idea Idea

I know for a fact that If I wasn't so personally messed up at the time I met my xBPD mate, I would of RAN FOR THE HILLS!  AND NOT LOOKED BACK! 

So there is much wisdom in what you say friend.  so much wisdom... .   we are messed up with our own disordered thinking and that is why we latch on to them and get all kinds of fun stuff back in return.

It isn't until we start to work on ourselves and figuring out our own mess of a life and what happened to us that brought us here, can we ever rebuild things for a positive outcome. 

The answer lies within US>>.  and what changes we need to make... for us without it having anything to do with them.   Just like their stuff goes way back before they met us, well vice versa...    us too... .

thanks for that reminder friend!  1bg xoxox

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« Reply #50 on: August 20, 2010, 11:15:38 AM »

Excerpt
thanks for that reminder friend!

A pleasure! 

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« Reply #51 on: August 21, 2010, 12:24:32 AM »

I started this thread and have enjoyed and learned from many of the postings.  Thanks to everyone who has contributed.

A few quick points:

1) The point of my question was not to suggest that "not objective" is in any way equivalent to "not useful."  This support forum is definitely useful to a lot of people.  Including me.

2) The point of my question *was* aimed at statistics.  For example, if 9 out of 10 people on this forum say, "run!"one might conclude "90% of the people who have read my story think I should run.  Ok.  I'll do it.  However, what if the 10 people on this forum are the 10 who are still struggling in unhealthy BPD relationships, and there are 900 others, of whom 850 would have said, "stay!  you can work with your partner and heal together... ."  But those other 900 people have left this support group because they've moved on with their lives.  That would be useful to know.  The first 9 people may still help me see things that help me make a decision.  Their advice is still useful.  No matter what the numbers, only I can decide what's right for me.  But when I make decisions, sometimes the numbers are useful to understand as well.  No black and white here- I may decide to go against what the majority thinks based on my situation.  But again, have a statistical context for the advice I get is useful.  From all of the responses, I think it's pretty clear that we don't know what the true stats are.  We also know we are biased.  We also know that our experiences are valuable to share.  I that that's ok.

3) One poster suggested that those of us in BPD relationships may have codependent symptoms, BPD symptoms, a other traits characteristic of mental illness.   Based on my own extensive research, therapy, and experience, I believe that some people who stay in BPD relationships do in fact have these qualities... .but many are simply the "rescuer" type, and do NOT have those qualities.  Being a "rescuer" not necessarily healthy, and I agree that we must look within ourselves to focus on what we can change about our own actions to improve our situations.  At the same time, it's important to understand how BPDs use their incredibly powerful manipulative techniques to snare us during the "i love you / courting" phase of a relationship.  That phase can sometimes last years.  It did in my case.  My BPD spouse actually morphed into a completely different person over 5+ years.  There were almost no signs for the first 2 years.   As we know from reading about the common phases of BPD relationships, the BPDs change drastically during the subsequent phases.  So, we nons are victims in many ways, much as victims of senseless violence are.  I don't think we're all "co-dependent" and "mentally ill."  In fact, many of us would happily leave if not for children (who we would likely lose) or other complications related to our particular situations.  So, yes, I agree we need to be strong.  We need to look within ourselves for improvements we can make.  We should not accept violent or abusive behavior.  We should also not stay in unhealthy relationships.  We need to find our own happiness first, so we can be stronger, better people, and that will help our children, families, and even our x-BPDs.  These are all good general rules.  Let's be careful to not oversimplify.

4) It is GREAT NEWS to hear of some success stories of people who did survive BPD relationships.  I will be careful to not allow such stories to dominate my thinking given the obvious risks with doing so.  However, it's good to hear from both ends of the spectrum if for no other reason than to educate myself about what's possible.

5) Bias aside, it's clear to me from this forum that BPD has a tremendous negative impact on the world.  The emotional suffering nons go through is frightening.  The impact on children is frightening.  The impact on families and extended families is frightening.  It is, without question, one of the scariest, most traumatic illnesses someone's spouse can possibly have.  Hopefully BPD will get its fair share of attention from the medical, legal, and government communities.  Society could advance forward if this were to happen.  I don't think BPD gets its fair share right now.

Thanks again to all of you for responding.  I appreciate your feedback.  I feel honored to be part of this support forum.
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« Reply #52 on: August 21, 2010, 03:43:42 AM »

I'm not sure if i would call this forum biased, but rather, it's informed. This is one of the few places you can go, say someone in your life has BPD and have people understand what you mean by that. However, we do all have different views of BPD, it would seem and perhaps within our intepretations of BPD is where we become biased. Personally, i find myself biased because i don't think the diagnosis is necessarily a death sentence to a relationship and nor do i think BPD necessarily renders a person 'bad', or the partner/parent/child etc to have issues themselves. Ultimately, information is empowering and i think that rises above the biases we may have. A very interesting thead, RonV, as usual, i come away from here having learnt something.
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« Reply #53 on: March 04, 2013, 11:42:05 AM »

I am in a totally different perspective, but have had similar feelings.  I am a SM of two girls that have a BPD mom.

