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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSONALITY DISORDERS
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Author Topic: BPD BEHAVIORS: How it feels to have BPD  (Read 64578 times)
Mollyd
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« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2008, 11:13:33 PM »

Dr. Gregory Lestor teaches: 

The person with BPD is MISSING a sense of proportionality in life events and consistent sense of self.

These are not attributes that exist and are able to be restored through processing past victimization, but instead, need to be built as foundational in treatment.

So, whatever issues arise - the proportions and sense of consistent self of the person with BPD is not established, thus, the reactions that are so difficult.

Molly
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oceanheart
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« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2008, 10:44:17 AM »

I'm in the unique position of having lived "both sides" - the insanity of BPD and the relative sanity of post-BPD (though I'll never be "cured" of it, since it's an inextricable part of who I am now, but I am living as BPD-free as I can).

It's funny how difficult it is for me to see from that POV anymore. I had to stop going to BPDRecovery.com partially because I just couldn't relate anymore. I couldn't understand that mindset anymore, and it was difficult not to judge, truthfully.

Many people in this thread have mentioned the cognitive disconnect between the person with BPD's perceptions and the more realistic POV of the non. That's fundamental. To borrow NewLife's analogy: 2+2=somebody's trying to hurt me. Uh, that's not logical even in the realm of higher, abstract math!

People are so much in their own heads that they believe their heads are the world. Does that make sense?

I'm a big fan of separating NPD from BPD, because they are different animals. I phrase it that NPD is a crocodile: predatory. BPD is a wounded bear: enraged, hurt, lashing out. Of course neither is a "pure" category and there is overlap (a beacodile? a crocear?). But I truly believe people with NPD intend to hurt others and may even get pleasure out of doing so. To use a horrid work jargon word, they're proactive. Peoople with BPD are reactive - they're reacting out of their well-entrenched belief system (see the list of 20 negative assumptions). It's rarely ever intended to hurt, that's a consequence, not the purpose.

Sorry if I'm rambling around the topic a bit, but it's been a while since I've even thought about BPD (I've been having some trouble, but mostly have been doing really well).

I like PDQ's thoughts. "They have always had to fend for themselves". Yep, *raises hand*. Not able to count on anyone. My trust in everything that had any authority or that held hope of safety was stripped away within a very short time at a period of my life when I was extremely vulnerable and of need of protection: I couldn't rely on my parents, religion/god, the government/police, my peers, the concept of justice. Everything was stripped away and I was left like a hermit crab without a shell, so open and raw and scared and alone. I only had myself.

I've come to realise I am as emotionally unavailable as the men I chose to be my partners. I must still believe deep inside that I can only make it if I do it on my own. I'm working hard to change that now.

Anyway, I'd argue only with PDQ's supposition that they don't care (sorry if I misunderstood your point). I've come to the conclusion that they (we) do, but that in the white hot heat of a BPD moment, there is no room for "others", there's no room for empathy - it IS truly all about MEMEMEMEME. It's like your world narrows to a pinpoint of the universe of yourself. This doesn't mean that in the rest of the relationship there is no caring. I'd say they're like the gardener who thinks that mere tools will help her/him get the job done, but what s/he really needs is a partner in the business - someone who is good at landscape design while the gardner is better at uh, laying manure  grin .

discardedboyfriend (((I'm sorry))) - you talked about being a sponge vs. mirror. Excellent point from both non-POV and BPD-POV. I can't speak much about being a sponge, except in the limited time period I was with my uBPDbf (and I sure did suck it up during that sad time). But how I came to be well and mostly recovered relied on a great extent to being mirrored. Let me explain...

Growing up - for whatever reason - I became convinced I was unacceptable as a person.

The first person to love me for ME was my maternal grandmother, when I was in my early 20's until she died 3 years ago (I'm in my late 30's). The second was my closest friend, whom I met in my early 30's. He showed me I was worthwhile, even if I couldn't fully believe it then. That was before my breakdown and recovery from BPD.

Afterwards, I had 2 amazing therapists: one a warm, loving mother type (my own mom wasn't demonstrative much), the other a no-nonsense practical, nonjudgemental man (my own father wasn't involved much). And I found acceptance at BPDRecovery.com People understood! They had gone through what I had! They did the same stupid things! They were trying to get better, too! I belonged. I belonged... I was ok, maybe.

