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Author Topic: 1.07 | Boundaries and Values  (Read 98273 times)
an0ught
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« Reply #30 on: February 12, 2012, 03:08:06 PM »

Hello mili24,

why be content with one example? Here is a whole currently actively moderated workshop thread:    

  Examples of defending boundaries.

I know it is not on your home board but feel free to join in.  Smiling (click to insert in post)

Possibly with the consequences they used?

Limits and consequences and costs are for us. This ensures that boundaries are under our control and are not controlling the pwBPD. This usually is coming with some - limited - pain for us. But that also makes them so powerful.
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« Reply #31 on: February 23, 2012, 07:26:49 PM »

I came across this gem about setting personal boundaries and staying true to them. It really resonated to me and I wanted to share it.

Excerpt
Carl Rogers (www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Rogers) has openly described the effects of what he called: 'an incredibly lengthy, poorly handled therapeutic relationship which I had with a severely schizophrenic girl... .I got to the point where I could not separate my "self" from hers. I literally lost my "self", lost the boundaries of myself... .and I became convinced (and I think with some reason) that I was going insane'.

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« Reply #32 on: February 23, 2012, 09:04:46 PM »

Well, as a person of faith, I held to certain convictions regarding my behaviour and while my ex had initially agreed (or he said he did), he later told me that these boundaries would have to move or he would end the relationship.  I let him.  I'm not sorry.

I miss him, of course, but I think those boundaries saved me from a lifetime of utter hell, poor fellow.  I don't mean that to sound condescending... .I know it does, but that's not my problem.  I do feel sorry for him, I think he loved me as much as he was able.
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« Reply #33 on: February 24, 2012, 02:49:56 AM »

In the aftermath of my relationship with exBPD, I have come to realize that my biggest problem in connection to setting boundaries has been how much I valued always wanting everybody to like me. I got depressed, anxious, sleepless and blamed myself, if for some reason someone showed signs of not liking me or a decision that I made, and my instinct has always been to go to almost any length to remedy the situation to get on their good side again. I have always been extremely sensitive towards criticism, not being able to differ between, for instance, professional criticism and personal criticism. My co-worker asked if we could change a paragraph in the report I wrote? He hates me and I am horrible!

My meeting with exBPD coincided with that I became head of an organization - on one hand, this was my dream job, because the work was so interesting, on the other hand, it was extremely tough on me, because as the head you of course cannot avoid having to make decisions that some people will not like. I remember the first time I had to fire someone... .my god, I did not sleep for a week. Even though the firing was entirely justified by every means, I still felt that I was in the wrong, because she, of course, became mad and sad.

I think that initially my relationship with exBPD was an attempt to escape these emotions of mine in connection with my new job - by her, I would be loved unconditionally, never doubted, never criticized - she was to be my "safe zone." As we all know, this did not last - when the waify side of her surfaced, I almost wore myself out trying to please her, appease her, be everything she could possibly need. But a pwBPD always needs more, of course - and when SHE, my savior from my uncomfortable feelings, then started to criticize me, I was on the verge of breaking.

I have changed much since then, especially by dealing with FOO issues. I am still sensitive to criticism, but I feel that I have gotten a lot better at realizing that it's not my job to make everyone happy. It sounds so simple, but this has really been major for me to realize, so I would say that claiming the right to make my own decisions based on what I think and feel is right for me has been a boundary I have definitely set to a much larger degree than before and it definitely helps me a lot every day.

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Randi Kreger
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« Reply #34 on: February 26, 2012, 07:06:02 AM »

this is a really great thread, thanks.  I have learnt so much from this one and I think is going to help me alot.  I've putting far to much emphasis on communicating my boundaries with my gf, when really it needs to be more about my values / boundaries.Is there a fine line between being selfish and having healthy boundaries?  Is it possible to quantify or define selfishness?  Is there a way to check that boundaries we set are fair?   I am not that self confident, but my close friends say I am the most unselfish person, i just find it so hard when my gf thinks I am selfish and I am a sucker for giving in to this. peace!

Being called "selfish" is a projection and a great sign that you're getting it right and doing great.
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« Reply #35 on: February 27, 2012, 01:41:35 PM »

Randi, even coming from a pwBPD, isn't being called selfish sometimes a true statement?

