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Author Topic: 8.22 | Why we are attracted to a pwBPD  (Read 17374 times)
StreetSmart
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« on: December 15, 2007, 11:26:38 AM »

'Been pondering this fer awhile... .and now after almost a year of posting myself, plus another three months of reading posts... .I have come to the following synthesis gleaned from all of the posts of what the BPD  meant to us, what hooked us, why we still can cling... .


1. We had dull/boring/routine lives:

The BPD filled our life with excitement/adventure, great sex, promise of exciting future... .they provide the "spark" in otherwise dull, listless lives that had developed into a sense of complacency/ennui

2. We were in transition:

The BPD caught us at a weak point... in transition (I know it was for me) between relationships, divorce, some stressful event (like loss of job, legal battles over divorce/custody, etc.)

3. We lacked meaning/sense of accomplishment in our lives:

The BPD became our chance to "do good" by rescuing them/using them as a project to gain a sense of personal self-worth and achievement

4. We needed to prove that our feelings were worth something/we were worth something

The BPD relationship became the gameboard by which our "love" was going to fix/cure them and by that means validate the worthiness of us/our feelings

5. We were in a desperate position

The BPD was gonna save us from a life of loneliness... particularly vulnerable were single mothers (what man wants an instant family along with problems of ex's and children that are not his?) and men in their late twenties or over thirty who are not married (somebody values my manhood... .validates sense of self-worth)


Thus, I believe we cling to them so much, put up with so much, miss them so much /'cause they represent a solution, hitherto unknown, to one or more of the issues outlined above... .

 

   
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JoannaK
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2007, 01:24:02 PM »

6.  We were in some kind of substance recovery, and the BPD felt like a "substance" within us... .gave us the high that a person used to get from the substance.

7.  We felt comfortable in the chaos, as we came from difficult Families of Origins.

8.  We had a weak self-esteem in some respect, and the initial adoration of the BPD/NPD type made us feel special.
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schnitzel
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2007, 01:33:50 PM »

9. We were trying to heal our childhood trauma via a surrogate today - trying to make our mother/father loving in the form of our BPD spouse... .which is called: repetition compulsion.
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StreetSmart
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2007, 01:41:46 PM »

Dear JK/Schnitz:

Very good ladies... .

You picked up on one of the most quintessential pieces I have repeatedly seen (particularly with the ladies who post here)... a dysfunctional/abusive family of origin... .particularly abusive/absentee fathers... .

Then the impetus to "fix" the broken father figure and thus validate our feelings/love come into play... .

It also leads us to cling as when the BPD does not reciprocate... then we feel that we are not doing enuff and/or our love is not good enuff asnd need to do more/try harder... .
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2007, 04:01:04 PM »

10. We tried to be the good spouse so hard we enabled them and endured their bad behavior hoping to appear normal to others.
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Letting go when it is too painful to hang on is hard to rationalize.

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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2007, 05:00:30 PM »

You picked up on one of the most quintessential pieces I have repeatedly seen (particularly with the ladies who post here)... a dysfunctional/abusive family of origin... .particularly abusive/absentee fathers... .

Then the impetus to "fix" the broken father figure and thus validate our feelings/love come into play... .

You mean there are no guys here trying to fix their abusive/absentee mothers?  ?
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« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2007, 10:23:17 AM »

I read Many Lives Many Masters... .

Just the title called to me... .what brought me to this place inside myself, self awareness is my relationship with the BPD.  What I was missing and for that, after all the months of PAIN, i am thankful.  My journey to what I bring to the table in a relationship is now different then 3 years ago- and my awakening to my needs- how else can you explain ignoring red flags of the adoration- WTH was I missing ?  I knew it was bizarre- but I liked it... DUH.  So when I do see my BPD, i will hug her,, thank her and be forever grateful.
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StreetSmart
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« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2007, 11:24:59 AM »

I see the soultion to this problem as:

Build a life that someone would wanna buy tickets to be you (if they knew the whole story)... .

I believe that one must FIRST build an exciting Qual life, then add to it... .our mistake was to look for that other (BPD) person to be the keystone in the foundation of our life... .That they would provide the "spark" , centerpiece, main focus for our lives... .

