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Author Topic: Exiting a BPD relationship  (Read 40310 times)
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« on: August 26, 2007, 10:49:02 PM »

Separating from "The Borderline" often involves three stages:

~The Detachment,

~Ending the Relationship, and the

~Follow-up Protection.

Many individuals fail in attempts to detach from someone with Borderline Personality Disorder (or someone who is abusive) because they leave suddenly and impulsively, without proper planning, and without resources. In many cases, the person with Borderline Personality Disorder (or the person who is abusive) has isolated the non from others, has control of finances, or has control of major exit needs.  There is an article that discusses some of this:

No Contact: The Right Way & The Wrong Way

The key discussion points around ending BPD relationship include:

~Am I leaving or just doing the dysfunctional dance?

~Am I really leaving or just trying to "get" the person with BPD to miss me and come after me?

~What is the best way to end this relationship?

~What is No Contact (NC) really about)?

~What is the difference between No contact and low/limited contact (LC)?  

~When is each appropriate?

~How do you detach?

~Why do so many attempts to leave fail?

~How do the principles of low/moderate contact work for those in relationships involving BPD parents, children, or other relatives?

~Is it better to be civil and kind when leaving vs. cold?

Thanks in advance for your participation in this workshop.

« Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 12:07:59 PM by Harri, Reason: fixed link and corrected typos » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2007, 08:32:39 AM »

I think that it must be understood that these relationships are just different than the normal ones you are used to.  They are so much more difficult to leave.  Intermittent reinforcment is a powerful tactic, and one that keeps you hooked in far longer than you should be.

It is only natural to want to help those you love once you realize what it is your dealing with.  Unfortunatly, without the committment on their part to get the help they need, your wishing isn't going to help one bit.  Neither is it helpful to stay in a abusive relationship, pretty much enabling them to behave as they want.

The most important first step in leaving a BPD relationship is the realization on your part that it isn't going to get better on it's own.  It truly is a hopeless situation for you unless you want to live the rest of your life miserable in one form or another.  This, you must be convinced in your mind, or the chances of you being re-engagemented back into the relationship are pretty high.

Once the reality of the situation sinks in, NC is the only way to go.  That includes any contact of any kind.  Emotional detachment is very difficult, especially if they abandon us in the usual quick meanigless fashion.  We may stay hooked in for lack of closure.  None of it makes sense.  I kind of like to think of it as a death, and in a way it was.  It was just there one day and gone the next.  You just can't get that kind of detachment if you are still in contact with them.  That includes checking their profile on line, driving by their house, reading their e-mails, or accepting their calls. Just know that no contact means no new hurt.  You MUST protect yourself now, you can be sure they won't.

Those with children of course must mantain some form of contact.  LC still requires emotional detachment.  The only contact is about the children ... .period.  That boundary must be stated upfront, and upheld at all costs.  It would be what you are comfortable with of course, but I think that letting their messages go to VM or sending a e-mail is probably the most detached way of communicating with them.  And above all else, let them know that the children WILL NOT be a pawn in any way.

NC and emotional detachment is not easy, Can't sugar coat it.  It hurts and it hurts badly for awhile, but once you get through the rough patches, you will see that it really was the only way to go.  It does make you realize how toxic and meanigless it all was, but you will never get that kind of perspective if you are still too close to it.

I can only advise what got me through it.

Write down every horrible word and deed.  READ it when you are feeling weak and want to contact them... remember the feeling from what they did.  :)on't gloss over anything.  

Thought stopping helped, whenever you are feeling overwhelmed by them, STOP and replace that thought with a new one.  Sounds, dumb, but hey, it worked for me!  It reprograms your brain from obssesive thinking.

Journal writing is great, write down all those thoughts, fears, whatever.  Plan your future, what you learned from the past.  :)on't write about the past endlessly though, write about your future!

I didn't have acess to therapy, but if you do, go for it!  Couldn't hurt right?  This support group here is what got me through it.  Post here often if you need to, so many of us have been on that same road out of OZ and just that alone is so comforting.

Just know that NC and LC is for you, it is not a form of punishment for them.  It is not a game.  They have proved themselves and shown you in many ways what they are capable of doing.  Now it is your turn to show yourself that you are worth more, have self respect enough not to be treated that way and will not tolerate it.  Period.  Understand what a re-engagement is.  Sure in a normal relationship it may be a desire to reconcile and work out differences.  But in a relationship with BPD, it is a selfish gesture, a need on their part.  Please understand that.  If they loved you, they wouldn't have treated you so badly in the first place.  STOP making excuses for them, it will only hurt you.  And they are counting on it.

It is a very difficult time, but I am here to say that it can be done, and if you manage to keep NC it doesn't take as long as you think it will.  You may feel that you will NEVER feel good again, never feel NORMAL.  But you will, I didn't think I would ever get over it!  I though the damage too great.  But like a broken bone needs time to heal, as long as you don't walk on it, once healed is stronger than it was before.  And that's where I am now!
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2007, 05:59:31 PM »

I believe from my experience, both when I had BPD, and since I've recovered and had to get out of a relationship with my borderline-narcissist ex that no contact is the best way to go.

When I was borderline I remember how calculating and manipulative I could be in saying just what someone wanted to hear no matter how rightfully angry they were with me and this would just prolong the cycles of the suffering of those nons I sadly abused in my past, and actually prolonged my own suffering as someone who had BPD then and also held me back (was my responsibility for not letting go not the nons in my life) from doing the work I needed to do in therapy to recover.

Ending relationships are not easy even when they are more "normal". Of course ending one with someone with BPD can be very challenging depending upon how their abandonment issues play out and how they react to loss and what they do when they feel out of control, and angry - whether or not they are physically violent and so forth needs to be taken into account.

In the case of my life now - as a fellow non borderline who had to end a relationship with a borderline I tried to wean it - to gradually pull away from it.

This began with limits and boundaries I set and tried to hold when I was still in tbe relationship - of course that was chaotic drama to say the least.

Then I finally asked her to move out. I just told her I wasn't going to do it anymore and that frankly I couldn't take it anymore. We talked for a long time.

At that point it would have likely been more difficult to get cooperation - as in her leaving - if I had cut off all contact. I cared about her regardless of the mess that the relationship had been.

So, we continued to have some contact. I thought I'd be very clear, blunt to almost brutal a few times to be sure she heard me that I WAS done. But a few months down the road she began to act in ways that were attempts to get me to re-enter the relationship. There was her asking outright, begging really, bargaining, and of course her attempts to guilt me and otherwise manipulate me all of which I was effective at disengaging through mindfulness and radical acceptance practice. There was still the pain that I'd feel or that I would re-visit from time to time after her chaotic dramatic attempts to "get me back".

It really wasn't until I felt compelled, forced by her behaviour really and my own pain to finally go no contact, some 8 month after I ended the relationship that I really could begin to heal and recover.

