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Before you can make things better, you have to stop making them worse... Have you considered that being critical, judgmental, or invalidating toward the other parent, no matter what she or he just did will only make matters worse? Someone has to be do something. This means finding the motivation to stop making things worse, learning how to interrupt your own negative responses, body language, facial expressions, voice tone, and learning how to inhibit your urges to do things that you later realize are contributing to the tensions.
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Author Topic: What facet of BPD has been the hardest to understand?  (Read 14023 times)
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« on: September 07, 2011, 10:01:01 AM »

I remember when I first came here; I was almost obsessed with learning everything that I could about the disorder itself.  For me, it helped to depersonalize what was being done - let's face it; there is nothing easy once the wheels fall off the BPD bus.

The 10 false beliefs helped me a lot - https://bpdfamily.com/bpdresources/nk_a109.htm - as a matter of fact, I printed it and read it daily.

One of the concepts that really stumped me was object constancy - I honestly had a hard time understanding how someone could literally, "forget" the words, the emotions,  etc when I was not around.   Since I travel quite a bit with my job, this disorder fact was central to triggering the bad BPD behaviors.  To grasp this & depersonalize, I had to think of ex as literally an emotional 2 year old - I don't my 2 year old neighbor to remember he "loved me" last week when playing, but won't come to give me a hug this week.  I realize he is just being a 2 year old.

I finally got to the point where I just accepted it as fact - which helped me free some of the pain around the breakup.  I think acceptance of certain facts even if I didn't totally understand them, helped give me closure.

What BPD facts - either criteria or coping method - has been hard for you to understand? 
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2011, 10:03:44 AM »

The hardest thing for me to wrap my brain around was how someone who was so loving, could be capable of such cruelty.

turtle

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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2011, 10:05:47 AM »

The hardest thing for me to wrap my brain around was how someone who was so loving, could be capable of such cruelty.

turtle

good comment - where do you think this behavior ties to the disorder itself?

perhaps, the black/white thinking - idealization one day and as soon as you are "human" it bounces to the other extreme?
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2011, 10:09:34 AM »

Think the lack of affective memory was hard for me too. It just doesn't compute, which is why I have read a ton of stuff about early object relations. I needed to get this into my head--over and over again. It is very hard for us because we have got past what essentially was a preverbal developmental stage. Given that it is preverbal (they were infants when the damage started) and we were infants when we went through the dyadic stage and then the separation individuation stage--we can't remember this! It is part of the structure of our personalities. Yes, hard to wrap the old head around.

It helped me to see them as 3 years or less in an adult body too... .with adult capacities for intellectual twisting. Also difficult for me to understand splitting--very hard to become an evil, vile person at the drop of a hat. That was so painful because I hadn't done anything to deserve it. That eroded my trust and then finally destroyed it utterly because I got painted black whenever a new love interest was on his mind. Coping by replacing me was devastating. :'(

The ten false beliefs helped: had to read them over and over and over! Being cool (click to insert in post)

Diotima
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2011, 10:14:53 AM »

The hardest thing for me to wrap my brain around was how someone who was so loving, could be capable of such cruelty.

turtle

good comment - where do you think this behavior ties to the disorder itself?

perhaps, the black/white thinking - idealization one day and as soon as you are "human" it bounces to the other extreme?

I'm not sure how it ties to the disorder. When I first discovered BPD, I poured hours of my life into trying to understand. I've given up trying to figure out the disorder - it wears me out.  And... .there are so many people who are not "just" BPD (not to minimize BPD at all.)   Eventually, I just came away trying to save myself and not worrying about him or what PD du jour he had.

In a rare moment of clarity - after crazyx ripped my shirt off in a fit of rage , I said "I just don't understand how you can be so loving one minute and so cruel the next!"  His reply:

"I want to make sure I hurt you before you hurt me." 

This was before I had any clue what I was dealing with.  I had nothing to say.  And even now... .all these years later... .I would have nothing to say.  Not sure how it ties to ANY PD, but it's messed up enough to know it's not for me.

turtle

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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2011, 10:45:25 AM »

The lack of core self. We can all doubt who we are and what we want out of life at times, but the fact that people with BPD have a void, an empty shell, where other people have an identity could be a plot element straight out of a horror movie for me. I find it extremely frightening and difficult to imagine what it must feel like.
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2011, 10:56:43 AM »

So I saw this title and wanted to reply ~ even though this board isn't usually where I hang out. Smiling (click to insert in post)

I definitely struggled/struggle with tying some of the tough behavior to the disorder.

