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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: 9) Belief that you need to stay to help them.  (Read 2107 times)
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« on: May 13, 2011, 04:26:15 PM »

Article 9  Surviving a Break-up with Someone Suffering with Borderline Personality Disorder on the website has helped me heal, stay NC and accept BPD more than any other thing that I read (trust me, there has been a lot). This article has been a staple in my recovery process, mainly to help me depersonalize the disorder, understand my role in detaching and allowing me to fully grieve the relationship.

Accepting false belief 9 was the catalyst for me truly staying no contact and in turn feeling my grief.  If I believed BPD to be true; then I had to believe that leaving/staying away was the most responsible thing for each of us.  It was the hardest one for me to accept and in the end, the one that ultimately led me into feeling my grief.

What does this false belief say to you?

9) Belief that you need to stay to help them.  [Read original text here]

"You might want to stay to help your partner. You might want to disclose to them that they have borderline personality disorder and help them get into therapy. Maybe you want to help in other ways while still maintaining a “friendship”.

The fact is, we are no longer in a position to be the caretaker and support person for our “BPD” partner – no matter how well intentioned.

Understand that we have become the trigger for our partner’s bad feelings and bad behavior. Sure, we do not deliberately cause these feelings, but your presence is now triggering them. This is a complex defense mechanism that is often seen with borderline personality disorder when a relationship sours. It’s roots emanate from the deep core wounds associated with the disorder. We can’t begin to answer to this.

We also need to question your own motives and your expectations for wanting to help. Is this kindness or a type “well intentioned” manipulation on your part - an attempt to change them to better serve the relationship as opposed to addressing the lifelong wounds from which they suffer?

More importantly, what does this suggest about our own survival instincts – we’re injured, in ways we may not even fully grasp, and it’s important to attend to our own wounds before we are attempt to help anyone else.

You are damaged. Right now, your primary responsibility really needs to be to yourself – your own emotional survival.

If your partner tries to lean on you, it’s a greater kindness that you step away. Difficult, no doubt, but more responsible."

The article is right in my case. I have thought I might want to stay to help my partner.

More information

Surviving a Break-up with Someone Suffering with Borderline Personality Disorder

1) Belief that this person holds the key to your happiness

2) Belief that your BPD partner feels the same way that you feel

3) Belief that the relationship problems are caused by you or some circumstance

4) Belief that love can prevail

5) Belief that things will return to "the way they used to be"

6) Clinging to the words that were said

7) Belief that if you say it louder you will be heard

8) Belief that absence makes the heart grow fonder

9) Belief that you need to stay to help them.

10) Belief that they have seen the light


Faith does not grow in the house of certainty - The Shack

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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2011, 07:25:19 AM »

I need to read and reread no. 9 daily.  "I am not qualified to help" needs to become my mantra.  But I constantly battle the feeling that in my heart I truly want to help.  I want to heal his wounds and I want him to know peace.  Not because I want him back... .I am in a healthy relationship now and know a healthy love.  But I want to help because I truly did love him and I still want the best for him.  That love will never die.  I guess NC is the only way to let him heal as well as myself.  I don't wish to trigger his sadness and anger any more.
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2012, 06:03:25 AM »

I just finished reading this article and I realize that, while I held virtually all the other beliefs for awhile I've since gotten over all of them. Except this one.

I still feel compelled to be her "friend" and "help" her out of her suffering. I'm having trouble moving past this way of thinking. Part of it is a desire to be kind, but I'm sure it's deeper than that and I'm still exploring that.

Where does this come from and how does one move past it?
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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2012, 11:50:17 AM »

I still feel compelled to be her "friend" and "help" her out of her suffering. I'm having trouble moving past this way of thinking. Part of it is a desire to be kind, but I'm sure it's deeper than that and I'm still exploring that.

Where does this come from and how does one move past it?

Would you be willing and open to look at this possibility?

Are we co-dependent?


“Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you'll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others.” ~Jacob M. Braude

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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2012, 12:24:51 AM »

Out of all the others, number nine I believe is at the root of my difficulty in detaching from s/o with BPD. I realise that this is due to my codependency issues stemming from being the rescuer in my early childhood. This is what I believe was part of the magnet that drew me into the relationship to begin with. Helping and rescuing others is how I grew up. I entered this relationship with a strong need to help knowing full well that S/O had problems. However at the time I did not know of BPD and could not fully grasp what I was getting into. Had I known  then what I know now, there might have been a chance that I might have backed off ( but then again probably not).  ?


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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2012, 08:26:50 AM »

Over the past two months I have explored many different ways I could stay but in the end... .I need to let go... .they have abandoned the relationship anyway... .

A comforting word a friend said to me... .at least exploring the options showed to yourself your commitment to the relationship... .but thats not what could keep us together
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2012, 01:20:03 PM »

I certainly did this... .a bunch of my communication with her was me trying to convince her that she has BPD and that she needs to be evaluated for it. She has at least 8 of the criteria so I am as certain as I can be.

After realizing that the reason we were done was because I had been devalued and in her mind I didn't matter at all anymore how was I going to get her to listen to me? Do any of us listen to advice from a person we don't care about? My advice probably sounded to her like nails on a chalkboard. Point is there is no way we can be the ones to help.