There are so many ways to be selfish. It would seem to me that even a generally unselfish person might have some selfish rather than loving compassionate ways of dealing with their pwBPD.

Take the example of leaving the room when our partner rages at us.  While I agree with this in some cases, I do think there are times it is being selfish.

Let me explain my thoughts on this:

We all understand that a pwBPD can dysregulate like a small child out of fear of abandonment, abuse, neglect, etc. Now if  your actual small child did this you would probably stay with them, comfort them, assure them that you love them etc. However when a supposedly intelligent loving adult SO does this, the knee-jerk reaction is to dysregulate ourselves, with a fight or flight reaction.

Does this make sense. Sometimes yes, if the SO is just being mean and nasty for no reason. Then leaving would be an understandable self-defense. The problem is, that whether dealing with an actual child or an adult SO, we often all too quickly decide that there is no reason for their rages. In truth while the rage is often triggered by something very minor, the actual rage itself may be a result of sudden memory flashes of terrible childhood abuse, or other past traumas - real, imaginary, or miss-perceived - which boil uncontrollably to the surface, and are just mistaken for mean nasty behavior.

I believe as responsible adults we need to learn the mindful thinking techniques which can enable us to listen to the carefully - not just leave the room because they are annoying, inconvenient, and or a little agressive. If a loving SO is upset at you  - pwBPD or not - they believe they have a reason to, and we need to try and find that reason, however elusive it may be, so we can better understand our SO's values, beliefs and reality. We also need to listen to our own rages - both verbal and in our minds - to gain this same understanding of ourselves.

So what is the answer - role over and just submit to codependent abuse - of course not, we definitely need to protect ourselves from unwarranted attacks, both verbal and physical. The question is how can we do this in an unselfish way?

Here is how:

First we abandon methods that don't work, and learn new ones that do work.

We need to start learning to change ourselves in ways that will help us effectively put into practice  the tools presented on this site. In order be able to implement these tools properly - including boundaries - we need to arm ourselves with more than just a cursory knowledge obtained by reading a few books and articles that mention various therapies and acronyms such as CB, DBT, ACT, SET, DEARMAN, etc. We need to really study these things and practice using them, and if they don't work at all, study harder and practice more.

Folks this is really hard life changing work if you are going to be successful. It's very devastating to learn how many things you have been doing wrong - possibly all your life - that are only causing you serious problems now because you have a super-sensitive pwBPD that reacts to every little nuance of body language, neglect, being taken for granted, grumpiness from a bad day at work and so forth. Your other friends and relatives - except for your children - don't have to live with you on a daily basis either. Also your exes, and others may have dealt with you like you have possibly been dealing with your current SO - they left the room, avoided contact, put up walls, and protected themselves by getting away from you - teenagers do this a lot.

I believe for the insecure people this is self-protection, but for the very secure ones it can be selfish.



"If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen". If you can - stay there and do some good.


I know I must seem like a pain in the rear preacher about DBT, but this East meets West therapy is one of the best methods of learning to change yourself  - in my opinion. ACT is another version of this type of therapy. The beauty is that if you can't afford therapy, these principles are presented in many books reviewed on this site, so there is no excuse not to learn them if you are serious about wanting to improve your r/s.

Bottom line. The most important change I feel you need to make in order be able to learn how to be truly empathetic with someone who is very fearful and insecure, and rages over seemingly inconsequential things, is to learn how to seriously build your own self-esteem.

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever used to help build my own self-esteem, is the belief that we should not take things personally. While easier said than done, this can help you turn  nasty criticism into either healthy self-improvement - or if totally unfounded, into empathy for a 'poor misguided soul'.

Years ago I learned to use this 'poor misguided soul' thought with people who cut me off on the freeway - it calmed my own road rage.

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« Reply #36 on: February 27, 2012, 02:02:08 PM »

There's a fine line to balance.  

On one hand, we should not do anything that puts our life, liberty or property in danger, no matter how well-intentioned.  On the flip side, we do need to learn how to engage our loved ones in a helpful way so that we may understand where they are coming from and apply that knowledge wisely.  There are some things that we can reasonably avoid without much of an issue.  

I know that DBT talks about "Wise Mind" a lot.  We, as nons, need to use our Wise Mind at all times as well.
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« Reply #37 on: February 27, 2012, 03:07:03 PM »

Timing is important.  There is a significant difference when the pwBPD is regulated vs when they are not.

