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Author Topic: Borderline Self Ruination  (Read 710 times)
HarborBP

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« on: November 21, 2018, 09:20:58 AM »

Hi everyone and Happy Thanksgiving,

my question has to do with borderline thought processes, especially those related to personal and financial security. My (un-diagnosed) borderline girlfriend of 3+ years has just gone cold for the umpteenth time. I am at the end of my tether and working hard (therapy and self-help reading) to exit this incredibly toxic "romance".

I have tried most everything to show this woman how much I care to no effect. This includes writing her into my will a couple year's back. My gf is on SSDI and receives about $1,100/month, which doesn't come close to covering her expenses. She does have very low 6 figures saved in an IRA but is forced to steadily drain those resources to make up shortfalls.

Since I am still working and making a very good living I cover nearly all of our expenses for fun stuff, groceries, car repairs, etc. My gf also knows she will receive $1,000/mo for life from my estate should I exit prematurely.

Given her vulnerability and what's at stake should we split, do any of these considerations enter into her decision making? I'm guessing when in the throws of a rage and devaluation episode it is the last thing on her mind but what about after she's calmed down and closer to normal cognitive thought processes?

I do care for her. We've had many wonderful times and she is a very worthy human being, albeit very dysfunctional.

Thanks for your feedback
HarborBP 
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« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2018, 11:03:26 AM »

hi HarborBP, and Welcome

Given her vulnerability and what's at stake should we split, do any of these considerations enter into her decision making?

are you asking why, given what she stands to lose, she would go cold?

tell us more about what happened and is going on. are you in any contact? what led up to her going cold? what has happened in the past?
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« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2018, 11:57:10 AM »

Hi, HarborBPWelcome new member (click to insert in post)  Allow me to join once removed in welcoming you. 

Would it be fair to say you've made an effort to show your care by including your girlfriend in your will, and you're wondering if and how that decision has influenced her current behavior?
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HarborBP

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« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2018, 03:33:05 PM »

hi HarborBP, and Welcome

are you asking why, given what she stands to lose, she would go cold?

tell us more about what happened and is going on. are you in any contact? what led up to her going cold? what has happened in the past?

Thanks for responding. It wasn't my intention to make that connection (i.e. wondering how she could go cold with all there is at stake). My question has more to do with trying to understand what is going on inside the mind of my gf who, in the past, has commented on her financial precariousness (e.g. on SSID, a monthly mortgage, 63 years of age and in what appears to be good health, having only a small IRA nest egg that she'll depend on for supplemental income for the next 20+ years, etc). I accept that right now she's distancing herself from me and has lately repeatedly stated "you take care of my physical needs but not my emotional needs." This comment usually precedes the slamming of the phone and a refusal to answer my calls for days on end.

I guess what I am seeking is insight into the mind of the borderline as it relates to having a partner with the desire and means to provide security. From my perspective it seems at any number of levels survival requires that to some degree we accept what is as a way to carry on. For example I may not like my job but the alternative, in terms of safety and security, would be much worse. When a borderline decides to exit the relationship how do they reconcile the fact they're casting their lot toward a much higher level of vulnerability in so far as their physical comfort and sense of security?

This is what I am trying to understand.

Thank you
 


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« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2018, 03:50:44 PM »

im not sure that theres a BPD behavior/thought process that explains this.

my ex was deeply and constantly dependent on me. in spite of that, she broke up with me.

Excerpt
"you take care of my physical needs but not my emotional needs."

i suspect this is at the heart of the matter.

what led up to that? do you want to rekindle the relationship?

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HarborBP

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« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2018, 02:51:19 PM »

Excerpt
not sure that theres a BPD behavior/thought process that explains this.
my ex was deeply and constantly dependent on me. in spite of that, she broke up with me.
Thanks again for your response. So your ex broke up with you in spite of her dependence? Did she ever speak with you again? If so, did you ever have the feeling a part of the underlying motivation to reconnect was her needing your emotional and/or financial support? 
 
Excerpt
i suspect this is at the heart of the matter.
what led up to that? do you want to rekindle the relationship?
My gf has, on several occasions when stressed, complained about not having her emotional needs looked after. The latest episode occurred several weekends ago when we visited my two college-age kids who attend the same university. We both looked forward to the trip. Although my gf makes clear she has no interest in the role of surrogate mother (she has no kids of her own), she appears to genuinely enjoy my boys and asks about them often.

My gf suffers from a lot of anxiety especially when it comes to socializing. After living in this town for more than 35 years I know of only one person you could call an active friend of hers. She is also estranged from everyone in her family (who all live far away) except her younger brother.   

My gf suffered three major anxiety attacks during the trip to visit my kids. The last one occurred because we checked out of the hotel 30 minutes later than planned. It was a Sunday morning and my gf was anxious we'd get stuck in traffic on the way home. As it turns out traffic was a breeze but this didn't stop her once we got home from going postal on me about the late departure from the hotel. She said the fact I didn't leave on time proved my lack of concern for her emotional well being. Following her diatribe she hung up on me. When I called right back she threatened to get a restraining order on me. This was three weeks ago and I haven't tried contacting her since.

As to your question regarding rekindling the relationship, after more than three years of tiptoeing on eggshells I can't see this relationship working without us getting into therapy and, as a high functioning "petulant borderline" gf, I don't see much hope there. I do have this notion that I am in love with this girl and care about her well being a great deal but, after reading Skip's piece on co-dependency I am wondering how "real" my love actually is? 




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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2018, 03:02:19 PM »

Excerpt
Did she ever speak with you again? If so, did you ever have the feeling a part of the underlying motivation to reconnect was her needing your emotional and/or financial support?  

not in any meaningful way. i reached out a couple of times to try to exchange belongings and force closure on my terms. it was never going to happen. her being dependent on me made me feel awfully important and powerful though, not to mention safe, in ways i hadnt in prior relationships. i invested a lot in it. so when she broke up with me, it was a rejection that cut very deeply.

Excerpt
My gf has, on several occasions when stressed, complained about not having her emotional needs looked after.

at the crux of BPD is a great deal of neediness. at the same time, there are limited relationship skills, a tendency to be flooded and overwhelmed with feelings, and a difficulty seeing where you begin and she ends.

so in other words, needy person, who deeply dislikes being/feeling needy, and struggles mightily with communicating it.

is any of it valid? whether it is or not, it answered a lot of my questions and confusion, and even helped me detach, to be able to try to see things from my exs perspective.

Excerpt
after reading Skip's piece on co-dependency I am wondering how "real" my love actually is?  

i hope youll stick around. theres a lot for each of us to unpack there, what it means for all of us can mean (many) different things, and a strong support system and perspective were really critical for me personally. i also know from experience, it was hard to unpack stuff about myself when things were still raw. how are you holding up?
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2018, 05:14:23 PM »

Excerpt
how are you holding up?

Not great, especially since my long and detailed response just vanished into cyberspace for some unknown reason!