I think your questions are good, but I would redirect you... .  you are wondering about "our" (and I include you in this, as we are all in it together) bias, but directing the answer to mean that IF we are biased, then MAYBE there is hope with your relationship partner.  I think you are conflating three issues:  1) Are we biased?  2) Can she change?  3) Do you want to be with her? 

For me those questions were a little different.  DH and his ex were acquaintances of mine before they broke up, and when I started dating DH a year later, I was excited about the idea of being in a blended family.  I do not want children and liked the idea of supporting a mom and dad, and from the superficial facade BPDmom put up, I thought I could really be a support in helping her pursue dreams she had set aside to be a stay-at-home-mom.  The first interactions with her after I began dating her ex were really dramatic, her really upset and yelling and crying, but I was able to be with her in a way that totally toned things down, and at the end of the interactions, she would tell me how great I was and say she loved me.  It seemed like while she might have some psychological problems, I felt willing to treat her with respect and work with her, and that she responded well with me.  She told me her dream would be that one day we all could sit down and share a picnic table at community events.  I had high hopes, though I knew she had been very physically abusive with DH before they broke up and of course that really bothered me.  But I am pretty willing to accept people as is, with boundaries. 

The problem was that we would seem to really get through hard things, and then BPD mom would "forget" whatever happened, and go back to her story about how she is always a victim, how everyone hates her.  None of the work we did to develop a relationship "took."  The same was true of counseling DH did with her with my encouragement---she would make the same complaints over and over, and when DH did the things she asked, she would totally ignore them and act like it had never happened.  I still had (and have) the belief that unconditional love would affect her over time, regardless of the degree to which her mind could accept it.  It is important to note that BPD mom has seen counselors, but only people who sympathize, and she quits when it becomes more about her and less about the people she blames.  She has no interest in seeking therapy for things she has been diagnosed with. 

When I came to this site and others, I was acutely aware of the bias you mention, and had a hard time with having to justify my "compassion" all the time, or to justify why it was okay for me to be open to contact with BPDmom, rather than keeping my distance and letting DH be the only one who communicated with her.  That did not feel right, because I had a much better rapport with her, based on boundaries and kindness. 

DH and I were okay with that for a long time... .  just plugging away doing our best to work with her, and she consistently making a case to anyone who would listen, including the kids, that not only were we failing to do the very things we were doing, but that we were doing much worse, abusive and neglectful things with the kids. 

Here is what changed for me.  First, I wore out.  I could not sustain feeling safe and good with the kinds of attacks and escalation that were happening, and I needed less contact with her (and by less, I mean going from seeing her once every 3 months to once a year).  The same was true for DH.  Second, all our work did not make the kids feel more safe, as there was not really less conflict, and as mom still spent all those years telling the kids negative things about us, while we were being positive and accepting.  Third, the kids were doing worse and worse, and mom was engaging in serious parental alienation tactics, and it was working.  The kids were lying to cover up hard stuff their mom was doing, and telling daddy they wanted to live only with mom in another state.  This was even with them both being in counseling. 

So here are the three questions that I had for myself, and how I answered them:

1) Is this site biased and how does that affect me? 

A: As you have said, this site is biased toward making the BPD person wrong, though actively tries to be self-aware about that. How this affects me is that it makes me acutely aware of the mentally ill nature of the BPD behaviors, and helps to defeat the effectiveness of BPDmom's efforts to manipulate DH and I to think her problems are our fault.  On the downside, this makes me more hopeless and believe that she cannot change, whereas the opposite is true--she changes radically every day!  One day, she is loving, the next, she is hating.  The best way I can enjoy her is to take the good parts without question when they are there.  There are fewer and fewer over the years, but still, fewer expectations helps, and reading stories on this site makes my expectations more robust and less flexible.  Also, BPD is not a big part of my life; BPDmom does her best to make it as big a part of my life as she can, constantly creating imaginary drama... .  why add to that by visiting this site often?  I had not visited this site for a few months, and then I was talking about this with my T, and suddenly started being interested in it again... .  I think drama impacts me by wanting to tell the story of it over and over, which weakens the drama over time, but also replicates it and makes it last longer because it is on my mind long after the drama incidents occur.  In sum, I find that this site affects me by making me focus more on the dysfunction and less on the happy, magical parts of my life.  I want to focus more on the inspiring magical parts of life, and not to buy into the BPD person's negative perspective on life. 

2) Can she change? 

