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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: How often were they 'there' for you when YOU needed them?  (Read 5483 times)
Yolo
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« on: December 23, 2012, 08:00:12 PM »

HardTruth, if you read this I hope you don't mind my jumping off of a post you made to Diana82 in regards to her situation, because it is a topic that really struck a chord with me and can almost stand alone.  I wish I knew how to quote effectively here, but I'm copy/pasting in HardTruth's comment to Diana82:

--------------------------------------

How often when you were together was your exgf really there when you needed her?

When you had a problem in the relationship or were hurt in the relationship, how often did she turn it around and make it about her?  How often did she get defensive or snappy?  Compared to how often was she able to step out of herself and really focus on you, how you were feeling, and what she could do to fix the problem and make you feel better?

Yes, they can be sweet, and charming and PASSIONATE!  express their love for you, their need for you, their vulnerability - please don't leave me... , when things are easy, they're lonely, they're in the first throws of love, and their control (over engulfment, their social mask, your love, etc) is not threatened. 

But how often was she there for YOU.  She's not there now.  She knows you're hurting.  She abandoned you and the relationship, and yet again is blaming it all on you. 

Perhaps you are going through a familiar cycle - you stand up for yourself, she withdraws, blames you... then YOU apologize...   You haven't done anything wrong - sure, you're not perfect, but in my opinion, SHE is the one who has done something wrong.  I'm sure she likes it when you come running after her, taking the blame for the separation or uncomfortable feelings.  She's in control again.  Unfortunately, being in control doesn't make her more caring. 



-------------------------------

I had a few occasions during the 3.5 years with my Ex that really called for support.  In each and every one of those, he became completely selfish, opportunistic, drop off, even blaming me and the situations for his behavior.

I would be pulled into important work projects that would take many hours and 7 days a week so I could not specify when exactly I'd be available, so instead of trying to help me, he would drop off the face of the earth for days at a time doing "whatever he wanted to do".  During one project he felt guilty, showed up at my work with flowers and a care package and a big display that the company president witnessed... .and the president and everyone on the team I was working with used that as an example of our dedication and the sacrifices our 'families' had made.  However, that display, happened AT THE END of the project, the final day... .what they didn't see was the weeks before where he pretty much used that time to absorb himself in his own life and indulgences.  Spotty comms were about him, not how are you holding up.  And he'd be absent, off courting other women for days at a time.  Guess at the end he figured he'd need to make some grand gesture to make up for the support that wasn't there while I was in hell.

Work situations happened, I had to study for a certification intensely and he mentioned being there with me even if I had to study, but never was (doing his own thing).

The worst was this past February when my son got very ill... .took him to the Childrens hospital here in Phoenix, he was immediately taken to ICU for diabetic ketoacidosis (this is how we found out he'd developed type 1 diabetes). 

During that time, at text saying... .well, glad it isn't anything more serious. (what?).  He showed up at my house and crawled into bed with me at 5am one of the mornings (drunk and probably after having slept with someone else).  I told him my youngest son and I needed to go to the hospital to visit the older son but would be back.  Arrived back home, exBPDbf, still sleeping... of course, why wouldnt he be?  I tried to get the youngest son set with a game we'd try to download, and hear the exBPDbf's car drive off.  Look for him he was gone.  Amazed he'd even woke up after being so drunk and only 5 hrs of sleep.  He was so mean to me and said he felt 'ignored'.  THEN, later on that day, invited me to spend time with him after my evening hospital visit, and when I didn't confirm in a timely manner, ended up at another womans house overnight.  Horrible!

Not once, SERIOUSLY, not once during any work situation, any academic situation, any family emergency was he there for me... .not once did I recieve a "Is there anything I can do?"

My moods are a moot point really... .he didn't care if I was up or down so I won't even bring that up.  If I was down or sad, he could care less most of the time.  Just "OK, we'll get together later" and go off to party on his own. So opportunistic I swear.

Holy cow, I couldn't bear the thought of him feeling down, or going through a crises.  In fact, I usually would try to insert myself in spite of him telling me he might not be good company.  I didn't care! I wanted to be there for him... .in any way, just for him to know I was there.  I'd do anything for him, it hurt me if he was hurting.  I don't know if that is healthy, but I really did care about him.

The fact that I can't really site very many times where I was down or going through a challenging time where he was 'there' for me is just saddening to me.  I think the fact he wasn't there, added to my misery while I was going through my own stuff.  Because on many levels, I knew it was pathetic that I couldn't even count on my significant other for support.  My friends stepped up to the plate plenty... .my partner.  Nope.

So I suppose I didn't lose much by losing him for sure.  Next curve ball, I will be on my own with my family and friends... .the same as it was while I was with him.  Probably I'll just be less depressed because I won't have to think about how horrible it feels to be backburnered when I really need my partners support.

UGHGHGH!  Anyway.  I WANTED to be there for him. He could care less about me.
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Yolo
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« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2012, 08:03:17 PM »

PS: Yes, they certainly can be passionate... .but COM-PASSIONATE.  That was a very rare thing indeed.
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Yolo
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« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2012, 08:13:56 PM »

Sorry, and PPS: I know HardTruth's quote was more about turmoil and feelings in a relationship ABOUT the relationship issues and what was going on in the relationship.

Unless my Ex was feeling particularly insecure or guilty AND I was threatening to leave, he could absolutely give a rat's turd how I felt in the relationship.

The over-riding attitude with him was "It's my way or the high-way"... .but of course complicated enough to make me still think that I somehow mattered--even when the concern I showed him was no where near reciprocated.