A healthy person has a working emotional regulation system. This means your emotions go up and then several working feedback mechanisms kick in that cool you down. Self soothing is one of them. Which requires to know that you (sense of self) are feeling something.A pwBPD has not a well really working emotional regulation system. This means when emotions go up then several feedback mechanisms kick in which are out-of-phase often make matters worse.

When pwBPD is not yet dysregulated, proper outside feedback (validation) can help with regulation and thus emotions stay within reasonable bounds.

When dysregulated our feedback is not able to help anymore. Emotions oscillate so much or are so extreme that we won't be able to provide sensible validation. At any given moment in time we are as likely to validate as we are to invalidate. Invalidation counts a lot more than validation. So we add to the mess and our well intended words and actions just feed the rage, make it worse and prolong it. Our own undirected energy is fuel into the fire.

When stepping out we let them dissipate their energy. When the pwBPD is finally exhausted

 - some self soothing may happen which is valuable long term

 - our absence ensures that emotions are not associated with us but with the person that is able to tackle them i.e. the pwBPD.

 - we are back in time, are balanced and have a plan. We now can step in and actually help.

==> less damage as the fire is not fed from two fuel tanks

==> some learning of self soothing and building of a sense of identity (check out the workshop on codependency and enmeshment)

==> quicker recovery of the partnership as one fuel tank is left intact

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« Reply #38 on: February 27, 2012, 03:56:37 PM »

In terms of selfishness, Townsend's book has a pretty good metric.  ':)o not help with the toils of daily life.'  ':)o help with burdens beyond the toils of daily life, within your capacity.' (approximate quotes)  So, driving your wife to work because she's constantly late==bad idea.  Taking care of the kids for a few nights because someone died==good idea.  The book has a lot of other similar guidelines and I highly recommend it.

I suspect that there are a lot of different R/S and BPDs involved in them - and appropriate approaches vary a lot.  I really don't know enough to generalize... .but I'll try anyways.

Some of the BPDs on this site seem to be very emotionally sensitive.  For those BPDs, abandonment/leaving, while often appropriate, should probably be approached with caution and their emotions are strong enough that standard coping mechanisms may not suffice. Validation probably works well here.

Some BPDs on this site seem to be less sensitive - but have very few emotional tools and/or mostly abusive ones.  For those BPDs, boundaries seem to work pretty well.

Some nons are pretty invalidating and tend to stoke the fires. Those nons should probably consider starting with validation and mindfulness.

Some nons are fairly validating and have very weak boundaries. Those nons should probably consider starting with boundaries.

(and, well, mindfulness and acceptance mostly seem to be universally applicable)

From my observations, people who start with boundaries would usually be better off with validation and vice-versa.  This isn't a problem if those people keep on trying different stuff when something doesn't work.

Depending on the situation, concentrating on any particular tool can be appropriate.  I do believe that trying every tool a bit and focusing on the most effective ones is a pretty reliable method. Smiling (click to insert in post) Mind you, persistence with boundaries is important.

F'r instance, with my wife (who skews towards the abusive/insensitive end of the spectrum), I found that, when she's genuinely upset, staying a bit - even if she is being mildly abusive because of out of control  emotions - works better than abandoning her and coming back after she's calmed down.  Poor boundary? Maybe.  But, if someone is in extreme emotional pain, I'm willing to tend to them even if they are a bit unpleasant.

That said, if she's persistently abusive - particularly when attempting to control my behavior - 'Bye, I'll be back in  a few hours/tomorrow.' - works better.  The difference is that... .this sort of dysfunctional coping tends to reinforce itself if tolerated and the cost of tolerating anything along these lines if very high.

(Please correct me on this if I'm wrong... .) I suspect that need comes from a R/S with a highly sensitive BPD who wasn't particularly abusive and that he tended to fuel the fires a lot. For that situation, boundaries aren't high priority.  For others (argyle), they are absolutely vital.

