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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSONALITY DISORDERS
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Author Topic: BPD BEHAVIORS: Did she ever love me? [romantic partners]  (Read 79865 times)
united for now
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2008, 10:34:14 AM »

Yes, females struggle with this question also.

My personal experience with this question mostly comes after an argument. See, I'm still staying and trying to work things out. My BP SO is sort of like Ava Marina's, a Dr Jekyll in that he can be extemely sweet, loving, kind, affectionate, and thoughtful for most of the month. He can be calm and understanding about many of life's curve balls and mistakes, and even put up with the pressures of dealing with teenagers and children in general. It is approxiamately once a month that he goes into his Mr. Hyde routine and rages at me. You never know exactly what will set him off. Sometimes it is something little the kids do or forget to do. Sometimes it is a comment I will make that he sees as not supportive or defensive. That is why you feel like you are walking on eggshells, cause what is ok yesterday, may be too much for today.

During one of his monthly rages, he will admit:

I don't love you

I don't respect you

I don't want to be with you

That is when the question for me happens - does this man love me?

Since I am still with him, I chose to believe that yes, he does. I believe that while part of him is the darkness, that there is more to him than that. I don't believe he means those things, even as he says them. I see a little boy in his eyes, who is crying out for understanding and help. I believe he lives with the regret of what he says. I am trying to teach him not to react in that way, and many times I am successful. He doesn't get that bad as often. He is learning to communicate with me in a more adult fashion.  I truly beleive that he has a desire to change, and he is taking St Johns Wort, which seems to be helping.

I didn't cause it. I can't change it. I can't cure it. I can only work on myself.

So for now, I answer yes to the question, but it still lingers in the back of my mind.

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« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2008, 10:53:09 AM »

I had kindof an a-ha! moment in the car the other day, while listening to a certain passage in an audiobook called "Train your mind, change your brain", which gives a weird mix of neuroscience and buddhism and talks a lot about research into the brain.

The section that caught my attention is one on "attachment", which is sortof like bonding, but more to do with what happens between a caregiver and infant/toddler when the child is hurt, upset, or ill. When parents respond in a consistent, supportive, loving way, the child learns they are valued and can count on their parents in times of need. Other reactions to the child cause confusion and mistrust to develop. The theory is not proven, but it does have some validity and support in the professional community. BPD and attachment problems are related in some way, though the evidence is far from definitive that one causes the other.

The studies mentioned in the audiobook showed that when people have a history of secure attachment they are more likely to show compassion and empathy towards other people who are in distress. People who are characterized as either avoidant or insecure/ambivalent show much less concern for others, and the focus seems to be on relieving their own distress rather than the others'.

How does this relate to love? Secure attachment means the child was able to count on their caregivers. For whatever reason, avoidant and insecurely attached children were not (that doesn't mean the parent was abusive - there are many factors in attachment, including the behavior/temperament of the child themselves).

Love is about trust. Many people with BPD have an extraordinarily hard time trusting anyone, including ourselves. We often hate ourselves. But we also don't trust other people to be there for us when we need them to be. That is a pervasive, lasting pattern in some BP's lives. It's the abandonment fear, of course, but it's also a fundamental inability to believe in the love others have for us - perhaps because our own upbringing showed we couldn't rely on others, or that they were inconsistent in their caregiving. So if we can't trust you to stay, to be there when we need you (staying = "proof" you love us), then how can we have the courage to be vulnerable enough to love you back?

I was insecurely attached, btw. My parents were well-meaning, loving people who tried their best to be good parents, and for the most part they were. But there were issues despite that. Because I was adopted, there was a noticeable difference in personality between us, and that caused friction. I also had untreated ADD, and that can be taxing for any adult to deal with, but especially for 2 teachers who know their child is bright and can't understand her behavior in school. As teachers, they were also somewhat controlling, because that is all they know how to be - it worked well in the classroom. My mom was both over-involved in my life (no boundaries) and at the same time, somewhat emotionally cold (I needed LOTS of love as a kid, and I know that clingy-ness can be exasperating to many adults). Finally, my parents didn't seem to protect me or offer comfort when I needed it - especially against my brother, who was emotionally abusive. I learned I couldn't really count on them, and to a certain extent, i still can't. There were other things that contribute to my BPD, of course - things having nothing to do with my parents.