I do think BPD mom can change.  I think that she does change in response to my unconditional love of her, every time she experiences it.  It is like medicine for her, when she screams at me and I can say, "You are really okay with me, even right now," she suddenly is in the moment. But the reality is that I have no desire to spend enough time with her to help with this, and because I am a target, her rage is depleting over time, no matter how competent I am at responding.  Also, trauma calms her, and while I am good at dealing with traumatic situations in the moment, I get frazzled and fearful over time... .  in other words, dealing with her makes me more like her.   

My dad worked for a bit with people in a residential treatment program for adult schizophrenics, in which the "therapists" (my dad was one) would just interact normally with these folks, over and over, in a loving and respectful way.  The person would be having a serious delusion and yelling about ants or whatever, and the T would say, "When you yell, it is scary for me.  I hear that there are ants on your skin, but when you yell at me, it does not feel good."  I think something like this would be amazing for her.  But DH and I are not up for that, and the bottom line is being around her fighting with us is very bad for the kids, however good the resolution.

The bottom line is that BPD mom would really have to embrace change herself in order to make that work.  And being a relationship partner to someone you want to change is a double-edged sword... .  you have the capacity to be the most powerful agent of change of any person other than the subject... .  but at the same time, it is a charged relationship where she can easily convince you that her behavior is your fault; indeed, this is even sometimes true; and interjecting the dynamic of "if you change, I will stay" into a relationship with a BPD person who is terrified of abandonment seems terribly risky. 

In my removed role, what I realized is that BPD mom might change, but that I did not have the energy to help, and my commitment was to my DH and kids first.  That I could still care about her, but that engaging in helping her was totally depleting, and that I needed my energy to help the kids and myself and DH to keep it real, to remember the good things even when someone is screaming at us for no reason... .  to remember that there is no reason for it.  I realized that while my ideals are that I could be a support figure in a blended family for a mentally ill person, and not judge her or need her to be easy, the reality is that her rage had effects on my capacity given the power she has in my life.  She can call CPS and make up a story about me and the kids and that could change my life.  Also, I now love and am bonded to the kids, and her harming them is extremely painful.  So I am not in a role where I can be consistently loving to her, and she needs consistency more than anything.  So I am not the person who can impact her, and I do not want to be.  If she changes, that is great... .  I am all for it.  But I am now clear that I cannot give any more time to connecting with her as she tries to muddle through it... .  that is her work, not mine, and it sucks me into a place in myself that I want not to inhabit much. 

3) What level of connection do I want/what kind of relationship do I want to be in with her? 

Here is the tricky part.  I would love to have a casual but loving connection with the mom of my SDs.  MANY people where I live have this with their ex's new partner.  It is part of my local culture.  My parents are divorced and they have done family holidays with all the kids and new partners since divorce 25 years ago, and it works great.

But while I want this, she does not.  And two people have to want the same thing for it to happen in a relationship. 

I can see her potential, but the reality is I have to deal with the person she is.  And the person she is is someone who feels bad to me to be close to.  So I want to be farther, because I want to feel good and to share with the kids what it feels like to be in a family where people feel good about each other. 

In sum, I think that this site is biased.  Based on all I have read (and it is a lot!) it is possible for a BPD person to change, and based on my own opinions and philosophy and experiences, I believe that the best shot for change involves being loving and accepting and not believing something is impossible, so long as the BPD person wants to change. 

But ultimately, the question is whether or not YOU want to be in a relationship with her as she is right now.  Not as she might be.  Not your fantasy.  Because projecting your fantasy on someone with BPD does not help them feel more loved or safe or less fearful.  It helps them feel inadequate, in my opinion. 

We all deal with wanting things from our partners in relationships, and as a child of two therapists, I think that the world of pop-psychology probably has gone to far in seeing us each as an island who can only change ourselves.  We do need each other to change; we do affect each other.  But it is a lot of pressure to have a partner who NEEDS you to change in some fundamental way.  It may be very helpful to your partner, but it may not create a relationship that is sustainable over time or that feels good to you. 

Ultimately, I have come to see that one of the gifts of dealing with someone with BPD is to learn to resist and recognize the trap of enmeshment, of the idea that the other person has to be better for ME to be better; or on the other hand, to resist the idea that I have infinite capacity.  That what is is good enough.  My limits, my desire to avoid really painful stuff, and BPDmom's inability to let go of things that she does that just cause her pain.  Because allowing myself to have limits gives me the strength to give what I can where it is most important to me--my DH and the kids, and myself. 

