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Author Topic: Regarding Empathy  (Read 10932 times)
AwakenedOne
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« on: April 24, 2014, 05:34:59 AM »

I have been doing good for the most part. This day is not so good because I am struggling with understanding this one thing.

I was painted black and dumped 8 months ago with NC since by my uBPDstbxw. I get how something could make her view me as bad and cause her to abandon a loved one / husband.  If she views me as all black I still don't see how there is no empathy at all, I would think at a certain point a person would have a minimal -> at least make sure that he is ok or safe conscience . NONE though. She left me with no money, no place to live, no car, she got me fired. I was in college too, that's on hold now. I had to drop out. Impression is she doesn't care if am alive or dead. I am far from perfect, I made mistakes. I didn't deserve to be abandoned and left to survive like this. You might think well maybe she thought I would be ok when she dumped me. No trust me, she fully knew I had obligations, 0 money, would have no place to live, no car to drive, no job to go to and no way to get to college etc... . Heartless.

It is so creepy  thinking that I loved, married, kissed and hugged this same person who left me to flounder/with no safety ultimately. I can't file for divorce in this region for 4 more months due to requirements. Hard to even save up for lawyers fees by then. It will be so creepy seeing this person in court.

I don't know if anybody else will understand what I mean by creepy. If you do understand please reply. I am not bored and posting here to be dramatic or mock her and I am not also proclaiming I am blameless whatsoever. I made mistakes for sure. You might think "well he's been broken up 8 months that's a long time he should be over it". I am still married to her and how she affected my finances and life is something I have to deal with everyday. Its just an unfortunate reminder of her.

Marriage vows were supposed to mean something.

My opinion is she's BPD and the 0 empathy  part I don't understand related to it is what I am having a problem with.

Or she's cold blooded  

I know I need to move on and heal myself and all that. I am trying . I've read about everything here. And I been trying to be very positive, forgiving and working hard. I know one cant fully understand somebody with BPD. I get that. I just need to know the answer to this question though to make some sense of it all.

Ok all that being said, it comes down to this:

Can somebody with BPD have 0 empathy for an individual (husband). ZERO? And can that 0 lack of empathy last a long time 8 months of NC?


You might say "well what do you want AO"? I don't want to be with her or see her ever again. I just want to know the answer to this question to help somewhat understand.

Thank You,

AO
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bpdspell
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2014, 05:57:33 AM »

Can somebody with BPD have 0 empathy for an individual (husband). ZERO? And can that 0 lack of empathy last a long time 8 months of NC?

Awakened One,

It's ok if you're 8months out and still grieving, confuddled, and perplexed by the actions of a mentally ill person. After all; this woman was once your wife and the ending of a marriage is the ending of a dream and something that will cause an extreme amount of sadness. This sadness makes you human.

As for your ex she has a mental illness and on the a Leaving Board the difficult part is the full acceptance of this. The goal is detaching. No easy feat but detaching from who we hoped this person could one day be for us is a part of the healing process. Yes. Your mind will spin wheels trying to figure out how things went south or imploded but ultimately you cannot read the mind of a mentally ill person.

Your ex's empathy is severely compromised due to emotionally stunted brain wiring. That is the crux of BPD. She's a child trapped in an adult body. You did not cause her to be sick or to treat you poorly. Her abusive and abandoning treatment of you is due to the fact that her mind is not well. Her actions feel personal but they are more reflective of her state of mind and her character. And only those who get close get to see the "real " her.

It's hard to not take the actions of a mentally I'll personal but your ex was sick way before you entered the picture and will continue to be long after.

Part of the devastating feeling of grieving is the loss of the dream and fantasy that we finally found someone who could love us unconditionally, protect our love with sacredness, and cherish our vulnerability. But you cannot hold on to the dream that your ex will come back one magical day and fix her wrongs. She may look normal on the outside but her mind is sick.

I think many of us hold onto idealization in an unhealthy way and that to some degree keeps our ex's on a pedestal and our job is to see the light and knock them off. They aren't God. They aren't superhuman. They cannot heal our pain. They're broken human beings who are very savvy at navigating the world in their own way to survive.  

BPD and narcissism are "real" personality disorders that are damaging to the lives of those who have it and those around them. Are you seeing a T? Self-Forgiveness is a huge part of the healing process but usually our abandonment pain is connected to an issue that needs to be healed more deeper within ourselves. Perhaps a Family of Origin issue or unfinished business from childhood?


Spell
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12BarBlues

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« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2014, 06:18:32 AM »



Yes it feels creepy because it is.