I think it is fairly human to try to deny or delay that move to no contact. I know for me that it was two things - I did care about her, I was worried about her, I did play rescuer, and also in having contact with her I kept myself stuck, as I look back at it now, in a holding pattern of denial really. I found this out when I let her know that all contact needed to stop. It was then and only then that I was hit with the full force of my own pain - pain that was screaming at me to get away from the situation/person/relationship that was causing me so much more pain in general.

Ending a relationship - or at whichever point you can get to no contact, it is at the point of no contact that with the time and space away from the borderline's chaos, drama, neediness, learned helplessness, manipulation, guilting and so on and so on - that we as non borderlines get the time and space, and emotionally safe enough place from which to truly begin to feel all that has happened to us - all that we have been through.

What I learned in going no contact was to focus on myself, my own well-being, and my own life. It put me in touch with just how much time and energy I had focused on and invested in her. It is a place that increass pain a bit more I think than even the ending of a relationship.

But as that pain rises, and we meet it with a willingness to feel it, grieve it and let it go, that is the place that we can really begin to heal from.

Borderlines have a way of continuing to play the same old headgames when you end a relationship and have any contact. They often want to punish the non borderline because they end up feeling abandoned again, rejected, and in their own "reality" betrayed even.

Borderlines often see the non borderline's leaving and ending a relationship as a betryal of them, sort of like if they could verbalize it they'd say something like: "How dare you need to take care of yourself, WHAT ABOUT ME" type of thing.

They don't get it. They don't get the limits or the boundaries that healthier people need. They don't understand why we would want to take care of ourselves and why we cannot allow them to lead us to total loss of self - the very loss of self that borderlines themselves spend their lives reeling from.

My ex stalked me some. I was lucky. I didn't really fear her physically. I had grown to be emotionally terrified of her in many ways though. I ended up moving about 2 months after going no contact. I wanted to move anyway. I wanted to move back the city where I lived before she was in my life (even though it's the city where we met) and so I did and I changed all of my phone numbers. I made it pretty clear to her during our last contact - her stalking me that I was about to play legal hardball and that it would be in her own best interest to get help and leave me alone.

Something must have penetrated her psyche in that conversation because even with moving, changing cities, and my phone numbers, of course she could reach me via very public email addresses if she really wanted to. I have been and remain prepared for that - knowing that if I see anything in email from her I will delete it without opening it.

Once you've ended the relationship (and taken whatever steps necessary depending upon the amount of risk or threat the borderline poses) and gone no contact it really becomes all about dealing with yourself and your own feelings and making sure that as you process it all and work to recover and hopefully for your own sake some day - forgive the borderline - that you are clear about what forgiveness is. Forgiveness is REMEMBERING and letting go and it isn't for the borderline, it's for our own health and well-being.

I am just 5 months into the no contact reality from my ex. I am still recovering in many ways from this relationship. One thing I want to share in case anyone else facing this or going through this wonders what to do with the pain, what I find is that it is helpful to not ever forget the pain. I don't over-focus on it but each and every time I for second start to wonder about her, how she is, if she's okay etc etc I stop myself cold, with a simple statement like - wherever she is or however she is, she is, it is not my responsibililty and I can't afford to let it matter to me anymore. I then either busy myself, distract myself, or just re-focus to anything and everything but giving any energy or emotional investment to whatever happened to the ex because I have detached. Sometimes, detachment means that we have to detach regularly, often in a day even, it doesn't matter. Just be resolute.

Ending a relationship with a borderline, for a non borderline, as I've just found out, means turning to face yourself. It has been a very paradoxical experience for me. I still have some anger, some hurt, some sadness, some self-trust issues with myself. Once in a while it still leaves me in tears.

What I am left with now though is the paradox of how truly painfully awful and actually wrong the whole relationship was, how much it affected me negatively, how much time I lost to all her chaos (my choice and responsibility)

and the wonderful lessons I learned from this entire train wreck.

We have to radically accept it all. It all is what it all is. Once we know better we do better. When we "get it" we "get it". When we make a commitment to ourselves to that we will only entertain healthier people and we set this clear intention the universe has a way of helping us through it all.

No contact is the best way to win your freedom from a relationship with a borderline. It may not seem the easiest way in the short run but in the long term (as I am finding out personally) wow, even in painful times, it hurts less than it did to have some involvement with the ex.

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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2007, 08:56:30 AM »

I was doing some surfing on the topic of "Trauma Bonding" and came across two things I wanted to share.  I haven't seen these recently, but if they have been posted in the past, please forgive the redundancy.  The first was a book I found mentioned a number of times Called "The Betrayal Bond" by Patrick Carnes, which examines in detail exploitive relationships and how the dynamics of trauma bonding keep us locked in.  Also, I found this great summary of exactly what "No Contact" means, which is common sense, I guess, but it helped me a lot so here it is if it is helpful to any of you

No Contact

"The most fundamental rule about trauma bonds: Trauma bonds can be disrupted when healthy bonds are available." ~Patrick Carnes

Before No Contact

1-Determine what you expect to be reciprocated in a healthy relationship and accept nothing less than you are willing to give. List desirable character traits and then, list the traits you do not want in a partner. Be HONEST with yourself.

2-Establish a support group for yourself. This is essential whether it is on-line support, 12-step, or other organizations of experienced people in/from similar circumstances.

3-Consider working with a professional therapist to help with the emotional pain triggered by No Contact. If you  have unfinished childhood trauma-work, you may need professional treatment through the initial pain of No Contact.

4-Educate yourself. Know what to expect. No Contact is likened to withdrawal from an addictive substance. You WILL lie to yourself to get what your body craves: relief  from No Contact... .even if you know it's the wrong thing to do.

5-Make the story of your life as REAL as possible by telling it to others who empathize and yet, do not enmesh themselves in your suffering. See yourself objectively... .like a character in a horror film; but this time, change the outcome. Do Not Open the Door.

6-Listen to your support group. Put yourself in their stories. Despite differing circumstances, gender, social placement, or location, we are far more similar than we are different.

7-Study Magical Thinking, the Cycle of Abuse, Intermittent Reinforcement, the Karpman Drama Triangle, The Betrayal Bond and Stages of Grief. Ask questions of your support group. No question is wrong or too elementary.

During No Contact

1-Focus on your power to create a new life more than the emotional loss triggered by 'letting go' of the old. Use affirmations such as the following:

*"I am creating the life I want rather than reacting to whatever happens."*

2-When we let something go, we replace it with something else. Make a list of everything you've always wanted to do but never had the time.

Now you do.

3-Honor your feelings but accept the fact that your emotions are not reliable right now. Use logic and written journals to keep you 'grounded in reality' and guiding all choices and actions.


*It is best to explain to someone simply and kindly that you do not think it is a good idea for you to keep in contact.  But that's it... .one email, one note.  Validate that this is hard for both of you.  :)o this via email or a mailed note.  If they attempt to continue contacting you, either ignore or repeat exactly the same thing (via email or note) but no more than 3 times.  If you are sending them a "final break-up/no contact" note, don't argue, justify, or defend.... just write "It is for the best for both of us."


