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Author Topic: PROGNOSIS: Is It Common for BPD Symptoms To Become More Acute Over Time?  (Read 7504 times)
Lucky Jim
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« on: January 19, 2017, 01:38:23 PM »

Friends, In my 16-year marriage to a pwBPD, I noticed a marked intensification of BPD symptoms as time went on.  In the early years of our marriage, I accepted that there would be one or two days a month that would present challenges, which I found manageable.  During the middle years of our marriage, BPD outbursts increased to about four days a month, or once a week, on average.  Towards the end of our marriage, it was only days between episodes.  I recognize, of course, that there are lots of variables at play here.  Nonetheless, I wonder whether anyone else has noticed that BPD symptoms can become more acute over time?  If so, I wonder why BPD symptoms seem to intensify as the pwBPD grows older?  Is it a function of biology?  Aging?  Maybe there is no answer?

LuckyJim
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bestintentions
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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2017, 03:26:41 PM »

LJ -

My xw's pregnancies brought out the worst in her BPD.  I can recall being horrified at things that came out of her mouth but overlooked them as "hormonal".  These rages were in the very early stages of my marriage (years 3-6) and were the worst I can recall.

Until my 25 year r/s blew up in July, I found it to be (what I thought was) manageable as well.  Little blowups would happen and we'd maybe have a bad argument or two along the way.  As life progressed... .money became far less of an issue and the kids got older.  These seemed to be common points of arguments early on so eventually I just chalked it up to PMDD and "normal" marital discourse.  I can see now that I had extended myself far beyond healthy boundaries in trying to keep things together and keep her happy. 

In my xw's case, my speculation is now that our children were her core attachments and I was around to make her laugh and fill the gaps that daily life presented her with.  Once the kids became teenagers, the attachment for them became less necessary.  This is when her skin picking got to be its worst, she gained a lot of weight, spent money more frequently and eventually admitted to the affairs.  These were all in the last 5 years.

So... .having said all that it doesn't appear that her symptoms intensified at all but just manifested themselves in various ways that all of us have seen in one form or another.  I was just around long enough to experience many of them.

bi
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Mustbeabetterway
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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2017, 03:42:50 PM »

Hi LuckyJim,

In my humble opinion, the stresses of life are difficult for everyone, but sometimes insurmountable for people who already have difficulty coping.

Encountering employment issues, health issues, relationship issues with family and friends are common.  But, pwBPD may not be able to access the tools
needed to overcome these obstacles.

Aging is not easy either!  Speaking from experience -

What do you think?
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Lucky Jim
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2017, 04:41:01 PM »

Excerpt
eventually I just chalked it up to PMDD and "normal" marital discourse.  I can see now that I had extended myself far beyond healthy boundaries in trying to keep things together and keep her happy. 

Bullet: comment directed to __ (click to insert in post) bi: Right, same for me.  I had scant knowledge of boundaries and thought the intense rages were part of the normal ups and downs of marriage.   Plus, I had no knowledge of BPD during the first nine years of marriage!

Bullet: comment directed to __ (click to insert in post) Mustbe: Agree, those w/BPD lack the coping skills to handle normal stress, so it comes out as anger and rage, at least it did in the case of my Ex.  Looking back, I recall anger as her predominant emotion, which was probably a reaction to a deeper hurt that remained unresolved.

LJ
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    A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
George Bernard Shaw
Panda39
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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2017, 09:34:52 PM »

As my SO describes his marriage to me it sounds like his uBPDxw did get worse over time. From what he has told me she was much more functional when they first met and early in their marriage, she could hold a job and drive for example.  I think when she was younger she had not gotten completely out of control and had fewer bad incidents and less shame, she also seems to have been reined in by her mother who she talked with daily.

Were things perfect absolutely not but things really took a turn for the worse when her mother died.  The ultimate abandonment for a person that fears abandonment above all else. She had some kind of breakdown and tried to jump out of a moving car. Issues that were spread out over time were beginning to happen more frequently.  She started making "financial deals" and financial promises and ripped off friends, family, and her kid's friend's parents. 

