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Author Topic: Do they know what they are doing is wrong?  (Read 1082 times)
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« on: January 10, 2019, 09:19:48 PM »

This post was split from the following thread as it merited its own discussion: https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=333021.0

Excerpt
Cromwell wrote;... .do they know what they are doing is wrong? yes but in there mind it is justified, because they were swayed so strongly by the emotional current.

In my case, she showed no remorse, she projected it all back onto me, and blamed me for what happened.

This justification of the abuse, and then showing zero remorse; is such a negative dynamic, and was so strange to actually hear her voice say the words... .in this case it was over the phone on Monday night.

It was eerie ... .

The difference in her ematiomal demeanor from eleven years ago to the present is astounding.

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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2019, 12:48:11 AM »

right and wrong is morally subjective anyway.

i might think its wrong to cheat on my partner just because they were 5 minutes late, my ex would think it is justfied. Who is the one out there that holds the legitamacy to rule about it? At best, coming to a board like this and venting, is really just the equivalent of telling my story to the court of public opinion and hope to get a majority that can validate that what happened was right or wrong behaviour. Yet at the base, the verdict  changes nnext to nothing in practical real world terms.

You can just as well take BPD completely out of the equation and it would have no change to the base of the argument. A condition that has impulsivity as one of the permutations is just going to aggravate any undesirable consequences.But morals of right and wrong - isnt all this supposed to have been influenced way back.

My ex had this notion of "ive lost the ego, I can do whatever I want"

what she didnt extend the same courtesy out to was to allow others the same free reign. Cheating, stealing, lying - it was fine as long as she was the one doing it. But if it happened to her it was considered the worst moral outrage.

im just glad to be free from the hypocrisy. At first I was sucked in by her multitude of complaints about the cruel world, present and past that had afflicted her. Then when I saw the disregard she did to others and saw the contrast in lack of empathy or concern, it was hard to find pity for it anymore. If I have to be honest, I started to find an element of shadenfreude that she was getting a taste of her own medicine. Not that it ever worked as a lesson to not treat others how you dont want to be treated yourself.
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2019, 02:50:21 PM »

The difference in her emotional demeanor from eleven years ago to the present is astounding.

When I was splitting up with my ex-husband, I was astounded by his sudden loss of any attachment to honesty. He made a number of false claims about assets that I had bought with my own money, some of them after we split up. In court, I had to prove the money trail came solely from me.

I knew he had a sketchy relationship to morality since he was a serial adulterer. But I didn't think he'd go so far as to lie in court about assets that I could prove (with a lot of research) were totally mine.

To answer the question, "Do they know what they are doing is wrong?"  --I'm not sure if he did. He justified his behavior when I confronted him about it, saying that he was only doing what he needed to get what he felt he deserved.
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2019, 04:25:00 PM »

Red, I was actually going to post about this because I’m confused about it as well.

My therapist tells me that emotionally manipulative people always know what they’re doing. This conflicts with the spectrum. Personally, I think that S4’s mom always knew what she was doing with the tools that were taught and handed down to her. Then again, I can’t be sure. I simply don’t understand how everything turned out the way that it did. I remain baffled by it. 

It is what it is. I wonder what kind of wisdom Yoda would offer.
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2019, 05:48:24 PM »

I’ve been reading a lot of late about maladaptive behaviors, and pw/BPD.

Disproportionate emotional replies to low conflict incidents, resulting in BPD rage.

Leaving the non (me) battered and confused ... .my journals are chocked full, overflowing... .of these incidents.

That said, how could she, not be aware of what she was doing.

Was talking to my “T” last Thursday... .he has done a lot of work in addictions... .namely alcohol ... .he told me of an unnamed client, who said, the recovering alcoholic will always remember the last “drunk”... .woke up in jail, all beat up, cops took me home, and my little,daughter said to me ... .“daddy, where were you, what happened to you, where’s mommy”... .

Strong medicine ... .

So how could uBPDw not know, especially with the marks, and damage still visible round the house ... .holes and dents in th drywall, the woodwork, ... .broken glass in the trash bin, more coffee cups missing ... .etc’.

Do they (pw/BPD) not remember, ... .consciously when the shift in emotion starts, when the choice is in front of them, to either release “Hyde”... .or not... .and what that means if they do... .I think they (she) does... .or did,... .eleven years?... .yes, she knows what she is doing.