No email exchanges

No telephone conversations, texting, or exchanging of voice messages  

No dinner out... .even in the pretense of "friends only"

No asking other people about him or her

No talking about him or her (other than a support group)

No inquiries as to what the N is saying about 'you

*Tell friends who want to tell you about him or her that you don't want to hear anything.

*Don't check out his/her Facebook/Myspace or leave him/her veiled messages on yours

*Don't check out dating sites/profiles or other Internet communities where he/she may be posting

No love notes... .no hate notes... .no somewhere in-between notes

Not even a birthday card (I knew you were wondering about that one... .)

No photo album sob fests

No calling his Mother because you care

No exchange or return on left-behind items if it involves your physical presence

*(Either return stuff immediately right after the break-up... Use a third party and/or mail/deliver the stuff or decide you don't need it.)

No books or movies reminding you of Your Favorite Narcissist

No favorite songs, favorite foods or favorite places connected to the Narcissist

*No drunk dialing... . This means no or little drinking when you are depressed and sad about the break-up.


None of the above.

Peace to us all.  Love, Valerie
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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2007, 09:22:05 AM »

Merlin --

This is very, very good. 

It's difficult to realize that we can still be IN contact without ever communicating with our BPD.  That's why it's so important not to read old letters, emails, or cards.  It was a monumental day for me when I threw away all of his old letters and cards. 

And I used to have the sad song sob fest quite frequently.  Stopping that one thing alone helped me immensely.

I'm with Elph -- I hope more people read this.



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« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2007, 09:57:31 AM »

Yes, I agree. There are definitely "milestone" moments.  I know one for me was deleting all of his old emails so that I couldn't re-read them anymore.  The next one for me will be shutting down my old email account as soon as I finish imorting everything into my new one.  Hopefully, it won't affect my ability to log on here when I do that, but if it does, I may have to re-register under a slightly different name.  A small price to pay for closing off that huge avenue to his ability to contact me.  I know just forcing myself not to keep checking that old email box to see if he has emailed me is in itself a form of maintaining NC integrity with myself, b/c what's the point - I'm not going to respond anyway.  The ways we torture ourselves are infinite, even if we are not directly comminicating with them, which is why I liked this piece so much - it really expands NC and re-defines it in a way that gets to the very heart of why you are doing it and what you are trying to accomplish with it.  I'm glad you guys appreciated it too.  I've been on other message boards that discouraged or actually forbade posting from other websites or idenitfying names of books, etc., because they had "no commercialism" policies, so I'm sometimes not quite sure still whether I can post the other sources of information that I find helpful.  After my dog died in the beginning of September, I was on a pet loss website and I was so frustrated when I found the most amazing book about animals and afterlife and I couldn't post to share it with other people because of this policy.  I'm glad we don't have that restriction here.
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2007, 10:53:58 AM »

My DH's ex wife is UBPD.  It is nearly impossible to go no contact when a child is involved. 

Do you have a similar list that might be helpful for "ultra low contact"?
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No good deed goes unpunished....

« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2007, 12:26:11 PM »


"The paradox is that love addiction is an attempt to gain control of our lives, and in so doing; we go out of control by giving personal power to someone outside ourselves."~Brenda Schaeffer

Settle all critical business before you begin no-contact.  If you have children - contact a lawyer on how to strctre contact between the parent & child. Do NOT engage in any conversations with the other parent aside from basic logistics and child care for the first year)

This means logistics and child care only... .no personal exchanges



1. To break my emotional bond and dependency, and to detach, I must maintain NO CONTACT for hit  weeks.

2. No contact includes every single form of contact with him/her...

2a. This also includes... .do NOT ask friends/family about  him/her and do NOT let friends/family tell you about him/her.

3. I will not email him/her.

4. I will not call him/her.

5. I will not send him/her letters, cards for any occasion or notes of any kind.

6. I will not text message, two way, fax or page him/her.

7. If he/she calls me, I will not answer the phone at all.

8. If he/she leaves a voice mail or answering machine messages, I will delete it without listening to it.

9. If he/she emails me, I will delete the message without reading it or answering it.

10. If he/she mails me a card, letter or note of any kind, I will throw it into the garbage can without opening it or reading it.

11. If he/she two-ways me, text messages or pages me, I will delete the message or the phone number and not listen to the message or return his/her call.

12. I will not stalk him/her by visiting their FaceBook page.

13. I will not stalk him/her by driving by their place of employment.

14. I will replace any hopeful reunion fantasy with a clear vision of what a healthy relationship is.

15. If I feel like I am about to reach for the phone to call him/her, write, email, page, fax or text message him/her, I will count to ten and cleanly ask myself silently, why am I doing this?

16. If friends and family are not supportive of my efforts to remove myself from this relationship, I will not discuss my personal life with them and will ask them sternly not to offer their opinions. My decisions about this are my own. This is My Battle.

17. If I find that the urge to speak to him/her or see him/her has overwhelmed me and I slip off the course, I promise to be kind to myself and patient with the situation.

18. I promise to be good to myself, forgive myself and allow myself to move on and not dwell on this for ever.

19. I will stop creating chaos in my mind & environment.

20. I will accept reality - The facts.

21. My hands are off others responsibilities: I will tend to my own, focus on me.

22. I will journal all my positive and negative feelings.

23. I must accept my own responsibility in this relationship.

24. I will strive to find what it was that he/she invoked in me that created MY behavior.

25. Take time off before beginning a new relationship. At LEAST a year.

26. Find out what we need in a relationship, and go after that in a person that is worthy and has GENUINE substance, morals, and ethics.

Accept nothing less for yourself.


The “No Contact” Contract:

I hereby pledge that I will not prolong my anguish by attempting to contacting my ex or to orchestrate any elaborate “accidental” meeting with him or her. My healing has now begun and I will avoid re-opening those wounds like I would avoid a bear trap in the woods. I promise that, by “contacting my ex” I mean every single form of communication from IM, to chat boards, myspace, facebook, to friends passing messages, to sending smoke signals from yonder mountain. I will not call or write,nor will I answer or respond to any contact from him/her.   I will not try to reach him/her through the spirit world, and I will not think about my ex. Okay, I probably will think about my ex… quite a bit in fact. But I promise that this phenomenon will diminish over time.

Signed: (Your Name Here) ___________________

Dated: (Today’s Date Here) ____________________


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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2007, 09:46:19 AM »

I think some good information has been given already about HOW to go no-contact.  I want to address a different question:  "When all is said and done, what will life look like, now that I'm not in a relationship with the BPD?" 

When the emails finally stop coming, when the notes on your car disappear, when the phone finally stops ringing, and any necessary restraining orders are in place, what happens next?

I've been NC for nearly four years now. I speak from the experience of being a child of a uBPD/uNPD marriage, so your situation may be different.  However, I think these tips can help anyone who's returning from Oz and trying to re-adjust to life on Earth. 

1) When the BPD relationship goes away, don't expect YOUR habits of reacting to go away.

