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Author Topic: BEHAVIORS: Push/pull  (Read 7569 times)
liberté
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« on: August 05, 2009, 12:13:07 PM »

What does it mean the push/pull? and why they do this
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BPDBAM
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« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2009, 01:20:40 PM »

Basically to maintain a distance at which they are comforable with you.  Too far away and it triggers their fear of abandonment and too close means they are afraid of when you will (and it's natural) hurt them. 

The problems are that they can't regulate their emotional responses.  They can't be "ok" when you are far away knowing that ebb and flow means you'll be back.  They can't handle you being too close because when you hurt them the FEELINGS they feel are SO MUCH more magnified than when non borderlines are hurt. 

When you get close they have that fear triggered and can do anything to make you back up (who wants to be close to a person that rages and belittles you right?) but when you do they think you're leaving them.

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LvnNHell
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« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2009, 11:17:50 AM »

Been married for over 18 years to my BPDw.  Only learned about BPD early this year.  The push/pull cycle is something that I noticed from day one, but had no idea why?  I remember making many comments to my wife about why every time things started going well, and we were getting along great, she pushed me away and "manufactured" something to make things bad.

Living with someone with BPD is difficult even in the good times, because you know that they will not allow the good times to continue and you are always tip-toeing around them to prolong the good times.
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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2009, 01:27:27 AM »

My understanding of "push pull" is that it is inconsistent behavior by which one or both people in the relationship alternate between periods of emotional closeness and emotion distance.

Often, initially it's driven by one person, but if it persists, both parties tend to be contributors to it. This is also referred to as the "dysfunctional dance".

When someone has a high degree of rejection sensitivity, which most people suffering from BPD have, they are hyper responsive to even small slights and act impulsively on their feelings.  After the impulse passes, they may equally respond in the opposite direction.

We all experience these feelings too, but we tend to modulate them and expect others to do this to and for there to be more consistency in the relationship.



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schwing
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2010, 12:23:41 PM »

IMO, what makes people with BPD (pwBPD) so inclined to engage in this kind of dysfunctional "dance" is that they need intimate connections (which is a very normal, human want) but at the same time, feelings of intimacy trigger their fear of abandonment.  Perhaps this is because intimacy reminds them of what they are afraid to lose.  Keep in mind, this fear of intimacy is irrational, disordered and perhaps pathological; in some cases they might not even understand that this is what motivates their actions.

So their push-pull behavior reflects this internal conflict they have within them.  They long to be "normal" and to have emotionally fulfilling interpersonal relationships -- and thus "pull" people close to them; but as feelings of intimacy develop and increase, they become overwhelmed by this irrational fear of abandonment -- thus causing them to "push" the same people away.

But after "pushing" their attachment too far away, their fear of abandonment kicks in again, and then they "pull" them closer in order to avoid potential abandonment.  But after being "close" for too long, their feelings of intimacy may trigger their fear of abandonment and when they cannot accept this fear is due to their own disorder, they blame their partner for giving them cause to fear and "push" them away, etc... .etc... .  It's not a pretty cycle.  And it may repeat and continue until they find a new partner to dance with, or until they begin their recovery.

I think that even if we are very careful in our efforts to NOT give any impression that we will leave them, this can do nothing to abate this fear.  More often than not, although they may justify their feelings by blaming our actions, they may be unwilling or unable to accept their fear is disordered in nature; otherwise, they might endeavor to seek recovery.
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Sunfl0wer
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« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2015, 10:03:23 PM »

It just seems to me that there is a lot of self loathing going on with pwBPD.

So if you love a person with BPD, then they feel you must be defective to love them, therfore painting you black.  

I know the theories say it is engulfment fear, however, I think many push us away because they have a self-fulfilling prophecy of unlovableness and unworthyness.

I wonder if on some level, the reason we get pushed away greater after knowing them to a greater extent is that once their "true self" the "whole BPD version" is easily apparent, and you love them through it, well... .then you actually are too good for them as they do not believe themselves to be lovable completely, warts and all.  So to make sense of this... .they think... .you MUST be manipulating, because you can't possibly love that person... .and if you did, something is surely wrong with YOU.  

Or it can be narcissistic natured and they can think that for you to love them warts and all, means you are better than them, (also self loathing/unworthiness,) therefore they have to knock you down a notch to keep things "balanced."  (As you are loving them more than they can give, more than they love themselves)

Just curious what people know about push and pull and self-loathing vs engulfment fears.
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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2015, 11:30:10 PM »

I don't think that fear of engulfment and self-loathing are mutually exclusive; I think both play a role.
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« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2015, 07:05:17 PM »

I agree that part of the push-pull is being afraid that you'll see their "true self." They try to mirror you and be exactly what you want in a partner, to draw you in. Then the first time they do something that hurts you (inevitable because of the splitting and emotional immaturity), they panic because they think now you've seen the "real" them. They push you away because they think so poorly of themselves and they're ashamed.