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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2012, 07:40:12 PM »

What struck me most was the statement that I am broke and need to be fixed.  I cannot fix someone else or help them until I am fixed myself.  I can no longer stay in this relationship.  I am only enabling her and keeping myself from healing and finding the happiness I deserve...  
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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2013, 03:07:12 AM »

Thank you for giving this more visibility Surnia.

I read all the beliefs and I think this is the one I struggled the most with and tried to work the hardest on. I've been in therapy a month and a half. I've read anything I can get my hands on about co dependency, BPD and verbally abusive relationship.

My world fell apart when he tried to commit suicide and I finally realised how bad things were, how dysfunctional the relationship was and how disordered he was. I knew then that there was absolutely nothing I could to do to help him.

I started working on my self, I was setting boundaries. I was actively supporting but not rescuing. The biggest area was with his work. I thought I had really come so far.I realised I too had completely lost my sense of self and the relationship was detrimental to my emotional well being.

I decided to leave. I planned and then 3 days ago . I told him I was leaving.

He cried he begged he promised to go to therapy he promised he would change. He was relentless. I caved... .  Not because I believed him. No part of me believed any of it. But seeing him like that begging me to stay broke my heart. I found myself worrying if he would overdose again,worrying if he would be ok.

In my head I know me staying would be the worst thing for both of us. Reading the belief again today I wonder what inner part of me still believes I am somehow helping him by being here?  Surely thats it right? i know im not helping myself .I am struggling with feelings of driving off in the middle of the night. Somehow I can't.

Could it be after all this time and everything I know that my little co dependent mind has convinced my subconscious that I need to stay here?
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« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2013, 02:56:01 PM »

This one got me into the most trouble.

Looking back at my FOO, it's easy now to see where I got it from.  I grew up believing that you should never be mean to others ("mean" included standing up for yourself or calling other people out), and if someone came into your life, you were required to take care of them.  It was your duty, because that's what people SHOULD do. 

My mom lets the world happen to her and does nothing about it, and makes herself into a martyr.  I grew up thinking this was the way you were supposed to be.

I was the even tempered, unemotional, and comparatively rational one in my family.  The people around me, at school, on TV, were not.  So I internalized the belief that I was the stronger and more rational one, so it was my duty to take whatever was dished out at me by the more emotional, or more messed up, because they Couldn't Help It and that's the Good Thing To Do.

Look at pop culture: how many cartoons, movies and sitcoms have the same plot where a character acts badly, but is redeemed because the SO or family member Really Loves Them and they are forgiven?

So in adulthood I repeated this when I got enmeshed with a bipolar/BPD? man.  It wasn't just his many suicide threats and attempts that kept me there.  I literally thought that I was stuck with him forever because he was sick and I cared about him.  I was "more fortunate" so I "owed" him. 

I jumped into another unhealthy relationship to get away from him.   This one wasn't emotionally abusive but I supported him financially.  I even wrote his resume and got him jobs-at least four-all of which he turned down or got fired from after a week. 

In both those situations I played the martyr.  Poor me!  Nothing I could do!    

The funny thing was, I was involved with another guy during the first (very, very ill-defined) relationship.  He had issues but was not flaming dysfunctional, and at the time I really liked him and wanted to pursue a relationship.  But I cut him loose because I thought I would never be able to leave the bipolar/BPD man.   I didn't want to "break up" with Nice Guy, but it was easy for me, because I knew that he wouldn't be homeless or kill himself.  I had no "responsibility". 

A lot of reading about codep and self-examination has made me much more cognizant and critical of these deep-seated beliefs.

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« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2013, 01:13:57 PM »

Friends, Don't we all want to be a knight in shining armor?  Plus, it's hard to leave a BPD relationship, so we come up with any number of justifications for why we stay, including this one.  I would suggest that anyone involved with a pwBPD is bound to slip into the caretaker role, which is unhealthy yet feels noble (it isn't).  Thanks to all, LuckyJim

    A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2014, 01:59:16 PM »

this myth is indeed a dangerous one, and is the one that I used many times as the last excuse to stay, i made myself believe that i was the only one i could stay and endure their behaviours so she could change. I was giving an excuse to get recycled one more time.  but that thought indeed is wrong, do i really think i am good enough to help her? and that i was the only one i could? that can be an arrogant thought, trying to assume they cant solve the problems and i can... that is just keep playing the game without being aware of the consequences and the dynamics.

I believed i could help her, but in reality, i am not equipped to do so!... . not even a therapist is equipped!, the only person that can help her is herself, noone else.

In fact, i have read that, even if we want to help her... . we are no longer able to do so as we have become the trigger for them, somehow as a consequence of the attitudes we showed to them, we were care takers & victims, both at the same time... so they believe we must take care of them no matter what... . so when we dont say the right thing, or look at them in the right way or even do something less noticeable for us and without any bad intention, they think we "failed" to take care of them (in their perception) she though i failed her again. so she hates me even more... and rages more...

the truth is: i am not arrogant anymore to believe i can be the only one to help her... . i cant... i never could, and i never will. for her to get better,  she needs to start by allowing herself to feel emotions, to develop empathy, and make herself accountable for herself and for what she does... that is hard work... .

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