But I guess that original post really just got down to the nuts and bolts... .how often was your BPDex really there for you, at all?
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willy45
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« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2012, 08:22:40 PM »

Interesting... .

I was just thinking about this. When we broke up she lashed out at me for never being there for her and always running away. And I remembered thinking to myself: "When were YOU there for ME?" She always had some sort of drama or trauma going on and at first, I was always there to help. I figured if she just got over this one thing or this one ailment, then all would be good. But it never stopped. And yes, I did withdraw but not because I didn't care but because I didn't want to be completely sucked in. It was on-going. And I started to think... .well, what does it matter if I help or not? The drama is never going to end. There is always going to be something.

And recently, I have been thinking to myself, when were you there when I needed you? And honestly, I can't remember. I remember this one time that my computer was crashing and I was in a panic and called her to see if she could check something out on the Internet for me. She told me she was watching a movie and would call me back when it was done.

But honestly, I didn't really have the same drama as her. I never had the same physical ailments. So, I really don't know. She was there sometimes for sure. Especially at the beginning. But otherwise, who knows? I was so wrapped up in constantly trying to solve her problems that mine never really came up.
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Yolo
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« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2012, 09:04:39 PM »

Hmm... .well, mine had issues, but not really physical... he got sick with the flu here or there and of course I stepped up.  One time making him homemade chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles and everything WHILE we were on a break but 'working on reconciliation' via email.  (I dropped it off on his porch early morning on my way to work... .so shy Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)).

My Ex's mood swings and dramas outside of me could range from visitation arrangements with his ExWife (#2), or some work thing, or sometimes some percieved hurt caused by ME.  Wasn't CONSTANT as I believe your Ex's were, but somewhat frequent.  I never really carried a ledger around and logged them because... .I dont know. I did what I could and felt I was being a good partner. It felt good to think that maybe I was helping him.

NOW, if it was a neverending flow of one thing after another with him, Oh my, yah, I do think I'd become desensitized to it at some point. Shoot you almost have to, or just quit life and become a full time care taker.

You had that one instance that stands out that for once you asked for her help and she minimized it... .imagine if something big had happened?  Mmm... no don't imagine that because I don't think you'd like the visual.

Truly BPD... .it is about showing your love and devotion and a lot of us did that.  When things would come up for us, however, there was no compassion for us.  Only disdain... because we could not focus on them 100000% during those times.  They would cope oh yes.  Be it piling on our own misery and making us feeling more guilty because we didn't have the time, or deciding, OK, since YOU aren't available at my whim, I think I'll take this time to cultivate some new crop.  Yay!  Because I will not be 'ignored'... .ever.

The lack of concern for our feelings about relationship issues is all over this board really... .not taking responsibility, deflection, can't handle it so on and so forth.  What is somewhat interesting is when things happen that are NOT a product of the relationship.

I would think they are so bent on maintaining some image that this would be a great opportunity to demonstrate how wonderful they are?  My experience at least is NOT AT ALL.  So far from the opposite.  They blame you, they blame the circumstance, they disappear, they can't seem to handle even the basics of being a supportive partner.

Man, I had friends that lived 45 min from me, buying me toilet paper during situations because I didn't have time to do it myself... .then wiping my snot off my hardwood because I woulnd have heard from the Ex in a day or two and then I'd hear news that the Ex was spotted at a club living it up with some other girl (while we were still together mind you).

So, the concept that he was distraught because I wasn't readily available is lost on me. 

I kind of wish he were so incessently needy because then maybe I wouldn't feel so bad.  Thing is I NEVER asked him for anything (maybe to come jump my car a couple times).  So his insensitivity towards me had nothing to do with me wearing out his compassion.
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« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2012, 09:11:25 PM »

they certainly can be passionate... .but COM-PASSIONATE.  That was a very rare thing indeed.

That pretty much sums it up.

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« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2012, 10:26:48 PM »

Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)... .   He tried to make me think i was crazy when  I told him he has never been there for me.  Of course, he would  throw up the little things he had done for me, and of course make sure to  share those with my famiy.   After the last incident we had, the only thing he could say that he has done for me was buy my sons birthday cake.


But, I was always there for him... We lived in atlanta,  and he had a blow out in Alabama, about 2.5 hours from where I live.  Guess who drove to where he was  in the middle of the night.  He was arrested for  drunk driving a few months ago... .and because of his behavior, his  phone call was withheld. His entire family  was going nuts and blowing u my phone because  no one had heard from him.  Guess who  found him AND bailed him out.   

And guess who  wouldn't even help me put air in my tires, but was insanely jealous when they  found out a nice guy a the gas station help me... .   or even help me pay bills in our home... .


Just revisiting this in my head gives me a little extra strength to keep moving further and further away

 
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Yolo
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« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2012, 11:09:48 PM »

Smartwoman220... .well, this is some good stuff to delve into.

Doing nice things.  My Ex, when he felt like it did some really nice things actually!  It was perhaps part of the confusion really. He actually did some really thoughtful things... .just as your Ex did for your son's B-day.

Buying me hair clips or underwear once in a while, soups to keep at his house because he knew I liked that, he threw a B-Day party for me at his house for my 40th this last July AND all expenses paid trip to Seattle for us as well for my B-day (never mind the B-day party ended in that he'd proposisitioned a couple for s3x with us that was turned down-thank god, which I found out about at the end of the night--by the Wife of the couple... .but hey, at least it was the parents of one of his daughters friends and I had NOTHING to do with it!... .never mind that he spent half of the Seattle trip making out with a girl 20 yrs his jr. and wanted to be 'open' to "craziness" when I just wanted he and I to enjoy the trip TOGETHER--it was my Bday right? My wish right... to be normal? But... .he was paying for it... .).

