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Author Topic: A script for setting boundaries  (Read 41714 times)
bigsis
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« on: May 03, 2009, 09:55:48 PM »

I would like to compile a list of effective phrases to use as a script for setting boundaries, phrases that you all have actually had some success with.  I know that Randi goes into this in her new book, and I cant wait to read it.  I need to have things written on index cards and carry them with me so that when I am in danger of going into a knee-jerk response to the insanity, I have some alternatives.  

I have tried to memorize the approaches that work, but so far the only one I seem to always remember to say is, "I know that must be hard" or "I'm sorry your'e feeling that way"  I need more -- those only work if I then have an excuse to hang up immediately.

Trying to detach with love... .HELP!
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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2009, 11:39:04 PM »

"That's interesting."

"I'm sorry you feel that way."

"I am not going to discuss or debate this with you."

"This is non-negotiable."

"I understand that you are upset. Perhaps we should discuss this later when we're both in a calmer state of mind?"

"I think I need to take a break from this conversation. I will talk to you some other time."

"I need to use the bathroom/answer the door/soothe the baby/run to the grocery store/walk the dog. I will speak to you later."
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bigsis
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2009, 11:18:29 PM »

Great input, everyone -- thank you so much, and keep those phrases coming! 

The interesting thing about some of the "boundary phrases" is the idea that someone brought up about the BP feeling "managed" -- my uBPD bro can sometimes tell when I am using words from self help books or programs and it just infuriates him.  I have to be careful to paraphrase and make it sound like my own words or he will just go off, sarcastically saying, "Oh, is that what they told you to say in the latest book you're reading?"  This is said in a scathing, derogatory tone.  If he can identify it as coming from an identifiable source, he thinks I am on my "high horse" and thinks I am being condescending.

Thanks you so much for being there, everybody... .
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ThursdayNext
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2009, 12:50:42 AM »

 re the people getting mad if they feel they are being handled, I've found that, especially with my sister, if I use: 'Sorry if it sounded like that, I'm trying to work out better ways for us to communicate so that we understand one another better' helps. Or 'so that I can better understand you' also works.

Also find that starting off with, 'this may come out the wrong way and I apologise in advance if it does... .' and 'this may come out the wrong way but I'm having trouble phrasing what I want to say, please check with me if you think I'm being mean or critical' works.

Another one I've picked up from someone here is, 'you don't know what I'm feeling so please don't make assumptions; if you want to know what I am feeling, ask me and I will tell you' - that's good for when our PDs make sweeping statements and assumptions about 'you think I'm... .'

bigsis re your bro's reaction: yes, that's a common reaction from high-functioning PDs. My uNPD father and bro are like that so you have to get *really* good at rephrasing things which is difficult when you are just learning, so to speak!

But you might want to try the 'I'm reading things in order to better understand and relate to my family because I love you all so much; I'm sorry if you find that offensive but I sometimes I find it very difficult to communicate with  you without arguing - your reaction just now is an example of the kind of problem I'm talking about. What in particular offended you about what I said? Please help me to better understand.' (Okay, it makes it seem as if you are propitiating - but the thing is that you know in your head that you are not - and you never know, he might just tell you something useful!)
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2009, 01:10:20 AM »

Well, from my experience, blandly stating "No" or "I will not... ." works amazingly well for setting boundaries. 
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2009, 11:55:31 AM »

Well, from my experience, blandly stating "No" or "I will not... ." works amazingly well for setting boundaries. 

toughenough, That's a hard one for me to learn and practice, after all these years of giving in. But I find that sometimes, "yes" and "that's right" works, too. ME: "OK, I'll call you tomorrow." BPD: "What? Tomorrow?" ME: "Yes". BPD: "You're not going to call me this evening?" ME (calmly): "That's right." BPD: "Oh. OK, I guess."     

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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2009, 07:15:13 PM »

When the BPD in my life (partner's ex) is raging at me on the phone or demanding something in an inappropriate way, I say, "It is hard for me to keep my heart open to you when you are yelling at me, and it is important to me to keep my heart open to you. If you cannot stop yelling at me, we will have to talk another time.  I want to keep my heart open to you, and I do not know how to do that when you are yelling, so I am going to hang up and talk to you anther time."  This is delivered in three parts with her ranting and raving in between.  Sometimes one of these three warnings works, usually it takes hanging up.  She then calls back, apologizes, makes the same request without yelling.

