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Author Topic: Emotionless  (Read 5355 times)
redberry
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« on: October 02, 2011, 10:02:45 PM »

One of the things that haunts me the most about my ex was that he was so often emotionless.  Most of the time he had this blank look on his face, and would only really respond to me with one word answers.  Rarely was there real conversation or real exchange.  Just silence and what came across as annoyance mostly.  I knew there was a storm in his head, but his extrerior showed calm and control.  Too much control.  I felt like he had a brick wall around his emotions and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't break through it.  Phone conversations were rare and just as hollow.  It started to bring me down too.  I could never understand why he couldn't share things with me.  The few breakdowns he had were almost refreshing because it reminded me he is human and does HAVE emotions.  So sad if you ask me.
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2011, 10:32:56 PM »

Same here. Our couples therapist would say that he had a glass wall around him at all times that he used to protect himself. He could and would slip behind it at the drop of a hat.

It was horrible. I felt left out all the time. I never understood it. It was a control issue I found out after the break up. It gave him complete control and then he could push my buttons.

It left me  emotionally starved. Emotionally needy. Exhausted.

I hated that glass wall.
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redberry
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« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2011, 10:38:48 PM »

You said it, Finished.  Very same feelings with me.  And mine slipped right back behind that wall too.  Just when we were making progress with having a semi-conversation he would go cold on me again.  I guess it is control, but my goodness what a miserable way to live.  It kept me on edge.  Emotionally starved, needy, and exhausted... .  Check, check, and check.
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« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2011, 10:46:39 PM »

One of the things that haunts me the most about my ex was that he was so often emotionless.  Most of the time he had this blank look on his face, and would only really respond to me with one word answers.  Rarely was there real conversation or real exchange.  Just silence and what came across as annoyance mostly.  I knew there was a storm in his head, but his extrerior showed calm and control.  Too much control.  I felt like he had a brick wall around his emotions and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't break through it.  Phone conversations were rare and just as hollow.  It started to bring me down too.  I could never understand why he couldn't share things with me.  The few breakdowns he had were almost refreshing because it reminded me he is human and does HAVE emotions.  So sad if you ask me.

My ex ended things on a Monday. On that previous Friday he tried to end things.

He actually had real emotions during this Friday break up. I was so surprised and refreshed by his emotions, even if they were anger and he was being really awful and punishing, that I begged him to stay and continue working on things because he had finally "opened up".

Yes, that's how starved I was at the end of four years.

Later that Friday night I was so disturbed by how much I was willing to take just for a crumbs worth of emotion from him. I couldn't believe that after 4 years I had been reduced to this. I was actually happy for emotional manipulation and emotional chaos because, at least it was something.

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King1989
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« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2011, 10:52:22 PM »

She was so cold, well her mother was, but both of them had their highly emotionless moments. There were so many things I wanted to say to them when I left, so many things I wanted to just shout at them, but I withheld because I knew it would be wrong. What would justify sinking to their level? We can play the victim card when it comes to them, but in the end they really are emotionless and they just won't care. They know how to turn it right back onto you so that when you do say the words that are really on your mind, so when you really do confess to being a victim, they can make you feel pretty shtty.

In the end, when it comes to them, sometimes the best thing to do is hold your tongue and get out of there. Because in the long run: They wont care. They'll get over it in just a few measly weeks if anything and you will become "old news" or hated among their family because god knows the stories they can string about you.

And the bottom line is: They just won't care.
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« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2011, 10:56:32 PM »

I believe that they are not emotionless about their own needs. 

Mine rages and rages... .and he blames the out of control behavior on me... .on the stress that HE goes thru in a daily basis... .mostly not related to anything I did!

BUT... .he is stone cold when I used to ask to emotional support. 

Again... .it's all about them... .and not us.

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King1989
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« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2011, 10:59:28 PM »

Exactly, helena is right.  Maybe they're not necessarily devoid of emotion. After all, BPD is a disorder of emotions. However, the feeling that it's "all about me" that they have can make it seem like they are in fact, emotionless.  The truth of the matter is still the bottom line, they won't care. If it's not them, not about them, they just won't care.
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« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2011, 01:22:44 AM »

Any emotion they feel is for pity on on themselves. He had no idea what to do if I cried - the beauty about being a 'non' is that we can perceive someone's reaction to things prior to acting on it - I have the thought "how is this friend going to take what I am about to say" - I may reframe it depending on who I am talking to about something important.

