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Author Topic: did you know much about mental illness?  (Read 2505 times)
Infern0
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« on: November 14, 2014, 11:40:15 PM »

When I met my BPDEX I was so unprepared it was ridiculous.

She was a walking red flag but the truth is I just didn't have the knowledge or experience that I should have backed off when I had the chance.

I didn't even know what a personality disorder was (even though she lied and just said she had depression) but as more and more warning signs popped up I really just didn't have the knowledge to quantify the level of problems I was dealing with.

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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2014, 11:49:58 PM »

Yes, I've had friends and family who have/had mental illness issues. That said, this did come as somewhat of a surprise. I wasn't prepared for it because I was open in other ways, like really being open not defensive or having to detach while still loving someone who was abandoning me instead of being abandoned, or whatever it is... .The way my now-ex portrayed it at the time was that her problems came from childhood abuse. Having worked through many of my own FOO issues I encouraged and supported her to do the same. Her resistance was too high, so she could never really trust or be with me, much of which I believe is in the area of BPD. Each of us brings who and what we are to the table. Working on yourself or running from yourself is where the real borderline is. My eyes are way more open to it now, metal illness or not. If we would've known then what we do now? Things wouldn't change much. It still would be what it is. Why drive yourself crazy thinking otherwise? Maybe we didn't know but we sure found out.
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« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2014, 12:15:57 AM »

Same here Infern0. I had no knowledge or experience with any mental health issues whatsoever.

During the relationship, exBPD got upset one morning and said she didn't know what was wrong with her, that she had depression when she was younger and thought maybe it was that.

I had no clue. Simply an expectation that she was a normal, functioning, healthy adult. And from the outside, it looked like she was - a core group of long-time friends, her own house, a really good job, college education, lots of social activities, a stable family (e.g parents and siblings).

That is what tied me up in knots for so long after I ended it. I simply could not understand why she behaved the way she did.  Why why why... .

It took me several days Googling, as I think many of us do, trying to work out what was that lorry that just hit us, and why was I feeling the way I did ... .This was no 'normal' breakup. The aftershock almost killed me. I sank to a depth I don't think I have ever before been in my life, and have no intention or desire to ever go to again.
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« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2014, 03:24:58 AM »

I did to a degree because I was in Navy Medicine. Mostly that which affects people during combat. I knew about PD's but not a whole lot. So I was not prepared for her at all. Fortunately I journaled after my divorce so I had it all on paper during my time with gf. When I got dumped I was so lost that I turned to an old girlfriend from high school who happened to be a psychologist. I sent her my journal stuff. Half an hour later, she emails me, I call her and explains I seriously dodged a bullet with this girl. She said she would have diagnosed her with BPD. She said just let her go and prepare for her to try and come back at some point. Didn't make the pain go away and it still comes and goes, but as we say in the military, it pays to know your enemy...
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« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2014, 07:28:59 AM »

Growing up in the environment I did... .the ex was 'normal'... .because it was my normal.

When I caught him having an affair... .I KNEW that was not normal.

But I forgave, and tried to make it right.

6 months later, what I found out... .was way way way outside of normal... .and it broke me.

After a year of silence, I talked to my doc.

After another year, someone was kind enough to private message me this site, and others.

I then began digging into every book about mental health, I could get my hands on.

Book written by doctors, medical books, college text books on psychology... .you name it.

IT WAS THEN I began to heal... .that was when I could see 'it's not me, it's not my fault, I didn't "do" this".

Learning about disordered people has been a God send.

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« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2014, 08:24:54 AM »

I feel like I knew quite a bit about mental illness. I grew up in a very dysfunctional home where rages were pretty typical. Walking on eggshells around certain people at certain times was to be expected. My dad had a thing about authority and was in and out of jail. My mother has always been thrown off. Oldest sister had anorexia and bulimia with suicide attempts. She spent a stint in a mental hospital. Brother had stuff going on too. He spent 6 weeks or so in a mental hospital when he was 14 or 15. Other sister got pregnant at 15 and has been in and out of mental facilities most of her adult life. I had read extensively about bipolar and depression. I honestly didn't think there was anything that could surprise me. I thought my husband was awesome because he didn't rage. We could have really good conversations and things were peaceful. I had no idea that he was a sex addict. There were so many little things about him that I was completely clueless about until AFTER we got married. I never really considered that he might have a mental illness because he was soo different than people in my FOO. The stuff in my FOO is way more in your face. With my husband, he puts on one hell of a show. In some ways, I think he is more ill than anyone in my FOO because he has been largely clueless and unaware of any problems. It is like he lives in some kind of delusional fantasy and he tries to project that fantasy when out in the world. My FOO knows they are crazy and don't really try to hide it.
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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2014, 10:13:14 AM »

I thought I knew but I was so wrong. I thought mental illness was bipolar or depression... .you went to the doctor and got medication for these and bam everything was ok. For the more intense stuff like paranoia or schizophrenia maybe you go to a psych ward. I was very wrong and immature in my beliefs.