Anyway, it wasn't until I found a source of attachment as an adult that I could have a stable base to begin to give genuine love. My maternal grandmother provided that, starting when I was 19, and she continues to provide that even though she died 3 years ago (I finally achieved object constancy!). Then at 32, I met my best friend and he showed me I could trust other people, that there were good, decent people in the world. Finally, at age 34, after my breakdown and brief hospitalisation and subsequent recovery efforts, I found . . . myself, and was able to start loving the person I was (thanks to the example of the acceptance and love for me from the 2 special people in my life).

I guess I attached to myself, since that's the only true source of unconditional love we have as adults. And therefore, I was able to start giving love back. I'm doing so with my parents now, even though it's been a difficult relationship (for me & for them) between us most of my life. I'm trying to do so with my brother, even though it's been a very difficult relationship between us most of our lives. I'm doing so with the few close friends I have. I hope one day to be able to give that kind of real love to a partner.

I sincerely believe that I was not capable of doing so before recovery. If we with BPD are children emotionally, grasping so desperately for our fundamental need for unconditional love to be met, how can we find space in our hearts to include anyone else? But I do respect the experiences and beliefs of Ave and United, who have gone through different things with their SOs than I have in my own life. I could be wrong. Perhaps love is love, and even through their neediness your partners saw you for yourself and loved you for that, instead of what they wanted from you. Just please know that if they didn't - and you may never know the truth - it was no reflection on who you are as a person. It doesn't mean you aren't loveable, that you aren't worthy of love, that you don't deserve love. I hope you know that - really, truly know that.

ps - Bumpy, I didn't title the workshop, Skippy did. I imagine he did so that way because the majority of people diagnosed as BPD are females, even though it seems the majority of people on this site are female partners of a male with BPD (with the exception of female partners of a female with BPD).

(((ben))) I wish you peace of mind and heart, soon.

(((((elph))))) cry You're a strong person and you've come a long way from that hard moment, sitting on the floor, but I'm sorry you had to go through that in the first place.

Chili - excellent point when you said, "So, if he couldn’t love my “imperfections” then he really didn’t love me." You are your imperfections along with your good qualities, and you deserve respect and love and acceptance anyway!
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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
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« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2008, 09:43:54 AM »

Love is about trust. Many people with BPD have an extraordinarily hard time trusting anyone, including ourselves. We often hate ourselves. But we also don't trust other people to be there for us when we need them to be. That is a pervasive, lasting pattern in some BP's lives. It's the abandonment fear, of course, but it's also a fundamental inability to believe in the love others have for us - perhaps because our own upbringing showed we couldn't rely on others, or that they were inconsistent in their caregiving. So if we can't trust you to stay, to be there when we need you (staying = "proof" you love us), then how can we have the courage to be vulnerable enough to love you back?

I hope my comments here don't violate the policy of this board section. If they do please let me know and I'll avoid this in the future.

Love is built out of a few things and trust is one of the cornerstones. When I finally realized my ex didn't truly believe I loved and cared about her I found myself without any trust in the relationship. If someone doesn't trust you they most likely cannot be trusted themselves. Once I recognized that loss of trust the whole cycle took a life on of it's own. She'd say "You seem distant" and I'd say, "yeah, I became distant when I noticed you were distant". Loop endlessly. I didn't grasp the reality I was dealing with at the time but I do remember specifically feeling like if I was not there with her all the time then I could not feel safe in the relationship. After about the fourth time I heard "I feel like you don't care about me." I realized how easy it would be for her to latch on to someone else who could feed that need.

Love is not about need. That is fear.

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« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2008, 04:27:48 PM »

Once again Oceanheart,

I must thank you for sharing your insight.  I truly appreciate it.

Schwing
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« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2008, 11:11:03 PM »

disco - I totally "second" chilli (well said, btw): everybody's contributions are important here. You said, "If someone doesn't trust you they most likely cannot be trusted themselves". I can't agree more. I don't know if you've read any of my other posts, but I'm rarely defending the behavior of people with BPD, even though I am one such person. Rather, I seek to explain it, out of my own need for understanding, while also hoping it maybe helps clarify it a bit for others, too (you're welcome, Schwing smiley). I didn't mean to suggest that partners stay around so that BPs can feel secure (in most cases I don't support the partner staying at all, for the good of both people). The person with BPD feeling secure isn't what happens, is it. What often happens is what you said - they seek to assuage their fears by getting their needs met by other things (affairs, drugs, eating, cutting, etc).

