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Author Topic: The Bridge (Fable) - Edwin H. Friedman  (Read 17094 times)
elphaba
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« on: November 06, 2007, 09:59:21 AM »

CHAPTER 3: THE BRIDGE

There was a man who had given much thought to what he wanted from life. He had experienced many moods and trials. He had experimented with different ways of living, and he had had his share of both success and failure. At last, he began to see clearly where he wanted to go.

 Diligently, he searched for the right opportunity. Sometimes he came close, only to be pushed away. Often he applied all his strength and imagination, only to find the path hopelessly blocked. And then at last it came. But the opportunity would not wait. It would be made available only for a short time. If it were seen that he was not committed, the opportunity would not come again.
 
Eager to arrive, he started on his journey. With each step, he wanted to move faster; with each thought about his goal, his heart beat quicker; with each vision of what lay ahead, he found renewed vigor. Strength that had left him since his early youth returned, and desires, all kinds of desires, reawakened from their long-dormant positions.

Hurrying along, he came upon a bridge that crossed through the middle of a town. It had been built high above a river in order to protect it from the floods of spring.

He started across. Then he noticed someone coming from the opposite direction. As they moved closer, it seemed as though the other was coming to greet him. He could see clearly, however, that he did not know this other, who was dressed similarly except for something tied around his waist.

When they were within hailing distance, he could see that what the other had about his waist was a rope. It was wrapped around him many times and probably, if extended, would reach a length of 30 feet.

The other began to uncurl the rope, and, just as they were coming close, the stranger said, "Pardon me, would you be so kind as to hold the end a moment?"

Surprised by this politely phrased but curious request, he agreed without a thought, reached out, and took it.

"Thank you," said the other, who then added, "two hands now, and remember, hold tight." Whereupon, the other jumped off the bridge. Quickly, the free-falling body hurtled the distance of the ropes length, and from the bridge the man abruptly felt the pull. Instinctively, he held tight and was almost dragged over the side. He managed to brace himself against the edge, however, and after having caught his breath, looked down at the other dangling, close to oblivion.

"What are you trying to do?" he yelled. "Just hold tight," said the other.

"This is ridiculous," the man thought and began trying to haul the other in. He could not get the leverage, however. It was as though the weight of the other person and the length of the rope had been carefully calculated in advance so that together they created a counterweight just beyond his strength to bring the other back to safety.

"Why did you do this?" the man called out. "Remember," said the other, "if you let go, I will be lost." "But I cannot pull you up," the man cried. "I am your responsibility," said the other. "Well, I did not ask for it," the man said. "If you let go, I am lost," repeated the other.

He began to look around for help. But there was no one. How long would he have to wait? Why did this happen to befall him now, just as he was on the verge of true success? He examined the side, searching for a place to tie the rope. Some protrusion, perhaps, or maybe a hole in the boards. But the railing was unusually uniform in shape; there were no spaces between the boards. There was no way to get rid of this newfound burden, even temporarily.

"What do you want?" he asked the other hanging below. "Just your help," the other answered. "How can I help? I cannot pull you in, and there is no place to tie the rope so that I can go and find someone to help me help you." "I know that. Just hang on; that will be enough. Tie the rope around your waist; it will be easier."

 Fearing that his arms could not hold out much longer, he tied the rope around his waist.

 "Why did you do this?" he asked again. ":)on't you see what you have done? What possible purpose could you have had in mind?" "Just remember," said the other, "my life is in your hands." What should he do? "If I let go, all my life I will know that I let this other die. If I stay, I risk losing my momentum toward my own long-sought-after salvation. Either way this will haunt me forever."

With ironic humor he thought to die himself, instantly, to jump off the bridge while still holding on. "That would teach this fool." But he wanted to live and to live life fully. "What a choice I have to make; how shall I ever decide?"

As time went by, still no one came. The critical moment of decision was drawing near. To show his commitment to his own goals, he would have to continue on his journey now. It was already almost too late to arrive in time. But what a terrible choice to have to make.

 A new thought occurred to him. While he could not pull this other up solely by his own efforts, if the other would shorten the rope from his end by curling it around his waist again and again, together they could do it. Actually, the other could do it by himself, so long as he, standing on the bridge, kept it still and steady.

 "Now listen," he shouted down. "I think I know how to save you." And he explained his plan. But the other wasn't interested. "You mean you won't help? But I told you I cannot pull you up by myself, and I don't think I can hang on much longer either." "You must try," the other shouted back in tears. "If you fail, I die."

The point of decision arrived. What should he do? "My life or this other's?" And then a new idea. A revelation. So new, in fact, it seemed heretical, so alien was it to his traditional way of thinking.

"I want you to listen to me carefully," he said, "because I mean what I am about to say. I will not accept the position of choice for your life, only for my own; the position of choice for your own life I hereby give back to you." "What do you mean?" the other asked, afraid. "I mean, simply, it's up to you. You decide which way this ends. I will become the counterweight. You do the pulling and bring yourself up. I will even tug a little from here." He began unwinding the rope from around his waist and braced himself anew against the side. "You cannot mean what you say," the other shrieked. "You would not be so selfish. I am your responsibility. What could be so important that you would let someone die? Do not do this to me." He waited a moment. There was no change in the tension of the rope. "I accept your choice," he said, at last, and freed his hands.

From "FRIEDMAN'S FABLES" by Edwin Friedman, published by Guilford Press    

Friedman's Fables
Author: Edwin H. Friedman
Publisher: The Guilford Press;  (September 28, 1990)
Paperback: 213 pages
ISBN-10: 0898624401
ISBN-13: 978-0898624403



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« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2007, 10:26:57 AM »

Elphie

WOW

I did not read that before. What a great story/metaphor. This is one that should be shared over and over.

How many if us have had that battle? How many of us have been on that place on the bridge?

How many if us refuse to let go or understand that we even have choice?

Thank you Elphie for sharing this again.

You are a true gift lady, a true gift.

Peace4us

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There are two ways of spreading light, be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. E. Warton

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« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2007, 10:46:14 AM »

Thanks so much for putting this here.  I find that it means different things, I find new meanings the further I get in my recovery.  Now I've got to learn how to print this stuff out, and/or cut and paste.  My home computer keeps telling me I am out of memory and I don't think that's a good sign.
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« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2007, 10:55:39 AM »

This was one of the pieces that truly helped me be ok with my decision to end things... .let go of the rope... .

Glad to be able to share it.
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« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2007, 12:12:39 PM »

Just a bit of a review and info on the author... .

Synopsis - Friedman's Fables

Dr. Friedman has woven 24 illustrative tales that offer fresh perspectives on familiar human foibles and reflect the author's humor, pathos, and understanding. Friedman takes on resistance and other "demons" to show that neither insight, nor encouragement, nor intimidation can in themselves motivate an unmotivated person to change. These provocative tales playfully demonstrate that new ideas, new questions, and imagination, more than accepted wisdom, provide each of us with the keys to overcoming stubborn emotional barriers and facilitating real change both in ourselves and others. Sure to intrigue and inform, this book belongs in the resource library of public speakers, teachers, trainers, and clergy, as well as general readers.


