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Author Topic: How did your relationship evolve?  (Read 26233 times)
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« on: December 21, 2008, 12:59:35 AM »

How a Borderline Personality Disorder Love Relationship Evolves

Roger Melton, M.A.

https://bpdfamily.com/content/how-borderline-relationship-evolves

Regardless of how a person with Borderline Personality Disorder alters and tailor her appearance and actions to please others, she often presents with a clear and characteristic personality pattern over time. This pattern usually evolves through three stages: The Vulnerable Seducer, The Clinger, and The Hater. This evolution may take months, and sometimes even years to cycle through. In the later periods, the personality often swings wildly back and forth from one phase to the next.

Love: The Vulnerable Seducer Phase

At first, a Borderline female may appear sweet, shy, vulnerable and "ambivalently in need of being rescued"; looking for her Knight in Shining Armor.

In the beginning, you will feel a rapidly accelerating sense of compassion because she is a master at portraying herself as she "victim of love" and you are saving her. But listen closely to how she sees herself as a victim. As her peculiar emotional invasion advances upon you, you will hear how no one understands her - except you. Other people have been "insensitive." She has been betrayed, just when she starts trusting people. But there is something "special" about you, because "you really seem to know her."

It is this intense way she has of bearing down on you emotionally that can feel very seductive. You will feel elevated, adored, idealized - almost worshiped, maybe even to the level of being uncomfortable. And you will feel that way quickly. It may seem like a great deal has happened between the two of you in a short period of time, because conversation is intense, her attention, and her eyes are so deeply focused on you.

Here is a woman who may look like a dream come true. She not only seems to make you the center of her attention, but she even craves listening to your opinions, thoughts and ideas. It will seem like you have really found your heart's desire.

Like many things that seems too good to be true, this is. This is borderline personality disorder.

It will all seem so real because it is real in her mind. But what is in her mind it is not what you perceive to be happening.

Love: The Clinger Phase

Once she has successfully candied her hook with your adoration, she will weld it into place by “reeling in” your attention and concern. Her intense interest in you will subtly transform over time. She still appears to be interested in you, but no longer in what you are interested in. Her interest becomes your exclusive interest in her. This is when you start to notice “something”. Your thoughts, feelings and ideas fascinate her, but more so when they focus on her. You can tell when this happens because you can feel her "perk-up" emotionally whenever your attention focuses upon her feelings and issues. Those moments can emotionally hook your compassion more deeply into her, because that is when she will treat you well - tenderly.

It’s often here, you begin to confuse your empathy with love, and you believe you're in love with her. Especially if your instinct is strong and rescuing is at the heart of your "code." Following that code results in the most common excuse I hear as a therapist, as to why many men stay with borderline women, "... .But I love her!" Adult love is built on mutual interest, care and respect - not on one-way emotional rescues. And mothering is for kids. Not grown men.

But, if like King Priam, you do fall prey to this Trojan Horse and let her inside your city gates, the first Berserker to leave the horse will be the devious Clinger. A master at strengthening her control through empathy, she is brilliant at eliciting sympathy and identifying those most likely to provide it-like the steady-tempered and tenderhearted.

The world ails her. Physical complaints are common. Her back hurts. Her head aches. Peculiar pains of all sorts come and go like invisible, malignant companions. If you track their appearance, though, you may see a pattern of occurrence connected to the waning or waxing of your attentions. Her complaints are ways of saying, "don't leave me. Save me!" And Her maladies are not simply physical. Her feelings ail her too.

She is depressed or anxious, detached and indifferent or vulnerable and hypersensitive. She can swing from elated agitation to mournful gloom at the blink of an eye. Watching the erratic changes in her moods is like tracking the needle on a Richter-scale chart at the site of an active volcano, and you never know which flick of the needle will predict the big explosion.

But after every emotional Vesuvius she pleads for your mercy. And if she has imbedded her guilt-hooks deep enough into your conscientious nature, you will stay around and continue tracking this volcanic earthquake, caught in the illusion that you can discover how to stop Vesuvius before she blows again. But, in reality, staying around this cauldron of emotional unpredictability is pointless. Every effort to understand or help this type of woman is an excruciatingly pointless exercise in emotional rescue.

