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Author Topic: 03. Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist - Margalis Fjelstad, PhD, LMFT  (Read 47251 times)
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« on: June 20, 2013, 06:31:09 AM »

Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist
Author: Margalis Fjelstad, PhD, LMFT
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (February 7, 2013)
Paperback: 190 pages
ISBN-10: 144222018X
ISBN-13: 978-1442220188





About the Book
I came across a very helpful book which focuses much more on the person involved with NPD/BPDs rather than the pwPD.
It identifies a range of emotions, behavior and thought distortions that trap a person into a care-taking role. If you are stuck with a pwNPD/BPD and have tried various strategies to dislodge you will instantly identify with the various types of care-taking the author has identified. Please do read a sample on amazon and go through the table contents to decide for yourself.

I am not related to the author in anyway. But have been going through A LOT of books for two years to make sense of a lot of things I am facing. This book is being really helpful.
 
About the Author
Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D., LMFT, has a private psychotherapy practice in Ft. Collins, CO, specializing in work with clients who are in relationship to someone who has borderline or narcissistic personality disorder, and she facilitates groups on Caretaker recovery. She has previously been an Adjunct Faculty member at Regis University in Colorado Springs and at California State University in Sacramento.
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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2013, 09:23:39 PM »

Thank you soo much!  This book looks GREAT!

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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2013, 06:38:29 AM »

The preview PDF of chapter one seems to give a good concise overview of the personality traits.

www.books.google.com/books?id=aciFU9rNt84C&pg=PA1&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=2#v=onepage&q&f=false

It would be interesting to get the opinions of anyone who has read the entire book. Particularly on how it differentiates between BPD & NPD.
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« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2013, 10:29:55 AM »

This book got my attention. Perhaps bc it is focused on BPD and NPD. I just started to read. It is the first book about PDs since a while.  Being cool (click to insert in post)

My very first impression is: This could be a very interesting book. I will tell you more.
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« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2013, 10:05:49 AM »

I read some Amazon reviews and the link to the caregiving description.

Sounds like it may be a worthwhile read.

It is a very complex subject so I always have wonderings... .

For example, the book for obvious reasons has to identify a problem, in this case being a caregiver to a NPD or BPD type person.

Yet, often times it's folks with a narcisstic organization that  find partners with a borderline organization, because their respective styles are both compelling and volatile for each of them. I wonder if the author addresses that?

Also, if we get the book, I geuss it's cause we resonate with being "caretakers" to pwBPD or NPD (or those traits).  That's quite an us/them construction... . I am always surprised how many pwBPD or N traits do their own fair share of care-taking/walking on eggshell  type

behaviors.

If it encourages self examination and self care it certainly will be a worthwhile read.

I hope the book deals with a very complex topic is a useful manner.

Thank you for the thread!
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« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2013, 02:46:12 PM »

Thank you so much for this post.  I live about 30 minutes from where the author is located and conducts her recovery groups.  I just looked her up and found the times for her groups.  I will definitely be considering that in the future.  I had no idea these resources were available so thank you!
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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2013, 05:06:48 PM »

I bought and finished the book.  I have to say, I really enjoyed reading it (and I have read a ton of BPD books).  I wish I had started with this one (although I really enjoyed Christine Lawson's book too).

To me, this is a must read for anyone interested in learning more -- especially about themselves (caretaker).

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« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2013, 10:50:20 PM »

This is Margalis. She is a member here.


Date: Apr-2013Minutes: 4:56

Stop Caretaking the BPD or NPD | Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D., LMFT
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« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2013, 05:55:57 AM »

Wow thanks for this! I just read the pages on the link, and I think I have found myself and my exact situation.It made me cry. Definitely will be buying this, thankyou :-)
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« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2013, 11:35:16 PM »

This book focuses on "us" and "our role" in loving someone who is BPD/NPD. It turns the mirror to help us see how our behaviors and thoughts keep the dysfunction going. It  can be painful to read if you don't keep an open mind.

A great book for all caretakers to learn from.
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« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2013, 10:08:28 PM »

An excellent guide and support book - support not in the terms of giving reason to stay with the BPD/NPD but support for validating the experiences and providing insight as to the dynamics of the power play that leads up to the and sustains the push/pull and fear/obligation/guilt cycle so pervasive in these tumultuous and ultimately destructive relationships. I've  downloaded the kindle version that I'm currently devouring and know I'll be referring back to it frequently as my family and I go down this road with DS in his dealings with his uBPD wife.

This is a therapist who clearly defines the profile of the various Caretaker roles as well as the BP/NP thought processes, skewered as they are, in such a targeted and accurate manner and free from medical jargon, that a lay person can readily relate and apply to their own set of circumstances.

A must read, and a gentle, possible suggestion for those who would like and are able to consider another step as I had (if we are allowed to do so on this site): I was able to put my DS in touch with Dr. Fjelstad for a phone consultation. I'm sure hearing directly from the source and obtaining validation, coping skills and reinforcing a plan to chart his future course from a professional as equipped as Dr. Fjelstad helped provide excellent groundwork for moving forward. 

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« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2013, 11:11:24 AM »

I have not finished yet, I was too busy.

Just a taster here: She underlines the importance to change the dynamics of the Karpman triangle. Her approach to do so is the so called "caring triangle".

The actions of the persecutor ----> we start being active and assertive.

The victim role ------> we accept things like they are and make healthier choices.

The rescuer role -----> We give our SO the respect to solve his problems him/herself.

In short: Great book.  Smiling (click to insert in post)

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« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2013, 09:07:34 PM »

I just finished reading this. I'm not joking when I say that this is THE best book (or any other type of content) I've read on be topic of living with a BPD.

STUNNINGLY accurate and insightful. Not sure how old this book is, so maybe I'm just late tot the party. But wow is it worth the read. Seriously, why are you still reading his message? To buy it!
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« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2013, 09:16:43 PM »

thanks for the book info.  I have been devouring info about BPD ever since I learned about it.  I'll give this book a shot.
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« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2013, 06:03:33 PM »

Wow, I read the preview and will be ordering it today.  I already have learned several things just from the preview, the first of which is the difference between a Caretaker and a Codependent (being a Caretaker is situational to the relationship with the pwBPD/NPD as opposed to generalized with everyone in all situations).  The second is that I think my uBPDh may have some NPD going on as well.

  Daylily
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« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2013, 04:31:34 AM »

I finished it yesterday. One of the best book I read so far. It is written for "us". There is sometimes some distinction between BPD and NPD, but the focus is always who we can deal with our caretaker role.

Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)  Highly recommended. And available as e-book, which can be a advantage. 
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« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2013, 03:14:25 PM »

I agree with all of the other posters, a highly recommendable book. Very insightful!
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« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2013, 05:35:56 AM »

Personally, I've seen codependent as being more unhealthy and caretaker as more neutral. But in the book Stop caretaking the borderline or narcissist by Margalis Fjelstad (which is excellent, by the way) she classifies the caretaker as following:

"People who are overly empathetic, self-sacrificing, unassuming, deferential, more willing to put other's needs before their own, uncomfortable with conflict, generous and perfectionistic are more vulnerable to becoming a caretaker."

So by that definition, codependent and caretaker seem to be the same.

I think the most important, anyway, is to look to how we can step out of this role into something more healthy  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2013, 03:54:58 PM »

I am reading Margalis Fjelstad's book Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist (referred to above, and it's a great read if anyone's interested), and she explains the difference as being one of pervasiveness:

"Caretaking may sound a lot like codependency.  Codependency seems to be a more pervasive set of personality traits that are applied in every aspect of a person's life, including at work, in friendships, at school, in parenting, and in intimate relationships.  Codependent behaviors could be described quite similarly to those that Caretakers use.  However, most Caretakers take on this role almost exclusively inside the family and primarily only with the borderline or narcissist.  Often Caretakers are very independent, good decision makers, competent and capable on their own when not in a relationship with a borderline or narcissist."

This really hit home with me, because my behavior with my uBPDh does not occur anywhere else in my life. 

  Daylily
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« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2014, 02:22:45 PM »

I just finished reading this book.   I feel like it was written for me as every sentences was applying to my situation.   It is a strong message of hope for the caretaker personnalities that always end up with unhealthy relationships because they always give without receiving, creating an unbalanced relationship.   I found that I was so overgiving that I tend to make healthy people feel that I dont value what they can give and tend to attract needy people who needs a caretaker.   This book is the first step to my recovery, I will read it again starting tomorrow.  I highly recommend to all those who are trying to end up the relationship with BPD but are too guilty or depressed to act and break the vicious cycle.
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« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2014, 10:30:52 AM »

This book is the first step to my recovery, I will read it again starting tomorrow. 

Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

I think this is a great book for everyone, Stayers included.

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« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2014, 05:22:21 AM »



https://bpdfamily.com/content/codependency-codependent-relationships

Wow... . so... . this is me.

Now what?

And of course my argumentative self comes out... .

So... . isn't this what I've been taught as a Christian man.  Jesus sacrificed himself for the church... .   I'm supposed to "lead" my wife and my family as Jesus lead the church. 

In marriage... . two become one... . sort of violates the boundaries thing... .

So... hoping to hear from some that have worked through this.


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« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2014, 07:29:10 AM »

some of that applies to me,pleasing people and wanting to feel appreciated,but i dont think i want to feel as if ive sacrificed my need... . it makes me angry. but sometimes saying no makes me feel very guilty,is that a symptom of co dependency? ive found that i hate change,and a part of me might be more comfortable out of a relationship,i do let my own needs pas for others,and then i feel frustrated about it.im sure its a symptom of co dependency.

i think it doesnt matter how we do it... we should stand up for ourselves,i really wish it came as easily to me as it does to most people,recently ive been feeling pretty bad because of some problems in r/s,but what i really want is to have a stronger character,

same question,anyone out there who has been able to do that?
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« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2014, 10:11:48 AM »

https://bpdfamily.com/content/codependency-codependent-relationships

Wow... . so... . this is me.