The pwBPD in my life suffers from a low self worth but masks it with a sense of entitlement and power. She also has a complete lack of boundaries. So it's not unusual for her to act inappropriately in any given setting. (I've bolded up the two "facts" that I struggle with the most)

If I look at the facts of the disorder, the emotional immaturity, I can definitely see her as an emotionally tired two year old who thinks that she should get whatever she wants, and when she doesn't get what she wants, she can definitely throw a tantrum. She ties her worth to what people are willing to do for her.  So by outward appearances, she comes across as someone who is extremely self-centered and selfish, when in reality I believe that it's paradigm of the disorder in that I don't think she truly believes she deserves anything at all.    

So, when she goes shopping for two hundred dollars worth of makeup last week, to fill that unfillable void inside her, and tells her daughters (my stepdaughters) that she can't afford their lunches this week ~ then instructs them to tell their dad (my husband) that he needs to give them lunch money... .I can't help but feel frustrated.  It's the result  of excessive spending (the makeup), lack of boundaries (go tell your dad), and the sense of entitlement (dad should pay) that all stems from that broken part of her that can only be fixed by her... .

~DG
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« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2011, 11:07:03 AM »

So, when she goes shopping for two hundred dollars worth of makeup last week, to fill that unfillable void inside her, and tells her daughters (my stepdaughters) that she can't afford their lunches this week ~ then instructs them to tell their dad (my husband) that he needs to give them lunch money... .I can't help but feel frustrated.  It's the result  of excessive spending (the makeup), lack of boundaries (go tell your dad), and the sense of entitlement (dad should pay) that all stems from that broken part of her that can only be fixed by her... .

~DG

I guess this is another FACT that I really struggled with.  How they don't see that their lives are in shambles and that it's their own behaviors that are so flagrant and "off" - causing constant chaos and devastation.  How they refuse to get help or even admit that they need help.  Crazyx is intelligent -- so it seems to me (peon that I am) that he should have been able to recognize that he was his own worst enemy. Soo frustrating.

turtle

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« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2011, 11:07:43 AM »

4) Belief that love can prevail

I stayed in the marriage so long since I thought we could get through it and be better for it.  Once it fell apart, I started wondering why I wasn't enough for her.  I should have done X and then she wouldn't have cheated.  If I hadn't done Y she would know that I loved her and she would have loved me back.

After we decided to split we had a series of heart to heart conversations about our relationship.  I opened up about some things that I felt we didn't have.  She looked at me with a sad face and say, "Why didn't you tell me? It would have made a difference!" My first reaction was, man I screwed up the r/s because I couldn't be open with her about my needs and what we needed for us to work.

That conversation was just over 4 months ago.  I realize now that no matter what I had done, it would not have worked because she was not interested in making it work.  And the comment she made?  It was deflect blame/responsibility off herself to me.

I still believe that "love can prevail" but it has to be coming from both sides and it never was in our r/s.
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« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2011, 11:10:21 AM »

I guess this is another FACT that I really struggled with.  How they don't see that their lives are in shambles and that it's their own behaviors that are so flagrant and "off" - causing constant chaos and devastation.  How they refuse to get help or even admit that they need help.  Crazyx is intelligent -- so it seems to me (peon that I am) that he should have been able to recognize that he was his own worst enemy. Soo frustrating.

My exBPDw would have glimpses of it.  Sometimes when she actually would admit she had an issue, we would talk about it and she would say, "I don't think I can ever get better from this."  I would assure her that she could and that she needed to keep working at it in T.   But the next day she would have forgotten about the conversation and gone back to just trying to cope with herself.
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« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2011, 11:12:43 AM »

