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Family Court Strategies: When Your Partner Has BPD OR NPD Traits. Practicing lawyer, Senior Family Mediator, and former Licensed Clinical Social Worker with twelve years’ experience and an expert on navigating the Family Court process.
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Author Topic: Mirroring - the ultimate lie  (Read 3911 times)
gecko2012
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« on: October 29, 2010, 08:04:09 AM »

I must admit I am having a real hard time with the concept of "mirroring"

I understand the concept and it fits my situation so perfectly it just seems to simple.

I have had to accept that to an unknown extent the entire r/s was a lie and I am adequately moving forward with that.

BUT the concept that someone could sub-conciously become PERFECTION by simply "mirroring" my wants/desires/dreams really makes me feel stupid.

I read that "Understanding the Borderline Mother" explains mirroring very well - -I honestly don't want to read this book bc I don't want to diagnose WHY she has uBPD as I have no idea about her family bc of her lies.

Any thoughts on learning about "mirroring" and how to accept it are appreciated.
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2010, 08:28:46 AM »

I'm not so sure I have thoughts directly related to what you're asking, but I can sympathize with how you're seeing it.

I too was utterly shocked at how well she adapted and gave me what I needed so quickly.  Us vulnerable nons are such easy prey. it's shocking that I at least could be so manipulated into falling in love with my uBPDw so easily.  I never really understood the enormity of it all until I began meeting new people this past summer and re-entering the dating scene.

When one person is your world for such an intense and encompassing period - with the isolation - developing connections with others is a real eye-opener in what a healthy relationship is.  I'm seeing someone now that doesn't mirror me in the slightest, and it's wonderful.

The only downside, is by keeping wary of red flags, and in trying to build an enduring and strong foundation of a relationship, it makes you miss the intensity of the falling in love emotions with the BPD.  But it's a trade-off for happiness in the long run.

It's funny... .I remember reading text messages between my ex and her AP, and at the time, it was devastating to see all the same things she and I said to each other in print between the two of them.

Now, I see the guy as a poor sap, because the entire conversation was like seeing two mirrors facing each other and repeating themselves.  What happened to me is going to happen to them.  And every other guy she attaches her parasitic soul to down the line.
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angry hurt
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« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2010, 08:35:36 AM »

I was with an uBPD gf and she did the mirroring well. I know she is doing really well at mirroring her latest victim. She was seen in a local pub with him all day drinking the same drink. Pints of snake bite and blackcurrent. She never in 8 month drank that infront of me. They do the things you like to do. They eat the same food. They like the same team. They laugh at your jokes. They mirror you to get in your head. To use you to have you where they want you. THEN BANG !
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« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2010, 08:38:50 AM »

Oh, I forgot to add, with mine, she's re-engaging me talking about going to a counseling session of mine now. So much for being anti-therapy! LOL!
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« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2010, 08:41:17 AM »

I was mirrored very well too, but I gather mirroring is a difficult task for them and at some point its frustrating. That's when the BANG comes.
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« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2010, 10:29:12 AM »

How to accept “mirroring”? How to accept the BPD behavior? It’s impossible, impossible to understand, impossible to accept.

About mirroring, yes it happened to me. My ex seemed to love all the things I loved, and I loved this! Now I know it was a fake, he lied to me.

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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2010, 10:38:59 AM »

I think the technique magnifies feelings. That's the high you get. Then when you're finally away from them, all is quiet and you feel sad that you're not getting a hit.

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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2010, 11:03:33 AM »

What's funny is that they will never see this as a lie.  

It's like the story of the scorpion riding across a lake on the back of the frog.  Scorpion stings the frog, dooming them both.  When asked why the scorpion says

"I'm a scorpion. It's my nature"

Here's a rather odd example from my own life.

My mom is ub/NPD

My boyfriend is an uBPD

Not long ago I was trying to explain to my bf why my relationship with my mom was so complicated and difficult, and told him about the time that when I was attending junior college, working full time busting my butt, mom enrolled in the same program except that it was paid for by her job.

i.e. she decided that what I was doing looked like so much fun SHE wanted to do it too and we could "bond" over it.   It felt like the scene in the movie "Single White Female" where the creepy roommate got the same haircut as her target (roommate).  Mom had to tell me about the great grades she was getting, the projects she was doing etc. and wanted to work on stuff "together".  It was just really creepy coming from her.

Boyfriend said "well that sounds like she loved you very much.  At least she cares about you.  My mom never cared about me"

In what "normal" universe is that type of thing a sign of love?   ?

When mirroring is in a happy shiny place, it feels like "wow I really found the person of my dreams!".  