Finally, there are the kids.  DH left his ex because he realized that the kids were seeing constant abuse and fighting, including lots of her beating him up.  And that he did not want to be a part of showing them that stuff.  That he was teaching them to be in an abusive relationship.  So he left.  And what he has been able to create now is a home that is more peaceful, and that does resolve conflict in a loving way, and that does not come from a place of hating mommy, while still having boundaries. It is messy, but the kids are free to love mommy and still be relaxed and grow and learn how to cope with their mom in a more safe and less stressful environment than when their parents were together.  I read a study on effects of divorce that indicated that the best environment for kids is happy, together parents; the second best is happy, divorced parents; the third best is divorced parents where one home is happy, and the worst is parents who stay together and are high-conflict.  There is value in working toward happiness and mental health in yourself first, and being clear about whether or not you can do this and stay with a BPD person. 

This site, and living with a BPD person and all the drama, tends to focus on this other person... .  not on how we are doing and what our capacities are.  And you are as important as she is. 





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« Reply #54 on: March 06, 2013, 12:52:20 AM »

First I don't believe there are any one size fits all solutions. My exBPDw according to her psychiatrist "will eventually decide to kill you."

He said she has BPD, NPD, schizophrenia, pathological behavior, and all these are axis three mental illnesses. He said, she was severely abused physically and sexually as a little child, and by the process of transference she has transferred the blame for what went wrong with her childhood to you.

I didn't believe him when he said it, but a few years later she did decide to kill me, going to gun training classes, buying a gun, then hunting me as prey.

I don't believe any tools exist to make a better relationship with someone who has decided you caused all their problems, then decides to kill you. She would speak to me through clenched teeth, and talk about her hatred and loathing for me. She described how I was such a deep sleeper, that she could sneak into the bedroom and hit me in the head with a frying pan, and I would never even know what hit me.

Between 1994 and 2005, she had five different psychiatrists, and continued to get worse. It was the psychiatrists who sent me to this board, saying, you are likely to face the worst of the worst, because she wants nothing except to hurt you. Their predictions proved to be correct, and exBPDw exceeded the worst predicted.

Perhaps there are tools to assist in this situation, but I've not seen them.

When someone begins to make unreasonable decisions they isolate themselves. When they isolate their thinking can become like Ted Kaczynski, the UnaBomber. Interestingly, this was predicted for exBPDw also.

Of late, our site seems to be too oriented toward tools. For those dealing with the more acute symptoms of perhaps a soup of mental diagnoses these recommendations may not apply. To illustrate, which tool helps me dodge bullets? My solution, was to remove myself from exBPDw's rifle range or the tool of distance (12,000 kilometers).
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« Reply #55 on: March 06, 2013, 10:05:22 AM »

First I don't believe there are any one size fits all solutions. My exBPDw according to her psychiatrist "will eventually decide to kill you."

He said she has BPD, NPD, schizophrenia, pathological behavior, and all these are axis three mental illnesses. He said, she was severely abused physically and sexually as a little child, and by the process of transference she has transferred the blame for what went wrong with her childhood to you.

I didn't believe him when he said it, but a few years later she did decide to kill me, going to gun training classes, buying a gun, then hunting me as prey.

I don't believe any tools exist to make a better relationship with someone who has decided you caused all their problems, then decides to kill you. She would speak to me through clenched teeth, and talk about her hatred and loathing for me. She described how I was such a deep sleeper, that she could sneak into the bedroom and hit me in the head with a frying pan, and I would never even know what hit me.

Between 1994 and 2005, she had five different psychiatrists, and continued to get worse. It was the psychiatrists who sent me to this board, saying, you are likely to face the worst of the worst, because she wants nothing except to hurt you. Their predictions proved to be correct, and exBPDw exceeded the worst predicted.

Perhaps there are tools to assist in this situation, but I've not seen them.

When someone begins to make unreasonable decisions they isolate themselves. When they isolate their thinking can become like Ted Kaczynski, the UnaBomber. Interestingly, this was predicted for exBPDw also.

Of late, our site seems to be too oriented toward tools. For those dealing with the more acute symptoms of perhaps a soup of mental diagnoses these recommendations may not apply. To illustrate, which tool helps me dodge bullets? My solution, was to remove myself from exBPDw's rifle range or the tool of distance (12,000 kilometers).

I think you are responding to the original post; in case you are responding to mine, I just want to say that I hope what I communicated in my very long post is that it is okay for us to have boundaries, to know when enough is enough and not to engage in a relationship that feels bad, however hopeful we might be that it one day feels better.  On these boards, it is easy for us to project our very different circumstances on each other... .  someone completely violent and dangerous is different than someone who might, once a year in a rage, harm someone.  If the "victim" is killed or harmed, that difference may seem irrelevant... .  but in terms of assessing risk, it is critical. 