Now what?

And of course my argumentative self comes out... .

So... . isn't this what I've been taught as a Christian man.  Jesus sacrificed himself for the church... .   I'm supposed to "lead" my wife and my family as Jesus lead the church. 

In marriage... . two become one... . sort of violates the boundaries thing... .

So... hoping to hear from some that have worked through this.

I'm a christian. I can tell you this, love is indeed sacrifice. But its mutual sacrifice. Christ loved us, and so we love him. Christ sacrificed his life, and so we sacrifice our lives to God - you get me?

Now co-dependency is fine and is indeed the norm, in a relationship where two people are dependent on one another in a willing, and equal sense. For instance a husband depends on his wife for some things, and a wife on her husband for other things. Never think that you're abnormal.

Christians are a great target for BPDs, we have an inherently loving, and giving attitude -thats what we're called to do - and they abuse it, but it doesn't make us wrong for being how we are. So long as we do things in a discerning, and moderate way. Jesus doesn't want us bullied by BPDs, he also doesn't want us to be giving to Satan what we could be giving to lost sheep. If you are to give to a BPD, give them the gospel, but don't give them too much of your time.

There is indeed an issue of boundaries, and even within a marriage boundaries exist. To become one flesh does not mean to become one soul. It just means that we are intermingled as people, that we have made a lifetime commitment to one another (til death do we part). We're not going to be standing at the judgment seat of Christ as husband and wife, but as individuals. Also as Godly parents you encourage giving to those in need. But you also encourage "not too much". As people we have multiple responsibilities to multiple people. Its complex, but Jesus sacrificed his life for EVERYONE, and a husband would sacrifice his life for HIS FAMILY. Its not a matter of psychological dysfunction, its a matter of allowing an abuser to walk all over you. Thats where you need to be setting healthy boundaries - something which we've failed to do. Nothing to do with faith in Christ.
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« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2014, 12:30:56 PM »

ff, as a balance, let me offer some thing from Stop Care taking The Borderline Or Narcissist:

"Caretaking may sound a lot like codependency. Codependency seems to be a more pervasive set of personality traits that are applied in every aspect of a person’s life, including at work, in friendships, at school, in parenting, and in.intimate relationships. Codependent behaviors could be described quite similarly to those that Caretakers use. However, most Caretakers take on this role almost exclusively inside the family and primarily only with the borderline or narcissist. Often Caretakers are very independent, good decision makers, competent, and capable on their own when not in a relationship with a borderline or narcissist. It is almost as if the Caretaker lives in two different worlds with two different sets of behaviors, rules, and expectations, one set with the BP/NP and another with everyone else. You may even hide your caretaking behaviors from others and try to protect other family members from taking on caretaking behavior, much like child abuse victims try to protect siblings from being abused."

I was hung up on codependency for a while, but my T kept reminding me, almost exasperatedly, "not everything needs to be pathologized."

While only we know ourselves, really, I think we can have a tendency to be harder on ourselves than we need to be. Introspection and self examination are good, even necessary, but perhaps too much of it is another way of getting stuck.
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« Reply #25 on: June 21, 2014, 12:52:57 PM »

 

Good points.

I think I need to remind myself... . that life... . and reality is a spectrum... . not an on off switch or black and while... like BPD thinking.

So... . I very well may be a caretaker... . and I may have tendencies towards codependency. 

Also... . in what you put... . I saw myself... . sort of two different lives... my public life and my relationship with uBPDw... and to a large degree inside the family.


Another point here is to take in new information and think on it for a while before incorporating it into what I believe.

I'm trying to do that... . and I have to watch my "desperate" attempts to fix things... . in a hurry.

Thanks!
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« Reply #26 on: June 21, 2014, 02:31:41 PM »

I'm part of another Christian forum where the issue of codependency and boundaries comes up very frequently, so I have a bit of experience with understanding it. From my own experience, Christians are often taught and encouraged to give up themselves to an extent that is very unhelpful and not Biblical, if we consider Jesus' life. We are taught that how another person acts is a reflection on our own lives and how well we are obeying the Bible (for both husbands and wives); when our spouse is having issues, it is our fault for not doing something right.

What helps me to resist being sucked into an unhealthy codependence is the realization that 'I' am not in control of my spouse or their reactions to God or me. They are responsible for those; just as I am responsible for my actions and reactions. For a lot of my early marriage, I was actively discouraged from having the 'tools' that I needed to be healthy and to bring health into our marriage. As I gained those tools, I became more aware of the issues and understood better that some of those are things that I cannot do anything about -- and really, no one outside God can help with those. I have also had to be more proactive about making sure that I am healthy so that I don't slip back into the codependent role.

In one of our (uBPDh and my) conversations, I said that I felt like when we got married, he just assumed that 'we' would become 'he'; I lost a lot of myself in that process. He didn't like that, but it was my reality.

When our financial issues come into public view, then we were both scrutinized. I decided that the best thing for me to do was to present a united front in addressing the issues, even though I had been trying for years to give the same advice we received. He always thought I just needed to loosen up about adding more debt. The difficulty I have is when I am forced to  help him pay off the debts that he chose by himself to incur; these are things that I did not choose and advised against. So, it's not always possible to have a clear line of responsibility for certain aspects of our life, but I'm not willing to be the only one working on the solution, either.

I've also had to 'narc' on my husband because of one of my leadership positions -- I had to make a choice about whether to keep quiet and cover over the issue or to fulfill my responsibilities. I decided that I couldn't enable his behavior by covering it up. Of course, he thought I was just 'out to get him' -- I had decided that I needed to report the issue in his presence and with his consent. He knew the requirement.

Ultimately, I don't think that Jesus ever said that a person's sins don't matter or that we should hide them from one another. Bringing them into light is the only way to deal with them and to bring healing to those areas. But, I also don't think we can be motivated by vengeance or anger. The concept of Boundaries helps keep us from acting in anger. Forgiveness doesn't mean that there are no consequences for one's actions.
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« Reply #27 on: June 21, 2014, 02:41:39 PM »

Just read this myself... . where do I stand in line... . ?... . anyone found anything on how to stop or reduce this... the beginning of the article said only a co can help themselves and can be helped... but never found anything on how... .
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« Reply #28 on: June 21, 2014, 04:57:13 PM »

Just read this myself... . where do I stand in line... . ?... . anyone found anything on how to stop or reduce this... the beginning of the article said only a co can help themselves and can be helped... but never found anything on how... .

I will try to re read the article... . but I think boundaries are an important first step.

Then... make sure that are looking at steps you can take... . regardless of what the partner does.

Will try to come back later on this and add more

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« Reply #29 on: June 22, 2014, 11:05:53 PM »


I guess the question is... . how does it work for you? What in that article sounds like you and seems to work badly for you?

If it is you... . but doesn't seem to be a problem, you don't need to worry about it so much now.
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« Reply #30 on: June 24, 2014, 06:52:05 AM »

pwBPD have difficultly learning from their mistakes and this leads to poor regulation of their lives constantly repeating the same mistakes. In order to teach someone they need to have the consequencies of their actions exposed to them in a way that they may better learn from them.

By compensating for these shortfalls we in fact enable them to become disabled, and to continue to avoid learning skills to help themselves.

The difficulty is in judging how best to do this in a helpful way rather than a needless destructive way which feeds the failure. To do this is counter intuitive, unless you gain a deeper understanding of the mechanics and motivations behind how they tick, and this is no mean feat.

The greatest measure of your support is that you are here and investing time and effort to make your RS succeed, for successful RS's are the foundation stones on which a sense of self worth and value are built. You have not thrown up your hands and run at the first sign of difficulty, you are setting a standard. That is the first lesson

Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #31 on: June 24, 2014, 10:25:03 PM »

Most of us here have been in codependent or otherwise unhealthy relationships with someone who has BPD or something similar;  that's why we're here.  Often there is no diagnosis, so it's hard to fully understand what is going on.  But I think it's pretty safe to say that it's very difficult, or maybe impossible, to have a healthy relationship with someone who has a personality disorder and isn't getting the help she needs.

I think I had a tendency toward codependency before I ever met my wife;  that's a big part of why we were attracted to each other.

While we were together I couldn't find a path forward, and if anything I was probably getting more dysfunctional.  When we separated I began to see things more clearly, and I was able to begin to address my issues.

I think the big question is whether it will be possible to have a healthy relationship without both partners really understanding their issues and committing to change.  In my case, I'm convinced the answer was no, and I think that's probably true of most here.

But this is the "Staying" board, and I respect anyone who is committed to their relationship and looking for a way to make it work.
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« Reply #32 on: June 25, 2014, 03:24:15 AM »

I think the big question is whether it will be possible to have a healthy relationship without both partners really understanding their issues and committing to change.  In my case, I'm convinced the answer was no, and I think that's probably true of most here.

But this is the "Staying" board, and I respect anyone who is committed to their relationship and looking for a way to make it work.

Just to support and and reinforce what Matt is saying, for many it is simply not possible.

My view of the Staying Boards purpose is not to trap people into believing committing to this path is a life sentence. It is committing to trying from the inside to do the best you can do with a single purpose in mind, as that is the level of committment required. It cannot be achieved if you have one foot in the undecided camp. However, that said, in the process you will discover your own right to choose and not be trapped in a default mode. So you can always choose ultimately that this is not for you. By taking this path you will find it a lot easier to make that choice in full knowledge of what is possible, and what is not. This will make that transition easier with less doubts and what ifs, and also most likely less anger.

The Staying Board is a good first step to help you blow away the delusions, regardless of where you finally end up.

