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Author Topic: Is This Forum Objective?  (Read 18788 times)
Matt
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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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Matt
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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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Exonerated
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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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