I digress... .he'd flat out ruined the 3 prior B-days each and every one of them, and I think he was out to make a statement with my 40th (this last one in July).  The problem is that he could not seem to keep his own selfish desires out of it... .there was still an element of it had to be fun 'for him'.  It wasn't about me, even those gestures.  He certainly hoped to gain out of it, it's not like he was receiving any joy from seeing me truly at ease and happy.

The further out I get, the more I see those little gestures were just kind of snigglets to do what had to be done to keep up a pretense of caring... .to keep me around, to make me think he cared.  Some of those... the hair clips, or diet cokes in the mornign from McD's, an OCCASIONAL nice dinner out... .was just some sort of pretense.  Underwear, he probably benefited from as well... .and certainly the GRAND gestures, there was a payoff to him, either implicit or explicit.

I think of some of that stuff as almost emotional blackmail. Doing just enough nice things so that you'll stick around a little longer.  Paying you in word/deed/material thing to think that they really did care... .going through the motions of a real relationship... .cuz otherwise, lets face it, if they treated us horribly most of the time and never did anything nice at all even WE, the dug in committed ones would leave.
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« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2012, 11:30:25 PM »

Myself, you highlighted something that'd I'd quoted in HardTruth's quote... then kind of expounded on a little.  I knew what I was saying but then was curious about what we just seemed to understand in context.

About it seeminng that our Ex's lacked compassion for us.

What is the definition of compassion [Merriam-Webster]:

sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it

Did you have real compassion? I think I did... .I honestly could feel his hurt or anxiety or whatever it was and I honestly didn't think twice about doing whatever I could to help him feel better.  To me, to think he felt bad, rejected, sad, down, frustrated, worried... .I don't know, I would feel what he felt and I'd do whatever was in my power to at least support him.

I'm tearing up now just writing that because I know he did NOT feel the same way towards me.  I don't know if it was 'me' or his capabilities.

I don't want to value judge because maybe it is not natural for everyone to feel compassion towards people they care about? I just feel like that doesn't really compute for me

Well... .I guess I could say that compassion is a symptom of codependency and maybe not such a 'good' thing.  But Wikipedia has me thinking we are all angels here--according to those sources, the ability to have compassion is one of the highest virtures (?), so I think I'll go with Wikipedia Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)     

[bCompassion is the virtue of empathy for the suffering of others. It is regarded as a fundamental part of human love, and a cornerstone of greater social interconnection and humanism —foundational to the highest principles in philosophy, society, and personhood.

Compassion is often regarded as emotional in nature, and there is an aspect of compassion which regards a quantitative dimension, such that individual's compassion is often given a property of "depth," "vigour," or "passion." The etymology of "compassion" is Latin, meaning "co-suffering." More virtuous than simple empathy, compassion commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another's suffering. It is often, though not inevitably, the key component in what manifests in the social context as altruism. In ethical terms, the various expressions down the ages of the so-called Golden Rule embody by implication the principle of compassion: Do to others what you would have them do to you.[1]The English noun compassion, meaning to suffer together with, comes from the Latin. Its prefix com- comes directly from com, an archaic version of the Latin preposition and affix cum (= with); the -passion segment is derived from passus, past participle of the deponent verb patior, patī, passus sum. Compassion is thus related in origin, form and meaning to the English noun patient (= one who suffers), from patiens, present participle of the same patior, and is akin to the Greek verb πάσχειν (= paskhein, to suffer) and to its cognate noun πάθος (= pathos).[2][3] Ranked a great virtue in numerous philosophies, compassion is considered in almost all the major religious traditions as among the greatest of virtues.

][/b]



As another post script... .NO, my exBPD did NOT show or experience compassion with me... .his 'greatest love'.
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doubleAries
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« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2012, 12:02:43 AM »

My husband and I are recently seperated (16 year marriage, 18 year total relationship). He is diagnosed bipolar 1 with ASPD and NPD.

here's one of my many examples, and what I have gotten from it:

2 years ago, I had to have a hysterectomy. This is a major surgery, and I was pretty scared. Both H and I are volunteer firefighters, and on our way to the hospital for the surgery (I had to ask him to drive me because he didn't think of that) he forgot something and had to go back. What he forgot was his fire dept pager and radio. I couldn't believe it. I said "what are you doing?" and he replied ":)UH! getting my fire dept pager and radio!" and I said "so, what--if there's a fire call are you going to dump me on the side of the road to hitchhike to the hospital while you respond to someone elses emergency? Leave me at the hospital by myself?" he just gave me a dirty look. This year, that situation got brought up again. I tried to exxplain to him how much that hurt and why, that it seemed like I was pretty unimportant to him. His response? "I think the real problem here is that you can't deal with it if you aren't the center of attention."

Wha... .? That's so mind boggling I didn't even know how to respond! That statement to me was even more callous than the original hurtful issue.

Many, many crappy things like this over this long period of marriage have caused me to build up a pretty deep well of unresolved anger and resentment. But recently, this was relieved. How? Talking with my T (who is also stbx's T) I explained to him how resentful it made me feel that H was so cold and indifferent to me. When he calls his old college friends, he's warm, effusive, talkative, friendly, happy. As soon as he hangs up, he's cold and indifferent, can't think of anything to say to me (ever). So T says "let me ask you something... .how often does he call these old college friends?" The lightbulb started to go off already. He calls them less than once a year. Then T points out "and he thinks these are very close friendships, doesn't he?" Yes--yes he does. T asked me "do you have close friends? Do you talk to them more often than that?" Yes, of course. Then he says what is starting to dawn on me by then: that H is capable of imitating social interaction--and even occasionally actually feeling it--but only irregularly. In fact, not very often at all. But intimate relationships require genuine and sincere emotional interaction--every day. H is not capable of that. he's not just being rude or callous or mean. He is NOT CAPABLE of genuine and sincere emotional interaction.