There have been many very knowledgeable senior members who where once resident here that have since left their RS's, but their time here was not wasted as they are more at peace with their choices.
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« Reply #33 on: June 25, 2014, 05:21:07 AM »

 

Yep... . I understand and agree with all the comments. 

I have to do some personal work to separate out my 5 years of "rough time" with her... . and somehow evaluate the 6 months (or so) that I have known about "BPD"... . or whatever it is going on with her. 

The tools work to "make things better"

Living through my first extinction burst (over password boundaries)... . sucked... . but I made it through and while I didn't know when it would end... . it did.  And looking back it sort of went exactly as advertised... . the big unknown being how long it would taker her to fold.  And honestly... . if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes... . I probably wouldn't have believed it... . but she went from full on controlling... . nasty... . etc etc... . to thinking it was "silly" that she was withholding any physical touch that I wanted... . until I gave up the password. 

So this gives me hope.

I also have hope because the Family T guy seems confident... . PHD... . over 40 years experience.  He comes off as confident... . but not cocky. 

From the Family systems point of view... . he told me that his goal was to have at least 1 healthy adult in the family system.  He didn't say marriage... . I didn't ask... . but whatever it's called... . there will be a mom and dad parenting 8 kids.  He flat out said that the family has too much to loose to not address this head on

He is clear with me... . and I'm grudgingly agreeing... . that right now I don't qualify as a healthy adult (parent) due to PTSD.  I appear functional but when I get put in a situation where I'm out of control... . (as in uBPDw has taken control... . no compromise)... . I react badly to that... . especially when there is a safety issue... or life and death issue. 

quick history on me:  There were some dangerous things going on with airplane.  Mechanical issues that engineers said "couldn't happen".  About killed me a couple times.  They sort of patted me and several other senior pilots on the hand.  We didn't back down... .   The system was "looking at the problem"... . but pointing fingers at us.  Malfunction happens again returning to carrier from combat mission... . the pilot that "signed for airplane" (guy in command) had to hold the airplane steady as best he could for other crew to bail out.  The nature of the malfunction was such that if you took your hands off the controls... . the airplane was uncontrollable.  So... he died when the airplane impacted the water.  Because this was a high level issue... . they spent the resources to recover the airplane from the ocean floor.  The mechanical equipment worked perfectly... . all the pilots were shocked.  Luckily for us a couple months later the same equipment was on a "fully instrumented" test airplane (think test pilot stuff).  The malfunction happened again... . but now it was fully recorded.  All engineers agreed that the impossible just happened.  The equipment seemed fine to mechanical inspection.  The decision was made to test it again (operate it again on the ground)... . it worked fine.

So... if they would have taken my word for it or that of my fellow pilots... . there is a guy that has a family that would still be here.  Couple more probables... . where we can't prove the malfunction was the issue... . but if I had to bet money... .   I do lots of aircraft accident investigations... . so I can be clear on what I think and what I can prove...

Anyway... . so fast forward to modern day... . retirement life.  Lets say there's a situation where I believe my kids are in danger... . or if a decision moves forward they could be in danger. 

#1.  With all the therapy in the world... . I'm most likely never going to handle that well... . I ere on the side of caution.  I end up being pretty obstinate about it... . ridgid. 

#2.  uBPDw sees things differently... . doesn't mix well with #1.

So... uBPDw directs (vice allows) kids to pile in back of pickup truck and head across town.  I get phone call (remember my position in county govt) from police that they have my boy pulled over... . I should come now.  I know the officer involved... . he had no idea it was my kid and when he says he pulled them over because he was worried about a kid dancing around in back of pickup, while truck is at speed,... . and that someone could have been killed... . he's not exaggerating.  uBPDw blamed kids... . and still to this day does not see her role in this.  Keeps saying we used to do it on the farm all the time (in another state where it is legal to be in back of truck).  It's illegal in this state.  So she directed her children and some other relatives to do something illegal... . and on top of that they acted like idiots in back of truck.  About a month earlier I was considered the bad guy because I would not let grown men ride in the back of my truck... it was kind of a public thing in the family... . but I set the standard.

Anyway... . the nuke that I set off when I got home was epic.  This was pre BPD knowledge...

Many other things like this have happened where I perceive a life safety issue... . and that doesn't mix well with uBPDw.

Many other times she has been counseled to "not do things" around PTSD types... . because it can trigger them.  In my mind she uses that as a list of choices of how to push my buttons... . not as things to avoid.

Sorry that got long... but just saying and explaining... . that I'm hopeful... . but I'm realistic. 



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« Reply #34 on: June 25, 2014, 09:02:10 AM »

As a balance, let me offer something from Stop Caretaking The Borderline Or Narcissist: How to End the Drama and Get On with Life by Margalis Fjelstad:

"Caretaking may sound a lot like codependency. Codependency seems to be a more pervasive set of personality traits that are applied in every aspect of a person’s life, including at work, in friendships, at school, in parenting, and in.intimate relationships. Codependent behaviors could be described quite similarly to those that Caretakers use. However, most Caretakers take on this role almost exclusively inside the family and primarily only with the borderline or narcissist. Often Caretakers are very independent, good decision makers, competent, and capable on their own when not in a relationship with a borderline or narcissist. It is almost as if the Caretaker lives in two different worlds with two different sets of behaviors, rules, and expectations, one set with the BP/NP and another with everyone else. You may even hide your caretaking behaviors from others and try to protect other family members from taking on caretaking behavior, much like child abuse victims try to protect siblings from being abused."

I was hung up on codependency for a while, but my T kept reminding me, almost exasperatedly, "not everything needs to be pathologized."

While only we know ourselves, really, I think we can have a tendency to be harder on ourselves than we need to be. Introspection and self examination are good, even necessary, but perhaps too much of it is another way of getting stuck.

Perceptive perspective.  I have to remember that.

Please be aware that extreme personality disorders are not cured by spiritual efforts alone.  My story as an example, I had been an elder in the congregation, well, until my then-spouse's behaviors (Paranoia, criticisms, suspicions, etc) became an issue noticed by many and I was advised to step down and "take care of yourself and your family".  Months later she discussed her issues about me with a few elders (with another nearby so no allegations could be made, kid gloves for sure).  Afterward I was advised, "she has issues and needs to see a psychologist or psychiatrist".  Nothing could be accomplished without her cooperation and she was not cooperative.  They recognized their limits.  We were dealing with a mental health issue, not a spiritual issue.  I scheduled marital counseling but she refused to participate.  I sought out the pediatrician, she flamed out at him saying, "I have the Bible."  Spiritual instruction is wonderful but only if a person is listening and receptive.

To an extent, I contributed to it by letting my boundaries get trampled repeatedly and not seeking help sooner.  Even so, Monday morning armchair quarterbacking won't help what already happened, and anyway I have no guarantees she would have responded favorably if I had acted sooner.  Boundaries are vital, especially in a dysfunctional relationship.
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« Reply #35 on: June 25, 2014, 10:50:33 AM »

Flier,

Reflecting on your most recent post, I'm going to go out on a limb and speculate about something I don't know much about... .

Many of us who get into relationships with someone who has BPD have something else (besides codependency) in common:  some degree of narcissism.  It can be full-on NPD - there is a ton of research showing the frequency of NPD/BPD pairs.  Or it could be to a lesser degree - not NPD but just some narcissistic tendencies.

To illustrate, consider me and my brother John.  I married a woman who was later diagnosed with BPD.  My MMPI-2 showed no disorder, but a low (but not zero) level of narcissistic traits.  John married a woman who was later diagnosed with NPD.  John has never been tested (as far as I know) but over the years I've come to see some strong borderline-ish behavior - he could have BPD or maybe just some borderline traits.

These B/N pairs - maybe it's B/n or N/b or even b/n - are very common. When we first went out, she flattered me very subtly and effectively.  She idealized me - painted me white if you will.  I was pretty susceptible to that;  I suppose all men are, but a little bit of narcissism made it more so.  When I saw some borderline behavior, instead of taking a step back and learning more, I ignored it, because I didn't want anything to get in the way of our very satisfying relationship - satisfying in some ways, and that was plenty for me.

It was only after she got pregnant that her rages got more frequent.  So there you have it.

Narcissism can creep into our personalities several ways.  For most of us, it's probably baked in, because of stuff in early life.  (And a little narcissism might not be an entirely a bad thing, by the way.)  But I'm wondering if stuff you went through as an adult could have given you something along the same lines - maybe not narcissism per se, but a sense of accomplishment and survival that may set you apart from others, in your own mind.

That is, when you've been through the kind of life-and-death experience you described in your last post, and when you look back and realize that many people would not have handled those experiences as well as you did - in fact you were probably chosen for that duty because you are the kind of person that could deal with it - it would be hard for you to ever again look at yourself as just another guy.  You must look at others as people who haven't been tested the way you have;  maybe not "lesser" people, but people who are certainly lesser in some senses - skills, self-control, confidence, judgment, leadership, etc.  That's just a recognition of reality.

So I wonder if you may, as a practical matter, have some of the same behaviors and thought processes that can contribute to B/N relationships.  And if the kind of personal exploration, probably with your therapist, that helps people with NPD, might also help you.

How this fits with your PTSD I have no idea.  But if there is something to what I'm saying, your PTSD was presumably "earned" the same way any narcissistic issues you may have were earned... .
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« Reply #36 on: June 25, 2014, 11:17:31 AM »

I think Matt has raised an important issue. "Can do" guys must naturally have a devil of a time with "can't do" situations.
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« Reply #37 on: June 25, 2014, 02:45:19 PM »

Flier,

Reflecting on your most recent post, I'm going to go out on a limb and speculate about something I don't know much about... .

Many of us who get into relationships with someone who has BPD have something else (besides codependency) in common:  some degree of narcissism.  It can be full-on NPD - there is a ton of research showing the frequency of NPD/BPD pairs.  Or it could be to a lesser degree - not NPD but just some narcissistic tendencies.

