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Author Topic: CAUSE: Driven by low self-esteem?  (Read 8080 times)
oceanheart
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« on: December 19, 2007, 11:36:19 AM »

Reading some threads here and over at Resouces for Individuals with BPD]BPDR[/url] (the forum for folks with BPD who are focused on getting better), it occurred to me how so much BPD behavior is based on low self-esteem. I'm not talking the transitory doubts we all have at times - Am I attractive? Do people like me? Do I do well at my job? Am I a good person? Do I smell nice and fresh? Smiling (click to insert in post) - but a fundamental, pervasive, and brutal self-hate.

"Good", a non might be thinking about saying to their BP, "cus you're a sht!"

Ok, true. Lots of times.

There are some people who, when they are miserable, seek to relieve their suffering by dumping it on other folks.

There are some people who, when they are miserable, delight in seeing others suffer. There's even a German word for it: schaedenfruede: "dark joy" in the suffering of others. How sadistic is that? It's almost inconceivable for normal, loving people: how could you want someone else to be hurting, especially someone you supposedly love?

But - and this is just my opinion and I sure ain't no expert, but I am a smart cookie - even those horrible witchy/turdly BPs fit into the first category, but not the second. Those in the second category are the ones with NPD/ASD.

Someone here recently posted it was hard for them to understand that BPs are in as such constant emotional torment as they supposedly are. In the BPD literature, I've heard it described as "emotional haemophilia" and like having emotional 3rd degree burns over your whole body. It's like being without skin: every nerve is exposed and so much as a whispered breath on your vulnerable skin causes agony. That's another idea that is hard to grasp, especially given their (our) external behavior. How can someone so mean and nasty actually be hurting that badly? Are they really hurting that badly? Gimmie a break, they can't be hurting that badly!

Say you were in a war - no disrespect meant to the veterans here on bpdfamily.com for the following analogy - and during combat you received shrapnel. Forget the logistics of it and say that a sliver of metal got lodged deep inside your body. After you recovered from the major wounds, you went on with your duties and your life. But slicing at the tender tissue at the very core of you was this piece of sharp hardness.

At first, as you're healing you think the pain is from the visible wounds inflicted by the explosion. But as you go on, you notice it's not going away but is actually getting worse. You don't know what's wrong - you're not aware of the presence of the sliver, the xrays didn't pick it up somehow, it's as if it's become so much a part of you that it's akin to your own bones or muscles - something you're made from.

It hurts all the time, in a fundamental, deep-down place. You can't get comfortable, every position makes it hurt more. You can't sleep because it's always present. You can't ignore it and live your life. You don't know why you hurt but no one else seems to be bothered by pain like yours. It doesn't seem fair: how they live their lives and seem happy and have no idea what you're going through. Half of them don't believe you when you tell them how bad it is. Many seem not to care. And those who do care can do nothing to ease your pain.

You are wounded and you want it to stop but you don't know how to make it stop and you lash out like a scared child or a wounded animal because you don't know what else to do. You only know you want it to stop.

I realise this may not make much sense to people. I don't feel this way. But I once did. It wasn't just the sliver inside, which for me was from childhood events (and other people had more than just slivers - they had chunks of metal inside from what they had to go through). It was that everything reminded me of what I didn't have: a sense of being acceptable and a good person and worth loving. Every action made it hurt worse inside.

I'm very introspective today, I'm not quite sure why. It's a really lovely day outside actually. Probably many of you don't want to hear this right now, about how many people with BPD are suffering. That's ok. I'm not asking for forgiveness - well, not for anyone but myself, maybe. Right now I'm struggling to remove as delicately as I can that sliver. It calls for me forgiving others whom I'm reluctant to forgive. But not forgiving is like pushing the sliver back in, isn't it? And that's madness. And poison to my system. So, I'm taking it out. Because I want to be healthy. Because I love who I am. Finally. I've almost got the darn piece of metal out, too.

In the end, I think that's what it'll take - somehow coming to love ourselves (nons & BPs alike - hell, the whole darn world, too) and realising that the explosions we set off to maim ourselves and to wound others, are injuring vulnerable, feeling, and real human beings.
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minion

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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2007, 02:03:02 PM »

Oceanheart,

As the mother of a daughter who is too young to be diagnosed but suffering nonetheless, I appreciate your ability to put into words what a person with BPD thinks and feels. The more I understand, the better chance I'll have of finding a way to help her.

Thank you for your openness and willingness to talk about your own experiences.

And yes, it is a beautiful day today.
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turtle
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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2007, 02:09:27 PM »

Oceanheart --

Thank you for posting this.  The idea of BPD is still very, very difficult for me to wrap my brain around and as usual, your insights give me a tiny vision of what it must be like for the BPD sufferer.

I'm glad that you are doing so well in your recovery.  I sure wish that the BPD in my life would've given recovery a try, but he did/would not.  He chose to stay disordered over me (or anything remotely postive.)  I think that's the hardest part about all of this for me is that he is miserable, he knows he's miserable, he's grown comfortable being miserable, he hates himself and makes no bones about that, his life is a shambles, yet he will do NOTHING to help himself. I used to grieve about that, but as time has gone on, I've moved on with my life.  By refusing ANY help at all, he left me no other choice.

You are a gem, Oceanheart.  I think it's marvelous how you can come here and read all the things we say and still offer such insight.  

I'm soo glad you're here.

