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Before you can make things better, you have to stop making them worse... Have you considered that being critical, judgmental, or invalidating toward the other parent, no matter what she or he just did will only make matters worse? Someone has to be do something. This means finding the motivation to stop making things worse, learning how to interrupt your own negative responses, body language, facial expressions, voice tone, and learning how to inhibit your urges to do things that you later realize are contributing to the tensions.
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Author Topic: My ex had nightmares, sleep paralysis, and panic attacks  (Read 13922 times)
whatathing
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« on: February 24, 2013, 09:29:19 PM »

Is this common in BPD? She had nightmares every week, sleep paralysis often (being awake while your body is asleep, and feeling trapped and in agony because of it), lucid dreams every night. She also had panick attacks, extreme anxiety, and when in crisis, couldn´t eat, began vomiting and throwing up, almost like anorexia or bulimia, but without the image or control worries, only because of the anxiety.

Any comments on this?
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WT
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2013, 10:49:08 PM »

My ex was a very frequent dreamer, but I don't think that she usually had nightmares.  She did say that she had sleep paralysis every once in a while, and there were two incidents where I observed her sleep talking and sleepwalking.

The sleep talking incident was when she was asleep on the bed while I was watching TV with my back to her.  Suddenly, I hear her talking behind me and although she was saying real words, they were just random words strung together.  I turned to look at her and she was looking back at me as if she was awake, but she started saying more incoherent sentences.  I told her that I couldn't understand what she was saying, and she frowned, gave a frustrated sigh, and fell back asleep.  She later said that she remembered our "conversation" but she thought it was a dream, and that it was her that couldn't understand what I was saying.

The sleepwalking incident was a little more scary in that something bad could've happened.  I was sleeping and then the sound of the door unlocking woke me up (we lived in a studio apartment).  I looked at the door and saw my ex with her hand on the doorknob, and I asked her what she was doing.  It was at this point that she said that she woke up and didn't know why she was at the door.  She came back to bed and said that she didn't even remember getting up.
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struggli
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2013, 10:50:18 PM »

I don't know if it falls into BPD criteria or not.  We'd have to pull up the DSM criteria to check it out.

However, my ex had night terrors and panic attacks, yes.  They seemed to fade over time.  She also had to leave work a few times at the beginning of our relationship due to illness.  I'd feed her and watch a movie with her and she'd be ok.

She explained weird things like feeling pressure pushing inward all over her whole body on rare occasions.  Or have restless legs syndrome.

Sounds more like PTSD or something else to me.

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Iced
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2013, 11:14:40 PM »

BPD, in my honest opinion, after looking at so many pwBPD's backgrounds, IS similar to something like PTSD.

Trauma inflicted at some point, which carries over into their adult life and permeates it to the point of suffocating non-trauma responses and reactions and feelings.

Child abuse, ANY abuse (verbal, physical, psychological, I don't care), loss and unable to healthily cope with grieving, etc.

People develop phobias because they were usually traumatized by something related to the phobia in the past.  Think of Batman and Bruce Wayne and falling into the well and the bats.

Heck, I'll share my own experience... .  with the details blanked out for privacy sake.

I have a stupidly irrational phobia of [insert thing here] and [insert another thing here] - so stupid that - once upon a time - I would willingly and without a second thought walk around an entire city block just to avoid running into either or situation.  It wasn't until I was older and 'logical' enough to stand back, look at the situation in a third person perspective, that I could analyze why I had such a reaction.

Basically, as a toddler, I had accidentally gotten myself into a not-so-great situation with a perfect stranger - someone who typically would be thought of as someone safe for a young child to approach (and no, not a caregiver) - and though I knew not how to vocalize it at the time, I was terrified of them and the situation at hand.  Nothing 'bad' happened, per se, but the incident terrified me nonetheless (confirmed by both my own memories and my parents' observations at that time) and so without me knowing, I later associated that sort of person and that sort of situation with 'something bad is going to happen!' and it developed into full blown phobia.

It doesn't affect my normal day to day life because I'm smart enough to simply avoid such situations and thankfully, the phobia is 'out there' enough that avoidance is super easy, but sometimes - especially when I'm feeling bogged down with ruminations and not feeling so hot, if I encounter that situation, I will still tend towards 'fight or flight' and panic - badly.

That said, so why would a body NOT develop a defense mechanism in regards to dealing with people which were - once upon a time - related to what traumatized them?

"I HATE YOU! LEAVE ME ALONE!" seems perfectly reasonable in a way if this is being screamed at to someone who is abusive and isn't stopping the abuse.

"BUT PLEASE COME BACK!" also seems perfectly reasonable in a way if this is being screamed out in response to trauma experienced over neglect (and abuse) and are unreasonably and irrationally (to people who are not in their shoes) terrified at being 'abandoned' or 'neglected' once again.

This doesn't excuse the behavior or make it right; I'm just saying that if we look at the reactions as a result of trauma, it... .  makes sense.  A LOT.

But this also means, then, that help NEEDS to come from a professional, compassionate, and gentle-but-firm approach... .  and from someone who isn't going to - one way or another - internalize what the traumatized person is raging on about.

I tried to be at least a friend who could - with the help of boundaries - simply 'be there for them', but in the end, I succumbed to my own lack of proper boundaries and couldn't prevent myself from internalizing the rage and then experiencing resentment at the 'unfairness' of the rage.  In the end, I in a way in the process of everything, 'forgot' they had 'BPD' and then realized that I was not well-equipped enough to sincerely be there for them without 'losing myself' in the process - something that would neither help them nor me.
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whatathing
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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2013, 09:41:18 AM »

Yes, I also think it has many similarities with PTSD. I can´t figure out exactly the meaning of my ex´s somatic expressions. The vomiting episodes were ver similar to a danger situation reaction, the body contracts, the stomach doesn´t accept food becaus the parasympathetic nervous system prepared to a flee or freeze reaction... .  but it also has something very neurotic about it, because it´s a complexe mechanism which involved a great fear, negative expectations, a sense of no control, bot being able to self regulate... .  

And the sleep and dream pattern, it seems almost psychotic, she had many dreams about houses with many divisions, and it were always very vivid and intense, and long, every night. But this could be also a side effect of a major depression she had, or of the medicines she took.

What I would like to know is if she had something else besides BPD, or it this is typical in BPD.

Thank you all
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