Realizing the truth of this rolled the load off my shoulders. It's true--he CAN'T do it. Sure, the bipolar makes it a bit different than just regular old BPD, but not that much. The bipolar makes him more withdrawn, but the PD's make him incapable of genuine and sincere emotional interaction that is required for a healthy intimate relationship. This actually kind of put the onus back on me--what exactly am I doing trying to have a (long term!) relationship with someone incapable of adult emotional interaction? And how much "good" has it done me to be angry and resentful at him for being incapable?

Bipolars can be more withdrawn because of the depression. But BPD's (any PD's really) have overwhelming and immature emotions. And what makes it BPD to begin with is their refusal to admit that--they project it onto someone else instead in order to preserve their fragile and immature self image (at ANY cost). A very young child is not capable of sympathising with your adult situations and need for genuine and sincere support. If they can even acknowledge it at all, it's only in terms of how it effects themselves--they get scared and cry and you end up having to support them. How is this much different than a BPD? Some of them are emotionally immature at the level of, say, a teenager. But many are emotionally immature to the level of a very young child. And what would be the point of being angry at a young child for not being supportive of your emotional needs? I'm not making up excuses for the BPD's behavior--it is, after all, their responsibility to grow and mature like the rest of us. But they aren't going to. Period. Take it or leave it.

It was freeing for me to understand this. Yes, I chose to "leave it" rather than "take it" (well, after 18 years anyway). Understanding it doesn't mean we excuse it.
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« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2012, 04:22:47 AM »

never, it was one way traffic full of endless dramas & confrontations going on in his life  under discussion&me providing endless support over. we are surrogate mothers to them its tedious and horrific to be forced into the role awaiting ur turn to voice ur needs which never comes
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« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2012, 11:29:06 AM »

TemptingFate - How awesome to get quoted!  Thanks for starting this thread!

And thank you for including definitions of compassion.  It really makes you think, doesn't it?  Not only to feel empathy, but inspires a desire to alleviate it... .

My exNPDbf and exBPDbf are both very charming guys.  Very social, have a large social network,and their work depends on that - they are both self-employed.  They have ONE presentation to their friends and associates.  They both have crummy childhoods with themes of abandonment and neglect by both parents.  When it came to being there for me, they both disappeared.  Like DoubleAries expressed, it is their intimate relationship that was difficult for them to manage.  I tried to appeal to their compassion, but to no avail.  To have either the silent treatment (exBPD) or cold face (exNPD) stare back at you is devastating.

Does anyone here know who John Gottman is?  Author, psychologist.  My sister told me he says that what determines a happy relationship where both parties are satisfied, is how often "bids for affection" are met.  Bids for affection can be something big, like supporting someone through grad school... .or something small, like responding to a glance or a hug... or in-between, like being present and engaged during their partner's birthday.  Anyway, if there is a high degree to which bids for affection are met in the relationship, both parties feel happy and satisfied, and will likely have a long, stable relationship.  If not, one or both parties will be unhappy, more likely leading to a separation.

Here is a link that gives a summary - www.passion101.com/blog/2011/04/do-you-turn-towards-turn-away-or-turn-against/

When she told me this, years ago, I started thinking about it.  I had been raised to not cause any trouble, do good in school, follow the rules.  My mom is asian and my dad is american, so there is definitely that submissive, Husband makes the rules and wife and kids follow and serve him, situation.  

By the time I found my counselor in 2004, I didn't even realize that I was a doormat.  It was so a part of me, that I didn't see it.  I was a very good co-dependant, and highly tuned to the moods and needs of my SO, and others in my environment.  When my needs, which were few!, didn't get met... I made excuses in my mind.  Focused on the sweet things that my SO did, like TemptingFate, and thought that meant they cared about me.  That I could infer that if I REALLY needed them, they would be there... .

I have come to see that that isn't true.  I think what John Gottman says is very true.  I have now started to raise my bottom line - when I call my bf, does he call me back? or is it - I will if I feel like it... .When I have something to talk about, is he engaged with me?  Is there a real change that happens as a result of the talk?... .When I'm sick, does he want to come and spend time with me?  Offer to bring food?  Or does he say, Oh, you're sick... .I don't want to get sick... .see ya in a few days... .

My exBPD was so charming and sweet, good about initiating contact and returning it.  It wasn't until he turned me Black that it all changed.  So, I think, the honeymoon period is just that.  What is the person like a year into the relationship?

When I was in yoga class the other day, they played this mantra - Bhaja Govinda.  It was so lovely, that when I got home, I did an internet search to see if I could find out anything about it.  Apparently, it is a very old and popular mantra.  One interpretation of the mantra is this:

"When intelligence matures and lodges securely in the heart, it becomes wisdom. When that wisdom is integrated with life and issues out in action, it becomes devotion. May we all live with the heart of devotion."  

I think compassion is a sister to devotion.  I think about that first part, "when intelligence matures and lodges securely in the heart".  This seems to be a difficult part with BPD... .
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« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2012, 11:40:54 AM »

The further out I get, the more I see those little gestures were just kind of snigglets to do what had to be done to keep up a pretense of caring... .to keep me around, to make me think he cared.  Some of those... the hair clips, or diet cokes in the mornign from McD's, an OCCASIONAL nice dinner out... .was just some sort of pretense.  ... .there was a payoff to him, either implicit or explicit.