Turtle

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waylander
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« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2007, 02:13:15 AM »

one of the things she used to say to me is , i have low self esteem , if i told her how i felt about her , she said why, i think after reading here i learned that she does not like her'self so how on earth could i tell her she was beautiful , still makes me sad, and sadly i still have anger , although as i learn and stay no contact my anger get's better , i am trying hard to learn about myself as well , meeting her has been a real wake up call for my life as well , never did i think i would be on a site like this posting reading and learning , all because i loved someone who never even liked her'self , life is full of twists and turns , cheers... .w
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Bitzee
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« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2007, 02:59:01 AM »

I always knew his pain, Oceanheart, I always did.  And I held His terror inside me;  I couldn't handle it.  He was once such a beautiful little boy.  It wrung my heart.  I mean, I always saw that child in there.  I don't know how he managed to go on with so much fear inside him.

Well, anyway, he nearly destroyed me.  And he would do nothing to help himself.  I had to leave him... .and he tore me to pieces.

I guess I'm just saying I always understood his pain, but that didn't deter him from lashing out at me.  And my understanding half drove me mad.  I couldn't afford to understand.  I couldn't afford to empathize with this person who was intent on hurting me.  You have to turn it off in self-defense.

I am so glad you were able to find the worthiness inside you that motivated you to seek help.  And I'm so glad you are here to show everyone that recovery really can happen.
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renaissance
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« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2007, 04:22:26 AM »

oceanheart, yes i would like to think that you're in great company here. this isn't a group of people here ranting simply because they hate the current or former BPD-sufferer in their life, but because we all seek understanding. personally, i'm filled with utter grief and compassionate feelings for what unspeakables my former partner endured to acquire BPD, but even those here who profess a hatred towards their formers are just hurt... perhaps lacking understanding they just lash out. you have over 200 posts... you're not ignorant to these facts... i just want you to count me as another who doesn't know you from adam, but is pulling for you in your own recovery. certainly we "non's" are far from perfect... most are co-dependent or have some issue or another - no one gets out of this life unscathed. anyway, i digress... just wished to say keep up the good work. prayers and blessings to you...    
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« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2007, 07:49:47 AM »

Oceanheart... .My exuBPDgf talked openly about her low self esteem and seemed to use it as a tool for gaining reassurance... .my only wish is that she would have talked openly and honestly about the rest of her past /issues... .at the end of our 4 year relationship she came very,very close even talking about BPD... .the trouble was that (in my then ignorance of BPD) her past was catching up with her and she was confronted about a number of infidelities/misdeeds from several directions(mine included)... .I think it became too much to face and even with my avowed support she turned and ran to the next guy then shortly the next again!... .in my brief encounters with her after this her shame was palpable... youcould really feel it!

I,ve got to the point now where I,m moving on... .it hurts to know any more of her "dark" side... .and in a way my hurt is no different to her shame ... .neither of us wants to face it... .she,s human like me and I would.nt want to experience 1%of her constant shame/ pain... .I think she tried unbelievably hard to make a new life with me... .but she did,nt follow the path of truth from the beggining and it eventually caught up with her... .dragging her fragile self esteem back to the bottom of the chasm

I hope one day she see,s a way forward and if so and I,m priveleged enough to see that I will point her to your example... .for youare a very special person... .you seen and lived both sides of the mirror and in this world of billions you are one of a handfull

Have a great christmas

John
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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2007, 04:08:14 PM »

Oceanheart,

My exBPDbf had the classic BPD childhood.  He had been told for so many years that he was awful, ugly, lazy, that his birth was the cause of everything bad that happened to his BPD mother, that he was just broken.  He had so much shame.  In the last few days before I left him I remember holding him while he cried and saying, "no shame, no shame".  He was ashamed of things he had no reason to be ashamed of.  I have very low self-esteem and he continuously slashed at it.  It was projection from him, but I believed I was as bad as he said I was, except when he attacked an area where I have confidence in myself. That's when I could see that something weird was going on.  The way that I believed his criticism must have been what it was like for him when his mom projected her pain onto him.

I convinced him to see a psychiatrist and a therapist trained to help people with BPD, but he works hard to keep people from seeing what is wrong with him, he is very smart and convincing, and although he did admit to me that he was in pain, and has told bits of his experience with his mom to his T and Dr., he blames his anger, drinking, etc. on me.  He won't admit that he is BPD, he is afraid to show anyone the sliver of metal that is torturing him.

It has broken my heart because I can see what he could be if he recovered from the trauma.  I suffered so much when I was with him, and in the 4 months since I left. I've posted many times here about the things he said and did to me.  But I hope some day he will get better, as you are.

best wishes,

Suzani
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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2007, 09:20:58 PM »

Oh yes, their self-esteem is lower than most people can even imagine. It's not a self-esteem like, "My hair is ugly," "I need to lose weight;" It's a low self-esteem that runs to their absolute inner core, where they want to punish themselves for being "so awful," which they think they are. Their misery then floats over to us. My ex literally did not love himself at all, but I think sometimes he tried to. But I think that he felt like he had no choices, and he didn't seem to know what to do. All I know is that he always seemed really sad, and always seem to hate himself- in a way that was much worse than just someone with low self-esteem. This was a hatred to the inner core, where he could never let anyone else love him, and never let anything good happen to him, because of fear. His brother said to me after we broke up that he left me because he couldn;t love me the right way, and the reason why was because he did not love himself.

It breaks my heart because I saw the good in my X, and I always thought that he would be an amazing person. Sadly, he did not see what I saw. All he saw was ALL of the horrible things that he thought about himself. Because I saw so much good in him, he labeled me as crazy, and a whole bunch of other things. He didn't believe me.



