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 Post subject: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:14 am 
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Hello all. I hope I’ve the right to communicate with you as I don’t have BPD but am in a relationship (and love) with a woman who does. That said, the ‘diagnosis’ at this point is pretty much my own. We’ve been seeing each other quit intensely for over a year and only plan to get closer. After walking or riding the streets of her town, in a daze from her behavior, I’ve had plenty of time to ponder it. Researching such puzzling behavior online led me to BPD. After a lot of reading on various sites I ordered the book, The Essential Family Guide To Borderline Personality Disorder, by Randi Kreger.

Nearly finished with the book, and having started over to ingrain the behavior patterns in my head so as to recognize them instantly with my partner, I’ve not discussed it with her. We’ve had many long discussions about events, even did six sessions of couples counseling on her insistence, but I’ve not let her know my thoughts and ‘insight’ into what I’ve no doubt is a “high functioning” case of BPD. Why? I don’t want her to feel flawed or to think I view her that way. And, I fear a blowup - and envision this being thrown back at me.

I’ve come off a longtime marriage with a wife eventually diagnosed with Adult Onset Anxiety Syndrome, and though it appears totally unrelated to BP … it took a toll on me. I fear being what's described as a “rescuer” and don’t care to spend the last half of my life in equal turmoil as the first; including a childhood that likely left me with PTSD, of which I feel has taken nearly a lifetime to recover.

My current mate has actually thrown ‘BPD’ traits at me …leading me to believe she’s familiar with the condition and is projecting her fears. If you’re willing to take my word, I’m a very good guy; loyal, loving, generous, protecting and there. I would not - and could not do her wrong. But it’s tuff… And when she’s under stress, I can see it coming. I’ve been apologized to many times now, and accept it. Learning what I have about the condition is invaluable and allows me to go on, finally knowing from where her fears and accusations stem. She also seems familiar with the earlier assumptions that the root cause of this condition stems from childhood (but doesn’t everything to some degree) and often, after being upset, will describe harsh and neglectful treatment from her parents, though it now appears there’s also a biological aspect as well.

I’d appreciate any suggestions on how I should approach this with her, or not. As is, we’re making progress. I’ll ask about known problem spots and she appreciates my insight and concern. If I were to let her know she fits the BPT traits (8 of 10, likely having gown out of two) … I envision serous denial and a regression in our relationship. She meditates and has attended an 'anger management' class, to better cope with her son I’m told. Yes, I think she knows. …sure a lot of “I’s” in my writing… guess it’s a very personal thing.

We’re now ‘middle aged,’ and she’s ten years younger than I. Having taken far better care of myself, we’re ‘evenly matched’ physically. Both have two nearly independent children, hers lives with the Ex and I’ve one with me and the other with my ex, attending collage. I’ve read that BPD symptoms decline with age; it appears so, at least from the descriptions of my mate’s earlier years. And, it’s said one can recover. I’m thankful to everyone who has shared their trauma on this board. Your honesty has teared me up ..and no compassionate person could help but to root for you. I hope my posts and observations are welcome, it seems important for those with BP to have some reflection from those who love them – whether they believe it or not. And though I’ve yet to let my (I never know what to call my ..lover, mate, significant other, girl friend..) new best friend know of my insight, I’d welcome yours. Just please go easy… It’s hard enough to take it from one direction – let alone several ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:04 pm 
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Hi Outside and welcome.

It is definitely possible for people with bpd to recover and live wonderful lives....just wanted you to know that for now. However, It is a long and difficult journey, IMHO....as it takes a whole lot of determination and will power. I hope you can get some understanding from those here who are working all the time to get and stay well. Stick around awhile.

dagwood


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:31 am 
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Hi outside!

Have the right to communicate with us? I can't speak for the others, but I LOVE communicating with the partner of a BPDer. I find that it can be very educational. So welcome!

First of all, although I think you've decided this already and you're on the right track, you absolutely HAVE to communicate to her that you think her behaviour fits BPD traits. As to how you should do this, I think you should know best - you've been with her for one year now so I'd imagine you've talked to her about problems in your relationship before, and this is just another one of those. Most importantly, bring it up when you guys are both calm, or preferably cheerful, bring it in a manner that shows how much you care. Probably preface it with a "baby, I have something to say but it might be sensitive for you, if you don't want me to say it now, I can wait another time" or something like that, something that tells her to 'brace herself'.

