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Author Topic: 5.05 | Relationship recycling [romantic partners]  (Read 76012 times)
Skip
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« on: August 16, 2007, 01:40:30 PM »

Relationship Recycling
What is it?

 
This workshop is about "break-up/make-up" cycles and when and how it can become toxic and what we should do.  
 
When is this unhealthy?  
 
Let's break this down.  Sixty-two (62%) of relationships do not end at the first break-up.  For a wife to have second thoughts about a divorce is normal. Sometimes our own self doubt makes us want to try one more time.  Sometimes one partner promises to change something.   To reconnect with a person after a break-up 1-2 times is really not all that unusual.  
 
When there are more than 4, 5, 6 "break-up/make-up" cycles in a relationship there is something seriously wrong.  When this happens, the conventional relationship expectations are pretty much out the window.
 
Why do we get caught up in cycles?
 
These are the questions we need to answer if we ever want the break-up/make-up cycle to end.  Are we returning to this person because we are in love with them and the relationship has a chance, or are we returning to this person because they feel safe?
 
  • Are we afraid to be alone?  

  • Do we have our own abandonment issues?  

  • Are we fearful that we cannot find someone as good as them again?  

  • Are we fearful of the next step (dating, financial issues, etc.)  

Why do our "BPD" partners recycle?
 
It is hard for us to understand why our partner is expressing an interest after they left in a torrent of bad behavior (e.g., cheating, raging and telling us that we are a horrible people).  "If they don't love me, why this?"  The answer is much of the same reasons as we have... .plus a few others that are related to the disorder.
 
  • Inability to deal with acute loneliness

  • Severe insecurity / needing validation (from someone that highly values them)

  • Shame / wanting to prove they are a good person (to us or themselves)

  • Immaturity/Manipulation/Control - the break-up was just a way to get their way.

If You Want to Stay in the Relationship: The ability to end break-up/make-up cycles and stay in a relationship takes a deep commitment by both partners.  This often means structured rehabilitation (counseling, workshops, classes, self-help programs, etc.).
 
If you are both open to restarting the relationship, remember the problem isn't going to go away without work. Hope is not enough (on both sides).
 
You may believe that your partner has changed, will change, is sincere this time, will get into treatment if only you come back. They may believe that you changed.  Unless there is specific work going on - don't count on it.
 
If You Want to Leave the Relationship: The power to end the relationship and end the toxic break-up/make-up cycles lies with us... .not our partner.  Moreover, it doesn't help us to blame it on our partner - that tends to make us think that they have power over us.  Besides, if we both repeatedly recycled we have conditioned this behavior as "normal" in the relationship - just look at these numbers of break-up/make-up cycles in a recent bpdfamily poll:
 
Number of break-up/make-up cycles (Leavers)
--------------------------
None
1-2 (not unusual)
3-5 (unhealthy)    
6 - 10 (very unhealthy)    
10 or more (wow)    
We haven't broken up    
Other
-------
(12.8%)
(14.9%)
(38.3%)
(8.5%)
(23.4%)
(0%)
(2.1%)
<click here>
 
If you are truly done with the relationship, if you have expressed this to the ex and he/she continues to contact you, it is best to reduce our frequency, timing, and the personal nature of our communications (controlled contact) - possibly all the way to ending them (limited or no contact).  They are contacting you to engage you... if you stop engaging the other person will usually move on.  
 
Is he/she sincere or is this just more toxic recycling?
 
Many non's spend much time trying to figure out if the attempted "re-engagement" is sincere. For this reason, it's important to understand the emotional make-up of someone with BPD.  They are not crazy/insane - their behaviors are often predictable - especially if we understand the disorder and their history with us.  So it is wise to accept that the person with BPD is probably very sincere in wanting to reconnect.
 
It is important to consider that pwBPD can be highly impulsive and those impulses can change quickly.
 
So sincerity is not the issue.   The issue is whether the person with BPD (as well as you) can follow through with an emotional commitment.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 11:01:40 PM by Harri, Reason: corrected typos » Logged

 


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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2007, 01:07:25 PM »

Skip, that is an interesting summary.  I just wish I'd known about BPD about three years ago. But I lived and learned. What a huge lesson.