Lately, she has been drinking more and is more out of control.  When she is really crazy and threatening to kill my partner and I, this kind of talk does not work and nor does the non-violent communication style, "I hear you are angry because of ---".  The only thing I have found that de-escalates in this situation is to look her right in the eye, fill my whole self with love, and say, "I love you right now, even with you yelling at me.  Who you are is okay with me."  This always tones things down, at least so far. Then I can state my boundary, and she hears it.  For emergency situations--the result is she cries and rants and raves for along time, so it is harder to leave... .I do love her, because that is just how I relate to people, so the sincerity helps.  But sometimes if she is really crazy, it is perhaps better for someone like the police to come--but her behavior is always right on that edge between totally inappropriate and illegal.  And our sheriff locally seems to handle domestic violence by women/mothers pretty poorly and ineffectively. So it is good to have what so far has been a magic phrase to pull out... .it is the cultivating the sincerity that takes work.
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bigsis
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2009, 09:52:37 PM »

Hi all,

My undiagnosed BP is my younger brother.  We were raised with a uBPD/alcoholic/bipolar (?) father and we both have a TON of "fleas".  I have been in active recovery of one sort or another for 23 years.  My brother is a chronic pain patient so it is really difficult to sort out what is what with him.  He has had no recovery whatsoever and no therapist ever who was a match for him.  We speak completely different languages.  We do love each other and we are all that is left of our family (Dad is still alive but is housebound with dementia).

I am out of patience and so tired of being falsely accused.  I just need some really handy things to say to nip it in the bud when he starts in on me.  Lately, I have been hanging up on him and that does not feel good at all.  He had a "nervous breakdown" about 5 years ago and asked me to manage his finances.  I am in the process of either handing it back over to him or trying to find someone else to be in the line of fire.  

We have been hit really hard by the recession and he seems to think it is because I have mismanaged things.  I tell him that I did not cause the global financial crisis, but he continues with the snide and cruel remarks.  I just cannot seem to stay calm anymore when we are talking.  His memory is really bad, too, and it infuriates him when I tell him that we have already discussed something.

"I'm sorry you feel that way."

"That must be really hard."

"I hate to see you in so much pain."

"When you told me you thought I was trying to control you, it really hurt me --that is not my intention"... .

Then the next thing I know I am raising my voice, serenity out the window, slamming down the phone, good energy and good intentions gone for the day, wishing one of us would die... .well, not really, but that's how frustrated I am.  

 
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bigsis
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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2009, 12:58:46 PM »

Hi all,

I'm still on this topic of "best phrases for boundaries" and thought maybe we should start over -- the last list started out great, but as "Thursday Next" remarked, it got just a little off track.  The first couple of pages of replies to my last post have some great tools, and I would just like to expand on the things that have worked for you guys.  On page 7 of that last post,, I wrote last night that I appreciate how much dialog that topic sparked but I still would like to be able to print out a list to keep it handy.  I know there are some new ones in Randi's new book and I am looking forward to getting a copy of that, too.

I keep thinking I am getting better, and then the next thing I know all my tools go out the window and I am screaming in frustration.  My uBPD younger brother just pushes me and then I wind up telling him that what he is saying is not true (instead of saying, "I'm sorry it seems that way to you" and that just infuriates him.  There is always a grain of truth in his false accusations, colored by his twisted perceptions, and I think that is what makes it so hard to take.

Thanks, all, for being there.
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ThursdayNext
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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2009, 03:27:07 PM »

That sounds like an incredibly painful situation - especially when the financial crisis has no doubt made things pretty difficult in your own life, let alone with your brother's finances.

I think finding someone else to manage his finances is a great idea, too - removes the personal factor. Sounds to me as if he's just about ready to blame you for everything. I have family members who are a bit like this - it's always someone else's fault and it's okay to speak badly to family (usually my darling non-mother) or shout when there's no way they would speak to others like that.