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« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2007, 01:16:47 AM »

god, the more i read the more i remember,she said , i can sit in front of the mirror for hours and think im ugly, i dont see what other people see, she always thought i was mocking her when i told her she was beautiful , very very sad... .w
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« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2007, 05:26:02 PM »

My exBPDgf had similar low self-esteem issues. I couldn't understand why cuz I had thought she was so perfect. It makes senses now. Yes - she too was/is in a lot of constant pain & torment. When I tried my best to help & be supportive, she tried her hardest to push me away & out of her life. I can't imagine carrying around so much baggage for so long. That's why I've really done my best to try to separate her actions vs. her. I do attribute her abusiveness to her illness (and constant pain) & not take it personally. I don't even hate her - like others I'm simply sad when I think about it. But life moves on. No one can fix her but her. I think that's what is so frustrating & maddening about BPD. The person who has it seems to be in much misery & pain... .yet the can't seem to healthy enough to be able to make a good choice to start the process of healing in order to reduce the pain & help their self-esteem. I get it now... .I understand how much time, effort & pain is involved to help heal... .but staying with the status quo just doesn't seem to the best option.

-NHBB
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« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2007, 05:41:56 PM »

 

I have no doubt my BPD parent has pain - something terrible definitely happened somewhere.  I get so agravated that BPD parent will not do anything productive to try and help self - or anyone else - self-esteem is not something that comes from another person or out of the air - I say you need to do things you are proud of and feel good about yourself.  At least that is how it works for me.
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Bitzee
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« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2007, 05:58:29 PM »

It goes way back... .if they do not identify with being 'Bad'... .then their abuser was the 'bad' one... .but their abuser was the Parent... .that the child depended upon for Survival.  The child must see himself as bad in order to survive.  In their minds, their very life depends on their self-loathing.

They must hate themselves in order to survive.  This is one reason why it is so difficult for them to seek help.  They do not believe they deserve it.
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« Reply #13 on: December 22, 2007, 10:02:21 PM »

Oh yeah... .mine told me before we were even together that even if someone told him he was good-looking, he got mad because he was sure they were lying.  :Smiling (click to insert in post) I should have known... .but I can't beat myself up.

And Bitzee is RIGHT ON.

I tried so hard to get my X to get help, but he always said that he will never change, and he didn't think that anyone could help a monster like him. He always called himself "crazy" and a "psycho." Imagine truly thinking of yourself that way? I mean, seriously... .if I thought of myself that way... .I would hate my life, you know? He really thinks of himself like that. He seriously cried most EVERY NIGHT. That was a huge red flag... .he cried about himself mostly... .and losing people he loved... .and how he was such a monster but no one could help him... .he always said that he didn't think that anyone would ever be able to help a monster like him.

Imagine calling yourself crazy, monster, and psycho on a regular basis?

It TRULY is sad.



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oceanheart
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« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2007, 02:01:31 PM »

What I hear in everybody's posts - and I'm not talking about just those posts in this thread, but in all of bpdfamily.com - is a desire to help. People sometimes ask if it's hard for me as a person with BPD to hear the angry things said here. Yep, sometimes it is, especially when the concept of "evil" is mentioned. But mostly it's not, because under all of the hard emotions - the bitterness and resentment and anger and hate and the rare viciousness - is hurt, just like renaissance said. And that's the tie that binds us all - non, BP, co-dependent, abuser, innocent bystander: to be human is to hurt. But what's even more human is to want to help. That is the best in us and we can be at our best even when life around us is at its worst.

When we see suffering, we wish to ease it because we know what it feels like to hurt. As nons, that makes us vulnerable - both to predatory people and to those who are not strong enough to handle their own pain and who thus put it onto others. It's both noble and a folly to want to help.

I'm convinced there is one thing above all others that will "save" people with BPD, and that is to be helped. Although, for some reason, right now I'm getting a very clear mental picture of a bomb defusal expert... .Smiling (click to insert in post)

The "abysmally" low self-esteem I mentioned previously is from the inability to form a coherent, positive sense of self. I'm interested in bonding/attachment failures as one of the causes for this, but don't have a lot of scientific evidence for my opinions. People like minion and other parents I've read on the board genuinely care about their children and have raised them lovingly, so it's not just through abuse that BPD can develop and I hope it's clear that I'm not of the "blame the mom" camp: the reasons are complex and may never fully be understood.

What happened to the child happened. It can't be undone. But - and I think I'm a purty good ole example of this - people can change, tho I don't know anyone who has ever done it on their own, no matter how strong that person.

I'm not sure I know where I'm going with all of this. I'm sorta just dumping everything out there that's been in my head, so it's a bit of a mess - kinda like what the living room floor looks like after Christmas morning... .     !

How do we reach someone who is convinced they are worthless on a fundamental level? This plays into a recent thread/workshop about the twisted thinking of people with BPD. The main categories of beliefs are: 1) I am not good; and 2) other people will hurt me. This is what they believe, no matter the "evidence to the contrary": no matter how much we tell them they're lovable or beautiful or wonderful, no matter how much we take from them to show them they're worth it. Like so many of you said, they do not hear it, they do not see it, they do not believe it. Because they (we) can't.

I've struggled since I first came to this board between two impulses: one is to tell every non here to run away as fast as they can from the BP in their lives. That it isn't worth the destruction to themselves to stay. That the non can't help the person with BPD anyway, because it's up to them to change and they have to want to change, and they have to be willing to work hard, and most folk won't. The other impulse is to say: "if you are strong in yourself and are wearing an emotional flak-jacket, so to speak, then use your compassion to help this poor creature who is in so much pain." I still don't know which I believe. Both? Is that possible? I guess at least I'm not thinking in black & white anymore, Laugh out loud (click to insert in post). I can see the pain on both sides, I guess because I've been on both sides.