I'm sorry you're going through this tough time. This is a question I have pondered myself and it important to ask yourself questions like this. Be mindful of the dreaded contact know as "concern troll". What happens if today you get a message "Hope ur doing ok"... . What will that do to you? How would you respond to her? If at all? Would you think that you had her all wrong and that she does care and empathize? Would you be ready to pour out your heart and tell her how bad you feel? That is a test and only a test.  Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post)

The fact that you are stuck on this idea of someone being so cold and heartless is a totally normal reaction to an abnormal person's behavior. Empathy for anyone else is highly unlikely because of the emotional storm inside of her. She doesn't feel responsible for how her negative actions effect the rest of the world because her disorder keeps her from being wired that way. For BPD Empathy is a one way street... . from others to her... . she feeds off of it... . hows that for creepy? The hardest side effect of that for you is that you are allowing her to control your thoughts and emotions still and shes doing it without saying or doing anything but staying quiet.

I know I need to move on and heal myself and all that. I am trying . I've read about everything here. And I been trying to be very positive, forgiving and working hard. I know one cant fully understand somebody with BPD. I get that. I just need to know the answer to this question though to make some sense of it all.

This is excellent!   Doing the right thing (click to insert in post) Keep your focus on you and your boundaries and don't forget that you need to forgive yourself right now more than anyone else!

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BorisAcusio
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« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2014, 06:19:24 AM »

Ok all that being said, it comes down to this:

Can somebody with BPD have 0 empathy for an individual (husband). ZERO? And can that 0 lack of empathy last a long time 8 months of NC?

It's not just the last 8 months, they lacked empathy the entire time. We have clinical and anecdotal evidence about this. Lack of empathy will make them remorseless. That's why they are capable of horrible things.
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« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2014, 06:49:16 AM »

These sorts of questions can be haunting to us in the wake of a relationship with a pwBPD.  It can seem so impossible to reconcile the person that so deeply loved and cherished us with the cold and callous person we now see.  This tore me up terribly at first and I spent a long time very upset and concerned with whether my ex ever loved me at all.

I can only speak from my experience with my ex, but I am convinced that she absolutely does experience empathy.  There were times with me when she was very understanding and supportive and comforting.  There were also times when I saw she was the same with other people.  I don't believe that this was driven by some sort of selfish agenda or any such thing.  There are a few instances I can think of when she had nothing to gain personally other than altruism.  For instance I can remember how she very tenderly helped someone who was homeless.  She does experience empathy and I think like all her emotions, she experiences it intensely.

The problem is that she is also in a constant emotional chaos inside and that can often override everything else.  I think of it sort like this.  Suppose that she was drowning and all around her are other people that are drowning too.  It's not so much that she doesn't care about these other people and their welfare, it's just that her own survival overwhelms everything else.  All she can think of is getting that next breath of air.  Similarly, when she is emotionally dysregulated, all she can think of is making the chaos and pain of those emotions stop.  She isn't really going to stop and think about how it affects everyone around her, even people she really does love.  Drowning people have been known to climb on top of others, drowning them too, in their panic to survive.  I can't say for certain that this is the case with your ex, but this is what I sincerely believe about my ex.

BPD is a heartbreaking disorder.  There are no winners.  Even our pwBPD are losers, and probably the biggest losers of all.  They are the ones who can never escape the situation, while we can eventually move on.  It's good to think on these sorts of questions - Does she love me?  Why does she treat me so if she loves me?, etc. - but we must always remember that they have a serious disorder that, like BPDspell said, severely compromises them.  They live in a world of emotional pain and chaos the likes of which you and I can't fully imagine.  Try and have some empathy for the tragic situation that they are in too.
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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2014, 07:15:59 AM »

I know exactly what you mean with creepy.  My exgf, then friend, of 15 years disappeared with an email “I think this doesn’t work”.  At this point I didn’t even know about BPD.  I was sick and in hospital and contacted her (as my parents/ relatives live in a foreign country).  She is just an empty shell, no empathy.  Once she told me I should be “tough”.  I think that’s how BPDs refer to empathy. There is only yes or no.  I still try to convince her to meet and talk, but no response.  It feels like 15 years of friendship have been a lie.  Something inside me died.  How can I trust anybody ever again?
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« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2014, 07:28:51 AM »

I don't think a pwBPD wakes up each morning planning on who they will crush that day... they just do. By the same token, I don't think being "cold-hearted" is something they choose... they just are.

