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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSONALITY DISORDERS
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Author Topic: What is that intense stare, dilated pupils, crazy eyes?  (Read 1659 times)
bungenstein
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« on: November 11, 2014, 09:37:26 PM »

I just heard an interesting thing about the stare, the look in a BPD's eyes at certain times, the pupil dilation. It always used to freak me out, sometimes it would come straight after a rage, my friends used to call my ex 'rapey eyes'. So for those of you interested as to why they have this, this is why...

Psychopaths have intense pupil dilation that's similar to an animal in a state of predatory intent. A stress hormone is produced by the reptilian complex of the human brain, which is basically where BPDs and other kinds of psychopaths operate from. When their predatory mode is activated, the stress hormone is flooding the lower brain stem, this is where the optical cortex is, the stress hormone is exciting the optical cortex and this is whats causing the pupil dilation. When they stare at you like that, its not like they are staring like they are interested in you, they are staring in the same way a predatory animal is fixating its eyes on its prey.
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enlighten me
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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2014, 01:01:08 AM »

Oxytocin also causes pupil dilation. This is another hormone released to counter cortisol the stress hormone. I have long wondered of the relationship between BPD and hormones as there is so much evidence pointing towards an imbalance in possibly cortisol, oxytocin and estrogen.
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SlyQQ
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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2014, 01:05:46 AM »

check out vassopressin an angry face recognition vassopressin as an agonist for oxytocin and generally low levels of oxytocin in BPDs there is much much more
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fromheeltoheal
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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2014, 05:06:34 AM »

Quote
Psychopaths have intense pupil dilation that's similar to an animal in a state of predatory intent. A stress hormone is produced by the reptilian complex of the human brain, which is basically where BPDs and other kinds of psychopaths operate from.

Interesting concept.  To be clear, a borderline is not a psychopath, the two are separate diagnoses and very different from one another, although some of the behavioral traits overlap.  Also, organic brain issues like hormone imbalances are different from personality disorders, otherwise adjusting someone's hormone balance would eliminate the personality disorder, which it does not.

That said, my ex used to get far away eyes, disconnected, and approaching her then would cause an explosion.  The big question for me is why did I tolerate that for more than a time or two, and what mental gymnastics did I use to make it OK?
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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2014, 06:25:17 AM »

Personal example of what is being discussed here: less than one week after being abandoned, I suddenly lost the vision in my left eye--I always have had 20-20 vision. Eventually, I was referred to an ophthalmic surgeon who diagnosed central serous retinopathy: caused (presumably) by unrelenting, long term exposure to cortisol. The surgeon had seen this condition only in male, airline pilots. I am neither. Obviously, the r/s was THAT stressful. My DHEA-S levels had also been elevated for awhile (supposedly due to stress). When I asked about Oxytocin to oppose the high cortisol, I was told it would be minimally helpful and create some unpleasant side effects. HOWEVER, I do think there is something to the hormonal effects and bonding effects they have on us. My guess? When the oxytocin dose abruptly ended concurrently to an even higher level of cortisol produced from the sudden abandonment, it literally caused my retina to detach from my macula. If you ever doubt the damage they cause, DON'T!
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non_stuck


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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2014, 07:14:55 PM »

If all of this is correct, it reminds me that there there is a biological basis for this, and for my reaction to it. I find the wide eyes, fixed grin, and leaning in when she is speaking to me unnerving. I literally have anxiety symptoms when I'm around her and I'm agitated and have difficulty sleeping on a night when we have to visit. I imagine saying responses to her nonsense statements.  If this is biological, it isn't her fault she's like this. She just isn't compatible with me. I try to find reasons to leave the room, and she sometimes follows me. How is it that she is completely dense about taking hints and yet really manipulative? I always see manipulative people as highly observant to other people's reactions.
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antelope
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2014, 07:39:34 PM »

IMO, the 'stare' is pure dissociation. 

In those moments, they are so far away from you and the situation, likely replaying some horrible trauma from deep in their past, twisting around with anger, desperation and shame, all coming to the forefront with an overwhelming inability to functionally interact -- they just shut down... like a frightened animal or terrified little child
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icom
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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2014, 09:25:18 PM »

"Dissociation" which, depending upon the degree of the defensive impulse, might reach a fugue state.  Most BPDs deploy pathological ego defences to preserve what little of the self exists within them: dissociation, splitting, dichotomous thinking, etc.  It provides a refuge from scenarios with which they cannot cope.