2 days ago was the 1 year anniversary of when I met R., who was the person I came to bpdfamily.com about. Undiagnosed, not in recovery, a covert alcoholic, delusional, aggressive, sweet, smart, funny, hurting. A little boy in a big man's body. He was dangerous and our relationship was toxic for both of us, so I left. I'm over the emotional connection I had with him, but I ask now - looking back, as is not uncommon at this time of year - what did I learn with him and how can I use that knowledge? What have I learned in my 2 years of recovery? What have I learned in my 9 or so months here at bpdfamily.com?

The urge to help others is what is so fine about us as humans (me included! Yay, me, I'm a good person, too! Sorry, just a little light-hearted self-cheerleading). The tendency to put ourselves in harm's way to do so can be courageous. It can be foolhardy, too. It might also be ineffectual: we can't, like happykat pointed out, give them a sense of self-worth. But somehow, there must be a way to harness our empathy to encourage them finding it themselves. Several people have mentioned mirrors. I use the analogy of holding up a mirror for the BP to see themselves. Mirroring back to the BP their inherent worth, the value they have just from being human beings. From that fundamental foundation, they can start to act in ways that will prove to themselves they are good.

Thanks, everyone, for exploring this with me... .(and if you've gotten this far, for sticking it out with me... . )

~amahoro~salaam~shalom~spokoj~pax~peace~

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oceanheart
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« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2007, 02:08:15 PM »

I wanted to add - no, I'm not done talking yet,  :Smiling (click to insert in post) Smiling (click to insert in post) - in furthering the thought "From that fundamental foundation, they can start to act in ways that will prove to themselves they are good", that it is through our actions that we define ourselves: we are what we do. So let's do some good, eh?
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« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2007, 08:26:33 PM »

Oceanheart,

Yes, I wanted to apologize by saying it is not always abuse which is the cause, not always parental abuse, and not always intentional abuse on anyone's part.  They say it is a Biological Predisposition plus an Invalidating Environment.  The invalidation may be purely due to unfortunate circumstances that happen to occur, or just a poor fit between the temperaments of the parent and child.  Say a child born with a very sensitive temperament to a parent who is not particularly emotional by nature.  I do believe the causes can be very subtle at times and Invalidation, for whatever reason, is the key.

I've often wondered if post-partum depression is present in the beginning of some cases.  And other disruptive circumstances in life that 'just happen' at key periods in the child's development may be responsible.

I had a relative dx'ed BPD and Bipolar.  There were problems with her birth, lack of oxygen.  The hospital records mysteriously 'disappeared'.  She was slow in her development from the beginning.  Her parents split up when she was 6 months old.  Her mother had a reactive depression and was occupied with restructuring her life during her daughter's infancy.  This child was always slow and Extremely emotionally sensitive.  She was signiificantly below average in intelligence.  I think only a very together parent could have overcome these obstacles and Learned How to be Validating to this child.

This child had a biological disadvantage and was born into an environment which was in a state of flux.  Her mother did try, but it was back in the day when even the medical community seemed somewhat clueless.  She did not receive proper information and support.  Her daughter was not accurately dx'ed until her thirties.

So, yes, there are many causes... .many different factors which can lead to invalidation... .and the parents are not always at fault.

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« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2007, 08:54:11 PM »

But somehow, there must be a way to harness our empathy to encourage them finding it themselves. Several people have mentioned mirrors. I use the analogy of holding up a mirror for the BP to see themselves. Mirroring back to the BP their inherent worth, the value they have just from being human beings. From that fundamental foundation, they can start to act in ways that will prove to themselves they are good

I have been trying this with BPD parent - but it is like anything I say he has an excuse as to why that won't work, too much work, etc. etc.  Bottom line - it is EASIER for him to be lazy and not try to change - he should not have self esteem for that.  It seems very difficult to find the line where it is the illness or maybe just meanness.
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« Reply #18 on: December 24, 2007, 11:10:44 PM »

Hey Oceanheart, what a beautiful post! I believe what you say is true because I could even feel those feelings seeping into my own brain from being around my ex. Though, I never thought to see how much she was abusing HERSELF, what SHE really thought of herself. Maybe if I had seen that I would have felt less of a target, I would have known it wasn't about me.

In this situation the non-existant self esteem was generally exhibited by extreme pride, a complete inability to compromise, a literal belief in never being wrong about anything, about being better than everyone, deserving everything. It was so completely bizarre I remember one day I said "Aren't you ever wrong about anything?" and she told me "No never." with a completely straight face. Of course I knew that someone who really felt good about themself would never have to resort to such dysfunctional egosim.

You know, it may be the biggest issue on this board, can we help them? The concensus is No, and from my own experience I know that I did everything I possibly could and it just destroyed me. Again and again it felt like a complete lost cause. How could I say anything when I was always devalued, painted black, or whatever i said or did was taken to be hostile, or just completely forgotton or erased? There was no way to get through. Absolutely none, because if I wasn't helping her dig her own hole (at my expense generally), playing along with all the lies and all the pretend, then my input was worth nothing.

I would like to think that most BPDs can be helped, and that at their core's they are real caring people waiting to be discovered. And yet, how can anyone help someone so committed to self-destruction? It seems that what most conclude the only helpful thing we can do is to leave them to the consequences of their actions and hope someday they really hit bottom. This is what I did, the only thing I could do besides handover my soul.

