Home page of BPDFamily.com, online relationship supportMember registration here
April 28, 2017, 06:43:03 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
How to choose a life partner Read here
Administrator: heartandwhole
Moderators: Meili, once removed
Member support team: gotbushels, Tattered Heart, Turkish, wendydarling, Woolspinner2000
  Directory Guidelines Glossary   Boards   Help Please Donate Login Register  
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSONALITY DISORDERS
26
Pages: [1] 2 3  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: BPD BEHAVIORS: Fear of Intimacy  (Read 51292 times)
Journey


Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 46


« on: August 15, 2008, 04:51:21 PM »

Is a fear of intimacy part of BPD ? 

I hope someone can help me out with this one.

Thanks,

Journey
Logged


GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENT

This board is intended for general questions about BPD and other personality disorders, trait definitions, and related therapies and diagnostics. Topics should be formatted as a question.

Please do not host topics related to the specific pwBPD in your life - those discussions should be hosted on an appropraite [L1] - [L4] board.

You will find indepth information provided by our senior members in our workshop board discussions (click here).

SuddenlySense
*******
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 2151


« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2008, 08:41:56 PM »

I think the fear of abandonment is so intense in BP's that they can't bear to get too close because that would make the pain even more intense if they were abandoned.  Does this make any sense?
Logged

schwing
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Person in your life: Parent
Posts: 3508



WWW
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2008, 02:31:50 PM »

I think what makes one person feel intimate may not necessarily make another person feel intimate.  And re: sex, I think prostitutes are good examples of how one can disconnect that activity from feelings of intimacy.  So one can put forth the appearance of being intimate without actually feeling thus.

Journey, I can understand your rationale.  You are assuming that someone shouldn't fear abandonment unless abandonment is somewhat imminent.  That someone (like your BPD partner) shouldn't fear abandonment from their partner when their partner has demonstrated a complete devotion to them (as I'm sure your BPD partner demanded of you).  But that would assume that their fear is reasonable.  Someone with BPD has an unreasonable fear of abandonment.  They will fear real and IMAGINED abandonment.  And the only way they can be abandoned is if they allow real intimacy to take place.  This is why they make the connection of intimacy = abandonment.  And this is why they trust you less the more they become intimate with you.

Because of this dynamic in people with BPD, I've observed that partners with "compatible" disorders or issues can manage to stay involved with someone with BPD for longer durations (compared to people without). 

For example, someone else with a PD that precludes true intimacy such as BPD and/or NPD.  Or someone who has co-dependent traits;  I recall reading a description of codependency as someone who appears to fear abandonment but truly fears intimacy.  This more or less fits the description of my issues at the time that I was involved with my uBPDgf.  I was very hesitant to get involved with people (apparent fear of abandonment) but ended up getting intimately involve with someone who was incapable of real intimacy (true fear of intimacy).

Schwing
Logged

Skip
Site Director
***
Offline Offline

Person in your life: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 5771


« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2008, 07:45:25 AM »

I think the fear of abandonment is so intense in BP's that they can't bear to get too close because that would make the pain even more intense if they were abandoned.

I think many people fear intimacy... and for this same reason... rejection sensitivity.

People with BPD are impulsive (emotionally immature) and have a high level of rejection sensitivity.

What often makes it complicated for us to understand is that someone with BPD wants the intimacy and fears it at the same time.  They can prematurely (immaturely) get into intimate situations, but when the don't percieve a commensurate response in the partner, they get spooked.

This is further complicated because the "post honeymoon" phase in most relationships is a time each person in the couple define their own space and boundaries... this can be traumatic in any relationship... far more to a person with BPD.

Logged

JoannaK
DSA Recipient
Retired Staff
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 26354



« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2008, 02:07:46 PM »

Just to clarify something that Skip wrote:

Quote
People with BPD are impulsive (emotionally immature) and have a high level of rejection sensitivity.

What often makes it complicated for us to understand is that someone with BPD wants the intimacy and fears it at the same time.  They can prematurely (immaturely) get into intimate situations, but when the don't percieve a commensurate response in the partner, they get spooked.

The key word there is "perceive":  That doesn't mean that there is necessarily anything you can do to allay the fear of intimacy and related fear of abandonment.  You can make sure that you are communicating appropriately (see the Communications Workshop) and you can validate the person (see the Workshops on Validation), but you have to maintain boundaries.  And that probably means that you shouldn't be with the person 24/7.  You might try giving them something to remember you with when you are gone..  something you usually wear or keep near you...  there are things you might be able to do.  But their perception that you are abandoning them and there fear of intimacy because of it is really within them.  They have to work through this with appropriate therapy and treatment. 

