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What is the biology of the break-up... The intensity of the pain may be what compels some spurned lovers to do just about anything to make the hurt go away -- and that includes a host of unhealthy things ranging from demonizing their ex-partner, to excessive anger, to bashing whole groups of people.
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Author Topic: How did your relationship evolve?  (Read 22949 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.


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.

All members still incontact with their partner should learn to use the basic relationship tools to better manage the day to day interactions.
If you are evaluating a decision to stay or leave, please post on Conflicted and Deciding
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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 "DO 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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Education Comes in Many Forms...

« 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.

I should have had a V-8.
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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.

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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Education Comes in Many Forms...

« 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!


I should have had a V-8.
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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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Education Comes in Many Forms...

« 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...smiley

I should have had a V-8.
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