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Author Topic: She played both roles, waif and rescuer,  (Read 11690 times)
BacknthSaddle
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« on: June 25, 2014, 04:23:57 PM »

Hi all,

When I started seeing my ex she was married.  She was not "high-functioning" but she was competent (good job if not as good as it could have been, didn't do well academically but not terribly, bad behavior in youth that seemed to have improved, etc).  Her husband was quite low-functioning: addicted to pills, couldn't manage his finances, unable to raise a daughter he had had out of wedlock (with another very low-functioning borderline) on his own, etc.  She was clearly making an effort to rescue him (and the daughter) throughout the relationship.  

In our relationship, however, it was clearly ME who was rescuing her from this marriage, and she was the waif looking for someone to save her.  Because she played both roles, waif and rescuer, and because in her more long-term relationship she was the rescuer, I struggled for a long time admitting to myself that she had BPD. In the aftermath of both relationships I now see it clearly (both from things that have happened since and in the past), but this combination of rescuer and rescued still leaves me puzzled at times.

I want to know if people think this is common, if it is just typical, if they have experience with this sort of behavior.  I'm just looking for people's thoughts, I suppose, without having a specific question.  Thank you for reading. The quote that kicked off these thoughts is below.  

Borderlines don’t pretend to be victimized. They are at a stage of arrested development that promotes disordered thought about their inability to become whole. That’s a fancy way of saying they are immature and are showing you the age of development where they are stuck.

Because of the failure to separate and individuate during development, they often attract people who have “ideas of reference” about who they are. Borderlines then turn these people into pseudo-parents which further reinforces their unstable sense of self and causes them to flee. The easiest and most life affirming connection they make is with people who place them in “one-down” positions. Those are the rescuers, saviors and white knights as well as the voice hogs and self centered.

Rescuers, saviors, white knights are all “false selves.” They are all coats of armor to protect the “true self” from being hurt. Borderlines are attracted to the “false selves” of others because of their ability to value the needs of the Borderline *and* in return, Borderlines adapt themselves according to whatever the “false self” of the partner projects.

Confused? That’s OK. It will take some understanding of your identity which is now suffering a crisis.

Here’s probably what happened: The lack of stable self (the Borderline) bought protection out of weakness by attaching to the stronger “false” self, but this formed a false bond out of neediness for both parties. People who need helpless people to feel better about themselves, (hereafter known as vulnerable narcissists) pair up resplendently with Borderlines, whose compulsions involve attaching to people who have strong opinions about how they should live and then hating them for those opinions. This activates intra-psychic scapegoating and persecution fears which further fuel engulfment fears and create the need to escape. In effect, finalizing the distorted belief that BOTH PARTIES have that they have BOTH been victimized and cannot trust anyone.

Borderlines will impulsively find a new person with strong opinions and repeat the process or they will become hermits and never leave the house. Vulnerable Narcissists will also find a new rewarding mirror ball to feel better about the carefully constructed "false self."

That bears repeating: The Borderline lack of stable self bought protection out of weakness. The “false self” presented strength and offered it in exchange for the weakness. This is an immature, fantasy based scenario for both parties that could not be maintained because all humans need to be autonomous and act on their own free will before they can be healthy adults. A person with Borderline personality will be constantly struggling with this.

All good relationships have an element of childlike wonder in them. However, if a fantasy role (supported by the false self of the altruist and the true self of the Borderline) was the majority of the relationship, then one person is using the other to remain in a one-up parent position while the other remains in a childlike or irresponsible state.  For her to become mature means putting away childish expectations of being carried like a child in life or having a pseudo-parent for a partner.

And being a pseudo-parent is going to cause some demons to trigger in the mind of a Borderline. This is a person with an extremely fragile sense of self which causes her to have a need to displace blame for her anxiety concerning her failure to become “whole.”

In blame, people cast distorted perceptions about *others responsibility* for their painful, fractious self, which causes the recipients of their blame to become defensive and then reflect blame in return. That goes against exactly what Borderlines don’t want *intellectually* to happen; their abandonment. It does, however, do exactly what the *disordered belief* wants and needs concerning persecution, scapegoating and splitting.

Contrary to much of what is written by misinformed people who are still knee deep in their own pain, people suffering from Borderline aren’t doing this to you on purpose. This is a disorder.