Empathy is such an important and unique human trait that we cannot come to grips with somebody lacking it. It certainly explains how they can dump us at the drop of a hat and act like the r/s never existed.

I am the type of person to analyze and ruminate over things until they are reconciled in my mind. It has been 6+ years since I learned about BPD and 2 years since my divorce. The conclusion I have drawn is that there are some things that I will never know the answer to or understand about BPD and how it manifested itself in my exBPDw. I concluded that it would never reconcile with a logical mind.

There are some things that you will have to accept as-is and not get any closure over.

Good luck.

WG
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« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2014, 08:20:48 AM »

This is a really interesting topic. I was thinking along the same lines today. Does my ex understand or realise her behaviour and therefore empathise.

I saw it once after we split when she admitted that her actions were terrible and she felt sorry for the hurt she caused. However on reflection I believe she was saying that to try and suck me back in so I ignored the message. Following that I have had a backward turn and contacted her basically blaming myself for everything. She has responded to that saying it was all my fault. So I realise that her attempts at empathy and responsibility were all part of the need for her to win me back.

That said I believe she can see it in herself, the behaviour etc but the overwhelming emotion is that of self survival. I like the analogy of drowning as that I see totally in my ex.

I feel very sorry for anyone suffering with this awful condition however in my experience if they don't get help then there is only so much understanding one can have.

My favourite way to describe it all is if you change nothing then nothing will change. Which we as ex partners of BPD sufferers need to do in order to be he healthy and happy again.

Much love
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« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2014, 08:40:17 AM »

I saw a post yesterday in which someone stated that the most difficult part of this whole process is fully accepting that the person you were with has this mental illness ("radical acceptance".  Of course, part of that is accepting that he/she has an extremely compromised capacity for empathy.  I have often found myself searching for evidence that I'm wrong, that my uBPDx really did empathize with me on some occasions.  But, if I'm honest, most of the examples I've found were not about empathy but about her attempting to please me, searching randomly for things to say like a child would to make me smile.  And of course this was when I was in the idealization phase or was split white. At other times, she couldn't have cared less (when serious things were going on).  I think we all know the answer, despite a sometimes desperate search for counter-examples. 

Personally, I think the "I'm sorry I hurt you" stuff is completely about exercising power, and has nothing at all to do with "sorry" or "hurt."
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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2014, 01:49:52 PM »

Lack of empathy was a huge deciding factor in ending the "friendship", (and I use that word very loosely), with the XBPDGf.  The reciprocity was nil, and I had supported, been loving, caring and compassionate to the enth degree and at a time I needed a shoulder or an ear? I could never get it, even by directly asking for what I needed, ie "I'm having a bad day, can we get a beer and talk?". Nupe!  But? I was the toxic waste dump always available, always supporting always doing the dirty work until I decided no more. 

What helped me to decide is accepting that disordered folks have the emotional capacity and maturity of a 3 year old.  So? Image asking a toddler to have a talk and lend an ear?

Awakened One I'm so sorry about your situation, and it is BRUTAL, makes mine look like a cake walk, albeit a nasty cake walk

To answer your question, they most definitely, at least in my own experience can exhibit, ZERO empathy.  I could go and on with examples.  The most I ever got "gee I'm sorry, but I'm working endless hours and MY life... . "

CiF
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« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2014, 02:03:40 PM »

Interesting discussion.  In my relationship, pwBPD expressed a lot of empathy, except when he was dysregulated.  He was very aware of that, after the fact, and felt remorse about it.  He simply couldn't control his reaction when in the throes of the dysregulation.

We have this empathy assessment from the DSM 5 that may be illuminating.  We all fall somewhere on the scale:


DSM 5 Empathy Assessment Levels

Healthy (0) Capable of accurately understanding others’ experiences and motivations in most situations. Comprehends and appreciates others’ perspectives, even if disagreeing. Is aware of the effect of own actions on others.

Mild impairment (1) Somewhat compromised in ability to appreciate and understand others’ experiences; may tend to see others as having unreasonable expectations or a wish for control. Although capable of considering and understanding different perspectives, resists doing so. Inconsistent is awareness of effect of own behavior on others.

Impaired (2) Hyper-attuned to the experience of others, but only with respect to perceived relevance to self. Excessively self-referential; significantly compromised ability to appreciate and understand others’ experiences and to consider alternative perspectives. Generally unaware of or unconcerned about effect of own behavior on others, or unrealistic appraisal of own effect.