I can hear that you are really keen to stay in touch with your brother which makes it more difficult for you - sometimes a period of NC can be really helpful with establishing boundaries and drawing a clear line about what's okay and what isn't.

Sounds like he's pretty intelligent too - the 'no therapist that was a match for him' thing. My BPDsis is like that. Even when she's *trying* to get better (which she is at the moment) she's usually more intelligent than the therapists and so it's reliant on how honest she's prepared to be with them. Sounds like that's a huge factor with your brother, too.

Glad you've got the latest Randi Kreger - those 'power tool' chapters are really useful, I find.

Have you started keeping a book of phrases beside the phone for when you talk to him? I know it sounds crazy but I have a 'BPDsis' folder beside the phone. It has pages like 'Useful things to Say' or 'Useful Responses' and 'Things to Remember about responding to BPD person'.

You might find it helpful if you had a page of 'How to Keep Calm When I Want to Scream' - seriously, I'm not just joking. Breathe. Count to ten. Go monsyllabic.

Some other things I've thought of that might/might not be helpful:

* 'I am having trouble concentrating at the moment. I'll talk about this with you again another day.' (when he starts abusing/shouting)

* 'Please don't speak to me like that. I really don't like it and it is hurtful.' (asserting boundaries, laying foundation for the above comment).

* 'I can hear that you are really upset. The financial downturn is scary for all of us. For that reason I think it's time for me to hand your finances over to a professional in the field, someone you're not related to. This is too difficult for both of us. You need professional advice from someone who is less closely connected to you. I feel that our relationship is being damaged by me managing your finances and that is too important to me to risk.'

* 'I've asked you not to speak to me like that. I love your very much but I don't let anybody speak to me like that.' (asserting boundaries)

* 'Okay, that's a red flag, bro. I understand you are upset about this - I am too. But usually when you make that remark, we end up fighting and I really don't want to fight with you. So let's talk about something else because otherwise I need to end the conversation now before we end up in a fight again.'

There not ideal but they do get you setting limits and boundaries on how it's okay for him to speak to you.

Hopefully some others will chip in. I think if you start it as a new thread you may get more contributions from others who haven't read this thread and may be put off by the number of pages. Perhaps 'need help talking to my brother' as thread topic?

I think you're amazingly strong and loving for haning in there - your brother is very lucky to have you, even if you feel as if he doesn't see it that way.

Do remember that often the person that gets most lashed out at is the one they feel safest with. Doesn't make it okay but it might help your hurting heart a little.

Would also like to suggest 'Boundaries' by Drs Cloud & Townsend and 'The Emotionally Abusive Relationship' by Beverley Engel. And it occurs to me that perhaps reading about Dialectical Behavioural Therapy techniques might be helpful.

I read about it as much as I can (between doing my stuff, I mean!) and talk to my therapist about it so that I understand what treatment my sister is trying to get her head around and so that I can reinforce that as much as possible when I talk to her. Much of it is to do with distress tolerance and mindfulness etc. I was thinking that maybe (it's expensive, though) that getting hold of Linehan's DBT Training Workbook, the one they use with group therapy, might help and give you some ideas as to responses. I have it on my shelf and check it regularly. There aren't really stock phrases but it gives a foundation from which to improvise them, if you see what I mean.

x
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« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2009, 08:24:32 PM »

Excellent thread.  These have been very useful to me in the past.

1.) No, I'd rather not.  (when they ask if you'll come for the holidays, let them spend the night, etc.)

2.) I have done nothing to deserve this type of behavior.  (When the yelling starts)

3.) I'm not obligated to justify myself to you. 

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« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2009, 08:31:21 PM »

4.) That is all I have to say on the matter./ As I said before, I am not willing to discuss this topic. 

5.) It is time for us to say "good night" for now.  Good night.  (end conversation)

Big Sis, if you're up for it, maybe you would consider compiling all the good input that you've received and put it into one big long list for us.  Just a thought.
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bigsis
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« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2009, 12:06:38 AM »

Thanks, Lexi, those are really good!  Compiling a list is exactly what I want to do -- what a therapeutic exercise, and a good way to etch the words more indelibly in my memory so that they are on the tip of my tongue in a stressful situation. 