I'll try to recap: I met my gf after relocating to a new town following my 2012 divorce from a marriage of twenty years. That marriage ended because, in my opinion, neither of us invested the time required to be attentive to each other's needs.

A year after the divorce I moved to a town an hour's drive away so that my youngest son could attend a private middle school for high achieving kids.

I met my bp gf in 2015 after contracting with her to create a professional landscape design for me. (Incidentally, I do not believe I seek out women with PD's. I've had many great experiences in relationships going back nearly 50 years and can say my current (ex?) gf is the first to display serious BPD traits).

Other than appreciating her professional talent I had no special feelings for her as the project wound down. Two moths later I received an e-mail from her asking if I wanted to explore the beaches and parks that surround our city. I responded I would like that but made it clear, as a single parent commuting 2 hours a day to a full time job, I had limited free time.

Shortly thereafter we began Saturday outings with day hikes in the area. I still wasn't attracted to her in a relationship sort of way when, on the 4th outing, she turned to me and said "I am smitten by you". I replied, "you are?" This is how it began. One thing lead to another and before I knew it I had a woman who was knocking it out of the park emotionally and sexually. She was fond in those days of saying "You fell from the sky". For a guy who had recently come out of an emotionless 20 year marriage that ended in a very nasty manner, the experience was over the moon, so to speak.

While enjoying the many perks that come in the honeymoon phase of a relationship I noticed, almost from the get-go, that my gf could react in very strange and aggressive ways. She blamed these outbursts on Graves Disease. I had no idea what GD was but read that it can cause grumpiness and strong emotional responses when a thyroid storm occurs.

For quite some time I used GD as the reason for her aberrant behavior. But after a while it stopped making sense in explaining all of her quirks, especially, her increasingly frequent bizarre rage events. These were often so nasty they floored me. It was then I stumbled onto borderline personality disorder after Googling "why is my girlfriend so mean?". BTW, many thanks to A.J .Mehari for her insights into the illness. Her web site and videos provided my first education into this awful condition. 

While our early relationship provided many of the things we both loved, including lots of day hikes in the national parks that surround our city, over time her maladies began to increasingly interfere with plans. Also increasingly she would break plans because of her muscle pain or fatigue that caused her to be "grumpy". We were overnighting less and less. She began dictating when it was OK to check in or visit her.

Over time, when in the mood, she stopped answering the phone. This created concern for her well being, given all of her maladies, but when I'd stop by to check on her she'd go ballistic for showing up unannounced.

She became very jealous of my venerable friendships (both male and female), demanding I end them and complained that my parenting schedule interfered with our relationship. I empathized with her in this regard because she is childless and never married. We talked about how great things would be once I became an "empty nester". How ironic now that I'm an empty nester she has presumably decided to end the relationship.

I worry about her. Although she has lived in this area for more than 35 years she has only one person I would consider an active friend. She is estranged from her family (who live far away), except for her younger brother, who she speaks with two or three times a year. She definitely prefers being alone with her dog. This fact, combined with the numerous displays of extreme anxiety suffered as social events draw near, lead me to believe she is impacted by features associated with Avoidant Personality Disorder or some similar isolating condition.

I am incredibly sad at the breakdown of this relationship. Like so many on this site I logically understand how destructive the relationship is to my physical and mental health but my own issues (co-dependency et al!) cause me to grieve at losing a person who rescued me from the ashes of a failed divorce and introduced me to many of the secret places that make this city such a wonderful place to live. Everything I know about this place carries her signature. Heck, every time I look out the front window I see her garden design and the many wonderful elements created by her talents.   

Thanks for listening.



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« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2018, 12:50:50 PM »

Not great, especially since my long and detailed response just vanished into cyberspace for some unknown reason!

i hate when that happens... .

She was fond in those days of saying "You fell from the sky". For a guy who had recently come out of an emotionless 20 year marriage that ended in a very nasty manner, the experience was over the moon, so to speak.

no doubt... .invigorating and rejuvenating to say the least.

She blamed these outbursts on Graves Disease. I had no idea what GD was but read that it can cause grumpiness and strong emotional responses when a thyroid storm occurs.

its true. i have GD myself (pretty mild and usually in remission), and i imagine it could be hard to distinguish what was BPD, what was GD, and plenty of it may be both. intense feelings in BPD are a hallmark, so they could have been that much more frequent and intense.

Also increasingly she would break plans because of her muscle pain or fatigue that caused her to be "grumpy". We were overnighting less and less. She began dictating when it was OK to check in or visit her.

at about what point in the relationship did this start?

She became very jealous of my venerable friendships (both male and female), demanding I end them and complained that my parenting schedule interfered with our relationship.

not very understanding; thats difficult to find a middle ground with. you did let her know from the beginning your commitment to your child.

I am incredibly sad at the breakdown of this relationship. Like so many on this site I logically understand how destructive the relationship is to my physical and mental health but my own issues (co-dependency et al!) cause me to grieve at losing a person who rescued me from the ashes of a failed divorce and introduced me to many of the secret places that make this city such a wonderful place to live. Everything I know about this place carries her signature. Heck, every time I look out the front window I see her garden design and the many wonderful elements created by her talents.  

you were together for a long time HBP, had some wonderful times together, and invested a great deal. its natural that grieving all of that would be no cakewalk, and its pretty jarring emotionally to go from what you had to threats of a restraining order.
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« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2018, 10:04:26 PM »

Excerpt
Also increasingly she would break plans because of her muscle pain or fatigue that caused her to be "grumpy". We were overnighting less and less. She began dictating when it was OK to check in or visit her.

at about what point in the relationship did this start?

Once Removed, thanks a bunch for continuing the dialogue. I can't remember when the relationship began careening off the tracks. By this I mean when the awful times began to dominate the timeline. I remember about 14 months after she said she was smitten by me (so this would be about two years ago) we had our first robust disagreement. As part of our getting back together she gave me a list of grievances with the demand to provide answers as part of our reconciliation. I remember thinking at the time it was like I had been handed a school homework assignment.