Biography

Edwin H. Friedman (1932/n-/1996), a family therapist and ordained rabbi, was born in New York City and worked for more than 35 years in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Well known in the fields of mental health and pastoral education, Dr. Friedman brought his unique blend of systems thinking, motivational style, and common sense to his highly regarded work as a consultant and leadership trainer to diverse professional and government organizations.

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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2007, 12:43:37 PM »

Again, you have offered up something to think about.

Very powerful. It is a good illustration about letting go and taking your own life back.
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2007, 01:52:34 PM »

Oh my god - oh my god... .

That's me - on the bridge!

I wrote my dBPw a letter two weeks ago - told her if she didn't commit to therapy I was divorcing her.  She agreed to go - but is dragging her heels.

That's me - on the bridge!  with no help on its way... .

I COULD let go of the rope -

I SHOULD let go of the rope -

It would be so simple... .

It would be so sane!

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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2007, 04:23:39 PM »

My former therapist gave this to me about a year ago.  After reading it for the first time (I was not involved with present BPD at the time, but getting over a narcisisstic commitmentphobe) he asked me "who is that hanging on the rope?" and I said IT'S ME!  I went on to say it could also be a thousand other people in my life that I've tried to save, but he was astounded with my "ME" answer... .he said in all his years he had never had anyone recognize that.

We can be our own worst enemies and biggest roadblocks to our own success.
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« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2007, 04:39:02 PM »

{{sigh}}} wow... .  I don't want to let go... .  I guess I am not at the end of the story yet :-(  I'm still trying - He's tugging which is good

AWESOME story :-)  Thanks!
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« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2007, 11:01:23 PM »

Thank you for posting this.  A friend of mine (who happens to be a therapist) verbally told me the Bridge story about a year ago, when I was deeply entrenched in my relationship with my BP ex.  I couldn't really hear it then, but I am out of the relationship now and it is so affirming to read this as I move forward with my life. 
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« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2009, 12:39:19 AM »

It's a great story, simple moral: Don't drag dead weight through life. It'll kill you.
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« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2009, 08:31:00 PM »

I don't want to let go, because I will miss him... .OH wow! Miss what? Miss his BS, his anger, his immaturity, his lack of love, empathy, feelings?  No I will miss the good part, the part with all those sweet kind, caring, love filled smiles... HUH? TWISTED LIFE I sit in... .

I can't let go... .but I should... .

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« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2009, 10:30:44 PM »

But likely you will let go, in time, when you're ready.  If he or she won't seek therapy or counseling and diligently apply it, then it's up to you to take action, for yourself, for the others in your life.  Meanwhile, protect yourself.  Already your eyes are being opened to the big picture.  Knowledge is empowering, so is awareness and deeper insight.  Learn and grow.  Learn and grow stronger.
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« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2009, 05:11:14 AM »

The enormous feeling of relief when you do finally let go is palpable. Like getting out from under a crushing weight.
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« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2009, 10:22:59 AM »

While exploring around the site this morning I found this old posting...it 's a story about a man on a bridge and is an excellent allegory for the situation so many of us can find ourselves in with our BPD loved ones. 

It's well worth a read.




https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=65164.0
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« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2009, 12:46:51 PM »

I'm printing this and posting it where I can read it every day.  Thank you, pennifree.
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« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2009, 02:37:05 PM »

I read it and sent it to my dad.  He's SO the man on the bridge and he won't discuss it with me at all.  He's my sister's enabler.  He feels so sorry for her and constantly asks how much more can happen to her.  He just doesn't understand that he's hanging on for dear life and she's sucking him dry.
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« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2009, 02:53:43 PM »

He feels so sorry for her and constantly asks how much more can happen to her.  He just doesn't understand that he's hanging on for dear life and she's sucking him dry.

So interesting...I was describing to my 24 yr old daughter how I feel when I allow myself to continually enable my UBPD son by giving him money to help him through every crisis.  She really startled me by telling me that I'm like a drug dealer to a heroin addict...just giving him one "fix" after another.  Although my son doesn't do drugs, he IS like an addict...hooked on one crisis after another, and I do try to fix them all to keep him going.  It's mentally and emotionally exhausting being the "man on the bridge."
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« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2009, 03:30:29 PM »

Can I ask from a parents point of view, why do yo keep on when you know that its not helping?
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« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2009, 03:31:29 PM »

dear solost12,

please figure out how to let go of the rope and save yourself!

x

lbjnltx
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« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2009, 05:07:35 PM »

Can I ask from a parents point of view, why do yo keep on when you know that its not helping?

I can give you the same answer that probably dozens of others on this site would give you...FOG.  I've learned that term since I got here.  Fear, Obligation, Guilt.  I would actually change the term to FLOG...to include Fear, Love, Obligation, Guilt.  FLOG is probably a more accurate term, because I flog myself mentally for so many things I've done wrong and for not yet being able to let go. 

The man on the bridge story is a great analogy. However, it goes so much deeper when it's your own child, your precious, beautiful child that is aching to feel "normal" and doesn't know how. From a mother's (me) point of view, we "help" even when it's not helping because it's our child.  It's watching our child suffer and wanting to stop that suffering for a moment, even if it's only for the briefest of moments.  It's feeling their pain right along with them compounded by the FOG...what will happen to him if I don't help?  Will he go to jail, will he be homeless, will be feel alone and lost and abandoned?  Will someone hurt him, will he die?  The agony that these questions bring to a parent is unimaginable and dreadful.

Common sense is a wonderful thing, and I do believe that tough love works.  I also know that I need help to "let go of the rope"...it's no easier for me to do that than it is for my unhappy, lost son to to accept and understand that his actions are self-destructive.  I KNOW I need to do this.  I'm trying, but it's extremely hard to do this alone.  That's why this support group is helping me so much and why I will surely be getting counseling myself to help me cope with my pain.  Right now this site is full of loving arms that have held onto ropes from that bridge just as I still do, and I feel no judgment or chastisement from them for doing it, only understanding and empathy.  I commented on an earlier post regarding a line that hit home with me.  It was one of the most compassionate things I've read here.  The person said: "To detach with love is the hardest thing in the world - and to nurture yourself so that you do not die from grief is even harder."  I am learning this daily...I'm just not there yet.   :'(
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« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2009, 05:25:05 PM »

dear solost,

:'(

sometimes we go around and around and around ... lost in the FLOG.

i found a map that led me out of the FLOG and into the sunlight...it's a bright and beautiful day here.  today is my BPD13's birthday.  i remember vividly and can recall the great love i felt for this precious baby girl as i rocked her in her greatgrandmothers rocking chair...her namesake.  i still love her that much today, maybe more.

i can tell you where the map is.  i can only hope that you will follow the directions and come share this bright and beautiful day with me soon.

go to the spiritual aspects board...find the thread called "letting go" started by cindy.  follow the directions...i will wait for you out here.

x

lbjnltx
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« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2009, 06:20:53 PM »

Such a powerful story.  When you are the mother...your hands grip that rope even harder.  Because that is what mother's do- much to our own health and detriment.  