In which case, using them as a foundation means we go down faster than the World Trade Center... .


Street
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JoannaK
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« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2007, 01:35:02 PM »

Excerpt
I believe that one must FIRST build an exciting Qual life, then add to it... .our mistake was to look for that other (BPD) person to be the keystone in the foundation of our life... .That they would provide the "spark" , centerpiece, main focus for our lives... .

I do wonder how often this is true, SS.  I do wonder how many here are looking to others for excitement... .or merely think that they themselves aren't exciting, so it's up to someone else to provide some pizazz to their lives.  Some may not think they have a quality exciting life even though their life really is fine... .that's where the self-esteem issue... .or the addiction issue may kick in.

Excerpt
Build a life that someone would wanna buy tickets to be you (if they knew the whole story)... . 

To some extent this would be true, but, as I mentioned above, many of us actually have that kind of life right now... but we don't think we do.  We devalue ourselves and our accomplishments, perhaps we devalue our friends and other lovers, partners, spouses (either current or former), and, in so doing, we look to the unknown "other" so that we can "have fun"/"be exciting", etc.
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StreetSmart
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« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2007, 01:41:48 PM »

Dear JK:

Yes, I think you are right about some havin' that kinda life... .but it is easy to get lulled into a sense of complacency... .the BPD "firecracker" be a lightbulb to us moths... .

But in reality, I believe it is US who powers the relationship without realizing it... .thus the BPD feeds off of our energies... .which means that any cool in the relationship really derives from us... .NOT them... .
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« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2007, 02:02:55 PM »

Sometimes I view them as a parasitic leech, they suck on to somebody for the ride that will give them what they need at the moment and stay sucked on when another need comes up and just can't let go, so we end up on a crazy rollercoaster ride again and again as their needs change.
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Letting go when it is too painful to hang on is hard to rationalize.



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« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2007, 02:16:06 PM »

perhaps those initial feelings of 'excitement' street are simply a 'flooding' of mood-enhancing hormones/endorphins, which according to some scientists, appear to accompany the experience of 'falling in love' in a powerful correlation. it is an exciting feeling... .and obviously most all of us here - and everywhere - are not immune to their reinforcing effects. where our relationship goes after those 'effects' begin to where it will eventually wind up depends next upon our own inter and extra-personal dynamics, separately and together as a couple.
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StreetSmart
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« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2007, 03:26:28 PM »

But I submit... .the vulnerability in the Non must be present... .like a need for an adrenal high after a life of boredom or non excitement that the BPD supplies... .

It takes two to Tango... .

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JoannaK
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« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2007, 03:32:16 PM »

Excerpt
perhaps those initial feelings of 'excitement' street are simply a 'flooding' of mood-enhancing hormones/endorphins, which according to some scientists, appear to accompany the experience of 'falling in love' in a powerful correlation

Yes, that's true, renaissance, but we need to ponder why so many "fall in love" (mood-enhancing hormones and endorphins kicking in) with someone clearly unsuitable and/or abusive... .  while the kinder, more loving, more caring, more suitable person is overlooked and does not stimulate those kinds of mood-enhancing hormones and endorphins.

(I crossed with SS.)
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schnitzel
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« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2007, 04:30:46 PM »

I believe that one must FIRST build an exciting Qual life,

Or maybe a life that we just feel comfortable living. We shouldnt need to be some kind of spectacular and "exciting" in order to attract a mate. In fact- if that is what it takes - then we will be attracting a lot of PDs, because they thrive on "spectacular" and "exciting".

I had a girlfriend who was really spectacular looking. She was a model, of course. She told me that with her looks, she attracted the biggest a@@holes in the world. They were mostly guys who were looking for arm candy. They all thought (hoped?) she was dumb. She had the hardest time finding someone who could love her for her inner self.