When it's gone on for a while it feels like your soul is being swallowed by some sort of dark force and that what makes you a unique person is being twisted into a costume worn by the bp.   It felt that way to me when my mom would mirror me.
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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2010, 10:17:19 PM »

Excerpt
BUT the concept that someone could sub-conciously become PERFECTION by simply "mirroring" my wants/desires/dreams really makes me feel stupid.

When you’re feeling down- try to remember that none of this was on the surface. You didn’t miss it because you were stupid. What you saw and what you were initially drawn to was charm. That charm was to get your trust. They draw people in quite easily with charm, but cannot maintain trust. Therefore, they have a series of revolving door relationships and become chameleon-like, changing colors to suit each person. They do this by mirroring.

In the eyes of the personality disordered, mirroring can take on schematic proportions that feed into reward. The reward is in your eyes and it becomes a valuation of self-worth to them.  The minute that light goes out of your eyes, for even the tiniest infraction, say, being too busy and not returning a phone call a.s.a.p.- the Borderline panics. They dont have the ability to self-soothe and switch their thinking on a dime.  They cling if you are rewarding and then perceptively disappear on you only to have you find them clinging to someone else.  That someone else now is their idea of a more rewarding opportunity. (And, that other person may be rewarding based on their perceived weakness to a Borderline, such as a married man or woman who really finds the Borderline valuable.  The object of reward goes both ways in this affair fantasy while the previous partners of both are split black.) Everything to a Borderline is fantasy based and that involves mirroring the good object for reward and withdrawing from the bad object.

Mirroring is the reason that most people cannot move beyond the Borderline break-up. Mirroring is the reason you’re here *devastated*- and not just getting over it like every other relationship you’ve had in the past. (So a little bit about what mirroring is to a Borderline and what it isn’t is very important to analyze.)

For the most part, mirroring is used back and forth in everyone’s healthy meet and greet evaluations of others.  Mirroring altruistically activates the golden rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Mirroring is used to gain trust and show others that you can be trusted as well.  Within the area of self-psychology, being mirrored refers "to all the transactions characterizing the mother-child relationship, including not only the reflections of grandiosity, but also constancy, nurturance, a general empathy and respect." (Kohut, 1977, pp. 146-147)

“The parents' mirroring responses influence the development and maintenance of self-esteem and self-assertive ambitions. Their response will mirror back to the child a sense of worth, which in turn creates an internal self-respect.”  That internal self respect is supposed to allow for expression and separation/individuation, but in Borderline, it gets held hostage by cruel parents.

We all grew up with mirroring in our development. It is how Mother communicated her emotions to our primitive under developed brains before we even learned speech.  The Borderline’s Mother might have been Borderline herself and mirrored the child in a rewarding way but also scapegoated it as well.

And BPD is all about communicating with emotions- that’s why they are kept so close to the surface for expression and a Borderline and can erupt from time to time. The eruption is the withdrawing, super-critical Mother that a Borderline grew up with. For now though, as an adult, the anxiety is relieved by finding a rewarding maternal mirror that is all good.

These solution theories they have of replacing you with others never works, never is successful- and it keeps them further and further away from *becoming* themselves; which is really about having autonomy and self actualization. You cannot point this out to them without appearing like a persecutor.

The victim, then, is the Borderline in their mind. All others are persecutors or rescuers, black or white, bad or good, rewarding or withdrawing. But maybe, just maybe, they can fix this (the repetition compulsion) Maybe one person isn’t critical- and this is the chance they take with every losing, acting-out, boundary-less, impulsive interaction, because in their brain, a hidden tape is playing that defines the outcome of intimacy = and that is persecution.  The only way to escape that is to keep moving and keep searching for rewarding targets that they mirror.

Unfortunately they don’t realize that the consequences of these acting out behaviors (looking outside of themselves) diminish the reality of being loved for their real selves. (The real self remains hidden for fear of being judged as worthless.) That libidinal energy that they expended to mirror their parent and please and provide them with a rewarding child has now become a grown up false identity. One who mirrors (this provides them with instant feedback on valuation.)

They mirror to see their value in your eyes. They mirror in order to provide *you* with a positive affect so that *they* are valued- And they choose high ranking hosts that they perceive to be high ranking identities (like a parent) to work out a sadistic cocktail of fantasy thinking that just once, this one time- they will be their own identity.

They see love in your eyes, but they know it’s all about you- not them. They also see weakness in you which they fear is making you less strong to host them.  They fail to understand weakness in themselves unless they can use these weaknesses to their advantage (instigating your rescuing behaviors, which they will soon perceive as control issues and persecution.)  BTW, If you are weak, how will you rescue them?