Eliminating the harsh, difficult-to-navigate relationship with the BPD will bring a lot of relief to your heart.  However, all of us as nons developed habits to allow us to cope in these relationships.  These include, but are not limited to:

a) being hyper-sensitive to other people's moods

b) rescuing

c) apologizing all the time

d) tiptoeing around others (being afraid to offend others, not voicing our own opinions, changing opinions so that others   

   will like us, etc.)

e) continuing habits that they ingrained in you ("the cabinets should be organized this way." "Why do you make your 

            bed that way?" )

f) feeling bored without all the drama that a BPD relationship causes

All of these habits can be conquered, but it will take time, therapy, and practice to do so.  You will fail a time or two, and that is completely normal.  Just don't expect them to go away simply because the abuser is out of the picture. 

2) Perfectionism does not equal "normal"

Now that we have the freedom to pursue healthy relationships, it's only natural that we will want to avoid unhealthy patterns at all costs. 

However, we must resist the temptation to fit everything into the mold of what we perceive as "normal."  Homes, friendships, relationships, and families cannot fit into the idealized pictures we have in our heads.  After being away from "Earth" and in "OZ" for so long, we may be a bit disillusioned when we discover that Earth is not paradise.

For example, my uBPD was my mom, so therefore I try to be a "perfect mom" so that I won't continue in the BPD family tradition.  "If the house isn't magazine-perfect, or the clothes not ironed, or the baby not totally happy, then I MUST be just like my mom." That's a lie, but it's still easy to believe.

The truth is that all people--even the non-crazy ones---are imperfect.  Everyone makes mistakes, and we will too. In our pursuit of a normal, healthy life, we must not worship perfection.  As we return from Oz, we must be gentle to ourselves as we re-adjust to Earth's gravity. 

3) Be prepared for "The Nag"

Being in a relationship with a BPD can put you under a pile of negative comments. Both my momster and the other BPD in my life (an ex-friend) had a particular gift for words.  They knew exactly what to say that would hurt.  LONG after they were gone, as I went about my daily (imperfect) life, every time I would fail, I would hear this little voice pop up and say,

"See, you didn't return that girl's phone call, you really are a lousy friend."

"Your husband isn't home YET? I told you he would leave you someday."

"Oh god, have you not lost that baby weight yet? Your husband's eyes will start roving."

"You're just like your mother--see? Your daughter's crying and you can't make her stop.  She won't even eat right."

These awful words do not disappear with the person.  I envisioned a witch (with a long, warty nose) who would follow me around and wag her finger at me, telling me all the things I was doing wrong.  I named her "The Nag," and I've come to understand that she can stay with me long after uBPD momster and ex-friend have hit the highway.  Again, just like #2, I have to understand that no one is perfect,and I am not perfect, even if my uBPD's expected me to be. 

We must learn to recognize the lies, and consistently counter these lies with truth.  That means saying positive, affirming things to yourself when these lies come at you like flaming arrows.  Yes, it feels hokey at first, but as nons, we're often not used to believing positive things about ourselves.  We have to start somewhere. 

"My husband has not left, he's just at a meeting, and he'll be home soon." 

"All kids cry sometimes, and all kids have foods they don't like.  That doesn't make me a bad mom." 

If you can't turn the lies into truth, at least write them down, and ask yourself, "Would I say this to another person?"   

4) Expect others to not understand, and have a plan.

Pastors, neighbors, well-meaning relatives, and perfect strangers may be dragged into your life by the BPD.  After hearing his/her sob story, these innocent bystanders will all be more than happy to give you their opinion on your choices.  They can spend endless amounts of time and energy trying to persuade you to re-establish contact.  After being controlled by the BPD for so long, the words from the others can deeply hurt, and make you doubt your own decisions and sanity. 

"But she's your mom.  You can't cut her out of your life."

"I saw her, she wasn't that bad."

"Why don't you consider the good times too?" 

"Well, there's two sides to every story... ." (with the implication that part of it must be YOUR fault as well.)

"The Bible says honor your father and mother."

"I think she might commit suicide if you don't talk to her."

Any suicide threats need to be taken to 911, not to YOU. 

As the Non, you must remember that BPD's can present different sides of themselves to different people.  DO NOT, under any circumstances, allow someone else's perception of the BPD to influence your decision.  They may see a completely different person than the one YOU see. 

For your own sanity, document everything. Write down memories in a journal, record conversations if possible, and give yourself the gift of TRUSTING your own perceptions. 

If a friend or family member is persistent (and therefore harmful) in their attempts to reconcile the two of you, you should consider going no-contact, or extremely limited contact, with that person as well. 

5) Have plans for holidays, family occasions, etc.


The one good thing about holidays is that they typically don't change.  Smiling (click to insert in post)  Christmas doesn't sneak up on us. Thanksgiving is always in November.  Religions that follow the lunar calendar know at least year in advance when they'll be facing a potential family-get-together. 

That gives you plenty of time to plan.  What will you do?  Who will you see?  Who will you not see?  Who will be attending?  Where will we go?  And the most important question why are you doing all these things? 

It's all-to-easy to subject yourself to unnecessary stress, or even break NC,  because:

"It's Yom Kippur, we're suppossed to forgive each other, right?" 

"Let's have a little Christmas spirit!"

"This is the way we've done it every year---how dare you make us change it around YOUR needs?"

Family traditions are great, but in BPD-enmeshed families, they're often a dysfunctional dance on eggshells.  Take the time to seriously evaluate if you will participate, why you want to participate, and what the consequences will be.

Every year since going NC with my mother, every Thanksgiving has been a no-holds-barred "Get Taylor to talk to her mom" pseudo-therapy session.   I finally decided that holidays were suppossed to be celebrated in joy, not obligation and guilt.  I decided to spend holiday with my friends and immediate family, and was amazed by the peace I felt.

6) Allow yourself to grieve.

Even though the BPD is gone, the pain and the memories can pop up at the most random places.  Just like grieving a death, so many things can trigger memories of your relationship.  Processing through this pain allows you to heal.  Stuffing or denying the pain also denies you the opportunity to heal, just like ignoring a broken bone. Expecting the pain can make the experience less of a shock to your system.

The first Christmas I spent at my husband's house, I noticed how his mom had made displays of all the awards he had  earned in high school and college.  There were photos and notes about his accomplishments, and smiling pictures of my husband with his family. 

I sat on the bed and wept like a child.  I knew that there was no house anywhere on the planet where my accomplishments would be treasured like that, except as a source of narcissistic supply. 

At the time, I allowed myself to think, "Aw, maybe I'm grieving because I should be with my BPD." No, that's not true.  Grief is a response to a loss, not an indicator that you did the wrong thing.  Grief should be looked on as a natural part of this process.  Experience it, learn from it, and continue to grow.  But do not allow the grief to carry you back into the relationship.

7) Understand that you WILL second-guess yourself... .

... .but that is NOT a reason to break NC. 

Distance from the BPD is a double-edged sword. 