Here's a sampling of the questions/issues:
1) I don't believe you appreciate how difficult it is to be in a relationship with you- your kids, work schedule, your constant need to be doing. If you did appreciate how hard it is you may not be so quick to turn cold.
2) You don't respect my boundaries, for example I hate the morning calls (made on my one hour commute to work) but your need to talk is more important than my privacy. How can you accept my boundaries without being cold and withdrawn?
3) List of boundaries you need to respect. If not, explain why
a. No talking about previous sexual partners.
b. No discussing my sexuality with others (don't know where she came up with that idea)
c. When I am sick no sexual advances
d. No morning calls
e. No asking me to sleep over when your son is there
f. No 15 - 20 minute visits after work (these late PM visits had to be short because I needed to get home to prepare dinner for my boys)
g. Do not expect me to sleep over every night your son is with his mother
4) You do not appreciate how sick I am. How can I feel safe with you when I am sick? How do I convince you of how sick I really am? Your lack of empathy is very obvious to me.
5) Whether I like it or not- no matter whether you like it or not- I am a very sick person. My health will continue to decline. If you can't figure out how to help me and provide empathy when I am sick... .this relationship will fail. This issue has been the cause of at least 50% of our fights. 
6) When your feelings get hurt or your ego gets hurt... .you turn cold, cut off affection, become short, impatient and angry. To me this is mean. You need to figure out how to talk about your feelings rather than acting out. (I thought this reasonable at the time but, as it turns out, when I did discuss my feelings, more times than not, I received a sarcastic response like "oh poor you, your feelings got hurt, poor poor you". Eventually I gave up)
7) Examples of my needs being ignored:
a. There is nothing comfortable to sit on in your house. You need to get a decent couch.
b. You need to purchase a vaporizer (she loves pot) like mine so I don't have to drag mine around
c. I asked for a Nutri Bullet and got a cheap knockoff instead
d. After hiking I am too tired to cook- I asked that we eat out because of my fatigue. That has been ignored. Again you do not appreciate how sick I am.
e. You need to buy a new bed. Do you know how awful it is to sleep in the same bed your wife slept in?

 
Excerpt
you did let her know from the beginning your commitment to your child.

 Yes, I was very gentle with her in this regard because she had never had children of her own. She did have a beloved dog that died of cancer two years before we met so I would try to make parallels between the love and devotion I felt toward my boys and the love and devotion she felt for her deceased pet. I don't think I ever saw a light go off in her at this analogy.

Excerpt
you were together for a long time HBP, had some wonderful times together, and invested a great deal. its natural that grieving all of that would be no cakewalk, and its pretty jarring emotionally to go from what you had to threats of a restraining order.

Boy Howdy! When I asked her about the reasoning behind her threat of a restraining order all she could say was "I wasn't serious, it's just part of the drama."

My therapist wants me to make a written plan about how I will respond when, in the future and out of the blue, my gf either calls me or I call her. She seems to doubt my serious resolve to either a) end this toxic romance or b) should my gf reach out to me at some point, to make couples therapy a condition of our relationship re-start. I am pretty skeptical option b) has a realistic chance at fruition, given the many cynical comments I've heard my gf utter regarding the benefits of therapy. 

Have a good one and thanks again for engaging. It really helps.
Harbor BP
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« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2018, 08:29:18 AM »

Excerpt
Following her diatribe she hung up on me. When I called right back she threatened to get a restraining order on me. This was three weeks ago and I haven't tried contacting her since.
Excerpt
you were together for a long time HBP, had some wonderful times together, and invested a great deal. its natural that grieving all of that would be no cakewalk, and its pretty jarring emotionally to go from what you had to threats of a restraining order.
Excerpt
Boy Howdy! When I asked her about the reasoning behind her threat of a restraining order all she could say was "I wasn't serious, it's just part of the drama."
I want to clarify a point I made in my last post, to avoid confusion. Following her restraining order threat I did have one additional interaction before going NC. The next day I returned some of the her stuff that had accumulated at my house. Although she didn't want me to enter her house we did have a short chat on her front porch. It was then I asked her about the restraining order threat. I also asked where the relationship was headed and she replied "I'm tired of arguing all the time so don't want to continue the relationship any longer." I thanked her for her candor and said goodbye.
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« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2018, 01:25:19 PM »

I can't remember when the relationship began careening off the tracks.

my relationship was about 3 years too, and while there were no shortage of vivid memories, plenty of things stood out, i had a pretty good grasp on the timeline, there was a lot that was sort of foggy, too. were you operating on adrenaline for a lot of the relationship?

Excerpt
As part of our getting back together she gave me a list of grievances

resentment reads through pretty strongly in her list. of the sampling, what parts do you consider valid? what parts do you consider nonsense? lastly, are there parts where her perspective makes sense, even if you disagree with it?

its not an easy exercise, but its one i think can help gain understanding, and in turn, detach. 

Excerpt
I would try to make parallels between the love and devotion I felt toward my boys and the love and devotion she felt for her deceased pet. I don't think I ever saw a light go off in her at this analogy.

take this, for example. its a fairly common conflict between two romantic partners, whether both have children, or only one party has children.

looking at it from her perspective, she might have felt... .

like she wasnt a/the priority. like there were obstacles to growing the relationship in the way she wanted to. that she was an outsider, or in competition. that she didnt have a connection to your children. that you couldnt see or didnt hear her struggles with the dynamic, or werent willing to adjust.

some of that may be true. none of it may be true. some of it might be a glimpse at how she felt, and what was simmering throughout the relationship. a lot of it may be very different from your perspective. in your defense, you were clear straight away about your devotion to your children and of them as your priority; she didnt heed that. maybe she thought things would change. maybe in trying to change them, rather than seeing it as an irresolvable conflict, or finding mature ways she might address it (like taking more steps to connect with your children) her resentment only grew.

Excerpt
how I will respond when, in the future and out of the blue, my gf either calls me or I call her.

i hope that if either of these happen, youll do some work on the Bettering board. there is long standing, protracted conflict that will be difficult to resolve. even if things were great at first, that conflict would resurface.
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« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2018, 12:07:11 AM »

Excerpt
I can't remember when the relationship began careening off the tracks.

my relationship was about 3 years too, and while there were no shortage of vivid memories, plenty of things stood out, i had a pretty good grasp on the timeline, there was a lot that was sort of foggy, too. were you operating on adrenaline for a lot of the relationship?

Interesting your comment about the length of your relationship at 3 years. I remember last spring a blow-up where my gf hollered "yes I'm a crazy bitch and two and a half years is about all I can take". Is this the standard cycle for a borderline romance to run its course?

Wrt adrenaline, yes, I was amped up (internally, not in an outwardly aggressive way) much of the time. I was clearly addicted to her body. She was so sensuous, with the softest skin and nicest bum I ever placed my hands on. I have been very fortunate in life to enjoy the pleasure of lots of wonderful female company and this girl stands out as the finest physical partner of them all. So the torture of her twistedly mean spirit created hyper-conflict and tension in me. The good times became ever so short; the horrible periods, together with time spent grovelling to regain stability, ever so long. I was constantly making excuses to my family as to why she never showed up for holidays etc, while also keeping them in the dark about the emotional and verbal abuse because I was humiliated and embarrassed to admit what was really going on.   

Excerpt
resentment reads through pretty strongly in her list. of the sampling, what parts do you consider valid? what parts do you consider nonsense? lastly, are there parts where her perspective makes sense, even if you disagree with it?