There is no space in love for need, not the bottomless kind that BPs have. A partner can't feed the need so that it's satiated, just like a black hole doesn't get full, no matter how much matter it sucks into it... That may seem like a harsh metaphor, but I'm not saying the person is the black hole - I'm saying their NEED is. I don't have that need anymore - I trust people - and someday I'll be able to love another person for who they are, not what I could get from them. But until there's significant recovery in their life, people with BPD will act - and react - out of that driving, desperate neediness, not love.

***disclaimer: I don't pretend to speak for all people with BPD. I am only one person and my experiences are unique, as are those of every other person with BPD. There is common behavior, but there are also individual differences. My opinion is just that, and reflects my own beliefs. And, I have been known to be wrong, oh, once or twice or so grin***
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« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2008, 02:44:49 PM »

There is no space in love for need, not the bottomless kind that BPs have.

And see, I have struggled for a while because I believe my ex believed THAT IS HOW IT IS SUPPOSED TO WORK. On top of her emotional dysregulation she was also raised in a very isolating religious environment (jehova's witnesses) with a stepfather that exudes the patriarchal archetype. In otherwords her best examples of relationships in her life were ones that were built around needs being met, performance. Also, her childhood was very isolated socially so she could only interact with other jehova's witnesses. Kids would bring cupcakes to school for birthdays and she'd have to sit in another room. So her social development has been stunted too.

I remember her favorite movie was the camelot movie with richard gere and sean connery. Her face would light up when it came on and I believe she believed that's how love should be, the man giving everything including his life to ensure the happiness of his wife.

Why am I saying all this? Perhaps the controller in me wanted to hope that if I could show her this isn't how it worked then maybe she'd snap out of a fog and it wouldn't have meant her personality problems were malignant.

But to her love is something you give and take based on performance. It would be weak otherwise to give such a gift to someone who doesn't "deserve" that treatment because they let you down in some way, right? Yes I'm being facetious. I think that's why my love for her turned out so dangerously the opposite, because I was trying to demonstrate that a person CAN love in the hardest of times. I made it my martyrdom to try and make a point. Unfortunately a knight in shining armor doesn't look handsome anymore when they're being burned at the stake.

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« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2008, 02:55:26 PM »

disco - I totally "second" chilli (well said, btw): everybody's contributions are important here. You said, "If someone doesn't trust you they most likely cannot be trusted themselves". I can't agree more. I don't know if you've read any of my other posts, but I'm rarely defending the behavior of people with BPD, even though I am one such person. Rather, I seek to explain it, out of my own need for understanding, while also hoping it maybe helps clarify it a bit for others, too (you're welcome, Schwing smiley). I didn't mean to suggest that partners stay around so that BPs can feel secure (in most cases I don't support the partner staying at all, for the good of both people). The person with BPD feeling secure isn't what happens, is it. What often happens is what you said - they seek to assuage their fears by getting their needs met by other things (affairs, drugs, eating, cutting, etc).

I'm very familiar with your stance on things. I've read every free article of yours and even paid for one, the non-dilemma - do borderlines love.

I highly respect your work and I really appreciate what you've done to help explain things. I honestly wish there was another name for borderline personality because I truly believe my ex could benefit from reading your work. You have a way of explaining what's going on that's comforting to those who suffer and gives them a sense of acceptance for themselves without leaving them justified in staying that way. My only issue is the name borderline. I can't even hardly say it without images of fatal attraction showing up. And it's not so much I'd be worried about shocking her, it's more so that a wall would come up instantly as she said to herself "well I don't boil bunnies so this definitely isn't me".

But back to the point of love and trust. She had said on several occassions that I must not care about her, that she must not be important to me. I was completely hurt by that as it was a total negation of my love for her. I'd rather she said she doesn't love me because I'm fat.