I think of some of that stuff as almost emotional blackmail. Doing just enough nice things so that you'll stick around a little longer.  Paying you in word/deed/material thing to think that they really did care... .going through the motions of a real relationship... .cuz otherwise, lets face it, if they treated us horribly most of the time and never did anything nice at all even WE, the dug in committed ones would leave.

THIS.

I always had the intrinsic feeling that the ex was motivated to do a few nice things to give the appearance of being reciprocal and caring. His actions certainly never felt authentic, heartfelt, genuine or sincere. Whenever he did something for me it felt more like an empty "fill in the blank" dubious gesture. His motivation to display kindness always felt like it was about him and driven by his need to appear caring. But we all know that glib superficial charm doesn't hold up well in the long run. I don't believe he's a heartless bhit; just phony to the nines. I now understand it's the disorder of their narcissism and stunted child thinking. How can they really ever be there for you when how they relate to others is really all about them: their needs, their wants, their emptiness... .and objectifying you to serve their needs?

Make no bones about it the relationship was never about mature adult reciprocity. It is structured & designed to be lopsided. If they are true BPD it's about you meeting their needs and fulfilling their emptiness. You're the replacement caretaker, you're the surrogate parent, you're the one who's supposed to unconditionally love them when they act out, you're the perfect no questions asked provider, you're the one doing cart wheels through a circus ring on fire to make them happy, you're the one in essence that needs to be controlled while we do their bidding.  In the meantime we shrink & shirk our needs until we realize how ridiculous we're being to ourselves. We're hurting because we want them to do something that we aren't aware that they aren't capable of doing. It's painful to us that they don't get it. It feels intentional, malicious. The selfishness and self-centeredness is incomprehensible.

When we begin to rebuff or start scratching our heads at the imbalance is when World War Six breaks out. The cheating, the triangulation (read definition), the silent treatment all because we dare to desire some reciprocity. Boy they sure do know how to punish don't they. Smiling (click to insert in post)

They cannot be there for you because they're disordered. It isn't personal. Anyone's who's close will get the same treatment. My ex couldn't be there for me because he was incapable of seeing the world beyond his own nose.

Spell

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« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2012, 02:18:35 PM »

Not very often.  Of course, she needed help more than I did.  While in joyful limbo, I asked her to help me with something.  Mostly because she's very thorough but later I understood it as my test.  Weeks went by with it just sitting on her desk.  During a more detailed conversation, she referenced my rarely expressing my own needs.  She had a point for sure.  However, I pointed to this one thing as a smaller example of a larger point.  When we got home, she did it and did it extremely well, which is why I asked in the first place. 

That's just it.  If they were able to consistently deliver, well, few of us would be here right now.
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« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2012, 02:24:46 PM »

I have to say, this is one of those threads that triggered me. So many examples came to mind, it was startling. This stuff goes in there pretty deep in my situation, and really shows where the fork in the road was. Was she 'there' for me? Was she even THERE? The last time she and I were still together, I cried to her about how she wasn't. Seeing her lack of concern, and coldness, while she denied intentionally hurting me, minutes after having admitted she had done that very thing, was the lightbulb going off for the thousandth time and the light was so intense I staggered away into NC.

Thinking back to last Christmas, and a few other times as well, yes, she gave some wonderful thoughtful and personal gifts. It would make me think she really knew me, really cared. Spending all that time to find the proper present? Who wouldn't appreciate that? Then I'd think, spending all that time on stuff that two seconds later didn't mean anything to her, the sentiments washed away in bouts of yelling and put-downs, withholdings of affection, when she could have spent some time bettering herself and really working on helping our relationship, which would have lasted longer and been a better 'gift'... .I'm not saying this very well. Could write a million word essay about this and it still would barely scratch the surface. TOO much evidence. Case closed.

Bleh.   I don't even want to write about it. Had to walk away from the computer last night to get away from this subject (guess what? It followed me). It's a great one to discuss, there's so much to it and so many of us can relate, but     it gets in there to where it really all broke off and, yeah, she wasn't really there for me or my feelings. Still isn't, and looks like she never will. All those times she had me proving myself to her (I went along with it), for US, and it all comes down to it's really just about her? Disorder or not, how you treat people is how you treat people, and that's on you. Buying gifts to cover up the emptiness and pain is just that, a cover-up, and that's not what a healthy relationship is made of. We're better off being here for Ourselves.
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« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2012, 02:45:29 PM »

On my god what a perfect post.  My BPD wife leaves me, no notice sends divorce paperwork no notice.  I pay her car payment, I assume she has it set up for our joint account, I am on the lien, she is not working, I was going to pay the car payment until she was anyways; why would I think she would set it up to her personal bank account.  So when the fiancé company told me they could not take payment from my personal account, but that there was an account already set up; I said sure take it.  We were late.  Her translation:  i set up an illegal account and now she can't trust me.  I am on the lien, I am paying the bill what the. ----from there is just got worst her final text back in Oct.  keep in mind she had already left and sent divorce papers with NO notice; no phone conversation, only mandated texts.  She states "every time you go into one of my accounts you push me farther and farther away, I would have had a conversation with you if you were not so controlling; you have destroyed everything, please do not contact me unless I initiate."  That was on Oct. 19th my response was directed by my therapist:  I will honor all your requests and I am sorry" we are now done, settlement signed.  I took the girl to France we had a 10 bedroom chateau to ourselves we saw Paris, but for the whole honeymoon, she was a spectator.  I would drive 9 hrs to some city, I would be grumpy, and all I got is look how I treat her.  How at times I just wanted her to put her arms around me and tell me let's not drive so far, you are trying to do to much.  But screw me I guess that was my job, I am not allowed to expect anything from her.  Amazing how over a 12 month period I was brainwashed into thinking give give give and be because I would do it imperfectly, I would get a little more than a passionate love making under shooting stars.  That is not why I married her, but that is what I settled for.  God please put me in a place moving forward where I see I am worth more... .
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« Reply #16 on: December 24, 2012, 02:45:57 PM »

In retrospect, rarely. Someone should have slapped me when I uttered, "she treats me to things and I look after her emotionally".