Alternatively you can bring it up casually, by saying something like "hey, have you heard of BPD before?". Proceed with saying you stumbled upon some stuff on the net and thought it fits her.

But most importantly, do it in an environment of love. Tell her you love her and you care about her and this is about her, not about you. That always works with me and my partner. She will hear that genuine concern you have in your voice, and that will work above anything else.

Good luck.


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:14 pm 
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Nadnewrule, thank you. Actually, I’m bit shell-shocked after an intense weekend with my friend. Yes, I’m getting used to those, but it always leaves me wondering if this relationship’s worth the pain… She’s moving in with her mom prior to purchasing a house. The house is in the closure phase with some serious improvements prior to occupancy. After a long week of caring for my own place (acres), I worked just as diligently (if not more so) moving her.

With such widely fluctuating moods I never know when anything’s safe. And, when things are ‘going good,’ I fear bringing up anything that could change that – cuz it changes very fast. This is so hard. I feel like I’m being limited more and more as to what I can say, who I can speak of, and second & third guessing everything I say. I feel pulled right into it …victimized by the same fears?

One reason I’m here is to ‘learn the language,’ it’s like speaking another when I’m around her, or at least having entered a different culture. I’m having to filter every potential statement or utterance as not to ‘offend.’ I have no one to talk to about this… as it sounds so crazy most think I’m making it up … and have told me to move on! They’re tired of repeatedly hearing it, and I don’t want my frustrations to get back to her through mutual friends. Looking back on several of my posts, after nearly a week away from each other (one of our longest), I ‘felt’ so upbeat. Right now.. very sad and alone.

I’m continuing to study but have begun to question the time that’s taking away from my duties. Honestly, I’m frightened to describe the BPD connection to her – and I’m not a chickenshit kinda guy. She appears instantly devastated by even perceived criticism, so to introduce this condition, even in the gentle way you’ve described, would still likely drop the sky on her. And finding ‘one’s worth or value’ through the perception of others is a killer. The harder I work to please – the higher I’m placed on that imaginary pedestal …and the more devastating my concerns, large or small… Killer!

Well, it doesn’t have to happen just now. I do bring traits up with her when there’s a good example or opportunity, as if I’d just discovered it. I’ve been impressed with her responses – acknowledging the behavior then actively seeking a way of identifying and modifying it. But it’s the boilerplate traits we can’t seem to get around, even though she’s aware of them.

And sometimes it feels like me… I could give an example, but instead, let’s just say ‘she’ will offend me, and I’ll simply react as (most) anyone would. It often appears I’m being tested as to how much crap I’ll take – I know I take more than most, but do have a limit. When I stand up to her, her defense becomes an offence. And we’re both getting tired of the one-way apologies (from her). – and ..here I’ve gone again. I work with in education and have this summer ‘off’ (unpaid of course ;-) ..so I’m devoting some serious time to this ..and not an upcoming job interview. I’m still in love and haven’t given up …but when other women I meet leave me feeling so at ease.. it does get me thinking ~


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:36 pm 
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hey Outside,

I'm really sorry you go through that. I have to admit though, things you've said are probably more suited for other boards for non-bpd'ers. I do support you, but it's a bit weird because I am almost exactly like your girlfriend and my boyfriend can probably relate a lot to you.

But having said that, I'll just say this. As long as you're the only one studying about BPD, it really won't work, my friend. You're not a robot, in fact you've written a lot that makes me think you're not handling this well at all emotionally. Whatever you decide to do, the status quo HAS to change. If you're finding yourself questioning if the relationship is worth it, then IMO, the possible outcome is only either: i) you find a way to get her to get into therapy, or ii) you break up with her. There's also the 3rd choice of you not breaking up with her but still having to walk on eggshells around her. I don't think that's a practical way to live.