From an older post by Oceanheart, a BPD in recovery:

Quote
Here's a part from "Sometimes I Act Crazy: Living with BPD":

Dealing with fears of abandonment:

    * Understand and accept borderline anxieties: For the BP, living a life apart from her is abandonment: a husband who works late at the office, a girlfriend who spends time with other friends, a therapist who sees other patients, all may be perceived by the BP as abandoning. Such feelings are real [tho not TRUE] and must be acknowledged. Trying to use logic to convince the borderline that you are not abanding her is usually fruitless.

    * Respect your own limitations: While accepting the BP's need for constant reassurance, don't totally abandon your own interests. Establish compromises between the BP's needs and your own, and stick to them.

    * Don't try to play doctor: Interpreting behaviors in a clinical way may be perceived as controlling and can result in anger and greater defensiveness. During a conflict, never ask, "did you take your medicine today?" This will only reinforce an insulting implication that the BP is "crazy".

    * Prepare the BP for separation: For many BP's the future, particularly an unpleasant future event, doesn't appear on the radar screen. The hope is that what hasn't yet happened perhaps never will. However, ignoring it will only precipitate more severe hurt and anger when it occurs. Don't mention a weekend fishing trip with the guys two months in advance and then avoid discussion until the night before. Instead, remind her about it and propose some compensatory activity: "Don't forget, honey, next weekend I'll be out of town with the guys. I know I'm really going to miss you. Let's go out to a nice restaurant and show this weekend." Though you may be trespassing into self-serving strategy with this kind of reminder, it is better than intentional silence or avoidance of the issue altogether. Similarly, the therapist needs to periodically remind her patient about her upcoming vacation.

    * Utilize transitional objects: "Something to remember me by" - a picture, an audiotape, an article of clothing, or any possession that links the BP to another person of importance - can lessen the pain of separation.

    * Be consistent: Work for a compromise and stick to it. Ambivalence will only result in more pleading and conflicts later

Remember, fear of intimacy, fear of abandonment is within them.  There are things you can do that may help, but MAY is the operative word here.
Logged

nick212
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 333


« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2008, 02:17:55 PM »

This makes a lot of sense why my ex would get angry if I didn't spend the nite, or if I wasn't with her every minute. Also makes sense to why she still keeps our scrapbooks and all of that.
Logged
A.J.Mahari
`
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Person in your life: Parent
Posts: 50


« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2008, 08:26:13 AM »

Not only do people with BPD fear intimacy, they really aren't capable of any form of consistent intimacy. To be able to be intimate or emotionally close to someone requires being able to tolerate distance. Borderlines cannot tolerate the ebb and flow - the moving in and out - between closeness (intimacy) and distance. Intimacy, or being close emotionally, leaves the borderline stressed often with the fear of engulfment. Any shift in closeness, even a slight shift, is perceived or feared as abandonment and/or rejection.

BPD and intimacy are not compatible. Those with BPD do crave to be close to someone and usually that is driven by very child-like emotional neediness that revolves around borderlines trying to meet their needs through others and trying to get some sense of "self" through "other" to validate their own existence - have it mirrored back.

Intimacy is one aspect of adult age-appropriate relating that very much highlights the borderline's arrested emotional development and inability to maintain age-appropriate and situationally-appropriate relating in any consistent way. Often those with BPD will generate emotional chaos and conflict to create space, distance "other" in search of some temporary relief to engulfment fears which then quickly leaves the borderline feeling as if they have been or about to be abandoned. It's a classic no-win situation for the borderline and then of course by extension for the non borderline.

Fear of intimacy, as with so many things borderline is a manifestation of the polarized struggle to both find 'authentic self" and identity while needing also to feel individuated - within a connection or attempts at attaching or bonding that can give the borderline a container for all the emotions they cannot cope with or tolerate themselves. Borderlines have not worked through or completed the early childhood developmental phase of separation/individuation. Attempts at intimacy for the borderline can't help but lead to "I-hate-you, don't-leave-me" and to "get-away-closer" emotional chaos - the traditional borderline push/pull.

Borderline fear of intimacy, on the one hand, is as strong as borderline need, and desire for intimacy or for the kind of closeness that gives them an "other" to live through is on the other hand.

Borderline Personality Disorder and intimacy are not compatible in any consistent, age-appropriate or lasting way. Attempts to manage the emotional dysregulation of attempting to be close to and with someone (until and unless a borderline gets into serious therapy and gets on the road to recovery) is lost to the the primary defense mechanism of splitting.
Logged
Christy2
*******
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 1295


« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2008, 09:58:47 AM »

BPD and intimacy are not compatible. Those with BPD do crave to be close to someone and usually that is driven by very child-like emotional neediness ...Intimacy is one aspect of adult age-appropriate relating that very much highlights the borderline's arrested emotional development and inability to maintain age-appropriate and situationally-appropriate relating in any consistent way.