I've made it sort a motto of mine to only help people who are helping themselves. Recently one of my freinds who is an alcoholic started drinking again as if it was no big deal, and soon I felt like I was being used to make her feel better about what she was doing. I got pretty mad and I don't really talk to her anymore. With some either you help them destroy themselves, hell ensues, or you leave them. The only options are black or white. It's like the truth is on one side and they are on the other and you they won't move in the slightest. The only way to stay is tell them what they want to hear and live a total delusion.

I'd like to think there is another way, as do most of us here.
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oceanheart
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« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2007, 01:16:16 AM »

I sure wish that the BPD in my life would've given recovery a try, but he did/would not.  He chose to stay disordered over me (or anything remotely postive.)  I think that's the hardest part about all of this for me is that he is miserable, he knows he's miserable, he's grown comfortable being miserable, he hates himself and makes no bones about that, his life is a shambles, yet he will do NOTHING to help himself.

I'm thinking the last part (which I bolded) is because 1) it's hard for anybody to change deep-seated and long-standing behaviors and thoughts; 2) he literally may have no idea how to help himself because maybe he wasn't taught in childhood to be independent or competent; 3) he may believe he is not worth helping, that he is an utter piece of sht and thus is beyond help; and/or 4) his defense mechanisms - denial, projection, B&W thinking - all conspire to make it seem as tho everyone but himself is to blame.

What a twisted life. It's like setting fire to the house while you're still in it and then sitting in your bed waiting for the flames to consume you because you don't know how to get out even tho there's an open window right there, and then attacking the firefighters when they come to rescue you from a fiery death... .
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« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2007, 01:32:20 AM »

hi again, oceanheart...

hope you're managing okay. i still say that you're a brave gal joining the support forum for former/present partners of a BPD-sufferer, while you yourself suffer from BPD. i don't know your history, but again, my estranged wife certainly came by her BPD honestly - the hard away. to this day, i've yet to hear of a more heartbreaking story... unless love biases us...   anyway, i will keep you in my prayers... i often, being catholic, prayed for st. jude to help intercede and help my wife and myself. i've publicly admitted to my own issues and hold fast to the belief that we all have issues, which being in an intimate relationship will necessarily expose. that's the drag of them... and the wonder of them. ultimately, our experiences with others makes us all better people. we cannot completely regret our experiences... as adults we make choices and are responsible for them. yes, some of us have been 'burned' more greatly than others - those with children who tell such sad stories of their partners using children against them, etc. that's a tough one. i'm fortunate in that my former partner is not a 'malicious' type. we both grew weary in our efforts to make our own relationship work. she acknowledges her own BPD, which was a huge step for her, and it's my hope that she continues on her healing journey, which she began roughly a year ago in therapy. it will be a tough, long road for her. she didn't leave me in too good shape, yet... i am her silent cheerleader. likewise, i cheer for you. i am in the group on this board who holds a compassionate heart and prays for the best for all of us. i do myself nor her any justice by holding a long grudge. i can tell you that the pain, sorrow, disillusionment, and yes, genuine anger, are at times all present... all jockeying for position. it will be a long healing process for me. i wish you continued health, peace and strength. in closing... any words of advice... any... perspective... you may offer to someone who's had to 'walk away' from a loved-BPD? for in my heart, and from my understanding of the healing process, it is only by her fighting this in the absence of an intimate partner does she stand a chance.the combination of my love and co-dependent support of her, simply made it all too intense... to much for her... and for me.  :'(
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« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2007, 01:33:29 AM »

My exuBPDgf talked openly about her low self esteem and seemed to use it as a tool for gaining reassurance... .in my brief encounters with her after this her shame was palpable.

Yes, shame. That's an emotion frequently explored over on Resouces for Individuals with BPD]the BPD Recovery forum[/url]. A deep, lasting primal shame. I may be wrong in my observation, but I believe those who were sexually abused seem to have the worst time with it. I was fortunate to not have had to experience that and thus escaped that heavy burden. Because how heavy a weight that must be - to feel ashamed at your own existence.

"... .a tool for gaining reassurance". In therapy when I was about 20 (and had all 9 DSM-IV BPD criteria), my therapist wrote in my evaluation, "Marni has difficulty reassuring herself." I never really understood what that meant until later. I wanted to be reassured I was a good person but at the same time I couldn't trust anyone enough to believe them when they did. I certainly couldn't find internal reassurance, because inside there was a howling abyss. I was my own Iron Maiden (no, not the band, the torture device) - meaning how could I reassure myself when I hated myself and tortured myself with my own self-hate?

People with BPD do themselves a great disservice by seeking external factors for reassurance. Yes, we all like to hear now and again that we're valued and loved. But BPs rely on that for their sense of self-worth. That's maybe why they're such black holes of need sucking the air and energy out of everything around them, such endless buckets with a hole in them that never can be filled.

No matter what we as nons say to our loved ones with BPD, it will never be enough. Not until they have a solid sense of self, a core of self-love. Then others' reassurances will be lovely, but not necessary.
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« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2007, 01:43:48 AM »

I'm thinking the last part (which I bolded) is because 1) it's hard for anybody to change deep-seated and long-standing behaviors and thoughts; 2) he literally may have no idea how to help himself because maybe he wasn't taught in childhood to be independent or competent; 3) he may believe he is not worth helping, that he is an utter piece of sht and thus is beyond help; and/or 4) his defense mechanisms - denial, projection, B&W thinking - all conspire to make it seem as tho everyone but himself is to blame.