The ability to make something wrong when everything is right.  When I was happy with him and things were going well he would suddenly think I didn't love him.  He would suddenly be mad and we would have to talk about this "problem" and resolve it or I didn't care about him.  Resolving the fact that you are distant from him and dont love him are really hard to do when it isn't true and when you try to assure him of your love and he doesn't believe you.  Sigh.  Time for fawning and crying and sadness and assuring and feeling more and more horrible all the while.  If you leave the conversation or room then he would escalate and the kids would have to hear the banging and punching holes in the walls and throwing things.  So I usually came back and lived through his torment unless I just took the kids and left the house and turned off my cell phone.  When he was in the troughs of the emotional waves and could only look at all the other troughs.  He couldn't see up to any of the good peaks in the relationship at all when he was like that.  Hmm... .don't know... .that may have been more then one thing all stuck together.  Smiling (click to insert in post)  Hard to pick out just one thing cause they all run together.
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« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2011, 11:14:08 AM »

The fact that I had no affect on her happiness.

She looked at me as somebody who ought to bring her happiness... and sure, I could buy her a nice piece of jewelry or bring her flowers or take her out on a special date and it might put her in a good mood, but it wasn't happiness. Happiness is rooted in contentment, and she was never content.
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« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2011, 11:16:57 AM »

The fact that I had no affect on her happiness.

She looked at me as somebody who ought to bring her happiness... and sure, I could buy her a nice piece of jewelry or bring her flowers or take her out on a special date and it might put her in a good mood, but it wasn't happiness. Happiness is rooted in contentment, and she was never content.

That is true... .he was unable to be content and wanted me to make him happy. I just couln't do it.
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« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2011, 11:22:02 AM »

 Great question & thread...

Blown away by the lack of object constancy and core identity... .He appeared to the outside world and for a while to me as so together, caring, nice, situational competence in many areas of his life, but in reality was extremely fragmented and damaged... So when the devaluing started, the blaming and the inevitable accusation that I was abusive, I was stunned by the "real" him... .He had developed some heavy, layered survival strategies to mask his mental illness...
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« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2011, 11:27:12 AM »

4) Belief that love can prevail

I stayed in the marriage so long since I thought we could get through it and be better for it.  Once it fell apart, I started wondering why I wasn't enough for her.  I should have done X and then she wouldn't have cheated.  If I hadn't done Y she would know that I loved her and she would have loved me back.

After we decided to split we had a series of heart to heart conversations about our relationship.  I opened up about some things that I felt we didn't have.  She looked at me with a sad face and say, "Why didn't you tell me? It would have made a difference!" My first reaction was, man I screwed up the r/s because I couldn't be open with her about my needs and what we needed for us to work.

That conversation was just over 4 months ago.  I realize now that no matter what I had done, it would not have worked because she was not interested in making it work.  And the comment she made?  It was deflect blame/responsibility off herself to me.

I still believe that "love can prevail" but it has to be coming from both sides and it never was in our r/s.

Hman, I'm with you.  Had the exact same feelings and conversations.  It's hard to get past that what they say is just words.  Hadn't even thought about it as a way to deflect blame / responsibility.  I appreciate that.  Mine would often say 'how can you say I don't take blame?  I put all blame on myself and my friends often tell me how I'm too hard on myself - How I can't get a job, how I ended up in this relationship with you... .'  All I could think was 'Um, you quit your job, have wavered on what you wanted to do for the past few months and have turned down job offers'.  At that point I realized she wasn't taking blame, she enjoys playing the victim.
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« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2011, 11:29:11 AM »

The fact that I had no affect on her happiness.

She looked at me as somebody who ought to bring her happiness... and sure, I could buy her a nice piece of jewelry or bring her flowers or take her out on a special date and it might put her in a good mood, but it wasn't happiness. Happiness is rooted in contentment, and she was never content.

This is incredibly true Walrus.  My ex once called me in to watch a scene from Ally McBeal she had seen earlier that day where Ally's ex was saying he left her because she was never content.  My ex was sad because she realized that was her, that she was only temporarily happy and was never actually content.
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« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2011, 11:49:21 AM »

Excerpt
he was unable to be content and wanted me to make him happy. I just couln't do it.

Quite a job isn't it.  My h has no ability to feel real joy or contentment.  Joy is very fleeting and can last a very short period of time.  Everything is judged - every minute of every single day is judged and processed.  So exhausting and unbelievable.  He judged my facial expressions, the weather, the dust on the stairs, the temperature, everything!  It must be hell!  But that hell turned into mine! 