Borderlines don't seem to have this filter. Sad!
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« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2011, 01:39:55 AM »

my ex would change into a different person. if you needed something from her emotionally or if the stress was tomuch for her to handle she would turn into a different person all together and would not talk. unless you pushed with your needs and then she was off running.to who ever would make her feel better at that time. 
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« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2011, 02:11:21 AM »

my ex would change into a different person. if you needed something from her emotionally or if the stress was tomuch for her to handle she would turn into a different person all together and would not talk. unless you pushed with your needs and then she was off running.to who ever would make her feel better at that time. 

the turning into a different person ... Yes

his voice patterns would change ... .they would become more clipped, formal, slightly archaic and emotionless

his eye's would become totally black ... the eye's would dialate

his body would become rigid ... almost tense

his face would turn to lead ... i mean there would be nothing on it ... .

it was so freaky to watch ... .

always meant he was dysregulated ... .totally closed off from his emotions ... .functioning on an auto mode ... .he would then start sounding very very logical ... .cruel almost ... .

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corncake38
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« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2011, 02:24:51 PM »

My ex joined a dating website the next day after we split up... .I think the hardest part is thinking about how passionate and deep he was with me and how that could change like a switch.  I just started reading about BPD after all this happend but now know what signs to look for when dating again. 

1.  So open with emotions and great listener.

2.  Acted scared when I almost left in middle of night first night I stayed over.

3.  Told me he loved me after 6 weeks and how then was scared he might scare me away.

4.  Chased me like crazy in the beginning with texts and calls all the time. 

5.  Gave me the code to his house before we were even very close.

6.  Asked me to change weekends I have my daughter to match his before we had even kissed.

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RedRightAnkle
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« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2011, 02:47:24 PM »

That's exactly what it is, control - they are so controlling they even have to keep themselves intensely controlled. My ex knew what he was doing. He admitted that he felt things very intensely, but that he could switch off emotions if he wanted to. He didn't like to feel. He admitted once that even when he wants to cry (which is rarely), he feels like he physically can't. The one time I really saw him cry, like tears running down his face was heart-breaking... .he was so destroyed.

He would often have a blank look in his eyes, his voice would get low and strangely calm... .and Finished, I get what you mean about how he seemed SO logical and almost cruel. He was so indifferent to everything and everyone, someone could by dying in front of him and he would just stare on.

We were fighting and I had started crying and feeling really terrible about myself, and he said, "You know, the old me hated to see girls cry, and I would do anything to make them stop. Now, I really just don't care." It was awful. The only emotion I ever saw him feel so intensely was anger. He told me once that he was always pissed on some level - even if he seemed happy, he still considered himself an angry person.

I hate that he's like this... .and the saddest thing is he's only 17. God, I hate this disorder FOR him.
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« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2011, 03:43:28 PM »

I became that way about halfway through my relationship, I felt like the emotions were sucked out of me. I went from having an anxiety and depression problem, to going entirely numb. My anxiety problem was pretty bad at the beginning of my relationship, because deep down inside of me there were warning lights going off that this girl was no good. She made me anxious, I was so enticed by her idealization and hooked but the whole time I knew something was wrong. I think, eventually, I got sick of the anxiety and panic attacks and my reaction was to just shut down my emotions. Things were going downhill in the relationship, and I shut down real quick. There was never ending drama and negativity in my ex's life, and I was constantly trying to fix her and remind her to live for a better day. In the process, I completely lost myself and my emotions.