Yup,

I'm not dBP but I am HPD (low/med-low), LSA (goin' nuts) , the related PTSD's and whatever else my T throws my way.

I am learning about my own issues. I am still learning about them.

Zero esteem, sad, can’t understand what feelings are valid at times, confused about love, yadda yadda yadda... .

I have learned that all my life (am almost 41 now) I have nevee realized how messed up I was. I discovered the sexual abuse stuff in my early 20's and thought that I had handled/addressed that 15 years ago - and I also thought that must have been all that was wrong/different with me.

Now I am learning that is not true at all. And I have learned that I have’nt finished healing/recovering on that problem and also that I have a ton of other issues to still discover and fix.

40 years old, and I truly have almost no emotional and relationship coping skills. I used to beg my T to disagnose me as BPD (not her) 'cause I thought I fit the bill.

I don’t know how to approach an issue

I don’t know how to feel about things

I dont even understand enough about boundaries to know what kind of boundaries I should have

Worse than that – I DON’T KNOW WHAT BOUNDARIES I AM ALLOWED TO HAVE (see the issue with that one)

THE POINT IS – I DOTN HAVE THE SKILLS – HOW CAN I EXPECT THE BPD TO BE ANY DIFFERENT?

I DIDN’T SEE THE PROBLEMS IN MYSELF – HOW CAN I EXPECT MORE FROM THEM?

It's very very hard to see the problems that we each may have. Esp. when you dont even know who/what you really are. It is very hard. Sadly or Positively, this is one of the things about me that keeps me still hopeful for my dBPxso to get better. I encourage her to stay in T, but the T and I think she has entered quit mode. That bites. She knows she's ill, but she has no clue. Just like I knew I was ill but had thought I had already fixed myself from it (i had lied to myself and created a false-self)  it's hard to come out from behind those walls, esp. when you dont know they even exist.

and then, if you do see it, like I do now (and I think xso kinda does to) it's terrifying because you realize you are not equipped to deal with it.

I have the emotional coping skills of a very young teen (if that) I have a fake set that I have lived by for years. I must have made relationships hell to the girls I was with.

Oh well, gotta fix me. I hope they can all get better, esp. mine  :'(

bumpy



on ending just wanna throw this out, cause it want to come out

my poor girl, thinks she has brain damage. She knows she’s ill but thinks it brain damage. Worst part of that, she truly thinks I am the cause.

On top of that, she truly know I love her more than anyone and I am the best person she has met to support her, but she think the brain damage may never go away. Seems like she’s just giving up on life –again (but not like the normal BP traits) –giving up giving up  and that’s difficult for me to accept.

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oceanheart
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« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2007, 02:08:41 AM »

hi, renaissance!

I'm doing really well, tho I did have one flare-up at my brother this holiday. It wasn't major, but I'm embarrassed about it and upset I wasn't able to handle it better. But I'm going to call him tomorrow after he's been back home a day and apologize. Other than that, the holiday was wonderful! I love Christmas! Hope you had a good one, too and that the new year coming up is good to you.

Thanks for calling me brave, I get what you're saying, but it really isn't hard to be here because 1) The people here are wonderful and have been extraordinarily gracious and compassionate and welcoming (THANKS EVERYONE! YOU"RE ALL AWESOME!); 2) I don't take what others say personally, unless I know what they're saying is true of me. And if it's a true, bad thing about me, then I just seek to change it. Anyway, I like that kind of feedback because it helps me grow even healthier; and 3) I do see the pain of the "nons" (and I was one myself, too) and that always humanises someone for me, because I sure know pain, too, Laugh out loud (click to insert in post).

Thanks, too for your prayers. It's really nice to know someone is pulling for me enough to PM the Big Guy about it Smiling (click to insert in post) I am touched by your compassion for me.

those with children who tell such sad stories of their partners using children against them, etc. that's a tough one.

I hear you on that one. That's where my understanding and compassion hits a bit of a wall. I had a relationship with someone I'm convinced was NPD and he treated his children so crappily that in the end, thats a major reason why I left (the other was the way he treated me). I wish I could have taken them with me, but I couldn't, something I'll always be sad about. I find it really hard to forgive him, especially since he used them to get at me, without any concern for them. To him they were mere objects to be used or controlled or abused. And he was way too sneaky and cunning to do anything I could call the law on him for. He was already being investigated when I met him (talk about ignoring red flags).

I know he hated himself. I know his dad used to punish him by spanking him with a 2X4 after making him go pick out the plank and bring it to his dad (!). I know he didn't feel good inside. But once he started taking it out on his kids, I lost all sympathy. I guess that makes me a hypocrite... .

anyway, I hope your ex-partner has success in her efforts. It's good to see she is trying. Whether it "works" is all up to her and her willpower and motivation, but it is awful nice to have you pulling for her, even if it has to be - for your own health - cheering from the far bleachers.

Excerpt
any words of advice... any... perspective... you may offer to someone who's had to 'walk away' from a loved-BPD? for in my heart, and from my understanding of the healing process, it is only by her fighting this in the absence of an intimate partner does she stand a chance.the combination of my love and co-dependent support of her, simply made it all too intense... to much for her... and for me.