How many incidents over the entire eleven years, including eight married... .

I was “ not the first”, there were four men, love interest, all sexual, before me, after her own divorce... .in about a period of sixteen months, one lasted nine months... .

I recall a phone conversation she had with her own S31, that he shared with me three nights after the trigger event,... .he told me, what his mom said to him ... .talking about me, “
She said, ... .”I can’t control him anymore, he’s different now, there is something about him, he talks differently to me, he won’t listen to me anymore, or do what I want him to do”... .

Yes, she is indeed quite aware of what she is doing, ... .

Here are the top eight (8) Master Yoda sayings... .
1. "Do or do not. There is no try."

2. "You must unlearn what you have learned."

3. "Named must be your fear before banish it you can."

4. "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

6. "That is why you fail."

7. "The greatest teacher, failure is."

8. "Pass on what you have learned."

Red5
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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2019, 05:56:15 PM »

Red, loved the post. It made me cry for whatever reason. Maybe it was Yoda. Thanks.
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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2019, 07:03:05 PM »

Red, loved the post. It made me cry for whatever reason. Maybe it was Yoda. Thanks.

I am a simple Man WTL.

But I’ve chewed a lot of dirt.

My “T” and I make small talk for the first ten or so minutes of the session... .we were talking of childhood... .and summer, turns out we both rode the “tobacco harvester”... .

About three of four decades ago, in the south, school kids worked the farms in the summer, “cropping” tobacco, watermelons, peanuts, sweet potatoes ... .very hard work, we made money, toiled day break till sunset, we sweated, we worked hard, and we learned about life... .

The “sand load” is the first or second run through the tobacco patch, you pick the ripe leaves, starting at the bottom of the plant, the first “run” is fraught with endless sand spurs... .sticker bushes, weeds, and the occasional rattle snake... .yeah, it’ll make a tuff kid outa you : )

If you can take the “sand loads”... .the rest of life should be a walk on the beach !

After I got a little older, say about thirteen, Grampa figured I could work in tha sawmill, without “maiming” myslef : 0

So I moved up in the world, to “sawmill hand”!

So I worked in that sawmill till I was eighteen, and then I joined the United States Marine Corps ... .as I was pretty much tired at having to work so damn hard to make a living  !

And what was my job in the Marines... .well now, I loaded bombs on jet fighters !

I moved up again ... .now I’d become an “Aviation Ordnanceman”... .

But... .to this very day, I still sometimes dream that I’m working in that sawmill ... .thank God for Granny and Grampa (heart emoji) : )

Red5
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2019, 06:02:58 AM »

Red, thank you for your service to this great country. My son and myself appreciate the freedoms that people like you protect and honor. I’m proud to be engaged with you here. In fact, I watched a very touching YouTube video a couple weeks ago that I’ll share with you after this post.

You’ve worked hard your whole life. I think that instilling work in children is paramount to their development. We’re turning them loose in a society that requires work. It’s a fine line of allowing them to be kids and somehow instilling in them the benefits of working hard for what they want out of life. This poses another question. What do they want out of life? These days, many young people don’t know and they just drift. I don’t want that for my son. His mom drifts. Do you have advice on how to help guide a child in the right direction when it comes to this?

Here’s the link. It’s inspirational.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VJJ1TXBY62c
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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2019, 03:40:58 PM »

My h does know what he has done - of course, he doesn't admit that to people other than me. It was part of the reason that he moved out - guilt and shame are powerful and escape from those emotions was underlying his choices. At the time, he was projecting the problem all on me... .  My existence reminded him... .  Now he's in his own apartment which reminds him... . 

He still knows what he has done. A couple of weeks ago, he left me a vm where he apologized specifically for something very serious. (I'm trying to find a way to save it outside of the vm system)  He thinks only a "monster" would do what he has done.
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« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2019, 03:58:32 PM »

it depends. has a person with BPD (or anyone else for that matter) ever done anything to hurt someone, and knew what they were doing is wrong? sure. have they felt guilt or remorse for it afterward? sure.

i assume the question is more general than that, and so its really a matter of perspective.

you read all the time here about us "being reactive", that we were pushed to behave in dysfunctional ways. that we were just defending ourselves. that we were "calling a spade a spade".

i realize the question is about our exes, and not us; i bring that up because it can better help understand where our exes are coming from. typically, their perspective is the same or similar as ours. that perspective comes from an entrenched, defensive place, characterized by ever growing distrust and frustration. it is a coping style.

i think we can miss the forest through the trees if the question we ask is "was my ex trying to hurt me and simply didnt care". its more a reflection of just how far and badly the relationship broke down.
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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2019, 04:01:19 PM »

I struggle with this question too. Just like I struggle with wondering if uBPDh is capable of real empathy, or just good at faking it sometimes, or whether a desperation for his own needs to be met drowns out the empathy he might feel.