When I went through the traumatic experience of telling my family, that at 29 I now had a girlfriend and I was in love, she was nowhere to be seen. In fact that very night she was gallivanting around London with her brother, still firmly stuck in the closet. She was the 'gay' one after all!  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)  I text her to say I'd done it, and what relief I felt, and call me ASAP. Did she? No. It was late and I'll call you tomorrow. I'd gone through this terrifying, life-changing experience, for her, for us, and she was nowhere to be seen. She couldn't call me because her brother couldn't know who I was. All I wanted that night was to speak to her, to hear her voice but she didn't care. Had it been the other way around I'd have done everything I could have to be there for her and support her.

So was she there for me? Never. I don't think she asked how I was the entire time we were together. I was sold so easily with words. It's been a real lesson for me.

Here's to a happy and healthy 2013. This place has been my lifesaver  
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« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2012, 05:32:28 PM »

doublearies & BPDspell brilliant posts. uve really helped me see the futility of wondering how my BPD was soo callous he wasnt he just isnt capable of being there for anyone. thanks guys, even though i know this how u guys have said it has hammered it home - best xmas pressie this year - cheers Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #18 on: December 24, 2012, 07:46:50 PM »

It does seem worth saying that we can't have it both ways. We can't say the BPD's are completely and utterly self centered, and at the same time, say they are plotting out these ways to hurt us. Just because we are hurt doesn't mean it was a thought out intentional act on their part. Especially since they're so self centered.

What supposedly makes us different is the capability of insight and introspection. We must remember that and utilize that tool as much as possible. Because there is another part to this story. I have many, many, many examples (18 years is a long time) of him not being there for me--in big ways or small ones. But the other part of this story is WHY DID I CONTINUE ON? Why did I keep trying to make a relationship (genuine and sincere emotional interaction) where none existed? THAT'S the only part of this movie I can change or do something about.

By it's very nature, self centeredness rules out calculating hurtfulness. After all, it is the flippant disregard for ourselves that is so hurtful to us, is it not? The lack of mutuality. Yes, they can imitate at times this sincere emotional interaction. But in the end, it is our own wish to believe, our own attraction to fairy tale, that betrays us. We ignore the red flags. We overlook the warning signs. We Justify, Argue, Defend and Explain them and ourselves. Then we are surprised and hurt when the truth finally slaps us into embarrassed reality. Again--no excuses for the BPD's. But personally I'm am sick of repeating this pattern over and over, continuing to find myself attracted to emotionally unavailable/incapable people. That means I have to change something about myself.

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« Reply #19 on: December 24, 2012, 09:12:04 PM »

My ex finally broke down and initiated contact with me today. He was feeling very sorry for himself and very lonely, and not just because today is Christmas Eve. Today is also the one year anniversary of the death of his father in law, so everyone's attention is on his wife, and his son, and his mother in law. No one is paying attention to him. Just wow. My response to him was brief and polite, and did not invite more contact. He tried to start something else with me later, but I just ignored him.

No, he was rarely there when I needed him. And he is apparently unable to be there for his wife on a very traumatic day for her.
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« Reply #20 on: December 24, 2012, 10:08:20 PM »

Ouch, Blessed, that is a really depressing interaction to have to deal with on this day.

And it is a certainly a test to you because although you feel for him and his situation deeply, you also see what it is about... .and you are trying to now give yourself a gift by being understanding, but not compromising yourself.

Kudos to you! This has and is a real test, a complicated one.  So far you have been graceful to him... .without (and I'm sorry for the directness)... .without accepting the role of emotional tampon.

You should be proud of yourself, you acknowledged him and his feelings as a human... .which is undoubtedly more than he would have given you if the shoe were on the other foot.

Please try to relax and enjoy the last bits of 2012...
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« Reply #21 on: December 25, 2012, 01:09:26 PM »

"When intelligence matures and lodges securely in the heart, it becomes wisdom. When that wisdom is integrated with life and issues out in action, it becomes devotion. May we all live with the heart of devotion."

I love, love, love this! If your natural ability of empathy is not present the rest just short circuits.

I think my exBPDgf had a powerful desire to be there for me but never was. Like everyone else here my problems were totally eclipsed by the sheer quantity and frequency of her issues and her need to pull me into them. However she made many heartfelt statements about wanting to be there for me on my deathbed (my health is fine) and wanting to be the one I called if ever in trouble and so on.

Instead of being there she impeded my ability to naturally process my own emotions in a healthy way (understatement). She saw a moment of extreme emotional vulnerability in me, and then she brought the full power of her emotional manipulation to bear. Upon reflection I am unable to conclude what her level of consciousness is at any given time but it is undeniable that she attempted to inflect grave emotional harm on me at the time she perceived me to be the most vulnerable and easy to harm. I have learned not to project intentions on her actions, malice of forethought, but it is logically certain that she knew I was vulnerable and her actions and words were, in timing and content, as harmful and injurious as they could have been under the circumstances.

So was she ever really there for me? No she was not.

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« Reply #22 on: December 25, 2012, 11:36:37 PM »

BlueHorizon - I have had a couple ex's tell me some good stories and make promises about how they were going to be there, but surprise surprise, it's a lot easier to say those things than to do them!  Sure, there can be sincere thought behind it, an impulse of empathy, but the action was sorely missing.  Like TF said, compassion is empathy plus inspired action to alleviate the suffering.