Blame disallows any self-introspection to occur- for both parties. So let’s take a look at this again.

Borderlines borrow aspects of “others” to strengthen themselves. They do this with idealization of personality strength, in what can appear to the “other” like a soul mate bond. This causes projective identification on the part of the partner who projects “good” onto the other. Projecting good can also mean that the bad parts of the self are disowned and projected onto the other in order to be resolved.

That means that a younger woman who is doing her best to avoid growing up, may look for an older man who will encourage her helplessness but not her feelings about helplessness. If that young woman has Borderline personality disorder, she may even prefer a large age gap between her partner to balance the neediness of *both people* and make what she has to offer more viable. Youth and sex become a personalized commodity in the evaluation of the partner’s “needs.”

These two things can be very appealing to an older Man, but they are dependent upon an exchange. These relationships are not about equality and growing old together - they are about fighting growing old, for both parties. Feelings come out of this.

When the Borderline fear, which is defuse and pervasive, is displaced onto the attachment bond and the partner receives an attack on the false self without warning, two things happen- the partner either withdraws or feels forced to defend the “false” self. At this juncture, both parties are participants in maladaptive coping measures- especially those concerning identity.

How will you know and recognize your false self? When it doesn’t work anymore. Whatever was presented in strength has now become a weakness. If you started out as a rescuer, you will eventually become a victim. If you started out in a one up position, you will end up at the same level. Because your false self involves fantasy thinking rather than reality testing; it has not survived. As they say, the mask comes off.  Not theirs- YOURS.

If you are continually finding yourself in one-up positions in your relationships rather than a stance of equality, therein lies your need (to overcome.) Your drive toward these unequal partners supports your false self. You've got to stop repeating the lessons that you should have learned from previous failures of rescuing needy women and then feeling used by them. That’s further entrenching your armor.

You want a person to love you, not for what you can give them, but for who you are. Not your false self. Not the car you drive, the money you spend, your physique or appearance, but the true you. That little kid inside that’s behind all that armor, who you keep hidden, that just wants to be loved.

Let it happen but first let go of the need to pretend and fix your false self. It’s broken for a reason.  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2014, 07:19:57 PM »

This is EXACTLY my relationship. Older man, rescuer... . younger crazy borderline.  What more is there to say. This says it all.  Problem is ... . now... . after that great false start, im addicted. 
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BacknthSaddle
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« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2014, 10:12:39 AM »

This is EXACTLY my relationship. Older man, rescuer... . younger crazy borderline.  What more is there to say. This says it all.  Problem is ... . now... . after that great false start, im addicted. 

This was definitely the case in my relationship, but at the same time SHE was in a relationship where she was playing the rescuer.  I think, like in most rescuer relationships, I felt she was "below me" and some way, and she was definitely "below him" as well.   She needed me to save her from him, but once she was out of that relationship, she began to realize that she wouldn't be able to put me "below her," or she resented me for having that view of her, or she did try to put me in that by devaluing me, or all of the above, and in any case the whole thing just imploded. 
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trappedinlove
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2014, 12:10:58 PM »

My case has similarities to yours.  My uBPDxso was in a r/s when I met her with a guy struggling with PTSD (from the military).  He was quite low functioning in his social skills, was very closed emotionally, rarely went out, lots of nightmares, some soft-drugs issues, etc.

All in all, he couldn't fulfil all her needs and she stayed with as his rescuer.

She, at a time, was dealing with bad dissociations, seizures, bi-polar mood swings, and all sorts of stuff and when I met her and becoming her rescuer, she made a huge leap with her self awareness, recovered memories from a rape at age 16 and then the seizures stopped and the mood swings got much better.

As she got better she turned her energies back to him, got both him and her into therapy and eventually he made huge progress too.

(In a closed note - I went to the same T so all three of us went to her, speaking of triangulation... . it was a terrible idea)

Then he left her, and all hell broke loose.