On the one hand, it allows us the freedom to think our own thoughts, feel our own feelings, and live our own lives.  On the other hand, without the constant reminder of the BPD's presence, it also allows us to forget many of the reasons why we went NC in the first place.  Good memories of our time together with the BPD can bubble up to the surface. We can find ourselves wondering if we were intolerably cruel to the BPD,  if we were bad children/lovers/friends, or if we were, in fact, the crazy ones.   

This is where the journaling in step 4 becomes invaluable.  Whenever you start wondering "Should I re-establish contact?" the first thing you need to do is re-read your records of why you went NC to begin with. 

Has anything changed?  Has the BPD admitted that she has a problem and needs help? Will the relationship be any different, or will the BPD simply use your period of NC as further evidence that you did, in fact, abandon her/act disloyal/break her trust, yadda yadda yadda... .?

I was very fortunate.  I went NC before I knew anything about BPD, so I was totally navigating in the blind.  About every three months (especially when I was pregnant) I would long for my mom with such a deep intensity that it was physically painful. 

By the Grace of God, right as I was about to re-establish contact, my mother would pick that exact time to do something stupid.  I'd get 5 messages on my voice mail that ranged from friendly (like nothing ever happened) to psychotic--in the space of two hours.  I'd get re-engaging phone calls from family members saying that, "Something is wrong with your mom, she needs you right away."  No, she doesn't.  She just called me chewing me out. She's fine.

This happened five separate times.  My husband used to say, "Hey, you're due for another family crisis, it's been 3 months since the last one."   :Smiling (click to insert in post)

You will doubt yourself.  Count on it. Heck, if it helps, write it on your calendar two months from now: "You'll probably wonder if you should break NC.  Don't." 

8 ) Take care of yourself.

In her book "Understanding the Borderline Mother," Lawson shares that survivors of concentration camps would shower regularly, even though they knew there was a chance they could die that day.  The survivors later said that they could tell who had given up hope, by whether or not that person showered.  Lawson goes on to urge people that have survived a relationship with a borderline to "bathe themselves in goodness and light," by taking care of their bodies, minds, and spirits. 

I love hazelnut coffee, so I drink it.  I write in my journal, I play with my daughter, I make love to my husband, and I fill myself up with as much joy as I can handle.  Every little bit of joy I experience cancels out a multitude of bad memories.

I hope this helps.  I will add more as I learn more.  I wish I'd had you guys 10 years ago--who knows how different my life would have been if I'd known about BPD earlier? 

Thanks so much,


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« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2007, 10:54:46 AM »

I would like to add a few things.

Recently I spent time with my BPDex and I realized why NC is so important.

It is easy to diminish the horrible things they have done or to relate to where you were emotionally when the relationship ended. The BP will take any kindness and misinterpret this as an opening if they are still interested in resurrecting the relationship. They will turn up the charm and shower you with the intensity they displayed when you first met them. They are giving the non back the idealized person the non was trying to find all along. So the non gets hooked again.

The reality is that it takes a minimum of 5 years for a borderline to enter into recovery. It takes commitment and resolve to change. This is why recovery rates are dismal with borderlines.

So if you start getting hooked again, by breaking NC it is important to recognize what is happening. Go back to NC and do not look back.

If you begin to feel weak take a few moments to quietly reflect upon the rages and the behavior that drove you away. Remember that the next time you think about going back to them. Replace the visual with a poor behavior visual.


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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2007, 09:43:10 PM »


Yes that is what I was driving at... .since NC isn't really a choice for me, it is... .adjusting to life afterwards that is difficult.



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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2008, 05:33:02 PM »

This is such an important thread and workshop to me.  Whenever I'm feeling any doubt I come back and read this thread.  No contact is the only thing that is going to save me from being sucked into a void of BPD misery from my ex friend.  It's the thing that will let me have my own life away from the drama and financial drain and just down right hurt that I was allowing to happen to me whenever I was in contact.
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« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2008, 12:15:02 AM »

Hi you guys,

As many of you know, my ex BPDbf has become my stalker.  He lives 850 miles away from me, thank goodness. I have a protection order, but he continues to be very persistent in his attempts to contact me: voice messages (from a number I couldn't block) and snail mail and, most recently, a contact through a "Meetup" registration (a non-dating philosophy meeting!) that he found by scrounging through the internet. [Haven't spoken to him since October - I've changed so many #'s, email addresses - it's just crazy] 

Anyway - for many months I ignored, threw away, discarded - everything.  But I finally began collecting all of his crap in order to file.  And now whenever he does it again, I have to save it.  Ugh. Anyway, I just thought I'd mention it here, because sometimes it is necessary to save messages, unfortunately.

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« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2008, 07:30:07 PM »

That is true.  If the harassment continues, filing for a restraining order might be necessary. 

There are times when you do need to listen, to save the email, etc. 

I think if someone has been deleting messages, not responding, for a month, and they continue to regularly receive those messages, then it is time to save things and consider an r.o. (or filing a complaint to the phone company and/or the police.)    If the messages begin to be threatening or very abusive, then, again, time to save them and try to get an r.o.

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« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2008, 10:10:07 PM »

Thanks Joanna, so true.

My stalker does not physically threaten me.  He mostly cries on voice messages... .and recently found a way to contact me thru the internet and just begged me to talk to him... .many people would be very surprised at how harrassing this is -- very invasive and frustrating and painful.  (For the last few days he's been calling but not leaving any voice messages - all I see is his number on caller ID)

And, of course, it's important to remember that any unwanted communication - after only a few of them - is considered stalking.  Whether they are specifically physically threatening or not, these unwanted communications are a crime.

I hope I haven't hijacked this thread --- I've just been disappointed at the effectiveness of No Contact -- altho I do agree it is the only way to go. 

And I very much wish I had maintained No Contact immediately following our break-up -- but I kept caving in and going back to him -- for months, really, so I was, unfortunately, reinforcing this crazy unwanted behavior. 

But - no matter how I behaved, I do not deserve to be a victim of a stalker.

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« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2008, 10:17:20 PM »

No, marymac, you don't deserve to be the victim of a stalker, and you haven't hijacked this Workshop...    I think your story shows some of the complexities and complications of No Contact.  And it is harder to take criminal action against someone if they live out of state... .and, as in your case, they haven't threatened violence.

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« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2008, 02:33:25 PM »

From an old post:

The Re-engagement won't work if you don't plug it in!

As a retired mod here (Tammy) used to write:  The re-engagement won't work if you don't plug it in.  If you can't hear the crying and the verbal abuse, it won't hurt as much.  If you've tried to break up in person and it doesn't work, then send a final email and go to No Contact.  You don't owe someone an in person meeting if you've tried to break things off before in person and the person was abusive. 

And perhaps you need a tougher skin... .  the distortion, the verbal abuse, the splitting is hard to endure, but it will pass.

So there is a way out... .  A final email, a final message, then no emails read, no phone calls picked up or returned. 