He has apologized many times and it would seem sincere, but it never produced change. Is that because it wasn't truly remorse, or because his behavior is pathological? Idk. He did tell me a few months ago, before NC, that he wasn't really sorry all the other times he said it. That he said it just to get me to either come back or not leave again.

Bottom line, though, he does not "get it" when it comes to the damage he has caused, to me, the kids, his mother... .he does not recognize the impact.

I compare it to active addiction. An addict or alcoholic on some level knows that their behavior is harmful to themselves and others, and that it is "wrong." But there are many ways an addict will justify the behavior in order to survive the guilt and shame of it. Denial is a big part of that, too, and many addicts fool themselves with the belief that "I'm not hurting anyone but myself, so it's ok." Which is not the case.

Possibly some (probably not all, don't want to generalize) people with pd's do know on some level that their behavior is wrong, but they downplay, minimize, deny, and blameshift to avoid the shame and accountability for it.

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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2019, 09:47:11 AM »


Excerpt
i think we can miss the forest through the trees if the question we ask is "was my ex trying to hurt me and simply didnt care". its more a reflection of just how far and badly the relationship broke down.

I respectfully have to disagree.  There is a lot of literature/research out there (journal of neuroethics) that talks about the danger of "medicalizing" failures of moral character.  In most instances when a person is sick they want to get better.  In many instances people with BPD/NPD characteristics don't want to be get better.

The forest is made up of trees.  Metaphorically, each "tree" represents an instance where a partner with BPD/NPD characteristics reacts with the silent treatment - blames - projects - refuses to take accountability.  I think we are run the risk of missing the trees for the forest if we process these repeated failures of character as a relationship issue. It is highly unlikely that partners with these characteristics are sitting back reflecting on whether we care or not.  Rather, in my experience, they lack the desire to self-reflect.  They aren't questioning our intentions or trying to understand - we are judged, sentenced and executed without a thought as to our motivations. There is no concrete evidence that cluster B traits are a "medical" issue. Rather the behaviors are frequently destructive to others and hard to process for a person who goes through their life trying to be empathetic and understanding.  BPD/NPD are names given to a cluster of behaviors that objectively speaking make relating and mutual loving nearly impossible. 

Most people will "fire-back" from time to time when faced with confusing and contradictory behavior.  But they don't repeatedly launch attacks so these instances don't form the foundation of their character. Further, they come to places like this to try and figure out how to handle situations - to reflect one their contribution - so they don't continue firing back. There is a difference between dropping an atomic bomb as a first strike and firing a few shots back to try and save your life.

Guilt and shame can be productive in that we begin to understand the boundaries between a partner and us.  I for one don't feel that my partners behaviors were a sign of how far the relationship had broken down.  Rather, the behaviors were an integral part of him that he recognized as destructive but failed to fix.  The relationship broke down because it's almost impossible to relate to someone who can't take accountability for the callous choices the make of their own free will.

I have empathy for those that want to change.  We all fail sometimes but painting these repeated failures of moral character as being a product of a broken relationship misses the point that the character problems contributed greatly to the breakdown of the relationship.  When one partner is willing to seek help and try to better understand their contribution and the other refuses or participates but fails to present "facts" in accordance with reality - there is a distinction in the character of the people. The best advice I was given in terms of detaching was - assume that everything he does is intended to hurt you.  Moral clarity is a virture. Recognizing the difference between sometimes failing but caring enough to acknowledge and change - and repeatedly engaging in the same behaviors is necessary to preserving our self-esteem and moving forward.  Moral relativism is a scary thing.  Society functions in part because there are intrinsic behaviors that are accepted as "pro-social" and "anti-social".
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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2019, 10:40:54 AM »

Bhs, will you elaborate on this more?

In most instances when a person is sick they want to get better.  In many instances people with BPD/NPD characteristics don't want to be get better.