It is like you are a Coast Guard cutter and she is a drowning woman. But she drowns in a peculiar way. Every time you pull her out of the turbulent sea, feed her warm tea and biscuits, wrap her in a comfy blanket and tell her everything is okay, she suddenly jumps overboard and starts pleading for help again. And, no matter how many times you rush to the emotional - rescue, she still keeps jumping back into trouble. It is this repeating, endlessly frustrating pattern which should confirm to you that you are involved with a Borderline Personality Disorder. No matter how effective you are at helping her, nothing is ever enough. No physical, financial or emotional assistance ever seems to make any lasting difference. It's like pouring the best of your self into a galactic-sized Psychological Black Hole of bottomless emotional hunger. And if you keep pouring it in long enough, one-day you'll fall right down that hole yourself. There will be nothing left of you but your own shadow, just as it falls through her predatory "event horizon." But before that happens, other signs will reveal her true colors.

Sex will be incredible. She will be instinctually tuned in to reading your needs. It will seem wonderful - for a while.

The intensity of her erotic passion can sweep you away, but her motive is double-edged. One side of it comes from the instinctually built-in, turbulent emotionality of her disorder. Intensity is her trump-card.

But the other side of her is driven by an equally instinctually and concentrated need to control you. The sexual experiences, while imposing, are motivated from a desire to dominate you, not please you. Her erotic intensity will be there in a cunning way tailored so you will not readily perceive it.

“I love you” means – “I need you to love me”. “That was the best ever for me” means – tell me “it was the best ever for you”. Show me that I have you.

Love: The Hater Phase

Once a Borderline Controller has succeeded and is in control, the Hater appears. This hateful part of her may have emerged before, but you probably will not see it in full, acidic bloom until she feels she has achieved a firm hold on your conscience and compassion. But when that part makes it's first appearance, rage is how it breaks into your life.

What gives this rage its characteristically borderline flavor is that it is very difficult for someone witnessing it to know what triggered it in reality. But that is its primary identifying clue: the actual rage-trigger is difficult for you to see. But in the Borderline's mind it always seems to be very clear. To her, there is always a cause. And the cause is always you. Whether it is the tone of your voice, how you think, how you feel, dress, move or breathe - or "the way you're looking at me," - she will always justify her rage by blaming you for "having to hurt her."

Rage reactions are also unpredictable and unexpected. They happen when you least expect it. And they can become extremely dangerous. It all serves to break you down over time. Your self esteem melts away. You change and alter your behavior in hopes of returning to the “Clinger Stage”. And periodically you will, but only to cycle back to the hater when you least expect it, possibly on her birthday, or your anniversary.

Borderline Personality Disorder is a serious mental illness.

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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2008, 04:24:18 AM »

How many times are you going to keep hurting yourself... ? What are you some kind of sadist... ? Do you enjoy being tortured by this person...  would you willingly tie yourself up and let someone shock you?  Thats is what you are basically doing being with her...  The push/pull cycle repeats...  each time she feels that she is losing you, she will throw you scraps and make you believe it will be different this time...  how many cycles are you willing to go through before you end up giving up?  How much time has past by where its been mostly bad and hardly any good in the relationship...  Why do you continue to be with this person hoping for a different outcome when shes proven to be incapable of giving you what you want... ?  Once you bring your own needs to the table she will hate you.  You arent allowed to have needs of your own... you were put on earth to fill her needs and save her...  Anything less than that and you will see the monster that they really are.

Was it all worth it... ?  Being with this person, what did it cost you?  It cost me a lot... but im finally off the roller coaster and i will never get back on that ride again.

What i didn't realize is i was playing a game i couldnt win.  

You can't make them happy, nothing you do will ever be enough... You could give them the moon and they still wouldnt be happy.  You could sacrifice your own life for them and they still wouldnt believe that you cared. Nothing you do will ever make them happy... Remember this.

Maybe you'd like to try... ? hmm... how to keep them somewhat happy lets see...

1. Be a complete doormat.

2. Never blame them for anything, even if they really are wrong.

3.  Validate every feeling they have at the cost of your own.

4. Give up all your own needs

5. do not expect to get as much as you put in

6. Do not expect to be loved like you love them

7. Do not ever disappoint them in anyway

8. Do not ever tell them they are wrong

9. treat them like children.

10. let them rage at you for no reason and take it.