Maybe I'm technologically challenged, but I can't figure out how to transfer a quote from one thread to another.
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« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2009, 12:04:24 PM »

6. That's too big of a topic to tackle right now. We'll speak about it another time.

7. I hear what you're saying. I'll consider it.

8. You may do X. I have decided to do Y. There's nothing more to discuss.

9. If you continue to yell/be abusive, I will hang up. I'm hanging up now.

10. I know you're feeling low. I'm not in a position to be very supportive right now, however.

11. I find that this conversation is pushing my buttons. I'm getting off the phone now. We can speak again later.

12. Discussing this by phone seems to trigger a lot of emotion for us both. I will summarize things in an e-mail. We can resolve it that way.

13. I'm not available by phone right now. Please e-mail me.

14. I need to take a few days off from speaking about this. Let's talk on Friday.

I hope these are the sorts of things you're looking for?

B&W
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« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2009, 12:15:49 AM »

Hello Bigsis,

Here are some more suggestions.  "My need for safety (respect, consideration, emotional safety... .) isn't really met when you ______________ (fill in the blank"  Or... .   "Bro', I'm really upset (angry, embarrassed, uncomfortable, overwhelmed, impatient, sad, puzzled, nervous, irritated, distressed, disappointed, confused... .) when you ___________________ (behavior or statement he authors which doesn't meet a need of yours) because I'm wantin' respect (safety, consideration, emotional safety, support, understanding... .).     

Then you might say, "I'm wondering what comes up for ya' when you hear me say that?" or you might say, "I'm wonderin' if you could tell me what you heard me say?  I'm really wanting clarity and connection here, and to be heard." 

WaAP
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Ice Man
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« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2010, 01:58:00 AM »

It really does work.  The important thing (just like a child) is enforcement.  Set the boundary and if they cross it, let them see the consequences.


At my first nephew's baptism dinner, I was in my Mom's kitchen with Mom and enmeshed golden helpless sister who lives next door and can't do a thing without Mom to Micromanage her.  My job at the event was to provide transportation for Grandma and her best friend from the Baptism site in my Grandma's home city to my Mom's house, 30 miles away.  These two old ladies were -- typical old ladies.  It took me quite a while to gather them together and get them to leave.  When I arrived late Mom and sister wanted explanation.  When I started giving it, they started in on me about my inability to do anything right... .and other character flaws.

I simply said "I don't have to listen to this."  I found my purse, got in my car and came home (80 miles away).  I don't know how they got the two old ladies home.  I never asked... .  I bet my poor Dad had to do it and got some heat over it.  I don't know how they explained my disappearance to all of the invited guests.  Although they make sure that Dad and I know that we are the scum of the earth, they are all about appearances and don't spread the misery beyond us.    They probably said I had an emergency at home or something to that effect.  Within the immediate family (Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother in law)  they probably were calling me oversensitive. 

Part of my boundary included not giving them the opportunity to attack again by bringing up the incident with them.  They played nice after that.

Anyway, I set my boundary by saying "I don't have to listen to this." and following up. This happened 17 years ago.  They have not treated me that way since!

Similarly, happened to me today. I had to walk away. I think the act of walking away is powerful. No need explanation. My mom became nicer after a few hours. She was accusing me of something unreasonable. Thanks a bunch for this interesting, big-hard-to-tackle topic. I hope more of you would share what have worked for them and write them here.

Thanks a whole bunch.

ssP.
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bigsis
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« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2010, 12:37:04 AM »

Hi all, nice to see this thread active again -- I need reminding, as always. 

This week has been especially difficult -- BP bro is having some serious physical symptoms, anxiety attacks, moaning and sobbing... .his cries for help make me feel so hard-hearted if I say "no, I can't take the whole day to come and hold your hand and take you to the ER"... .so I did, a couple of days ago, and of course when the doctor was there bro pulled it together and said he just wanted to see a counselor (and get some anti-anxiety meds) but there is a 4 to 6 week wait for him to see one.  We are in kind of a rural area and he has lost his health insurance.  I don't know what to do.  I don't know if I should still keep LC or step up and really try again to get him some help.