When I look back and evaluate my ex's on this, I think to myself, how much were they behind what they said?  20%? 95%? 5%?... . Literally, with the disordered ones, the answer was 5%.  The proof is in the pudding, so to speak.  I'm not seeing any pudding... . 

So, the one ex I'm thinking of right now, who was an NPD, stepped up and promised me he'd be there at 3 really important points in our 1.5 year relationship.  He held my hand, looked me in the eyes... .I thought, Wow!  I finally got a great guy...  At these three points I didn't ask him to step up, he offered!  And guess what?  At each point, that's when he turned his back on me.  The second time it happened, we were supposed to be getting back together.  Instead of meeting me, he hooked up with a woman he knew, who was 14 years younger than he was, and whisked her off to a overnight at the beach and then for a night at his house.  Ugh.  I can't tell you how sick this made me.  He didn't even have the decency to call me back when I asked, where are you?  I thought we were getting together tonight... .".  

It really just blows your mind.  Set you up just to drop you.  My exBPDbf did this sort of thing to me as well, after he turned me black.  

My other boyfriends were not disordered, they were NPD's or non-PD's, probably had 70-95% behind what they promised me.  

It's amazing how good they can fake you out.  How it can seem so real.  But the consistency, integrity, and COMPASSION seems to be in low supply.  

And the only way you find out, is that when you think they're going to be there, they're not!  So, you buy their excuses or make up some of your own.  And then it happens again... .and again... .and finally you start to see that there's a pattern...

I'm not thinking that pattern's gonna change any time soon.  I think, sure, she wanted to be there for you.  As long as it wasn't going to be any trouble.  And as long as it meant you could still focus 100% on her... .

So sorry about your dog, btw!
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Tausk
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« Reply #23 on: December 26, 2012, 12:33:58 AM »

It's the combination of the mirroring and being lost in the interaction that fooled me.  Since I was mirrored and then lost, I assumed that my ex would process in a similar manner as me.  that compassion and support and empathy would be second nature.  And in the beginning there were what seemed to be moments or real support.  But I realize now it was part of the script.

My ex was a terrified three year old in the prison of a living nightmare.  Empathy, compassion, support were never developed in her.  

I remember during one argument when I was sick with a cold, I said that I wish that I had a partner who might want to take care of me when I was ill rather then feel insecure and need to get into an argument with me.  She just sat there and looked at me, with what is sometimes described as a "reptilian stare."  At the time time I thought she was being defiant in a manner stating... ."I will not take care of you no matter if you argue or even if I should do it."  

What I understand now is that the stare was due to the fact that she didn't have it within her capacity to want to take care of me when I was sick.  All she could do was feel insecure and need reassurance.  It wasn't that she wouldn't take care of me at that moment, she couldn't.  It's the same as asking a scared two year old to think about you, instead of herself when she is in a moment of terror.  NOT possible.

I now know that it was the same thought process that kept her from supporting me when other family members were ill and needed my support,  or when i was emotionally stressed and wanted her to sacrifice and support me.  

But i was never a victim and it was never her fault.  It would be like asking an autistic child to support me during times of emotional crisis or stress.

in my arrogance,  although i didn't really understand what was happening, I thought i did and didn't look for other answers that might have made things better.



So in the end it was me who didn't support her during these times, because it was me asking more from her than she could provide and then becoming upset when she didn't provide the requested support.

And in the end, I hurt her more by asking more than she could give and making her feel shame and confusion when she couldn't provide.


The question is why did I end up in such an interaction, why did continually accept less than I wanted, why did I think I could change what could be offered me, and why did I stay around.

I was never a victim.  I was the one supposedly without the disorder.   I was the supposedly knowing "adult".  

Yet in the end, it was me who selfishly asked for more than could be provided.

in self honestly

SP
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« Reply #24 on: December 26, 2012, 12:54:57 AM »

I completely agree with you, SP.  I look back at some of those things and ask, how and why did I stay in those relationships for so long?  And the pain that I still felt years after it was over.  Why did it take so long to heal?  Such good questions.

"3yo in the  prison of a living nightmare"... It is hard to imagine what this feels like from their point of view.  My exBPDbf attempted suicide by shooting himself in the chest.  It was not a call for help.  It was meant to be the end.  I really feel like it was divine intervention that he survived.

Having had suicidal thoughts in the past, but never the intention to go through with it, I can only imagine how bad he must feel.  I wouldn't wish how I felt on anyone.  I waited, minute by excruciating minute sometimes, for night to come so I could fall asleep and have some peace... . 

My exBPDbf said that before that event, he tried to talk to people and reach out to them, but he ended up just feeling alone.  How SAD is that?  

And when true affection, regardless of what the outcome of the relationship was going to be, was offered to him, he couldn't accept it.  He couldn't just sit there and soak up the warmth or the connection.  Instead he just ran to be alone, again.
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« Reply #25 on: December 26, 2012, 11:42:02 AM »

HT,

"sure, she wanted to be there for you.  As long as it wasn't going to be any trouble.  And as long as it meant you could still focus 100% on her... "   exactly, thank you.

SP,

"And in the end, I hurt her more by asking more than she could give and making her feel shame and confusion when she couldn't provide."

That is some deep, hard truth.  I'm struggling to understand the implications of this.  It seems it's often the case where it's not so much me asking anything of her however but the situation calls for her action and she knows it and she wants to be or believes she is able to be there for me, or anyone.  Or perhaps she is mirroring me, she mirrors what she knows I would do but the mirror is unable to reflect emotional support and there is a breakdown.  She lives with great guilt over not being there for her children having been somewhat estranged*.  It would follow that being there would be a strong trigger in the rs.  I'm seeing some new connections here that may take time to sort.  It's complex.