I had every one of these recontacts from him and even though at the time it seemed strange or selfish, I fell for it over and over or else was just too weak to really imagine making a break for it.

"I can't imagine you not in my life", the "I love you more than I ever let you know", the "I want to show you I'm a good person", the invite-to-myspace, the post-on-his-blog-intended-just-for-me, the sending me a piece of his writing, the random e-mail forward, the "you're my only friend" , the "you're beautiful, smart and witty" , the accidental text , my god I could go on but I won't.
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2008, 04:24:32 PM »

Do they ever engage without trying to get you back? Mine seems to. What's the point of that? To control?
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2008, 04:43:32 PM »

How do we know if a contact after the major breakup is about "recycling" or about something else?

This confuses just about everyone.  It helps to see they see all the types of post relationship communications and the percentages.  If you can put the communication into one of the following categories it will help. This may be very hard to do if you are in an emotional state - you may need help from others here.

Normal post relationship contact (5%*) - all the coordination stuff (returning the pets, the key, picking up things left behind, discussion about mutual friend, etc.).  Yes, there might be attitude with this.  

Yes your partner may have left somethings behind - or hold some things of yours.  It may be insecurity about leaving (so they are leaving few bread crumbs leading back) -  or a little anger -  or it's to avoid an emotional showdown (they may just want to wait to until things are cool to resolve these items).  This is not a unique to BPD behavior.  There is often a lot of ceremony in a breakup of a deep relationship - especially if their were ongoing frustrations.  It happens in many relationships.

Overstepping Conventional Boundaries/Boundary Busting/Using you (54%*) - Inappropriate post relations boundary breaking is common in dissolved relationships with a person suffering from BPD. People with BPD may overstep the conventional boundaries by asking for friendship, favors, validation, even sex after having disengaged from the relationship themselves.

This is rough and we can easily mistake this as another attempt to recycle. This can be very misleading, confusing, and even cruel to the former partner. Recognizing that this occurs and being hypervigilant about maintaining conventional post relationship boundaries is important.  It might be emotionally hard to do - but it is important - don't get used - don't let your self respect slip any further.  If the person truly wants to get back - give it very careful consideration -and go slow. If your partner wants to jump back in right where you left off its a bad sign.

People with BPD are known to overstep personal boundaries in relationships and it stands to reason that they would do so post relationship. The motivations for the person with BPD are often selfishness and insensitivity rather than maliciousness.  Our hurt is all the same.

Post relationship fighting (25%*)  - With a very angry/resentful person, it's not unusual for the anger to continue past the separation.  Many pwBPD do this.  There is a lot of anger associated with this disorder.  This is mostly about resentments that have built up and feelings of being violated or shamed.  This can been in the form of either blaming, or detailing the resentment, or raging, or showing off the new boyfriend, or a host of other angry/resentful things.  

The blame goes to you because the pwBPD doesn't want it to fall on his/her (bad) behavior - she needs to be the victim - it's not about you at all.  

Continuation's of of the breakup/makeup cycle (5%*) - see opening thread above (subject of this workshop).  While this is a small percentage of the post breakup communications, a recent bpdfamily poll suggests that as many as 75% of the relationships for members on the Relationship boards have/had 4 or more break-up/make-up cycles.  See data here

Blackmail (<1%*) - This the most pathological of the post relationship behaviors.  Some pwBPD do this - recycle.

* = Percent of post relationship communications. Percentages reference
« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 11:09:53 PM by Harri, Reason: corrected typos » Logged

 
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2008, 11:48:11 PM »

MAS - is this a bad thing? I've done the same thing. i've texted, thinking he'd write back. Then when he doesn't (and I AM THE ONE who called it off) I get upset and wonder.

I see what's wrong with me now. I break it off, I want it gone, but the moment i think it IS gone, I go reaching out in whatever capacity. Codependent? Passive aggressive? I'm so tired of all this BS in my head.

