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Author Topic: BPD BEHAVIORS: Extinction Bursts  (Read 67597 times)
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Gender: Female
Person in your life: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 2580

« Reply #40 on: September 09, 2015, 12:29:09 AM »

IT works just takes time, like with my uBPDh he will call once i leave several times and leaving messages i never pick up, i use to just because i thought if i let him rage on the phone but not listen things would get better but it didn't it stayed the same.. i let him know once i know he has calmed down i will call him back, i listen to the messages and as soon as i can tell he is still angry i just erase it, it takes several times at first but sooner or later he calls and is much calmer so then i call him back.  and this puts the responcibility back on him, if i call and he starts in again which has happend i hang up.  now in time i am noticing lately since i don't pick up when he calls and i am back to reinforcing he needs to calm down his phone calls to me leaving me messages are less, he still leaves me angry messages but not as many. he is taking time to calm  down.i am seeing a differnce with inforcing the boundary of i will call back once i see you have calmed down and i will listen but not till then, things are better.. now i can say i started this boundary and inforced it more after i started here . so thanks to this site that part got better... and in time maybe his rages will even get less then they are now... or maybe i won't be out shopping as long  cry               

Can I ask if this behavior existed prior to the marriage and if it did did it bother you at that time?

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Gender: Female
Person in your life: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 2580

« Reply #41 on: September 09, 2015, 12:45:07 AM »

Extinction bursts can include things like turning up the projection machine.

Part of getting out of these bursts is learning more sophisticated ways to handle these things.  It is hard to deal with this day in and day out out.

Some of the ways to handle these are validation, boundaries, and reflective listening.

It's good to question why we don't start to change our approach - sometimes its fear, sometimes its exhaustion, and learning new stuff is hard at first.

I feel like I'm only barely getting to understand "extinction bursts" let alone put the "validation, boundaries, and reflective listening" into use. And I definitely don't do some things at some times because I'm so freaking tired, and I don't want to put up with what may turn into The Litany (of my wrongs.) And that makes me inconsistent which is not helpful.

I can totally relate. Reading all of this I'm like why? What's the point? Is anybody truly worth that much? No relationship should have to be that much work.
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Person in your life: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 2580

« Reply #42 on: September 09, 2015, 12:52:10 AM »

hi Modafinilguy--

Well, if one of the pwBPD's main beliefs is in their unworthiness (as my uBPDh believes) and so often that comes from those first formative years, then knowing someone does believe in them and their worth can make a difference. It's great to see that you are able to work with young people who are still receptive! I believe where the different wordings of how to deal with a pwBPD comes into play is that often the pwBPD has spent years and years getting more deeply entrenched in their flawed belief system, and have by that time developed their flawed coping strategies (name any one of the BPD traits.) PLUS, some of those pwBPD have had other flawed and damaged people in their lives for years, enabling their inappropriate behavior (raising my slow-to-learn hand here!) Those of us who have been codependent and enabling have so many new and more appropriate skills to learn, so for instance, ME, i'm having to learn appropriate boundaries, and less inflammatory responses to my husband's rages. It gets complicated! Some of us have been hurt so deeply by the actions of our BPD loved one that we're learning to deal with our own issues on top of theirs, yunno? Find the part where we are responsible for change?

The main thing is, our attitude as the one who loves someone with BPD can be both "I believe in you" and "I understand you're upset,  i'm not feeling safe and I need to leave the room."

I think it's so awesome that you have the opportunity and are willing to work with those kids who maybe haven't had anybody model to them "I love you and believe in you, also in your ability to make healthier choices."

There can be variations in how compassionate someone feels about a loved one with BPD depending on how much damage has been inflicted on them by the pwBPD, but most importantly WE ARE ALL IN PROCESS, we are all learning, and we are all in different places in the journey. smiley

This is brilliant and gets at what I was talking about in another thread, the degree of compassion one feels for someone is dependent on the degree of damage they have done to you.

In DBT compassion is one of the opposite actions to anger and its hard to feel compassionate for someone who has hurt you, and I don't know that you should. However I do like what you said about "I understand how you feel, however I feel unsafe so I'm going to leave the room now." That would send my pwBPD into a rage!