I’m not convinced that this is the case. Mostly with BPD. NPD, in most situations, sees nothing wrong with themselves. BPD individuals feel inherently flawed and can act out narcissisticly to protect their shame. This is just my take on things so far. I’m very good at being wrong and inaccurate. , but this is how I’m learning.
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2019, 11:16:50 AM »

I'm not sure it is the case ALL the time as individuals are individuals.  But I look at it this way - I feel shame about my behavior too sometimes but that is a call for me to take a long hard look at myself.  I don't believe that BPD/NPD folks don't realize what they are doing is wrong.  They just value the need not to deal with it above dealing with it. Why is their shame and need to protect it justifiable when they are hurting others? I have lost empathy for trying to understand why - and the paper/research I reference speaks to BPD.  We all feel inherently flawed - some of us have the character to deal with it. Why do you not act out to protect your shame - because you understand it puts other people at risk or it requires dealing with uncomfortable feelings.  This is rarely an instance where medicine helps.  Some of the thoughts are that BPD/NPD (cluster B) traits are best dealt with in the realm of priests/rabbis or disciplines that deal with failures of moral character.  Psychology is taught to analyze and stay away form making moral judgments but at its core - if you hide away from the shame of your own bad behavior - you have a character problem.  This is just one school of thought - but it made me consider the issue of medicalizing these problems from a different light.  I feel a lot of shame about things I have done - it's a moral call to action to take stock of myself and be a better person.  I don't shy away from that to "protect" myself.  All that protection is in some way a license to keep doing it.  Research the difference in analytical methods used by Kernberg and Kohut.  One school says be empathetic since these folks don't have the self-esteem to deal with the truth about their behavior - create an empathic experience where there is safety - the other says - there needs to be some level of confrontation because not "checking" peoples reality and perceptions about how they hurt others is not helping.  The disturbance in actions is a result of not seeing behaviors realistically in terms of the destruction it brings to other people.  And again - BPD/NPD have a lot of crossover.  There is not a singular test or scan we do that diagnoses these things.  That's why they are lumped together with the phrase Cluster B - both disorders have very similar traits.  There is no one consensus on what causes these issues.  These are subjective diagnosis and they don't respond to medicine like the Cluster A disorders.  Google Charland - moral nature of the DSM-IV Cluster B personality disorders.
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« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2019, 11:37:52 AM »

Here's the abstract from the article which I felt provided an interesting counterpoint:

Moral considerations do not appear to play a large role in discussions of the DSM-IV personality disorders and debates about their empirical validity. Yet philosophical analysis reveals that the Cluster B personality disorders, in particular, may in fact be moral rather than clinical conditions. This finding has serious consequences for how they should be treated and by whom.

MORAL CONSIDERATIONS
In a brief but original discussion, physician-philosopher Carl Elliott (1996) argued that we should hold persons with personality disorders morally responsible for their actions; he stated that “a person with a personality disorder who behaves badly ordinarily intends to behave badly, and people should generally be held accountable for what they have intended to do” (p. 70, emphasis in original). According to Elliott, a diagnosis of personality disorder is normally not sufficient for excusing a person’s actions, nor do disorders or defects of character excuse. As he argued, “judgments of responsibility are essentially judgments about a connection between an agent and an action, and these types of judgments must be distinguished from questions about a person’s character” (p. 58).
The central argument of this paper is that the DSM-IV personality disorders are actually comprised of two very different kinds of theoretical entities that denote two very different kinds of syndromes. Some denote genuine clinical disorders; these are the disorders in Clusters A and C. The others denote moral disorders; these are the disorders in Cluster B. The Cluster B disorders include the antisocial, borderline, histrionic, and narcissistic types. Thus, even if the Cluster B disorders are empirically valid theoretical categories, it does not necessarily follow that they are also necessarily empirically valid clinical categories. To the extent that they partake of both aspects, the two categories need to be distinguished. This is a conclusion with important consequences for how the Cluster B disorders should be treated and by whom. Indeed, one concern that emerges from this discussion is whether clinically trained therapists have the requisite skills and knowledge to conduct the sort of moral treatment required to treat Cluster B disorders—moral disorders would appear to require moral treatment and professional clinicians are not normally trained for that.
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« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2019, 04:45:35 PM »

Bhs

You have my vote all day long... .Well said.
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« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2019, 05:18:14 AM »

if you hide away from the shame of your own bad behavior - you have a character problem.