I may have seemed to have let go of that rope - but my D is still with me 24/7- and I worry and feel responsible even though I feel like I let go of the rope...(nc now for a few months- ) so knowing full well that what becomes of her is not in my hands...yet AT my hand..she has been let go- and that makes me feel so helpless and afraid.  She is low functioning BPD and ill and if you imagine someone with diabetes for instance in denial- and with BPD to the max in the spectrum of BPD and over the age where a parent can be involved...it is scary.  But yeah- I guess I did let go of the rope...or so it feels like I did.

So I did some research on this Rabbi that wrote the book from which this story came and along the way-  I found this quote of his.  


"The colossal misunderstanding of our time is the assumption that insight will work with people who are unmotivated to change. Communication does not depend on syntax, or eloquence, or rhetoric, or articulation but on the emotional context in which the message is being heard. People can only hear you when they are moving toward you, and they are not likely to when your words are pursuing them. Even the choicest words lose their power when they are used to overpower. Attitudes are the real figures of speech.

"

— Edwin H. Friedman

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« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2009, 08:02:47 AM »

Thank you Solost.  I am a mother too so I can understand a lot of what you wrote and I appreciate your grief.  The BPD in my life is my sister and not my daughter so my feelings are from a totally different place and I've tried for years to understand why my parents keep on enabling her.  I try to put myself in their place and I guess I can't honestly say what I would do.  My sister has been so sick for so long that I have completely washed my hands of the situation.  I see what she is doing to my parents and I've tried so hard to tell them that this is the way that she is choosing to live.  She won't go to therapy but is at the doctor constantly for pain medication in one way or another.  They've talked to a chemical dependency interventionist but then when it comes time to actually DO something they can't.  For the only other child in this family it is very frustrating.  They will give me up, and have, before they will talk to a therapist or do anything proactive to help her.  Thanks and I truly am trying to be an understanding person.
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« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2009, 09:36:37 AM »

whiletheseasonspa

Thank you for the quote from the author of the fable.  I think it really helps to clarify why hodling onto that rope just doesn't work...and that's the part that IMHO so many of us don't get until we get help.  We keep figuring that if we just do a little more it will make the right difference to change the situation.  Through it all we don't realize that we are perpetuating the situation and actually may be making things worse.  As soon as we start to realize that we do not have to drown along with our loved one who's refusing to get help is when we best start to help them.

Just because we let go of the rope doesn't mean that they won't start to swim... eventually
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« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2009, 04:54:56 PM »

pennifree you said:  {"Just because we let go of the rope doesn't mean that they won't start to swim... eventually"}




Now it is my turn to thank you! 

I have been having a really down day - very sad and depressed and scared and hopeless  I end up with multiple days like today - very down.  I try not to be-  but it is so painful...and my 26 year old is my only child and I feel like I have lost everything...and she has been lost to this illness...and this year seemed worse than ever so all so hard to accept.

But having said that- your post- You have reminded me - okay- that maybe they might start to swim...and that = the possibility that they could maybe possibly find the way...to where they were meant to be- maybe in spite of so so so much my D has a chance. 

Now having said THAT- I  do believe that for my D the possibility is not even 50-50 but less that she could start to swim...but maybe it is not as low as I have been thinking.  Sometimes I feel like the possibility has been close to zero...

Still having said THAT - I- over the past year- have spoken  to several professionals- ( whew! now I am done with that - looking for the way to handle this as the mother of a BPD with lots of issues)   and they all say the same thing...that I have to let her go as this would be her best shot at getting well with her mental illness and her physical illness the latter of which she has really let get out of hand and then it amplifies her PD. 

Bottom line for today- - your words- that maybe they might swim on their own- just gave me a reminder- a nudge- a lift...so thank you! 

whiletheseasonspass
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« Reply #26 on: October 22, 2009, 10:34:33 PM »

  Thanks and I truly am trying to be an understanding person.

  lbmeyer...I do believe you're trying to understand.  No worries!   Smiling (click to insert in post)  I have two daughters as well as my uBPD son.  Both of my daughters struggle with what my son has put me through and where he is with his life.  My older daughter, who is 31, is especially fed up with the situation - she's very angry with him and has been for a long time.  She pointed out to me a long time ago what was happening, and I blindly thought it was just jealousy.  The things she told me about his anger and behavior when they were children (I'm a divorced mom) were things I just blew off as normal sibling rivalry.  I know that she holds a lot of resentment toward me for putting up with so much and for not taking her seriously, and she, also, has pretty much washed her hands of him.  I love her dearly but unfortunately have made sacrifices for my son that have affected her negatively. 

As a mom, that's also very painful.  I'm very close to my two sisters and always hoped my kids would have that same kind of loving relationship.  It's not to be, I'm afraid.  There really is no end to the pain that this disorder can create.  I'm pretty much at the end of my rope (ah...there's that rope again!    )  but I truly am working hard to let go.  After a lifetime of holding on for what I thought was my son's dear life, I recognize that I've made it even harder for him to get well.  If I had only let go sooner!  If I could only let go now!  I'm trying, and at least he is seeing a therapist now. 

I feel for you, lbmeyer, for what you've had to witness and deal with too. The fallout from BPD doesn't discriminate -it can affect everyone.  Is there any possibility that you can show your parents this site and maybe they can recognize themselves here and start to help themselves too?  x

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« Reply #27 on: October 23, 2009, 07:28:26 AM »

Solost,

I've talked to my dad about the site and I'm pretty sure my mom is BPD also they much milder than my sister.  I guess they would say higher functioning.  Anyway, that's a whole different story.  I've talked to them about seeing a therapist and even asked them to come to a counseling session with me.  They won't go on their own because "there's nothing wrong" with them.  They wouldn't come with me calling my therapist a quack and if my sister wasn't invited they weren't going to come and listen to me slam on her. 

This is a horrible condition.  I have this dream of a family where everyone loves each other.  To have a sister that I am close to.  I see my husband's family and they are so close and have welcomed me and made me a part of that family but it's not mine.

I completely understand your daughter's feelings.  I've been accused of being jealous, spoiled, etc, etc, etc.  I guess in a way I am jealous.  I'm jealous that I haven't had my parents' attention for many, many years, if ever and there's little or no chance of having it in the future.  And to top it off my sister just continues to spiral down.  It has been almost three years since her last suicide attempt but all the planets are lining up, I can see it coming, and pretty soon the cycle will start all over or she'll succeed this time and then the lifetime of guilt will pile on my parents and they'll still be absent from my life.

Thanks for listening.  By the way, I'm also jealous of your daughter at least she has another sister that she can hopefully have a relationship with.

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« Reply #28 on: October 23, 2009, 04:04:57 PM »

i'm the man on the bridge.

after some terrible events and years of wanting to sever ties, about a year and a half ago, i cut all communication with my mother. my step father had died a few months before, after being sequestered with my mother for a week in their house and under very weird and suspicious circumstances. he had leukemia for two years before his death. he was diagnosed just when i'd decided to break things off with my mom. my wife and i decided that we couldn't do that given my step father's illness. we made ourselves available to them until the day that he died. some very strange things happened after his death, to the point that i was actually afraid of my mother. weird things had happened before, but i'd never felt like that and i'm in my forties. so anyway, we cut ties and have not seen her for about 1 1/2 years.

i have been thankful for the time without her and much happier that i no longer have to try to reconcile her madness with my family. but i was raised to take care of her, to hold her life/feelings above all else. i have tremendous guilt and suspect it is eating away at me in ways i don't understand.

the rope has slipped over the side, but i can't help looking back to see if she is somehow still swinging there from the bridge. i am well away, but the rope burns still remain.
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« Reply #29 on: October 23, 2009, 06:17:57 PM »

My husband is the "man on the bridge" and I'm planning on showing him this.  It's so terribly hard to let go but we must do it to preserve our own lives.  But I ask, which is worse hanging on or living with the guilt once you've let go?  My husband & I are NC with BPD d since January 2009 and he can barely stand himself because of the guilt he suffers.  I am in the process of finding a counselor to help him work through his feelings. 