Today the boundary was, "I can't come today, let's try Monday."  But I'm still on the hook, and feeling so powerless.
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JoannaK
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« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2010, 06:46:34 AM »

Remember to think about boundaries as rules for you... .  Not rules for the other person.  In other words, you decide what you will and won't accept in your life and what you will do if someone violates your boundaries. 

It is great to have a "wardrobe" of phrases that you can use when somebody is crossing the threshold of your boundaries.

Bigsis... .As the questions board is generally about general situation, perhaps you want to post your concerns about your brother back onto the Coping board?  I would imagine that this is particularly difficult (though I don't know your brother's story)...   He seems to need help and he doesn't have any insurance now.  It's going to be tough for you to decide how much help and support you want to give him.
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« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2010, 07:45:20 PM »

Most of what I read here is referring to boundaries with an S/O.  What about kids?  In my case BPDSD13, she is a gongshow around the house and trying to have her take on any responsibility is seemingly impossible.  I have never seen anything like it.
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« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2010, 08:36:03 AM »

Boundaries and effective communication are not the same thing!

One thing to remember about boundaries is that they are about YOU... . What you will and won't accept in your life.  They really aren't about the person with BPD.  

It's best to think first of all about what boundaries you have in your life... no matter who you are with... .and then about what you do if your boundaries are encroached upon.  These are sometimes two different things.  You don't necessarily communicate your boundaries to anyone... .but you can communicate what you do when your boundaries are encroached.

So:

Boundary:  I will no longer let someone yell at me on the phone.

Enforcing a boundary:  When someone starts yelling at me, I will calmly end the conversation.  "Let's talk about this tomorrow when we can speak more calmly."  "I do't like the names you are calling me.  We can talk tomorrow."  Then you hang up... you don't wiat for the person to say, "O.K., fine," nor do you get into a debate...  you hang up.  The person doesn't necessarily have to understand your position or agree with it... . This isn't about communication right now...  this is about your boundary.  Two different things.  
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« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2010, 11:02:49 AM »

In my new book, "The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder: New Tips and Tools to Stop Walking on Eggshells,"  actually have two sections on communication: one chapter that is step 3, Communicate to the Heard, and one section on communicating about limits in Step 4, Set Limits with Love.What is extrremely important is HOW you say something. Your body language, including tone, shouldn't be apologetic or lack confidence. NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION REPRESENTS 93% OF YOUR ATTUTUDES AND BELIEFS ABOUT SOMETHING. Here are some tips from my chapter on talking about limits. Note the sample phrases.  Ignore the numbers, which refer to footnotes. *Be Assertive, Yet Gentle*Use everything you learned in the last chapter about empathy and validation. Coauthor of Surviving a Borderline Parent, Freda Friedman says, “When the interaction is just focused on limit setting without any validation of the other person’s wishes and needs, then usually neither person feels heard or understood or acknowledged. It might feel like the person with BPD is outrageous or manipulative, but he or she feels misunderstood and invalidated.”Remember that your tone of voice, facial expressions, and other body language communicates much more about your attitudes and beliefs than what you say. At times, you may want to emphasize the gentle side; at other times, the assertive. Body language is an excellent tool, and you can adjust it moment by moment.Do’s: •   Use eye contact; be sincere, but firm and level.•   If standing, stand straight and feet planted on the ground. Wider stances and bigger mannerisms show more assertiveness.•   Use a gentle tone that is calm and soothing. Lower (alto, bass) rather than higher (tenor, soprano).•   Speak at a normal pace, not too fast. •   Don’t raise your voice—in fact, you may want to lower it a bit to show you’re not in competition and so your family member needs to keep his low to hear you. Make your voice gentle, calm, and soothing.•   Stay close, but not too close, which can be threatening.Don’ts:•   Finger point or jab•   Increase the volume of your voice•   Glare or narrow your eyes•   Snort•   Tighten your jaw muscles•   Press your lips together •   Look down submissively•   Thrust out your chin•   Clench your fingers into a fist with white knuckles•   Run your fingers through your hair•   Cross your arms •   Place your hands on hips•   Stomp•   Sit on the edge of your chair•   Kick the ground•   Invade the person’s intimate space •   Bite your nails •   Pick your cuticles •   Sigh•   Strain your voice•   Wring your hands[14]*Make Sure Your Family Member Feels Heard*Acknowledge the other person’s needs and wishes and how important those feel, while at the same time establishing or reiterating the limits that have been set. (See "empathic acknowledgement" from the last chapter.) Use phrases such as•    “I’m not trying for one of us to be right or wrong, but for the relationship to be the best it could possibly be. I need XX.”•    “I’ve given this a lot of thought. I am learning more about myself and what I can and can’t do and what I need. And I need XX.”•    “I understand you think it means I’m selfish. Still, I need XX.”•    “I am not trying to be controlling. I am trying to be open and honest about how I feel. I need XX.”•    “I’m not sure how to answer that. But what I do know is that things can’t go on this way. I need XX.”•    “It is true that we don’t see things the same way. I wish we did, because this isn’t easy for me either. What I need is XX.”*Practice, Practice, Practice*Practice the conversation as much as you can. Pretend your BP is in an empty chair and run through what you’re going to say. Better yet, role-play with a friend, with your friend playing the role of the BP. If you are not usually assertive, try being more assertive in low-stakes situations, for example, telling a server in a restaurant if something is wrong with the food. *Try Positive Self-Talk*One way to drown out the roar of the border-lion (impulsive aggression) is to have a steady stream of positive self-talk. Self-talk is the chit-chat within our heads that goes on nearly all the time. Try positive, reassuring thoughts like these: •    “Setting and observing my limits may feel strange or unfamiliar right now. That’s okay. All things are strange and unfamiliar until you get used to them.”•    “I’m feeling afraid—but what am I afraid of exactly? Wait—I’ve thought this through. I’ve made it safe for myself. I’m going to be okay.”•    “I’m working on this because I love my family member so much. She can’t see this, but it’s okay. I will see it for both of us.”•    “I need to meet my own limits right now so I can meet his needs in the long run.” Randi Kreger
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« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2010, 11:09:22 AM »