Yes and this, coupled with impulsiveness, a lesser ability to manage uncomfortable feelings and a tendency to project/dysregulate would impact taking responsibility for their actions.

An unfortunate consequence of this is an inability to learn from mistakes. We all make them,  but when we feel shame and remorse, we have the opportunity to examine what we did, apologize and try to not repeat the mistake. A person who projects, had denial and dysregulates when feeling shame and remorse then doesn't look at the connection to their actions.

However, I don't think this means they are not responsible for their behavior. In the moment, I think they are aware, but projection/denial/dysregulation changes how they manage their feelings afterwards.



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« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2019, 12:47:58 PM »

Bhs, I’m happy to read this.

but that is a call for me to take a long hard look at myself

Self awareness is a hard path, but it’s freedom. What do think broke the generational cycle for you?
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« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2019, 04:25:49 PM »

Excerpt
What do think broke the generational cycle for you?

I'm not sure what generational cycle you refer to? 
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« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2019, 05:31:13 PM »

Maybe I’m getting ahead of the conversation. I’m sorry if I’ve done that. For some of us, this stuff dates back to childhood in one way or another. It’s deeply rooted and has been passed down through generations. Bad, pathological behavior. There have been testimonies here where a member decides to end that pathology and forge a new path. No more garbage. That’s what I was hinting at.
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« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2019, 07:14:30 PM »

Quote from: Bhs
he stated that “a person with a personality disorder who behaves badly ordinarily intends to behave badly, and people should generally be held accountable for what they have intended to do”

Somebody else mentioned impulsiveness, the behaviours can seem like they’re manipulative and hurtful to others, but this is how a pwBPD survives. Im not defending it I think that if you’re mentally ill you have an obligation to take care of yourself and that means to become better, more functional and less dependent and hurtful to others. Emotions are about self management you’re not supposed to have others manage it or be responsible for them.

That being said premeditated means that you’ve planned it you had to think about it, a pwBPD have different brains that’s been studied as well and their actions are coming from the part of the brain that controls emotion, the part that controls reasoning  is impaired. BPD is an emotional dysregulation disorder, cluster b disorders is the dramatic cluster and what a pwBPD feel is real to them, their actions I believe are motivated by emotions not reason, or logic or meticulously thought out.
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« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2019, 11:19:08 PM »

Excerpt
Yet philosophical analysis reveals that the Cluster B personality disorders, in particular, may in fact be moral rather than clinical conditions. This finding has serious consequences for how they should be treated and by whom.

I've been reading some books that talk about a newer category that is being proposed - disorder of extreme stress. In the trauma literature, there are indications that trauma changes the way that the brain functions and processes information and experiences. This does not excuse the actions of a person.

I don't really like to lump NPD and Antisocial personality with BPD because from my experiences they are very different in how the way that information and experiences are processed. BPD presents similarly to Reactive Attachment Disorder - with relational trauma underlying both. Complex PTSD has commonalities as well.
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« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2019, 03:32:35 PM »

i was broken up with. i cant attribute the relationship breaking up to my exs moral failings. if she had them, and i think she did as we all do, i didnt hold her accountable. we broke up because we had deep, long standing, unresolved conflict that did damage to our relationship over time until it got to the point of no return.

it felt a lot better to tell myself that the relationship failed because of her, because of BPD, because of moral failings, that there was nothing i ever could have done. if all of that were true, i dont think i would have struggled in the ways that i did, during the relationship, and even long after the relationship ended.

personality disorders are complex. human nature is complex and applies to everyone. concluding that our exes are simply moral failures, or that the relationship conflict was all about their moral failure, or that everything they do is to hurt us; isnt that a black and white way of looking at human beings? and if it rang true, would we be here struggling and in search of understanding?

the OP is "do they know what they are doing is wrong". does this question have a simple answer?
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« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2019, 05:13:57 PM »

Excerpt
OR wrote... ."do they know what they are doing is wrong"

My T told me this a couple of weeks ago, the same day he told me I was CD, ... .he said, “Red, you have to think of this, as your wife has an addiction, as there ar many similarities in the behaviors of a dissordered person, and a person whom is substance addicted ... .when an alcoholic knows that drinking hard liquor will have extreme negative effects on himself, and his family ... .but does so anyways, with the absolute predictable outcome yet again, did he drink because his subconscious made him, or did he make a conscious decision to do so, the “fork in the road” Red” ... .he said.