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« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2009, 03:07:26 PM »

 OK so I am the worst mother ever... .my family never liked her... .I am a child abusing monster, it's all my fault and she never will speak to any of us again. Now that I have learned the ugly reprocussions of making contact I'd like to know what you think I should do if there is a family crisis like a death or severe illness in the family. Do you let your BPD know or not.
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« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2009, 12:14:37 PM »

you coluld tell them, there is nothing wrong with  that. but just leave it at that. otherwise, well im sure you know the rest.
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« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2009, 12:25:31 AM »

Disadvantages of restraining orders regarding No Contact:

Sometimes a restraining order CONNECTS you further to the BPD. When you file there is a hearing where you have to face them. If they have money and/or determination they can hire an atty who will insist on deposing you where the BPD can be present. If you get an atty he will want to depose the BPD as well. Then the kicker... .for the entire length of the RO the BPD can file a motion to amend or dismiss at any time, necessitating another hearing, depo, etc.

Not exactly NC! Sometimes just NC without involving the legal system can end things more quickly.
« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2009, 07:38:12 AM »

Bailey, I am in such a situation now. It is proceeding to LE and the courts. It truly is so invasive and damaging when the other person stalks in such a pervasive manner.


A gut feeling led me to save all the emails that made it through the filters. For a time, I logged the events (telephone calls -- even to my own family members and friends by {person who respects NO boundaries}). After a time, while trying to follow the T's assistance at becoming ambivalent, I stopped logging the non-email events and only did a cursory read through the emails for frank suicide/homicide/harm statements that would compel me to contact appropriate authorities.

Unfortunately, my initial gut instinct was correct.  ;p  I now must try to piece together the times that strangers were sent to my home (I live waaay deep into private property which is posted "No Trespassing" and the person(s) immediately began with {person who respects NO boundaries} sent me ). This was, of course, followed up with emails from random accounts (through the filters) by the {person who respects NO boundaries} describing either "sending so and so" or "not sending so and so" to my home/calling my home/etc.   

Small community, and I can not even go out for a beer without someone coming up to me saying "You know, {person who respects NO boundaries} really 'loves' you and you need to... ." and often followed up by descriptions of where I live, my guns, etc and pointing out that {person who respects NO boundaries} is telling everyone {person who respects NO boundaries} meets this information.

Hell, even my uBPDxW leaves me alone! //D knocks on wood//

My point for the workshop is that xxLC (practically NC) works with my uBPDxW, however, NC did not work with {person who respects NO boundaries}. Honestly, it is too difficult for me to pinpoint to any degree of probability which, or anywhere in between, is going to work.

Anyway, I think NC is the absolute gold standard for disengaging. Unfortunately this does not always work and, in my case at least, resulted in extra work on my part to document the behaviour for LE and court.
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« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2009, 10:47:15 AM »

I'm bumping this thread up because I have gained so much out of it.

It's amazing to me to get the perspective of someone who has healed from BPD, in setting these boundaries with another suffering SO.

I don't have any experience with a suffering person who was actually taking steps to recover so this opens my perspective up a great deal while confirming NC dynamics that have happened (stalking and re-engaging) the measures I have already taken to put a stop to any form of contact, and the things I can do to clean up my yard.

Thank you for this thread, UFH
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« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2009, 02:54:43 PM »

This site contains some wonderful resources.  I suspect, though, that after reading them (or not) upon our initial entry, most of us spend all of our time on the boards.

I made this post because I thought this was information that some of our members might find helpful:


"No Contact" the Right Way and the Wrong Way

by Skip

Message boards are replete with advice for partners in borderline relationships to go "No Contact" - effect a sudden cold silence, "change the phone number!", "block the e-mails!", "run away into the dark of the night"... ..

The message boards are also filled with many painful, failed attempts to go NC (No Contact)... .with the "No Contact-ors" repeatedly going back to the borderline partner - initiated by the non-borderline as often as by the borderline.

So why does NC fail?

Possibly because there is too much emphasis on the tactics and too little emphasis on the true objectives and priorities. Some times, non-borderlines launch into "No Contact" campaigns with only a vague understanding of what they are doing and they end up engaging in something that would be better called "the silent treatment". The silent treatment is not good - it is often characterized by professionals as an emotional manipulation; an abusive action in and of itself.

Where is the "disconnect"?

Let's face it - partners leave Borderline relationships because they are rejected or they need to protect themselves or protect their children from physical abuse, emotional abuse, or verbal abuse. But most departing partners still love the borderline and are often bonded to their partner in an unhealthy way - in some cases to a level that could be described as co-dependent.

If this wasn't a significant, underlying factor, we wouldn't even need to talk about "No Contact" here. When you leave some one you love, it's important to really understand yourself and the unique hurdles you face.

So, what should you do?

The first thing is to determine if you are really ready to leave. It seems like a very simple point, but there needs to be a real, mature commitment that leaving is the right thing to do (assuming you have a choice) and that you are serious about it- not just testing the waters.

The second thing is to accept that when you leave a relationship (or are spurned), the most important thing for you is to get over the x-partner[sic] and move on to the next phase of your life.

Without a doubt, ending of the relationship with one that you love is heartbreaking. It is for every one. But, no matter how difficult or incomprehensible it is, it doesn't change the realties[sic] above.

Now "No Contract" makes sense

"No Contact" is mostly about the non-borderline forcing "distance" into the relationship to help the non-borderline heal; to get the "space" needed to get over the hurt; get on with their lives.

The key elements of "No Contact" are

~    to get the partner out of your day-to- day life,

~    to stop thinking in terms of a relationship,

~    to take them out of your vision of the future,

~    to stop wondering about how they are perceiving everything you are doing, and

~    to stop obsessing with how they are reacting (or not reacting) or what they are doing.


These are the simple objectives of "No Contact". You may need to remind yourself every day of what you are trying to do. It takes focus and determination to do this - at a time when you probably just want to sit down and cry. Just keep reminding yourself that it takes great strength and determination to be emotionally healthy.

So where does sudden silence, changing of the phone number, blocking the e-mails, running away into the night, come in?

These are just tactics for accomplishing the goals above; there are many others. And often, the more subtle, less "in your face" tactics work as well - even better. A more direct approach- simply saying you think your partner is unhealthy, or acting as if you don't find them attractive any more - can cool a relationship and create a lot of emotional distance pretty quickly. You know this person as well as anyone - you know what will work; what to say that will cause them to pull back.

And herein lies the problem.

If you really don't want to "disconnect", if you're hurt and timid and it's not a high priority get healthy, you will find many reasons not to do the obvious. Or, even more common, if you are still holding out some hope, or are strugglng[sic] with uncertainty, you will likely fear the permanence of such action and purposely select something ineffective and secretly hope that it fails.

Let's call all of this, "dubious intent."

When the cure becomes the disease.

The problem with the oft suggested "No Contact" tactics (blocking the e-mails, and silence) is that, when coupled with "dubious intent", they can easily be misdirected into ways to vent anger, to punish, to manipulate, to make a statement, to defend a principle, to make someone appreciate you, to try to force someone to listen to you, ... .to even win some one back (?).

And these tactics will often generate a non- productive counter response with the borderline partner. Along with high emotions - the borderline partner's fear of abandonment may be triggered and they may try harder to hold onto the relationship - or possibly they won't be able to cope and will seek retribution.