To illustrate, consider me and my brother John.  I married a woman who was later diagnosed with BPD.  My MMPI-2 showed no disorder, but a low (but not zero) level of narcissistic traits.  John married a woman who was later diagnosed with NPD.  John has never been tested (as far as I know) but over the years I've come to see some strong borderline-ish behavior - he could have BPD or maybe just some borderline traits.

These B/N pairs - maybe it's B/n or N/b or even b/n - are very common. When we first went out, she flattered me very subtly and effectively.  She idealized me - painted me white if you will.  I was pretty susceptible to that;  I suppose all men are, but a little bit of narcissism made it more so.  When I saw some borderline behavior, instead of taking a step back and learning more, I ignored it, because I didn't want anything to get in the way of our very satisfying relationship - satisfying in some ways, and that was plenty for me.

It was only after she got pregnant that her rages got more frequent.  So there you have it.

Narcissism can creep into our personalities several ways.  For most of us, it's probably baked in, because of stuff in early life.  (And a little narcissism might not be an entirely a bad thing, by the way.)  But I'm wondering if stuff you went through as an adult could have given you something along the same lines - maybe not narcissism per se, but a sense of accomplishment and survival that may set you apart from others, in your own mind.

That is, when you've been through the kind of life-and-death experience you described in your last post, and when you look back and realize that many people would not have handled those experiences as well as you did - in fact you were probably chosen for that duty because you are the kind of person that could deal with it - it would be hard for you to ever again look at yourself as just another guy.  You must look at others as people who haven't been tested the way you have;  maybe not "lesser" people, but people who are certainly lesser in some senses - skills, self-control, confidence, judgment, leadership, etc.  That's just a recognition of reality.

So I wonder if you may, as a practical matter, have some of the same behaviors and thought processes that can contribute to B/N relationships.  And if the kind of personal exploration, probably with your therapist, that helps people with NPD, might also help you.

How this fits with your PTSD I have no idea.  But if there is something to what I'm saying, your PTSD was presumably "earned" the same way any narcissistic issues you may have were earned... .

Interesting thought... . and I totally see it.  I'll message the Psychologist that did my MMPI and ask if there were traits or whatever.  He didn't say in the write up... . either way.

But... . I do think of myself in the way you describe... . a cut above... . and we train guys to think that way... . and weed guys (and gals) out that can't "hack it".  So... . there is reality to this... . the wash out rate for Naval Aviators... . especially those that go to the carrier... . is up there... . not just anyone can do it... . and not just anyone should.

For me... . inside that group of people that like to "call attention to themselves"... and think they are the greatest... . I didn't call that much attention to myself.  But... . if you plot that on a spectrum of the general public... . I would say I would lean towards being pretty full of myself.

But again... . back to your point... . I can totally see that.

Also... . to the caretaking role vs codependency... . my current thinking is caretaking.  I do that at home... . my job.  Being a Skipper that is in charge of hundreds of people is the ultimate caretaker role... . I loved it.

I "caretake" about 300 employees right now.

Very interesting... . love this board... . all you guys keep posting things like this... It helps me get perspective.

Back to why aviators need to be full of ourselves... . we don't give up.  Interesting factoid:  In an airplane accident investigation you usually can figure out who was trying to control the airplane on impact... . because their hands are broken.  They didn't give up... . tried to control it (fix it... ) until the end.

When I think about that trait as it relates to my current situation... . hmmm... . I hope I can use situation awareness and good decision making skills to help balance out that tendency.


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« Reply #38 on: June 25, 2014, 04:30:27 PM »

My ex too fit all the Paranoid PD traits, most of Borderline and some of Narcissistic.  Why we don't see Paranoid highlighted as part of the Cluster B PDs, I don't know.  But I recall PPD was included as a fifth disorder described one of Bill Eddy's books, High Conflict People in Legal Disputes, in addition to Borderline, Narcissistic, Antisocial & Histrionic.  I felt vindicated that he saw Paranoid as a high conflict hotbed.

Some people can be co-morbid with traits of other PDs.  When we read of some entitled and obstructive ex-whoevers here I think of them as Narcissistic Borderlines - Queens & Witches.  The Waifs are the ones that either stay in bed or wander away into other adult relationships and mostly leave the kids behind.  Okay, just generalizing, there are so many variations.
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« Reply #39 on: June 25, 2014, 04:39:34 PM »

I feel like I'm looking over your shoulder as you discuss things with your Family T Guy, because I never got much explanatory stuff from the psychiatrist that diagnosed my husband with paranoia. The idea that it is "not a symptom," though, rings true for me. It does seem to me more like that "primal fear" noted by waverider above.

Do you have any sense yet whether or not treatment might be expected to include any type of meds? Have you heard any mention of anything like "atypical antipsychotics" yet?

(ADDED: a "high conflict hotbed" seems pretty apt to me too. Paranoia can sometimes cause a sufferer to take on multiple opponents at a time, as I think ForeverDad has seen. Backing down is often not seen as an option by the sufferer.)
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« Reply #40 on: June 25, 2014, 05:16:46 PM »

It the therapist is good, this large-family dynamic might be an apt challenge for a late career professional. I wonder what suggestions he will have for the roles of family members moving forward.
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« Reply #41 on: June 25, 2014, 06:10:14 PM »

My ex too fit all the Paranoid PD traits, most of Borderline and some of Narcissistic.  Why we don't see Paranoid highlighted as part of the Cluster B PDs, I don't know.  But I recall PPD was included as a fifth disorder described one of Bill Eddy's books, High Conflict People in Legal Disputes, in addition to Borderline, Narcissistic, Antisocial & Histrionic.  I felt vindicated that he saw Paranoid as a high conflict hotbed.

Some people can be co-morbid with traits of other PDs.  When we read of some entitled and obstructive ex-whoevers here I think of them as Narcissistic Borderlines - Queens & Witches.  The Waifs are the ones that either stay in bed or wander away into other adult relationships and mostly leave the kids behind.  Okay, just generalizing, there are so many variations.

I would categorize my uBPDw as "witchy"... . although I have only briefly looked at those lists.

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« Reply #42 on: June 26, 2014, 07:17:08 AM »

Hey guys, I'm reading through Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, and I found a quote that might be suitable here. It doesn't define co-dependency but - in a way it deals with what we think of it as being - hopefully you'll see what I mean. It's about peacemaking:

Excerpt
Peacemaking is not appeasement. Always giving in, acting like a doormat, and allowing others to always run over you is not what Jesus had in mind. He refused to back down on many issues, standing his ground in the face of evil opposition

Find strength from that. Do not give in. Christianity is not co-dependency, its kindness, love, humility - but it doesn't mean you are to be abused by anyone.
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« Reply #43 on: June 26, 2014, 07:26:53 AM »

Hey guys, I'm reading through Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, and I found a quote that might be suitable here. It doesn't define co-dependency but - in a way it deals with what we think of it as being - hopefully you'll see what I mean. It's about peacemaking:

Excerpt
Peacemaking is not appeasement. Always giving in, acting like a doormat, and allowing others to always run over you is not what Jesus had in mind. He refused to back down on many issues, standing his ground in the face of evil opposition

Find strength from that. Do not give in. Christianity is not co-dependency, its kindness, love, humility - but it doesn't mean you are to be abused by anyone.

That's a good point... . I appreciate that.  And there are some examples (turning over the tables in the temple)... . of when it might be said Jesus was an aggressor... .

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« Reply #44 on: June 26, 2014, 10:04:45 AM »

Hey guys, I'm reading through Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, and I found a quote that might be suitable here. It doesn't define co-dependency but - in a way it deals with what we think of it as being - hopefully you'll see what I mean. It's about peacemaking:

Excerpt
Peacemaking is not appeasement. Always giving in, acting like a doormat, and allowing others to always run over you is not what Jesus had in mind. He refused to back down on many issues, standing his ground in the face of evil opposition

Find strength from that. Do not give in. Christianity is not co-dependency, its kindness, love, humility - but it doesn't mean you are to be abused by anyone.

That's a good point... . I appreciate that.  And there are some examples (turning over the tables in the temple)... . of when it might be said Jesus was an aggressor... .

Indeed he was "YOU BROOD OF VIPERS!" for instance.

Whats another one? "Whitewashed tombs!" haa

Obviously we're called to love our wives as Christ loves the church. So we should! But you cannot help an unbelieving adulterous wife who runs off with someone else. Many psychiatrists just label the 'non' as co-dependent and leave it at that. But if we look at this forum, and then look at the world - my goodness this world is filled with co-dependents.

OF COURSE WE WANT TO FIX OUR BPDS! Who wouldn't want to help them? Of course we've grown up wanting to fix things that were broken. The only folks who don't care about fixing and helping the people we love are people who don't love!

I was deceived by this idea myself, convinced I had mental problems because I loved my little pumpkin and wanted to help her. Convinced that wanting her back meant I had deficiencies in myself. Of course I have 'issues', but I think that telling depressed lonely people that they have a psychological disorder of their own is just ridiculous. We all seem the same way because we've all been through the same thing. Also considering most shrinks are terrified of BPDs and won't have more than two on their books shows how 'co-dependent' they are.

So I'm thoroughly more confident now about dealing with my BPD, if she ever comes around again. It's a simple process to deal - forgive her. Does that mean take her back? probably not, but it doesn't mean that I have to be so negative. She's not a pharisee, but - I think that dealing from a more strong position, following Christ's guidance, biblically... put us in a position where we can say "I won't be walked all over, but I will (biblically) love you. I think of what we went through now as test - getting the most horrifically damaged people there are, placing them into our lives and seeing which direction we turn (if we're still christians, then we turned in the right direction). Remember LOVE your enemies, do good to them who presecute you, pray for those that despitefully use you.