Then, I came here. And no longer was my validation coming from professional carers or good-intentioned, but still sick peers. It was coming from "normal"  wink people. I'm ok? I may even be a good person? Really? wow. Maybe I'm a good person. I was accepted for who I am. You all have my deep gratitude, y'hear me! You'll never know what that meant to me.

Now, I have friends in RL. They love me for me. I think I love me for me, too. I am an acceptable person. I am a worthwhile human being.

And so is every person with BPD. They just don't know it yet.

And so is every person who loved a person with BPD. They just have to remember it always.
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Act as if the future of the universe depended on what you did, while laughing at yourself for thinking that whatever you do makes any difference. ~a wise buddhist
ian
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« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2008, 04:42:32 PM »

I am really beginning to disagree with the notion alot of people have that BPD people are crazy through and through and that everything they do is narcissistic or psuedo-maniulative and they just fake the rest of us out. I think that the distorted thinking and negative behaviors are really situational and that alot of the time people with BPD are capable of being both rational and compassionate. It's just when really sensitive old wounds get stirred up and survival mode kicks in that these things become impaired and the past relieves itseld. I'm sure these long held habits and beliefs become significant threads running through a BP's personality, but I really think that it is not THEM.  It is just old patterns from the past and pain that is too touchy to be dealt with head on.

Yes, there can be false personas, but I also feel like after a while you can see which ones are the masks and get a sense of why they are emerging and how that relates to the person as a whole.

The more I understand about BPD the more I see that there isn't that much really special or different about it. I think for the most part BP brains function with the same structure just like nons do, except that nons have not had the same kinds of experiences. I think that the tough things about BPD are common to all of us, but just more intense and harder to cope with for some (maybe those lacking advanced coping mechanisms).
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mtn
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« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2008, 08:49:03 AM »

I think generalizations fall apart when placed against our specific circumstances.  There are so many varieties of BPD...different mixes of the traits...and when you blur the edges by recognizing other PD traits in the (ex) SO...the variations are...well, not infinite, but enough that generalizations may not hold true.

Crazy is probably not a very good term.  Disordered is probably much closer.  I like the notion of "triggering"...though in my experience, manipulation was always there - whether conscious or unconscious.  Nons can certainly exhibit PD traits...not necessarily enough to qualify for a dx (and yes, a non can be a full fledged BPD in the relationship).  But it is easy to label some of these behaviors as CRAZY...mostly because as nons we cant see the connection to reality.  Just because we can't see the connection doesnt mean the other person is crazy.  We might be disordered and/or crazy.  However, history can guide us and let us know who is disordered and who is not.  Disordered people are different from non-disordered.  Lots of recent studies are pointing to the physiological and psychological differences in the disordered.  Its not just behavioral differences, by the biochemical processing thats different. 

Unfortunately, I just don't see pharmaceutical solutions as addressing personality issues.  A drug just can't fix emotional immaturity.
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ian
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« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2008, 10:12:09 PM »

mtn, I agree with the bulk of your post but I should point out that neuroscience can also show that the brains of depressed people, adhd and people with PTSD are all visibly different from 'normal'. Differences in the brain represent differences in how a person is thinking or percieving, but that does not mean that their minds are functioning in innately different ways. I think people just get tangled up in different ways and some are alot more tangled than others. This may be optimistic, but I think everybody has all the inborn human capacities to love and emphathize, even the most sociopathic people have only learned to dissociate or suppress these things to survive.
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johnkane
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« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2008, 02:29:13 PM »

Here's what I've figured out:

The BPD sufferer treats you (the intimate non-BPD in their lives) the same way they treat themselves. Badly!

It's not just you that gets the crap!

They beat themselves up all the time! They harangue themselves! They criticize and cruelly invalidate themselves all the time! In fact, they've beaten themselves into complete submission -that /is/ BPD.

They hate their "true selves." Their true self is writhing in intense shame and they'll say to it, "Your feelings mean nothing! Your perceptions are wrong! You don't exist!"

That's how the BPD sufferer treats themselves. (Sound familiar?)