You, on the other hand, *will not* recognize a repetition compulsion of the original childhood bond. You are being lulled into a false complacency- with mirroring behaviors that look and feel like true love.

You feel you have finally found “the one”- the one who allows you to be yourself, that accepts you for who you are-  Alas, that’s fantasy.  The reality is- you’re now in the web of a personality disordered person who mirrors. (A Borderline that knows you want to feel better about yourself- which in turn guarantees their survival and value.) By holding up a mirror to you and saying-“ if you exist- so do I,” a Borderline leads you down a primrose path of hope and puts you on a pedestal.  As they say, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Mirroring might give you the impression that they feel the same exact way as you, but mirroring comes with a paradox.   The “paradox” of mirrors is what scientists call the inverted image you see in your vanity mirror. Everything’s fine with up and down in a vanity mirror- but left and right are inverted. When you think about it- the person in the mirror that you see reflected back to you is really facing the wrong way and looking behind you. (They don’t really see what you see ahead of you- they see behind you.)

That leaves you behind, wondering, what the hell happened while I was looking ahead on this road I had paved with such good intentions?  Why do I feel such shame? Why was my character revoked? (BTW, not true) It is still there, still true- still an original identity outlined and bare- maybe battered and bruised, but still vaguely familiar.  You will recollect it and start again.

What’s left is to determine what was important about the interaction (known as an “interaction,” not a “relationship”)- what you want to keep positive about it and what you feel is tainted and cruel (saving and rescuing a person who keeps jumping back in to drown) and what you need to let go of (feeling responsible for the failure of falling off the pedestal when really, you were pushed,) who you were in retrospect with the mirroring that you liked and why you still can’t be that person reflected to you given some time. 

Everything is still there. Your identity is still there. It cannot be revoked by the withdrawal of a cruel and character disordered person. You must regroup, rebuild and re-do. Take your time. Do not rush. Be alone for awhile. Be good to yourself. Life will wait for you.

What you dig up and revisit from the past is important. You must not think that by holding hands with a Borderline you’re going to walk into the future with this information. You see, they are facing the wrong way.  They were always facing the wrong way.  Until they turn around on their own accord and stop mirroring you- they will never going to see things from their own point of view- ever.  They were always looking backwards in that mirror- and you were always looking ahead. Idea

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brenbabe
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2010, 10:46:12 PM »

Bravo 2010. right on !
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2010, 10:49:45 PM »

That's deep.  The line about the super-critical mother rings so true for my ex.  Facing the wrong way... .simple and effective point.  Thanks, 2010.
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Sharonon
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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2010, 11:52:56 PM »

Hi gecko2012 ,

It can be a very hard blow to realise we have been manipulated by those we thought were behaving genuinely.

Mirroring is actually a social skill, but it can work powerfully on the person being mirrored without them even being aware of it. If we don't get mirroring, we feel the other person is a bit odd, which it is really. See www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirroring_(psychology). Some people use mirroring very deceitfully. They add to it all sorts of strategies to make us think we are just wonderful. A good tip is to beware of someone who acts as if you are instantaeously amazingly special. Doh! They don't even know you. They are either manipulating you or they aren't thinking straight. Borderlines tend to do both.

The way to be safe, calm & effective with people is to have a reasonably good understanding of what is going on. Then we can think about things that might be relevant, using the higher functions of our mind, rather than just being sucked in naively. I used to be much more naive once & I am still too trusting.

That book, The Borderline Mother -www.amazon.com/Understanding-Borderline-Mother-Unpredictable-Relationship/dp/0765703319/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1288413331&sr=1-1 - is a good source of useful information about borderline mothers & their effects on their children. We need to get this information from somewhere & this is a good source. I also didn't read it though I knew about it but eventually I bought it from overeas (had to here) & was really glad I did though it cost a lot. I found it to be really informative & it helped me feel better about myself. It helped me to make better relationships & I appreciated that as it can be very confusing trying to work that out. Many people think it is a very good book & it is written by a professional who knows.
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lifeisgoodx10
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« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2010, 12:32:15 AM »

Excerpt
It's funny... .I remember reading text messages between my ex and her AP, and at the time, it was devastating to see all the same things she and I said to each other in print between the two of them.

Now, I see the guy as a poor sap, because the entire conversation was like seeing two mirrors facing each other and repeating themselves. What happened to me is going to happen to them. And every other guy she attaches her parasitic soul to down the line.

Yes I remember the day I found old e-mails to women "before" me. He said the same things to them intially as he did to me. I'm just one in the long line of women. This is still disheartening to me. I thought (because I wanted to believe) that I was special to him, that we were different. BS!   