I don't want to come across as a saint but here is my honest assessment in response to your question. By the way, her points are verbatim from the manifesto she gave me (I kept a copy):

Excerpt
1) I don't believe you appreciate how difficult it is to be in a relationship with you- your kids, work schedule, your constant need to be doing. If you did appreciate how hard it is you may not be so quick to turn cold

On many, many occasions I let my gf know how difficult it must be to date a guy with my frenetic schedule. I thanked her often for supporting me. This wasn't lip service, I meant every word and conveyed these thoughts in a very sincere way. She is on disability so has lots of free time, no kids, no aging parents (both deceased), no nieces' birthdays/weddings to attend, holidays without family obligations, etc. so the contrast in our lifestyles is stark, to say the least.

I spoke encouragingly that with time my schedule would free up as I entered retirement, kids flew the coup and so on. Most of the time I think she took solace from these statements. I also spoke often about how we would grow old together and how nice it is to have a partner to experience this with. She typically agreed with these thoughts.

Excerpt
2) You don't respect my boundaries, for example I hate the morning calls (made on my one hour commute to work) but your need to talk is more important than my privacy. How can you accept my boundaries without being cold and withdrawn

Most of this is bulls--t. The moment she demanded I stop calling in the morning I did. If I did react coldly it was in response to the manner in which she requested no morning calls. In general I don't recall there being many boundaries durable enough to observe and respond to. Most of my gf's "boundaries" came and went. It was like WW1 trench warfare. Oftentimes her boundaries contradicted themselves from one day to the next. Understanding her boundary structures was akin to pinning jello to a wall.

I do admit to being cold and withdrawn at times but again, this was in response to the harsh manner in which she behaved. A mistake I have learned from therapy is that I was very poor at setting my own boundaries, especially when it came to emotional/verbal abuse. I sulked like a spoiled kid at times and my gf was incredibly attuned to picking up on this. So in this regard I have to say she had a point.

Excerpt
3) List of boundaries you need to respect. If not, explain why
a. No talking about previous sexual partners.
b. No discussing my sexuality with others (don't know where she came up with that idea)
c. When I am sick no sexual advances
d. No morning calls
e. No asking me to sleep over when your son is there
f. No 15 - 20 minute visits after work (these late PM visits had to be short because I needed to get home to prepare dinner for my boys)
g. Do not expect me to sleep over every night your son is with his mother

Some of her points here are valid. For example, as most of us know, sex in the early days of romance is pretty incredible, or at least I hope it is for everyone. I think when she wrote these points we were beginning to move away from that phase, which was something I wasn't at all ready for. So perhaps she needed to take a stick to me to wake me up.

She didn't want me talking about females period, whether they were sexual partners or not.

Point f., the afternoon visits, was more difficult for me because she had already demanded no morning calls so this dictate, in concert, started making me anxious about rejection. It was like OK, you don't want to talk in the morning and now you don't want to see me in the evening. Am I being cast off?

I accepted the other points regarding sleepovers without issue. My gf was raised a staunch Catholic so things like not wanting to set a bad example for my boys was understandable.

Excerpt
4) You do not appreciate how sick I am. How can I feel safe with you when I am sick? How do I convince you of how sick I really am? Your lack of empathy is very obvious to me.
5) Whether I like it or not- no matter whether you like it or not- I am a very sick person. My health will continue to decline. If you can't figure out how to help me and provide empathy when I am sick... .this relationship will fail. This issue has been the cause of at least 50% of our fights.

Sickness is a big issue for my gf. While I was very attentive to her feelings in this regard it was often hard to accept because she is such a fine physical specimen. She has been a vegetarian for over 40 years. She is also physically very active (works in her yard a lot and walks at least 3 miles each day on woodland trails). Honestly, she doesn't look a day over 40 (she's 63). Part of this comes from her gypsy background (both families immigrated from Hungary in the early 20th century), which gives her an olive complexion, a lithe frame and very fine straight black hair. She wears no make-up or perfume and does not color her hair. A true al natural woman.

In spite of all this, her maladies were constantly in play. For example, we spent one Memorial Day weekend in the hospital because she complained of dizziness. Her immediate family (Mom, Dad, 5 brothers) all suffer from coronary artery disease so doctors treated the light-headedness as potentially heart related. After three days of every test imaginable they could find nothing remotely indicative of a heart ailment. At other times, especially after a long hike (ex: 10 miles and 3,000ft elevation gain) she'd be bed ridden and out of commission for days on end.

So there were certainly elements of truth in her complaint but I am certain I never downplayed her ailments. It is interesting that on a few occasions she would say "I am not well physically or mentally". She would complain at times about depression but I wondered, after learning about BPD, if she hadn't received counseling in the past where BPD traits were raised by a therapist. Was that a part of not being well emotionally? I never asked.

Excerpt
7) Examples of my needs being ignored:
a. There is nothing comfortable to sit on in your house. You need to get a decent couch.
b. You need to purchase a vaporizer (she loves pot) like mine so I don't have to drag mine around
c. I asked for a Nutri Bullet and got a cheap knockoff instead
d. After hiking I am too tired to cook- I asked that we eat out because of my fatigue. That has been ignored. Again you do not appreciate how sick I am.
e. You need to buy a new bed. Do you know how awful it is to sleep in the same bed your wife slept in?

 I fixed all of this shortly after receiving her list- the bed, the vaporizer, a new couch, dining out often, especially after long hikes.

Excerpt
like she wasnt a/the priority. like there were obstacles to growing the relationship in the way she wanted to. that she was an outsider, or in competition. that she didnt have a connection to your children. that you couldnt see or didnt hear her struggles with the dynamic, or werent willing to adjust.

Please see my comment above re empathy and respect for the manner in which she  supported the relationship despite all of my obligations and distractions. I don't think I was ever callus about her sacrifices.

Excerpt
some of that may be true. none of it may be true. some of it might be a glimpse at how she felt, and what was simmering throughout the relationship. a lot of it may be very different from your perspective. in your defense, you were clear straight away about your devotion to your children and of them as your priority; she didnt heed that. maybe she thought things would change. maybe in trying to change them, rather than seeing it as an irresolvable conflict, or finding mature ways she might address it (like taking more steps to connect with your children) her resentment only grew.

Sadly I think you are right in your assessment.

Excerpt
how I will respond when, in the future and out of the blue, my gf either calls me or I call her.

i hope that if either of these happen, youll do some work on the Bettering board. there is long standing, protracted conflict that will be difficult to resolve. even if things were great at first, that conflict would resurface.



Thanks for steering me to the Bettering board. I've never visited there.

Again, so sad the poor prognosis for a loving and enlightened relationship with this beautiful human being. But, it is critical for me to look after myself first and I am trying hard to put this wisdom into practice.

Thanks for taking time to engage,
Harbor BP
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« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2018, 01:13:40 AM »

Hey HarborBP Welcome new member (click to insert in post),

That list from your ex is something my ex did too, for me it was:

1. No comments on her body
2. No messaging in the morning
And many more

And she complained about me not understanding how sick she was, not being emphatic and not giving her space. Wow at the similarities. Sure, I did get angry at her for cancelling plans at the very last minute cause she's sick. She never respected my time. My ex was big on boundaries like yours except it was mostly double standards.

