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Author Topic: Relationship Quality and Stability When One Partner is BPD - Sébastien Bouchard  (Read 2690 times)
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« on: March 28, 2017, 07:54:58 AM »

Relationship Quality and Stability in Couples When One Partner Suffers From Borderline Personality Disorder
Sébastien Bouchard, Stéphane Sabourin, Yvan Lussier and Evens Villeneuve

The main goal of the present study was to examine and compare the psychosocial functioning of 35 couples where the woman was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) to that of a nonclinical control sample of 35 couples.

The BPD status of women from the clinical group and the prevalence of personality disorder in their partner were ascertained through the SCID-II. Participants completed self-report measures of couple functioning.

A majority of couples in which the woman suffered from BPD (68.7%) evidenced frequent episodes of breakups and reconciliations and, over an 18-month period, nearly 30% of these couples dissolved their relationship.

Nearly half of the men involved in a romantic relationship with a woman suffering from BPD met criteria for one personality disorder or more.

When compared with non-borderline couples, borderline couples showed lower marital satisfaction, higher attachment insecurity, more demand/withdraw communication problems, and higher levels of violence.
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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2017, 01:55:00 PM »

I am also curious about more details, or a link to the original study. What kinds of PD did the partners tend to have? were there more or fewer breakups in the cases when both partners had PDs, or when only 1 did?

The high incidence itself doesn;'t surprise me, as it matches my experience. I think my mom had/has BPD, and I think my dad has at least some NPD traits. (Neither is diagnosed). It also makes sense to me that partners with a PD would be attracted to others with a PD (or at least severe codependency).

Yes, I do wonder what this means for me... .
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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2017, 04:39:05 PM »

I agree with this article,

There are three clusters of personality disorders, cluster A, cluster B, and cluster C.  While BPD falls in the cluster B subtype, many of their codependent partners may fit the criteria of a disorder in the cluster C subtype (the anxious/fearful cluster).  A nice article that explains the Cluster C subtype is here:

https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/dsm-5-the-ten-personality-disorders-cluster-c/

After reviewing the article, I was able to personally identify with some components of each listed personality disorder.

One sentence from this article really stood out to me.  It is part of the Dependent Personality Disorder description:

"In order to avoid conflict, they [the individual with Dependent Personality Disorder] may have great difficulty standing up for themselves. The intense fear of losing a relationship makes them vulnerable to manipulation and abuse."

I can definitely see how this would fit in a codependent relationship with an individual with BPD.
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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2017, 05:18:52 PM »

Yes, I do wonder what this means for me... .

A question that we all should ask.

It might even be the case that people with no diagnosis of mental health problems avoid or ultimately reject those that have, and this dynamic will skew the results.

One of the most common pairing are people with BPD traits and people with NPD traits. A lot of pairings are in couples with attachment issues. Many of the pairings discussed on this site are subclinical pairings - both partners have some, but not all traits of the disorder or are on a severity spectrum below a clinical threshold.

Bowen's family theory says that we partner with others of a similar emotional maturity level.

What does this means for us? 

That we should look at ourselves and look at where we can improve.
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2017, 05:29:09 PM »

I agree with this article,

There are three clusters of personality disorders, cluster A, cluster B, and cluster C.  While BPD falls in the cluster B subtype, many of their codependent partners may fit the criteria of a disorder in the cluster C subtype (the anxious/fearful cluster).  A nice article that explains the Cluster C subtype is here:

https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/dsm-5-the-ten-personality-disorders-cluster-c/

After reviewing the article, I was able to personally identify with some components of each listed personality disorder.

One sentence from this article really stood out to me.  It is part of the Dependent Personality Disorder description:

"In order to avoid conflict, they [the individual with Dependent Personality Disorder] may have great difficulty standing up for themselves. The intense fear of losing a relationship makes them vulnerable to manipulation and abuse."

I can definitely see how this would fit in a codependent relationship with an individual with BPD.

Thank you.  Good points.

