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Author Topic: 8.06 | From idealization to devaluation - why we struggle  (Read 85629 times)
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« on: December 03, 2011, 02:19:04 PM »

US: From idealization to devaluation - why we struggle

for members that have exited BPD relationships

Why is the idealization phase so intoxicating and the devaluation phase so painful for many of us?

The bond between the pwBPD and their partner is often complicated by lifelong emotional wounds each partner is unconsciously trying to sooth with the relationship.  When the relationship breaks, these underlying wounds often surface and make the breakup very traumatic.  

Recognizing how our own thoughts impact us as adults and taking steps to heal from our own lifelong wounds plays an important role in our recovery.

This workshop is an opportunity to explore why we feel that our break-up is so traumatic.  Let’s explore:

  • What brought us into the situation?

  • What vulnerabilities exist within us ?

  • How does our own childhood play a role?

  • Is this dynamic evident in our everyday life?

  • How can you begin to heal?


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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2011, 01:28:39 PM »

I have read just about every article I can get my hands on, but I can't wrap my mind around the switch from idealize to devaluation.  In the initial stages, it seemed I could do no wrong.  I don't think my behavior changed any... In fact I worked harder in this r/s than I have ever worked to be selfless and to give to him.  But he still tore me down and eventually dumped me out of the blue.  My question, I guess, is what causes that switch?  And is there any going back?  If anything I became more accommodating as the r/s wore on, but it didn't seem to help any.  I still got the verbal abuse (behind closed doors and over text) and silent treatment.  Every interaction was subject to a fight.  Totally different from how the r/s started.  What was heaven became absolute hell.
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2011, 02:40:58 PM »

Why does idealization turn to devaluation?

The idealisation creates a strong attachment - for both the pwBPD and the nonBPD. Mirroring, excessive praise (pleasing), sex and openness builds the BPD/nonBPD bond. 

pwBPDs are after the 'perfect' rs ~ once they perceive flaws they find it harder to mirror .  As the "hopes of perfection" gives way to reality, the hopes and trust developed in the idealisation slowly erode and the pwBPD begins to devalue.  

In the idealisation phase we were one in the same which serves the BPD as well. When we are devalued, we "push back". Now there is a loss of control to the pwBPD - often they can response in destructive ways.

As the idealisation phase is very intense ~ the devaluing swings the other way. If you are placed on a high pedestal the fall is long and the fall is hard.

There may be no going back. Even though you try to placate, once dream and the trust is broken, it is broken. You may see glimmers of the idealisation phase as the pwBPD vacillates between the hopes and reality of the situation.

It will never be how it was in the beginning. This goes for us too.  I could never feel like I did in the beginning again because the devaluing tore me down.

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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2011, 02:42:14 PM »

For me, it was a very specific event that started it. I had to handle a personal issue and it had nothing to do with my xBPDbf. Further, it was very stressful and I didn't want to talk about it so I didn't respond immediately to his phone calls, emails or texts.

This freaked him out and he started to get very dramatic in his communications, which made me contact him even less. I think he processed that emotionally as abandonment.

It took about a week for me to handle my personal business.

In that week, he lined up my replacement. When we saw each other that last time, we were visiting old friends of his to meet me. He was all pumped up on adderall and we were THREE HOURS late. I was mortified and let him know.

When we got home, he was raging at me because I gave him driving directions...totally split me black that night and the next day pronounced his love for his new supply.

It is the luckiest thing that ever happened to me.

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« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2011, 05:00:54 PM »

In terms of the disorder, closeness (intimacy) will trigger abandonment/engulfment fears. Splitting will follow as a means to cope; if you are devalued, then the attachment can be minimized and it feels better. The first cycle I saw was after our very first 3 months together. I went a trip I had planned before meeting him. It was just a week long trip with several women friends, and he stayed in contact by phone the whole week, but it triggered him. I noticed he was different when he came to pick me up at the airport. He said he had been feeling "contemplative". I learned over time the word "contemplative" meant he was splitting me black and withdrawing. What followed was loads of fun...NOT!