The OP is “do they know what they are doing is wrong”, ... .no Sir, absolutely no simple answers here to be found.

When my udx BPD wife punched my autistic son in his head, she did something wrong, in my opinion.

In the service, we used a tool called “operational risk management (ORM), ... .which basically means, “weigh the risks before you commit, and are committed ... .behind the “point of no return”... .my uBPDw is smart enough to know ... .that the possibility of escalation ... .to the point of her losing her temper ... .as an alcoholic does after he drinks to the point of destruction, ... .in both cases ... .both personalities are held accountable ... .my wife, physically assaulted my son, the alcoholic crashed his car into a bus stop (for instructional purposes only) ... .so do they know what they ar the doing,... .THATS the question.

Answer it if you dare ... .do they know what they are doing when they abuse, hurt, malign others, ... .once thn harm has been done, excuses are now irrelevant ... .

This is tough stuff.

Drive a person crazy.

ORM, “if I do this, if I commit to this action, am I ready to accept FULL responsibility and FULL consequences of the possibility of a negative outcome.”

For a living, I am a “tech writer”, I write checklist for aviation “applications”, weapons... .all throughout the $hit I write, ther ar bold “WARNINGS, Cautions, and NOTES”... .as in, if you turn the switch to ARM, the weapon may be inadvertently launched, ENSURE safety pin installed prior to application of electrical power... .“ORM”, as in, you do it your way, then it’s going to hurt, maybe even be fatal, so heed the “WARNING” shipmate.

... .do they know?

I think they do in most cases, but there overriding maladaptive behaviors... .impulses get the better of them, it’s all about control, it’s all about “surviving” inside their own world,

Ok, I’ve had a little too much think this evening ... .

Time to make some supper : )

Hope y’all are all warm tonight, it’s 38* in my neck of the woods down here on the eastern seaboard... .

Love y’all !

Red5





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« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2019, 05:45:12 PM »

For what it's worth, while it sometimes seems like we are here to better understand people who routinely express emotions using a constellation of dysfunctional behaviors (e.g., possessing characteristics that when viewed together comprise a consistent destructive pattern) -there is an overarching theme of looking internally at ourselves to figure out how we were co-conspirators.  This is coupled with a huge effort to provide an explanation for the behaviors that allow us to not think of the partner as "intentional" or "purposely destructive" or "bad".  Why is that so important to us?  What do we get by saying I can't really hold that person accountable?

People can have great attributes and also be purposely destructive and unwilling to look at their behavior.  I hesitate to accept that BPD characteristics render a person UNABLE to look at their choices.  It might be difficult but not impossible.  Many (not all) partners we are discussing likely hold down jobs and have friends - in other words they function better outside of personal relationships than in them.  What does that tell us?  

I had 5 years of therapy after my divorce - my mother was diagnosed BPD and my husband had many NPD characteristics (lying, manipulative, etc.).  Over the years I've had some great relationships that ended  nicely (for various reasons) and a few that have been "rollercoasters".  One thing I have learned is that the difference between the people we are discussing on this board and ourselves is our willingness to constantly try to understand the motivations behind the behaviors of our partners and ourselves.  We have a desire to change - our partners don't. We intellectualize the issues and try to cognitively understand rather than deal squarely with the emotional outcomes.

Sometimes it seems we avoid judging our partners and yet in doing so we apply all these other labels and judgements to ourselves - don't JADE - codependent, etc. Isn't it impossible to have a relationship with a partner who has these characteristics and not sustain long-standing unresolved conflict?  I hesitate to say this but isn't our need to "understand" and rationalize "bad behaviors", to characterize this as an illness - aren't these all strategies that keep us hooked in - repeating the generational cycle?  At some point the rubber meets the road.  Regardless of the "origin", regardless of how hard we try, unless our partners adopt "accountability" things are unlikely to change.

It isn't my intent to try and say people with BPD/NPD characteristics are "bad".  It is my intent to say - hey... .this is a huge character flaw regardless of origin. Maybe if we say this and stop trying to explain and rationalize it in some way we can get closer to helping these folks (and ourselves). The point of any treatment is to normalize a patient/partner.  How do we move in that direction when we keep saying - this is normal for people with BPD - they can't help it.