Course it isnt bad to attract potential mates and to give ourselves a choice, but then we still have to chose, and hopefully it will be someone who is emotionally stable and mature. For that, we have to be so, ourselves.
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« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2007, 10:20:07 PM »

Hi gang,

Let me jump in here for a sec. First and foremost, I definately wasn't in it for the high or the adrenalin rush. Believe me. I met a guy who was very handsome, extremely so. He was very charming and intelligent. The attraction was instant. He was 9 yrs. my junior, so I felt flattered that a younger man was interested in me. Ultimately he moved in. We were in the honeymoon phase for two months. By that time we became enmeshed. Little by little the prince charming mask started to melt. In my case, I blame vulnerability. He blindsighted me. I was in love, and held on to the dream that I had found my one and only. Whenever he became upset, somehow it always turned out to be "my fault" according to him. I started wondering what I could have possibly done to upset such a wonderful guy. From the beginning of our relationship, he talked often about his abusive childhood at the hands of a mentally ill father. I always felt a degree of compassion for him. He would talk about how his father told him from the time he was old enough to understand that he was unloved, and unwanted. In my opinion that explained his angry outbursts. I took it upon myself to show him that he was indeed loved. I loved him unconditionally, and showered him with love and attention. I did all I could do to make him happy. When the rages started, I was completely baffled. The least little thing set him off. He would be over it by the next day. We would be back to a normal life with a lot of love, and caring. This was our cycle. My mistaken belief was that each time would be the last time. I thought that I could love him out of this behavior. I would forgive him each time. During the good times, he was the absolute best. He treated me like a queen. He showered me with love, and affection. Sometimes we would hold each other, and cry because we felt such a strong emotional connection. Why was I attracted to him?  I was in love with this man. BPD was not in the picture at the time. I didn't even know what BPD was.

I was determined to make it work no matter what it took. I soon found the old "Nook" and learned that judging by his symptoms, that he was suffering from BPD. I gave it my all for over three years. I realized that my best wasn't good enough. We are no longer in each others lives. I have learned much from this experience. I think that we are all vulnerable to falling in love with someone who has BPD regardless of our upbringing or short comings. I was a very normal and sane individual before he came into my life.

Ave
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« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2008, 06:54:36 PM »

Of course my xgf idolized me, filled my lack of self esteem,and had me feel loved and cared for as never before.

But, was it essentially what hooked me for good ?

actually... .No.

What hooked me from the start was her way to marvel at things. her freshness. You know, the freshness all kids have and that vanishes with time (well she WAS a kid deep down... .But I didn't know).

She was extremely smart, witty, intelligent, talented and intuitive.

She had her own artistic universe. An artistic vision of things. I loved it.

And on top of this, she was soo funny. No one ever made me laugh this way. I felt just so good. We would finish each other's sentences all the time. We had the same humor. 

This hooked me. The idealization came later on, as did the incredible sex, when we evolved from close friends to lovers.  But I was ALREADY in love with her by that time.

Of course, I didn't expect that the smart independent sweet woman would turn into a selfish immature gaslighting butt in the blink of an eye... .

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StreetSmart
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« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2008, 07:49:06 AM »

Dear Ave/Vincent:

I think still that the adrenal rush still operates in both your scenarios as a means to hook one into being with them... .

There seems to always be some kinda intensity involved... .whether it be physical attraction/heightened sense of compatability/or marveling at their "freshness" all of these (and more) features represent adrenal highs... .

Just in different manifestations... . 



Street

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JoannaK
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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2008, 06:37:39 PM »

I think it would be interesting for people pondering this to see how differently they feel a year out of the relationship with the BPD person vs. how they feel a couple of months out.  Many people are still idolizing the BPD soon after they have left.
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« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2008, 08:01:23 PM »

11.  We believed in the fairy tale, the greatest love story ever, the uniqueness of the connection... .and this is a major reason we didn't leave when we saw things weren't right and why we kept trying over and over again.  All of the media's and societies lessons:  True love only happens once in a lifetime, Never give up on a love that's worth fighting for... .
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the lucky one
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« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2008, 04:47:08 PM »

You picked up on one of the most quintessential pieces I have repeatedly seen (particularly with the ladies who post here)... a dysfunctional/abusive family of origin... .particularly abusive/absentee fathers... .

Then the impetus to "fix" the broken father figure and thus validate our feelings/love come into play... .