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« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2011, 08:01:34 PM »

This has helped me a lot, gonna keep re-reading as this definately applies to how my ex would behave/react.

"It's Called A Break Up Because It's Broken"

" Do Or Do Not.. There Is No Try" - Yoda
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« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2011, 11:40:34 PM »

Makes perfect sense as to how things took place in the r/s.  it was a slow boil but once it finally boiled over, it's like the kitchen immediately caught fire!  There was no going back.  From that point forward, it was almost impossible for me to be happy in the r/s.  Nothing...  And I mean NOTHING that I did was right.  I was always wrong.  But I never thought I would be dumped so suddenly.

There were certainly events along the way where the anger toward me seemed to get greater and greater, but nothing that would have had me believe I was about to abruptly replaced.  It was traumatic!  Felt like a death almost.  Like Ellison, mine did the same thing with my replacement.  Lined her up and immediately moved from me to her. I never saw it coming.  I've made a whole lot of progress from those early days, but it still hurts.
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« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2011, 06:07:02 AM »

In some relationships, the idealization phase is the partner being in lonely child stance and the Borderline being in abandoned child stance.*Both need saving* Both need attachment to stave off the pain of being alone.  This is one type of bonding seen in this community.

In this bond, both people bring core trauma to the relationship. Mirroring reenacts the earliest childhood experiences to rise up and emerge into consciousness.

In idealization, there is a dual identification and projection for both people that they have found a perfect love- however, one partner (the “lonely child”) does not yet realize that the other partner (the abandoned child= Borderline) has no whole self- and is utilizing a fantasy of a part-time good in order to fuse with the partner's part time good and become one.

The lonely child has spent much of their life becoming “one.”  When a lonely child finds an abandoned child, both parties feel needed. However, rather than truly loving the individuality of both parties- the sad, fantasy aspect of mirroring magnifies the unhealthy *needs* of both people.

When the lonely child begins to question the reality of mirroring (reality testing) this raises core traumas into activation concerning both the questioning (uncertainty) and the hope (unfulfilled expectations) of the unrealistic attachment. "Lack of inherent trust" is found in both parties at this stage.

Reality testing causes the lonely child to pull away because certain things don't add up- as you say, "the idealization phase slowly erodes."

Pulling away, even while in the lap of comfortable luxury- triggers the abandoned child issues of the Borderline. This causes panic reactions of clinging behaviors by the Borderline to prevent the retreat of their desired love object. These immature demands can look like entitlement to others, especially to a lonely child, who has learned early on to be self sufficient and to self soothe- but the entitlement markers are highly charged and emotional to a Borderline, which isn’t Narcissistic grandiosity- it’s ego deficiency and panic.

The entitlement phase brings a hidden "angry and aggressive child" out from hibernation and into full view and this usually occurs when the lonely child least expects it.  The angry child that emerges is pissed and has delusions of persecution that are ideas of reference from earlier childhood trauma. It’s at this point that the angry child (Borderline) will become enraged and try to cast off shame.  They may attempt to harm himself/herself in order to scapegoat the lonely child- who unwittingly stands-in for the earliest attachment.  This triggers the lonely child's trauma from their earliest attachment as well.

The Borderline wants so badly to be whole that they demand that the lonely child create wholeness for them- which the partner succeeds in doing early on but then relaxes. The Borderline temper tantrum, with its ideas of reference being so very childlike and fantastic, perceives the relaxation of the partner as though the attachment is split up. In order to cope, the Borderline must now find another part time perceived good object to self medicate the emotions of feeling badly from the split.  If this cannot be accomplished, the surge of limbic fear concerning anger and abandonment causes such great pain that self harm is often inflicted for relief.

The lonely child is often very surprised by this. The anger and dysregulation are in contrast to what he/she perceives are necessary for the circumstances. (The lonely child fails to see need disguised as "love.")  Therefore, the lonely child seeks to understand the Borderlines ideas of reference concerning "love" in order to cope with the neediness and begins a line of questioning.  The Borderline retreats.