Does this sound like a normal healthy relationship to you? Can you possibly be happy with this kind of person for the rest of your life?
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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2008, 12:22:27 PM »

It is amazing and frightening how consistent the pattern of a BPD relationship can be.  Looking back, I feel like an idiot for not seeing the "red flags", but I honestly had no idea about BPD.  That does not excuse what happened to me and I take full responsibility.  I was taken in "hook, line and sinker."  I heard the same comments, such as "you saved me" and you're my "soulmate" and was foolish enough to believe it. 

Then, after the honeymoon was over, I put up with the distancing.  Absolutely crazy.  She had this thing about she had to be with her friends and could not be with me when she was with her friends.  I was completely shut out.  I tried to end things twice.  The second time brought on a rage, the likes of which I have never heard before.  I put her on speakerphone just so a friend of mine could hear the rage of a BPD.  As many of you have been on the receiving end of BPD rage, you know exactly what I am talking about. Unfortunately, I was "re-engaged" back in twice.

I was setting up to end things again by telling her that she was sending me a clear message about how she felt about our relationship and that I needed to talk with her.  After that conversation, she texted me and said she didn't want to end the relationship, but wanted to talk about things.  But, the next day, in classic BPD fashion, she beat me to the punch and said that she couldn't be in a relationship and needed to work on herself.  She said that she didn't know who she was.  I agreed and that was that.  No yelling and rage.  Since then I had a couple of texts telling me how much she cared about me, and one call from her telling me she was laid off from her job.  She knew she would get my sympathy.  My resolve to not respond to her has gotten stronger each day.  I even took a suggestion from a friend to replace her name on my phone to ":)O NOT ANSWER".  I understand now that any contact is about her and not me. 

I can't express enough how reading the posts on this message board have helped me through this mess along with great patience of family and friends.  I have found everyone on this board to be a source of strength.  The difference b/w folks on this board and your family and friends is that people on this board have lived life with a BPD.  It makes a difference.  I have many things to be thankful for in this life. But, at this time in my life, when I am struggling with the fallout of a BPD relationship, I want to thank everyone who contributes to this board for sharing your thoughts, experiences and feelings.  You had made a difference in my life.  And because of your support, I will come back and be stronger than ever. Thanks.       

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« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2008, 01:06:03 AM »

Patrick Carnes sees it as an addiction or trauma bond. Some others see it as a rescuer/persecutor/victim triangle.  Some as sadism/masochism.


Date: Jan-2014Minutes: 2:10

What Is Addiction? | Patrick Carnes  PhD

All boils down to the combination of someone splitting and the other person trying to make coherence out of it.

Average people walk away from the nuttiness but those that have old unresolved ''stuff'' are glued to it and try to wrap their heads around it.
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« Reply #4 on: December 22, 2008, 10:36:39 AM »

it is so eerie how all these BPDs are so alike.

you described my so called ex "friendship".

and the addiction - "you're basically chasing after what could be" and everything else... SPOT ON.

Excerpt
average people walk away from the nuttiness but those that have old unresolved ''stuff'' are glued to it and try to wrap their heads around it.

100% true.  which is why i think everyone involved with a BPD needs to get therapy or figure it out (about themselves).  doesn't mean you're crazy or you're a failure, but you need to figure out why you didn't just walk away. (which seems obvious, but it really isn't)

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« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2008, 10:57:42 AM »

We don't walk away because the BPD isn't obvious at the time, only in retrospect.  The push/pull dance, the splitting, the abusive behaviors, the gaslighting are all insidious.  That's why we are here talking to each other as nons, because we understand the seduction of the honeymoon phase.  In all but the most extreme cases, it's not a situation of BP behavior being patently obvious to one group of "normal" people but not to us.  I think almost anyone could be a non, even without the predisposing history of low self-esteem or addictive behaviors.   And then, as previous posters have pointed out, once you're sucked in, you're reluctant to give up.  It's just human nature, not gullibility, not a character flaw, not another type of psychological disorder.  We may become disordered as a result of a BP relationship, but we did not start out that way.  Another poster said on another thread that she was quite "normal" before she met her BP--good self-esteem, confident, etc.  I think a lot of us start out that way.  By the time we are posting on this board we have been transformed into self-flagellating doubters of everything. 
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« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2008, 12:18:28 PM »