You could, at the same time, feel very guilty for what you've done, and when your anger subsides, find yourself asking to be accepted back into the relationship - maybe with less self esteem than when you left.

None of this is healthy disengagement. This is only advancing a dysfunctional relationship to a higher level of dysfunctionally[sic].

No Contact is mostly about you

If the "x"[sic] is sending you e-mail, the biggest problem is not that they are sending it - but rather that you are reading it, and/or are stressed out about it. Ignored, unread e-mail are harmless.

No Contact is about dealing with this aspect of "you".

If you don't have the discipline to not read their e-mail, for example, then have your e-mail program route it to the trash. Accept that you're hurting emotionally, and use this type of "crutch" to protect yourself against yourself.

But also understand that "not reading", the e-mail, for example, is a lot different than having the "x" [sic] receive an "undeliverable" auto-reply. The "undeliverable" auto-reply" is really a way that communicates your vulnerability or your anger or your _____ (fill in the blank). If you do this you are opening a door into your recovery process... .so, ask yourself "why?".

True Disengagement (No Contact) Works.

The key points:

1) No contact" is conceptually about disconnecting from a relationship. The name describes, more or less, the key tactic... .but NC is not the goal... .the goal is for you to disengage yourself from the relationship.

2) The harder it is for you to disengage, or the more you are enmeshed in the relationship, the "higher a wall" you should erect (to keep yourself out). This is the first basis you should use to decide on which tactics are appropriate.

3) Straight forward tactics are the best way to effect "No Contact". Dramatic tactics work well too, but before using them, carefully examine your motives to be sure they are healthy and you are aimed at the right target.

4) If your partner doesn't start to disengage and give you "space" then more forceful methods may be in order to absolutely "close of the door"... .but if you have options, try to pick those that neutralize the partner - not trigger them. Look for "defusing" tactics first. This is the second basis for selecting which tactics are appropriate.

What if it is just too overwhelming

Expect that this will be too overwhelming. Leaving some one that you love, hurts. Minimizing the damage, in the long run, is what this is all about - the price for that is hurt today.

Hurt is part of your healing - it's your greatest challenge and you must be committed to work through it - which is where we began this discussion... .

Be prepared to seek help. If you find yourself slipping into depression, ruminating, etc - recognize early that these are not signs that you should go back into a dysfunctional relationship, but rather signs of your own private struggle with your emotional enmeshment. It is common in these relationships.

When this happens, you may need professional help, possibly medication, to mediate the depression and the ruminating before it breaks your resolve; drives you back into an unhealthy relationship.

Whenever you are mentally impaired; chemically imbalanced; or in a state of anxiety, you will likely make bad decisions, and even feel overwhelmed by the need to make them. If you are in a depression this whole endeavor may seem insurmountable.

But it is not - it's your emotions, distorting your reality. Find the time - spend the money - get professional help and get and keep yourself stabilized.

Leaving someone you love is difficult. There is no question about that. And, You will lkely[sic] feel insecure, uncomfortable, and empty when you are on your own... .but this is just a natural unwinding of the intertwinement[sic] of two people... .everyone feels this.

Disengagement. No contact. Out of site[sic] - out of mind. It works best when you fully understand it.

~ bpdfamily.com

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« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2009, 08:54:12 PM »

Desert, thank you. That's a lot of really useful information, and you clearly spent quite some time putting that post together.

I'm glad you make the very good point to remind us about NC being for the non and not as a punishment to the BP that we're working to disengage from.
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« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2009, 09:15:54 PM »

Gosh, Desert, that information came at the right time.  I took notes.  Thank you ever so much.

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« Reply #25 on: April 25, 2009, 09:19:22 PM »

I appreciate your kind words, xyzzy, but the post is merely a cut-and-paste from elsewhere on this site (see the link at the end of the post).

The writing is someone else's.  I suspect that some of our members are experiencing needless pain by breaking NC.  It's still difficult (and painful) for me to maintain it (I'm going through a weaker period now, in the wake of my recent visit to "Old City", but what keeps me "honest" is my absolute certainty that breaking it would be worse.

Some of our members are forgetting that our exes are (to use a term that does not, to my knowledge, appear in the DSM IV R) "whacked", and that ANY communication is prone to be misinterpreted and lead to a resumption of the craziness.

My ex still has some of my possessions.  I still have some of hers.  I'd like to get mine back, I'd like to return hers, I'd like to reassure her about certain things, but I will not open that door.  I won't even mail her stuff back to her because I am certain it would encourage her to resume re-engaging. It is hard enough for me WITHOUT any contact, I don't need to make things more difficult for myself.

As one clever poster put it a few months ago, we're talking about

PandorasInbox@ delete.com

/ Desert
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« Reply #26 on: April 25, 2009, 09:22:38 PM »

I'm glad you found it helpful, Mellie.   Being cool (click to insert in post)

Best wishes, Desert

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« Reply #27 on: April 25, 2009, 09:25:01 PM »

I think that this is really wonderful information.

We do emphasize the tactics.

Reason:  There is some space needed to clear out one's emotions enough to understand the NECESSITY for NC.  The tactics are just the immediate steps to take so that the BPD noise is just muffled enough so one can take a breath and introspect in a more healthy way, rather than react to the entire stimuli vicerally.

Another point:  Whenever we recommend NC, we should explain that NC is also a process.  Human beings cannot switch their emotions on and off with a switch.  Getting healthy is also a process.  Therefore, we should actually warn them that the urges to break NC will be very strong and that we will be here to help them through.

Great post Desert.  Your post will help me be a better 'ambassador'.


Humanity is a stream my friend, and each of us individual drops.  How can you then distinguish one from the other?

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« Reply #28 on: April 25, 2009, 11:12:15 PM »

Thank you so much for posting this post.  I hadn't read it before and it gives me a lot of food for thought and great advice.  When it makes sense like that - it makes sense to use it.
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« Reply #29 on: December 27, 2009, 11:34:36 PM »

I posted this information on a thread, then learned about this Workshop, so I am posting here as well.  I hope it will be helpful for folks who are NC (or thinking about going NC) with a BPD relative:

My NC Experience thus far:

I have been virtually NC for 3 years now with my uBPD mother (I'm 37 and wish I'd done it years and years earlier--would have saved me so much grief and distress.)

For me, going NC is a lot like when you may have dated someone that you pined for back-in-the-day, and for whatever reasons, you broke up.  Hurts at the time, then the more time that passes, you realize, "Wow... .what was I thinking, dating that person?" Or maybe it's similar to a time where you had a job you didn't like, but tolerated way longer than needed.  When you finally quit, and take a new job, you realize over time how bad the previous one was?

That's a lot like the relationships with BPDs. 

I notice that the longer I am NC with my uBPD mother, the more "crazy" I see in her.  I also deal with my own self-bludgeoning for not doing this sooner (I feel like an idiot that I tolerated her behavior--and tried everything possible to please her for way too long, but I'm getting over myself!). 

