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Question: As a one who read the book, how do you rate this book?
Excellent - 37 (94.9%)
Good - 2 (5.1%)
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Total Voters: 39

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Author Topic: 03. Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist - Margalis Fjelstad, PhD, LMFT  (Read 46847 times)
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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


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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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