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Person in your life: Ex-romantic partner
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« Reply #43 on: September 09, 2015, 12:55:40 AM »

How can you not reward silent treatment? how can you get that behaviour to stop? by going silent yourself?

Hi guys,

From what I read on a forum once, silent treatment is a message itself. It means: leave me alone. "I never want to see you again!" also means: "Please give me some space, even though I can't communicate this to you now."

My DBPDbf wants to temporarily leave the earth when he's feeling overwhelmed and angry. It's like a bucket of emotion filling up, feels it's getting fuller and doesn't want good people to be around when it's flooded. He hates it about himself which adds to the negative vortex. He needs space to experience the emotion and make it disappear.

Think of it as if it were yourself: when someone has just hurt you, for the next hour / day or so you don't want to hear from them. Anything they will say will keep you angry, regardless of the content of your message. This same process happens to a pwBPD, it just takes longer. Instead of a few hours/day, they might need a few days / week.

My therapist tells me to always send two signals in these moments:

1) it's okay to feel this way, I will give you space, take your time

2) you are always safe and welcome with me

If the pwBPD is really giving a silent treatment in the way that they are not picking up phone calls or allowing you to see them, just send a text message that states the above two points. In that way they are validated in their feelings, but also know they can return to you once the guilt, shame and fear of abandonment becomes more important than their initial anger.

Last week I had a combination of two: at first I got a complete silent treatment that usually just lasts for a day. I ignored that by sending voice messages (will NEVER do that again), which resulted in "I never want to see you again! Apparently it's the only way to make things clear to you: I N E V E R want to see you again!". I left him alone for 24hours and sent a text the next day. That I feel bad he's feeling this way, he can take the space he needs, I'd call him on Thursday (4 days later) if I didn't hear from him, but that he was always welcome to contact me earlier than that.

> He didn't expect that response. Not from me (given past behaviour), not from what he was used to (with his ex). I learnt this by talking to one of his best friends ho has known him for over 6 years.

+2 days I received a text saying he really didn't want to continue our relationship. Obviously the silent treatment is a cry for rest, but there is a limit to it. The fact he texted me and opened up communication was a sign for me he was ready to communicate again. The content did not matter.

> The content was the extinction burst. I reacted calmly saying that I was a bit shocked by his message, because it contradicted earlier statements from him, but that I would accept it if he would say it to my eyes. "Why are you not mad?" he even asked, which clearly stated his expectation that I did not meet.

+2 hours I ended up going to his place, still validating his need to end the relationship. Once I got there, he hugged me to death and started crying. "It really hurts so much", "please never leave me".

Does this help at all to understand the silent treatment? It's a combination of giving yourself some space (nobody want to argue with an angry BPD), giving the pwBPD some space, but also always sending out a message of validation and trust.

Can I ask why somebody would want to put up with this kind of behavior? Especially if you had to depend on this person for some kind of family situation? Its hard for me not to see the silent treatment as some kind of luxury or bad behavior.
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Person in your life: Ex-romantic partner
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« Reply #44 on: September 10, 2015, 02:49:38 PM »

I guess if you'd want to support someone in a healing process, or would want to understand them. It's like forgiving agressive people that they show their emotions through anger while they are actually afraid. I would only try to look at it his way if your SO is also trying. In my case, he was in therapy and working very hard on his recovery, albeit not hard enough for me (in the end).

Change only takes places through action
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Posts: 302

« Reply #45 on: November 08, 2017, 03:30:00 PM »

It seems you don't have to have some sort of disorder for this to apply to you.  "Normal, mentally healthy" people experience the same thing.  It feels we are all conditioned that if you do a certain thing repeatedly and received what reward/response in the past, you expect it to be like every time.  Maybe people with BPD just experience the extinction bursts more severely than mentally healthy people. 

If I put money in the soda machine, push the button and nothing happens.. what do I do? I try again.  I will try a couple times, maybe smack the machine, but then shrug it off and accept the fact it doesn't work.  My BPH will do that, except he will try more than a couple times.  Probably even kick, repeatedly punch, and scream at the machine, demanding it give him his soda.  If he's in a particularly foul mood, maybe even take a heavy duty tool to try to bust if open.


“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.”  -Mark Twain
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