Very Impaired (3) Ability to consider and understand the thoughts, feelings and behavior of other people is significantly limited; may discern very specific aspects of others’ experience, particularly vulnerabilities and suffering. Generally unable to consider alternative perspectives; highly threatened by differences of opinion or alternative viewpoints. Confusion or unawareness of impact of own actions on others; often bewildered about peoples’ thoughts and actions, with destructive motivations frequently misattributed to others.

Extreme Impairment (4) Pronounced inability to consider and understand others’ experience and motivation. Attention to others' perspectives virtually absent (attention is hypervigilant, focused on need-fulfillment and harm avoidance). Social interactions can be confusing and disorienting.
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« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2014, 02:26:48 PM »

In my 6 month relationship, I sensed little to no empathy... . never apologized for her behaviors during the r/s.  Post break-up, I did get several apologizes from her via text message, but they rang hollow.  When she dumped me, I cried my eyes out in front of her.  She just looked at my with glossed over eyes.  2 weeks later when we met up to discuss things, she said I had commitment issues and wasn't taking the r/s seriously enough... . lets just say that doesn't reconcile with a 30 year old man crying in front of her.
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« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2014, 02:46:33 PM »

Lamaiel - that sounds familiar! I had lack of commitment issues too apparently even though when we had an argument once, she decided to go straight on a dating site and send naked pictures of herself to people, I cried my heart out and tried to explain that the thought of anyone else seeing her naked was devastating to me as I loved her so much and never wanted anyone to see her in that way ever.

My ex gf didn't show much empathy around that situation either - in fact it was my fault in the first place for arguing and pushing her away.

I shake my head as write these things as I can't quite believe I allowed myself to be treated this way.
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« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2014, 06:26:58 PM »

the great question of Empathy... . you know I do think pwBPD have empathy, however their empathy is impaired. i think why it's so confusing is that this empathy fluctuates depending on the time, the person and the state of the relationship. for me what makes most sense is that my ex showed all of the following traits regarding her empathy (and i'll try and give context to each one).

1) Real/Normal empathy -- when not disregulated (mine was high functioning so i'd say much of the time), yes i think my ex could empathize with me, others, family members, children, etc. We should also factor in "mirroring" where a pwBPD may not actually empathize but go through the motions just to look empathetic. However even considering this I would say my ex was capable of empathy when she was normal to happy. This varies by person I'm sure.

2) Distorted perceptions/Impaired Empathy -- For example, having social anxiety and feeling uncomfortable around other people or thinking they don't like them when it's not true. Or, thinking I don't like/respect her when it's not true. Misreading facial expressions and vocal tones as overly-negative when they are not. Fabricating things about the past -- this shows No real empathy.

What's worse is that i see both nons and pwBPD alike suggest that oversensitivity, social paranoia, misreading facial expressions or intentions, etc. as evidence that a pwBPD is overly empathetic. If you are misreading the situation this isn't empathy at all--empathy is seeing the truth in others, not projecting your insecurities onto them.

if you're in a room full of people, and everyone is ok with you or even truly likes you, but you believe the opposite--this doesn't make you sensitive or empathetic. sure you may act "sensitive" but this is simply being overly emotional about projections for other people that aren't real. overly emotional does not equal empathetic.

So as far as distorted perceptions/projections go I would call this impaired empathy. This isn't something that's fun for them or done on purpose. I believe this to be a consistent issue with my ex but that she managed it well. Most of the time I couldn't even tell when she was uncomfortable in front of others but i learned ways to help sooth some in these situations.


3) Denial/Deflected Empathy -- I think a lot of us feeling no empathy from the ex comes from their need to deny that they have done anything wrong. they already feel bad enough so much of the time and shameful for things we couldn't even understand, so they develop a bullet-proof denial that shields them from more shame in realizing what they've done. Hence lies and projections galore.

I do think many pwBPD are aware at times that they are in denial, or they are wrong, at least sometimes. It's not uncommon for pwBPD to admit that how they treat others is wrong; thing is this doesn't stop them from doing it again and again. And they almost never admit this to the person that they have wronged. So with Denial I call this Deflected Empathy since there may be some chance that they feel it but they choose not to b/c of conditioning.


4) Revenge/Punishment, Dark-Empathy -- this one is pretty simple but i think it's overlooked. pwBPD often seek punishment and revenge on their SOs/exes. in this case they may hate you, which can dissolve into contempt or annoyance--if you accept too much punishment then they lose respect and will punish you more or simply bore of you and move on. In this case, there's no "real" empathy for you of course. However, I don't know if that's so odd. Let's say you don't have a PD whatsoever--if you had good reason to truly hate someone then you would lose all empathy for this person until you were able to calm down.