I've got a resource I've been working for a year, and I just love it.  It's a group of people and some exercises geared toward developing empathic communication.  In conception very simple, in practice can be very hard.  It's called Nonviolent Communication, developed by Marshall Rosenberg, and there's tons of stuff online about it.  www.cnvc.org/  The basic book is titled Nonviolent Communication:  A Language of Life.  He was a psychologist and NVC is used in many venues, including with nutjobs like the ones in our lives.  Some NVC examples which are at odds with some suggestions such as SET in circulation here:  :)on't offer sympathy.  Sympathy is about what is going on for you (I'm so sorry).  Empathy is what they probably rather want, and takes a little more doing.  "When I hear you saying that I have stabbed you in the back, I'm wondering if you are feeling sad because you're really wanting some support and understanding?  I'm wondering what's coming up for ya' when you hear me say that?" Even if you're not guessing right, your empathic connection will prompt them to explore what they are feeling.  That's the basic move, and of course it's not a magic button, and it can be very sophisticated and require some back and forth.  But it's only "sophisticated" because we've been culturally trained to judge, compare, compete, self-negate, etc., rather than identify our needs, and express our needs (above, the need was for connection, so we make a connection request, "I'm wondering what's coming up for ya'... .".  

I think that saying somthing like, "I know this may be hard for you because we've been doing things differently for so long" is a fine kind of comment, whether or not it's classified as sympathy. While boundaries are about you, it's about you within a relationship.
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I had a borderline mother and narcissistic father. Author of stop walking on eggshells, The stop walking on eggshells workbook, the essential family guide to borderline personality disorder, and the upcoming book stop walking on egg shells for partners
Randi Kreger
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« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2010, 11:11:57 AM »

Great input, everyone -- thank you so much, and keep those phrases coming!  The interesting thing about some of the "boundary phrases" is the idea that someone brought up about the BP feeling "managed" -- my uBPD bro can sometimes tell when I am using words from self help books or programs and it just infuriates him.  I have to be careful to paraphrase and make it sound like my own words or he will just go off, sarcastically saying, "Oh, is that what they told you to say in the latest book you're reading?"  This is said in a scathing, derogatory tone.  If he can identify it as coming from an identifiable source, he thinks I am on my "high horse" and thinks I am being condescending.Thanks you so much for being there, everybody... .