BPD is not a one size fits all package, so the intimacy issue varies too.  For me, AJ Mahari's comments above describe my husband.  He does like emotional intimacy, but on a very childlike level.   

The first few years of our marriage this worked because I had not yet worked through some psychological issues I had (though in retrospect it was hardly a healthy relationship  shocked).  However, at about year seven of our marriage I did some therapy and emerged with a huge transformation in my confidence, attitude etc. I then began to long for true adult intimacy.  I mistakenly assumed my husband would want the same thing for himself, but as it stands now - many years later - I have finally made peace with the fact that he is quite content with staying a "child."  Though I always hold out hope that someday he will emerge from this state, I now realize that it is neither my responsibility nor in my power to make that happen.

As for sexual intimacy, once certain medications took away the naturally occuring physical desire for that on his part, he had NO desire to be proactive in making that happen in other ways.  I used to be hurt by this - I no longer am.  I realize for him if there is not a physical need, why bother?  Understanding this has helped me also because I no longer have the desire to BE physically intimate with him. Being physcially intimate with someone who doesn't see it as a mature emotional connection is completely unappealing to me. Yuck!

So in the end, understanding his need for intimacy as being a childlike one has helped me in forgiving him and not feeling bitter and resentful as often as I used to.  I have a few close women friends whom I go to for advice and when I need to spill my guts (along with the wonderful women on this board).  Sometimes I enjoy having a mature conversation with a non-hypersensitive man too so I can get the "Mars" perspective on things.  In fact, one of the reasons I appreciate our message board here is it allows the opportunity to interact with men on some pretty heavy-duty mature subjects without the dangers that engaging in that sort conversations with men in my "non-cyber world" would pose.
Logged

avex

Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 4



« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2012, 07:05:23 PM »

I appreciate the sharings. They give more more clarity and understanding to my issues faced at home. I used to think that intimacy will lead to stronger bonds and emotional connection between couples but now I understand that initimacy actually increases their primary fears of abandoment and as a result, a lack of it or when you have it, they almost expect something else in return immediately, a stronger sense of reassurance that they are not abandoned.

It's like a curse, they are always in a negative state and when they are occasionaly tipped to the positive state, they almost swing back to the negative state in equal force. Something like a unbalanced scale where the equilibrium is off center, but still subjected to the laws of physics. 

Logged
veganozzie


Offline Offline

Posts: 10


« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2012, 08:59:51 AM »

"'Frantic efforts to avoid abandonment' may mean 'running away first'." That really hits the nail on the head, I think, in terms of why my BPD ex broke up with me 2 months ago. We had not had any conflicts whatsoever for an entire month, were getting closer and closer and both seemingly very serious about this being a "you are the one for life" kind of relationship. We had even discussed wanting to get married at some point in the distant future, even though we had only been together since early July, and we had made firm plans to get together in November for the first time (it's a long-distance relationship that started on Facebook). She even told me as she was breaking up with me that things WERE going well, there was no issue with me and she trusted me and felt comfortable with me (but obviously not completely!), that she thought I was a great partner for her, the best ever, etc., but that she felt "full" and "tired" from having been in so many relationships in a relatively short time (7 in 3 years counting me) in which she claims partners didn't show deep love and commitment--but in every case, she's the one who broke up, so I wonder about her version of events.

In short, I think what happened with us is that increasing intimacy led to fear of how much it would hurt if I abandoned her, which led to her abandoning me first! Because it was such a complete shock (and to compound matters, she couldn't understand why I was so upset!), this was the most devastating breakup I've ever had. I'm still feeling its effects 2 months later.
Logged
Links and Information
CLINICAL INFORMATION
The Big Picture
5 Dimensions of Personality
BPD? How can I know?
Get Someone into Therapy
Treatment of BPD
Full Clinical Definition
Top 50 Questions

EDITORIAL DEPARTMENTS
My Child has BPD
My Parent/Sibling has BPD
My Significant Other has BPD
Recovering a Breakup
My Failing Romance
Endorsed Books
Archived Articles

RELATIONSHIP TOOLS
How to Stop Reacting
Ending Cycle of Conflict
Listen with Empathy
Don't Be Invalidating
Values and Boundaries
On-Line CBT Program
>> More Tools

MESSAGEBOARD GENERAL
Membership Eligibility
Messageboard Guidelines
Directory
Suicidal Ideation
Domestic Violence
ABOUT US
Mission
Policy and Disclaimers
Professional Endorsements
Wikipedia
Facebook

Google+(Member)
Google+ (Professional)
BPDFamily.org

Your Account
Settings

Moderation Appeal
Become a Sponsor
Sponsorship Account


Pages: [1] 2 3  All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2006-2017, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!