I never thought anything like BPD or other personality disorders really existed. After all you never really heard about them unless someone went crazy and it was national news.

I never saw it coming. I bought the magical thinking hook line and sinker for three and a half years. Then I googled  What was happening and found this sight. What an eye opener. Now I feel like I am an expert in mental illness. For the last two and a half years I have spent my time learning everything I can and trying to heal from a six year BPD relationship. The most important thing I have learned is... .their unhappiness has nothing to do with me!
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« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2014, 10:51:50 AM »

Don't feel bad. I do know a lot about it as I was in counselling for years after a divorce from a husband on the sociopathic spectrum. I also have a dad and siblings with mental illness issues so I have been on top of getting therapy for myself for a very long time. To top it off I was doing a university degree with a psychology minor. Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) I know I seriously should have seen the signs and run.

We are the proverbial frogs in the boiling water. We don't see the reality because it sneaks up on us so slowly sometimes.

My exfiancee was lovely for over a year. Then he went to a new job that triggered him and kaboom complete personality change. It was mr positive and wonderful one day and voldemort the next. I was blindsided. He came home that day and snapped at me when I asked how his day was. I just got worse day by day from there. he started to say mean things. He excluded me from events. He flirted with other women. It was awful. I remember standing there thinking its stress and it will pass. But nope its BPD and bipolar and it will only become manageable with massive amounts of therapy and self reflection. I pray he is able to but I don't know if it will happen. It certainly won't happen in a way that allows our relationship to continue.  :'(

So give yourself some credit. You survived, learned an amazing all be it painful lesson and will now rebuild a happy life.

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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2014, 12:57:08 PM »

I knew nothing about BPD until my xw became totally unhinged toward the end of our marriage. I knew throughout the 11 years we were together that she had "some issues". What I didn't know was her issues could be categorized as a legitimate disorder.

I thank god that through on-line research I found out about BPD. If I hadn't, I wouldn't be so far along the path of understanding. The way in which my xw acted while she was destroying our marriage was beyond anything I have ever heard of. Her behavior was so out of sorts that I knew beyond a doubt something was seriously wrong with her.

I don't know what I would have done differently if I would have known about BPD before our marriage ended. Sometimes I think I could have been able to help her remain more stable by not taking her rages so personally. But truth be told, I don't really dwell on past "what if's". I just move forward being thankful I'm out of this destructive relationship dynamic and escaped without having children with her.

One thing I have learned lately, you can read / study the behavior of pwBPD and it will help you wrap your head around the disorder and relationship dynamics. But the only thing that will heal a broken heart is time.

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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2014, 01:08:19 PM »

When I met my BPDEX I was so unprepared it was ridiculous.

She was a walking red flag but the truth is I just didn't have the knowledge or experience that I should have backed off when I had the chance.

I didn't even know what a personality disorder was (even though she lied and just said she had depression) but as more and more warning signs popped up I really just didn't have the knowledge to quantify the level of problems I was dealing with.

I had heard of PDs but knew absolutely nothing about BPD and I am a healthcare professional.  That's how little it is talked about or even focused on publicly till this day. Such a serious disorder and very limited exposure.

Regardless, now what I know is whenever something doesn't feel right, I back away and protect myself.

We can't fix others. Only ourselves.
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2014, 01:24:12 PM »

My ex had an acquired brain injury so all the focus was on this.  I had no knowledge of personality disorders.  Every unacceptable behaviour somehow got blamed on the brain injury.  And since you can't fix a brain injury I realised I'd just have to accept his personality as is to some degree.  Yet I always felt confused about it.  He could be so abusive and I wondered if this had nothing to do with the brain injury and was a part of his personality from before the brain injury.  I'd love to sit down and have a good talk with his first wife (he left her after the brain injury) but I've decided to not open that can of worms.  :)id the brain injury cause the BPD?  :)id the abuse he suffered as a child, his dad beating him and his mom?  :)id this cause his abusive nature?  