Skip - point taken.
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« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2008, 10:08:39 AM »

I've done the same thing. i've texted, thinking he'd write back. Then when he doesn't (and I AM THE ONE who called it off) I get upset and wonder.

Sometimes we can't let go of something that we know we should... .and we put ourselves back into it. 

It could be something as simple as the way we return the keys... .or even blocking email in a way that they would know we did it (and therefore they respond).

When you end a relationship, you must go through a disengaging period, and that has to be a very conscious effort.  How we do this is different for everyone... .but in any relationship (and especially these relationships) there are a lot of intertwined feelings and dependencies... .and when you step out, there is a natural human reaction to want to re-engage them.

BPD are notorious for reengaging - it has a lot to do with emotional immaturity. They disengage in anger or resentment (real or perceived) and then they "cool" or feel insecure, and they look to reengage.

We can be prone to this too. We are usually not at our emotional best on the tail end of these things.

Just some thoughts... .

Skippy
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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2008, 08:33:26 PM »

One of the most challenging aspects for many who are experiencing contact has all to do with whether or not you have found your own resolution or not. Recontacting tends to upset the delicate balance of moving forward of many a non borderline because there are often still questions, still things that don't make sense - unfinished and unresolved things. Or in some cases there is still this sense of hope - what is really a false hope that can be engaged because one hasn't fully embraced one's own lessons and found one's own resolution yet.
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« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2009, 09:47:34 AM »

Thanks, AJ, for your comments on this.  

What you are saying is that, in effect, re-engaging is about the non... .what he/she still needs to deal with... .vs. the person with BPD.  Many nons aren't really over the person with BPD and they really don't want to be.  

I see what's wrong with me now. I break it off, I want it gone, but the moment i think it IS gone, I go reaching out in whatever capacity. Codependent? Passive aggressive? I'm so tired of all this BS in my head.

   

Reneehsv wrote this above, and it is often true of the nons who post here.

We may want the BPD in our life to embrace recovery from BPD, but our job is to embrace recovery from our nonness.  Most who are/have posted here have issues of our own to deal with... .  As that poster mentions, codependency, passive-aggressive tendencies, rescuing/enabling tendencies, etc.  ... .  Unless we deal with the difficult "stuff" within us, the relationship will go downhill even if they do get back with us/get help/etc.   
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« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2009, 03:45:14 PM »

Thanks, Skip, I needed someone to tell me this today!  Wrangling with a little guilt here today as I continue disengaging... . 
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2009, 04:43:26 AM »

Gosh, what a great board.  Like someone else I read posted, I am definitely sick of being so codependent.  Not so quick and easy to change, though.  Now I've got to talk to the police and the city prosecutor, and various neighbors and perhaps others to think through my case and anticipate what kinds of counteractions I may be in for, from having my car perpetually keyed and tires punctured to countersuits on trumped up charges such as sexually harrassing the girlfriend (that's a laugh - not exactly my type), and I'm perpetually feeling embarrassed and guilty for taking up others' people time - classic codependency. 

Being able to laugh about my codependency is progress... .  Wanna laugh with me?  Peace and Blessings... .   

WAaP
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« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2009, 09:43:49 AM »

Recycling - what is it?

We often believe this is about the ex - to be contacted an ex with a personality disorder solely to bring the non back into the relationship. Characteristically, it is either a phone call, text, or meeting that leads to a reconciliation of the relationship.

To some, recycling is a source of envy from those who have been abandoned, and have had no contact from their exes, to a bonding phenomenon to those who experience communication from their ex frequently. If you look at it from a detached viewpoint, it has one thing in common, a desire to be communicated with by the non. It serves as a validation to the wounded non. It tends to keep us in a victimization mode, instead of a proactive one.

We are all people, very capable of making our own decisions. We cannot be brought back into a relationship if it is our desire to be out of it. Recycling gets its strength is from the wounded, confused, and indecisive non. We all can identify with this thinking, because we were all there at one point or another. It is a thought process where we take the feelings and "reality" of our disordered former partners over our own feelings and "reality." Oftentimes, our intellectual minds are telling us not to go back into the relationship, but our emotional psyche is screaming for the pain to stop, and personal validation. Thus, we, as wounded, confused individuals, reconcile with our disordered partners, ignoring the history, but blindly hoping for a change, and a different outcome. We still reconcile, on our own power, despite our knowledge and history.