The thing that used to boggle my mind was how he could be so enraged at me (practically frothing at the mouth) and answer the phone and engage in a happy "slap on the back" conversation.  I finally think I figured out it was another way to devalue me and to prop himself up.  This used to infuriate me like would not believe.  Oh Gosh, getting a stiff neck again just thinking about it.

Munchxo
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« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2011, 12:08:04 PM »

How the illness becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. How, because of their illness, they push away the ones giving them the only true thing they crave and never had themselves: love. Thats the real tragedy of BPD IMO.
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« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2011, 12:17:15 PM »

Well said, Willy.

Diotima
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« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2011, 12:33:12 PM »

How the illness becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. How, because of their illness, they push away the ones giving them the only true thing they crave and never had themselves: love. Thats the real tragedy of BPD IMO.

I agree 100%. I told him several times this is what he was doing... .instead he projected and twisted things to make it seem like I pushed HIM away. That's what seems hardest to me - the fact that they don't let the people that love and adore them do just that, love and adore them... .they reject it, they don't understand it. It's the fact that they don't let you love them that's so painful... .so all this time it was like loving a brick wall... .it was a waste of the love I'm able to give.

Also what is hard is the fact that they have little to no capacity for empathy. They can't comprehend the pain they are causing, and so do nothing to change it. My ex watched and listened to me sob as he hurled insults and accusations at me... .and wonders why I couldn't even stand to look at him after that. It just puts my brain in knots to think that they don't feel that at all because that's what humans need to relate and come to together - empathy.
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« Reply #20 on: September 07, 2011, 12:33:47 PM »

Excerpt
he was unable to be content and wanted me to make him happy. I just couln't do it.

Quite a job isn't it.  My h has no ability to feel real joy or contentment.  Joy is very fleeting and can last a very short period of time.  Everything is judged - every minute of every single day is judged and processed.  So exhausting and unbelievable.  He judged my facial expressions, the weather, the dust on the stairs, the temperature, everything!  It must be hell!  But that hell turned into mine!  

The thing that used to boggle my mind was how he could be so enraged at me (practically frothing at the mouth) and answer the phone and engage in a happy "slap on the back" conversation.  I finally think I figured out it was another way to devalue me and to prop himself up.  This used to infuriate me like would not believe.  Oh Gosh, getting a stiff neck again just thinking about it.

Munchxo

I have the same experience with my wife.  She just cannot be content with anything.  In fact, you can bet money if things are going good, she will create a drama to stop it.

I’ve also experienced my wife raging and literally foaming at the mouth, spittle flying.  The phone will ring and she will answer it all honey and sweet, joking with the person on the other end.  I’ve gotten over the anger at this once I learned of BPD, but it is still very disturbing to me.  Now I think it shakes me more because it is a sign of the truly disordered state underneath her exterior, that or evil.  I’m going with BPD/NPD for now.



Object constancy still gets me, because it is hard to tell if it is truly not remembering their bad acts or lies, I get some of both because if you catch her up in some lie she will often then admit and just minimize.

What I have the hardest time accepting is there is no ability to have a rational give-and-take conversation.  I’ve seen too many times where her feelings = fact and despite all evidence to the contrary she will deny facts, or basically say a fact that is against her view actually supports it.  Let alone the complete lack of empathy.

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« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2011, 12:37:45 PM »

How the illness becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. How, because of their illness, they push away the ones giving them the only true thing they crave and never had themselves: love. Thats the real tragedy of BPD IMO.

I will second that!

The hardest thing to get my head around is the splitting. How I can be the love of his life and he can't live without me then with the flip of a switch I am despised and he throws me away like piece of garbage. It's cruel and no matter how much i "get" the diagnosis it's still hard to comprehend.
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« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2011, 01:01:26 PM »

Great comments all.

Next question then - how does the fact of the illness help you to heal?

For me, it really has let me just "radically accept" this aspect of the disorder.  In doing so, I was able to detach & depersonalize.  This led me to grieve the loss of the actual relationship (my version of it), but not feel so victimized by the actions.

Do others find this true too?
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« Reply #23 on: September 07, 2011, 01:09:09 PM »

but not feel so victimized by the actions.