I'm sad for you that your two souls were not at the right time for each other when they met. Letting go - especially when love is still there - must be so hard. Letting go when all you want to do is hold on tight... .it's such a bittersweet thing you have had to do. You're letting her go to let her heal. Please try to remember that when the pain gets bad - that you've done this hard thing out of love and compassion, from your kind heart. And that this is what you had to do: because if you have co-dependency tendencies, the very best thing you could do for her is exactly what you have done. Letting her go will let you heal, too. Turn some of that compassion back on yourself, give yourself time to grieve and mourn, and then move on. (((renaissance))) peace be to you.
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« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2007, 02:24:18 AM »

oceanheart... .your tender thoughts towards the end... moved me to tears. i'll have to write more at a different time. i've cried so... and lately, i've triedmy best to avoid tears because they drain me so much. but i know in myheart that i have to cry... and i have many,many more left in this pain-filled reservoir.  :-X

blessings... .

and to you, too, bumpy... my heart goes out to you as well. i've followed your story, too, as much as possible... but you post a lot...
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« Reply #25 on: December 30, 2007, 03:04:25 AM »

Bumpy, your avatars always crack me up (even if they're not supposed to. They just are fun!)

So you're LSA, huh? Late Stone Age? Lichen Sclerosus et Atrophicus (a skin disorder)? A Life Saving Apparatus? A Logistics Support Area? a member of the Lute Society of America? Or a chemical cousin to LSD? Smiling (click to insert in post) Sorry, just being silly as it is 2:15 am and I'm tired. Forgive my ignorance, but what is LSA?

I have learned that all my life (am almost 41 now) I have nevee realized how messed up I was.

There's an old joke that goes: A young man asks a wizened old farmer if he has lived on the farm all his life. The wise old guy answers, "nope. Ain't done living yet." or something like that, I'm horrible at telling jokes. Smiling (click to insert in post) The point is that just because the first half of our lives was fraught with dysfunction doesn't mean we're done living yet. There's so much more life to be lived. I'm 36 and have struggled most of my life. But hopefully we'll have much more time to make things better. Even if we only have one more day to live, it'll still be lived better because now we're aware and awake and can see possibilities we never could before, and because we have hope, right?

I'm sad to hear you were sexually abused. I can't imagine what hell you had to go through. It's very brave of you to be candid about it, and to have faced the fallout from what happened to you. Be tender with yourself in your confusion about how to do things, ok? It's obvious you weren't given the opportunity to grow into the healthy adult you had every right to be. The boy raised by wolves wouldn't be expected to sit at tea with the Queen and have perfect table manners, now would he?

I hear you about boundaries, btw. I'm still learning. It's really hard to know what's appropriate and how to handle things in an assertive way. I was taught that above all, I had to be nice, even at the expense of my own feelings. That I was supposed to put others' needs above my own, which unfortunately left me vulnerable for years to predatory or exploitative people. When I was able to accept and love myself (after the past 2 hard, intense years of work), that's when boundaries began to make sense  - I valued myself enough to protect myself, since boundaries aren't about making the other person do something but about what behavior we'll accept for ourselves - and I was able to work on using them with other people.

Excerpt
She knows she's ill, but she has no clue. Just like I knew I was ill but had thought I had already fixed myself from it (i had lied to myself and created a false-self)  it's hard to come out from behind those walls, esp. when you dont know they even exist.

I hear ya. I always knew something was "wrong" with me, but didn't have a clinical diagnosis until right after my breakdown (that's the 2 years ago I mentioned before). The term BPD had been bandied about previously, but nothing came of it and most of my therapists focused on the misdiagnosis of bipolar. It would have been so much more helpful if had known sooner, but perhaps I wouldn't have been ready to change then. Who knows?

Excerpt
if you do see it, like I do now (and I think xso kinda does to) it's terrifying because you realize you are not equipped to deal with it.

I have the emotional coping skills of a very young teen (if that) I have a fake set that I have lived by for years. I must have made relationships hell to the girls I was with.

Oh well, gotta fix me

Bumpy, you're not broken, ok? You don't need "fixed". You may not feel whole right now, but nonetheless you are a valuable person who just needs to learn a skill or two. Really, that's it. You're in therapy and you're doing hard work. You ARE equipped to deal with it, otherwise you'd not be going and would be hiding behind your defenses, which is not what I see you doing: you're out there taking on your problems. And that's what it's going to take to get the skills you need. They'll come, you'll see! It's too bad your xSO can't see that, too, and get her act in gear. It's gotta be painful for you to watch her give up - kinda like seeing someone go tie themselves on the train tracks as the train's speeding towards them, adn then pushing you away when you go to help untie them.

Be well,

Marni

ps - renaissance, you go cry, ok? It hurts so bad, doesn't it. But man does it hurt worse when we won't let ourselves cry: there is more suffering in refusing to feel than there is in feeling the pain. Just know that there are good people here who care and who are crying along with you. We'll all get through this, bumpy ride or not 
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« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2007, 12:41:45 PM »

"No matter what we as nons say to our loved ones with BPD, it will never be enough. Not until they have a solid sense of self, a core of self-love. Then others' reassurances will be lovely, but not necessary."

Oceanheart,

You said this in an earlier post and it really hits home. What I'm wondering is, how do you get there? How do you help nudge your BPD toward acceptance of themselves and realization of themselves as deserving of self-love and of the love of others?
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« Reply #27 on: December 31, 2007, 06:22:37 PM »

Minion, great question.

Short answer: you can't.

I'm sorry to be so blunt, but that's what I perceive to be the truth: There is nothing you can do as an intimate partner to get your loved one with BP to start loving themselves.

I always find myself quoting over and over something JoannaK once said: "BPD is a disorder of intimacy."

For whatever reason, people with BPD have a fundamental belief system of distrust: they believe everyone will hurt, abuse, ignore, neglect - in some way harm them. They'd look twice at a handout from Mother Theresa, Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)!