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« Reply #30 on: October 23, 2009, 06:30:56 PM »

This is a horrible condition.  I have this dream of a family where everyone loves each other.  To have a sister that I am close to.  I see my husband's family and they are so close and have welcomed me and made me a part of that family but it's not mine.

lbmeyer,

Dear heart, I feel your pain so much!  I'm so sorry that your family is in so much turmoil, but you are very blessed that your husband's family has welcomed you.  So many don't even have that.  It's sad but true that we can't choose our families...it's the Forrest Gump expression that life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get.  Substitute "life" for "family" in that quote and there you have it.  Please don't give up hope.  I've been enabling my son since he was a teen-ager, and I'm at last realizing the harm I've done, and I'm determined to REALLY help him by letting him take the consequences of his actions and hopefully get better through therapy, too.  So it's not too late for your parents, either.  You never know what might be the moment when one or both of them wakes up and starts making a change.  I'm glad you're here on this site.   x
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« Reply #31 on: October 23, 2009, 07:36:45 PM »

But I ask, which is worse hanging on or living with the guilt once you've let go?  My husband & I are NC with BPD d since January 2009 and he can barely stand himself because of the guilt he suffers.  I am in the process of finding a counselor to help him work through his feelings. 

There's the rub!  That's what I've been dealing with for years...basically trying to figure out the lesser of two evils, if you will.  Is it worth all the suffering and worry and financial hardship to at least keep your loved one in your life at whatever cost, or is it harder to live with the fear and guilt, possibly forever, of letting them go?

Well, right now I'm FURIOUS with my son, and I must admit the anger is decidedly more pleasant to deal with  than the tears and guilt and helplessness I'm usually feeling.  He is in counseling, and because he's 35 years old, of course all of his sessions are confidential, nothing can be shared with me, etc.  I'm fine with that - I want his therapy to be a safe place where he can say whatever he wants and hopefully get the help he needs.  He's probably had about 8 or so sessions.  I must admit I don't know what it's OK for me to share with his therapist - if anything - but there has been soo much drama going on for the past few weeks that I've been an emotional wreck.  My son has called me and cried for hours on end about his ex-gf at all hours and while I'm at work, at home, asleep, whatever. I've comforted him, listened to him, given him advice, blah blah blah...always about him because my heart has been aching for all the pain he's been going through. I've been worried about his mental state, he either calls me constantly or doesn't call me for days so I've been worried whether he's ok or suicidal.  He's lost his job, he's been arrested, he had a hearing today, he has a court date in the future, etc etc etc.  On top of this, I've just been waiting, knowing that he would be asking any day for money for groceries, money for rent, money for bills, money, money money. And that's just been over the past few weeks.  This doesn't list all times over the years I've bailed him out of jail for various things, paid for lawyers, co-signed on a car for him he had reposessed that affected my credit for years, sent him thousands of dollars over the years so that he could pay rent, bills, etc.  I've bought him furniture, I just gave him my extra TV and gave him my $300 bar stools (no, I don't need them, so it was no great loss to me, but still...), I've moved furniture for him when roommates kicked him out of the apartment for not paying rent, he's used my gas credit card without my knowledge (many years ago, but still...), he's probably bought me one or two Christmas and birthday presents in his entire adult life, and the same for even sending a birthday card (although he always has money to buy presents/cards for the current gf.) For HIS birthday this year I paid over $600 for hotels in Napa Valley for him and his gf,  and the list goes on and on and on.  It actually sickens me to write all this down...I don't think I've ever realized how much money and agony I've spent on this child of mine.  He's gone through numerous jobs, never has any money (he's always blamed that on the fact that "no one ever taught me how to handle money when I was a kid." I want to throw up and I feel like the world's biggest idiot.  He has played me and manipulated me and knows exactly what buttons to push to make me feel guilty and full of pain for him.

Now...here's the clincher...as I said above, I haven't wanted to cross any lines with his therapist, because he needs this help and I know their sessions are confidential and rightfully so.  I did send an email to his therapist the other night because I do want to start setting boundaries.  With all the drama he's been dealing with and with his severe depression over the past month, I wasn't sure whether it was safe to start setting those boundaries now (specifically about sending him money) or if I should wait until he was in a more stable place. I've never told her or shared anything with her about him other than that I'm very worried about him and that I appreciate her being there for him.  I did ask her if she could tell me if it would be harmful for him at this point if I set some financial boundaries for him because I can't go on much more with the financial and emotional roller coaster. 

Well, of course.I get a text message today: "Mom, I need some money for food. I get my unemployment check Monday."  I told him we need to talk about that.  I was hoping I would get a response from his therapist before I had to address that issue this time. He saw his therapist today and she told him that I had emailed her and that she felt awkward about responding.  Seems weird to me, but I'm not second-guessing her...she IS the therapist and maybe I crossed a line.  But of course he was upset...told me this was HIS therepy etc.  I agreed with him but did tell him I was only contacting her to see if he was in a place where some decisions could be made on my part.  I'm sure that sounded threatening to him, but then he started on a tangent of telling me how much in love with his ex-gf he is and how he RESPECTS HER FOR THE BOUNDARIES SHE'S SET FOR HIM (basically refusing to see him unless he gets his life in order - go figure!) He went on and on and on until finally I told him I GET IT! Then I said it was time for me to set boundaries too, so no more money.  I told him I'll continue paying for therapy and I had already told him I would pay to get his car fixed, so I'll stand by that, but no more money for other things.  He was so mad...began yelling, telling me I'm his mom and the only person he has.  I told him he's the reason he doesn't have anyone else.  He was incredulous..."I'M the reason?" he said.  I said yes.  So he hung up on me.  Then, a few minutes later I get a text message: "One of the MAIN reasons I am in therapy right now is because of exactly how you're being right now...my whole life you've been like this."

Aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggghhhhhhhhh!  Is this classic BPD behavior or what?  I didn't bother to answer, but I could surely respond by saying, "Yes, and this is the MAIN reason I need therapy...your whole life you've been like this."

OK, I'm sure a zillion of you are judging me now for this whole laundry list of enabling acts I've committed over the years and the crappy way he's treated me. I know I've left out a bunch of stuff...it's hard to remember it all!  And as I said, I fel like an idiot...the world's biggest fool for putting up with all this crap.  My daughters, NO ONE knows all this stuff but you...I've never admitted it all.  Boy, I need help, right?  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)

Wow it was nice to get that off my chest.  I feel better than I have in a month.   Smiling (click to insert in post)

If any of you are still reading at this point, thanks for hanging in there! 
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« Reply #32 on: October 23, 2009, 08:38:00 PM »

Dear solost12

I am soo proud of you!  You deserve a great big    for not only starting to set some boundaries but for getting all of that off your chest!  Whew!  I'm glad you've decided to be the man on the bridge no longer.