That said, I have befriended (not in any intimate way) people who are sociopaths, and have on more than one occasion (and by coincidence) run into this person when they told me they thought they were going to kill themselves or kill someone else if they did not get help. I would not have this relationship with someone who was threatening me and would not enter into a deep relationship with someone that scary or unpredictable, but I have worked and been trained to work with some higher risk populations, so I was okay with this person, as I made clear my boundaries, and this person ALWAYS respected them (no calling me or coming to my home was the boundary I set; we could be friends, but only by chance and occasionally).  So on this particular incident, he told me how hard a time he was having, and we talked for an hour about what was really important to him.  And there WERE things that were important to him.  I think there was almost nobody in his life who would listen to him, because he has a bad reputation and has engaged in various crimes.  In that case, I think he went home and made art because he spoke with another person who was not cruel to him.  That was just one time.  Other times, it did not turn out so well.  But I think these things make a difference. 

If someone is abusive to YOU, I totally support and understand getting as far away as possible.  With the BPD person in my life, who was never a relationship partner, I have found that repeat transactions only result in her becoming more defended and aggressive, unless I spend a lot of time with her, which I really do not want to do.  She is much safer than your ex, but still has threatened my life, and I believe she could kill me under stressful circumstances.  So though I would love it if she and I could be at peace, that is not an option.  Sometimes it is just not an option.  Distance is the only peaceful and safe option.  But that does not mean that there is not someone who can connect with and help someone; it is far less likely if someone is dangerous and hostile, but Ted Kazcinsky was not perceived in his community as that, and probably could have been helped if someone reached out to him. 

The point here is that because of the trauma (some huge, some small) we have received at the hands of a BPD person, we are naturally biased to paint that person somewhat black, and we naturally think that perspective is TRUE about that other person.  I think we are especially rigid if we have spent years convincing ourselves that "there is hope" when really, there is not.  But I think it is important to know that some very "bad" people can change, if they want to and they have the support to do so.  Particularly with men, the age at which most men are violent tends to be between 18 and 25; as people age, many become less physically violent even if they do not have another reason to change.  Also, sometimes substance abuse plays a huge role in lessening inhibitions.  For example, the BPD in my life is in some ways more psychologically scary when sober, as she is far better at manipulating others to think nothing is wrong when she is doing very emotionally destructive things; at the same time, she rarely has physical outbursts when she is not drinking, and she does go through periods of sobriety.  The point of all of this is that it seems to me to be a very and healthy reaction to being harmed to get away and stay away; but that does not mean that the dangerous person is bad or evil or without hope.  It just means that you are not the steward of that hope, and cannot be. 

But as someone who has worked with a few "hopeless" populations, I think it is really important that there are people out there willing to take that on.  And a little tiny bit better for that person can mean the difference between life and death.  But this board is to help people who are in some sort of intimate relationship with that dangerous person, and each person is different as you say.  And that makes us biased, because no matter how much we love those people, this is about caring for yourself and not about treatment for the BPD person (though there is info here about that).  Whether a person who is intensely abusive and harmful matters is not the subject of this board.  And that is how this board is biased:  it is fundamentally not focused on the well being of the BPD person, but of those around him or her.  And for someone who has been horrifically abused by a BPD person, even me saying that the BPD person in their life may be acceptable is threatening and inappropriate; but for that BPD person, it is a critical first step to helping that person. 

Where this is so confusing is that in relationships, we desire to help our partner, as does the author of this post.  My perspective is that placing yourself in that role is really confusing, because you are by nature attached to the outcome of your help.  You want something that may be different than the what the BPD person wants.  My personal opinion is that it is never helpful for the helper to have more of an attachment to the outcome than the helped, and less attachment works better... .  but at the same time, that in a relationship sometimes our goals for others align with their goals for themselves, and then it is possible to help, so long as you stay clear about where you are at.  For me, this insight does not come from being in relationship with a BPD person, and it may be wrong.  It comes from other love relationships and from a step-parent relationship... .  from noticing that when my husband wants me to work on something that is also important to me, it helps that he cares, too.  And that with my SDs, really the ONLY authority I have is that our goals align.  My yelling teenage SD was in a mutinous mood this morning, and the only way I could help her focus on getting ready for school was to appeal to our shared values in peace and respect, and to insist that she act on them.  She did. 

I think that it is important for the author of this post to evaluate how much like Exonerated his situation is.  On the one hand, Exonerated has a much more dangerous ex.  On the other, the author of this post is focusing on "what might be," when this may be a kind of hopefulness that puts him in harms way.  A hugely important difference is that the author is tempted to stay and work with his partner because there are parts of it that feel good, and there does not appear to be the level of abuse that is extremely dangerous.  I think evaluating "what are the costs of staying; what am I likely to lose," is important in deciding whether to act out of that hopeful feeling.  I know that the cost of "trying" to work things out with the BPD person in my life was some of my ability to hold her in a positive light; some of my ability to be unafraid in my own life; and some of my ability to remain neutral, and thus be totally trusted by the kids on the topic of their mom.  I am not sure if I regret those losses, but I am working hard to heal them.
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« Reply #56 on: March 06, 2013, 11:52:45 AM »

Ennie - Need to say thank you for the great perspective your last two replies here have given me... I am living with my BPDDD age 26, her little girl, gd7 and my dh age62. Things have gotten so much better for us with the support of this forum - especially the 'supporting our kids with BPD" board. I have learned a lot about BPD, I have gotten support in taking care of my own needs, I have learned how to be a more validating influence in the lives of everyone around me, I have learned how to find what my values are (loving kindness and respect in my home tops the list) and design boundaries around those values, I am practicing radically accepting that DD is who she is (as are gd7 and dh too) and learning to let go of my expectations that she will be able to change.