--Argyle
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« Reply #39 on: February 28, 2012, 08:07:07 AM »

When someone with BPD has a problem--any problem that causes anything from anxiety and slight depression to full out raging or suicide attempts, there is a stage when intervention by a family member (FM) can be helpful and a stage when the FM can no longer be helpful. When someone with BPD is upset, they can be very emotionally upset. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being high, when someone is 5 and under DBT teaches parents how to problem solve. And make no mistake, family DBT is for the non.  Once it gets to 6 or more, the pwBPD's emotional dysregulation makes it impossible to problem solve. At that point, the lower-functioning, conventional pwBP becomes suicidal and self harms. FMs are told to GET HELP and call professionals, therapists, take the person to the hospital, etc.
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« Reply #40 on: February 28, 2012, 11:28:00 AM »

According to Nina Brown,[5] there are four types of psychological boundary defenses:

Soft - A person with soft boundaries merges with other people's boundaries. Someone with a soft boundary is easily manipulated.

Spongy - A person with spongy boundaries is like a combination of having soft and rigid boundaries. They permit less emotional contagion than soft boundaries but more than rigid. People with spongy boundaries are unsure of what to let in and what to keep out.

Rigid - A person with rigid boundaries is closed or walled off so nobody can get close to him/her either physically or emotionally. This is often the case if someone has been physically, emotionally, psychologically or sexually abused. Rigid boundaries can be selective which depend on time, place or circumstances and are usually based on a bad previous experience in a similar situation.

Flexible - This is the ideal. Similar to selective rigid boundaries but the person has more control. The person decides what to let in and what to keep out, is resistant to emotional contagion, manipulation and is difficult to exploit.
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« Reply #41 on: February 28, 2012, 12:04:46 PM »

One part of "mindfulness" regarding value/ boundary defense is considering the harm that boundary defense does to other people.  

Another part is considering the harm that lack of that boundary does to other people.

For physical abuse, fairly inflexible boundaries are a good idea.  The same goes for verbal abuse.

I suspect that choosing a default behavior and a fallback based on whether your BPD is inward (self-abuse) or outward acting may make sense.

Inward:  validation, problem-solving -> boundaries

Outward: boundaries -> validation, problem-solving

I could be completely wrong, but... .sometimes putting myself first seems to be the wrong thing to do. The problem I see is that - every time I leave - BPDw feels a lot of pain and is strongly discouraged from doing whatever she'd just done.  Since I usually leave when she's being obnoxious... .that's usually okay.

But, if she's genuinely trying to communicate a real issue in an high conflict way - hearing her out seems to work better.* S'not that I'm obligated to do so, just that there's enough decrease in her suffering to more than counteract the increase in mine and, for now, the costs to me from significantly wider channels of communication outweigh the issues from tolerating occasional verbal abuse. Mind you, there's some enabling going on.  But, I dunno, I also enable a bit when I help a friend get out of his wheelchair and up the stairs.

Mind you, my long-term plan involves tolerating a lot less of that sort of behavior. I hope that this post is on topic - not really sure.

--Argyle

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« Reply #42 on: March 03, 2012, 08:39:14 AM »

But, if she's genuinely trying to communicate a real issue in an high conflict way - hearing her out seems to work better.* S'not that I'm obligated to do so, just that there's enough decrease in her suffering to more than counteract the increase in mine and, for now, the costs to me from significantly wider channels of communication outweigh the issues from tolerating occasional verbal abuse. Mind you, there's some enabling going on.  But, I dunno, I also enable a bit when I help a friend get out of his wheelchair and up the stairs.

You are also "caretaking" her emotions, rather than taking care - meaning you are managing her emotions when this is her job to learn. I could not have come so far in my recovery if I had continue to "outsource" my emotions or hold other people responsible for making me feel better.

Also, enabling is doing for someone what they can do for themselves and is driven more by what you need to do for yourself than the other person. Do you feel the need to be seen as a "good, helping person"? Does it lower your anxiety when you help? I would argue this is a fundamentally selfish place to offer help from and that most sensitive pwBPD will recognize the self-servingness of this stance and will resent you for it. I am perhaps projecting in this part of my post, since this aptly describes my mother, so please excuse me if I'm reading into your behavior stuff that isn't there. My well-meaning basically good-hearted mom did more harm than good by enabling my dysfunctional behavior (she did it through excuses and only when I learned to stop making them for myself could I grow).

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« Reply #43 on: March 09, 2012, 07:40:17 PM »

Skip

I am so glad I found this.  I have many questions about boundaries.