Learning about BPD since our BU has been so helpful, it has given me strength and self-compassion, knowing I did the best I could.  Would this knowledge have helped before the BU?  I don't really think so.  I am now wondering if he knew there was more going on than just his brain injury.  I have a feeling he did.  

The knowledge has really made me see how f___ed up my FOO is.  My mother is most likely BPD.  I always knew something was not right about her but I never imagined there would be some diagnosis for her.  It has helped me in feeling less guilt and confusion about the fact I've been NC with my mom for almost 5 yrs now.  I can see what would be required of me to have contact with her.  I have a lot of therapy to go through before that could be possible.  Understanding how mentally ill she is helps explain why I was so angry growing up, it's helped me accept that what I went through was awful and I am a lot more compassionate to myself for all the wounds I have.  Same with my r/s with my uBPDexh.
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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2014, 01:24:50 PM »

I had no real experience of mental illnesses, depression or PDs and no understanding of what a profound effect they can have on both the sufferers and their partners and families.  

Looking back I was very naive and blindly optimistic.  I believed that love and commitment could conquer anything.

Would I have made different choices, if I really understood the nature of BPD?

It would be nice to think so, but unless you've lived with a BPD and experienced it first hand it's very hard to believe and I was drawn to my ex despite / or partly because of her issues without grasping how destructive she could be.

Understanding the disorder has helped my healing, but I don't think you need to understand PDs to assert healthy boundaries.

And if you're healthy enough to do that you won't spend very long with a PD

Reforming


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« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2014, 01:27:00 PM »

Understanding the disorder has helped my healing, but I think don't you need to understand PDs to assert healthy boundaries and if you're healthy enough to do that you won't spend very long with a PD

Reforming

Absolutely!
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« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2014, 04:16:29 PM »

I thought I knew but I was so wrong. I thought mental illness was bipolar or depression... .you went to the doctor and got medication for these and bam everything was ok. For the more intense stuff like paranoia or schizophrenia maybe you go to a psych ward. I was very wrong and immature in my beliefs.

I never thought anything like BPD or other personality disorders really existed. After all you never really heard about them unless someone went crazy and it was national news.

I never saw it coming. I bought the magical thinking hook line and sinker for three and a half years. Then I googled  What was happening and found this sight. What an eye opener. Now I feel like I am an expert in mental illness. For the last two and a half years I have spent my time learning everything I can and trying to heal from a six year BPD relationship. The most important thing I have learned is... .their unhappiness has nothing to do with me!

Same here. I thought that mental illness was like other illnesses: you get a clear diagnosis (straightaway) and treatment, and... .there you go.

But far from this, I'm learning now that going to "psych ward" can be up to the sick person... .if he never wants to go, he may never go!

Here I am at the moment, hoping that BPD/STPD will get into treatment one day for the sake of our baby son
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« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2014, 02:44:55 AM »

Excerpt
but I don't think you need to understand PDs to assert healthy boundaries.

And if you're healthy enough to do that you won't spend very long with a PD

Agree. When I realized my ex had some sort of problem, I went looking for answers. I then tried to apply this to our relationship, and deal with it that way.

It never worked, because I don't have the knowledge to fix this problem. The disorder is way too big for just a home cure remedy.

I did this because I thought I loved her. In reality I realized I am just addicted to a fantasy, and that lovely lady I met 3 years ago, wasn't the real person. It was just a mirror of what I wanted. But soon after the honeymoon phase of the relationship her true person showed, and that is rather scary.
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« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2014, 03:01:48 AM »

I did have quite a bit of knowledge about mental disorders as I work within the field, but at the time I associated BPD with violent behavior, suicide ideation and "acting out" (cutting, self-harm etc).

It never appeared to me how subtle it could be. My wife never screamed and threw things, so I just failed to see it as disordered behavior. It wasn't really until our daughter was born that she *began* to scream and throw things that it all clicked, that something had been wrong all along. That she just becomes impossible to deal with when things don't go her way. And that things never seem to work out.
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« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2015, 04:31:33 PM »

I did not know much about mental illness.  I had heard of depression, eating disorders, and bipolar.  I might have heard the term "Borderline Personality Disorder" before but didn't know/recall what it was. 