A person experiencing a re-engagement, has a fear that resides in them, that despite their knowledge and history, they are afraid that they will resume a relationship, beyond their control. It lends a victimized thought process, simply because they do not understand the dynamics at play. The are hurt, and confused, lacking a true sense of direction, and having more doubt than confidence in their decision. It is their desire of wanting a good relationship with the disordered person that overshadows the acceptance of the disordered person, the disorder, and the dynamics that flow out of the relationship. Usually, the disordered person is seen as two people existing in one body. There is the loving, euphoric, fun to be around person that everyone adores, and then there is the raging, manipulating, dark side that we tend to want to keep away from. It is because this split exists in our minds, that the doubt is allowed to linger and grow, giving us hope that the next time will be different. We try to chose one side of the person, rather than accepting that there is one person with vast ranges of emotional capacity, from the far left side of bad to the far right side of good.

Once the acceptance of the person as a whole, instead of parts, happens, we can then decide if it is worth it to us to continue to have them in our lives as romantic partners. Once we make up our minds about what it is we truly want, then we can see their behavior as what it is. It no longer is a recycle but a cry out because they, themselves are hurting. It can even be a simple communication that although the relationship has been lost, they, too, mourn this loss as we do. It can even be that they are having second thoughts, that wont matter now, because we have a clear definition of what it is that we want. It can be a number of understandable things, but because of the clarity that exists in our minds, it isn't a recycle any longer.

Relationships are hard, by nature, and when a disorder is in play, they tend to be very difficult to the point of confusing. The end of a relationship is hard as well, because it is usually one person, desiring something out of a relationship that doesn't exist in the current one. A disordered relationship is two fold for the non. Usually the non wants parts of it, and not other parts of it, and has the desire to keep the ones they like and discard the ones they don't. Look at your relationship. Does this dynamic exist?

Even in healthy relationships, there are many questions and feelings post relationship. It is quite natural, and everyone has the right to seek answers to questions, to have communication between the partners to evaluate their own roles in the failures of these relationships. Usually, the end of the relationship does not mean the end of the friendship that existed. After a time of detachment, the friendship can general be resumed. There are communications about what to do with items left over from the relationship, and also feelings left over. This is all completely natural. Due to the dynamics at play, these scenarios are viewed as re-engagements because of the confusion, hurt, and lack of insight by the non at the end of a disordered relationship.

If you fear a reconciliation, keep in mind that you have to decide to reconcile. It cant be done on both sides by one person. You do have a choice, and a voice. If you are conflicted about your choice to reconcile, you may need help to sort out your feelings.
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« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2009, 11:21:19 PM »

I needed the validation that reconnecting gave me.  This need for validation is a life long need of mine.  Since finding out about BPD, and the end of my marriage to exBPDw, I have done a lot of inward looking at myself.  I now understand where this need for validation originated.  It goes way back to a time I didn't know nor could control what was going on in my life.  While I think knowing where this all started is important, it is not the most important thing.  Once we realize that we must learn to validate ourselves, then the true healing can begin.  I believe God made us to want, desire and need companionship and love from someone else.  But, in an ironic twist, it seems in order to be able to have that in a healthy way, we must be capable of living alone and being happy in that state.  In other words, when I am perfectly OK with living by myself and with myself, then I'm ready to be in a healthy relationship.  Self validation is the antedote to re-engagements, and to getting tangled up with another disordered person.  I admit this may be a over simplification.  I'm sure there is more to being able to have a healthy relationship.  But I'm pretty sure that until we do love ourselves as we should, we are not ready for a healthy relationship. 
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« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2009, 12:03:45 PM »

Excerpt
I believe God made us to want, desire and need companionship and love from someone else.  But, in an ironic twist, it seems in order to be able to have that in a healthy way, we must be capable of living alone and being happy in that state.  In other words, when I am perfectly OK with living by myself and with myself, then I'm ready to be in a healthy relationship.  Self validation is the antedote to re-engagements, and to getting tangled up with another disordered person.