I can easily see how people with Avoidant Personality Disorder could find themselves paired with someone who has BPD.  I can also see how someone married to a pwBPD could develop Avoidant Personality Disorder over time.
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2017, 02:42:46 PM »

Just to complement Skip's post... .this is the scientific article behind this thread: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19785701
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« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2017, 05:56:34 AM »

Excerpt
I do wonder what this means for me... .
I am completely questioning this right now too. Reading through the PD clusters I wholly relate to;
Excerpt
The Avoidant Personality Disorder is characterized by a pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and a hypersensitivity to negative evaluation. People with this disorder are intensely afraid that others will ridicule them, reject them, or criticize them.
Excerpt
Their way of thinking about and interpreting the world revolves around the thought that they are not good enough, and that others don't like them. They think of themselves as unappealing and socially inept.

My BPDex always said I was a 'Schizoid' (SPD), as she works with them during group (viewing it now I think she was using her biased view of me, being 'solitary or sheltered, secretiveness, emotional coldness, and apathy' when really I act like that coz I am so scared of criticism and sometimes feel I'm not deserved enough to feel 'happy'
My issue now is, being out of the relationship, I'm feeling all this more than ever... .and so many questions!;

Did the relationship make my traits worse?

Am I just more aware of it all now, after crash coursing BPD, CBT, DBT, TA etc for the last 6 months (coz I had ZERO knowledge of this stuff before)?

I spend last year 'improving' myself, and picking up my ex at a bar was part of that (At the time felt like a HUGE leap forward), but were we just 'meant' to be attracted to each other? as PD attracts PD (even though she only told me about her BPD weeks after)

If she knew she misdiagnosed me, could we have made it work (I am not being 'cold', I am emotionally paralyzed with the anxiety of the situation)?

How do I move forward from this now?

Am I 'destined' to attract/be attracted to those with BPD/PDs? (I'm not sure I can deal with it again)



 
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« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2017, 09:00:04 AM »

Good discussion. Folks -- be very careful about self-diagnosis.

We are all to some degree insecure, clingy, avoidant, perfectionist, narcissistic, depressed, anxious, etc. Personality disorders all describe traits that everyone has to some degree or in some circumstances, but taken to such a distorted extreme as to warp a person's life and relationship with reality.

To quote from the mentalhelp.net link above:
Excerpt
It is important to remember that everyone can exhibit some of these personality traits from time to time. To meet the diagnostic requirement of a personality disorder, these traits must be inflexible; i.e., they can be repeatedly observed without regard to time, place, or circumstance. Furthermore, these traits must cause functional impairment and/or subjective distress. Functional impairment means these traits interfere with a person's ability to functional well in society. The symptoms cause problems with interpersonal relationships; or at work, school, or home. Subjective distress means the person with a personality disorder may experience their symptoms as unwanted, harmful, painful, embarrassing, or otherwise cause them significant distress.
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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2017, 02:26:51 PM »

Hmm, I don't think that it has to tilt into the extreme to impact your quality of life, like Skip said you can look at yourself and see where you can make improvements. I agree that I have attachment issues that I would probably need help with but some of that was just anxiety and I realized that I probably have major depressive disorder, i've been depressed for most of my adult life.

The point i'm trying to make is take care of yourself, we can improve our quality of life without it having to warped to major degree, maybe if I taken care of my depression I would of been more motivated and had more opportunities in life, it's something that I can work on now, betettr late than never. The difference between not being medicated for depression and being medicated with a medication that works for me has made a huge difference.

I understand that it's difficult for some people to find medication that works, I also exercise to try to stay ahead of depression and anxiety, it's like my doctor said, don't stop because you feel better you still want to do this when you feel better so that the symptoms stay at bay.