You mean there are no guys here trying to fix their abusive/absentee mothers?  ?

yeah thats me,she was and still is emotionless and invalidating, which she in turn learned of her mother who was worse!
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JoannaK
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« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2008, 09:12:42 AM »

Two major trains of thought in this Workshop:

1.  That we were attracted to them/got into the relationship because we had problems within ourselves.

2.  That we were attracted to them/got into the relationship because they were really pretty special and came with a unique set of positive traits.

Are these two ideas contradictory?  Can they both exist in the same relationship?
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itscomplicated
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« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2008, 10:09:33 AM »

Excerpt
Are these two ideas contradictory?  Can they both exist in the same relationship?

Nope, I think these are two really different points.

Excerpt
1.  That we were attracted to them/got into the relationship because we had problems within ourselves.

Most of the people I see who post here do not have 'severe' problems. 

Most people I see here have some sort of transitional issue, divorce, job change, whatever.    But I don't think that is all that unusual to have these issues.     Almost everyone unless you are very old or very young is going to be effected by some transitory aspect in life.  That is the nature of life.     How many people does anyone know who is still in their first marriage?     Same job after 10 or 20 years?

I know that when i met mine I was at the top of my career and probably in one of the best periods of my life in so far as achievement and self confidence.  I actually thought my guy was sort of 'my reward' for my hard work- so go figure.

I see often that board members don't recognize their own uniqueness and value (self worth issues) and often think no one else will connect with them in that special way.  And that in part is true. That's why we say you have to kiss a lot of frogs, etc.  before you find a good fit in a partner.  And  you do have to willing to put down the toad to pick up the prince.

I still go with the FOO issues (unfinished biz with a parent)like the intermittent parenting theory.


Excerpt
2.  That we were attracted to them/got into the relationship because they were really pretty special and came with a unique set of positive traits.

Yes.  In my guys case, he was special and unique and still is in those areas.  He is very accomplished and still more fun than anyone if he's not having a rage or putting you on time out.  And I saw ALOT of myself in him that wasn't manufactured.


My biggest initial  mistake that i see in retrospect was  I saw a tiny, tiny glimpse of his 'temper' and 'withholding'  directed at someone else and actually noted it out loud to a friend.  I said ' I  just X  do (fill in the blank).  You know,  that's  a sign of an abusive individual'.        I saw it clearly and proceeded anyway because I thought I could ignore that part and enjoy the great parts.       

Pretty soon, i was the recipient.

It doesn't work like that.   

Magical thinking.
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Randi Kreger
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« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2008, 12:06:54 PM »