It's a decision wrought with pain but it sounds like you are feeling better about it already.  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #33 on: October 24, 2009, 11:43:28 AM »

pennifree, thank you so much for your kind words.  Of course, now that the adrenaline has subsided, I'm second-guessing myself!  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)  But not really - when I look at the list of things I wrote down about my son's behavior, I know that I'm doing the right things by starting to look after myself and set boundaries.  I'm just not sure I've done it the right way.  I'm still new enough to the BPD situation to not know what the BEST way to handle things is.  I saw a post from Randi Kreger under the Articles category about a NY Times article about BPD.  Here's part of what Randi said, "While people may rush into setting limits, it’s vital that they do some work on themselves, first. They need to know just what’s keeping them stuck. The usual suspects are fear, obligation, guilt, low-self esteem, the need to rescue, and unhealthy bonds forged by abuse (the “Stockholm Syndrome.”) It is better to set no limits at all than set limits badly, because you can actually increase the problematic behavior." 

My concern is that I rushed into setting this boundary of telling him I won't give him any more money. (I know, I know, after all these years one could hardly say I "rushed" into setting limits!  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post))  But what I mean is, I didn't do the work on myself first.  I had tried to find out from his therapist if it was OK at this point to set the boundary, but of course that backfired and my son got mad at me for communicating with his therapist. So I set the limit anyway.  I think I may have set the limit badly, as Randi says.  And to be honest, my son't response to me that I've been doing this to him all his life has a grain of truth to it.  I've gotten to a low point so many times with his behavior and set limts...and then wasn't able to stick by them. So I've compounded the situation, and as Randi says, I may have actually increased the problematic behavior. 

Gosh, I'm tired of this stuff consuming me!  I'm going to go get my hair cut and have a "me" day! (I can't even tell you how selfish that sounds to me - my son has no food and I'm going to get my hair cut and have a "me" day.)  I have GOT to get into therapy for myself!  Thanks as always for listening, dear friends! 
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« Reply #34 on: October 25, 2009, 05:32:09 AM »

Oh Solost12!  I feel ya  x!

You did the right thing.  I just had to chuckle when read this quote:

"One of the MAIN reasons I am in therapy right now is because of exactly how you're being right now...my whole life you've been like this."

My BPD 21 yr old daughter has said those exact words!  I could list just as many "gifts".  The last one was a trip to Vegas for her 21st birthday.  She spent most of her time texting & talking to her boyfriend at the time.  Very annoying!

Glad you took a "me day"!  You deserve it.  Sounds like you've had enough of the rescuing.  I know I sure have had enough.

I hope your week gets even better    x

JustWantMyJoyBack
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« Reply #35 on: October 25, 2009, 09:27:27 AM »

 x  solost12,

When they hang up I've learned that what I just is said is right on target. Then the hard part is to leave the silence in place and not call or text back!  I have learned so much here that has helped me to let go more and more, yet also has allowed me to keep loving my D23.

Worry about doing it "right", is she ready for my boundaries, etc etc etc - all that does is freeze me into having my hot buttons pushed and totally giving myself away to my D. I have been really working on taking my life back, rebuilding my relationship with my dh that I was sacrificing for my D as well, and focusing on what is best for my precious GD4 that dh and I have chosen to raise. But you can't wait until you get it all "right" to start setting the boundaries, and none of us is perfect in sticking to them. So choose what you  are willing to help with, and then do your best to say no to eveything else then leave the room or say I am hanging up now when the heat turns on. And keep reading the books and articles and reading the posts here and pposting to get it off your chest.

And the calls to the therapist - man have I been there. And the therapist always lets my D know I called and left a really long message about "my side of the story". But I start my message out stating I know there can be no reply as this is a confidential relationship with D, but I also know she does not tell the  "whole story" and really need my side spoken out loud. And I have no shame about it when D brings it up after a therapy session and I remind her that I don't expect any response from the T.

One of my commitments is to provide transportation for my D to her appts., but I have set the limit that it has to be on Wed or Fri when I am not working - and I buy her bus passes for public transportation so she can choose to go without me - so i sometimes get the full blast of it after the session, then she ends up on the curb walking or getting the bus home! I have even called the police to get her out of my car when she refused stop yelling at me. I pull over and get out of the car and wait for her to calm down or leave! Learning to do this and not feel bad about it has sure been a difficult process, but it works. Then i fall apart later when she is not around. Poor dh  :'(
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« Reply #36 on: October 25, 2009, 09:36:58 PM »

dear solost,

a boundary is only set badly if the cost in consequences is one you are not willing to pay.

the first boundary i ever set was done unknowingly.  (i hadn't read swoes yet or come to this site as my d had not been dx with BPD yet)  it was no small boundary either. it pertained to her threats of suicide  and threatening to run away.  i told my d every time you threaten to kill  yourself i will call the police.  every time you run away i will call the police.  and i have only had to do that once.  that's all it took.  i do have a history of say-what-you-mean-and-mean-what-you-say behavior.  if i say it, i'll do it and d knows this. perhaps that is why boundaries work so well in our situation.  if you have a mixed history of inconsistent follow through it may take more time to establish firm boundaries.  the more boundaries you put down and follow through on the quicker the BPD will catch on.  my history was started a long time ago when d was just a 3 yr. old so she has had a lot of experience with boundaries too.

sometimes you just have to jump in and lay it on the line.  stick with your decision. if you need to start small.  like :  "this is the last time i will come pick you up after 10:00pm.  from now on you will need to find another ride or stay where you are"  and the next time he calls at 10:00pm remind him of your boundary and don't go get him...period!  so what if he rages, so what if he blames you because he had to pay someone for gas.  SO WHAT! 

every time you are consistent he has a learning opportunity.  every time you protect yourself from use and abuse he has an opportunity to learn that other people have rights and feelings too.  every time you choose not to engage in an argument he can learn that people have choices in their behavior and he does too.  every time you are consistent, protect yourself, and walk away with dignity you grow stronger in your ability to help him.  if you can do all these things with one boundary, your can do them with 10 or 20.  boundaries are about you and they are a great life lesson for our BPD's that we so much want to help.

don't be afraid.  think about all the possible consequences.  keep a clear perspective and what the goal is,.  don't get lost in the sauce.  you can do it.  it is part of letting go of control and letting our children learn how the real world works.

be the strong person you are inside.  you must be very strong to have made it this far.  draw on your love for your son and your hope for him.  that is what gives me the courage to let go and lay it all out for my BPD13.  i believe in her ability to be whole!

x

lbjnltx
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« Reply #37 on: October 25, 2009, 09:58:54 PM »

Have had a great weekend and felt so free! My son hasn't tried to contact me all weekend since the accusing text message he sent me Friday. Until today.  He called a few hours and I didn't answer the phone. My stomach dropped and I literally felt my good mood start draining away as all kinds of worries starting eating at me.  I felt myself shaking and it was if I had a weekend pass and now it's time to go back to prison.  I couldn't bring myself to answer the phone because I just didn't want it to start all over again.