Exercise helps with 80% of people with making them feel better by boosting their mood. I don't want to invalidate anyone being saying that you have to follow my recipe to feel better, find what works right for you, it might be trying different meds before you find the right one for you, there's no one right recipe.
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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2017, 10:26:48 AM »

I thought this additional part of the discussion was powerful and compelling.
Excerpt
The second major finding of the present study was that nearly half of the men romantically involved with a woman suffering from BPD were diagnosed with a personality disorder. The expected prevalence of personality disorders in the general population goes from 9% to 14% (Charitat & Schmitt, 2002). Thus, in most likelihood, the partner-choice process in BPD is not random.

I'd like to balance that with support for flourdust's point here:
... .Folks -- be very careful about self-diagnosis. ... .

We are all to some degree insecure, clingy, avoidant, ... .

I found the comparisons between the attachment styles of the clinical and control group very interesting. It could be valuable to members because it reveals how the relationship, the first partner, and the second partner, can be so different to what the non is accustomed to after a few months or years with the pwBPD.
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« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2017, 11:34:23 AM »

The study respondents were not self-diagnosed. I think flour dust is referring to members here who self diagnose.
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flourdust
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« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2017, 12:27:09 PM »

Right - self-diagnosis (there was some of that upthread) as well as diagnosing our partners, children, etc.
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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2017, 06:45:36 AM »

The study respondents were not self-diagnosed. I think flour dust is referring to members here who self diagnose.
Yes--thanks Skip Smiling (click to insert in post) I guess I over-cut what I wanted to say on that one.

I didn't want to say that the respondents self-diagnosed. I meant to use the study authors' idea that partner-choice is probably not random. That is to say, that partner-choice has a stronger proportion of people bearing traits that qualify for a personality disorder diagnosis. The next point is that the member can then consider that since "I belong the set of partners (with stronger proportion of PD traits), then there's a chance that I have traits that qualify for diagnosis". This then creates more reasons for introspection:
- What traits do these partners tend to have?
- Do I see my own behaviours in those traits?
- Did they contribute to my role in the relationship?
- What can I do about this?

I was thinking this would then add support to your discussion with Kyanite on:
Yes, I do wonder what this means for me... .

Then I meant to bring in Flourdust's point to as a support to balance the overzealous member to caution against self-diagnosing when given these ideas.  Smiling (click to insert in post)

I'm interested in your thoughts. Thanks guys.
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« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2017, 04:35:18 PM »

Great article... .even greater replies.  Reading this has confirmed what I suspected in myself and many of the "nons" on this site.  We are not completely innocent in this.  When I told my mom about the horrible things my exgfwBPD did she flat out told me "You created a monster".  Yes, by being passive and reactionary and waay too flexible and accommodating we enable the BPDs behavior and oftentimes give them more ammo to continue to push our boundaries. 
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« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2017, 07:09:59 AM »

When I told my mom about the horrible things my exgfwBPD did she flat out told me "You created a monster". 
An interesting way to put it.

Flexibility and being accommodating – I think these two have got a place in a healthy relationship. When does it go into being a pushover or being a caretaker?
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« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2017, 10:28:18 PM »

The statistical validity of these tests is extremely dubious, a correct analysis would require a large sample and analysis of people with BPD after rather than before the fact which inherently skew the results due to preselection.

When thinking about these results remember drug users date drug users

hospital patients date hospital patients

and the list goes on
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« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2017, 09:13:16 PM »

Good point—you could probably get better data with a bigger sample.  Smiling (click to insert in post) Their point was to compare psychosocial functioning of couples (one person being a diagnosed pwBPD) to that of a nonclinical control sample. Their sample size—35 clinical couples and 35 control couples—seemed reasonable for what they wanted to study.

A study with a before-and-after method would complement the data; however I think its absence wouldn't affect the statistical validity of their results—they're comparing psychosocial functioning of the two sets of couples. They found some good information that may be useful to members here. Did you find something useful to you?
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« Reply #17 on: December 14, 2017, 10:55:04 PM »

Just wanted to make the point if you thought you were normal before you had a BPD relationship , and you weren't a drug user, or had been admitted to a psych ward before the vast probability is that you were probably normal, and so i found the study misleading in that respect.
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« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2017, 10:29:21 PM »

I think you're very right on that one SlyQQ.  Smiling (click to insert in post) As individuals that have gone through these relationships, we may find that we're not similar to the "non" side in the clinical set in that dimension—psychosocial functioning. I.e.—we haven't got the various ways of psychosocial functioning that are suggested to be maintained by the majority of that set of "non"s.

