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Author Topic: Is BPD a spectrum disorder? Can there be "BPD lites"?  (Read 26282 times)
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« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2007, 10:58:30 AM »


I thought about the fact that this isn't a conscious effort.  You sure are right that it is very hard to understand. 

You mentioned your ex was BPD lite.  I'm sure that was more difficult than the obvious.  I guess it's all difficult at different levels.

Thanks for your advice.


I guess my ex is as functional as she can be in the workplace.  I think Joanna made sense when she mentioned that it is because they act differently with people they are intimate with.

I have always been involved with people that are for the most part, emotionally healthy.  My ex has major issues from her childhood that she refuses to face, yet she takes it out on the people who love her most.

Thanks for the input.

Eyes Wide,

It does drive us nuts doesn't it?

It's almost as if they know they have to act around others because they don't know them very well and their cover will be blown.

When they get close to someone, they idealize them, they cling to them, confuse the hell out of them, and then leave them.

I guess this is their idea of love.



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Don't look outside for the answers within.

« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2007, 03:25:34 PM »

It seems to be my observation that the illness increases latterally with the closness of the subject at hand. People at work are expedable, therefore, will not trigger the fear of abandonment. A lover is wanted, needed, and loved, but unfortunately, the fear of abandonment is especially strong, and the behavior catapults from the first sign of intimate feelings.

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« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2007, 03:27:40 PM »

Just another comment..  I don't think there is a big black line separating high-func from low-func.  I think it is a matter of degree... a continuum.

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« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2007, 07:07:38 PM »

She isn't a very bright person, and it is so hard for me to believe that she could pull this off without anyone else figuring her out.

That is the crazy part, or the part that makes me look crazy when I talk about what she did to me. People are perplexed because she is so quiet and controlled around other people.

Can they hide this that well?

I have thought about this a lot over the last 3 years.  How can someone who is obviously so crazy, convince others she is so "normal", and oftentimes an overachiever, super volunteer, sweet mother who has been wronged by the system?  Our BPD is high functioning, and does relatively well in society.  She has her missteps but if you don't know what to look for, which the casual onlooker wouldn't, you'd dismiss her screwups as minimal.  The outsider doesn't see the whole picture.  Also, and I think this is a big part of it...Most of us nons and those in society get to a certain age or point in your life where you become generally honest and assume that others are honest too.  For most of us it happens during our late adolescent years.  No need to feel like you need to show off for your friends or distort the truth to gain allies.  Unfortunately, the casual observer or coworker may just assume that the BPD is honest like most of us.  It would never occur to them that the BPD will lie when the truth works just as well.  Their facade could easily be missed by someone who doesn't see them in pressure situations.  From the research I have done, it seems like BPD's lack a real sense of self, and truly don't know who "they" are.  Because of this, they create a personality that suits their needs for the moment.  If that means being the perky coworker, or mom who joins the PTA, Coalition Against Underage Drinking, Healthy Schools Taskforce, Bible school teacher, or volunteer "counselor" at our Women's Resource Center, then that is the role they assume.  All of these roles give our BPD a sense of self, without them she'd crater.  I'd be willing to bet that none of these places know of the felony forgery conviction, neglect charge, or drug history.  It really is sad if you think about it.  Now I have no pity for our BPD because of the absolute havoc she has created in our lives, but it would have to be a devistating way to live. 

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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2007, 07:34:22 PM »

My BPDxw was very functional and intelligent, at work she assumed all the other women were her friends and thought that her views were theirs. Lots of lies were told about me, lots of her fantasy behavior with boyfriends was shared with some of them too. What she didn’t realize was that some of her friends had common friends of mine. I or my children would receive anonymous calls from women and I would hear things through the grapevine also. Some of her co-workers didn’t approve of her behavior outside of work but she persisted in believe everybody was her trusted friend. When confronted with information I had she would explode and rant and rave that her friends supported her and would never tell stories about her. She was so desperate for approval she would take boyfriends around to her friend’s homes and show him off as her new prize. I believe she never was welcome back at some of those homes again. She lived in a fantasy land and pulled all the strings she could to make it perfect, even at her own expense of thinking that everything she did was what all her friends did and it was OK. I believe she was very disappointed later.


Letting go when it is too painful to hang on is hard to rationalize.

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« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2007, 09:57:07 AM »


I wish I could accept the fact that her behavior is because of the disorder.

I would probably be much further in my recovery from this experience if I could just accept that.

The strange thing is, my ex doesn't have any humanitarian qualities about her.

She just sits around and feels sorry for herself.

The act she puts on at work is one of innocence and sweetness.  This is the same girl that physically threatened me, called me horrible names, and threatened to kill me.

You make a lot of sense regarding the honesty issue.  I am a very honest person.  Throughout my relationship with her, I was very honest.  I felt like I should have lied sometimes.  I was honest and she thought I was lying.

I guess if I lied, she would think I was telling the truth?

I'm starting to feel sympathy for her, it is a horrible way to live, but does she even realize that?



You mentioned she told lies about you.  Do you think she truly believed that you did these things that she lied about?