I imagine he was calling to

a) apologize and ask for money

b) not apologize and ask for money

c) tell me that he's starving because he has no food in the house and ask for money

d) fill me in on a new drama in his life and ask for money

e) update me on the current drama and ask for money

f) tell me how depressed and alone he is and how I'm the only person he can turn to and ask for money

g) none of the above and ask for money

h) none of the above and pretend everything's allright and NOT ask for money.  But call me back tomorrow and ask for money. 

He posted an obscure message on his Facebook today that said he is "is tired, tired of everything... tired of trying, tired of caring, absolutely f'ing tired."  (One of his friends posted back inviting him to a BBQ today...so at least he had the opportunity to eat today!)

My stomach is still in knots because the "what if's" are swimming around in there..what if he really can't take it anymore and endangers himself?  What if he really is in trouble and I didn't pick up the phone and I haven't called him back?  What if... what if... what if...my head is swimming, my heart is racing  and my nerves are on edge and I feel like a terrible mother because I've cut him off financially out of the blue. 

I really love him, and somewhere deep inside me is the very real belief that I brought this person into the world and that makes me responsible for him forever.  I'm struggling with this spiritually as well as emotionally.  Trying to be strong...reading posts here and all the stuff I've printed to keep me sane and strong.  I also keep reading "the list" I wrote in the earlier post.  That's kind of like a splash of cold water every time I read it. 

I guess I just want him to know he isn't all alone. Funny...the message he posted on his Facebook page is exactly how I feel...so f'ing tired.
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« Reply #38 on: October 25, 2009, 10:05:02 PM »

lbjnltx,

I didn't see your post until I just posted mine.  Wow...I so envy your ability to stick to the things you say and follow through on them.  That's truly awesome and I have no doubt that if I had done this years ago we wouldn't be in the place we are right now.  But hindsight is 20/20.  Your post makes me feel stronger and makes so much sense.  I need to set boundaries I can live with and start small if I have to.  I'm going to remember this.  Thank you!  It's amazing what I'm learning here!   x
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« Reply #39 on: October 25, 2009, 10:06:54 PM »

dear solost,

go easy on yourself.  you brought him into this world and have tried to teach him what he needs to know to survive in it.  you have given him the tools he needs to fix himself.  you have carried him and his burdens when he could not.  you showed him how...now he must take charge of him and try.  if you rescue him, you rescue him from learning.  if you truly believe that he will try to take his own life call 911.  that is all you really can do.  

be strong!   Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

lbjnltx
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« Reply #40 on: October 25, 2009, 10:12:59 PM »

Have I told all of you here how wonderful you are and how brave you are and how much I appreciate you?  I feel a kinship here that I've never felt before.  I have to keep saying it...thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you for sharing your stories and for building me up when I'm so down.

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« Reply #41 on: October 26, 2009, 07:37:53 AM »

Solost,

One more thing I'd like to add...you have two other children that you have raised and they're not calling expecting you to bail them out at every turn.  I'm assuming that you raised them all the same way so...you CAN'T be a bad mother.  You have two other children without the drama and chaos in their lives.  Look at that and know that they still need you too.  They deserve to have a mom that loves them too.  Your son will do what he decides to do and like lbjnltx said, if you truly believe he is in danger call 911.  You do deserve to have a life and to take care of yourself too!  Also, you mentioned therapy for yourself.  You can't imagine how much it will help you.  It isn't easy but if you're willing to do the work with a good therapist you will feel so much better!
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« Reply #42 on: October 26, 2009, 09:14:23 AM »

dear lbmeyer,

welll put!

x

lbjnltx
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« Reply #43 on: October 26, 2009, 09:14:12 PM »

you have two other children that you have raised and they're not calling expecting you to bail them out at every turn.  I'm assuming that you raised them all the same way so...you CAN'T be a bad mother.  You have two other children without the drama and chaos in their lives.  Look at that and know that they still need you too.  They deserve to have a mom that loves them too. 

Thanks, lbmeyer.  This is an important reminder to me and I appreciate it.  Actually, I believe my older daughter does have quite a lot of anger and resentment built up inside toward me (and probably her dad, too) that shows itself by her words when we disagree on things.  However, this is nothing like my son's problems.  She is very independent and happy in her life otherwise and we have a good, loving relationship.  The more I study this situation with myself and my son, the more I understand that much of any anger that she may feel is because of what she's probably perceived as favoritism that I've exhibited toward her brother, and how I have allowed him to disrupt my life.  I mentioned this in a post above. She and my son also, unfortunately, had to live through some very unpleasant and sometimes violent arguments between their dad and myself when we were married.  Luckily, I got out of that mess, but of course there was fallout for everyone. No doubt this may have exacerbated my son's BPD and emotionally hurt my daughter. I have lots of fences to mend there, but I don't believe it's too late.  I would love for her to get some therapy too, to be able to express that anger and maybe understand this whole mess a little bit .  Maybe someday.   Smiling (click to insert in post)

My younger daughter is indeed a an emotionally healthy person and really seems to have her head on straight.  She was so young when her dad and I were married and divorced that she doesn't have any bad memories or anger toward us.  She went through normal teenage angst and hormonal drama  (I often wanted to rip her head off!  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)) and got through it with a wonderful attitude toward life and love.  She has actually told me many, many times what a great mom I am (wow, can't tell you how great that makes me feel!) and we are very close.

So...maybe I'm not such a terrible person after all.     I've made MANY misktakes and there is much that I would love to change about my own past behavior, but I think that's pretty normal. 

lbmeyer, you spoke truly when you said my other kids need me, too.  I do love them so much and all three of my kids deserve a mom who is there for them in a healthy way.   Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #44 on: October 26, 2009, 09:30:53 PM »

Can I ask from a parents point of view, why do yo keep on when you know that its not helping?

I can give you the same answer that probably dozens of others on this site would give you...FOG.  I've learned that term since I got here.  Fear, Obligation, Guilt.  I would actually change the term to FLOG...to include Fear, Love, Obligation, Guilt.  FLOG is probably a more accurate term, because I flog myself mentally for so many things I've done wrong and for not yet being able to let go. 

How like we as parents, to flog ourselves over our children! (if I were an emoticon, I'd be doing a wry wink)

I think your definition hits it dead on. It certainly describes the way I feel dealing with my PD daughter.

-GG
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« Reply #45 on: January 02, 2010, 12:52:58 AM »

I don't want to let go, because I will miss him... .OH wow! Miss what? Miss his BS, his anger, his immaturity, his lack of love, empathy, feelings?  No I will miss the good part, the part with all those sweet kind, caring, love filled smiles... HUH? TWISTED LIFE I sit in... .

I can't let go... .but I should... .

I'm so So SO familiar with the ambivalence present in this post.

The bridge, the rope... .I let go just recently. The craziest part is that I STILL find myself in the midst of the same ambivalance I struggled with throughout much of the relationship. :'( But I did let go of the rope.

Now if only I could figure out how to turn away from the side and keep walking across, walking forward on the journey. Right now I feel just left horrified by the whole situation, cowering in the exposure and the cold in the middle of the bridge.