Since you said you want to educate yourself more, I suggest you read this: http://www.amazon.com/Stop-Walking-Eggshells-Borderline-Personality/dp/157224108X

Also, I think your post might trigger some BPDers. I don't know if others would mind if I do this, but I'd say http://bpdfamily.com/ is a more suitable place for you to vent and get support.


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:11 am 
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I will check out the suggested sites, actually I had difficulty ‘signing on’ at one of them - thus ‘came here’ ...and assumed the insight and advice I’d find here would be the ‘real thing,’ for the fact I’d be communicating with those with or having recovered from BPD. The last thing I want to do is cause pain to those navigating these waters … though those in my boat are simply reacting and speculating, from my point of view.

Giving up on mine seems like just that, giving up; and, I sincerely love her. Perhaps she’s created a life in which she’d survive, guess I would, too. I suspect we’d both hurt for a long time. Crap ~

Thanks for your advice, that’s the reason I’ve posted. But actually, there’d be a whole lot of questions I’d like to ask those with BPD that those without likely couldn’t answer, at least from their own feelings. …but perhaps those are the questions I need to ask my.. friend.

Yes, thanks again, and maybe I’m at the wrong address. I wish everyone strength. I’ll try to answer any comments that arise from my prior posts but best take this elsewhere ~


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:48 am 
Hi there -

Nah, you're not at the wrong joint. This forum welcomes all walks of life. Generally speaking, we can't tell you all the whys, decipher cryptic messages, or speak for her- but we're focused on the self here. It's a recovery oriented forum. So you may find that rather than discuss all of 'her stuff', we'd be more apt to ask you thought provoking(hopefully!) questions about yourself, your boundaries, etc.

As far as triggering or upsetting material goes here, rather than sweep it under the rug or get rid of it, it's encouraged for the person to explore the associated feelings when something really gets under the skin(we usually make a separate thread for this so as to stay on topic with the original post's content - So if anyone finds themselves feeling upset, please do make another thread to air and sort out your feelings - Members can try to help you with that).

Outside - From reading your post, I wonder HOW you choose to bring up particular bothersome behaviors within your relationship. I don't thinking making the "BPD connection" in a literal way is necessary - Not so much to preserve any feelings, but it's the behavior that needs addressing, not the label that needs to be slapped on. Generally speaking, I find people to be more receptive to honest discussions when one is not trying to tag on a disorder, complex, etc., and rather more directly addressing the individual behaviors. You know what I mean?

How do you feel about individual therapy to help you with learning to communicate your feelings more effectively and establishing stronger boundaries? I think it's a positive thing that she suggested and did half a dozen couples counseling sessions, and while they certainly do help couples learn to communicate more efficiently, I wonder if individual therapy in addition to this, for both of you, would be a good option?


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:24 pm 
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Thanks, Raeni, honestly, I don’t know where to go ~ One site suggests I hang out there, discussing what it’s like being on the receiving end - and not ‘telling her’ I’m doing that. Honestly, that sounds a bit ‘safer,’ as I’m not past suggesting she come here, if willing. Though the other site seems ‘behind the back,’ I suppose being here right now is too, as I’m not sharing my fears directly with her but with ‘strangers.’

When “explore[ing] the associated feelings when something really gets under the skin,” I’m still trying to understand what her feelings are; as some information suggests they’re too convoluted to decipher. It is telling to witness the ‘extra time’ it takes for what should be an instantaneous reaction; as if the feelings exhibited are not true ‘feeling’s’ but needed to be thought up. It confirms she’s having a hard time reacting, so I try not to take offence because it’s not her ‘true feelings.’ Weird & wonderful!

I wonder HOW you choose to bring up particular bothersome behaviors within your relationship.

In a calm non-threatening situation I’ll make an observation describing behavior that’s confusing to me. My concern makes sense to both of us. She’s so smart.. (I love that), and will remember and add to these discussions. But ..this understanding is often and obviously overridden with angry accusations, sometimes within the same hour.

The only reason I’d make “the BPD connection” is if I lost my ability to remain cool. But… if all I said or suggested was blown-off as me ‘not having any idea what I was talking about,’ mentioning that connection would be my most powerful response. But instead of lashing back, I adsorb, or is that absorb her anger – to a point. I internalize the pain while pulling back. She thinks I’ve given up and spirals into a depression which often takes me down, too.