Most of all forget the term co-dependency. How can a term like that apply to Christians? We may live in this world, but we're not of this world
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« Reply #45 on: June 26, 2014, 11:12:49 AM »

Hey guys, I'm reading through Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, and I found a quote that might be suitable here. It doesn't define co-dependency but - in a way it deals with what we think of it as being - hopefully you'll see what I mean. It's about peacemaking:

Excerpt
Peacemaking is not appeasement. Always giving in, acting like a doormat, and allowing others to always run over you is not what Jesus had in mind. He refused to back down on many issues, standing his ground in the face of evil opposition

Find strength from that. Do not give in. Christianity is not co-dependency, its kindness, love, humility - but it doesn't mean you are to be abused by anyone.

That's a good point... . I appreciate that.  And there are some examples (turning over the tables in the temple)... . of when it might be said Jesus was an aggressor... .

Indeed he was "YOU BROOD OF VIPERS!" for instance.

Whats another one? "Whitewashed tombs!" haa

Obviously we're called to love our wives as Christ loves the church. So we should! But you cannot help an unbelieving adulterous wife who runs off with someone else. Many psychiatrists just label the 'non' as co-dependent and leave it at that. But if we look at this forum, and then look at the world - my goodness this world is filled with co-dependents.

OF COURSE WE WANT TO FIX OUR BPDS! Who wouldn't want to help them? Of course we've grown up wanting to fix things that were broken. The only folks who don't care about fixing and helping the people we love are people who don't love!

I was deceived by this idea myself, convinced I had mental problems because I loved my little pumpkin and wanted to help her. Convinced that wanting her back meant I had deficiencies in myself. Of course I have 'issues', but I think that telling depressed lonely people that they have a psychological disorder of their own is just ridiculous. We all seem the same way because we've all been through the same thing. Also considering most shrinks are terrified of BPDs and won't have more than two on their books shows how 'co-dependent' they are.

So I'm thoroughly more confident now about dealing with my BPD, if she ever comes around again. It's a simple process to deal - forgive her. Does that mean take her back? probably not, but it doesn't mean that I have to be so negative. She's not a pharisee, but - I think that dealing from a more strong position, following Christ's guidance, biblically... put us in a position where we can say "I won't be walked all over, but I will (biblically) love you. I think of what we went through now as test - getting the most horrifically damaged people there are, placing them into our lives and seeing which direction we turn (if we're still christians, then we turned in the right direction). Remember LOVE your enemies, do good to them who presecute you, pray for those that despitefully use you.

Most of all forget the term co-dependency. How can a term like that apply to Christians? We may live in this world, but we're not of this world

Well said!
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« Reply #46 on: June 26, 2014, 11:24:08 AM »

Very good discussion here - I hope lots of members are reading along - good thoughts from everybody.

Most of all forget the term co-dependency. How can a term like that apply to Christians? We may live in this world, but we're not of this world

Co-dependency is a term;  it's a concept;  to some professionals it might be a specific, diagnosable condition - I'm not sure about that - not a professional in this field.

It's certainly a pattern of behavior very common to most of us here.

One good place to explore this is Al-Anon, for those in relationships - including parents and kids - with an alcoholic or addict.  It's a 12-step program very similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, but instead of helping members not drink, it helps members to manage their lives whether their loved one is drinking or not.

I went there because my adult son is a recovering alcoholic and addict, and his substance abuse wasn't just ruining his life, it was ruining mine and my other kids' lives.

What I learned was that I was engaging in behaviors that mirrored those of the substance abuser.  I was continuing to do things, and staying in patterns of thought, that weren't working, just as the addict continues to use something that is killing him.

I had to learn to recognize those behaviors in myself, and find ways to get them under control.  It's a continuous struggle - that was several years ago - I no longer go to Al-Anon but I continue to maintain less-dependent behaviors and watch out for "relapses".

Call it what you will - I'm not arguing whether it's a "disorder" or whatever.  It's a huge issue for most of us here, and how we deal with it is the part of this stuff that is more-or-less in our control.  We can try to help the person with BPD, and sometimes that works, but ultimately we can't control that.  What we can control - or manage - or at least work on - is our own behaviors, either staying engaged with the person with BPD in ways that ruin our lives, or finding healthier ways to relate to them... .
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« Reply #47 on: June 26, 2014, 12:38:31 PM »

I recall when my ex's stepfather was dying, he had several children and multiple wives, he messed them all up by his abuse, especially the girls.  One daughter left (got away) when 16, then when she heard he was dying she told herself she had to come back to forgive him for what he had done to her.  If not for that, she would never have come back.

What he had done to her and others was so traumatic that I felt her 'forgiving' could be morally conflicting for her.  I told her if she had difficulty with forgiveness, then she could take a lesser remedy for herself, Let Go and Move On.

Me?  Seeing how many lives he trashed, including my ex's life?  I didn't feel any impulse to forgive him.  I can't deal with it, I shift such worries into God's hands.  (As some say, Let Go and Let God.)  Compare Psalm 55:22 - "Throw your burden on Jehovah, And he will sustain you."
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« Reply #48 on: June 26, 2014, 12:48:37 PM »

What matters is behavior, not beliefs or labels.

I ran into one of those pithy facebook shares about how being Christian is not something you do by expressing your beliefs. Instead it is about how you behave, especially how you treat other people. (I think I lost some of the pithiness Smiling (click to insert in post) )

Similar with CoD--The label doesn't matter much. What matters is if your behavior is working or not. For some people (Matt for example), the label (and 12-step meetings, books, etc.) help them modify their own destructive (or at least non-productive) behavior. Other people don't get as much from the concept... . and find other paths to change their behavior.
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« Reply #49 on: June 26, 2014, 06:04:13 PM »

Very good discussion here - I hope lots of members are reading along - good thoughts from everybody.

Most of all forget the term co-dependency. How can a term like that apply to Christians? We may live in this world, but we're not of this world

Co-dependency is a term;  it's a concept;  to some professionals it might be a specific, diagnosable condition - I'm not sure about that - not a professional in this field.

It's certainly a pattern of behavior very common to most of us here.

One good place to explore this is Al-Anon, for those in relationships - including parents and kids - with an alcoholic or addict.  It's a 12-step program very similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, but instead of helping members not drink, it helps members to manage their lives whether their loved one is drinking or not.

I went there because my adult son is a recovering alcoholic and addict, and his substance abuse wasn't just ruining his life, it was ruining mine and my other kids' lives.

What I learned was that I was engaging in behaviors that mirrored those of the substance abuser.  I was continuing to do things, and staying in patterns of thought, that weren't working, just as the addict continues to use something that is killing him.

I had to learn to recognize those behaviors in myself, and find ways to get them under control.  It's a continuous struggle - that was several years ago - I no longer go to Al-Anon but I continue to maintain less-dependent behaviors and watch out for "relapses".

Call it what you will - I'm not arguing whether it's a "disorder" or whatever.  It's a huge issue for most of us here, and how we deal with it is the part of this stuff that is more-or-less in our control.  We can try to help the person with BPD, and sometimes that works, but ultimately we can't control that.  What we can control - or manage - or at least work on - is our own behaviors, either staying engaged with the person with BPD in ways that ruin our lives, or finding healthier ways to relate to them... .

I totally get what you're saying, in fact I can't fault it - you needed to go to Al-anon to deal with your issues. Fantastic. I have no issue with that. The problem though, is that everyone who goes with a BPD is being led in some ways (not by this forum) to think that they've got co-dependency problems. As a result of that, christians who are practicing their faith, are thinking that Christian values = co-dependency.

I'm so glad that you're managing your difficulties, I totally agree that working on ourselves is a way to relate more healthily to a BPD sufferer. I also think that sticking your head in your bible, praying to God, and praising Him! is the best way to get through it. The best way to conquer a BPD issue is through love! It'll make em run quicker than roadrunner to get away - how strange that is Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #50 on: June 26, 2014, 07:16:35 PM »

Christian values (which are not specific to christians) have nothing to do with codependency. Codependency is actually about unhealthy reactions with others. An example, people can define themseves as being a rescuer/martyr, and their cause is another person. They depend on that other person to be there to complete the equation so that they can define themselves as the "rescuer".

Codependency is in effect projecting your needs on the other person, who then fulfills it. An example is our need for validation often made us vulnerable to the idealization capabilities of a pwBPD. Whereas without that need we would distrust this person who would otherwise be seen to be sucking up. (pwBPD make very good sales people as a result)

Learning about our own flaws and potential for codependency, is all part of the larger process of learning how to better react with another to provide a less toxic relationships. Not every non is codependent. Codependency is a common characteristic in many peoples lives not just PD relationships. In many of other RS's this codependency can be rewarding and bonding.

Codependency is a normal component of human behavior. It only becomes a Disorder if the behavior itself is extreme to the point it interferes with healthy interactions

The difference is that when it exists within a dysfunctional relationship it can fuel and validate the disorder. Until this dynamic is seen for what is, it is hard to apply what is otherwise counter intuitive interactions to progress towards a better outcome. Codependency does not need to be eliminated altogether it simply needs to be recognized as "your bit" so that you can monitor and reigned in so that it is not making things worse.

In short our well intentioned input can in fact muddy the waters that we are try to find our way through.,

I am not a big believer of the line of thought that in order for a RS to thrive it needs to be "sterilized" of all interactions, dysfunctional or otherwise. we are human after all and it si about managing a whole bunch of complex human thoughts, feelings, interactions and reactions so that they provide a worthwhile existence for those involved. Yest this will include a component of craziness and less than ideal characteristics. If you seek perfection you will spend your entire life feeling unworthy and always falling short.