I don't think there is something inherently wrong with us for hanging in there (to a point). To a point is the key - and part of that point is to step back and say to ourselves - yeah, things to learn here like any other relationship with one caveat -  I have to accept that what occurred was outside of the spectrum of normal.  I'm not hurt because there is something wrong with me - I'm hurt because this isn't a normal relationship and if I keep wondering and second guessing my partners motivations I'm missing the point. If I think of them as "ill" rather than having bad character or behaviors then do I keep myself tethered by some desire that they can be fixed - that somehow they aren't really responsible?

Isn't it human nature to seek out relationships that have some aspect of things that need resolution in our lives?  I don't think that makes us co-dependent - or necessarily maintaining intergenerational patterns. I think it makes us complex people who need to resolve core issues in our lives.  To a certain extent (and I speak only for myself) - all the reasoning about why and how and what causes it doesn't change the fact that our partners have behavior patterns that make a successful relationship nearly impossible.  Unless we are willing to learn a bunch of tools and try and apply an exorbitant amount of effort into being empathetic - we are likely to find the situation impossible. I don't think there is anything wrong with learning and understanding... .giving some techniques a try, but in general until our partners choose "accountability" - which is integral to being a person of character - nothing will change. We can understand why a child writes on the wall with pen - maybe they don't see that writing on the wall destroys it... .but once we say - you can't do that because it destroys things - we expect them to stop. What would happen if we sat back and said - well, maybe the childs desires to be curious aren't being met - maybe the child is frustrated since they didn't have a nap today - maybe they are upset because "mommy" is giving little brother too much attention - maybe I'm secretly encouraging this bad behavior because I'm reinforcing my badness as mother and I don't feel good about myself.  Seems like the kid would never stop writing on the wall.


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« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2019, 06:15:28 PM »

Excerpt
Bhs wrote, ... .all the reasoning about why and how and what causes it doesn't change the fact that our partners have behavior patterns that make a successful relationship nearly impossible.  Unless we are willing to learn a bunch of tools and try and apply an exorbitant amount of effort into being empathetic - we are likely to find the situation impossible. I don't think there is anything wrong with learning and understanding... .giving some techniques a try, but in general until our partners choose "accountability" - which is integral to being a person of character - nothing will change.

... .and that is why I’m stuck Bhs.

“Stuck” indeed ... .

Even though she’s gone now, ... .I’ve become completely engulfed in my desire to attempt to understand “why”.

Even more so now that she is gone, even more so now than I as that night three years ago when I stared reading about borderline personality disorder... .

The full “ride”... .oh no, wait, I can do this, now I understand... .no, this is too hard, ... .wait a minute, yes I can ... .I can keep us together... .who is she... .this is killing me... .I can’t breath, ... .she needs me, ... .I’m a promise keeper, honor, code, responsibility... .wow, this is really getting worse... .I can do this, just got to learn more about her... .oh no, another dealbreaker ... .I feel like a shell, this is no way to love or live anymore ... .I’m all alone here, she is completely unavailable to me... .it’s getting hot in here, ... .oh no, I’m getting too used to this... .what is normal, I’ve forgotten, did I ever really know... .

That’s an awesome ^post^ Bhs! ... .thank you,

Red5
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« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2019, 06:37:06 PM »

What do we get by saying I can't really hold that person accountable?
... .
this is normal for people with BPD - they can't help it.
... .
that somehow they aren't really responsible?

i dont think anyone is saying this Bhs.

we can all reasonably agree that adults, by definition, are responsible for their behavior.

its really too late to hold anyone accountable now though, our relationships are over. we can better understand BPD and our exes, how our relationship transpired, how it broke down, if we choose/find it useful. or not. i found it useful. on some level, as a template, i still do. we can better understand human nature and relationships and ourselves if we want to take those lessons into future relationships. or not.

the problem with the question "do they know what they are doing is wrong" is that it is asking an extremely broad question in a very vague way. there are millions of people with BPD and NPD. millions more with mental illness. millions more with traits. millions more garden variety jerks. there isnt a simple answer. if the question is really "do people with BPD traits have a conscience and act badly anyway" i think the answer is "sure". who doesnt?

did my ex know what she was doing was wrong when she used my debit card to steal from me? i know her well enough to say of course she did. i think that she did it to hurt me, too. i also know enough about the circumstances and BPD to know that there were some underlying reasons she did it; i dont really care. its not something i struggle over, or to understand.