I never would have imagined that there is this clandestine illness (i.e., BPD) that causes someone to cling to you and "love" you deeply and then act sadistically towards you.  It is just such an outrageous concept.

Because of my experience with my BPDex-fiancee I am now much more aware and knowledgeable about PDs.

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« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2015, 05:42:06 PM »

 

Thats a good question Inferno.  Glad you bought it up.  I knew probably 1 percent of what I now know today.  I took me a while to reflect back as to how and when I began researching and googling.  When my r/s with my BPD/exw was all but ended, I happened to meet a psychologist (P)at a local bar.  I was introduced to her and the subject of my upcoming divorce came up.  P asked me why the marriage was ending and I gave her just a brief, 5 minute rundown of the lies, cheating, theft, etc. At which point I apologized for wasting her social time with my problems.  P then told me she was in the process of writing a book on Psycopathy and she asked if I would go into detail as she was very interested in incorporating some my story into her book.  She was genuinely interested and I spent the next 2 hours answering her questions and getting more deeply into the details.  And a pretty good buzz too. Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

She began to point out that my xw clearly had a disorder of some sort.  She suggested I go online and take some asessments and asked if I would follow up with her after a week or so of surfing pd's and such.  We spent another couple hours a week later and her best assesment was that my xw might be NPD or BPD.  Thats when I began my research.  And to this day I feel so lucky to have met her!  What a stroke of luck.  Anyway, I've spent about 14 months in a quest to find out how and why i fell for my now BPD/exw and also my shortcomings that caused me to get hooked. 

There were RED FLAGS from the very beginning and even though I was in my early 50s, was clueless to the upcoming horror that was aboit to explode.  It wasn't until I found this and other forums a few weeks ago that things began to click in my head and also the countless hours reading others nons stories.  I still consider myself a novice and a newbee but I am now lightyears ahead of where I was when the $hit hit the fan. 

Someday I'll post the whole story here.  It's so much like dozens of others.  The day of our final divorce hearing (last April) I wraped up a copy of "Stop Walking on Eggshells" and presented it to her as a 'gift', gave her a friendly hug and walked away.  I have had NC with her since that very day (except for 1 email regarding court issues).  ex sent me an email in August telling me she didn't have BPD but she was diagnosed with SEVERE ADHD, Lupus, Fibromialgia and a handfull of other maladies.  To which I did not respond.  I would bet every $$ I have that shes a classic NPD and BPD but I have absolutely no concern for her supposed physical maladies.  Her ability to lie is so well documented and so finely tuned that to believe anything from her would be to allow myself the possibly to feel the need to contact her.  NO CHANCE.  I can't say I'm 100% over the pain but there are days and sometimes weeks when I don't even think of her or the r/s.  Considering that just a year ago, my every thought was consumed with all her BS.   

So thanks again Inferno for allowing me to remember when I was clueless and how far I've come. 

One more post script... .The name of the book that my friend the Psychologist intends to write is called "How Do You Know if You're Having Coffee With a Psychopath" 

I LOVE IT!
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« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2015, 06:00:21 PM »

I have my own mental illness (I've struggled with depression since childhood, and social anxiety and panic disorders since my late teens), plus I've always been interested in psychology and neuroscience. I did 10 years of heavy volunteer work on suicide/crisis hotlines and rape/DV response teams.

During that time, I also spent 2 years on a hotline devoted to the mentally ill who were in therapy, and whose therapists suggested they call us daily to check in. We kept records of them about their diagnoses, medication, etc. - only info that they freely volunteered, of course - to make it easy on us volunteers to quickly individualize our talk sessions. (For instance, if they were on medication, we would ask if they'd taken that day... .the schizophrenics especially liked to quit taking their meds out of the blue.) A few of the people I talked to regularly had Cluster B personality disorders. I can't recall anyone with BPD only, but there were several who had BPD comorbid with ASPD, OCD, or AvPD.

That being said, I know way more now about BPD and PDs in general than I did before the r/s. I definitely did more research into and knew more about other mental illnesses - particularly mood disorders - than with personality disorders.