I really am beginning to believe that they believe our truth is our lies which becomes their truth.

God thats confusing!

But so are they.

Thanks for the input.


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« Reply #16 on: April 13, 2007, 10:20:55 AM »

Hi Piza,

When I first met my friend she seemed "relatively" normal - but then I used to just pass through the country I am now currently living in on 1-2 week visits.

Over time I did sense that there were things that were not right, but once again there was not enough emotional involvement at that stage for me to really see the worst - and i'd never come across anyone with BPD before.

In the workplace she was regarded as a a bubbly attractive girl.

Then there was a trigger that caused her to basically have a melt down.

She rapidly went downhill, lost her job, started self harming, the alcohol and drug abuse magnified. Now she is visibly regarded as a person with serious issues.

She had always had a problem with alcohol, and since i've been living here permanently I have discovered that behind closed doors she was a nightmare to her Ex. But her Ex is what held it all together, and very few others witnessed the BPD behaviours. And while she was with this person she was able to hold down a job and keep the alcohol and drugs to a manageable level.

I agree with what has been said here about low and high functioning - I do believe they can move back and forth between the two.

But to me low functioning is someone who is incapable of taking care of themselves, holding down a job - well basically functioning in society.


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« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2007, 12:49:15 PM »

Hello all...its been a bit since I have posted and the reason being , things are going fairly smoothly and life is busy but good.

I have through the years heard lots about high vs low functioning BPDs.

For the 10 years I was with my exh I would say he was high funcitoning.   From a distance others might find him to be a bully arrogant tough guy.   In the relationship he was a hurt little boy that took offense to everything and felt the world was against him.

the last year or two we were together , things got worse.   Increase in jealousy, paranoia, more drug use, more drinking, more controlling, more abusive.

When we split...he went psycotic.  I dont mean that lightly.  I had no idea who he was.   More drugs, harder drugs, suicidal, homicidal, bizarre tatoos of death, off work almost a year on mental leave, followed me, threatened me , didnt see the kids etc etc.

He has always been in victim mode...but nothing like he was for about 2 years.

The follwoing couple of years, he was less crazy per se but still all about poor him.   Twisted conversations, contstant battles, he went through 4 lawyers, threatened court everyother month, sued me once but dropped.  So still not normal but not psycotic.

a year and ahalf ago, my daughter stopped seeing him after she ended up in emerg with panic attacks post visits with dad.   she thinks he is crazy.  he told her about almost murdering someone.   He blamed me.  He sued me.  he was the victim...again.

The last 6 months, he seems calmer.   He still snaps on a dime if given the opportunity.   He cries quite easily.   He gets angry quite easily.  But with minimal contact its been bearable.   He is more polite and tries to be cooperative.  He is dropping all court issues and dropping trying to force daughter to visit him.

I guess what I am wondering is ...have many of you had this experience.

I know he is not a healthy well man or anything...he will always be that poor hurt little victim boy...but have any of you experienced them becoming high functioning after hitting rock bottom?

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« Reply #18 on: September 13, 2007, 02:09:00 PM »

Kell, mine was never as low-functioning as yours, but he did go through some very hard times right before and after we separated.  He was drinking a lot, got fired and then not working, moving from place to place.  But he kept looking for work, and finally, through a friend, he got a job in Florida.  So he had to move to take the job, but it was a good job and he was reasonably paid.  Now, a few years later, he is again doing well.  He and his new wife bought a house, TV, car, etc. etc.  Of course, I don't live with him anymore, but I think he's doing much, much better.

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« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2007, 11:12:44 AM »

Color me confused.

My upbdw meets 7 of the 9 DSM-IV criteria *some* of the time.  Our couples T (who is also my individual T) has never used the term BPD in our conversations, but he seems to agree that she has it.  At the same time, I don't know what to believe.  I read about the things that other folks' BPD SOs have done, and my wife comes nowhere close.  She is not physically abusive, she has never cheated on me, she doesn't concoct elaborate lies, she isn't jealous, she doesn't spy on me (she has read my email a couple of times, though).  It just seems like I have it easy.  Plus, for the past couple of weeks, she has been incredibly high-functioning - pleasant to be around, fun and caring to be with, making progress on job and grad school apps, making an effort to share in household tasks.

I feel so mind-effed...Less than a month ago she was crying hysterically and accusing me of not caring about her feelings, called me mean and insensitive, slept for 18 hours a day, raged about perceived slights from people she barely knew, dissociated due to overstimulation, had odd paranoid ideation, etc etc.  I know BPD cycles and moods can shift quickly and unpredictably.  I have been working through Stop Walking on Eggshells and have been learning a lot about BPD.  Sometimes, though, it feels like maybe I'm completely wrong.  Maybe I am pathologizing something that isn't there.

I guess the question is, "Are there degrees of BPD?"  Can someone be "kind of" borderline?  Have other folks gone through similar questioning?  If so - what did you do to help yourself gain perspective on the situation and gauge whether or not your perceptions are valid/grounded in reality?
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