I think it depends on the persons/situation... .I would say in MOST cases, the minute there are signs of push/pull , hot/cold, abusive behavior, which almost ALWAYS are seen within a few months at the most or until INTIMACY becomes apparent in the relationship, then a person who had healthy relationship experiences and is not a rescuer, etc... .will seriously give pause to this stuff... .and pay more attention to actions rather than words. I have to meet one non that didn't see signs early on, and who didn't regret NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THEIR GUT FEELING that something was incredibly wrong. There are those that walked into these relationships very naive also... .that doesn't make them mentally ill, it is simply a case of finding out why, as an adult, one has this level of naiveity.

I hope my comments don't suggest a non is mentally ill. I am simply stating that in ALL relationships there are two people and both play a part in the dance. Looking at one's own part is the ONLY control we have over this stuff... .looking at the BPD's part may relieve some self doubt and answer some questions, but at the end of the day, we don't have control over other people. AND it is also important to realize that we have emotional drives that dictate oftentimes what we do... .and perhaps an overdeveloped sense of duty, obligation, responsibility, loyalty, etc.

Look, I'm a therapist and STILL didn't put together the fact that I was with  BPD... .it does not show itself until intimacy triggers all the core issues. But I DID see behaviors that were ''odd'' or ''eccentric'', and I brushed them away. My gut said "WHOA''... .my intellect said ''Give him a chance"... .and I did. And another one, and another one. THAT is the problem. Where we draw the line as healthy adults in an adult relationship. If it was a CHILD then the tolerance of course is going to be different.

Interesting discussion!

SD
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« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2008, 12:36:21 PM »

I didn't take your comments as saying we're all mentally ill.  quite the contrary.

and i hope my comments weren't taken that way.

but you are right... .in hindsight, most of us DID see the red flags, but chose to not go with our gut feeling.  at least with most of the people i have talked to here, including me.  i had loads of self esteem and confidence - in fact, that's what attracted him to me in the first place -  the fact that i could "fight" with him and debate with him without getting my feelings hurt.  but eventually that wore me down.

BPD can't hide itself for too long. heck, i didn't even have a REAL friendship - face to face - and it STILL couldn't hide behind the darn screen! can you imagine? totally able to sit and edit your responses and be the "perfect" person - and you still can't control yourself?

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« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2008, 02:45:02 PM »

I think it's fair to say most nons that stay with a borderline have some unresolved issues of their own.  You're right most people with healthy experienced relationships will mostly likely bail at the first sign of craziness, if not take a really good look at the relationship and "pause" like you said.  I think most of us do see many red flags but we choose to ignore them.  Denial perhaps...

In my case i was made codependent, I'm not quite sure if i was like this all along or if she made me this way.  I was very naive early on, i felt like i could help this person or "fix" her, but boy was i wrong. You can't fix them, only long term therapy can do that.  Theres been many times early on the relationship that theres been a voice in my head screaming "GET OUT NOW" but i chose to ignore my gut feeling and believe that things would get better.  The alternative was obviously too difficult.
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« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2008, 04:57:02 PM »

Another thought occurred to me that media, novels, etc... .promote the idea that a prince can spring from a toad with enough love... .or that the knight can rescue the damsel in distress (or dat dress... .doesn't matter which dress 2)... .there is enough propaganda that buys into the fantasy that a person and their love and patience can change another person for the 'better'... .whatever that is... .

my ex used to say that I helped him become ''a better man"... .this is something that is promoted... .that with the right woman, all psychological issues will somehow go away or one becomes motivated to be positive... .he obviously was disappointed and disillusioned that I didn't have those magical powers... .that any progress he made was entirely of his own doings and had very little to do with my presence. But when things started to go bad, I was also the culprit (more so). When a person has a fragile identity and has to absorb a pseudo-identity from others, it is a way to neither take credit nor take responsibility for what happens.

Likewise, I believe many of us quietly harbor the fantasy (or did) that we have some ability to make another person ''see'' how life can be better. The problem with that is that it puts the other person automatically in a one-down position (damaged/child/inept) and who wants to stay in that role for very long? That's when retaliatory behavior comes to life and now the non becomes the victim. So this Prince Charming fantasy has basic flaws in terms of how we must respect others as adults and not rescuers (mommies) or victims (waifs/children/sick).