How do you feel about individual therapy to help you with learning to communicate your feelings more effectively and establishing stronger boundaries?

I’ve considered it, but honestly, with the avalanche of information’s out there, I know what I’m up against. The questions are how much can and should I take? I don’t know who can answer that one beyond me. – Daughter’s just arrived home from her new job, I’d better get back to being a Dad. Thank you


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:52 pm 
Bpdfamily, as mentioned, is a site for the partners, ex partners, or family members/friends of someone with BPD. As far as I know, it is "non" only. This site is for all, but a large portion of the members do deal with BPD/traits.

Do you feel guilt or that it is sneaky to explore and partake in discussions on these kinds of forums?

Quote:
The only reason I’d make “the BPD connection” is if I lost my ability to remain cool. But… if all I said or suggested was blown-off as me ‘not having any idea what I was talking about,’ mentioning that connection would be my most powerful response. But instead of lashing back, I adsorb, or is that absorb her anger – to a point. I internalize the pain while pulling back. She thinks I’ve given up and spirals into a depression which often takes me down, too.


So you have lashing back, or internalizing and distancing. Pretty opposite sides of the spectrum. Have you tried setting very point blank boundaries, instead? Such as "If you X, I will Y, and Z." (http://joy2meu.com/Personal_Boundaries.htm) If so, what's happened?

Quote:
I’ve considered it, but honestly, with the avalanche of information’s out there, I know what I’m up against


I'm not sure what you mean by that. Can you elaborate a bit more?


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:07 pm 
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Thank you Raeni, for clearing up about whether or not Outside's post is appropriate here. I'm sorry if I made you feel unwelcome, Outside! I'm also quite new to bpdrecovery, so I have a lot more to learn. I find it amazing that possible triggers are not avoided, but are encouraged to be discussed. This is truly the approach we should take whether online or in real life interactions.

Quote:
Generally speaking, I find people to be more receptive to honest discussions when one is not trying to tag on a disorder, complex, etc.

Actually in retrospect, I too am able to be more accountable and objective when I don't make the BPD association to my behaviour. So perhaps Raeni is right. Discuss the behaviour, but you don't necessarily have to talk about BPD.

It's good that you're focusing on being a good dad, Outside. Always good not to put too much thoughts into your problems. Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:14 pm 
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Do you feel guilt or that it is sneaky to explore and partake in discussions on these kinds of forums?

Actually, at the moment I feel as though I’m neglecting my daughter, as I sit here with my back turned to her. I’m giving so much of myself toward this effort in hopes of helping another I love, it hurts ~

Guilty or sneaky? Well, it’s new ground, that’s for sure. I feel like I’m doing homework that’s in the longrun going to help us both. I’m not gathering amo to use against her (BPGF) but info to help us both. So, no, but it’s not the way I care to deal with it.

Have you tried setting very point blank boundaries, instead? Such as "If you X, I will Y, and Z.

No, any ground rules we’ve established have dodged her behavior and focused on her perceptions of mine. She’s not been very open about her problems, that’s why I’ve had to figure them out on my own. As they fall into place, I’ll no longer accept her accusations toward me and will approach her core fears. Depending on her response, we may or may not set up more ridged protocols. …and I still need to follow the link you provided.

How do you feel about individual therapy to help you with learning to communicate your feelings more effectively and establishing stronger boundaries?

I’ve considered it, but honestly, with the avalanche of information’s out there, I know what I’m up against” -- The information’s out there. She could come here and likely learn as much following the multitude of helpful links, and linking with those with BPD. I’m quickly coming to grips with what my options are. This feels like ‘individual therapy’ to me.

Currently experiencing the silent treatment; no texts, e-mails or phone calls, I sent her an e listing some of my concerns. We’ve a weekend planned together… As said, she’s never mentioned BPD to me, nor me to her. It’s been almost three months since I’ve figured it out, after six ‘couples counseling’ sessions in which this was never discovered or discussed. We’re at square one, and proceeding very slowly ~


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:37 pm 
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I'm also quite new to bpdrecovery, so I have a lot more to learn.