There are some questions that keep coming up again and again. One of them is “Why do people stay in even the worst relationships?” But that specific question is for partners. The overall question, is why do people feel trapped, helpless, and stuck in their situation? Feeling stuck can prevent people from trying new and more effective solutions, such as setting and maintaining their limits. After two years of work, I managed to come up with six basic categories of reasons as to why people in all types of relationships get stuck. This is how I stated it in my new book, “The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder.” I put three dots (…) where I have deleted big chunks of copy. Please note this is not the final, proofed copy. The numbers are references to footnotes. Please do not reprint this without my permission. ……………………………………………………………... •   Do you feel unable to move because danger lies in every choice, yet you feel compelled to do something?•   Do you and your BP have an unspoken agreement that his needs are more important than yours?•   Does your satisfaction with this relationship depend on your BP making significant changes—yet he hasn’t demonstrated a lasting desire to do so? •   Have you made compromises you realize you can’t live with in the long term, but have no idea how to go back and change things? •   Is this relationship too good to leave but too bad to stay in? If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, chances are you’re stuck. …... Interpersonal double-binds can appear to be about what is going on with the other party. But when you look more closely at the underpinnings of the conflict, the story is more about you. The longer you have been stuck in a chosen relationship, she says, the more likely it is that the solution to the problem lies within you.Uncovering and resolving the source of your feelings of entrapment is the most essential element that determines not only the course of your relationship, but the degree of distress you will experience from having a borderline family member. This is because feelings of helplessness and lack of control can cause just as much suffering as the presence of the personality disorder itself. Study after study has found that in different types of situations—at work, in relationships, nursing homes, when facing terminal illness, while playing sports—the urge to feel in control of your own destiny is a universal motive. With it, we gain an inner sense of mastery and feelings of satisfaction. Without it, we are at risk for hopelessness, stress, and depression…<a>What Keeps You Stuck? Most non-BPs feel stuck for one or more of the following five reasons: •   unhealthy bonds forged by emotional abuse •   feelings of fear•   obligation, roles, and duty •   guilt mingled with shame •   low self-esteem •   the need to “rescue”Unhealthy Bonds Forged by Emotional Abuse…….You might think that the obvious choice for the abused person would be to simply avoid the abuser and try to rebuild self-esteem. Instead, the opposite occurs: people who feel abused and controlled develop strong, unhealthy bonds that keep them in a dysfunctional dance with the person who is bullying them. This dynamic is so well known it even has a name: the “Stockholm Syndrome.” The name comes from a 1973 incident in Stockholm, Sweden, in which hostages became emotionally attached to the criminals who held them hostage during a bank robbery. The syndrome includes these key elements: •   the belief that the abuser/controller is an imminent threat to one’s physical or psychological survival•   the presence of a perceived small kindness from the abuser/controller to the sufferer•   isolation from perspectives other than those of the abuser/controller•   the belief that one is unable to escape from the situationThe following are signs that the Stockholm Syndrome might be at work:•   thinking, “I know she hurts me all the time and does terrible things, but I love her anyway!”•   receiving warnings from others about the relationship and dismissing them because others “just don’t understand.” Eventually, the sufferer avoids those who don’t approve of the abuser/controller. •   giving the abuser/controller positive credit for small tokens of kindness (a birthday card) or for not being abusive when abusiveness was expected (such as not getting jealous when an opposite-sex co-worker waves in a crowd) •   making excuses for the abuser/controller’s behavior (such as, “He couldn’t help it because he was abused as a kid”)•   becoming preoccupied with the needs, desires, and habits of the abuser/controller in an effort to prevent the abuser/controller from having an outburst[6]…Feelings of Fear….The following fears are common for non-BPs.:•   fear for the BP’s health and welfare (common with lower-functioning conventional BPs). Suicide threats are the most potent fear.[8] •   fear of conflict, for example “I can’t say that. He might get upset.” •   fear of being alone (abandonment) (BPs aren’t the only ones).•   fear of failing or being judged a failure (for example, with having a failed marriage).•   fear of financial problems (common in partners).•   fear of the unknown •   fear of the BP’s threats coming trueObligation, Roles, and Duty…... Our concepts about roles and obligations are supposed to keep life predictable and create an orderly, stable society. The family unit provides for the needs of each member in a grand attempt to perpetuate the species and perhaps the family name. Then, myths and ideals evolve around what the perfect parent, child, sibling, or grandparent should be like. The sad truth is that while families may have evolved to ensure the survival of its members, sometimes survival is dependent upon giving up the myths of the ideal parent, sister, or other family member, and accepting reality, no matter how much we wish it were otherwise. …Guilt and Shame…….If you feel guilty, ask yourself, “What am I feeling guilty for?” Be specific. If you think you should have known something, what is it, and how would you have known? If there is something you regret, learn from it. Make amends if necessary, put a plan together to prevent it from happening again, and try to turn any aspect of what happened into something positive. Low Self-Esteem…... You may know on an intellectual level that your family member’s attacks on your character are unjust. But on an emotional level (which is stronger), you may believe you deserve the treatment you’re getting. Criticism is a corrosive acid that eats away feelings of self-worth and fractures the bonds that keep people together. …The Need to Rescue…... Rescuers are ruled by their emotions, especially guilt, worry, fear, and, most of all, helplessness. Rarely do they take stock of their methods, see that their efforts aren’t working, and try something else. …... A rescuer is usually a compassionate, kind person who wants to alleviate the suffering of others. The person with BPD idolizes and adores the object of his affection, who can’t help but enjoy the special attention and the feeling that she, and she alone, can make the other person feel loved. …Warmly,Randi Kreger
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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 #24 on: June 25, 2009, 03:38:30 PM »

A belated thanks for this addition, Randi!

The Essential Family Guide is a very valuable, very worthwhile book.
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