Okay I am getting a headache from all this philosophy. That's what rainy days do to me... .Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2008, 03:45:18 PM »

Thanks for the great post Kinetix - your story is so similar to mine and I'm sure to many others and it is also a great time of year to have a post like this to remind us of the danger of BPD as I am sure many of us feel weak in terms of our ability to ward off re-engages during the holidays.

I think people have said some really interesting things here.  I think what C2 said was a brilliant observation about all of us and our situations in terms of the insidiousness of their behaviour that only we are allowed to see.  It reminds me of that old cartoon where the guy discovers this singing and dancing frog and every time he tries to show someone else the frog's talents all he gets is a "ribbet" and people start to think he's crazy - Laugh out loud (click to insert in post).

Also in terms of what C2 said about how we get sucked in and are then reluctant to give up, I had a friend make a very astute observation about human love in general the other day.  He suggested that when humans engage in love it is completely irrational - that love itself is a form of insanity.  We often stay with abusive, harmful people for long periods of time which makes no sense whatsoever in terms of improving our lives or chances for survival and yet, both women and men stay in such horrible relationships because we claim we "love them".  It's not rational.  Even healthy love is not really very rational - I mean ultimately we stay because love makes us feel good - well so does heroin but doing it cuz it feels good, even if it wasn't physically bad for us, still doesn't make any sense.  I personally tend to agree with this to a degree and I have kind of rationalized it in my brain (being the closet evolutionary biologist that I am) as being a very unique trick our genes or biology plays on us by generating such powerful and addictive feelings that cause us to both want to procreate (on a purely selfish level - as in sexual drive) and to then stick around and raise our offspring (this is where love comes in, making what appears to be empathetic behaviour appear) and yet it makes absolutely no logical sense.  So we are genetically programmed, like all other animals, to engage our sexual instincts and also specifically in humans the instinct of "love" has been hardwired in our brains for the simple reason that we stick around and raise our children and support our families.  In other words it is necessary for our own brains or biology to trick us into falling in love so that we continue to reproduce as well as raise our offspring and thus pass on and evolve our genetic material.

People with BPD have poor emotional regulation (I mean this is really what the disease is) so I think this is why the normal ups and downs of any relationship are immensely exaggerated with them, simply because their emotions drive their thinking far more than logic or fact or rational discourse.  When I read people in other posts claiming that their BPD never loved them it really bothers me because I believe they do love and are completely capable of loving.  The problem though is that the normal emotions involved with love cause them to do crazy things and express insane emotional outbursts centred around jealousy and abandonment fears.  If they didn't love you they wouldn't hate you when they are upset - they would simply be indifferent.  We only really feel deep hatred towards those we love most and whom we feel betrayed us or abandoned us.

I personally have accepted my uBPDexgf for whom she is adn how she is.  I also have had her out to my place recently to spend some time with her and her son and to give her son a gift for Christmas.  Do I wish everything was normal and we were back together? - of course I do.  Is it going to happen or am I going to be foolish enough to believe it could be? - no - of course not.  I cannot hate forever someone I have been friends with for many years and whom is overall a good person.  She knows she can't help herself and proved it to me this past Saturday.  She had grabbed her son's arm and told him to behave when we were at the mall (he did actually need to be told to settle down a bit) this Saturday and he started to cry a bit but clung to my leg when he did.  I patted him on the head a bit and comforted him and he calmed down right away.  At dinner she apologized to him for snapping and admitted to thim that she should have taken her meds before she came out.  To me this says that she knows how she is but does not know how to control it and that meds do help her a bit.  IF that's the best she can do, and accordingly to pretty much all of the research I have read it is, then I can at least accept that she has done her best to control her disorder and taken some level of responsibility for it.  As I often say, I can't hate an alligator because it eats people and I can't hate my ex gf simply because she has BPD.
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« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2010, 07:32:34 PM »

We don't walk away because the BPD isn't obvious at the time, only in retrospect.  The push/pull dance, the splitting, the abusive behaviors, the gaslighting are all insidious.