I marvel at the powerful minds on this forum.
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Tausk
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« Reply #26 on: December 26, 2012, 04:01:22 PM »

 It seems it's often the case where it's not so much me asking anything of her however but the situation calls for her action and she knows it and she wants to be or believes she is able to be there for me, or anyone.  Or perhaps she is mirroring me, she mirrors what she knows I would do but the mirror is unable to reflect emotional support and there is a breakdown.  She lives with great guilt over not being there for her children having been somewhat estranged*.  It would follow that being there would be a strong trigger in the rs.  I'm seeing some new connections here that may take time to sort.  It's complex.

BH:  Poster '2010' has stated that pwBPD don't feel guilt as much as shame.  Guilt is how we feel about our actions, Shame is how we feel about ourselves.  Guilt is a higher order function that also implies the ability for self reflection, self awareness and self responsibility.  These functions may not be found in a pwBPD.  I know that my ex didn't have them.  It's not that she didn't know the difference between right and wrong, and it's not that she didn't want to do the right thing, but she didn't have the capacity, in her current state of mind, to actually carry out the actions of a responsible adult.

All she could do under duress was survival behavior that was in essence the selfish acts of a terrified three year old.  And in the end, she felt shame about herself, but not guilt about her actions.  Subtle but very important difference.  And just as importantly, without guilt and remorse, there can not be the insight or awareness for change.  And nothing ever changed with my ex.  The same transgressions occurred over and over.

But this fact, doesn't mean that my ex's actions were acceptable or right.  It doesn't mean that I forgive her, because she hasn't asked forgiveness. It doesn't mean that i will ever accept such a lack of respect or awareness of my needs or boundaries again.  

It means that I have to look at why I did not really understand the actual dynamics of my interaction with my ex, why I accepted so much a loss of self respect, and why I ended up participating in such a toxic interaction.

And then to realize that I deserve better because, I did the work and am a better person for having done the work.  

And to have compassion for my ex, because she's still the same.

in peace

SP
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« Reply #27 on: December 26, 2012, 05:30:58 PM »

SP, roger 100% on the guilt and shame.  She mimicked those abilities and transposed those words until now I'm transposing them.  It is an important distinction and it takes a subtle mind mind to Know it.  Guilt is a state of consciousness or understanding necessitating correction or intention, and shame is an emotional state which in this case leads to error since there is nowhere for it to go.  Guilt is a processing of shame and may lead to forgiveness, compassion or resolution.  Conciousness and awareness of self lead to intention and action.  Emotional states are experienced and we choose (or not) how they influence higher order consciousness, or the meaning they will have in the story of our lives.  My ex did lack certain higher order functions, in stark way I discovered.  I tried to study this in real time during the rs but it's hard to be a scientist in a war zone.  Particularly remorse and empathy were absent thus repeating the same offenses also. 

I could catalogue many more but the best understanding will come when I can distill it down to a single universal concept.  I think it may be self-consciousness.  (aha moment here)  All the traits that rely on sophisticated self-consciousness or self-awareness perhaps would be absent.  The first leap in higher order self-consciousness after infancy I believe occurs around 7 yrs with another around 14 yrs.  It may be interesting to explore what traits are dependant on this level of self-consciousness and hold them up against the BPD profile.  It helps me understand the incomprehensible-ness of BPD. I'm just brainstorming a little.

As for my choices to stay, I know why I said I was doing it and what I told myself to allow something that was otherwise intollerable.  I still need to explore the deeper implications though.  There is a self-image thing there I think that I'm having difficulty unpacking.

Gratitude.
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« Reply #28 on: December 26, 2012, 05:41:48 PM »

This discussion breaks my heart in two.

My bf has been very supportive, compassionate, and extremely selfless in regards to being there for me... .That's what makes things so bitter sweet... .He has been my best friend, my Allie, even my rescuer... .But... .And it's a big but, it doesn't take away all the bad stuff... .No need to elaborate on the bad stuff as we all have our own miriade of stories.

It just breaks my heart because part of him is more than I could ever want or imagine in a partner, but then there's always that damn BPD behavior.
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« Reply #29 on: December 26, 2012, 07:28:26 PM »

This discussion breaks my heart in two.

My bf has been very supportive, compassionate, and extremely selfless in regards to being there for me... .That's what makes things so bitter sweet... .He has been my best friend, my Allie, even my rescuer... .But... .And it's a big but, it doesn't take away all the bad stuff... .No need to elaborate on the bad stuff as we all have our own miriade of stories.

It just breaks my heart because part of him is more than I could ever want or imagine in a partner, but then there's always that damn BPD behavior.

Same here really, my exgf was everything I had ever wanted (or at first appeared to be). My exgf was sometimes great at the little things - she always wanted to spoil me and take me to dinner. That was her way of showing me she cared. After I came back from a hardcore week of snowboarding she wanted to look after me and ran me a radox bath so I could relax while she cooked. When she wasn't triggered she was so great at the little things. BUT emotionally supportive, in the way I needed her as a partner? ... .very very rarely. I'm sure she tried but she just couldn't do it. She didn't know how to support me in a mutual way. I'm an illustrator and when I had deadlines and was feeling stressed she would have no understanding of what I was feeling. She couldn't understand how I had needs too. She couldn't understand why I felt uneasy with her constantly texting/emailing/skyping exes. She was great in so many ways, but like you said, if only it wasn't for the small issue of BPD.
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