I've seen it happen with friends, jobs, and relationships. Initially the pwBPD is charming, delightful and engaging. Everyone loves her at first and she eats up the attention at the expense of her older relationships. She has an emotional affair with the new friend, is chatty at work and then basically mute at home, calls in sick at the old job to work at the new job, etc. But then her problem tendencies start to surface in the friendship or the workplace, and she bails because she's afraid they're going to see what she considers the "real" her (which is the core of shame and self-loathing). So she is always flitting to the next new person who is charmed by her and hasn't seen her at her worst.

And you might be right, that if the non sticks around after the pwBPD feels like the "real" her has been revealed, she might decide there's something wrong with the non for still loving her. A lot of us have been accused of having something terribly wrong with us mentally, and I usually see that as projection, but yours is an interesting perspective.
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EaglesJuju
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« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2015, 08:10:26 PM »

It just seems to me that there is a lot of self loathing going on with pwBPD.

So if you love a person with BPD, then they feel you must be defective to love them, therfore painting you black.  

I think self-loathing and shame have a lot to do with some of the behavior. From my experience, self-loathing and shame was the "cause" of my pwBPD to push me away.

PwBPD have problems with object constancy or the ability to see another as having faults and virtues. It is either all withholding or frustrating or rewarding and satisfying.  The same can be said for how a pwBPD can perceive themselves. Self-loathing has to do with how a person perceives themselves. A pwBPD can split themselves and view themselves as all "bad."

My pwBPD's rationale for pushing me away was he does not deserve me, because he is a horrible person who has done horrible things.

I do think there are other factors for the push, such as fear of engulfment too.


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« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2015, 11:08:07 AM »

I agree that part of the push-pull is being afraid that you'll see their "true self." They try to mirror you and be exactly what you want in a partner, to draw you in. Then the first time they do something that hurts you (inevitable because of the splitting and emotional immaturity), they panic because they think now you've seen the "real" them. They push you away because they think so poorly of themselves and they're ashamed.

Yes, yes, yes to this.  The first push from my former friend BPD came right after she told me something about her past that I disapproved of and then, when she realized that I disapproved, she said, "I'm a total waste.  Stay away from me.  I will destroy you."

I've seen it happen with friends, jobs, and relationships. Initially the pwBPD is charming, delightful and engaging. Everyone loves her at first and she eats up the attention at the expense of her older relationships. She has an emotional affair with the new friend, is chatty at work and then basically mute at home, calls in sick at the old job to work at the new job, etc. But then her problem tendencies start to surface in the friendship or the workplace, and she bails because she's afraid they're going to see what she considers the "real" her (which is the core of shame and self-loathing). So she is always flitting to the next new person who is charmed by her and hasn't seen her at her worst.

She became so attached to me that, instead of meeting one of her college friends for dinner one evening, she just went home and texted me.  Each year, the number of people who wish her a happy birthday on Facebook becomes less and less.  She just keeps ignoring and abandoning old friends, until they are gone completely. 

And you might be right, that if the non sticks around after the pwBPD feels like the "real" her has been revealed, she might decide there's something wrong with the non for still loving her. A lot of us have been accused of having something terribly wrong with us mentally, and I usually see that as projection, but yours is an interesting perspective.

I think of it as a mix of projection and thinking that there is something wrong with us for loving them.  One night, my former friend asked why I love her so much, like she couldn't imagine how someone could love her so completely.  So, each time she calls me crazy, I think it's a mix of both.  The last time was on a day when she robbed her ex-boyfriend, so I think that was mostly projection.  However, I think it was also her thinking there must be something wrong with me, since I kept communicating with her after she discarded me the first time. 

Really, it's a lose-lose situation. 

I supported her, loved her, and was willing to buy a house for her.  Two days after we looked at a house, after she ignored my texts about houses all day, she called me psychotic for the first time.  Was it engulfment?  Mostly, yes.  But I do also see it as her thinking that she's not lovable enough to have someone buy a house for her.

Interestingly enough, when she needed a place to live again, she asked me.  Was this manipulation?  Testing the waters?  Did she no longer fear engulfment with me because the romantic aspects of our relationship ended months ago?  Or was it because she knew that I bought my new house for me and for no one else?  Did she feel comfortable asking because she just wanted to rent a room?  I don't know.  It's hard to tell. 
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So when will this end it goes on and on/Over and over and over again/Keep spinning around I know that it won't stop/Till I step down from this for good - Lifehouse "Sick Cycle Carousel"
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