I don't expect that everyone's NC experiences are the same, but here have been some of mine:

(Preceded by reading the must-read, "Understanding the Borderline Mother" book by Christine Lawson.  That book saved me!)

1.  The initial drama.  First, in efforts to get rid of the drama that the BPD ensures was a "constant" in my life, I went NC, but then wound up amping up my own drama by talking about it with my partner/spouse, or best friend way too much.  I continually stewed about it, wondered what my uBPD mother was "thinking," hoped-upon-hope she would "get it" and have some type of remorse (ha!), I wondered what would happen next, etc.  This went on for a few months or so, to various degrees.

2.  The Questioning Phase(s):  I Questioned, then praised, then doubted, then questioned myself---then repeated the process.  Gradually this faded--I'll get to why in a moment.

3.  Freedom:  After a little while, I really did (and still do) feel FREEDOM like I hadn't felt it before.  I no longer felt responsible for her feelings, her emotions, or the ways in which I "should" try to control them (by doing more, doing it better, being more, trying to please, trying to say things in just the right way, etc.)  It takes a while--and there are "habits" to get out of---like ensuring you make your 2-3x/week phonecall or whatever it is you felt you were obligated to do, or even emotionally felt like doing--thinking it would be a good thing, etc.  The habits take some time to break.

4.  Smear Campaigns:  Then, I had to endure (and still do, 3 yrs later), the worst part of it for all, for me:  The Smear Campaigns.

For me, this was one of the worst parts, as I am one of those types of folks who try to do everything as well as possible, wouldn't harm a flea, have never done so much as got a speeding ticket, let alone anything worse, etc.  I earned advanced degrees, care about others, blah blah blah... .but my mother makes up horrible stories about me and shares them with long-time family friends, acquaintances of mine, etc. in my hometown (I now live 2000 miles away).  This is the hardest for me b/c I really do care about my reputation and there's nothing I can do about it, short of fight fire with fire and I just don't want to get back into that kind of drama--even if it's to spread the truth.  That wouldn't really paint me in a better light, anyway, so why bother.  Few "get" that a daughter can actually be the non-crazy one and the mother the insane one, anyway.  It's that whole bad-mommy-taboo crap that disgusts me.

5.  Coping with Drama:  Speaking of drama... .  I hate drama, but even more so now than ever before.  I know that my relationship with my uBPD mother was really actually a very emotionally charged "thing" that I broke away from---but in doing so, it creates new drama where the old drama left off.  Be careful about your addiction to drama, because you can just transplant one source of drama for another, here.  Going NC, for me, was a new way of "talking about her crazy ways" and getting all upset about it, repeatedly.  I finally realized that to go NC, it meant not only not having the drama with HER due to her crazy ways, but overall, piping down about the whole wacky relationship that I had with her.  I didn't want her to still have an effect on me, even in non-speaking times! 

There was a point (and still sometimes is) where I didn't even have the willingness or energy to read/respond to posts on these boards!  All because I felt like it was just perpetuating the drama and the heightened emotions.  Now? I really screen things for emotional drama--will it provoke drama and heightened emotions? Or be a therapeutic, calming, helpful thing?  I steer clear of a lot of drama now, and that's saying something given that I never liked drama EVER... .but I avoid it intensely now!

6.  Validation:  As time passes (3 years now), I realize that hearing things through the grapevine about what my uBPD mother has "done" to others is therapeutic and validating.  My husband used to hate when I'd hear something through a family member or grapevine about "the next crazy thing" my uBPD mother had done, because it'd get me back in the cycle of talking about her/it, her hateful ways, blah blah blah.  I've definitely reduced the time spent "worrying, stewing, b**ching, etc. about her now.  Especially because now when I hear about another crazy thing she's done, it just validates why I am NC and confirms that I made the right decision.  I am detached from her now. (Other than I had to see her recently for a family funeral and that was awkward, but I had the support of my spouse and he never left my side so she couldn't worm her way alone with me and start another attack.)

7.  The Future:  I still worry about the future--as in the big questions:  What will I do when she falls ill or needs care?  What will I do if she passes and how will I handle funeral services for someone who has emotionally, verbally, and sometimes physically abused me for so many years of my life---while also sprinkling in some nice things along the way, just to keep me re-engagemented for more abuse?  How will I handle it when she needs $$, as she hasn't worked in years and has no retirement?  All those things wage on my mind, but for now, I just remain detached.

8.  Acceptance:  One thing I DO notice now, is that there is no way my uBPD mother will ever apologize, nor recognize any fault of her own in the situation that caused our relationship to fail.  So?  That helps me realize that I did everything I could, without further sacrificing my sanity, to make the relationship work.  The ball is clearly in her court and she chooses not to do anything about it.  So?  There is some genuine relief in that for me.  I tried.  The relationship failed.  I have to move forward.  My therapist actually gave me great words to live by.  She said, "It's like there's a filter in their ears--they will only hear, process and respond to things in the world that pass the filter.  They have built the filter so that some things never pass through it."   So it really gave me relief (and made perfect sense) when I realized that no matter how many times I'd try to explain my side, rationalize things with her, reason, try to make something make sense to her, etc... .that she just ignored it, denied it, etc.  It all went through a filter and some things will just never reach her, no matter how hard you try. 

9.  Preventing further drama:  The last thing that really has helped, with regard to the Smear Campaign I mentioned earlier, is that at least she has no new "stories" to smear on others about how "bad" of a daughter I am.  Because we are NC, she can't twist, contort, lie, manipulate, spread NEW (post 2006) rumors, blah blah blah about me any more.  It's funny because I hear stories about me through the grapevine that she's told--even recently---but they are all about old topics.  Things people have heard (and believed or not believed) a million times before.  They are lies, of course, but at least she isn't spreading new lies because we just merely haven't interacted!  That's been a blessing.  Yes, she can make up brand new lies (and she occasionally has), but mostly she only has old fodder to work with, and that is helpful to me.

10.   Newfound freedom and time:  Be prepared to have a lot more time and energy to devote to new interests, positive things, and improved relationships with your friends, partner/spouse, and work or hobbies.  This really is a freeing thing... .

I wish you well through your journey.  It is indeed a journey, with highs and lows.  You'll want to defend your choice a LOT to yourself and others.  Even to the BPD... .dont' expect anything positive to come of it from your BPD.  They will never "get it" no matter how hard you try to enlighten them, plead with them, state your case, fill in facts, etc. etc. etc.  But, do expect support from those who love you most.  In fact, I have noticed my closest friends are even happier (though they'd never say so) now that I don't have to constantly vent and gripe about the daily crap my uBPD mother used to dole out my way.  The daily saga will forever continue unless you break the cycle and take care of YOU.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring for me, but I am really at peace with my decision.  Yes, there are days when I feel heartsick---I long for a positive relationship with her, but I know I will not get it.  Not for long anyway, after a "honeymoon" period or whatever re-engaging she thinks is enough so that she can berate me again when I least suspect it.

Again, I wish you very well through your journey.  These boards are immensely helpful as you progress... .
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