In my situation, insidious is a really good word to describe how subtle the process was. But I can't discount the "all in" aspect of what kinetix called the "sunk cost."  It is like the gambling analogy- you dont really know when to walk away. You've invested so much- and there were times when things seemed to break even, but for the most part I was deluded in thinking that the bad was nowhere near as noteworthy as the good. I believe, as "soodone" says, that "average people walk away from the nuttiness but those that have old unresolved ''stuff'' are glued to it and try to wrap their heads around it."

That's me- trying to wrap my head around it- and worse, sticking my head up someone's ass, failing every time.

What did Chris Farley say in the movie "Tommy Boy?"

Tommy: [Trying to copy his father's quote] "Hey, I'll tell you what. You can get a good look at a butcher's ass by sticking your head up there. But, wouldn't you rather to take his word for it?"

Customer: [confused] What? I'm failing to make the connection here. Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)

Tommy: "No, I mean is, you can get a good look at a T-bone by sticking your head up a butcher's ass... .No, wait... .It's gotta be your bull... .?"

David Spade: [embarrassed] Wow.

[It takes Tommy until the end of the movie to say the phrase correctly]

"I can get a good look at a T-bone by sticking my head up a bull's ass, but I'd rather take a butcher's word for it."

BPD is BPD... .You could stick your head up there and look around and get nothing out of it but exasperation and a waste of precious time.  So many of us returned to the BPD looking for answers- in effect, giving them more control of our lives. Now I know, there's nothing left to do but turn my back, walk away and take the butcher's word for it... .

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« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2010, 08:06:50 PM »

I have saved this and will faithfully read it first thing every morning. Thank you all that posted Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2010, 06:31:02 AM »

God, I read this twice. Good stuff. It makes me want to give a quick chronicle of my own situation. Maybe I will.
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« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2010, 07:27:44 AM »

I read this and it hits me like a 2*4 between the eyes. I was doing folly and I should be glad I am out.
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« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2010, 09:52:09 AM »

Kinetix, thank you so much for posting that.  I am sitting here dumbfounded.  It's almost 100% exactly my story.  That's EXACTLY how my xBPDbf's and my relationship evolved.  The MINUTE I pointed out that I needed a slight bit more love or appreciation from him, he got "monster mean" for the first time, and it completely freaked me out.  It was all downhill from there... .

He just broke up with me 2 weeks ago.  

Wow.  I'm printing that out and putting it up near my desk at home.

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« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2011, 05:17:12 PM »

This is it - I finally got it.
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« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2011, 06:16:29 PM »

Very, very good old thread. Nice find!  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)  The similarities are still amazing me, but yeah... .that's really it. I bookmarked it.

You know what keeps in my head all the time? Why I didn't know about BPD and info like this before I knew her... .damn!  Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2011, 08:05:16 PM »

 Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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Two years out and getting better all the time!


« Reply #19 on: April 03, 2011, 08:32:37 PM »

good post. Thanks for posting that to remind us.
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chiha
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« Reply #20 on: April 03, 2011, 09:10:53 PM »

I have had a very challenging weekend and this really hit home. It described everthing I have been struggling with. Thank you so much!
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« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2011, 09:55:38 AM »

Man did this hit hard, my only problem is once you had exactly what you wanted, everything else is going to seem bland from this point on.  Granted it was a dream a fantasy, a play, but man in the honeymoon stage holy sht it was amazing.  Funny thing is before i knew anythign about BPD i said to her, i guess the honeymoon is over Laugh out loud (click to insert in post).
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« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2011, 01:19:41 PM »

This is a very good thread and hopefully it is helpful to those that are reading and participating.

The Roger Melton article was the very first article on bpdfamily.com (which was then named bpdfamily.com).  I found Melton's article over a year into my healing and I thought it was very helpful because it answered the question that I (many of us) struggled with - "How could someone be so head over heals in love with us and then turn on us with such contempt - often after we adored them and sacrificed and gave them what hey wanted?"  

Simple answer, there is an pattern in the BPD relationship where the view of the partner evolves from one of idealization (we are finally the answer to love and happiness) to one where we don't live up to expectation (the push and pull on both sides), to one where we have failed them (as we all react badly to the situation and each other). Our partner was looking for a solution to their long terms relationship issues and we failed to be that. 