Any attempt on the part of the non to provide feedback  - even positive feedback - will most likely be viewed suspiciously. They will not trust your motives. They will feel manipulated. They will lash back or shut down or ignore you or do something awful to themselves to prove you wrong. They will not believe you.

For the most part, people with BPD have come by this paranoia fairly honestly, as renaissance said. We've all heard their (our) stories, some are pretty horrible. If you have been exposed at an early age to a threatening world, maybe you can't help but continue to see the world as a threatening place. Especially when no one comes to your aid or protection and you're forced to face it alone, scared and without any skills. Even when given  - in the present day - compassion, understanding, and support from those they love, the early "training" shapes their perceptions of you and everything else despite reality.

So, how do they (we) get to the place they can love themselves?

Short answer: I don't know.

Often on bpdfamily.com I speak in the "royal We" tense, as if I'm the BPD spokesperson, or as I like to joke, the BPD poster child  8) But I hope everyone who reads what I write knows I can only speak about myself and my limited perceptions. I give that caveat because all I know is what worked for me, and all I can do is extrapolate that onto the experiences of others, using what insight I may have gained during interaction with people with BPD on Resouces for Individuals with BPD]BPDRecovery[/url] and in group therapy.

So I guess I'm trying to say I don't have the answers. And I could be wrong. Plus, I had to do most of this on my own, without much of a support system in real life, so I have an admittedly skewed POV - one you might call militant self-reliance I had to be really strong and had to be very internally motivated in order to get better. Keep that in mind, because it does bias my interpretations.

My own personal process back to being a human being was very long. Ten years ago I took a slew of psychological tests at my university's counseling center. I wanted to try to figure out what was so wrong with me, and then fix it. I took one test on self-esteem and I scored lower than 99% of the college students who had taken it. I hated myself worse than almost everyone else in my peer group. It's sad that when I read back over all the results of those tests I took, BPD is so very x-x-x-xing obvious, it screams from the pages of results. But for whatever reason, I didn't get diagnosed and I didn't get "fixed". It took me 8 more years of hell to get here. But I DID get here.

So how did I get here?

Short answer Smiling (click to insert in post) : Resouces for Individuals with BPD]BPDR[/url].

Long answer: 2 years on BPDR of making myself vulnerable to others and engaging in conflict (and learning how to do so productively) and exploring my past issues and helping other people and stripping away all the traces of denial and defenses and realising I wasn't alone, I wasn't damaged, I wasn't evil. By asking for help and listening to it and actually doing what was advised. By stopping cutting myself and stopping drinking and stopping sleeping with people who didn't care about me. By learning boundaries. By learning patience. By learning humility AND pride all at the same time. By learning how to take care of myself even if I didn't want to. By accepting compliments even when I didn't believe them. By looking in the mirror and seeing the humanity in myself.

I wish it were easier, but it's not. I wish we could help all of our loved ones with BPD to love themselves, but we really can't do all that much. I wish I could bottle recovery up and release it into the drinking water like flouride, but I can't.

The only way I could see for a "non" to help is to love themselves first and if they choose to stay with the BP, to have air-tight, bullet-proof boundaries. That's only going to work for for those BPs who are already serious about recovery.

Happy New Year, everyone: may it be filled with peace and joy and so much more happiness than your previous years!

Marni
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« Reply #28 on: December 31, 2007, 06:34:58 PM »

Happy New Year Ocean,

You said you were helped by the BPD Recovery board... .what about therapy?  And, if so, specifically what kind of therapy?

Bitzee
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« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2007, 06:42:22 PM »

oceanheart,another outstanding reply. you're a diamond to this forum and a shame so many of our 'haters' can't appreciate it. my second major in college, after organic chemistry was psychology, so bear with me as i frequently say, 'i  know just enough to be dangerous... ' 

two things that you bring up strike me as key: (1) you did it on your own, out of the context of an intimate relationship. it's my intuitive belief from my own experience with my estranged wife, that it will actually require her to recover on her own, without an intimate partner. because, as joannak says, and you've paraphrased, BPD is indeed a disorder of intimacy. intimacy, the greater it becomes, uncovers more and more numbed away hidden pain in the BPD-sufferer. this necessarily makes them feel more vulnerable. FEAR... .that's the operative word... then drives them to 'act out' behaviors to try and 'get it right this time' by often re-playing past destructive scenarios. additionally, it is a disorder of emotional regulation, an inability to properly interpret or regulate emotions. once an emotion envelops them, they must create a situation to fit the emotion... thus the common 'acting out' once again. at any rate, i believe that these persons need to develop that proper sense of self on their own, without any help, as oceanheart has done, in order for it to 'feel like' they truly did it themselves. somehow i feel that is key... and intimacy short circuits this process.

number (2) is easy: time... and lots of it. years, in fact would be necessary... because it is a personality disorder it may not be simply 'corrected' via psychopharmacology. wouldn't that be nice? a 'BPD pill'? don't expect one. you can treat some of the co-morbidity - depression, anxiety,,,but a disordered mind, a pattern of thinking and relating to the world in a rational, emotional sense? that is gonna take some form of psychotherapy, perhaps the dbt that receives accolades, and lots of hard work. day in and day out practice... learning how to interrupt a reaction to a sudden feeling by intercepting, interpreting and giving an appropriate response if one is indeed required.

summary? they gotta do i on their own... and it;s gonna take a lot of time, patience and hard work. no short cuts...

excellent post, marni   
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