The fable is fantastic, but it does seem that there is one part missing from it. The pts that results from the experience. The man in the fable who let go of the rope could surely not have let go and then just moved on in life blithely and without suffering ongoing struggles with remorse, "if only" questions, etc. The fable is great, but that part feels a little less real than human. ?
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« Reply #46 on: July 12, 2010, 10:54:00 PM »

After a talk with my counselor, I finally get what this metaphor is about.  

My uBPD wife made a choice on how she wants to treat me.  At some point, I will need to tell her that if things don't get better in 5 to 7 years (after the kids have grown up), I'm out of here.  

I'm tired of being her punching bag.  This isn't love, it's madness.

And so the journey continues...

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« Reply #47 on: July 12, 2010, 11:02:47 PM »

That's the first time I've ever read that.

Most perfect metaphor ever.

I hope things improve for you. x
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« Reply #48 on: July 12, 2010, 11:12:31 PM »

And what about the kids, what example can you set for them?

She won't change, not until she HAS to.  And even then, she still may not take the path toward recovery.  Telling her, "In 5 to 7 years, if... then..." virtually guarantees more conflict for another 5-7 years.  We all wish it would be her long anticipated wake up call, but experience tells us otherwise, especially if she can coast along as she is and doing just as she pleases for another few years.

When I asked, what can you do for the kids, I was thinking of this quote...

The book Solomon's Children - Exploding the Myths of Divorce, published 1986, sheds light on the decades-long misguided policies that presumed that the mother was always the better parent.  (In your case, you are the better parent.)  Page 195 quotes one participant, As the saying goes, "I'd rather come from a broken home than live in one."

I'm just saying, if the suffering goes on and on, what example will the kids have concerning marriage?  What sort of spouses will they seek?  Sure, they may think they would never get into the same predicament, but somehow the children gravitate into relationships all to similar to what they grew up around.
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« Reply #49 on: July 13, 2010, 06:16:32 AM »

This brings out the whole basis of ENLIGHTENMENT and of buddhism, that is to LET GO.

Let go of our guilt that others put on us (like BPD SO, or our children). LIke the man in the bridge story "I am YOUR responsibility". CHildren also put the same guilt on us as well.

Let go of the guilt WE PUT ON OTHERS AS WELL.
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« Reply #50 on: July 13, 2010, 08:52:54 PM »

During an arguement this evening, she told me that our marriage was "done" ten years ago.  She has no interest in forgiving each other, being gracious, and building something better.

Ten years ago was when I told her I didn't want anymore children.  Apparently, any husband worth his salt would have given his wife a fourth child, especially if it was for the purpose of having a baby girl (3 boys weren't enough).

Since I told her no, I've been fair game for sarcasm, anger, etc.

She has made her choice.  Just a matter of time before I let go of the rope. 
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« Reply #51 on: October 07, 2010, 11:53:16 AM »

The fable is fantastic, but it does seem that there is one part missing from it. The pts that results from the experience. The man in the fable who let go of the rope could surely not have let go and then just moved on in life blithely and without suffering ongoing struggles with remorse, "if only" questions, etc. The fable is great, but that part feels a little less real than human. ?

Wow to the fable, which I just read, and I'm replying in part because I suspect this will "move up" the fable so more can see it.  What a fitting metaphor.  Also, DownTheRabbitHole's point is well taken.  The way I read it, and we all have our own interpretations, none more right than the other, is the end is simply:   " 'I accept your choice,' he said, at last, and freed his hands."  The end is not, "and then, he continued his journey, got exactly what he wanted, and lived happily ever after."  So, I don't rule out there were consequences, emotional or otherwise, with his choice to let go.  But, they had to have been better than certain death.  A death that he chose to avoid.  A death that would have been "caused" by another.   It's a no-brainer trade.   I have no illusions about emerging from this ordeal unscathed.  Quite the contrary, this experience will shape me and my S7 for the rest of our lives.  We just have to make the best of what we have, and understand what it is we have, and more importantly, what it is we don't have as a result of letting go.  I hope to continue to participate on this board, for years to come.  Today is October 7, 2010, and I have no certainty what the future holds, but I do have an idea.   I look forward to looking back to this very post, mine right here, and seeing how my journey, and that of my son, continues.   For those who may be interested, I found this topic, story and thread as a result of a wise and perhaps weathered poster, DavidWebb.
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« Reply #52 on: October 13, 2010, 11:03:07 AM »

to let go of the rope may not mean to cut the BPD out of your life... .perhaps it will mean to "accept the choices" of a BPD... .to let go of the feeling or belief that one is responsible for the choices of a BPD... .that one has to fix the BPD... .

i let go of the rope that my daughter handed me... .through radical acceptance... .i am and will remain healthy and strong no matter what she says or does/doesn't do... .when i let go... .i was able to extend help to her and at the same time not fret over whether she accepts it or not/gets better or not... .letting go of the rope doesn't necessarily equal letting go of the relationship.

just my experience.

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« Reply #53 on: October 24, 2010, 10:09:25 PM »

WOW.  Just saw this for the first time.

Thanks.

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« Reply #54 on: October 27, 2010, 01:34:09 PM »

to let go of the rope may not mean to cut the BPD out of your life... .perhaps it will mean to "accept the choices" of a BPD... .to let go of the feeling or belief that one is responsible for the choices of a BPD... .that one has to fix the BPD... .

i let go of the rope that my daughter handed me... .through radical acceptance... .i am and will remain healthy and strong no matter what she says or does/doesn't do... .when i let go... .i was able to extend help to her and at the same time not fret over whether she accepts it or not/gets better or not... .letting go of the rope doesn't necessarily equal letting go of the relationship.

Great point Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #55 on: October 29, 2010, 12:11:25 PM »

Wow... .so that pretty much sums it up! I can still remember when I began that journey, nothing in my way, nothing holding me back to achieving my life's aspirations.  Then came the bridge, and then the stranger, and then the rope, and before I knew it I was leaning against that bridge just trying to brace myself... .hold on long enough to figure out a solution.  I'm still holding onto that rope watching my uBPDh hang, like dead weight.  My back is beginning to hurt and my footing isn't quite stable... .but I'm still holding on.  Right now, I have hope that my h will begin to pull himself up as today he loves me... .tomorrow I may be more willing to let go as he inevitably will hate me.  Nonetheless, I'm getting tired, but this family I have found here is giving me the strength to get closer to the "right answer" for me Smiling (click to insert in post)

Thank you family... .you are loved!
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« Reply #56 on: August 06, 2012, 01:42:45 AM »

ouch!
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« Reply #57 on: August 06, 2012, 09:51:12 AM »

Thank you for posting this  lbjnltx!  I have heard a few people make reference to it, and wondered what the story was about.  I get it...and so many of us on this board feel that responsibility for our children.  The thought of letting go of the rope is so heartbreaking when you know the consequences, but it is ultimately their life and they need to own the decisions they make throughout it.  I really like the part where he makes suggestions on how to help himself - and they are rejected/ignored (I can so relate).  This is definitely a good metaphor to remember when we feel the weight of responsibility for our children! Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #58 on: August 07, 2012, 07:02:20 AM »

llbjnltx,

Thank you for printing that. It is such a heartbreaking decision to make. I think sometimes we should let go, but oh its so hard.

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« Reply #59 on: August 07, 2012, 01:20:55 PM »

Yes mymiracles,

It is so very very hard.