The researchers simply found that approx. 44% of the clinical set of nons met criteria for at least one personality disorder. I.e.—approx. 15 of the 35(?) nons had a set of traits that would attract at least one PD diagnosis.

Something that was quite interesting to me was the ranking of PDs in these nons. By order of incidence—they are paranoid, antisocial, obsessive–compulsive, and avoidant. I had looked at at least one of those before coming across this article—so that was a bit of a sign to me that I'd done some work in the right direction. So there's value there for people that don't identify with PDs—what we might call "normal".  Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2017, 03:28:31 AM »

Hi Everyone!

I should start by saying I know now in my recovery from cluster B-abuse, that I was extremely vulnerable when I met my ex-Cluster B*(diagnosed).

I think my situation left me exposed to be attracted to him but as I recover, I realize that although she is not as extreme, my adoptive mother's PD exposed me to familiar behavior, and my adoptive father is a dependent PD, who enabled her. He also protected me as much as he could and I was lucky to know what unconditional love was.

I was newly sober and my first love/husband had just walked out on me (years of alcoholism). Active and untreated dry alcoholics are NPD in nature.

Just because I was sober did not mean I was recovered. I had extreme untreated alcoholism. I had not recognized it at the time but I was also a victim of abuse since my husband was physically violent to me while I was drinking.

My self-esteem was garbage, and the love-bombing was addictive. I see the craziness now as he moved in within two weeks. Of course he was in other relationships etc etc. He would relapse and my narcissism led me to the delusion that I could control or "change him", as my father could change my mother (right... .).

PD are COMPLICATED and I was broken down further, but slowly. The idealization, followed by devaluation occurred slow over 6 years, I was "discarded" when he would relapse but he is too obsessed to totally discard.

I of course relapsed. I am fortunate to be so progressed in my alcoholism that when I drink I pretty much am close to death, so fear of death motivated me to seek a true solution to my spiritual malady.

Slowly as I transformed, I saw through his lies but I still did not know how abused I was, mentally and emotionally. I developed PTSD and would shake when he would rage. When he threatened my younger brother that is when I honored my body and went no contact.

He showed up at a recovery meeting last week (restraining order will not block him from attending meetings).

I am so happy to say that after one week I have officially Verizon blocked his number(s) and read up on email filtering/sending reply that makes it look like his emails never were received, I have also eliminated trash/spam boxes to open on my desktop and phone so I do not feel tempted to hurt myself reading his lies.

Two days of love-bombing contact followed by "cluster B" rage ensued after he made contact last Thursday.

I have done so much inner work and grown into self-love for the time we have had no contact, I have no tolerance for abuse in my life. I am happy and alone and plan on staying that way (till I recover more).

I see now the blocked iPhone voice messages were my attempt to allow him contact so he would not freak out and contact my employer or family. Instead of protecting me it led me to be vulnerable if he made contact.

I love that is he is not in my life and this week has been an excellent reminder of that.

I do not think we are doomed. PD are treatable and I know I did not want to experience was I went through again, I see my narcissism, that I can play God and change others, which is a total lie.

I could not even change myself, I needed so much help. Therapy, reading on PD is like a part-time hobby now, I want to help others through their struggles, it is a lonely place when you are in it and there is a lot of victim shaming.

I thank everyone for being on here! 

PS I also see my family as sort of a control experiment, I do not have their genetics but learned behavior. For all issues: they are not alcoholic, nor do they drink and I have been able to seek help for learned behavior, recognize it and heal. Any biological neuropsych component they may have I do not have.


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