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BacknthSaddle
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« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2014, 03:21:48 PM »

All hell broke loose when mine's marriage dissolved as well. I'll add: when she left him, the story everyone got was that he was an awful human (not totally false) and that she had done everything for him and been the perfect wife (completely false). I was literally the only person, except perhaps her sister, who knew all of the bad things she'd done to him. As was a reminder of that shame and really the living embodiment of it. So, based on her defense mechanisms, there was really nothing she could do other than paint me black and decide I was completely insignificant. Otherwise I imagine the shame would have been too much to bear.
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« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2014, 02:10:16 PM »

All hell breaks loose with mine because she is the bringer of chaos and destruction to everyone one she meets.

And Ive been semi-recycled yet again... . after the blackest of black which lasted for months... . somehow, I slept with her again. Its still surreal. I am doing all I can to resist another tryst.
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Tausk
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« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2014, 02:56:46 PM »

Hi all,

In our relationship, however, it was clearly ME who was rescuing her ... . I want to know if people think this is common, if it is just typical, if they have experience with this sort of behavior.  I'm just looking for people's thoughts, I suppose, without having a specific question.  Thank you for reading. The quote that kicked off these thoughts is below.  

These two things can be very appealing to an older Man, but they are dependent upon an exchange. These relationships are not about equality and growing old together - they are about fighting growing old, for both parties. Feelings come out of this.

 Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)


Yes very common.  And I love 2010 line about using the interaction as a tool to avoid growing up.   So very very me.

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BacknthSaddle
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« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2014, 04:06:28 PM »

Tausk, the comment about the r/a being a tool to avoid growing up hit so close to home that it's painful. My ex was obsessed with Disney and for her this was a true fairy-tale adventure at first. But, more importantly, for me it was a chance to live an alternate youth just as I was growing old.

Since her divorce, she has doubled down on avoiding growing old: new tattoos, new cat, hair extensions, moving in with a colleague much younger than her, spending nights out until 2 AM. For me, it's time to work on getting past this fear, getting comfortable with growing in life, so that I don't make this kind of mistake again.
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Boss302
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« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2014, 04:49:48 PM »

I'd say my BPDx definitely served as my rescuer, and my excuse not to grow up. Absolutely. When we met, my career was in a awful place - I was working retail, making piddly money, and living with my parents. And along came BPDx, who was charming, funny, driven, and employed. She was my ticket out, basically. I always did my share to support ourselves, though, and before long, I was also doing pretty much ALL the housework. As we had kids, I also became the primary parent - cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, taking them to parties, etc. BPDx became less and less involved, and more drawn into her own little world. She became a waif.

Before long, the marriage was a one man show. I was a single parent but married to a completely non functional partner who also needed caretaking. And after I left her, she's repeated the waif behaviors she had with me.

Part of me thinks she took care of me so I would be able to take care of her. Unfortunately, with BPDs, it's hard to get past the self-centered behaviors.
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Bodeanicus

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« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2014, 11:19:17 PM »

This is EXACTLY my relationship. Older man, rescuer... . younger crazy borderline.  What more is there to say. This says it all.  Problem is ... . now... . after that great false start, im addicted. 

I've been reading your posts over the last month, or so. What you just wrote is the first insightful thing I've seen you write. The rest has been extremely vicious and hateful. I realize that all break ups are painful, but don't you think it's about time you took responsibility for your part in your mess, and stop painting the lady as "The Devil?" You knew going in she was unavailable, and you did it anyway. No one held a gun to your head. Time took look in the mirror, my friend. It won't be pretty, or easy, but it's the only way you're going to grow and avoid the same mistake in the future. Stop pissing and moaning, and trashing a person you knew better to get involved with. It's your problem, not hers. Get busy working on you.
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Boss302
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« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2014, 10:51:16 AM »

All hell breaks loose with mine because she is the bringer of chaos and destruction to everyone one she meets.

And Ive been semi-recycled yet again... . after the blackest of black which lasted for months... . somehow, I slept with her again. Its still surreal. I am doing all I can to resist another tryst.

You need to make a decision here... . and and stick with it. In or out?
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« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2014, 11:22:42 AM »

My personal opinion on the duality that a BPD appears to have is a bit more cynical.

My exgf said her ex husband was needy, not good with money and gave the impression that she was rescuing him.

My role was the rescuer. There to pick her up and help her to recover from the awful and stressful life she was leaving. She deserved a break and to be pampered as she had had it so bad.

I now realise that this is all part of her cycle and her story is part of the hook. She never was the waif she was always the queen.

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