And then I am experiencing that she is changing - she is trying - she is becoming more reflective about her impact on those around her.

My experience here is that the boards for families choosing to stay together, espcially from a parents unique perspective, is much different than the boards for adults in adult relationships of choice. It is easier to walk away from chosen r/s. Being a parent is tougher. Part of it is the emotional and psychological connections - there is also a very very strong biological connection. The more I investigate the current interpersoanl neuroscience publications, the more I can see how being a parent of a child with BPD diverges from being a partner or friend with a pwBPD.

I am beginning to understand that I live in a community, not in isolation. (Though I have been in my "living in a cabin in the woods alone" fantasy the past few days). So what I am able to be each day does impact everyone else my life touches each day. And I find myself exhausted and worn down, as you shared in your story. I am struggling to accept that I cannot maintain the level of involvement in my DD's life and have enough energy left over to be the primary 'safe person' in gd7's life. Whenever DD is needing me more, I see the impacts on gd7 getting less of me - more anxiety, more acting out behaviors, decline in school performance, more difficulty managing her young r/s with friends, etc.

Even with lots of support - community and professional for gd and myself - I am moving to a place of having to adapt my interactions for my fatigue. Yoru story gives me hope that I will be able to find this path, and still be connected in appropriate ways with each person in my life.

qcr

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« Reply #57 on: March 06, 2013, 06:01:57 PM »

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.

This is a very valid point and I agree wholeheartedly. The board is PEER SUPPORT. That means people going through the same thing helping each other. Of course it is not objective but then neither are people who have never gone through this and believe it doesn't exist or is a product of Hollywood imagination.  Sharing experiences and reading others' experience gave me the  Idea moment when I needed it and many since then. Don't underestimate the absolutely HUGE contribution made by a board that just lets people know "you are not alone, it's not your imagination". That was the start of my healing. The many stories here have given me insight into what I was dealing with, strategies for dealing with it and also an insight into what my children needed as daughters of a BPD father and granddaughters of a uBPD grandmother. It helped us all avoid the same kind of behaviour from her that she dished out to me from the first month of my marriage. It helped me teach my D's boundaries and it helped me develop some because I had very few for dealing with bad relationships. It wasn't only the board but it was the catalyst for me to accept training through work in ":)ealing with difficult people" when I never would have considered going to something like that without the board. I didn't know I was dealing with difficult people because they were continually telling me the problem was mine.

The main purpose of the board has always been peer support and it has worked beautifully for most of us. Some of course need other help, or it's too confronting and maybe coming at the wrong time. Those who seek the board out are probably ready for the challenge. Many read for years before posting - I took a long time too.

But a caution - peer support and how it worked for me is not psychiatric help or legal help and should not be portrayed as such. It is self help. Finally all of us need to make our own decisions and are responsible for the consequences of our own decisions. The beauty of peer support is that it allows us to avoid other people's mistakes. That in itself is a beautiful thing.
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« Reply #58 on: March 06, 2013, 09:31:37 PM »

Peer support is great and needed. I have a T, and he has experience with pwBPD... .  even has been put through the mill having dated one.

Is the forum objective... all in all yes. Enough people are on here with real experience that the truth comes out if you are alert for it... explanations that make sense, advice that reverberates with truth... concordance with reality.

I read an excellent book on NPD... "What makes a Narcissist Tick"... and it is excellent as it is not academic at all, it is real, told from a close observers perspective... .  the same perspective that most the people on this board have. I wish that a book like the NPD one I mentioned was available for each of the major/minor PD and psychological disorders, and was widely available. (Almost want to say was mandatory reading... .  but not sure about that.)

I thought enough of the forum to support it... good idea for those of you that have been helped as well.
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« Reply #59 on: March 07, 2013, 01:03:25 AM »

 Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

An excellent post.

Yes. This is an extremely biased forum and most sources of the internet are. We are focusing on the negative, and this gives an unbalanced view.

Can you imagine if someone followed us around with a camera and then edited out all the good parts, focused on mostly the bad and posted it on you-tube?

Well in some cases I'd look like a right nut-job with BPD myself.

Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)

It is funny to imagine. They film me that one day I called in sick for work? Eat cereal, watch childrens' cartoons with a big blanket around me .------MY GOD what an irresponsible person!

What about the time I flipped off someone in the street---my god---raging!

What about the one time I got tipsy at christmas?---my god---substance abuse!

The time I got all sad and cried and nagged my bf---wow! What a waif!

The time my friend stood me up and I was so sick of it I sent maybe 10 raging text messages----my god that is BPD!

I bet if they show some of my angry text messages and emails I'd look like a proper BPD! Or even a stalker!

Or when I fall in love and want to ring that guy every day? MY GOD BPD!

Everyone does ridiculous, shameful, silly, raging, and stupid things. If you list it all in a forum we'd look pretty bad. I know I certainly would.

So we have to keep that in mind that there's more than one side to a person, and this is certainly a biased place where we tell our biased stories & vent/support each other.

You could see someone "raging" but who knows... .  maybe the other person cheated on them, or did something to push them over the line?

Everyone is a little bit BPD... .  
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« Reply #60 on: March 07, 2013, 01:36:19 AM »

I don't entirely agree, Themis.

Objective testing like the MMPI-2 shows that people with BPD think very differently.

And the one person I know very well who has been diagnosed with BPD has behavior patterns that are not like anyone else I know.

Nobody else I know - except maybe small kids - reacts to any problem by blaming someone else - usually within seconds.  If the car has a problem, you can be sure that she will immediately say, "You should have taken it to be checked out!  Now we'll have a huge repair bill!".

Nobody else I know deals with fatigue by complaining constantly til she goes to sleep.

Nobody else I know would make a false criminal accusation - it's just very extreme behavior that most people would never even think of doing.

These very unusual behavior patterns are hard to deal with, and worth discussing here, to understand our choices and figure out the best path forward.  So of course we don't spend much time talking about what they do that is fine - that's not what we need help with.  We focus on the behaviors that cause us problems, and what we can do to cope with them, or avoid them.

BPD and other personality disorders are psychological disorders recognized by the medical community, based on a lot of research.  It's not a matter of someone having a bad day, or staying at home watching TV once in awhile.
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« Reply #61 on: March 07, 2013, 01:41:39 AM »

The T.V. thing was meant to give people a laugh. I used quite a bit of silly examples to make my point with humour... .  

Obviously I'm not that funny! My BPD keeps telling me that. But I won't give up. :-)

The fatigue raised my eyebrows a bit though. It's the sign that the body truly is worn, stressed and sign of sickness. I'd take that one seriously.

She might be complaining as a way to get help.


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« Reply #62 on: March 07, 2013, 01:55:39 AM »

The fatigue raised my eyebrows a bit though. It's the sign that the body truly is worn, stressed and sign of sickness. I'd take that one seriously.

She might be complaining as a way to get help.

Yeah, you're probably right.  We're divorced now, and the kids are with me most of the time, so I think her life is probably much less stressful.  She works very regular hours in a not-very-stressful job, and can come home - I imagine - and rest.

My point was, she exhibited a number of very unusual and consistent behaviors, not like what most of us do - not just grumpy once in a while, but literally saying nothing except complaints for hours at a time.  (Of course nobody would be around her much when she was like that.)  Most of us would recognize that we were feeling very bad, and we'd get control over our behavior - "I'm sorry but I'm really tired and in a bad mood.  I'm just going to go read for awhile and then go to sleep." - so we wouldn't abuse anyone else.  To regularly abuse other family members - usually verbal but once in a while physical - is a clear sign of a serious psychological problem, in my not-professional understanding.

We should keep our perspective, and recognize that nobody is all bad, and that nobody asks to have BPD.  My ex had a very bad childhood and it's easy to see how that probably led to BPD;  but at the same time, none of us here deserve to be abused, and those behaviors are really hurtful, so we are wise to gather here, to learn from each other, along with counseling for ourselves and other ways to move forward... .  
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« Reply #63 on: March 07, 2013, 02:05:26 AM »

  Well said.
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« Reply #64 on: March 08, 2013, 10:41:47 AM »

Even with lots of support - community and professional for gd and myself - I am moving to a place of having to adapt my interactions for my fatigue. Yoru story gives me hope that I will be able to find this path, and still be connected in appropriate ways with each person in my life.

