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Author Topic: 03. Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist - Margalis Fjelstad, PhD, LMFT  (Read 46612 times)
waverider
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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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