did Red5s ex know what she was doing was wrong when she struck his child? he can answer that better than we can, but i imagine on some level she does. maybe it was impulsive and she was overwhelmed. maybe it never would have happened again. Red5 doesnt seem to be interested in that, it was a deal breaker for him, no going back.

but neither Red5s nor my relationship were about those individual incidents. they were about dysfunctional relationships that broke down over time, where both parties hurt each other and struggled in the relationship. that is where things get more complex, and i think its less of a question of good and bad, heroes and villains, right or wrong, moral inferiority or superiority.

when my ex and i fought hard and it got ugly, and we both said bad things and called each other names and said things we regretted, i dont ask the question "did she know that was wrong"? it was well past the point of who was right and who was wrong. generally speaking, we both thought we were right. we both thought we were justified. thats how dysfunction works, and how relationships fail. better understanding that and how it got to that point, from her perspective, from mine, and from an outside perspective, have taken me far and helped me detach.

do people with BPD traits have some unique struggles when it comes to "the right thing to do"? sure. impulsivity is something ive never really struggled with myself, but ive known a lot of people that do. they do self sabotaging things that they always regret when they get back to baseline. then they do it again and regret it again. are they responsible for that? of course they are. there are coping skills for that. is it a moral failing either way? i think its something an impulsive person will always struggle with, even with coping skills, just as i will always struggle with being a highly sensitive guy, even with coping skills.
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« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2019, 07:00:43 PM »

Great post, Bhs.
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« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2019, 02:58:12 AM »

Do they know what they are doing is wrong?

Well in my limited experience with a partner with BPD traits I would be inclined to say no.

My partner could show empathy but would never show empathy after something that she did.  She was incapable of apologising (in the few times that I tried to obtain an apology she would say “why should I apologise?” seemed like she did not believe that she had done anything wrong.  (she was incapable of many normal words (please thankyou sorry

Dissassociation may play a part here too?  I believe it’s a trait of BPD so maybe in some cases they don’t even remember doing the thing, it might be kind of separate to them to a degree.

I used to get punished by my partner when she was in a rage (disassociated state?) she used to make rapid decisions, punishments in this state – but I do not believe she knew that she was being malicious – she was making the decision she thought she needed to in that state...

Partner to me “why is there a chunk out of the bannister”  me:  “that’s when you threw the vacuum cleaner down the stairs”

In my partners case, and through talking to a professional we believed DID might have been the issue in fact (ok I might be on the wrong forum) but I will never know as we split up with her being undiagnosed…

R.
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« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2019, 05:03:01 AM »

Excerpt
Ruskin wrote... .In my partners case, and through talking to a professional we believed DID might have been the issue in fact (ok I might be on the wrong forum) but I will never know as we split up with her being undiagnosed…

My uBPDw’s D33 called me the other night, and through the course of the conversation she threw out “histrionic personality disorder”, she told me that her and her B31 (brother) “used to think Mom was bi-polar”, growing up with her as their mother.

This is not the first time I’ve had such a level of a candid conversation with either of uBPDw’s two adult children.

She asked me, to bring it up with T today, “ask him what I (D33) can do to try to persuade Mom to get into some kind of therapy”... .we talked about DBT as the only course of action ... .yeah, wow ; (

I understand what is at play here in that you NEVER tell the BPD, that “hey, we all think your BPD mom, lets get you some help”.

Although I’ve read, that a “family intervention” may be a viable course to take... .but certainly not me her husband to her, but both her children at once, ... .maybe... .

To hear of the distant behavioral history of uBPDw right from her own adult daughter ... .wow,

I was drawn to histrionic disorder before I came upon borderline to describe to myself my wife’s behaviors.

I discounted bi-polar due to the “mania” element which did not fit what I was seeing and experiencing ... .

I am just now learning about ... .and trying to understand more about DID, which also describes many in incidences of uBPDw’s behaviors ... .ie’ right before your very eyes she turns from an adult to a petulant teenager, then to a little girl “seemingly”, ... .in these cases, she would later deny ... .as if she remembered nothing of what had happened ... .

In these cases/incidents, no; I’m now convinced she had no idea what she was doing once she dysregulated out of been” mindful adult” state to the angry and scared “little girl” via a “BPD rage”... .

Red5

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