So during a revenge/punishment phase, i'm unsure if the lack of empathy comes directly from their PD or if it's simply a byproduct of BPD hatred.

I'm calling this Dark Empathy because i do think that depending on awareness they can be very empathic during rage/revenge/punishment. They feel horrible so they do things to transfer this over to you. They may see and feel your pain and this satiates their need to get revenge. It could either be blind fury (un-empathetic) or directed rage (purposeful punishment). So i guess it depends.


So, overall i feel like i experienced all of the above coming from my ex. I don't feel the need to pick one or the other to decide whether she did or didn't have empathy, it just depended on the situation. When she hated me, none. Other times lots. Much of the time, denial or distorted... .

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« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2014, 08:51:46 PM »

This is a great question and a fantastic discussion here.

Even within the context of a PD (which has, as one of its defining traits, impaired or lacking empathy), individuals differ. My experiences with PD and especially BPD (not limited to my exbf) are that they seem to have empathy but real trouble processing it.

Empathy is an emotion. pwBPD are, to put it mildly, not good with emotions.

For instance, with my exbf, looking at the Empathy Scale that heartandwhole posted, he was never at a "0" and could only ever be at "1" with close family/friends and me, and even then not consistently. His "base state" was around a "2," going into "3" at times and occasionally even into "4."

My interpretation is that they're capable of empathy (varying levels, depending on the individual) unless they are dysregulated. The bottom line for a pwBPD is self-survival. When stressed or dysregulated, they are so consumed with their own emotions, wants, fears, etc., that they simply cannot extend any sort of thought or effort to anyone else's.

Also, I think it's easy to misinterpret a pwBPD's heightened sensitivity to other people as true empathy. They are very good at discerning others' mental states. And mirroring can appear as empathy, too. And if the partner has a lot of empathy, there's another layer -- the mirroring of empathy.

I don't think a pwBPD wakes up each morning planning on who they will crush that day... they just do. By the same token, I don't think being "cold-hearted" is something they choose... they just are.

Exactly.

I think they can (and some do) recognize that they lack full capacity for empathy. I think this probably adds to the sense of "brokenness," shame, guilt, and other emotional torment they have for themselves. Which just makes further emotional turmoil, and therefore further deterioration into a chaotic emotional place where they can't focus on anyone but themselves.

I am the type of person to analyze and ruminate over things until they are reconciled in my mind. It has been 6+ years since I learned about BPD and 2 years since my divorce. The conclusion I have drawn is that there are some things that I will never know the answer to or understand about BPD and how it manifested itself in my exBPDw. I concluded that it would never reconcile with a logical mind.

There are some things that you will have to accept as-is and not get any closure over.

Unfortunately, this is the bottom line about so much PD and BPD behavior.
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« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2014, 11:18:57 PM »

Hi Everyone,

I really appreciate your responses to my question. You guys are so awesome! I have learned much through this discussion and have been offered good advice.

Smiling (click to insert in post)

Thank You,

AO
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« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2014, 12:04:59 AM »

First off AO thanks for the note. It came on a tough day and helped me find this amazing discussion. I will be rereading this thread several times as it brought too many (hey were is the lightbulb emotocon I've seen used by others) moments to process at once.

I will put in a couple of points that I don't think have been addressed yet.

You say "in your opinion she's BPD." I wrestled with whether or not my ex truly had BPD. I wrestled with that for three reasons.

1) internet and diagnosis always rubbed me wrong (even though an MC we had pointed me in this direction)

2) My uBPDex was very high functioning. So maybe I was reading into this. Overwhelmingly, I read my experience expressed here over and over. But when I read things that did not match perhaps it meant that I was wrong (pretty used to thinking that I was wrong) and if I learned how to act differently and try harder I could save the last several years and all that pain from being meaningless and we would ride off into the sunset having conquered our past

3) I hate labeling people. I have been labeled by others most of my life. Some were fair labels others were not. I devoted my life to working hard both physically and emotionally to over come those labels. I was successful in all of these labels, which left me with the life-saving understanding of C-PTSD. My strength to overcome these labels came from people who saw through the labels and fed me and my inner strength. So when I read posts, even like Spell's, that combine intellect, exacting articulation, inescapable reasoning into a prose that is nothing less than emotively beautiful, even then I think "how can I abandon my ex to a label and give up hope. I certainly have the power to see through this label and find her inner strength.