First, boundaries seem cruel, like punishments.  I know they are supposed to be about protecting us from abuse.  However, for a boundary to work there must be consequences.  We all know that the person pwBPD in our lives will cross and likely trounce all over our boundaries.  That is when the consequence enters.  It is the consequence that feels like a punishment.  When that happens the pwBPD in your life may implement their own counter-consequences and pretty soon it looks like a game of tit-for-tat.

A common consequence is a timeout.  When that happens, my spouse follows me with more abusive words.  Then gives me the silent treatment or gets short with me often using sarcasm.  She says I am being abusive for giving her the silent treatment when actually, I am hurt because of her abusive projections.

My counselor says consequences should be the natural result of the offense.  Example:You lend your car to your friend, an alcoholic.  He gets into an accident while drunk.  Consequence: you never lend him your car again.
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« Reply #44 on: March 10, 2012, 03:13:03 AM »

This has been a very interesting thread to read. It was me trying to clearly state my boundaries on one occasion that (probably) led to the breakdown of the relationship.

He could be very critical of me, sometimes to the point of ranting at me and getting angry, it was upsetting and unpleasant at times and it led me to wonder what it was he even liked about me. I would never say to other people the stuff he would often say to me. (I can enjoy banter, teasing etc but there are limits.) It got to the point where, when I was due to meet him one time I was feeling very anxious about what would happen and how he would be. So I wrote him a message cancelling the meet up, and explaining my anxieties and feelings about his criticism/anger.

This really backfired and I can see that I picked a bad time to do it, and probably a bad method too.

My message was very calm and gave positives, e.g. how much I liked him, reassured him that I still wanted to see him etc, but also said that I didn't find the criticism pleasant. I don't think the positive things got heard at all.

He accused me of thinking he was a horrible person, that I made him feel worthless, and so on. He threatened that he never wanted to see me again. It felt like I had really badly hurt him. I was shocked and got very worried that he would do something bad to himself.

I had to essentially work on him a lot to get him to want to see me again. But then he started saying he couldn't 'be himself' with me, because of what I'd said. Despite me saying numerous times that I wanted him to be himself, just could he please think about the way he spoke to me sometimes, etc. He started saying he thought the relationship had been ruined and spoiled. That I don't understand him and never had.

Anyway he ended up finally rejecting me and citing this as one of the reasons. It's made me blame myself and added to the pain and depression that I feel from the rejection. I have trouble clearly stating boundaries as I don't want to lose people, so I don't always do it in the best way, but reactions like his don't make it any easier.

CB
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« Reply #45 on: March 13, 2012, 07:42:17 AM »

Wow.  I needed this today.  Thanks to all!

I was finally able to set boundaries and leave my emotionally abusive marriage... .was able to set boundaries with my young adult children about their behavior in my house (although this is an ongoing thing to keep enforcing those boundaries.)  I thought I had made so much progress regarding setting boundaries to deal with my old, codependent tendencies.  

But now I am in a new romantic relationship and struggling with boundaries in a new and different way.  Letting someone in much closer - poses new problems (or maybe I should say new opportunities for personal growth.)  I realized that I am struggling with fears of abandonment and accompanying anxiety myself!  (I was not like this prior to my 25 year marriage to an uBPDh.  I should add that when any of my young adult kids or ex starts to escalate - when my kids do this in my house and won't respect my boundaries, openly defying me and I must insist that they leave, my anxiety goes off the charts - almost like PTSD.  Not sure why this triggers me so badly except that there has been so much trauma in our family.)

Also, sometimes I don't feel a boundary has been violated until after the fact - often the next day.  I feel I have a delayed sense regarding that and I'm not sure why.  Can anyone speak to this?  Both the delayed realization when I allow someone to cross my boundaries, as well as how to set healthier boundaries in a much closer relationship?  (The person I am in a relationship with is kind, loving, sensitive, caring, committed to me, etc. - no BPD fears there.)

Many thanks!

Picturelady

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« Reply #46 on: March 28, 2012, 07:25:23 AM »

It is important to distinguish communicating our boundaries which is often helpful and valid. Letting others know where our toes are helps them to avoid stepping on them. It also lets them better understand when we take a step back - we protect our toes and we are not getting into a position to draw a gun.

Defending boundaries is then a lot more about our behavior and us sticking to our values. Like in: I will take steps backward and even leave stuff behind if an out of control elephant is getting closer than 6 feet and wants to dance with me. I do value my toes!