In other words, they mentally check out of reality, hence the 1000 yard stare.

However, even people with egos that are well fleshed out will dissociate if their psychological loading becomes too prohibitive to bear.  

   
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fromheeltoheal
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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2014, 11:08:53 PM »

Here's part of an article on this site:

Essentially, what develops from the desire to merge, countered by the fear of such merger, is the borderline's need to be the one in control at all times. If the borderline is sure that they determine just how close or distant they stay within a relationship, they do not have to fear merger or abandonment because the other person does not have the power to accomplish either state with them. Unfortunately, being the one who is always in control precludes the possibility of finding real love since the borderline desires love and recognition of their true independence which has no worth if granted from someone who has no control over giving such love. If a person is literally starving, but has food, they can tell someone to give them their food, but they cannot truly feel like the one who gave them that food actually gave it because it was already theirs. Thus the borderline's controlling behavior also fails to give them any sense of sustenance even if it keeps them from complete starvation. The borderline must be vulnerable if there is to be any chance at true recognition of their independence. However, because they must try to be in control, any vulnerability they experience will most likely lead to more clinging, withdrawing, or rage.
https://bpdfamily.com/content/why-we-struggle-in-relationships
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« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2014, 04:31:12 AM »

When we are really aroused, our pupils enlarge, and what this study found is that the larger they get, the worse the decisions we make.

www.psychologytoday.com/blog/neuronarrative/201411/how-your-eyes-give-you-away?tr=MostViewed

"Study participants were given a motion-discrimination task (following groups of dots across a computer monitor and making determinations about which direction the dots are moving/will move -- more challenging than it sounds) while their pupil size was monitored. The results showed that people with consistently larger pupil dilations made the most erratic decisions. This finding suggests that the reliability with which an individual will make an upcoming decision is at least partly determined by pupil-linked arousal or alertness."

This confirms my experience of my xBPDgf - she was always in a state of arousal, or alert, or intensity or whatever we call it. She lived 24/7 in that state of tension be it high or low it was super charged...
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« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2014, 08:27:41 AM »

Look in the mirror the next time you are highly emotionally aroused... your eyes will also be dilated.   cool
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HappyChappy
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« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2014, 03:01:29 AM »

It's funny but my relative in the Police had been trained to see dilated irises as a danger sign (or that someone is on drugs, or both). In fact only yesterday they pointed out someone on TV had "Psycho eyes". lol
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« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2016, 03:46:27 PM »

threads like this is why i love this board so much.

I have seen the "crazy eyes" so many times... usually a precursor to a rage escalating from "just angry" to "absurdly psychotic." It would start with silence too, and for the person who said "its almost like they are hearing the voices in their head and cant handle it" i would totally agree with that depiction.

on the other side of the coin... that distant look when they've dissociated... seen that so many times as well.

Its just so creepy (but also empowering) to hear people who have practically the same exact experience I have had.
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« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2016, 01:09:01 PM »

Wow, I just found this thread and am surprised to see that it is not just my pwBPD that stares. In my case it seems scary at times but mostly like she is in a state (dissociation?) that I do not understand. Correctly or incorrectly I do not know, but I normally take it as a sign to keep my distance physically and verbally.
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Lucky Jim
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« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2017, 11:24:39 AM »

Friends, When my BPDxW was in this condition, I used to refer to her as having "eyes like pinwheels."  That was the best way I could describe it.  Now I understand from this thread that there is a biological basis for my observation!  Thanks to all, LuckyJim
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SuperJew82
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« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2017, 08:41:12 AM »

I know it sounds uneducated and silly to say - but I would have to completely agree.

My ex had "crazy-eyes" and the dissociative stare to go along with it. It wasn't just me. My best friend told me this the day he met her.

I think it might be that their stress levels are always super high causing facial muscle tension plus any dissociate stares just emphasize it.

It's like looking at the pictures that get taken on rollercoaster rides - > everyone has crazy eyes in those pics.
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« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2017, 08:54:05 AM »

Very scary.........I know the last night we hooked up........after we were done and just talking...I looked her in the eyes and it was like she wasn't even present........she was staring through me....no emotion.....like she was a soulless person....... I never seen anything like that!!!
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SuperJew82
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« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2017, 03:24:52 PM »

They are not soulless, just misconfigured in a very painful way.
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