":)id you get that out of a self-help book" sounds like a tactic to change the conversation. You might ignore it, or just say "some of the phrases" and then immediately move on before the conversation swerves to whether HE needs the self-help book to deal with YOU. Don't get defensive. Randi
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I had a borderline mother and narcissistic father. Author of stop walking on eggshells, The stop walking on eggshells workbook, the essential family guide to borderline personality disorder, and the upcoming book stop walking on egg shells for partners
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« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2014, 06:53:05 AM »

I was told, "I don't  care that you have cancer and I don't care that you want to grieve your father."    What do you do with that?   I cut off all contact.    It's a sibling.  I tried to reach out recently ref care for aging mom and she did it again. 
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« Reply #24 on: September 23, 2014, 06:56:24 AM »

Oh, and the book is awesome.  I literally couldn't stop reading it.   And I refer to it often.   
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yogibear60
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« Reply #25 on: September 23, 2014, 08:39:21 PM »

I have had to be very direct... .very clear with BPD m.  Other wise she would eat me alive.

On the phone:

If you say one more thing (about what ever)  I will hang up the phone.  ( I give one warning and down goes the phone) 

In person it is:  We are getting no where with this conversation if you continue I will walk out. 

Not very clever but I found if I moved one inch... .she would move ten. 
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« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2014, 10:26:31 AM »

This is a great chain.  Yesterday, when I left my T's office, the last thing she said was, "Next week, we need to talk about setting boundaries.  I'm writing it here next to your appt."

I laughed when she said this.  Why?  Well, because my mother has never encountered a boundary that she hasn't plowed her way right through.  But, that doesn't mean I can't keep trying.  So, thanks for the great thread of comments.
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« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2014, 10:35:11 AM »

I just want to expand on my last comment because I had an afterthought.  Randi's advice is really good because I've noticed a pattern where I have become very defensive towards both my parents and this never helps to dissolve a conflict, but rather to escalate it.  It's true that I really need to watch the tone of my voice and my body language.  I definitely have made matters worse by making both my parents feel undervalued and unvalidated in response to their criticisms and, you know what?  Even though my mom is mentally ill, sometimes she is making a good point.  I will work on being less defensive and more validating and see if this can help defuse these very overwhelming conflicts. 
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« Reply #28 on: August 03, 2015, 10:01:33 PM »

I am reactivating this thread because I think there is some really valuable stuff here. It has been so long since I posted, yet some of these issues feel as if they happened today. My living situation is such that I have almost no privacy, but to be honest, I haven't felt an urgent need to post, even though I know it makes me feel more sane and that a huge part of our recovery depends on being able to share this difficult path.

My "little bro" has been out of state and calling very infrequently for the last few years. I have not seen him since Christmas 2010. The urgency/emergency part of my relationship with him (and his BPD gf) has subsided, but there is still an undercurrent of FOG. It has been like unintentionally going LC, without the healing part, because I am essentially still very hooked in...

Every now and then he calls and is very businesslike, almost aggressive, as if he hasn't been completely out of touch and impossible to communicate with for so long. It's kind of scary and takes me by surprise - I don't have my tools ready so I don't know how to respond. I will write in more detail later... .I have been keeping this all inside and just festering - it is very hard to talk about.

Thank you all for still being here... .
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Kwamina
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« Reply #29 on: August 04, 2015, 04:40:23 AM »

Hi longtime member!

It has been like unintentionally going LC, without the healing part, because I am essentially still very hooked in...

In what ways do you still feel hooked in? Are you referring to his occasional calls or perhaps more the emotional side of things that you still experience?

Every now and then he calls and is very businesslike, almost aggressive, as if he hasn't been completely out of touch and impossible to communicate with for so long. It's kind of scary and takes me by surprise - I don't have my tools ready so I don't know how to respond.

When your brother calls you he's very businesslike, what topics does he talk about?

I will write in more detail later... .I have been keeping this all inside and just festering - it is very hard to talk about.

Thank you all for still being here... .

Just take your time and write more when you feel up to it. After keeping it all inside for so long, I understand that it might be a bit difficult to talk about it now.

Take care bigsis and welcome back here
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