Letting someone getting closer requires trust. Trust builds over time. It is a process where you ceed some control and can observe tho others behavior. Relinquishing control in a controlled manner requires a less b&w approach to friend or foe or how close we let others get to us. It requires to think about what we allow now (e.g. being kissed) and how we protect the next boundary (hand key to safe and btw. the money is uncounted in there).
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« Reply #47 on: March 28, 2012, 07:43:52 AM »

Letting someone getting closer requires trust. Trust builds over time. It is a process where you ceed some control and can observe tho others behavior. Relinquishing control in a controlled manner requires a less b&w approach to friend or foe or how close we let others get to us. It requires to think about what we allow now (e.g. being kissed) and how we protect the next boundary (hand key to safe and btw. the money is uncounted in there).

Great - thank you so much!  You hit the nail on the head regarding trust!   Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

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« Reply #48 on: April 03, 2012, 05:48:49 PM »

I have been really aware lately of how much of what is hard for me about dealing with my husband's BPDex and the way she impacts the kids and our family is about a core value difference, and the way that I find myself not acting in concert with my values---if feels like being in a family with her is a profound influence away from my values. 

I have a core value in viewing life as being okay just as is, and people as okay just as is.  That there is not good and bad, just cause and effect.  BPDex is very consistent in her naming things as bad and wrong, and her labeling of people as better or worse.  She is obsessed with whether she is a "good person," and is constantly wanting to know if people love her more than others.  This black and white thinking is very oppressive for me, particularly when it comes with consequences--calls to CPS for no reason, threats of various kinds, constant anger. 

While I value supporting people to be who they are, I also come from a culture that is ready to judge people, ready to create black and white categories.  I judge people, blame people, and judge and blame myself, even when I work on not doing this.  Over my life, I have learned that I am happier and act more consistent with my values when I have a core of people around me who also share my values.  I find BPDex to be very powerful in our lives because of her influence on the kids, who live with us half of the time, and because of her power in forming our schedule and basic choices.  In sum, we have to interact with her in some way, and we interact with her second-hand through the kids.  I find it really hard to hear blame and projection and rage on a regular basis and not be more of that myself.  Because of my values, it is very hard on me when I experience myself as blaming.  Not that I think I am a bad person, just that I see that I am hurting others. 

I think that BPDex uses blame and rage and projection because she was profoundly disempowered and abused as a child.  Raging and blaming and being emotionally out of control does give some power in a short term way.  The problem is that what it empowers is not always what we most desire.  If I want to feel love and belonging, but am feeling threatened and hurt, raging might make someone stop threatening me and afraid to hurt me, but it will not be likely to result in them loving me.  I think it is natural to engage in black/white thinking when we are scared, and I think that BPD ex sort of got stuck in that mode because things were so rarely safe, or so unpredictably safe, during her childhood.  But LIKE BPDex, when I experience being threatened by her or the kids, I am scared and I have slowly felt more like rejecting her, making her wrong.  This is less of an intellectual thing, more a visceral reaction.  I just want her to go away and stop harming me. 

I do a lot of work to keep myself open, to be okay with what is.  But the reality is that this last few years has been one of the most painful and frightening times in my life.  I have not had a lot of trauma in my life, so this feels huge even if it is mild compared to the experience of some. 

But I think the thing that is most challenging is my building intolerance, which often grows out of me feeling depleted and exhausted, and being graceless in setting boundaries, or having a great deal of pressure on my to shift my boundaries. 
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« Reply #49 on: April 04, 2012, 04:54:10 AM »

But I think the thing that is most challenging is my building intolerance, which often grows out of me feeling depleted and exhausted, and being graceless in setting boundaries, or having a great deal of pressure on my to shift my boundaries.  

I think I can relate to this somewhat ... .I can't quite believe how many "I never envisioned being in this sort of situation" moments have come from relating to my wife!

Thing is ... .it's a lot easier to "gracefully" handle an out of control kitten, than it is to handle an out of control elephant.   Sometimes life just throws stuff at us that needs to be just handled - and "gracefully" isn't always one of the choices  

In short, I've had to learn not to worry about whether I exhibit courtly manners, when I'm being mugged  Smiling (click to insert in post)

(no, not comparing pwBPD to muggers, just saying the situation sometimes calls for blunt measures)
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« Reply #50 on: April 04, 2012, 10:24:28 AM »

I do not feel bad about not employing courtly manners... .I am just making that point that it is inconsistent with my values, so it is particularly hard.  My life has been spent earnestly attempting to give people a voice who make it hard for others to do this.  I volunteer with homeless people, have worked with mentally ill people, serve as a mediator in very difficult situations.  I do not need muggers not to be muggers. 