As insightful as this article - it our most read piece and it is quoted all over the Internet - it has a serious downside to it.  It suggests that the actions of the pwBPD are calculated and malicious.  Typically they are not. This aspect of the article has brought us more letters of criticism over the years than the rest of the material published on bpdfamily collectively.  In all the reading and reflecting I have done over the years it is clear that most BPD behavior is impulsive, selfish and without thought for the consequences - hence the confusing self defeating nature of the actions we often see.  I pass this on only to help keep us all balanced.

Maybe you'd like to try... ? hmm... how to keep them somewhat happy lets see...

1. Be a complete doormat.

2. Never blame them for anything, even if they really are wrong.

3.  Validate every feeling they have at the cost of your own.

4. Give up all your own needs

5. do not expect to get as much as you put in

6. Do not expect to be loved like you love them

7. Do not ever disappoint them in anyway

8. Do not ever tell them they are wrong

9. treat them like children.

10. let them rage at you for no reason and take it.

We can all understand and identify with these feelings, but they reflect the weaknesses and cognitive distortions of a typical partner from a failed BPD relationship. This list is the equivalent of saying that the only way to make a junkie happy is to give him drugs and to let him steal from you.  These might be better labeled as enabling behaviors on our part.

Why do we have these distortions?  Many reasons.  Could be depression (74% of our members are depressed).  Could be weak dysfunctional bonding skills.  Could be other life issues - both chronic (NPD, codependency, low self esteem) or acute (just divorced, lost job, etc) that existed before the relationship.

Many of us land here and say - I did everything I could and they destroyed the relationship or "If she agrees to get help and change and I will support her because I love her" But the truth is probably closer to "they have serious relationship issues and we became enablers which was neither in their or our best interest."



What is left for us now is to truly understand how this jigsaw puzzle fit together and to answer the biggest question - how do I go forward and not carry or repeat this dysfunction in another relationship.  This is a big deal.  I have read hundreds of threads of members going on to recycle back into the relationship when they should have known better (but didn't because they focused on the pwBPD issues), repeated these problems in a new relationship (sometimes not as strongly, sometimes worse), or get involved with a relatively healthy partner and ground that relationship down.

This is it - I finally got it.

The answers are not all that complex, but it takes many of us a longtime to learn them.    Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #23 on: April 04, 2011, 02:00:38 PM »

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im with you all the way except the last part where you mention the jigsaw.

Ok can you please explain to me how we are enablers?

Also why are we dysfunctional when all we wanted was to have happy and healthy relationship?

Also kinetix list clearly is what we would have to do stay with them ... yes?

I can not see how we were enablers... Am i being thick here ?
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« Reply #24 on: April 04, 2011, 02:18:53 PM »

 Hi! Joop,

Also why are we dysfunctional when all we wanted was to have happy and healthy relationship?

Hint: Which word is an extreme in your sentence?

Also kinetix list clearly is what we would have to do stay with them ... yes?

It is a good list helping you to walk on egg-shells and avoid giving feedback. Emotional regulation in the end is about regulation and regulation relies on?

I can not see how we were enablers... Am i being thick here ?

Nope, you are not thick. But there may still be some thick FOG clouds
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« Reply #25 on: April 04, 2011, 03:18:52 PM »

You may not be exactly getting it yet, but it takes time for each of to process our Self Inquiry in our own way.  It certainly took me a while and I went down some nonproductive paths in the process.  Most others than I have spoken to needed a lot of time and also went down some nonproductive paths.  Be patient with yourself.  The most important thing is to keep reaching out by asking the questions and pay particular attention to members that are a little further along the healing path then yourself.

why are we dysfunctional when all we wanted was to have happy and healthy relationship?

To further the junkie analogy, when a junkie needs a fix (dysfunctional mode) he sweettalks, pleads, begs, does whatever it takes to "protect himself" (i.e., getting the drug).  If I gave him what he asked for because I was seeking a good relationship with him, his approval and his validation -  I would be misguided and really just enabling his addiction.

Also kinetix list clearly is what we would have to do stay with them ... yes?

No. If you took the family connections course that was developed at Harvard for families of pwBPD, you would not find that list anywhere.  A person with BPD needs structure (not a doormat), strength with patience (not someone needing validation), and other things that are better discussed on the staying board.   Smiling (click to insert in post)  

im with you all the way except the last part where you mention the jigsaw.

Look at Self Inquiry (the jigsaw puzzle) this way.  If you had a 9 piece jigsaw puzzle and you had 8 pieces of the puzzle that accurately represented what was going on in your partner part of the relationship, you could fit them altogether and then see what your part in the relationship.