Also you mentioned Avoidant Personality Disorder, when my ex got diagnosed with BPD, she said she didn't relate to it, she felt she fit AvPD more. She did accept her BPD diagnosis though. My T says she is definitely BPD but doesn't seem AvPD. She is avoidant, mostly to me but she has a lot of friends so it always confused me.

About your ex feeling she was not your priority,  mine complained I prioritised her too much and she can't handle it and cannot do the same for me. It's all very confusing... .

~ Sky
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« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2018, 12:54:39 PM »

Is this the standard cycle for a borderline romance to run its course?

i dont think theres such a thing. we have members here who have been married for decades.

sometimes relationships break down quickly, sometimes slowly (most relationships in general dont make it past 90-120 days). a lot depends on both parties, the conflict between them and how they resolve it or try to. there were some significant conflicts between my ex and me from the beginning, but i think things were steadily breaking down for the last year we were together. we couldnt get on the same page, and were increasingly hurtful to each other, but it was too good to leave, too bad to stay, until it wasnt.

Wrt adrenaline, yes, I was amped up (internally, not in an outwardly aggressive way) much of the time.

i think that this can catch us off guard after the breakup, and be difficult to cope with; its a huge adjustment and that adrenaline can manifest as physical symptoms, anxiety, ruminations, the works. are you experiencing any of that? there are tools for managing and processing if youre interested.

keeping them in the dark about the emotional and verbal abuse because I was humiliated and embarrassed to admit what was really going on.   

are you able to lean on them now? what do they think?

I don't think I was ever callus about her sacrifices.

remember, HBP, im not saying this  . when trying to make sense of "what happened" (and later on what we can take from it going forward), it can be valuable to see things, as closely as possible at least, to how the other party sees it (right or wrong), what they were experiencing, for insight into how things broke down. its not pleasant. the hardest parts of detaching are pretty emotionally taxing, but can get us to the other side.

it sounds like you can see some significant differences, some bigger, some smaller, some hers some yours some both. does it help to make sense of things?
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« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2018, 08:39:59 PM »

Hey HarborBP Welcome new member (click to insert in post),

That list from your ex is something my ex did too, for me it was:

1. No comments on her body
2. No messaging in the morning
And many more

And she complained about me not understanding how sick she was, not being emphatic and not giving her space. Wow at the similarities. Sure, I did get angry at her for cancelling plans at the very last minute cause she's sick. She never respected my time. My ex was big on boundaries like yours except it was mostly double standards.

Also you mentioned Avoidant Personality Disorder, when my ex got diagnosed with BPD, she said she didn't relate to it, she felt she fit AvPD more. She did accept her BPD diagnosis though. My T says she is definitely BPD but doesn't seem AvPD. She is avoidant, mostly to me but she has a lot of friends so it always confused me.

About your ex feeling she was not your priority,  mine complained I prioritised her too much and she can't handle it and cannot do the same for me. It's all very confusing... .

~ Sky


Hi Sky and thanks for jumping in . OR has done a great job of hand holding and keeping the dialogue going. I am also remiss for not thanking Insom for his/her comments early on. It was my intention to respond but I got caught up in OR's probing comments and questions. Our thread just took off on a very helpful tangent.

As to your experiences, while I completely understand we all are individuals and that BPD doesn't manifest itself in blanket ways, I took great interest in reading about the parallels in your relationship story. In fact, after reading your comments I had a Holy Cow moment. Here are a few of the Wow's:

1) I was always struck with my gf's lack of appreciation for her double standards. For example, "you must disassociate from so and so ( a venerable female relationship) but don't you dare interfere in my relationship with Ted" (this is the one, only active friendship, mentioned in two of my posts).

2) The maladies. They were constant and continuously morphing. Muscle pain and sensitivity to heat and cold were the biggies, as were general malaise and fatigue.

3) The antisocial aspects. I hadn't read that fear of socializing and a desire to isolate was a big aspect of BPD. Incidentally, reading all the talk about borderlines constantly seeking Mr Goodbar often had me anxious, especially when they were in trash-the -lover mode. But I don't think I'm fooling myself when I say I don't think this infamous aspect of BPD was a big part of my gf's constitution (note to OR and other site masters, feel free to pop my bubble if you feel I'm self-deluding. I'd rather be set straight than live the life of a naive fool).

4) Issues with admiring their bodies. Over time, my gf even started to turn her back on me when changing from clothes to pajamas. Increasingly she began admonishing me for admiring her bare breasts, bum and so on. I'd think to my self, Jesus, what man wouldn't appreciate THAT? But if I'd state what I was thinking she'd reply with something like "Well, since you think its so great maybe I should spread the wealth." Ouch, but to her response I have to admit I'd give her a touche for effectively making her point!

5) Not giving her space. While I didn't write directly about this I think her no contact dictates pointed in that direction. Was this related to engulfment phobias? Perhaps.

6) The endless breaking of plans. This would drive me crazy even if I did bury the frustration. I've cancelled resort, airplane, rental car reservations so many times I've become a bit gun shy about making them in the first place. I remember a couple of years ago I booked a trip to Furnace Creek in Death Valley. Everything was fine until I reminded her to pack a bathing suit. She flipped out, telling me no way was she going to be seen in public with a bathing suit on. I was like "huh, YOU have NOTHING to be ashamed of in a bathing suit." I ended up cancelling that trip too.

Thanks again Sky, the parallels are fascinating. I'd like to hear more if you have the time.
HarborBP


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« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2018, 09:28:16 PM »

The core feelings of a person with BPD are,  "my feelings are inherently worthless and don't matter" which goes to the deeper feelings,  "therefore,  I'm inherently worthless and don't matter." I would interpret this as "I'm unworthy of love."  Most of the behaviors and dysfunctional coping mechanisms stem from these core disordered beliefs. 

Whether it's a short and intense relationship,  or a decades long r/s or marriage (As once removed pointed out), those feelings lie at the core of any r/s with a person with BPD or who has BPD traits. 
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« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2018, 09:56:13 PM »

Excerpt
About your ex feeling she was not your priority,  mine complained I prioritised her too much and she can't handle it and cannot do the same for me. It's all very confusing.

Sky, I forgot to comment on this part of your post. My gf often said I was smothering her. When conflicted she would say things like "I can't give any more than what I am already giving. You are so clingy." Unfortunately she was mostly correct. So when my gf reacted with things like "you're an ass", "f off", "f you man", "stop trying to control me", my bewildered reaction was pretty subservient. I'd do anything to return to her adoration.

I think it was Once Removed who said the power he felt in managing his gf was really heady stuff and on his terms. I never felt like my attentions were motivated by manipulating my gf for my benefit but, on reflection, I now believe I was feeling similar emotions as O.R.