Excerpt
I think the technique magnifies feelings. That's the high you get. Then when you're finally away from them, all is quiet and you feel sad that you're not getting a hit.

EXACTLY! This makes a lot of sense.

Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)



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Sharonon
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« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2010, 01:52:20 AM »

Reading lifeisgoodx10 's post just now, I remembered a very BPD woman at my place of worship. She was so pathetic & needy that I did quite a few things to help her & in so doing I spent a reasonable amount of time with her, driving her around, etc.

She was so demanding, in a very manipulative way. And she'd ring me up constantly. But she did the mirroring & made it clear how needy she was & that made me feel sorry for her & to want to assist. She was also very deceptive. Finally I saw through her & also had had enough of the growing extent of her subtle crushing little negative acts & remarks & observation of her general dishonesty. I felt as if she was like poison on my tree (me) roots. Finally I made a move to distance myself in some ways & she got very angry & cut me right out of her close contact (I found that to be glorious & made sure to avoid her in future).

I had no emotional issues about having her gone, just thankfulness. But I found I could "hear" her voice chattering in my head for some time till it finally faded away. Sort of like being demonically possessed by her but not in a big way, just annoying like a mosquito.

Maybe their intrusiveness has a way of getting to us.
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« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2010, 05:23:18 AM »

Thank you 2010!

I didn't know all these manipulative techniques. I thought it was my fault, I was stupid and fragile for some aspects. But this system seems diabolic.

I played with this disorder, and I was wrong, it is so dangerous despite our fragilities.

We all must take care.

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ex_bf_worried
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« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2010, 06:18:46 AM »

I kept blaming myself, thinking I was stupid. Now to realise there was little I could do.
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« Reply #16 on: October 30, 2010, 06:34:18 AM »

Thanks 2010 , very insightful and enlightening post.
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« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2010, 07:07:17 AM »

I often feel glued to my ex , even though I left him. I still feel that he is my soulmate, the only one I can possibly be happy with. Its almost like I need to be extricated from him, I am so enmeshed even though we have no contact and its over .  I was thinking back years ago before I even suspected anything was wrong with him, he told me he didnt get attached to anyone, I asked him if he was attached to me , he said sure with dental floss. I should have ran right there.  here I am trying to detach with great difficulty and he walks away prolly not even remembering who I am.
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« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2010, 07:10:55 AM »

I often feel glued to my ex , even though I left him. I still feel that he is my soulmate, the only one I can possibly be happy with. Its almost like I need to be extricated from him, I am so enmeshed even though we have no contact and its over .  I was thinking back years ago before I even suspected anything was wrong with him, he told me he didnt get attached to anyone, I asked him if he was attached to me , he said sure with dental floss. I should have ran right there.  here I am trying to detach with great difficulty and he walks away prolly not even remembering who I am.

Bren, I hear you. I saw an old email from five years ago. She broke up with me a month after we started dating. She told me how she does not like to attach to people. How she emotionally detaches when things get serious and she is feeling things that scare her. My red flags were there but I took her back anyway.

They mirror us to get that look in our eyes. That look that we love them, accept them, think they are good people, worthy of love, attention. They will transform into that person just to get those good feelings in them that have been absent their whole lives. It comes back to them in jolts (like with us), but later leaves them feeling worthless and empty again when not constantly fed.
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« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2010, 07:37:18 AM »

My T thinks mine was BPD NPD and ASPD too on top of an active cocaine addiction, im not sure what all that means in english, but it sounds like a mess. I often wonder if hes a prisoner inside himself. I know, why worry about him, hes off having a great time .
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« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2010, 07:52:03 AM »

6- I also have moments of thoughts similar to yours.

BUT the truth is - The person I thought I knew was a construct based upon and FOR me.

What hurts me is that I have had to reduce all our interaction to this level.

Some moments - some looks - some conversations are SO painful to do this to.

It pains me deeply in my soul for I will never know the truth - - assuming there is ANY truth at all.

But in summary - YES - I feel the same way at this point.
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« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2010, 08:18:24 AM »

Geck, I am always searching for answers, the truth. I think what we really want most, atleast I do is to know he really loved me. Then I remember how a few weeks ago I found out how sadistically he treated his ex and I think there is no way this guy can love anyone. Truth is I loved and I lost. whats that saying " Better to have loved and lost, then to have never loved at all".
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« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2010, 08:25:27 AM »

I hope it isn't impossible, I intend on seeking legal advice.
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« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2010, 09:10:25 AM »

original post= remarkable.                                              thanks.
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