Lonely child is "understanding driven" and gets drawn into the Borderline acting out. The lonely child now has a mystery- the Borderline dilemma of "who am I?" This is very likely the same way that the lonely child came into existence as an “understanding driven” child. Especially when he questioned the motives of his earliest attachments during infancy and adolescence.

The lonely child *understands* the need to be held, loved and understood – because that’s what he longs for in others. The lonely child feels that in order to deal with acting out of the Borderline- the lonely child must project the aura of grace, compassion and understanding upon the Borderline and also guide, teach and show the way- because after all, that’s what the lonely child would want someone to do for him. There was a large reason that the initial mirroring (of this fixer /rescuer ego) worked so well in the idealization stage- the relationship really WAS the projection of lonely child that was mirrored, not the deficient ego of the Borderline.

In the "upside down" world of the Borderline, the lonely child is the perfect attachment to fuse to and the hypersensitive Borderline is the perfect mystery for the lonely child to try to understand.  This is the reactivation of a childhood dynamic- that forms a needy bond.

The Borderline is a perfect template with which to *project* and identify with as a good object and also one to invest in to feel better about the “self.”

The understanding driven lonely child "imagines" (projects) onto the Borderline what he/she feels the Borderline identifies with. The lonely child often fills in the blanks with projective identification and the Borderline attempts to absorbs this- but it's impossible to appear as a self-directed person while taking cues and mirroring another self directed partner.

The Borderline scrambles to keep up with what is projected in a chameleon like manner.  All of this pressure to adapt and conform to the projection smothers and defeats the Borderline’s yearning for a perfect bond and triggers engulfment failure.  

Engulfment also means loss of control, annihilation fantasies and shame.  Shame activates the punitive parent that resides in their inner world, their psyche. The attachment failure has now become shame based for the Borderline.  It will soon become guilt driven for the lonely child partner.

Engulfment makes Borderlines very frustrated and angry- but Borderlines fear abandonment and choose to stuff away their fear and compulsively attempt to manage their pain. The impulsive gestures are a form of self harm that fixes the bond in a permanent chaos of action/reaction.  

Borderlines can be avoidant and passive aggressive and will do everything in their power to hide their strong emotions until they implode.  They swing wildly from abandoned child to angry child until they deflate into detached protector- who is basically a mute that doesn’t speak- or worse, speaks in word salad when confronted.

The swinging dysregulation pattern is unable to be separated and individuated and self directed. Because it cannot be self directed, it cannot be self soothed. There is no ability to defer these emotions to logic and reasoning with introspection *without* another person to blame.  This is where Borderlines are showing you the maturity stage at which they are developmentally arrested and remain stuck and frightened.

Devaluing is the BPD going into the punitive parent role to switch up the control ~ control was relinquished in the idealisation phase so we will attach. The further along we get in the rs ~ the BPD then feels like we are the persecutor for their failing part time self ~ devalue. Devaluing is more about projection ~ because there failing self makes them feel woeful, scared, fearful.

We all have punitive parents that exist in our heads. This is our Superego.  The criticism felt by both parties exists as guilt and shame inside our heads. This tape plays over and over and is a re-working of former traumas. It is also a huge part of what makes complementary traumas so attractive as binding agents to each other.  The lonely child has the “tyrannical shoulds” while the abandoned child has defectiveness schema- together they interact and drive each other crazy.

The understanding driven child cannot fathom how another human being does not have a “self.”  The understanding driven child has had much childhood experience with strong selves and has created a self to understand the motives of others. Lonely children have a need to have some sort of control over their destiny because so much was out of control in their childhood.

The Borderline’s idea of destiny is being attached to others for protection. The Borderline cannot fathom what it means to have a stand alone “self.”

Both parties are human “doing” for others rather than being- but there is more impulsivity in Borderline in the “offering” of themselves as objects.  (The lonely child is very particular concerning who he gives his heart to and makes decisions based upon careful consideration.)

The failure to find a healthy mature love activates the punitive parent in both people’s psyche- one for persecution and the other for failure to understand others (cloaked in rescuing behaviors)- this is the “flea” of each others psychiatric trauma that really is a very strong obsessive bond, and one of endless victimization for both parties unless one or the other becomes understanding driven toward self direction.  Guess who has the best chance?  Unfortunately, the mirrored good that the Borderline provided was a very strong drug- and the obsession is outwardly projected (as it always has been) by the lonely child in order to understand and consequently, control it.