I told my therapist last week "I've had many relationships and I can never recall being so vulnerable and willing to accept the emasculation promulgated by this woman." She pointed out the tough love that was my Dad's parenting hallmark (both physical (i.e corporal punishment) and emotional abuse) and how my gf fit right into that role. My reaction was Holy Cow, to be sucked into deja vu abuse, as a willing adult, is embarrassing and fascinating at the same time.

I'll soon be 65 years of age. My adult life has been completely invested in science and business. In college I took one psychology course. Until recently I never, ever took time to understand who I am and where I came from. Isn't it poignant and ironic that the greatest love I have ever known came from someone whose wiring is so peculiar and aberrant as to force me to self-reflect on who I am? It's just so fascinating.

HarborBP
 
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« Reply #18 on: November 29, 2018, 10:09:33 PM »

The core feelings of a person with BPD are,  "my feelings are inherently worthless and don't matter" which goes to the deeper feelings,  "therefore,  I'm inherently worthless and don't matter." I would interpret this as "I'm unworthy of love."  Most of the behaviors and dysfunctional coping mechanisms stem from these core disordered beliefs. 

Whether it's a short and intense relationship,  or a decades long r/s or marriage (As once removed pointed out), those feelings lie at the core of any r/s with a person with BPD or who has BPD traits. 

Turkish,
I felt this so much with my gf. How many times I wanted to grab her and shake her, like that scene from Gone With the Wind, and tell her "can't you understand how special you are and how much I love and care for you?" But I came to understand I might as well have been speaking Swahili. A borderline love affair carries so much depth. It's like nothing I have ever known before. I guess in one respect we're all very lucky to have experienced it. Kind of like being selected for the first journey to Mars: filled with hardship, deprivation and stimuli few others will ever know.
HarborBP   
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« Reply #19 on: November 29, 2018, 10:25:26 PM »

Excerpt
i think that this can catch us off guard after the breakup, and be difficult to cope with; its a huge adjustment and that adrenaline can manifest as physical symptoms, anxiety, ruminations, the works. are you experiencing any of that? there are tools for managing and processing if youre interested.

Once Removed, yes all of the above. I have really been feeling it in my heart- i mean literally (ie. physically). I am not on any medication. My blood pressure typically is around 130/75 but in the last two weeks I've had a weird chest sensation that feels like palpitations. I have a blood pressure monitor and it doesn't sense that I've got tachycardia but my systolic reading has climbed to the low 140's. My 91 year old mother ( a retired Med Tech) says the Doc will put me on BP medicine with a reading like that. 


Excerpt
are you able to lean on them now? what do they think?

My family (2 sisters and a mother) have been incredibly supportive. They know I got f'd in my divorce and are really feeling for me that my rebound affair carries such negative drama.

remember, HBP, im not saying this  . when trying to make sense of "what happened" (and later on what we can take from it going forward), it can be valuable to see things, as closely as possible at least, to how the other party sees it (right or wrong), what they were experiencing, for insight into how things broke down. its not pleasant. the hardest parts of detaching are pretty emotionally taxing, but can get us to the other side.

it sounds like you can see some significant differences, some bigger, some smaller, some hers some yours some both. does it help to make sense of things?
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« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2018, 10:26:05 PM »

feel free to pop my bubble

im not here to pop bubbles  

it helps to share "war stories". dont hesitate to jump in the threads of others and do the same... .its a big part of what connects all of us.

1) I was always struck with my gf's lack of appreciation for her double standards

any female friend of mine was a threat that i had to fight with her about for hours on end. she had a long time male, close friend, who would be over at her place, just the two of them, till three in the morning, and i never batted an eye over it.

2) The maladies.

oh sure, there was always something. especially the hip problem that would mysteriously come and go but killed off any sexuality between us toward the end.

from an article here:

Excerpt
The world ails her. Physical complaints are common. Her back hurts. Her head aches. Peculiar pains of all sorts come and go like invisible, malignant companions. If you track their appearance, though, you may see a pattern of occurrence connected to the waning or waxing of your attentions. Her complaints are ways of saying, "don't leave me. save me!", and her maladies are not simply physical -- her feelings ail her too.

I hadn't read that fear of socializing and a desire to isolate was a big aspect of BPD

for some, sure. there are probably just as many life of the party, extroverted pwBPD, though.

4) Issues with admiring their bodies.

low self esteem. you try admiring someone whom, as Turkish mentioned feel theyre worthless and dont matter, also believe they are bad, perhaps ugly, and you lay it on thick, and its just not going to ring true.

I think it was Once Removed who said the power he felt in managing his gf was really heady stuff and on his terms.

i wouldnt say i was much consciously aware of it at the time. a lot of this stuff is easier (and important) to see when we are detached from the immediacy of the "what happened" and the pain.

i was always someone who felt kind of one down in relationships... .simplifying, but like i liked the girl more than she liked me. in one relationship in particular, i was your classic wounded puppy dog begging for scraps. i have my own share of abandonment fears and never took breakups well (to say the least), and i think i adjusted to that, in ways... .whats the solution to abandonment fears? find someone who wont leave, is incapable of leaving... .realize its unhealthy but tell yourself its meant to be, sweep it under the rug. yeah, it was nice to feel one up and not "take any crap" for once, and have a girlfriend who not only seemed to respect me for it, but praised me for it. then you get you dumped on your butt, and those wounds see daylight.

I told my therapist last week "I've had many relationships and I can never recall being so vulnerable and willing to accept the emasculation promulgated by this woman." She pointed out the tough love that was my Dad's parenting hallmark (both physical (i.e corporal punishment) and emotional abuse) and how my gf fit right into that role.

as you detach, and explore all of this, youll make many such connections. they wont all be obvious, but many of us have been carrying this baggage that we never healed, and just adapted to, and these relationships put a glaring light right up to it.
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« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2018, 10:31:20 PM »

Excerpt
remember, HBP, im not saying this  Being cool (click to insert in post). when trying to make sense of "what happened" (and later on what we can take from it going forward), it can be valuable to see things, as closely as possible at least, to how the other party sees it (right or wrong), what they were experiencing, for insight into how things broke down. its not pleasant. the hardest parts of detaching are pretty emotionally taxing, but can get us to the other side.

it sounds like you can see some significant differences, some bigger, some smaller, some hers some yours some both. does it help to make sense of thing

Oh heck yes. This web site has been incredibly therapeutic for me. It's like e-journaling with an anonymous group of people who have my back. Really great stuff. Thank you all.
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« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2018, 10:47:44 PM »

This is written more for children of pwBPD,  but it might provide further insight: https://bpdfamily.com/content/shame-powerful-painful-and-potentially-dangerous-emotion

My ex covers her shame (from my point- of- view) by a thin narcissistic veneer. 
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« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2018, 11:27:26 PM »

Excerpt
im not here to pop bubbles  


Seriously, feel free, if it helps me to see the light.