Not sure if you picked up on it yet, but herein lies the fundamental realization of healing, the fundamental purpose of this site, fundamental task of every dedicated senior member here tries to emphasize.

EVERY ONE OF THOSE OBJECTIONS has more to do with me than my ex. It was a good and healthy process to wrestle with questions of "Is she really BPD?" ":)id she ever truly love me?" et al. That wrestling helped me get to the place where I could except that those questions and my objections to them pointed to the places in me that lead to the healing I need.


Now, I did not get to this place through esoteric-high-minded arguments. It came through one simple reply to a post I made questioning the BPD label. It was the beginning of my ability to learn from the wisdom which appears on this thread abundantly. I wish I kept better documentation so I could give credit where credit is due.

It simply said,

[q] I have read your story. The arguments over whether or not she truly has BPD seems pointless. I have no way of knowing. Personally, I hope she does. Because if she does not have a mental illness, it makes her an awful, horrible person.[/q]

My T said to me today that I have the right to be angry and need to process that anger against many things that happened. But I do not have the right to be angry at a person who is mentally ill.

Without discounting the inspirations of my past, it is those who see and understand my current label of C-PTSD (not see through it) and treat me accordingly that inspire health.

It would be as crazy-making as getting angry at my dear friend who suffers from Down Syndrome because we have never had a meaningful discussion about the latest trends in literature. It would say more about my needs, hopes and expectations and what I bring to that relationship. It would prevent me from the all the joy he brings to my life.

Okay, it is not a perfect metaphor. As improbable as it seams there is therapy to improve BPD. And a relationship with a pwBPD not seeking therapy brings more heartache than joy.

But my health and joy comes first by my examining the needs, hopes, and expectations I brought to my uBpdx before and after I understood it is truly an illness. Even now, I ruminate far too much on what she is truly incapable of giving.



I have rambled too much. I do have one more point which relates directly to empathy. But it is late. tomorrow.



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AwakenedOne
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« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2014, 12:32:01 AM »

If she doesn't have BPD I consider her worse because that would make her a selfish, cruel, etc... . person who has no excuse for being that way. Either way the relationship isn't to be, right?

Perfect words... . Thanks so much

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« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2014, 06:18:29 AM »

Pecator and all, I can see and relate (oh very much so) regarding how their high-functioning can confuse you. When they are high-functioning, we naturally assume that they have a higher level of control over their BPD. This is not necessarily the case. If they never disclosed whether they are diagnosed, then I can see how their high-functioning can steer nons toward thinking that they are the problem. Of course, we non have our fair share of problems in the relationship, but dysfunctions are dysfunctions, on either side. Even if they don't meet the criteria for a clinical diagnosis, they still have BPD traits. One doesn't have to be diagnosable with BPD to lack empathy; it is sufficient for them to be emotionally dysregulated.

My ex was diagnosed and high-functioning (although not as much as she believed to be). For me, high functioning in any disorder means that a person is able to assess their behaviors as well as devise constructive coping skills that are not at anyone's expense. For example, if one experiences emotional dysregulation and is honest with their partner about it to the level where they warn the partner as those thoughts come up so that they can address them together as they come up, in a constructive manner, would be something I would call high-functioning. If a pwBPD has high academic or career achievements but they abuse their partner with no attempts to control their behavior then I fail to see how they are to be considered high-functioning.

Also, they don't have to be openly abusive. Passive aggression, coldness, lack of empathy without openly aggressive behaviors (for ex, not acknowledging non's feelings), disassociation and manipulation are equally destructive for nons, yet I see many people here doubting themselves based on "I've never really been yelled at by him/her" premise. Emotional bullying does not have to be loud and openly aggressive.

I wanted to bring all this up because when reading a lot here, we subconsciously construct one story that encompasses all pwBPD. Since that story is full of different behaviors, out relationships don't live up to all those details, and we begin doubting. Then we can focus on that so much only to forget that dysfunction that we experiences is still dysfunction, whether BPD is involved or not. That often leads to "I was completely the problem" thinking and "Let me try again and do everything better this time." You can see many stories here of multiple attempts with the same or worse outcome.

We need to have empathy, but we also need to empathize with ourselves. Sometimes, you just gotta say "enough is enough," and force yourself out of the emotional prison that the experience has put you in.
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AwakenedOne
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« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2014, 04:26:01 PM »

Sometimes, you just gotta say "enough is enough," and force yourself out of the emotional prison that the experience has put you in.

Yeah, time to escape that prison and never to return.

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