It’s at this point that spying, engaging in testing and push/pull behaviors occur as both parties fight for control. Each pours salt in the others core wound.

The understanding driven child tries to understand the Borderline and the Borderline feels misunderstood and persecuted. The understanding driven child retreats to repair their ego and the Borderline lashes out and tries to shame him. The pendulum swings back and forth in clinging and hating and disordered thought and chaos.  

The lonely child tries to uncover what they think the Borderline is hiding from them (triggering bouts of paranoia) or missing (creating dependency issues.)  The angry child threatens to destroy the relationship (as well as themselves = self harm) which triggers immense anger and outrage for both parties. Their love object is broken.

Both parties are in pain- and their egos are easy to "pinch" because they both fear abandonment.   At this point, both core traumas are exposed and the partners are no longer interacting with each other except to arouse each other’s trauma wounds from childhood.

The false self of the lonely child, that the Borderline mirrored, has more ego- as it is directly tied to a “self” which involves coping mechanisms from childhood that mirrored back good.  It was a self that was capable and seeming to have all the answers in the beginning.  When the Borderline tries to destroy it as a failed attachment, it begins to crumble and the lonely child retreats and tries to repair it- essentially wounded to the core. This is also part and parcel of the injury of the smear campaign- and the lonely child may try to return to defend the "self" from being attacked.

Trauma for the lonely child occurs mainly because of perceived failure they cannot “understand” enough (essentially an obsession at this point) and trauma for the Borderline occurs because of anger and abandonment and shame that existed since infancy- and persecution by their inner parent superego for not becoming whole.  

At this point, both parties feel like failures.

Unfortunately, the repair for the lonely child’s self consists of trying again to fix the Borderline "mirror" to reflect the good.  Many attempts will be made by the lonely child (once again) to effect an outcome other than the failed attachment.  The lonely child will try to re-build the self and get the love object (Borderline) to return and resume their compliant mirroring.

Eventually, the fantasy begins to unravel for the lonely child, that they are alone- and the person that the lonely child fell in love with, (the person in the mirror,) was actually YOU.

Who really is the Borderline? Someone who needed you for awhile because they were scared to be alone.

They’re still scared. Forgive them if you can- they are modern day recreations of their own childhood fears.

Now- after reading all of this- You can’t keep going back for more trauma.  Idea The trauma bond must be broken.

After we've let fantasy go- we can turn the focus to healing.  It's good to wonder what our attraction must have been to this person. Whatever clues you have are generally good enough to give you reason that you’ve had experience with this type of personality before- perhaps within your family of origin.

Stop yourself from thinking that you’ve never been treated so poorly before this relationship. When you catch yourself saying you can't believe it. Stop and think. Chances are- you’ve just chosen to repress a few circumstances from childhood that were traumatic. Now the feelings are back on the surface and you’re going to have to address them.

Introspection involves a great pain. Let those feelings come up. Journal your thoughts when you feel anxious. Learn about yourself. We must address the pain from our childhood that has been left unresolved for too long. We cannot escape from pain if we are to have personal growth- and you've got to get this relationship out of the way in order to get at the real hurt.

Radical acceptance comes when you realize that what was mirrored really wasn’t you- it was what *you wanted others to give to you*   It was <<Understanding.>>

Try to give that to yourself.
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« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2011, 11:37:20 AM »

Yup. The post by 2010 described the dynamics of my relationship for five years  to a T.  To a "T", including the feeling I had that we were somehow wounded in a similar way, that sympatico feeling, that soul mate feeling.  Also, the need to understand, as the 'lonely' child who has learned to cope by intellectually 'understanding' and trying to provide understanding, and hoping that someone will provide that understanding to me in return.   Yup.  To a "T". 

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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2011, 11:47:55 AM »

I need some clarity and have a question...

Are you saying the "lonely child" is an NPD?

or is the "lonely child" a codependent? or neither, and something else?
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