Excerpt
dont hesitate to jump in the threads of others and do the same... .its a big part of what connects all of us.

Thanks but I'm a bit concerned I'd do more harm than good.  

Excerpt
any female friend of mine was a threat that i had to fight with her about for hours on end. she had a long time male, close friend, who would be over at her place, just the two of them, till three in the morning, and i never batted an eye over it.

At first I was very jealous of Ted and my gf called me on it. She always included me in socializing with Ted (Xmas dinners, planting garlic and peas in his garden, hauling fire wood, etc) so that over time I lost any jealous feelings I once had. Did she have tender thoughts for him? Like you I never gave it a second thought (albeit unlike you after a breaking in period). I think she appreciated this.

Excerpt
oh sure, there was always something. especially the hip problem that would mysteriously come and go but killed off any sexuality between us toward the end.

My gf used restless leg syndrome, (her) flatulence and yeast infections as the preferred chastity belt ensemble of choice.

Excerpt
low self esteem. you try admiring someone whom, as Turkish mentioned feel theyre worthless and dont matter, also believe they are bad, perhaps ugly, and you lay it on thick, and its just not going to ring true.


If I get angry about BPD it's most strongly directed at the condition itself and what it does to the psyches of some pretty incredible people. I mean, my gf is a beautiful person inside and out. Her empathy for all living creatures (except boyfriends?) is steadfast and true. She's sensuous, creative and intelligent. She has a great sense of humor and her knowledge of native plants (B.S. Botany) always made our hikes extra special. But there also was never a meaner person experienced in my life that would outshine her.

Excerpt
i was always someone who felt kind of one down in relationships... .simplifying, but like i liked the girl more than she liked me. in one relationship in particular, i was your classic wounded puppy dog begging for scraps.

Was that relationship with a person who had BPD traits? Broadening the question, have you been drawn to bp people?

 
Excerpt
i have my own share of abandonment fears and never took breakups well (to say the least), and i think i adjusted to that, in ways... .whats the solution to abandonment fears? find someone who wont leave, is incapable of leaving... .realize its unhealthy but tell yourself its meant to be, sweep it under the rug.


Was this your experience with your bpgf? It seems mine preferred a relationship where she got to punch me in the emotional jaw just before bolting for the exit. I think I prefer your flavor.

In addition to abandonment did you receive invalidation from primary care givers as an infant and toddler?  I did, from my father. This is a really lousy legacy because it allowed for passive responses to my gf's emotional onslaughts. For me it was kind of like a blind spot- the verbal cruelty just bounced off a void that occupies my mental self defense mechanism. It was pretty creepy watching myself react in this manner because in other aspects of life I'm pretty resolute.

Excerpt
yeah, it was nice to feel one up and not "take any crap" for once, and have a girlfriend who not only seemed to respect me for it, but praised me for it. then you get you dumped on your butt, and those wounds see daylight.

Wow, that's a tough set-up. At least I knew what I was in for.

Excerpt
as you detach, and explore all of this, youll make many such connections. they wont all be obvious, but many of us have been carrying this baggage that we never healed, and just adapted to, and these relationships put a glaring light right up to it.

Perhaps our experiences with bp partners has been the luckiest thing that ever happened to us. As Eckhart Tolle says often: Relationships with significant others
is one of the fastest paths to enlightenment because learning to live in intimacy with another human being forces us to confront who we are in the now. I'll add, that a borderline sends self-reflection into hyper drive! If you fail over time to find presence when dealing with a borderline you may very well end up in the asylum.
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« Reply #24 on: November 29, 2018, 11:28:58 PM »

This is written more for children of pwBPD,  but it might provide further insight: https://bpdfamily.com/content/shame-powerful-painful-and-potentially-dangerous-emotion

My ex covers her shame (from my point- of- view) by a thin narcissistic veneer. 

Mine showed those characteristics too, especially if it had anything to do with plants and garden design.
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« Reply #25 on: November 30, 2018, 12:01:33 AM »

Thanks but I'm a bit concerned I'd do more harm than good.  

"what happened?". "im listening." "im so sorry for what youve been through." "it gets better." "we will get through this." "youre not alone".

none of these do any harm. they do a lot of good for everyone involved.

At first I was very jealous of Ted and my gf called me on it. She always included me in socializing with Ted

inclusion is often a very good strategy for jealousy, for all parties. weve got a whole workshop on it.

(her) flatulence as the preferred chastity belt ensemble of choice.

my ex did that too. it was certainly new to me, and my reaction was about the same.
 
If I get angry about BPD it's most strongly directed at the condition itself and what it does to the psyches of some pretty incredible people. I mean, my gf is a beautiful person inside and out. Her empathy for all living creatures (except boyfriends?) is steadfast and true. She's sensuous, creative and intelligent. She has a great sense of humor and her knowledge of native plants (B.S. Botany) always made our hikes extra special. But there also was never a meaner person experienced in my life that would outshine her.

i felt similarly... .it may help to think of BPD not as a curse, but as a worldview of a very highly sensitive person. its not that shes great but she has this problem, and only if it werent for that. all of it is her. if any of it wasnt, shed be a different person.

Was that relationship with a person who had BPD traits? Broadening the question, have you been drawn to bp people?

short answer is yes. i dont think any of them, including my ex, would reach the threshold for a diagnosis. the longer answer is that i was an immature person with immature ideas about love and relationships. my relationships met where i was at.

Was this your experience with your bpgf? It seems mine preferred a relationship where she got to punch me in the emotional jaw just before bolting for the exit. I think I prefer your flavor.

she wasnt incapable of leaving, but she might have been incapable of doing it it in an emotionally mature way; thats true for both of us. i threatened breakups all the time but couldnt follow through, and before we broke up for the last time, i had emotionally abandoned the relationship and neglected her, ignored her. she found someone else before we broke up, and that gave her a smoother landing.

In addition to abandonment did you receive invalidation from primary care givers as an infant and toddler?

ill put it this way: we all have childhood wounds. i mostly fit the mold of an HSP (highly sensitive person) and while my parents were nothing if not validating, HSPs often need a special sort of validation, and are wounded by pretty run of the mill, even loving stuff. for example, my parents instilled in me that theyd always be proud of me no matter the result, so long as i did my best and tried. pretty normal, loving message, right? i think i internalized the latter part; that only my very best is good enough, im a perfectionist in a lot of ways. if you read the Son or Daughter board, the same loving and very well meaning dynamic is present in a great deal of households where a child develops BPD. you might consider spending some time on the Parent/Sibling/Inlaw board, where we explore this stuff. its not limited to having a BPD parent, and a member here often says "all roads lead to PSI".

Perhaps our experiences with bp partners has been the luckiest thing that ever happened to us.

i might put it differently, and not to directly contradict you. if it were lucky, we should all do it all over again.

i have been here for a long time, and seen thousands of members go through recovery, and i think the ones that find the silver linings, face the hard questions head on, learn the lessons about themselves and relationships that they want to take into new ones, heal from their experience. for some, the lesson is that the world is a scary place, that the risk/pain is too great, and people are not to be trusted. i was one.