Hmmm... .not sure about this.  What led me to not feel so victimized by his actions was that I finally realized there was something in ME that was attracted to dysfunctional people. When I started examining the relationships I'd had, I realized that I had always been involved with troubled people.  He was just so flagrantly troubled and over the top, that I had to pay attention (or lose my life.)  That caused me to take stock of ME.

So yes, to a degree, I accepted that he is mentally ill and there is nothing I could've/should've done about that -- but also a bigger moment of knowledge was the realization that I was attracted to horribly dysfunctional people and that it was a life long pattern that needed to be changed IMMEDIATELY.

turtle

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« Reply #24 on: September 07, 2011, 01:11:45 PM »

Great comments all.

Next question then - how does the fact of the illness help you to heal?

For me, it really has let me just "radically accept" this aspect of the disorder.  In doing so, I was able to detach & depersonalize.  This led me to grieve the loss of the actual relationship (my version of it), but not feel so victimized by the actions.

Do others find this true too?

I fully understand its an illness. I cannot, however, depersonalize the most personal thing, an intimate romantic relationship. I still see her actions as coming from her as a person and not coming from BPD. OTH, I do not feel victimized. I hold her personal accountable for her actions and I take full responsibility for my actions (without blaming her).

I see BPD as an explanation, not an excuse.
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« Reply #25 on: September 07, 2011, 02:05:40 PM »

Hmm, the fact of the illness and healing. After butting my head against a stone wall I am brought back to myself and what I need to do for myself.

It is true that my ex tapped into just about everything that was wounding to me as a child, but also into things that were positive in my childhood and young adult period. His behavior tore off the scabs of issues I thought I had come to terms with (abandonment and abuse) and so the pain was a bit too familiar    but the good parts of the r/s were what I had always wanted in life: a partner to do intellectual work with and have fun and travel with. We had a very broad spectrum of interests in common. I have had to mourn the loss of that dream in my refusal to be abused any longer and it is bittersweet. I hope that this time I will have finally come to terms with those childhood wounds as a result of this r/s.

The sad thing is that between us (if he were more aware) we could (both of us) have worked through our childhood wounds given all the positive things in the r/s.

Diotima
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« Reply #26 on: September 07, 2011, 04:13:03 PM »

The hardest part to comprehend?  The complete Jekyll/Hyde personas.  How it is possible that the man who I believed to be gentle, kind, deeply loving, caring, compassionate, spiritual, etc., could turn into the person who was cold, contemptful, vicious and cruel. That was a mindbender for sure, and very frightening to know you'd shared such intimacy, opened your home, heart, life, body, mind to someone so dangerously duplicitous. 

How did learning about and acknowledging the illness help?  It gave an explanation where there could be no other.  Other than demonic possession that is, and that 's one I still debate now and then. 
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« Reply #27 on: September 07, 2011, 04:45:28 PM »

The hardest thing for me to wrap my brain around was how someone who was so loving, could be capable of such cruelty.

turtle

Yes, Turtle... .How he turned from being so loving, so tender, so kind to me, from wanting “us” to learn and grow together along a journey through life…. to being the most selfish, insensitive and cruel human being I’ve ever known has been without question, the most heartbreaking shock of my life… a total mindfxck... .

I loved and adored this man and would have done anything in this world for him… I’ve cried a river over the loss of him and yet he truly couldn’t care less if I died tomorrow… He’s in “love” with someone else and has cut me out of his life completely… as if we never meant anything to each other... .?

Wow, how did this happen? Such a beautiful man trapped within such a horrific mental illness… Personality disorders, both BPD and NPD... .

Yes, the cruelty towards me, a woman who loved him with all her heart and soul, is unfathomable… I don’t think I’ll ever get my head around what he did to me and to “us”…

But also, I will ever forget what it felt like to be in his arms ... .before the splitting began... .

It is all painfully cruel, isn't it?

WhiteDoe
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« Reply #28 on: September 07, 2011, 05:07:06 PM »

This may be he most riveting and deeply personal thread I have read on these boards.  I share so much with all of you.  Thank you... .and White Doe, my eyes mist as I read your post... .I feel your words so profoundly.  Amazing that we have all had such similiar experiences.
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« Reply #29 on: September 07, 2011, 05:09:26 PM »

The splitting.  They come into your life and turn all your relationships upside down.
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