It got to the point that I actually missed having panic attacks and terrible crying spells. Like the poster above said, when I felt like I had to cry I also physically felt like I couldn't. For awhile I just made an excuse and said that my ex "Saved me from my anxiety and depression problem", but the truth was that I was just completely numb. I hated it. I still suffer from it a bit, but my emotions have broken through a lot more often than they did when I was with my ex. I just started EMDR therapy, which I'm hoping will completely break my emotions out of me. I'm also undiagnosed ADD, which definitely relates to my anxiety/depression problem. Those with ADD (correctly termed Inattentive ADHD) are known to become emotionally paralyzed by life altering events, it takes awhile to get over. Upon learning about ADD, it was sad to see that there are many similarities between how we act in relationships and how BPD's act. I can definitely see it, but there is also huge differences between the two. I definitely went through a distancing phase in my relationship though, and I felt extremely guilty about it and always worked to get back to the enthusiastic boyfriend I was in the honey moon phase. I think ultimately it kept her in the relationship longer, and when the light bulb about myself went off in my head at the end of the relationship and I was finally starting to get myself together, she left me for someone else. The whole break up left me traumatized, I grieved a little bit but not nearly as much as I expected too, because I was numb.

My number one goal now is too work through and FIND these emotions that I know are buried in me, I want to feel my pain so I can feel happiness in my life once again. I realize that I am traumatized and it will take some time, but I will do it and I will get there.
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deedee116
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« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2011, 05:58:00 PM »

my ex would change into a different person. if you needed something from her emotionally or if the stress was tomuch for her to handle she would turn into a different person all together and would not talk. unless you pushed with your needs and then she was off running.to who ever would make her feel better at that time. 

the turning into a different person ... Yes

his voice patterns would change ... .they would become more clipped, formal, slightly archaic and emotionless

his eye's would become totally black ... the eye's would dialate

his body would become rigid ... almost tense

his face would turn to lead ... i mean there would be nothing on it ... .

it was so freaky to watch ... .

always meant he was dysregulated ... .totally closed off from his emotions ... .functioning on an auto mode ... .he would then start sounding very very logical ... .cruel almost ... .

Wow! I've seen this and it scared the crap out of me, I just thought my imagination was running away with me. This exact thing happened when my ex and I were fighting one day.  He'd said things so vicious that the argument left me in tears.  As I was crying I looked up at him and it was like looking into the eyes of the Night Stalker.  Totally black and completely lacking any emotion whatsoever.  I should have run for my life right then and there.
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« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2011, 06:02:07 PM »

He would often have a blank look in his eyes, his voice would get low and strangely calm... .and Finished, I get what you mean about how he seemed SO logical and almost cruel. He was so indifferent to everything and everyone, someone could by dying in front of him and he would just stare on.

Yup, when he would get dysregulated he would just turn into a computer and start making sense. I mean the things that came out of his mouth would sound perfectly logical. Then, when it would all blow over, he would say that his emotions were like a tornado in his head the whole time.

The last conversation we had he was in computer mode. I know what that means. It means that his fallen off the bandwagon, is dysregulated, and not in complete control of himself right now. It means that I got dumped in part because of his dysregulation. That is something I"m having trouble accepting.
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« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2011, 06:57:06 PM »

Excerpt
One of the things that haunts me the most about my ex was that he was so often emotionless.  Most of the time he had this blank look on his face, and would only really respond to me with one word answers.

Redberry, you are describing the "detached protector."  The "detached protector" is one of four responses used as coping mechanisms in Borderline personality disorder. The "detached protector" protects from feeling uncontrolled emotional pain- so yes, they are controlling themselves. The detached protector is without feeling at all and is an empty shell. Questions remain unanswered because the detached protector appears like a Zombie with "yes" or "no" answers. It's is at this point that you will waste your breath talking about concepts of hurt and empathy to the detached protector because the main purpose of the protector is to close the vulnerable children off from the World for safety reasons.  

Borderlines are made, not born. They are children of invalidating environments and because of that have been failed in their “presumed ability” to react and respond to both challenges *and* opportunities. They do not take the initiative to solve their problems themselves because they feel directed upon by others as a working hypothesis. This is the cause of the deficient sense of self.  That leaves them feeling as though they are at the mercy of others who (they feel) try to control them in ways that replicates the early childhood environment and they utilize a intrapsychic punitive parent to scapegoat their failures to become a healthy self sufficient adult.