She was having more and more "health issues" that she would hide behind when things got too hard. She lost jobs, she was drug seeking with multiple doctors, she lost her driver's license, the house looked like an episode of horders... .

With the divorce came pitting the kids against their father with parental alienation, she made false allegations of child abuse, she had the kids spying on their dad, she pulled the older daughter out of her first year of high school, she neglected to get the other daughter dental care... .

Post divorce eviction, couch surfing, eviction, lived with her sister, eviction, couch surfed, moved in to a hotel, another hotel, another hotel... .

Sent a daughter to a private college across the country promising to pay her tuition with a "family trust" that didn't exisit... .D20 now owes that school $15,000 for a semester there.  D20 has very little contact with her mother.

Sent other daughter out of state to summer camp only there was no camp, she didn't have the money, she sent D15 on a one way ticket, she sent her to a parent of someone she knew, she did not tell my SO that she wasn't at camp or where she was, she told D15 not to tell her father.  She sent D15 to camp the year before and didn't pay for it, I guess she thought if she sent her to camp that camp would take her? D15 is in phone contact but will not see her.

... .back to the hotels... .she wrote a bad check to one hotel for several thousand dollars on a bank account that was closed... .that would be felony fraud.  She was found guilty now is on probation and lives with her divorce attorney (who sadly has brain cancer) in a co-dependent relationship. She has had no job since the divorce as far as we know. Although, she has professed to many over time, she doesn't drive but is "going to get her drivers license" (for the last 6 years!), she lives off of alimony that will be going away in 6 months... .

She has just spiraled down to her uncontrolled BPD natural conclusion.  She is in denial about any mental health issues.  She makes me incredibly angry at all of the pain she has put so many through particularly her children.  And then I feel pity because she now has to live the life she has created for herself.  In many ways she has painted herself into a corner and created her own hellish punishment. 

Panda39
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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2017, 12:45:11 PM »

My father has been diagnosed as Schizophrenic, PD and chronic depressive. If anything he has mellowed over the years. When a young man he was more at a peak.

I've just dated a girl I found out had issues I now think is BPD and has deep rooted insecurities about her self... after speaking to her family after feeling the need to alert them thats she was behaving very erratically, it seems her illness is peaking now, advancing age/mortality seems to be making things worse, although she had been a problem most of her adult life so far.
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« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2017, 03:17:52 AM »

Interesting subject - my pwBPd was told by his psychiatrist that the symptoms of BPD moderate and lessen with age.  I am not so sure, after all if underneath the illness is a lack of tools and coping mechanisms to deal with life I don't see how especially as stress is always there in life.

I cant see how ageing makes a difference unless treatment is sought and committed to?
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« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2017, 05:07:03 AM »

but in general we all tend to care less and stress less about things as we get older.
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Lucky Jim
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« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2017, 10:07:07 AM »

Excerpt
Interesting subject - my pwBPd was told by his psychiatrist that the symptoms of BPD moderate and lessen with age.

I'm skeptical about this assertion (above) because it was not my experience and it is coming from your pwBPD.  Who knows what the psychiatrist actually said?

I was married to my BPDxW for 16 years.  The first five were OK; the next five medium; and the last six terrible.  I was miserable at the end, even though by then I had learned about BPD and was using the tools.  Her reactions when triggered became more and more intense, plus the frequency of her tantrums increased dramatically.  It became unlivable for me.

LuckyJim
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Sunfl0wer
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« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2017, 11:50:24 AM »

I have heard from a therapist that pwBPD do tend to begin to chill more past 35ish.

I wonder if the escalation you were experiencing has less to do with the pwBPD worsening than it does to the cycles of abuse that naturally intensify over time.  When a person is using manipulation as a "functional" tool for coping, in the dynamic of a relationship, this is emotional abuse.  So like any abusive relationship, over time, the cycles of abuse begin to cycle faster, the honeymoon phase lasts shorter, and the dysregulations come closer between each other.

PwBPD seem to do worse as the emotional intensity of the relationship increases, so even if things seemed to be improving, likely this could cause pwBPD to feel more scared... .want to push more.

Sometimes too, a major life event can cause a destabilization which may not be an overall deterioration, (or can be) but certainly can be a big regression for a period.