But if we have an unrealistic understanding based of your partner based on urban myths and your own cognitive distortions (from being wounded in the relationship) - it is very hard to figure out our "puzzle "part.  Self Inquiry (understanding the jigsaw puzzle) is important and hard - we have to get past our own misconceptions of our partner and our relationship (which are often formed during the anger stage of the 5 phases of grieving) to really see the puzzle parts.  

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seeking balance
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« Reply #26 on: April 04, 2011, 03:40:58 PM »

im with you all the way except the last part where you mention the jigsaw.

Ok can you please explain to me how we are enablers?

By definition? Enble means:

1. to make able; give power, means, competence, or ability to; authorize:

2. to make possible or easy

as such,  specifically, what are some of your enabling actions that lead to the BPD high conflict relationship.  Keep in mind, these actions are not labeled as good or bad or have any judgement - they are simply actions that enable the high conflict behavior in the BPD relationship - what were some of yours?

Also why are we dysfunctional when all we wanted was to have happy and healthy relationship?

we are not dysfunctional for having the relationship; we are dysfunctional when we had signs early on that this was not a happy and healthy relationship but we made excuses and stuck it out any way.

you are not being thick at all - you are trying to understand.  Try looking at it as more as a cause/effect relationship and not so much as a right/wrong or good/bad - what actions by you (whether intended to cause the effect or not is irrelevent) enabled your ex to think her behaviour was appropriate?
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« Reply #27 on: April 04, 2011, 03:54:27 PM »

Im going to have to get my head round what you guys have said, there is lots there to work out, end of the day i am just an average guy from the north of england and this very deep.

All i can say is i should have walked away at the first cheating. Actually the first time her selfishness appeared, so i guess even though i kicked and screamed so to speak at her behaviour and how she treated me, hanging around still to her said ' well yeh joop kicks and screams but he is still here so i guess i can do it again'

why did i stay... .I didnt want to lose her, she was all i wanted because my heart ruled my head. Scared of being on my own , so anything was better than that, felt a failure coz my marriage failed, wanted to have a family feeling again... oops eh

now i dont need any of the above but would like some of the above... Lightbulb!
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seeking balance
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« Reply #28 on: April 04, 2011, 04:09:05 PM »

Im going to have to get my head round what you guys have said, there is lots there to work out, end of the day i am just an average guy from the north of england and this very deep.

All i can say is i should have walked away at the first cheating. Actually the first time her selfishness appeared, so i guess even though i kicked and screamed so to speak at her behaviour and how she treated me, hanging around still to her said ' well yeh joop kicks and screams but he is still here so i guess i can do it again'

why did i stay... .I didnt want to lose her, she was all i wanted because my heart ruled my head. Scared of being on my own , so anything was better than that, felt a failure coz my marriage failed, wanted to have a family feeling again... oops eh

now i dont need any of the above but would like some of the above... Lightbulb!

Guess what Joop - I am not letting you off the hook this easy :-)

Seroiusly, pick 1 action you did that could be considered enabling?

I will tell you one of mine:  Ex would complain about her family, they would call 50 times per day - I would be frustrated that she had no boundaries with them.  So, instead of accept she had no boundaries and put up a boundary of my own - I put on my cape to save the day.  I would tell her what a boundary looked like and she would do it to please me.  I thought she was happy, I was happy - we look further down the road and SB is painted black, sure enough - SB was abusive and isolated her from her family.  This is now the perception.  How did I enable this perception?  I set her boundary rather than my own - if I didn't like her complaining I could have told her to stop it & figure it out on her own, but I wanted help her and her to love me.

Your turn
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« Reply #29 on: April 04, 2011, 04:20:32 PM »

I certainly did my fair share of enabling. Even the more basic things like actually buying alcohol for him - so that I could SET HIS BOUNDARY of how much he drank and me trying to control how much he drank - but still drinking all the same instead of letting him deal with his own addictions

I enabled in the same way Seeking Balance did, with his family situation. I took over the role as mediator to try to fix their relationship instead of letting him sort out his own dysfunction, I joined in!

Basically now, looking back I attempted to fix all sorts of errors for him. Work problems, money problems, friend problems... .so many things
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