A wise summary, utvolfan!
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« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2010, 03:29:43 PM »

IMHO I think we reecycle because some of us aren't so great at taking care of ourselves.  Enough so that sometimes we buy into the notion that our BPD loved one is the only one who can make us feel better about ourselves, and we forget (ie, denial) how badly they also make us feel.  It is as if we turn to the one thing that makes us feel good in order to anesthetize the bad that it also makes us feel.  Sound like alcohol?  Sound like heroin?

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« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2010, 03:45:39 PM »

Definitely sounds like an extreme addiction, I've thought that many times "hey lover gimme a fix". I've done the self re-engagement myself and thought jeez I'm bloody BPD myself now! It really does your head in. I had other relationships before and I never had anything like this so I know I can act relatively normally. Thank god I've had my own experiences before her so at least I can compare.
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« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2010, 04:31:18 PM »

Both parties exhibit addictive/compulsive behaviour, but the non is the one attached to the specific person, whereas the BPD presumably needs SOMEONE to fill the hole/shame/misery and in spite of what may be said, ultimately, anyone will do.  Just a thought?
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« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2010, 09:00:48 PM »

I think we’ve all slipped.  Disengaging is a process.

When I answered the re-engages and kept demanding reasons (and apologies) for the inappropriate behaviors- it was just awful. The relationship seemed so life affirming in the beginning, almost holy.  And in the end, it was just a façade. The back and forth; breaking no contact, going back for answers to insane behaviors and having it get worse- only to spiral down and crash.  Then when you’ve crashed, you really want the pain and shame to go away, and the only thing that you know will take that away is the proof that you were really loved in spite of it all, (in spite of the disorder.)  But this proof never comes- and all that’s left is fear and worry and a knot in your gut.

When I kept coming back for more- I was only trying to get the feeling out of my mind that something was crazy and it wasn’t my fault... .-but that was my greatest mistake.

You will never get answers from a disordered person. They are too skilled at manipulation. You are very useful for them to project their bad selves onto. They really do not want to let you go unless they find a new substitute- and even then, they’ll like to keep you guessing about things. It's a win/win for their disorder.

And at a certain point I did feel such shame for not being able to “fix” the disorder.  And the more I read about addiction, the more I understand that it really is about a “fix;” a drug for me.  Addiction and supply- but also bargaining and denial, toxic shame, etc.  All of these “psychology today” terms that really stem from a spiritual wound that needs healing.

The BPD partner is really a representative of what you think will “fix” your spiritual wound.  If you have Love- you are lovable. If your love is taken away, you feel unlovable and dont want to live.  After all, what is life *worth living for* if you’re not loved? Love is a great incentive in life.

So the catch-22 of all of this is that the person who said they loved you actually doesn’t understand love.  They understand NEED. They don’t know what love is- otherwise they would feel it- you would feel it -and the entire World would be Glorious.

I had to decide if -I love to be needed- or -need to be loved.  And what I found was that I can’t give this decision over to anyone else because it takes some thought about self-determination.  You’ll know it when the person who needs you goes away, you let them go- and you do it for the right reasons- for love, not need. Love is strong. Need is weak. *Free will* favors the strong.

The best you can hope for is that someday you will find peace from the aftermath with a BPD partner (now known as an interaction, not a relationship) You will see that the closing of doors lead to the opening of others, and you will eventually admire your commitment to try and love this person, realize the futility of your extra efforts and still ask the question of why you were willing to love someone in such a way that you were willing to turn against loving yourself.

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« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2010, 01:57:29 AM »

Really enjoyed reading this, I have these very same thoughts.

I think however there is a component of both in relationship, needing to be loved, and loving to be needed. We are not islands, we are interdependent of the other. That is relationship.
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« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2010, 06:00:14 AM »

Excerpt
You will never get answers from a disordered person. They are too skilled at manipulation. You are very useful for them to project their bad selves onto. They really do not want to let you go unless they find a new substitute- and even then, they’ll like to keep you guessing about things. It's a win/win for their disorder.