The way I have been able to do this without becoming entangled in others' drama is to have really good boundaries.  I say no.  I had a "client" (really, an acquaintance who relied on me for support when he was feeling like he wanted to do violent things, but wanted to stop himself).  He knew he could call me at work, but never at home, and he could never visit me in person when he was feeling violent.  He observed this boundary carefully, and I felt very safe because he was so respectful of that boundary.  I believe that through talking to me, he was able to choose not to do violence to himself or others on 2 or 3 occasions.  He eventually moved away.

Having this kind of influence in others' lives, I believe, comes from being able to respect who someone is, even if I hugely disagree with their values and practices.  I am not empowering what I do not agree with--I am empowering the relationship so that I have a chance to influence them in the direction that we both value.  For me, being able to be at peace with what is, including how my fellow people are, while still calling forth the most loving parts of who we are is one of my greatest values.  I value my influence on people like the violent person mentioned above as some of my greatest accomplishments, more important than my legislative or legal successes as an attorney, more important than publications or academic accomplishments. 

When BPDex attacked me and told me she would kill me, I told her I loved her, and she was okay with me, and she immediately stopped and hugged me, and a potentially very dangerous situation was defused.  But she cannot hold on to any of those kinds of experiences.  She just feels terribly ashamed at her behavior, and turns that into blame of everyone around her. 

I do not need BPDex to be different.  I think she is doing the best she can.  But I am not able to FEEL okay with her.  I am tired of her baloney.  Tired of all the anger and rage and upset and appearance of conflict that is just fabricated.  But because she is constantly on the attack, disengaging means that others will believe her crazy stories, and harm can come to DH, the kids, or myself, or family members.  CPS gets called; motions are made in court.  Her crazy stories have the potential to have real consequences. 

I feel like I have learned to be enormously forgiving of myself in ways I did not start out being.  The things I am most ashamed of are when I get angry of the kids.  I do not feel ashamed at being angry at BPDex, an have handled my anger at her in ways I feel are entirely appropriate.  I used to have a hard time feeling okay about my mistakes, but I have learned to just accept my mistakes, apologize, and try to do better.  I have also learned with the kids that my "appropriate" anger, when I own it and apologize for the impact on the kids, is not even necessarily hurtful to them.  And, all parents do some harm.  We do our best.  We have "do-overs" in our home---so as not to get stuck in the conflict.  So I have learned to be forgiving of the unavoidable errors I make. 

But the feeling of a values conflict does not have to do with whether I am behaving myself with the kids' mom. I am.  I have no shame there.  But I have a deep conflict.  Mainly, the conflict stems from the fact that when I am really depleted and when our family is under attack, I do not have the strength to work towards my demanding principles.  I want to, but I can't.  It is time to retreat, but there is no place to retreat unless I am not in this family.  That is really hard.  By becoming aware of this conflict in values, I can make a bigger container to hold this, and slowly allow that awareness to shape my action.  The awareness is:  I am a person who strongly values tolerance of difficult people (truthfully, and perhaps unfortunately, I value tolerance of difficult people slightly more than I value tolerance of kind people) and who strives to develop this tolerance in myself.  I am also in a situation where the amount of tolerance I need is more than I have developed at this time.  It is like I have been training for 6k runs and all of a sudden, at mile 10, I realize I am in a marathon.  What to do?  What I like about this workshop is the idea that having values leads naturally to having boundaries, that boundaries are not some set of rules we make by thinking.  They are what naturally arises out of our native commitment to what we love.  So rather than figuring out how to control what seems scary, when it is not really able to be controlled (it is an elephant, not a kitten), it is time to feel what seems like what I want to do.  Retreat is what I want.  But how?  That is the questions. 

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« Reply #51 on: April 23, 2012, 04:22:42 PM »

Coping with difficult family members can be exhausting at times.  Communicating my values and their boundaries and being consistent in upholding them for myself has paid off long term.  Once I got past the "tantrums" and was consistent I saw a drop in the stresses of managing the relationship.  