Perfection has no challenges and hence little interest or reason to challange yourself=dull.
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« Reply #51 on: August 21, 2014, 02:19:58 PM »

I highly recommend this book, it was life-changing.  When I finished it I immediately started reading it again!  This is the book that really broke through my denial and started my healing process.
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« Reply #52 on: August 31, 2014, 05:46:17 PM »

Pingo,,I love your post.I am the Queen of Denial.I can't wait to read this book!
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« Reply #53 on: January 30, 2015, 02:18:12 PM »

If you are the non in a r/s with a pwBPD, I would highly recommend this book.  I have read several books on the ins and outs of having a pwBPD in your life.  This is the most straightforward.  It is easy to understand and does not sugarcoat the facts.  Most of this book described exactly what i have been dealing with for many years.  I am thankful for the writers who can give some insight because the chaos, anger and gaslighting  that has surrounded me has left me doubting myself.  This book provided clarity.  Check it out.
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« Reply #54 on: March 01, 2015, 10:12:32 AM »

try your local library or second hand store. that's where i got mine. there are also a lot of other books that are great too. One that I loved was called "stop caretaking the borderline or narcissist and how to get on with your life" by margalis fjelstad. awesome book. another that you might not have thought but was an excellent read was "the verbally abusive relationship" by patricial evans.
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« Reply #55 on: March 23, 2015, 12:32:56 PM »

One of the most helpful things I have examined through researching the likelihood of BPD in my partner is my own role in our r/s dynamic. My own self-awareness is not always the best. I spend a lot of energy analyzing and intellectualizing stuff instead of feeling my feelings about whatever is going on. To be honest, it's very challenging for me to name my feelings beyond basic feelings like happy, annoyed, sad, etc.

I started practicing mindfulness meditation a few months ago, and it is slowly helping me get more in touch with myself.

During my young adulthood someone important to me gently made me aware of my codependent leanings, and ever since I've tried to be very mindful about maintaining a strong sense of self. (I'm now in my 40s.) Maybe I thought I cured myself of any codependent traits, but as I consider my role in my r/s with my uBPso, I see just how accommodating, placating, enabling I can be. I've put his needs first because he can be such a squeaky wheel and because, well, I've felt like one of my biggest "needs" is not to be shamed and disrespected … so I try to do whatever I can to avoid that, without much success.

I'd like to take a hard look at my issues, esp. codependency. I think many of you are farther along that path than I am, and I would appreciate any guidance you can share. What helps you? Meetings? Specific books, websites, podcasts, or other resources?

Maybe it would be helpful if I shared a little more about me and my FOO. With the exception of a 4-year separation when I was in high school, my parents stayed together until the end. The did not seem to enjoy each other though. They argued a lot, although they were careful to keep their conflicts behind closed doors. It's very hard for me to fault them because they both had rough childhoods and they both worked so hard and did the best they could to give a better childhood to me and my brother. I really think they did the best they could and I am grateful for their many sacrifices.

Dad worked nights and needed quiet during the day so he could sleep. He was gregarious and a lot of fun when I was small, I think because he was kind of a big kid himself, but he seemed grumpy and argumentative towards me by the time I reached about 10. We generally avoided each other after that. I found out after I left home that he had a lifelong struggle with opiates. The struggle eventually took his life a few years ago. My brother knew about Dad's drug usage many years before I did, but somehow I was protected from the truth or just really oblivious. I also think Dad struggled with depression, but that's just a hunch.

Mom is standoffish, critical and anxious. Possibly narcissistic. Probably codependent. She was emotionally withholding and unwilling (unable?) to offer praise or reward. She'd point out the B on my report card without acknowledging all the As. Or I'd bring home straight As, she'd tell me she expected no less and that it was no cause for praise. Since Dad was kind of checked out (and living separately for a while), Mom was in some ways a single parent and just doing what she could to hold it all together.

My brother is 6 years older—just enough of an age gap that we were never in the same school at the same time and didn't have much in common. We were never close, although we have become somewhat closer as adults.

My childhood home seemed a lot like a roommate situation. We all spent a lot of time solo in our own rooms, not engaging with each other.

Wow, I had more to say about my FOO than I expected! Again, any pointers on looking at my own codependency and other issues would be appreciated. (T is not in the budget currently but is something I am looking at prioritizing when I can.)
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« Reply #56 on: March 23, 2015, 02:20:37 PM »

I can relate to a lot of what you have posted. I don't have a lot of time to write anything in detail but want to follow this thread.

Counseling is not in my budget either. I have recently started a 12 step program for partners of sex addicts. It has been helpful. You might check into one of those. I am not 100% sure how I feel about the 12 step program. I do know that it is immensely helpful to have a sponsor to talk to that knows what I am dealing with and is available to talk me down when I am feeling hopeless and overwhelmed.
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« Reply #57 on: March 23, 2015, 06:03:47 PM »

hi calmhope,

The best book I read by far is Margalis Fjelstad's book: Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist.   It does a very good job describing the Borderline or the Narcissist. 

What was even nicer was it did a great job describing caretaker's, caregiver's and codependents.   It explained a lot of things to me and was probably the single best book I read since joining this website about 3 years ago.

I just about highlighted the entire book.   And there are excerpts on this site.  One of the excerpts here is one I actually highlighted. 

Excerpt
How is caretaking different from codependency? Caretaking may sound a lot like codependency. Codependency seems to be a more pervasive set of personality traits that are applied in every aspect of a person’s life, including at work, in friendships, at school, in parenting, and in intimate relationships. Codependent behaviors could be described quite similarly to those that Caretakers use. However, most Caretakers take on this role almost exclusively inside the family and primarily only with the borderline or narcissist. Often Caretakers are very independent, good decision makers, competent, and capable on their own when not in a relationship with a borderline or narcissist. It is almost as if the Caretaker lives in two different worlds with two different sets of behaviors, rules, and expectations, one set with the BP/NP and another with everyone else. You may even hide your caretaking behaviors from others and try to protect other family members from taking on caretaking behavior, much like child abuse victims try to protect siblings from being abused.

What do you think?

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« Reply #58 on: March 23, 2015, 06:22:11 PM »

The best book I read by far is Margalis Fjelstad's book: Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist.   It does a very good job describing the Borderline or the Narcissist. 

What was even nicer was it did a great job describing caretaker's, caregiver's and codependents.   It explained a lot of things to me and was probably the single best book I read since joining this website about 3 years ago.

Sounds like an interesting and very relevant book, babyducks. Thanks for the suggestion! I have seen terms like caretaker, caregiver and codependent used on this board but didn't have a good understanding of the difference. I suppose I have long been aware of some of my codependent tendencies (in previous relationships, friendships, work environments, etc.) and that awareness can help keep them in check. However, my current 5-year r/s with my uBPso can really put my values and my ability to set limits/boundaries to the test. The ways that I interact with him do vary quite a bit from the ways that I interact with others in my life, and I would never tolerate some of his behaviors if they were coming from someone else. Also, I often do try to hide my "caretaking" behaviors from others.

I'll add Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist to my reading list Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #59 on: March 24, 2015, 03:37:35 PM »

hi calmhope,

The best book I read by far is Margalis Fjelstad's book: Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist.   It does a very good job describing the Borderline or the Narcissist. 

What was even nicer was it did a great job describing caretaker's, caregiver's and codependents.   

Babyducks, I agree Margalis Fjelstad's book: Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist is the most helpful book I have read.  It spoke to me, I discovered that I have a caregiver personality and some codependent tendencies.  It gave helpful examples and suggestions of how to live your own life, the one we are each meant to live instead of living for someone else.

Calmhope, I can relate to some of the things you mentioned from your FOO, my father worked nights and we kept quiet at my house, too.  Plus there were depression issues in my family.  It seemed my brothers caused enough problems, so I tried to be good and not cause any problems.  I think this started my caretaking/codependent tendencies.

I also cannot fault my parents, they definitely did the best they could and worked very hard to provide for their family.

It definitely is difficult setting and maintaining boundaries. 

Since i have been practicing what i have learned about living with a pwBPD, my uBPDh has taken more responsibility for himself and I am more at peace in my life.  I am trying to align my values withy actions and activities.

Therapy has been helpful for me.  It gives me an outlet for all that I normally keep inside.  Reading other people's posts here and studying the lessons have been very valuable.  Plus, I highly recommend the book above. 
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« Reply #60 on: March 24, 2015, 09:30:33 PM »

It definitely is difficult setting and maintaining boundaries. 

Since i have been practicing what i have learned about living with a pwBPD, my uBPDh has taken more responsibility for himself and I am more at peace in my life.  I am trying to align my values withy actions and activities.

Therapy has been helpful for me.  It gives me an outlet for all that I normally keep inside.  Reading other people's posts here and studying the lessons have been very valuable.  Plus, I highly recommend the book above. 

I'm very grateful to hear about the experiences of nons like you, Mustbeabetterway, who manage to set and maintain boundaries … and see actual improvement and some degree of peace. I've done no favors for my uBPso or myself by letting my boundaries erode over the years. There's a lot of work ahead, but it will be so worth it to regain some equanimity and to have more peace in our lives!

I've seen Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist before and had the impression it was mostly about leaving a pwPD, but it sounds like it's helpful for staying and improving the r/s, too? Either way, I take the two endorsements for the book to heart and I may as well face the fact that staying in the r/s may not always be an option anyway.

If anyone else has suggestions for "best practices" in working on my own caretaking/codependent tendencies, I welcome any and all guidance you can share. What helps you? Meetings? Specific books, websites, podcasts, or other resources?
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« Reply #61 on: March 25, 2015, 05:58:01 AM »

This post was so helpful! I am in therapy but am definitely discovering my codependent/caretaker issues too. The description from that book is spot on! In the rest of my life I am so independent and confident and in control, I would never put up with the stuff I do with him. In fact, if you described my relationship to me using someone else, I'd tell them to set boundaries and take care of themselves. Now I see, my mom was very much a caretaker and its ingrained in my bones. I need to learn how to stop that behavior. I will definitely check out this book!
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« Reply #62 on: March 27, 2015, 05:57:50 AM »

I've seen Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist before and had the impression it was mostly about leaving a pwPD, but it sounds like it's helpful for staying and improving the r/s, too?