None of this stopped me from getting in a relationship with a pwBPD. (Although my volunteer experience apparently helped the communication - my exBPDbf always said I was great at "defusing him." My emotional unhealthiness at the time trumped my knowledge and intuition.
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« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2015, 06:06:28 PM »

Nope, didn't know anything. My BPD was a high functioning BPD waif (or maybe NPD). How would you ever guess that an absolutely normal (at first, at least) girl in her mid 20s, running a multi million dollar business could have a mental illness? And even when you start founding out things, unless you know what it is that you are looking at, you take it as random things and let it slide because you are love bombed and mirrored into a completely delusional love sick puppy. Her mom emotionally abandoned her when she were young to run her business and didn't reappear in her life until a couple of years ago? What a horrible mom! Her brother was diagnosed bipolar and tried to commit suicide? Oh poor brother (but would something like this ever show up in her?)! Her mom told her that her brother was her problem and she didn't have time to take care of him? What a horrible mother! She talks about herself non stop (to the point where your friends are wondering what the heck)? It's ok, she does have a lot going for herself! She almost every day has something bad happen in her life and you always have to console her? Sometimes stuff happens! (for six months straight!) She gets arrested at the airport for public intoxication after refusing to obey cop's orders? What a horrible cop! She has a blow up fight with her friend who just a few months ago was a good buddy that ends up in her almost taking our restraining order and then tells you "And that is why I don't trust anybody!"? Oh what a horrible friend! She tells you some stories from of some completely ruthless things she did to her employees? She got an iron business fist at her age! She flat out tells you that she gets "bored" with relationships pretty quickly? Nonsense, we are gonna be different, we got this special connection going! And on and on and on... .                       

And then she drops you over night like the last 6 months never happened and you start talking to your best buddy and find out that it turns out ALL your female friends were urging him to talk to you and get you away from her because something was off with her and her stories didn't add up... .which again you refused to pay attention to due to being completely delusional love sick puppy.  And then one of your friends does you a huge favor and tells you to read up all this stuff. And it practically saves your life because you thought you were going insane and couldn't understand what in the world was going on.

So, nope, didn't have any idea... .
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« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2015, 06:12:18 PM »

None of this stopped me from getting in a relationship with a pwBPD. (Although my volunteer experience apparently helped the communication - my exBPDbf always said I was great at "defusing him." My emotional unhealthiness at the time trumped my knowledge and intuition.

Just curious, did you understand how severe BPD gets?  I imagine that some people who have knowledge that their partner has BPD still might not understand what is ultimately likely to go down in the relationship. 
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« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2015, 07:08:12 PM »

None of this stopped me from getting in a relationship with a pwBPD. (Although my volunteer experience apparently helped the communication - my exBPDbf always said I was great at "defusing him." My emotional unhealthiness at the time trumped my knowledge and intuition.

Just curious, did you understand how severe BPD gets? I imagine that some people who have knowledge that their partner has BPD still might not understand what is ultimately likely to go down in the relationship.  

I agree 100%, Tim - there's a big difference between knowledge of the disorder, and experiencing it within an intimate relationship.

I really didn't know how severe BPD could be. I was talking to these people in a therapeutic capacity, for around 30 minutes to an hour, maybe once every 2 weeks. They were not usually in states of emotional dysregulation with me. (Which was actually quite a nice change of pace for me, as I spent most of my volunteer time dealing with people in the midst of extreme emotional dysregulation.) And I wasn't an attachment figure - we did our scheduling to prevent callers from being able to figure out a pattern, to minimize them getting too attached to one person. I didn't necessarily know about all of the disorders - it was more about validation, encouraging healthier coping skills, just being a "touchstone."

Here's what I knew about pwBPD. I knew they struggled. I knew they had a lot of emotional pain. I knew they had cognitive distortions. But this applies to a lot of people - including myself.

I didn't know diddly-squat about how an intimate relationship with a pwBPD would play out, because that had never been something I had a need to know. And I had no idea, going in, that it was something I needed to know. That information came from my exBPDbf later.
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« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2015, 09:18:44 AM »

I had dealt with mental illness in the past, I have issues with depression and anxiety, plus some difficulty with social processing, and people in my family have had some other non-PD issues, like schizophrenia, alcoholism, and the like. But I didn't really have any idea how a personality disorders work, or how subtle they can be. I also had the mistaken idea that you could work with someone's issues no matter what they were. It wasn't until I started googling things about 'why am I feeling crazy' that I started seeing answers about BPD, and even then I was in partial denial, since she didn't have any of the directly threatening behaviors and I wanted to believe we could work things out.

I'm now painfully aware of just how irrational someone can be, and how sensing a nice, reasonable part of a person doesn't mean that the whole person is reasonable or nice.
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