We have to ask ourselves "How will it help her if I go down with her?"

lbjnltx
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« Reply #60 on: August 07, 2012, 04:55:42 PM »

There was a man who had given much thought to what he wanted

from life.

"You can't always get what you want." Hardly anyone does. But you can sometimes make a good life anyway.

He could see clearly, however, that he did not know this other.

I do know this other. She is part of me; I gave birth to her. That child is still in there, no matter who she seems to be now.

We have to ask ourselves "How will it help her if I go down with her?"

She carries my grandchild in her arms. If I can hang on long enough, the grandchild may be able to pull himself up. If I let go, they will both be lost.

"I accept your choice," he said, at last, and freed his hands.

Free hands at the price of a permanently broken heart. 

Not everyone will come to the same decision.  Not everyone has to.  There is no right answer that fits all.
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« Reply #61 on: August 07, 2012, 08:12:04 PM »

lbjnltx,

Sorry if my reply came across as argumentative. I didn't mean to criticize anyone's view of BPD or their choices about how to respond.  It was also clear who the author is. 

There are many ways to respond to this dilemma, and many points that could be open to interpretation, which is probably why the story was written in the first place. It's a story that may fit for some, but not for all.  I only meant to make the point that it's OK to make a different choice.
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« Reply #62 on: August 07, 2012, 08:31:10 PM »

Yes Violet,

It is ok to make a different choice.

Instead of losing yourself in the chaos and pain of loving someone with BPD we can learn skills, stay centered, have compassion tempered by healthy boundaries.  We can create the most loving environment in which our beloved children can choose to heal.  We can show them what healthy living/healthy thinking/healthy choices look like by modeling these for them.

The point is...if we lose ourselves and can't be there for them in a healthy way how could we help them.

In your case with your precious grandchild...he needs you to be ok for him now...even if his mother chooses not to help herself your stable and loving presence in his life is extremely important. 

Excerpt
She carries my grandchild in her arms. If I can hang on long enough, the grandchild may be able to pull himself up. If I let go, they will both be lost.

There are many ways/ideas/beliefs that we may have to let go of...it is not necessarily a "cutting them out of my life" action.

We may need to let go of the idea that we can change them, control them, are responsible for their thoughts, feelings, behaviors.  We may need to let go of rescuing them.  We may have to let go of guilt in order to heal and learn to take care of self.

Let go of whatever keeps us stuck.

When your precious grandchild is able to pull himself up, he will need people to reach for.  He will need you to be strong, wise, loving, and healthy.



lbjnltx
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« Reply #63 on: August 08, 2012, 04:43:41 AM »

Not everyone will come to the same decision.  Not everyone has to.  There is no right answer that fits all[/quote]
thanks for reminding me of these things.

thursday
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« Reply #64 on: August 09, 2012, 11:09:16 AM »

I had two different therapists (who had talked to both my daughter and me, just short term) tell me, "let go of the rope".  I'm not sure if they were referring to this story or not.  I think they meant that I should realize that I had to relinquish my struggle to control this situation with dd over which I had no control.

I now have a new therapist who I have talked to for a bit longer than the others and more extensively.  She told me that I am a lighthouse.  Not controling the situation but providing some safety in warning against the rocks.  But then I came up with a better metaphor for my particular situation (perhaps this will help others, too).

When my dd was younger she used to go rock climbing, not really on cliffs but in a gym with high walls and handholds to pull up on.  My role was the belayer.  I would hold the safety rope and watch as she worked to find a pathway to pull herself up to the top of the wall.  If she would slip, my hold on the rope prevented her from free-falling to the floor.

So, no, I will not let go of the rope.

As of now, my daughter is struggling but she is still trying to climb.

This is a role I can feel comfortable with.  I am the belayer.

More here on belaying:  www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belaying  
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« Reply #65 on: August 09, 2012, 11:56:38 AM »

Excerpt
If she would slip, my hold on the rope prevented her from free-falling to the floor.

What do you do to keep yourself strong enough to keep your hold on the rope?

lbjnltx
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« Reply #66 on: August 09, 2012, 01:52:26 PM »

Excerpt
If she would slip, my hold on the rope prevented her from free-falling to the floor.

What do you do to keep yourself strong enough to keep your hold on the rope?

lbjnltx

I do have a therapist now, and that has helped.  Helped me to wrap my mind around all this and helped me to set some healthy boundaries with dd.  :)h and I have a strong and supportive relationship.  I have good friends.  I work and have access to excellent health insurance for me, dh, and dd.

My dd doesn't live with me and so I don't get the day-to-day drama.  Usually, it's short bursts of drama now and again as dd and her boyfriend go from one crisis to another - some small - some larger.

They really are trying to get their lives on an even keel.  Complicated by the fact that bf has many health issues including lymphoma, too sick to work and will soon lose his health insurance.  :)d working 2 jobs and still not enough money to live on, so she's stressed by this as well as her own mental issues.

Life has kicked them around and continues to.

My task is to love and support them emotionally without letting them drag me into the hole with them.  

Dd is not dead-weight on the rope.  She is climbing, trying to find the path.  If she slips I choose to be there to break the fall.  I am strong enough to do this, because the belayer is not only attached to the climber, she is securely anchored to the floor, as well.  

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« Reply #67 on: August 09, 2012, 01:58:13 PM »

Wonderful pattyt!

When we are healthy ourselves and have strong and healthy boundaries then no matter the weight on the other end of the rope...we are strong enough to hold firm and not fall ino the hole with them.

When we are not strong enough...that is when we may need to let go ... even if temporarily while we learn skills, gain understanding of them and ourselves, and become strong enough to pick up the metaphoric rope and lead them (or drag them Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)) towards better lives.

lbjnltx
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« Reply #68 on: February 04, 2015, 07:42:03 AM »

My BP husband's therapist told me about this story and so I went looking for it and of course I found it here on bpdfamily! 



  • Why did the man take the rope from The Other in the first place?  Curiosity?  Intrigue?  Perhaps.  When you meet an "other" on a bridge, they can be pretty charming and charismatic and by the time you're holding that rope it pretty much doesn't matter anymore!

  • Why him?  "The Other" didn't jump off that bridge until he had someone to hold the rope.  The rope was just long enough to keep both from dying, but too long to allow the man on the bridge to pull The Other up to safety. Presumably, The Other was able to size up the person to whom he would hand the rope and knew before he jumped that he wasn't jumping to his death. 

    • Why did the man on the bridge hold on for as long as he did?  So-called "vested interest"?  Maybe.  Does it matter?  Probably not.  What matters most is that in order to make it to that opportunity which awaits, he has to resolve this situation one way or another.  His plan would have saved both men, but it required the commitment of The Other to work and he would be forever stuck there holding that rope if he were to wait for that.  Instead, his decision emancipated them both.  

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« Reply #69 on: November 05, 2019, 10:02:14 AM »

Having cut loose my first BPD husband, who would alternate between suicidality and abusiveness, it turns out that he was fully capable of swimming until he could find the next person who would pick up the rope.
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« Reply #70 on: November 08, 2019, 09:05:15 PM »

The Rope Story-from God's mouth to my ears! Couldn't have come at a better time! Thanks! <3
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