At first it was difficult and a little scary, because honestly growing up with a mentally ill parent can be pretty boundary-less, and it wasn't something I was going to learn from them.

My first values was to respect otters right to choose. My boundary was being able to say "No" without justifying, arguing, defending or explaining.  No I wouldn't be going, No I don't want to, No that's not convenient, No I won't do that for you, etc.  This didn't go over well at first, but with time it became less threatening to my relationship with my parents.  My "no" meant "no"... .which conveniently lead to my "yes" meaning "yes".

-GM
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« Reply #52 on: December 07, 2012, 07:33:41 PM »

Hi Skip,

Many thanks for this thread.

As one who left the BPD relationship with boundaries smashed and to be honest the doormat it was and is a topic i have worked on the last 18 months.

In many ways so many of the posts in this thread touch upon aspects of my life with a BPD mother and being told I am selfish or whatever when I didn't do the correct thing was just part of the journey. I had as one poster described spongy boundaries but it was limited to just some relationships I had in life. In other aspects they were flexible and normal and healthy. bringing those lagging boundaries back to every aspect of my life has been a challenge and almost like an exercise to enforce them.

Many things in life i would just let slide, boundaries were broken and I just went its not worth it. Someone pushed in front of me in a line I just went ok, whatever. Someone was rude I jsut went ok fine. Not about looking for fights or anything like this, if someone pushes in front of me in line now I will tell them there is a line and would they mind getting to the end of it. Sometimes they actually bite back and so too do I. Strange to grow a backbone and not accept rubbish even in little things. This goes far further thanks to the BPD journey and many things I will no longer tolerate at all.

Great thread and thanks 
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« Reply #53 on: July 24, 2013, 12:51:33 PM »

Simply, I want to say thanks to all the contributors here and to Skip who started the workshop! I now have pages of notes to go through and lots to think about!
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« Reply #54 on: June 20, 2015, 03:43:19 AM »

Thank you Skip for reactivating this thread.
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« Reply #55 on: July 22, 2015, 02:10:41 PM »

All this above about boundaries is awesome... .BUT:

How does one establish and enforce boundaries with a uBPDw whom one has only just realized is suffering after 30 years of being together?  I am not a glutton - only just realized it _wasn't_ "just me".

I see the problem here being her feeling like "Where did this all come from?  You have never spoken out against this before?"  For the amount of energy that would require it seems almost better to just let the tramplings continue... .

I am a "stander", but only inasmuch as I can do so and remain healthy.
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« Reply #56 on: July 28, 2015, 04:22:22 PM »

Hi Dobzhansky,

Excerpt
I see the problem here being her feeling like "Where did this all come from?  You have never spoken out against this before?"  For the amount of energy that would require it seems almost better to just let the tramplings continue... .

The risk you are facing is what I see as the "undecided trap". Confronted with the difficult situation seeking THE solution. THE decision. THE right words. The prospect of a huge change is overwhelming. Better get it right. Analyze more. Get more reassurance. Ponder more. Question yourself more. Argue with fate.

There is no such thing as THE solution. We got into the mess one step at a time. And to get out it takes one step at a time. Avoiding invalidation more often than not. Establishing a rule for ourselves. Trying to validate more. Another rule for ourselves. Validating more and better... .

When you think about the whole project IT IS overwhelming. But avoiding JADE is energy saving - immediate payback. Validation is low energy expense, low risk and usually pays back in the situation. In the long run validation carries interest for you as it gets you a deeper understanding and for the pwBPD as it helps to build self validation capability.

Now boundaries often come with an initial struggle. But once that is past the boundary changes the game and pays back the expended effort over time.

The path is not to play Herkules and carry the world on your shoulders. Far from it. We are all exhausted when we begin this journey. It is only doable when we remain conscious of what changes are in our reach and focus on the changes that improve our life. Changes that are enabling us then to do the next and bigger step. Every step makes us stronger. It all starts with baby steps.
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« Reply #57 on: October 06, 2015, 01:36:52 AM »

Thank you for this thread, I really appreciate all that was said here including the external links. It sounds to me like boundaries are how we create a r/s that we can live with and many times problems occur because we have violated our own boundaries without knowing it.
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« Reply #58 on: November 12, 2018, 03:04:47 AM »

this thread has been  the most useful thing i have read all day
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