This statement is brilliant! It is right on the money. No matter what stage in the r/s with one of these BPDers it always win/win for them and we will always be guessing when the next shoe will drop.
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« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2010, 05:25:15 PM »

Excerpt
This is more a description of drug use and i'm not suggesting real attachment and love dont have alot to do with a relationship with a BPD sufferer but this dynamic is certainly an element of it.

Yes., for some folks this may be true. I don't think everyone experiences that high. Some people experience a connection.  I suspect attachment and bonding is the reason nons try to figure out how to heal the relationship and understand the disorder. There is a component of compassion and care in our psyche to support our mate when they are struggling. The difficulty is to know when the relationship is a facade and toxic and when support becomes co-dependency and fixing. Understanding how healthy relationships evolve, look like and feel is difficult if these behaviors are not modeled to us as children.

I suspect thats where the deep seated anguish arises, the destruction of the illusion and the fear we did not meet the needs of our partner. Hence, the non is left believing they contributed to the demise of the relationship. Further contact and questioning to try to sort out "what happened" - so that there is some sort of understanding or closure- is usually fruitless. The BPD creates further damage through their manipulation and lies. This is difficult to comprehend, I suspect some people believe their partner has had an emotional/mental breakdown when experiencing this without understanding what is occuring within their partner. Thus, more contact, more emotional pain or confusion until the realization hits-this is real and the relationship in the beginning was the illusion. The person we loved will not return to us, no matter how hard we try to reach them.

How did we contribute to the demise-through expression of genuine care and concern for our partner-driven by attachment. The overwhelming pain and confusion is due to not only the end of the relationship. There are unique components too, the idealization stage, the bonding, the abrupt end, the verbal abuse that may not have ever occured prior, the confusing statements, and the unwinding of the relationship is very painful.

Emotional pain is grieving, it hurts. However, the continual grieving without reprieve I think is the unresolved childhood issues. Abused and neglected children may have limited bonding and carry this image inside of being unworthy of love or being terrified it will leave. Not being adored, loved and protected by your parents the first three years of life influences how solid we feel within our core self. The challenge is in order to find this sense of solidness we must learn to love ourselves. I don't think all nons are seeking the high, I think we are struggling with our feelings of attachment to a person we love and care for, and facing the realization they are incapable of feeling the same way for us or themselves. When this happens we revisit our abandonment issues.

People who were unloved as children are not doomed to continous victimization by emotional predators, nor are we doomed to be BPDs - but I do believe we must always be aware of what motivates us and be mindful when those triggers are switched. Rather than choosing to jump into another relationship, or sabatoge our healthy functioning with addiction/mind altering substances, we chose health in the form of friends, exercise, journaling, or therapy. This mindfulness is the difference - self awareness of our behaviors and it's influences/impact on another person, the ability to care, be genuine, to be in touch with our humanity.

I tried very hard to reach my partner-not because I remembered the high of our meeting, but because I know he is missing out on something wonderful, the feeling of attachment and connection. However, the deeper pain that remains and I have to work on in therapy are my issues from childhood and figuring out why I didn't trust my instincts the Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post).

Thanks for the posts.

C
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« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2010, 09:22:33 AM »

This is a survey of 84 members from the Leaving/Disengaging Board asking members to categorize their most recent contact with their ex partner.

Response
--------------
5%
25%
6%
48%
5%
12%
Action
--------------------------------------------------
A clear attempt to rekindle the relationship (Recycle)
Contact - Anger/hurtful
Contact - Looking for validation
Contact - Trying to keep me engaged
Contact - Informational
Contact - Other
https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=102678.0

This shows that 95% of these 84 contacts were not about getting back together at all. The contacts (73%) were more about staying emotionally engaged at some level (other than getting back together) or expressing anger.
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« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2010, 09:56:48 PM »

This workshop is helping put together all of the pieces of why we do what we do.

There hasnt been any talk of a few things, and I feel like the perfect example of these things, so I want to inject them into the scenario.