This is from the book "You may have found yourself thinking more about your partner's thoughts, feelings, needs, wants, behaviors than you think about your own.  You may have the mistaken idea that this is normal in relationships but it isn't.

Your increasing depression, anxiety, tension and confusion aren't normal either.  This book is about getting back to a healthy life, a normal life , your life."

That's what I liked about the book,  it explained my half of the equation in ways that made a lot of sense.   And helped me change the focus to me and how I could go about getting some of my needs met.

The other night my pwBPD was having one of those highly intense moods, and was entrenched into the 'I am feeling this emotion, therefore it must be absolutely true and cannot be changed by logic'.   I was doing a little SET and validating where I could but really understood that this was not my problem to fix.   So I was mostly sitting and listening.

She said to me I am getting really pissed here.   And I just nodded.   What I have found to be true for us, is my SO is very good at picking up my intangible clues.  If really am calm and unaffected she can tell,  if I am faking it she can tell that too.  So I just nodded and her eyes kind of opened wide and she went on.    I am learning that my reactions can fuel her fire.

I don't think the book is intended as a how to leave a BPD or NP r/s but more how to stop taking care and ownership of their emotions.





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« Reply #63 on: May 20, 2015, 02:47:09 PM »

'stop caretaking the borderline or narcissist'

It's really helpful in identifying the behaviours of the ex and why we were fated, as caretakers/codependents to fall for (and the few who are able to tolerate and get involved deeply with) Npds/BPDs.

It does a good job of answering questions we still have on the borderline and more importantly why we allowed (specifically us) this relationship to go on and how to move on from these destructive/toxic relationships.
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« Reply #64 on: May 20, 2015, 02:56:03 PM »

Its on my bedside table Smiling (click to insert in post)

I don't know about you but I've never "care taken" before in a r/s till I met her in all my others they were doing the "care taking" it really was a first of a kind r/s for me in so many ways
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« Reply #65 on: May 20, 2015, 03:29:06 PM »

This book is ringing every single bell in my head and fits my description of a caretaker rather than codependent. There are so many interesting chapters, I had not thought I was in the relationship due to avoiding my own intimacy issues too, I would agree I have never had a lt intimate relationship, when I've been close I've dumped perfectly lovely women for PD partners as this felt more natural.

I have been with narcissistic and borderline women before, my relationship history reads non,pd,non,pd,non and finally pd. The pd relationships were always more intense and hurt more at the end, none of the relationships with well women ended in this kind of pain. The good news: I'm now due a non! And hopefully have learnt enough not to throw away perfectly lovely women.
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« Reply #66 on: June 02, 2015, 08:02:30 PM »

What I appreciate most about the book is that the language is clear and it is an easy read. The book does away with medical terminology and explains behaviors very well.

What stood out for me is that I think it's a good read if you are a leaver. I was surprised to find how well the author articulates the experience and feelings for the non-disordered partner. I often find that it's an experience few understand because you have to have lived it. I think that is what makes the book special for me is that the experience is from my perspective and is in print.

I did find some segments slightly repetitive and it wasn't enough that it was distracting and took away from my reading enjoyment.
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« Reply #67 on: June 02, 2015, 08:10:27 PM »

Interestingly, if you read the chapter that is available online, the author says that if pwBPD and pwNPD get together, it's generally short lived because BOTH are looking for caretakers to soothe their low self esteem.
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« Reply #68 on: June 03, 2015, 03:10:04 AM »

I can recommend the book. Coming out of a r/s with a BP/NP I was wondering if the author has observed the interactions between my ex and me. It is really straightforward and to the point.

I am 10 months out and already at fairly good state, what allows me to have a more rational view on things. Reading this book helped me to structure my thoughts and to sort in my experiences in the context of facing a situation that is determined by a mental illness of a very close person. I don´t know if I would have been ready to accept the facts about the Non's (my own) stake of the mess the author exposes.

Taken together, the book really helps to improve the understanding of the dynamics at play in a r/s with a BP/NP. The later parts give you some tools for how to improve the interactions with a BP/NP. That might be helpful for some readers. For me the comparison of the efforts connected with these measures (When you read it it sounds like it might work well, but I know it would be extremely hard to implement such "rules".) and the fact that the person will never be there for you if you need her/him shows me that I don´t want such people in my life. It might work, but it´s one sided. Even if the way to improvement lies in the consideration of your own needs you finally are dealing with a mentally ill person, what means you give but when it really counts, e.g. you are falling into a crisis, you´ll be alone. Guess a lot of us here experienced that already. Fortunately there is neither a marriage nor do we have common children. Lucky me! I have the choice to exclude her of my life.
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« Reply #69 on: June 03, 2015, 04:56:33 AM »

Wow, I read the preview and will be ordering it today.  I already have learned several things just from the preview, the first of which is the difference between a Caretaker and a Codependent (being a Caretaker is situational to the relationship with the pwBPD/NPD as opposed to generalized with everyone in all situations).  The second is that I think my uBPDh may have some NPD going on as well.

  Daylily

That's really validating to hear - I have never been in a "caretaking" role with anyone but my ex.  My T explained co-dependency to me when I first started seeing her and I kept saying, "but that doesn't describe me!  I'm not afraid to say "no," I'm not a people pleaser, this is the first time I've ever been a caretaker for ANYONE!"  I've always felt that my "caretaking" role with my ex was in response to HER and her woundedness specifically, not because I need to be a caretaker in all r/s's.

Will be downloading it tonight!
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« Reply #70 on: June 03, 2015, 05:22:08 AM »

This is the book that really hit the nail on the head for me.

I've read several books on the topic of BPD relationships but this one was the first that gave equal time to the 'non' in the relationship. 

It helped me understand my role in the dysfunctional dance and why I was 'hooked'.

Like another poster mentioned the language was clear and the examples easy to understand.   I ended up highlighting about half the book.

I recommend this book all the time on the boards.   If you only read one book about BPD I think this is the one.
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« Reply #71 on: June 03, 2015, 05:33:04 AM »

Great book, read it several times
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« Reply #72 on: June 03, 2015, 06:30:56 AM »

I ended up highlighting about half the book.

Exactly the same for me... .Especially within the first third... .
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« Reply #73 on: June 03, 2015, 08:09:13 AM »

This is the book that really hit the nail on the head for me.

I've read several books on the topic of BPD relationships but this one was the first that gave equal time to the 'non' in the relationship. 

It helped me understand my role in the dysfunctional dance and why I was 'hooked'.

Of all the books I've read this has had the biggest impact on me, it was like I had a  Idea moment reading it.

It helped me change.
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« Reply #74 on: June 19, 2015, 05:16:25 AM »

I am a big fan of Fjelstad's book.   It was for me the single biggest sea change in my r/s.  I think I ended up highlighting about half the book and then had a Kindle malfunction and lost my notes and highlights.  It was very nearly the end of the world.   Smiling (click to insert in post)

One of the things I have experienced in my r/s from time to time is being locked in a battle of wills with my partner.   I call it the 'needs entitlement war'.    It's not a fair fight between adults where consensus will eventually be reached it's a deadlocked position where both parties take opposing positions, dig in and reiterate their position until somebody becomes exhausted and stops communicating.

I've learned not to do two things.   I try not to spend time describing my partner's behavior, feelings, actions.  That's her business to take care of.   I try to emotionally insulate myself from it.    The second thing I try not to do is insist on agreement or consensus.   She doesn't have to see it my way.   She doesn't have to agree with my opinion.  She doesn't have to like what I do or don't do.  

I have learned to do two things.   First is to focus on my feelings, needs, actions and behaviors.   Lots of I statements.  I think.  I felt.   I wanted.   The second I learned  is to recognize that the reason we become deadlocked is usually because there is an underlying feeling that is being suppressed.

For me, what I have come to learn, is that I have a limited amount of bandwidth to deal with issues like these and I get overwhelmed sooner and more frequently than I would have thought.   I needed to and I still need to spend more time recharging my own emotional batteries.     I can't spend hours each day pouring out.   I have to take in.  

When I take in I am the master of my own ship.  More calm and centered, less reactive.   I like what Skip said in a different thread about how we all come here to become more calm and centered.   That's a great mantra for my day.  What can I do for 'ducks today that makes for a more calm and centered and happy duck!

take a look at the book some time.   it's very good.

'ducks
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« Reply #75 on: June 21, 2015, 01:03:41 PM »

I think it's important for folks here to realize that for many pwBPD, the feeling of being controlled through giving is an incredible fear.  Many partners seem to have the impulse that with pwBPD, more and more and more giving is somehow helpful.  It really can be the opposite.  There is an incredible article on this site, titled "Why We Struggle In Our Relationships," that explains that the most actually loving and helpful stance one can take toward someone with BPD is NOT to participate in that sort of dynamic, which denies them the chance to be who they really are and experience the natural consequences of that.  Several other articles and books echo this important point ("Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist" is probably the most thorough).  It is really worth considering that gestures that partners think of as loving, are legitimately and sincerely experienced as controlling and smothering by someone with BPD.  If your partner were constantly showing you how you're nothing without him/her, you're incompetent, you need them SO MUCH, wouldn't it make you feel a little smothered and creeped out?  It certainly would me.