The worst part of this disorder is that it's a slow boil in relationships and hence, we even fail to recognize the existence of the problem until it’s too late. We are hooked into deciphering the mood states. Borderline behavior becomes pathology when the distorted perceptions fuel the lack of self. The self becomes persecuted and hopeless, leaving onlookers to stand by in dismay- both sides play significant roles called "Schemas."

So in order to interpret the 4 BPD states, let’s look at what Jeffrey Young says in his Schema therapy:

Of the four states, there are two children and two adults; one child is angry and the other child is abandoned. They move back and forth in interpersonal relationships with clinging and hating behaviors. A third mechanism, the punitive parent (deficient ego) is the adult interpretation of their parent that scolds them in their thoughts. That parent scapegoats them and punishes them for their perceived failures, just like in childhood. The fourth state is the detached protector, an adult wax figure zombie who tries to quiet everyone and everything with controlled contraction.

The emotional states:

1) The angry child. The angry child is born out of a family environment that is unsafe and unstable. Emotional (verbal) or actual physical abuse. One parent may abuse while the other denies and enables the abuse (earliest triangulation (read definition).) Instead of feeling secure, the attachment to the parent is terrifying and unstable.

2) The abandoned child. The abandoned child is born out of a family environment that is depriving. Parental nurturing- physical warmth, empathy, emotional closeness and support, guidance, protection- is *absent* or deficient. Emotionally, the child feels alone.

3) The punitive parent. The punitive parent is born out of a family environment that is harshly punitive and rejecting. Children with BPD grow up in families that are critical and rejecting of them, harshly punitive when they make mistakes and unforgiving. The outcome of this is internalized and exists as personal judgment.

4) The detached protector. The detached protector is born out of a family environment that is subjugating. The family suppresses the needs and feelings of the child.  Usually there are implicit rules about what a child can and cannot say and therefore, feel. The child gets the message; “don’t show what you feel. Don’t cry when you are hurt. Don’t get angry and don’t ask for what you want. Don’t be vulnerable or real- just be who <<we>>want you to be.” Expressions by the child of emotional pain - particularly sadness or anger -often make the parent angry and lead to punishment or withdrawal- so the child contracts into a shell.

It is said by Young, that Borderlines enter therapy in a detached protector state- the therapist then must try to get through the distrust and encourage the vulnerable child states to emerge while discouraging the punitive parent.   The child states are more open than the detached protector.

When a BPD patient is suicidal or parasuicidal, the therapist must determine which state the patient is in and approach the crisis from that staNPDoint. All states have different reasons for despair; the “punitive parent” state wishes to punish the patient, the “abandoned child” wishes to end the unbearable loneliness, the “angry child” wishes to get revenge or hurt another person and the “detached protector” attempts to distract from the emotional pain by causing their own physical pain in order to pierce the numbness and feel something.

Borderlines repetitiously and compulsively re-work these maladaptive schemas. www.schematherapy.com/Borderline%20slides%20Feb%202004%20a_files/frame.htm

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« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2011, 07:33:51 PM »



Mine raged and yelled at me as she broke my heart that "You are Emotional, I'm NOT!"  Later during our final conversation, I asked her "If I'm so emotional, how do you explain crying during sex on three different occasions when things were fantastic?"  Her reply was, "I'm not emotional about breakups, I can let go, You Can't." 

Also, during the "Breaks" of the r/s that she created several times, her co-workers would describe how it didn't seem to bother her whatsoever.  She showed little to No emotion at all.  It was very, very bizaare. 

After her grandmother's funeral, she told people that she just didn't really feel anything; that kind of freaked me out... .now I know why. 

So, yes, she was emotionless apparently in many ways.  But when she had serious "needs" the tears would appear from time to time... .of course, I was way too emotional, way too close too my parents according to her, etc etc... .
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redberry
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« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2011, 10:47:51 AM »

2010, your post is incredible, really opened my eyes.    I felt chills as I read about the detached protector and realized that's the mode he's in 90% of the time.  The childhood background that you mentioned matched up exactly with his childhood from what he has told me and what his brother has verified over the years--with what on with his adoptive parents.  He was adopted at birth, so abandonment fears are huge anyway.  I can see some of the other schemas from time to time but mostly detached protector.  Thank you!  Smiling (click to insert in post)
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