The first one is ignorance. There is a huge difference between ignorance and stupidity. Ignorance is not knowing any better, and stupidity is knowing better, but doing it anyway. During the time I kept recycling, I had a vague understanding of the entirety of what was going on. I was ignorant on several levels. I didn't know of the complexities of these disorders, and I didn't know that someone else's thinking could be so vastly different than my own.

I felt that people should have basically the same thought processes that I had, and that they would act, and react, in similar ways to those of my own. The absence of these things confused me, and left me wondering, and trying to make sense of those things that I didn't understand. I took words as concrete, and actions as maleable. I chose to see what I wanted to see, because it fit my idea of a good outcome. This leads me into the second thing I wanted to point out.

It is a term that is called "scotoma". The mind sees what it wants to see. I wanted to see that she loved me, and I contorted my view of things to flavor that outcome. I took things that should have been red flags, and colored them rose. I sought out those similarities that we didn't share. I tried to see things as I wanted to see them, rather than what they presented themselves in their innocence to be.

I saw two halves to the person I was bonded to. I viewed one as the true core self, and the other as the conflicted person that needed guidance, love, understanding and patience. I gave of myself to try to fix that disordered side, so that I could have the "good" side all to myself. I never once, while we were together, accepted her as she showed me to be. I always saw what fit me, and wanted to keep that, and then desired to discard the rest. I was ignorant in the dynamics of the disordered, and I was blinded by scotoma.

Seeking knowledge and understanding of these dynamics that happened were paramount to realizing the immortal truth of these things. It was I that recycled more times than not. All the while, I held onto the victims mindset, wishing things could be the way I wanted them to be. I was the gladiator, consistantly putting my head in the proverbial lions mouth, and crying foul when the ultimate betrayal happened, only desiring more each time, to tame the lion from instinctively doing what they have shown time, and time again, what they will do.

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« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2010, 11:01:27 PM »

This shows that 95% of these 84 contacts were not about getting back together at all. The contacts (73%) were more about staying emotionally engaged at some level (other than getting back together) or expressing anger.

I think, though, that many members here initially assume just the opposite:  Any contact from the ex with BPD must be an attempt to rekindle the relationship with the non - to lure me into a trap!

I think the way the survey was done - and thoughtful discussions here - brings out that that's really, usually, an assumption we make, and not the nature of the contact at all.

Maybe the assumption is motivated by the need to "win" - that is, to be the object of desire and attention - to be wanted.  A normal thing I guess, but any time we perceive something other than it really is, we're likely to make bad decisions... .
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« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2010, 11:25:16 PM »

The pwBPD in my life is my mother, so I come at relationship dynamics like this from a family perspective. From my own experience and that of hundreds of adult children I've now seen tell their story on the Coping and Healing Board, I'd say in many cases what's happening when you see a recycling pattern is this:

The pwBPD (and often others in the family) has strong and rigid role expectations of the family member. You're supposed to be the heroic rescuer, the caretaker, the scapegoat, etc. If you deviate from your "part," the pwBPD (and often other family members) will take action to draw you back to the familiar role. For example, I was a caretaker. As I began to get healthier and impose stronger boundaries, my mother ramped up efforts to elicit caretaking behaviors from me. For one, she bought a blood pressure machine and would carry it with her, constantly taking her blood pressure in my presence or calling me to report on her blood pressure and sometimes having panic attacks when it was high (as it usually was, especially since she was having panic attacks).

Re-engagements are thus often about trying to return the relationship to the previous familiar pattern.

The non family member, for his or her part, often recycles in the relationship out of a strong desire to gain the approval--at last--of the pwBPD. The idea is that the approval of the BPD parent will finally "prove" the worthiness, the importance, the validity, the right to exist of the family member (especially an adult child). This fruitless quest for approval where there usually is none (as the pwBPD is more focused on meeting his/her needs than in validating a family member) brings the family member cycling back into the relationship again and again. Maybe this time, if I'm really really good at caretaking, rescuing, taking the heat... .my BPD parent will finally prove my existence by approving of me.