With the "real self" effectively beaten into submission, the poor BPD is left with a void! Yikes! Scary! To compensate, they just make up a new, "false self" as a substitute. And, boy, it's fragile!

If they perceive criticism or rejection -false self might not be valid- the person panics that they're about to cease to exist! And, they'll do /anything/ to protect the validity of the "false self". This is their primary motivation, 24/7/365. Must maintain false self! Must maintain false self! -even if it means being cruel and insensitive to you and/or themselves.

Inside the BPD sufferers head, whenever the "authentic self" interjects a thought or feeling that conflicts with this "false self" (e.g., hey, I made a mistake!), they just smack it down! Your feelings mean nothing! Your perceptions mean nothing! You are nothing! SMACK! (Sound familiar?)

Oh, and your relationship together? Essentially, your partner is trying to maintain this fragile "false self", keep the pesky "true self" at bay, and love you at the same time! One big happy family! Oh, joy! A fake person in constant battle with an outcast, and you.

It's completely dysfunctional and it won't work.

They're not treating you any worse than they treat themselves.

They invalidate their own perceptions and emotions all the time! What, are they then going to validate yours or something? How?

I mean, could you treat someone better than you treat yourself? How could you? Think about it. It's impossible!

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briefcase
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« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2008, 09:13:34 PM »

I think they are miserable too.  My uBPDw constantly makes little degrading snipes about herself.  Unfortunately, they have no effective way to deal with these feelings so they make everyone else around them miserable. It grinds you down. 

Just recently, I tried taking this approach with my W.  I told her I could tell she felt miserable and needed to explore things that made her happy, set goals, get a job, whatever.  She heard "You are a miserable person who needs to get a job."  She's rubbed my nose in the "insult" several times since. 

Someday, I hope she finds happiness, but I don't think she ever will.  What a tragic waste of a life. 
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johnkane
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« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2008, 10:49:11 AM »

I think we (strugglers on the board here) all feel this way. It's ultimately, I think, why we can't just get out.

There is something about being in one of these relationships. A lot of the dysfunction, I guess, is dependency issues on my part.

But, to "leave" this person, feels like leaving your child or something -it feels "haunting." I did not experience this with the two other long-term relationships I've been in.

The heartbreaking aspect of this is important to look at.

However, the intent of first post was for a different way of looking at how badly I get treated sometimes. I don't mean she's kinda moody and snapped at me or something. No, I mean evil! I mean behavior and words that look, sound, and feel like evil!

It really, really hard to have yourself emotionally open to someone who, at times, wants you to hurt. I think when she's "stressed" it makes her feel better to hurt me. I really do. She invalidates my feelings in awful, awful ways. It really screws me up.

I can get very, very angry. As in, my lower lip has scabs for a week where I've bitten it because I was so furious.

So, as a way of letting go of this anger, of validating my own feelings, is to realize that she treats herself this way too. That I am not singled out and she does this to herself. (she must feel even worse than me, no?) I find a little solace and validation in this. I have to really focus on it, but it does provide relief when I've been convinced there was none.
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« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2008, 11:02:13 AM »

It's a really interesting perspective, John.

Thanks!

Skippy
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itscomplicated
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« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2008, 11:00:53 PM »

The first time couple of times  it happened  to me, the rage, the slamming down of the phone  (I was so naive I had to call back and ask "Did you just hang up on me?   I just didn't know that an adult would actually hang up on someone), the total disconnect, I really took it personally.

But then I started to look at the BPD's life.  He had spent years with an active alcoholic, he was a workaholic spending 70 hours a week at work, he has only 4 people in his contact list on his phone, NEVER NEVER socializes, feel very uncomfortable in social settings, poor eating habits, rail thin and so critical and rigid with himself, takes great pride in the fact that no one at works ever sees his emotions.

On his day off he had this to do list that included the gym, mowing the lawn, doing household tasks - in other words, no time whatsoever for anything pleasureable or spontanious.  Honestly, what really got to me was his dress shirts for work.  They had so much starch in them that they actually made a really loud noise whenever he moved. It was like he made this bulletproof starched construct. 

Living in his mind can't be the happiest place on earth.   

I just wonder where that happy loving place comes from that sucks us in.  It is in there somewhere?  Is it just something they've seen on t.v. and emulate?

Thanks for your post.
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