Anyways, not all persons are the same, BPD or not, so yea, some folks get worse with age, some do not.

... .

Also, often a motivator is fear and loss.  So a pwBPD may "behave" better initially (for several years) so as not to get found out or "ruin" things, yet when they feel there is less chance of loss, they may lash out, then after the result destabilizes the relationship, thye again may have fear, so "behave" and then may fear the intimacy so may push... .etc.  Sometimes whta we are seeing is a "function" of the context of the relationship vs actual improvement or deterioration.  Often "good behavior" is really fear and just as dysfunctional as the "bad behavior" but we may not label it that way.
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Lucky Jim
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« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2017, 03:45:53 PM »

Excerpt
So like any abusive relationship, over time, the cycles of abuse begin to cycle faster, the honeymoon phase lasts shorter, and the dysregulations come closer between each other.

Well said, Sunflower.  Agree, the cycles of abuse came more rapidly over time, together with greater intensity.  The storms were more destructive and violent.  No doubt it was emotional (and physical) abuse with manipulation as a tool for coping, as you describe.  It could be that her lashing out stemmed from her sense that there was less chance of a loss the deeper we got into our marriage, w/kids, house, etc.  Hard to say.  Agree that fear may be the root of both good and bad behavior, though in the case of my BPDxW her predominant emotion was anger.

LJ
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    A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
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« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2017, 03:31:09 AM »

Yes despite this assertion I have not noticed a lessening of symptoms with age, rather the opposite!
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Panda39
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« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2017, 06:46:56 AM »

I've always felt that my SO's uBPxw's level of shame has played a part in her escalating behaviors.  When they first met she was younger, to a certain extent her mom was controlling her, and to my SO she was a "clean slate". 

Then over time the incidents of BPD behavior start to happen, and then the gaslighting and blame shifting to try and cover up the shame and this behavior pattern repeats over and over and the gaslighting becomes more grandiose and the blame shifting continues... .It feels to me like a pressure that grows because each incident is added to the next and it snowballs, because the behaviors and feelings of the uBPDxw can't get handled in a healthy way.

An example of her behavior would be something like... .being evicted (shame) and at the same time telling her kids she was buying a $500,000 house (gaslighting to deal with the shame).

Unfortunately, the pressure filled snowball exploded following the divorce from my SO and some incredibly hurtful choices she made regarding her daughters.  Both girls are low contact with their mom these days.

Mom has moved in with the one friend she managed to hold on to over the last 6 years (co-dependent relationship friend has cancer and lives alone/uBPDxw needs a place to live) and the cycle begins again with the friend/roommate.

Panda39

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Mustbeabetterway
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« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2017, 05:41:08 PM »

I've been following this discussion.  It's a worthwhile topic.  My uBPDh and I
have been married for many years.  I posted earlier in the thread that in my experience, a lack of coping skills to appropriately deal with stress and disappointments may lead to escalation of disregulations.

On further reflection, it occurs to me that the non BPD partner may view a long standing relationship in a different way as he/she becomes aware of BPD symptoms symptoms.

In my case, in the early stages of the r/s, I was looking for just the right thing to do/say to please my partner.  I had more energy, more patience and less insight.  I thought I was to blame because he was unhappy. 

Now, I see most of his unhappiness and dissatisfaction as symptoms of a disorder.  I don't see angry episodes  as separate stand alone incidents to be hashed out, but as part of a larger picture.  In some sense, symptoms are more glaring and sometimes discouraging.  I'm more aware - so I notice them as symptoms instead of isolated occurrences.

Does that make sense?
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Lucky Jim
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« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2017, 01:03:47 PM »

Bullet: comment directed to __ (click to insert in post) Mustbe: Yes, that makes sense in terms of your greater awareness over time.  As I mentioned above, the frequency of rages increased over the course of my marriage from once a month to once a week to once every few days.  It could be that the stress of marriage and kids increased over the same time period (probably so).  Yet I tend to think something else was going on that was making her symptoms intensify.  For example, as time went on she threatened many times to take her own life, which was not a symptom from the early days of our r/s.

Thanks to all for contributing to this interesting discussion!

LJ
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    A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
George Bernard Shaw
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