Again, these comments don't apply to all the lists here of loving gestures partners made before they were abandoned by someone wBPD.  Some of that is just hard and sad.  But some of the lists reflect this impulse to "love" by giving and caretaking to a point that is really oppressive and unhealthy.  Again, I found it useful to critically examine my impulses in light of that insight.
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« Reply #76 on: June 25, 2015, 08:12:37 AM »

In her book, Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist. How to End the Drama and Get on with Life, Margalis Fjelstad describes stages of healing of being a caretaker to a pwBPD/pwNPD. The stages are similar to Kubler-Ross' stages of dying.  There is denial, anger, depression, and bargaining. We tend to cycle through denial, depression, anger, and bargaining, until we reach acceptance.  After we reach acceptance, we set boundaries, let go, and rebuild.

In the stage of anger, she mentions that anger comes with denial. Anger tends to happen when the pwBPD is dysregulating or hostile, hurtful, selfish, etc. Also, many people who are feeling angry and in this stage, have "expectations that the pwBPD/pwNPD should behave or act normally. Anger also occurs because you believe that you could or should be able to "fix" the pwBPD/pwNPD and that if the pwBPD/pwNPD loved you more, they could and should be able to act more loving and positive. These beliefs end up creating feelings of incompetence and being unloved, again bringing up anger (p. 83).

At this stage, we find that we have a lot of anger towards ourselves. Margalis mentions, many times we become angry and blame ourselves for the pwBPD/pwNPD for not being normal, choosing the pwBPD/pwNPD as a partner, and not being able to change the pwBPD/pwNPD.

Margalis' description anger stage really resonated with me. Although I was angry at my bf and his behaviors, I found that much of my anger was directed towards myself. I started to look at my own behavior. I kept expecting my bf to change his behaviors and that caused a great deal of anger towards him. After some self-examining, I realized that my own behavior extended further than my relationship and I was angry towards other loved ones. I asked myself these questions, why was I always so affected by his behavior,why do I think that he is the source of all my anger, and why do I constantly please him and disregard my own feelings?  

The anger was my problem not my bf's and it took me awhile to understand that.  I am only responsible for my own thoughts and behavior, I am not responsible for his.  My choice to change was beneficial to me and my own issues. Regardless of "changing" for my relationship, I realized I do not want to be angry all the time. Living with anger all the time was miserable for me and I was tired  of being miserable. I started working on myself and I found that my pattern of behavior and anger, originated from my FOO.   Once I let go and worked through a lot of my anger, I found myself not being as affected by my bf's behavior. I do not have to validate his behavior if I do not agree with it. I can step away if I do not like how he is behaving. I do not have to please anyone, but myself. My feelings and emotions are just as important as his.



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« Reply #77 on: June 25, 2015, 01:22:27 PM »

I read it regularly Smiling (click to insert in post)  I have been one my whole life too.
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« Reply #78 on: July 12, 2015, 09:44:06 AM »

Chapter 10 ~ Stages of Healing should be helpful. Marjgalis Fjelstad read Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's stage of dying and identified that the stages of letting go is a universal process that could be applied to any major transition in our lives and added stages to move out of the role of caretaker and into self-care.

https://bpdfamily.com/book-reviews/stop-caretaking-borderline-or-narcissist


----Mutt
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« Reply #79 on: July 21, 2015, 06:47:42 PM »

What a fantastic read, it was really cool to see Randi Kreger's (author of "Stop Walking on Eggshells" recommendation on the dust cover. I just finished reading the leaving or staying chapter and I'm lost for words.

Excerpt
If you decide you want to stay with the BP in your life, do so with the full knowledge of what you are choosing to do. IT does not seem loving or considerate to stay with the BP in order to change her, because you promised, or for the sake fo the children. These are all really reasons that help you avoid feeling guilty. They are Caretaker reasons... .

It hits so close to home.

It also reminded me that maintaining a friendship after the b/u has to be entirely up to the pwBPD's terms.
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« Reply #80 on: August 04, 2015, 02:53:54 PM »

Very good book, everyone on this board should read every page on it. It tells almost everything - about the FOG, the roles you are three roles you are playing and why you are stuck.

The book says " very few people have all the qualites to maintain a relationship for decades with BPD. If you don't have children- sever the relationship completely. If you do not want to be Caretaker, there is no point in continue to have a contact with the BP. Interactions with BP are so difficult that neither of you is likely to find enjoyable.
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« Reply #81 on: August 04, 2015, 04:31:29 PM »

I just ordered this book from our local library. I have always wondered why so few actual diagnoses, until the author explained, "The diagnosis of BPD by a Therapist or Doctor doesn't usually occur until the person has started acting inappropriately in public, has gotten into trouble with the law, or has attempted suicide or cutting."
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« Reply #82 on: August 04, 2015, 08:11:14 PM »

I just ordered this book from our local library. I have always wondered why so few actual diagnoses, until the author explained, "The diagnosis of BPD by a Therapist or Doctor doesn't usually occur until the person has started acting inappropriately in public, has gotten into trouble with the law, or has attempted suicide or cutting."

The marriage counselor we talked to (actually the fourth, all chosen by my wife) told me that therapists don't like to diagnose someone with BPD, because most don't accept the diagnosis and it gets in the way of progress - they turn against the therapist.

Plus... .other therapists are reluctant to take on someone who has a BPD diagnosis, for the same reason - it's a struggle and it often ends with the BPD sufferer making accusations and trying to get the therapist fired.
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« Reply #83 on: August 04, 2015, 09:25:07 PM »

During her years of regular therapy 20 years ago, my mother was given a book on BPD by her T. At first, she thought this was the therapist's way of giving my mom insight on her long deceased father. Later, my mom realized that the T was telling her in a gentle way that she was BPD.  My mom (an RN, and very intelligent) accepts that she is. She also concluded early on that my Ex was BPD, but never told me. She can't remember which book it was though.
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« Reply #84 on: January 04, 2017, 11:36:42 PM »

Thanks for the responses, everyone! Sorry, I kind of fell off the radar there for a bit.

thrownforaloop please let us know your thoughts on whichever book you decide. I found that the book review section was a good accompaniment for reading. If you have anything you'd like to share about your reading, I hope you'll consider posting about it. I found conversations these conversations very helpful to discuss with other members.      

gotbushels, I decided on the book you recommended--"Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist". I'm a little over halfway through and find it amazing. Thanks again for recommending.

I'm agreeing a lot with what the book has to say and see clear similarities to how my relationship with my exBPDw functioned. It's such an eyeopening book and, at times, has been hard to read. While a lot of other books are sort of shaming people with BPD and giving us nons an out, this book seems to hold the non more accountable of the two. It basically says, look... .you're never going to change someone else, you need to change your self.

It's very well written, thought out and I suppose researched. She reaches a lot of levels that other books I've read on the subject have not. The way it speaks on caretakers having the constant mindset of always comparing and figuring out "Am I superior or inferior to this person?" and then trying to change the other person, hits home. The section of being trapped in a ":)rama Triangle" also is super accurate.

To wrap up, reading has felt like pulling off a band-aide so far.  I'm just amazed by how true all of her points are... .It's hard to accept so much responsibility, but it seems like it'll be really necessary if I want to go on to live a happier and healthier life.
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« Reply #85 on: January 07, 2017, 07:46:38 PM »

I thought this book was great too... .I read it after my breakup with my BPD ex and it was super helpful. I think it would have been helpful if we had been able to stay together too.

The big insight that helped me is that often we are too fearful of the BPD's rages to set boundaries... .and that we should be less fearful of them.
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« Reply #86 on: April 11, 2017, 10:08:20 AM »

I would like to recommend a book that has helped me tremendously over the past few days to gain perspective and make sense of a nightmarish and heartbreaking marriage and divorce that I thought would never, ever make sense. It's "Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist" by Margalis Fjelstad.
I wouldn't have grouped the BPD and the Narcissist together. It just never occurred to me. But as I have read this book, I have to admit the similarities are striking. I have to say my estranged H with BPD also has some narcissistic traits. I still love him very much, which may be very puzzling given how he has abused me, but at least I have had the strength to pursue a divorce and I did not stay in a marriage with him for nearly as long as my three predecessors. I can't even imagine how messed up those poor women are now.
My heart breaks for him and I worry about him. I worry about him drinking himself to death, getting beaten up when he comes onto some woman who doesn't want his advances and tells her significant other, getting a disease because he sleeps with anything that breathes, becoming homeless because he ultimately distrusts his coworkers and so can have trouble keeping a job. His recent messages--40 over the past 12 hours-- indicate that he may be reaching a new low in terms of his illness--he has some schizo aspects like paranoia and delusions though if schizo was part of his diagnosis it was never officially disclosed to me (the shrinks never disclosed anything to me, which still bugs the sh#t out of me because if they had maybe the nightmare could have been stopped earlier for both of us).
This book offers insight into how pwBPD think and it is helping me to understand that he will, in fact, be okay without me. He was okay (as much as an alcoholic wBPD who refuses treatment can be) before me. And BPDs tend to move on quickly once they have some stability.
The circular conversations--the odd mixture of logic and completely irrational fixtures--is explained, along with the BPD's covertly defensive stance against a world where he/she never feels truly safe, secure or worthy.
But the greatest value of Fjelstad's book for me during this difficult time is that it focuses on us "Caretakers"--how we came to be the patsies for BPDs and NPs, how we are changed by our relationships with them, how we become hyper-vigilant and socially withdrawn, and, best of all, some insight into how to recover.
It is a very reassuring book and has helped me to accept the fact that I love this very ill man very much and that I need to step away because--very importantly--these two things, loving and distancing, are not mutually exclusive. Because I love him, I have to stop caretaking him. Because I love myself, I must reclaim my life.
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« Reply #87 on: April 14, 2017, 10:32:58 PM »

Very factual and realistic advice on dealing with BPD and NPD. I would recommend it to anyone touched by these disorders.
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« Reply #88 on: January 24, 2018, 07:38:45 AM »

Thank you for this thread, I have just ordered the book   
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