But now that time has passed I could see this was a forewarning. An imagined scenario:" I felt like I wasn't important to you anymore. I felt like you didn't care. XXXX does care about me and he pays attention to me like you never did and that's why I slept with him, it's your fault for not caring about my needs before yours. I had no other choice" This is exactly the kind of conversation I knew would have been inevitable had I stayed with this person for years.
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« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2008, 01:11:52 PM »

woops, for some reason I thought you were aj, oceanheart. Regardless, your thoughts and words are a great asset to this board and I really appreciate your perspective.
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« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2008, 02:17:59 PM »

I'm very familiar with your stance on things. I've read every free article of yours and even paid for one<snip>

I highly respect your work and I really appreciate what you've done to help explain things.



woops, for some reason I thought you were aj, oceanheart. Regardless, your thoughts and words are a great asset to this board and I really appreciate your perspective.

  ::giggle::

I think Oceanheart's words, style and messages are awesome too. Heck, I'd pay to read 'em if i had any money left.




I honestly wish there was another name for borderline personality because I truly believe my ex could benefit from reading your work. You have a way of explaining what's going on that's comforting to those who suffer and gives them a sense of acceptance for themselves without leaving them justified in staying that way.

My only issue is the name borderline...

I too can understand that -to a point. But it's not the name (though awful as it may sound) that matters and hurts. Its the criteria, the symptom, and the cause-affect that is the problem. A name is a name, calling Borderline a different name won't make the problem any more simple to see, face, understand or accept. In fact, the name implies nothing of the sort. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder relates to the illness; it's doesn't explain it any better though. Call it BPD then. That means nothing.

Quote
But back to the point of love and trust. She had said on several occassions that I must not care about her, that she must not be important to me. I was completely hurt by that as it was a total negation of my love for her. I'd rather she said she doesn't love me because I'm fat.

again, back to the topic the symptom and topic...

my ex was similar (somewhat) but from the side of telling me that I shouldn't care for/about her. Not that I didn't.

Her's was one of self-esteem, an inability to see that she deserved and was worthy of love, and having little or no real love for herself.  Whereas I read your's to be self-esteem and feeling/imagining that you didn't love them. I too was devastated by this because I had gone to the greatest length to demonstrate my love and to show her that she deserved love and that she should be proud of herself too -even after the split, after accepting treatment (though not yet aware of the "name").

They each share that same common thread - self-esteem and self-love.

And until they (all PDs) can understand that in themselves it is basically impossible to really love another. Yeah, they can love you, what you do for them, and how you make them feel. But sadly from my understanding of PD love that's where it so often comes up short.
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« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2008, 07:30:35 PM »

I have come back and forth to this thread because I want to comment/contribute, but each time I start to write something, I cancel my post because I am not sure I even know myself.

Did my ex ever love me?  Yes, he did.

BUT----when this disorder came to be in him, I have learned that he did not.  Not that healthy beautiful love.  Whatever he may have felt for me (guilt, pity or security) was not the kind of love the drives someone to growth and evolution.  What he was feeling was driving him further into an abyss and therefore it ran from it. 

I struggle with the did he love me question in the course of the aftermath of his eruption into borderline hell all the time.  Those tender intimate moments, those divine out of body kisses, they were real.  I am not wishful thinking.  They were real.  But those were fleeting moments and few and far between.  Because the reality is there was mostly blame, anger, rage, lying, etc. that were the extent of our dealings with one another.  The thing is, I think because he is in bondage with this disorder, he is unable to fulfill the needs of a relationship.  When things were light and easy and good, we had our greatest strides, but the moment they became touch/feely and hard then things went south.

I often wonder why all the other women...and more and more as of late I think it is because he gets that light and easy feelings that make his world easier.  The early stages of those affairs feed him his supply of "good".  The minute they become challenging, then well we know what happens.

He can't handle the work of us, the challenge of overcome this pain.  He loves me, but he loves his need to feel light and airy more.  It sustains him.  When I show conflict, question him, challenge him or "reveal" him, it SCARES the hell out of him.  Those are the core things he needs to suppress about himself.  He needs to keep thinks light and easy in order to manage and cope with those difficult feelings stirring within him.  So does he love me as a borderline, no, not at all.  I am his mirror to his real self.  Looking at me is a direct reminder of WHO HE REALLY IS.

So, not sure if that contributes at all, but I just am realizing that borderlines only love what or who suppresses their fears, guilt, shame, hurt, and pain.  They will cling to whatever and whomever takes them away from all that, no matter if it is wrong or who it will hurt.  What they love is "light and easy".

oneflewover         
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