If you fail over time to find presence when dealing with a borderline you may very well end up in the asylum.

adversity tests us. we will be tested again. will we shrink, or will we thrive?
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« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2018, 10:21:43 AM »

hows it going HBP?
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« Reply #27 on: December 07, 2018, 04:34:21 PM »

hows it going HBP?

Hi OR and thanks for checking in. I must say detaching from my gf is one of the most difficult personal challenges I've ever faced. One of the things that makes it so difficult is trying to understand what's going on inside me. There is SO MUCH evidence (15 months of journal entries plus copious recollections of evil emotional abuse) that screams "run, this relationship is toxic" and yet, I've latched onto the few crumbs of joy and used them to whitewash over 3 years of abuse, depression and agony.

Yesterday I received  a CD recording of the best seller Co-Dependent No More. I've listened to the first two CD's and its helping a lot. A chapter in the book lists the character traits typically exhibited by the Co-D individual:
1) A need to caretake others
2) Low self worth   
3) Repression of painful thoughts
4) Obsession, especially toward significant others
5) A need to control the partner in order to make the relationship a safe place
6) Denial that the situation is bad and harmful to self
7) Dependent on others for validation
8) Poor communication, which basically means a reluctance to speak to the partner, of one's needs and pain in a candid and truthful manner
9) Weak boundaries
10) A lack of trust
11) Anger
12) Sexual issues i.e. fearful of asking the partner to address one's intimate needs

As I read this list is was like "Holy Cow, this could have been my testament". Mercifully the book goes on to say Co-D is learned behavior and can be unlearned without extreme effort. The key is detaching from the obsession, in this case my toxic bpgf. The first step is backing away from the crazy hyper-vigilance I've been feeling toward her. The second is to face the reality of the situation.

Here's a great testimonial I picked up on a BPD Family message board (special thanks to the author, I found it very helpful). BTW, I changed the gender to make it more personal for me. She wrote:

"I struggled plenty with the breakup from my BPD partner, but joining this group made turning the corner possible.  Through the insightful posts of others I traced my belief of "not being enough” back to my childhood and my relationship with my parents. That helped change my perspective.  It has taken time but I realize what I clung to were positive memories of being with my ex. But, looking at the big picture, those memories were few.

Now when I catch myself doing that, I shift my thinking to what is reality based - the ugliness of who she could be, how cruel and hurtful she could be and the many, many incidents of bad, really messed up behavior on her part. I am free.  It is the best feeling in the world and I want to thank each and every member who has posted and has contributed to my recovery."

Thanks again for checking in, Once Removed. I'm hanging in there and working on getting to a better place. And, by the way, I've been able to maintain NC throughout.

Harbor BP
 
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« Reply #28 on: December 07, 2018, 05:52:06 PM »

As I read this list is was like "Holy Cow, this could have been my testament". Mercifully the book goes on to say Co-D is learned behavior and can be unlearned without extreme effort.

the opposite of a "codependent" is a well differentiated person.

we all (everyone) have some codependent tendencies... .lots of people, for example, might be a little too concerned with what others think of them. some might be extremely concerned and build their lives around it with no consciousness of whats right or best for them, or letting go of what others think. certainly in romantic relationships (especially dysfunctional ones), familial relationships, these tendencies can be tested, and can be more prominent. the ways i display my own tendencies in friendships for example, are to much lesser degrees, but i can still find ways that they rear their head.

some of these things can be unlearned. some of them can be better managed, through learning new skills. stick around with us, post on the Learning board, learn those skills.

https://bpdfamily.com/content/codependency-codependent-relationships

Now when I catch myself doing that, I shift my thinking to what is reality based - the ugliness of who she could be, how cruel and hurtful she could be and the many, many incidents of bad, really messed up behavior on her part. I am free.  It is the best feeling in the world and I want to thank each and every member who has posted and has contributed to my recovery."

careful.

"it was the best of times, it was the worst of times". the reality is all of it, the good and the bad. neither deserve greater focus. she need not be on a pedestal, nor painted black. you have to face the reality of the bad, yes. there were valid reasons to break up. there was hurtful behavior you need to heal from. you also have to grieve and let go of the good... .not replace it.

its a coping mechanism (it can even be a codependent tendency), and one you should use in a balanced way, and not lose sight of that. i used the same coping mechanism. when i was in it, i said frequently "this relationship is 90% bad, 10% good" (which is pretty extreme). it didnt make sense to me why she was suddenly on a pedestal. but it does make sense, when you feel powerfully rejected. there were reasons i struggled like i did. when i tried to focus on the bad, it maybe worked for minutes at a time, because it didnt ring entirely true.

rather than fight thoughts or feelings, try to instead just observe them from a more detached perspective, without judgment.

I've been able to maintain NC throughout.

NC is just a tool that can give us space to detach, HBP. it isnt detachment. similar to say, alcoholism, abstinence isnt a cure, and wont heal you. those are bulls youve gotta take by the horns.
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« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2018, 07:39:30 PM »

Excerpt
the opposite of a "codependent" is a well differentiated person.
we all (everyone) have some codependent tendencies.

From that list my biggies in the relationship were:
1) A need to caretake others.
Looking back I was in this mode from the beginning of the relationship. I think one reason I fell into this role so easily was preconditioning from 26 years of marriage/spousal support and raising four children.
4) Obsession, especially toward significant others
Something about this girl, together with my own childhood issues, made me want her in the worst kind of way. Lots of room for self-reflection on this one.
5) A need to control the partner in order to make the relationship a safe place
I never considered the ulterior motives behind my behavior but I did have a feeling I had to weather her storms in order to return to that safe space- itself an illusion because increasingly there was so little safe space to be had as the relationship wore down. Interesting that the smaller the safe space the more intense my need to control the situation, and her, became.
8) Poor communication, which basically means a reluctance to speak to the partner, of one's needs and pain in a candid and truthful manner
This is the eggshell dance and I tiptoed a lot to keep from rocking the boat.
9) Weak boundaries
I'd never heard of the concept of boundaries before seeking help to explain the crazy behavior of this girl I loved. Can you imagine- 62 years of age and not a clue about the importance of identifying, setting and managing a thing called boundaries!
10) A lack of trust
My gf often talked of trust issues. At one point not too many months ago she raised the issue again. For the first time I shared my own trust issues, as it concerned her emotional lability. To my surprise she agreed with me.

Excerpt
you also have to grieve and let go of the good... .not replace it.

Good point. Also not an easy thing to do. Thinking of the good makes me immediately want to pick up the phone and call her, which I don't think would be healthy for either one of us (I'm certain she wouldn't answer and I'd be forced to leave a message). Other than the healing powers of time do you have advice on letting go of the good?

 

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