qcr

Thanks so much for your support and YOUR story.  Though my role is much more disconnected from the BPD person in my life, I think actually our roles are most parallel in some ways.  The most challenging and painful aspects of my experience are dealing with my SDs and the ways they are mimicking and/or being harmed by their BPD mom, so it is indirect.  If I remember your story, you care for your granddaughter and have a BPD daughter?  Is that you?  So we both share the painful reality of dealing with the impacts on the little ones, but another parallel is dealing with my SDs when they are in a totally enmeshed place with her mom.  Each of them has chosen BPD behaviors of their mom's to emulate--SD12, who really is growing out of her most enmeshed phase (having asked recently to see a counselor who her mom does not know), chooses mom's irrational blame and "poor me" victimized fantasy... .  SD8 chooses her mom's "no one loves me, I might as well just die!  I will kill myself! Don't touch me!" line of operation, which is very intense coming from someone who is 8 years old, but does not feel as deeply committed as SD12 is to her lines... .  neither girl feels really troubled, just in pain.  SD8 seems mostly in pain because mom makes her choose between parents, and she really loves us all and so if she chooses mom, she feels horrible, but if she does not, she feels horribly guilty.  SD12 is in pain (though MUCH less lately) because while it does not bother her to choose mom when need be, she has also had to cut off parts of who she is to survive with her mom, and now she is at an age where she is needing those parts!  Where she is seeing she wants to be different, and is working on it. 

With both girls, the most painful aspect is seeing them harm themselves (emotionally) to make life work for their mom. 

At any rate, I also share the need for connectedness and not isolation.  I think I am different than some SMs in that I do not find that disengaging from the girls really helps at all or works as a strategy in our family or for my relationship with them (though detachment is helpful at times), and while I have the choice to leave my husband, I do not want to and in addition to being committed to him, I am also in a relationship with the girls where my loss would be very painful for them.  So I am here for the long haul, not because I am willing to be intimate with someone with BPD by choice, but because the BPD person and the fleas of my SDs that bring BPD into my home life are part of my chosen responsibility, part of a long term commitment I have.   For me, that means my goal is not so much to learn how to effectively communicate with a BPD person, but how to create a strong, good family and nurture my own soul and have enough energy not to fall apart during the inevitable drama and crisis.  All of the ideas and work the folks on this board do to help with that really helps me. 

As for this thread, I think the idea of the distinction between hope and faith is helpful.  Hope is what keeps you looking for new options, working harder, moving forward. Hope is tied to an outcome.  Faith is what allows us to rest in not knowing, in trusting that if we listen closely, the way will be clear, and the hard parts and even tragic outcomes are part of the gift.  Faith is more part of the approach taken by radical acceptance.  Dealing with BPD, I think hope is a less powerful guide than faith, but both are important.  For me, I had to adjust my hope to be focused on MY outcomes, rather than others'.  First to go was my hope that BPD mom of my SDs would be any better; then hope that the kids would be okay; then the hope that my DH would find a way of dealing with BPD mom that kept her away from our little cocoon.  And redirected toward hope that I could find a more peaceful place in me, hope that I could love all these people even if they did not meet my expectations, and hope that everything would be just right how it is.  Hope also that I could find a way to do basic things that are fun for me! 

And in that process, faith was very important. 

A final ingredient that is critical for me is curiosity.  Beyond what we wish for the person of BPD and those around him or her, are we curious?  I find that my curiosity with the kids and BPD mom is really helpful.  I wonder what SD12 WILL be like when she grows up?  What wounds will she bear from her mom, from me, from her dad?  And how will she address them?  Will she be happy?  What will she be LIKE?  Will we be friends, or will she get as far away from me as possible?  Will she love or hate her mom?  And what about SD8?  Will she be a highly dramatic teen?  Will she be okay?  Will she feel good about herself, and find a peaceful place?  How will her feeling that her mom does not completely love her manifest in her adult life?  Will she be able to lean on DH and I for support, or not?  What will her relationship with her mom be like?  And what about BPD mom?  Will she be a homeless person on the street, as the person who diagnosed her suggested?  Will she find a person who can love her and stay with her as is?  Will she die in some tragic way?  Will she seek help?  How will it be for her when she is older and no longer beautiful and seductive?  How will she support herself when her kids are grown?  Where will she live?  Will she find some peace and happiness?  How can a person live a whole life with so little joy?  Will she abandon hope when she does not have the purpose of raising children? 

What is next? 

When I ask the curiosity as questions, it is less powerful than just the feeling of interest in these remarkable people.  I feel this with my husband, too.  Who will he be next?  I am more curious about his basic nature and story and how it will unfold than I am about if we will be together, if he will help me get what I want.  It is sustaining, this curiosity.  I would like to ask the author of this thread if he is curious about his mate?  I think focusing on hope for another person can be oppressive, whereas curiosity is quite liberating.
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« Reply #65 on: March 08, 2013, 03:48:14 PM »

Yep - that is me and my story. There are parallels with so many others stories that involve kids. I really appreciate the differences and inter-relatedness you shared between hope and faith and using curiosity to help us find our way in all the relationships. It does really work to nurture ourselves first and then we can be present for others. And it all happens willy-nilly, criss-crossed along the way.

qcr
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The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better. (Dom Helder)
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