The cycle can go on and on until the family member gains some insight that ultimately, validation has to come from within, and chooses to break it.

Thanks for the great discussion on this topic!

B&W
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« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2010, 01:14:46 PM »

This triggers something in me.

I've never had a "break-up/make-up". Once a relationship of mine has ended, my partner has never sought to reengage at a later time - regardless of what I may have wanted.  This is true in every relationship I've had.

To be honest, it kinda hurts that no one that I have loved ever sought, or was open to any attempt by me to reengage.

 :'(
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« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2010, 01:23:19 PM »

noone that I have loved ever thought I was important enough to "try again"

Recycling is generally not a good quality.  It is about poor relationship/break-up boundaries.

All of my prior break-ups were "goodbye" and "done".  Maybe all of your breakouts were as conventional.

The recycling is messy.  It's about insecurities or not knowing what you want. I'm not so sure it equates to love.

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« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2010, 01:53:04 PM »

noone that I have loved ever thought I was important enough to "try again"

Recycling is generally not a good quality.  It is about poor relationship/break-up boundaries.

All of my prior break-ups were "goodbye" and "done".  Maybe all of your breakouts were as conventional.

The recycling is messy.  It's about insecurities or not knowing what you want. I'm not so sure it equates to love.

Fair enough. Thanks for that!
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« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2010, 03:09:28 PM »

I have something else to add to this workshop.  I think this applies to the phenomena of "recycling."

In my relationship with my xuBPDgf, she was the one who always instigated the "breaks."  It happened more and more often towards the end of our relationship and got so frequent that I honestly didn't know when we were "together" or "separated."  From my perspective we never got enough emotional distance for me to be detached from her and as far as I can tell I was always emotionally enmeshed with her until she finally cut me off (ie, found a replacement).

What I would like to share as an observation is that my xuBPDgf could NEVER articulate what it was that she didn't find acceptable about our relationship.  From my perspective it was good and got better and then she got uncomfortable and felt like it "couldn't work."

In retrospect, clearly it was her disordered feelings which were driving such behavior from her.  If she got too close to me, her fear of abandonment would get triggered and she would need to get distance in order to mitigate that disordered fear.  This after each time we got back together, she would want to break up again soon thereafter.  But from my perspective at that time, I thought she was torn between her attachment to me and possible external obligations or influences (like her family didn't like me... .even though they never met me).  Or I was projecting, thinking that she was unhappy but was too attached to me to move on.  Or whatever... .I rationalized.  My point is that I filled in the blanks with my imagination.

I think that a good rule of thumb, is that if they cannot articulate WHY they left you in the first place, in a way that makes sense to someone else besides you (because you could be in denial), then you have to face the real possibility that they don't understand why they left you and they are only compelled to repeat (ie, recycle) their behavior.  People who are mentally ill might do the same things over and over again, each time expecting a different outcome. 

This kind of "relationship recycling" will drive a person mad (unless you are already disordered).  Because before you get the chance to heal from the wounds of the past, you make yourself vulnerable to the infliction of more pain.  Moreover, the constant state of alertness and anxiety in expectation to the next injury causes you to DEFER your recovery... .compare this experience with war veterans who before they have "processed" the trauma of combat experience, are required to serve another tour of duty.  Think post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

My two bits, Schwing
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« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2010, 03:14:02 PM »

That's an interesting thought, Schwing.

It's kind of the other side of something I've seen very often:  the inability to communicate needs.

In a relationship, communicating your needs is pretty important!  But I don't know if BPD sufferers can do that well enough to maintain a healthy relationship.  My ex often complained, but struggled (and in our divorce, still struggles) to state her needs clearly.  That made for an exhausting guessing game.

Now I manage that by e-mail - very arm's-length communication - and by stating my intentions and moving forward, letting her either state her needs or not.  That works OK but doesn't enhance the relationship because it doesn't bring us closer.
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« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2010, 12:42:44 AM »

Good information and lots to think about. I can see how I was caught up in the recycle... his way of doing it is different than mine but had the same effect, me wondering, wishing and hurting. I will post more later, thanks everyone for sharing, it helps.

C
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