Me, too ~ it boggles my mind that whatever’s occurring is so widely experienced. I’ve always assumed everyone has quirks, myself definitely included, but to find situations in which so many are affected in the same way is truly festinating. And if it can be identified, it seems as if it can be overcome.

So perhaps Raeni is right. Discuss the behaviour, but you don't necessarily have to talk about BPD.

Those have been my thoughts, and that’s why I’m here – not to hurt the one I love. I want to learn all I can about this so as to help her. She deserves it. You all do… We love you.. and only wish it could be taken as that – the deepest of caring. But truly, it’s like walking on eggshells … and I can see it in her eyes.. making a determination as how to respond to just about everything ..as I’m thinking, ‘hold it together, hold it together, don’t lose it, not over this.’

I feel so trapped. Yes, I could run, it sounds as if plenty have. There’s either something very right – or very wrong with me. Maybe it’s just that I so rarely back down to anything. I can and will take a lot, a sign of strength in my book, but running away still feels chickenshit ~

Let’s hope we’re all getting something out of this, I think I am, if only having ‘someone’ to talk to. Thanks again, now back to Dad-mode (where we so clearly know it all ;-) ~


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:01 pm 
Quote:
Thank you Raeni, for clearing up about whether or not Outside's post is appropriate here. I'm sorry if I made you feel unwelcome, Outside! I'm also quite new to bpdrecovery, so I have a lot more to learn. I find it amazing that possible triggers are not avoided, but are encouraged to be discussed. This is truly the approach we should take whether online or in real life interactions.


I did the same thing when I first came here. The forums geared towards BPD that I read had all these trigger warnings, so I just assumed that this one would be similar. I have to say, I like it this way. Life doesn't come with warning labels!

Those have been my thoughts, and that’s why I’m here – not to hurt the one I love. I want to learn all I can about this so as to help her. She deserves it. You all do… We love you.. and only wish it could be taken as that – the deepest of caring. But truly, it’s like walking on eggshells … and I can see it in her eyes.. making a determination as how to respond to just about everything ..as I’m thinking, ‘hold it together, hold it together, don’t lose it, not over this.’

Quote:
I feel so trapped. Yes, I could run, it sounds as if plenty have. There’s either something very right – or very wrong with me. Maybe it’s just that I so rarely back down to anything. I can and will take a lot, a sign of strength in my book, but running away still feels chickenshit ~


You could, if you wanted to. I feel trapped when I don't like any of my options. Having a relationship with someone who has problems regulating their emotions is tough. I've had one with someone who had BPD, as well. The difference was where we were at on our paths. I've been in therapy for over a decade on and off, pretty much off for the last year. When I don't have it, I do "maintenance" work(books, journaling, meditation, stuff like that). He never went to therapy beyond a handful of sessions, and outright refused it, or any kind of help. He acknowledged his issues but felt there was nothing to be done about it. After all the on and off, I felt very drained and realized I could just not go back again, that it would be to my own detriment if I did.

I felt a lot of guilt about this, but eventually I realized that love wasn't about me suffering along with him. I hung in there because yes, I did love him, but also because - And this is some twisted thinking here - I would be giving up on myself if I "gave up" on him. However, at the same time, it gave me a newfound appreciation for the relationships I had when I was younger, what my partners may have felt or gone through. I harbored mucho much anger towards them because I felt they were 'just like everyone else'. I was quite blind to the role I played and didn't have a good grip on empathy. Getting a taste of what they may have experienced helped me in a very big way to release my bitterness and understand that they had to look out for themselves. That adult, romantic love is not parallel with unconditional parental love(which I can say I was definitely looking for - It was not realistic).

Enough babbling...When what you 'take' is to your detriment, where do you draw the line? Obviously you understand you cannot do the work for her. You can haul your 50%, but she's got to carry hers, too. It won't work any other way. It just won't. There were times I wished I could do it all for that ex of mine. And there were times that I think I even tried to. If I just did a little of this...if I just did a little of that...

It's my belief that healthy does not stick around for unhealthy. That it takes two to dance a dysfunctional tango. BPD behaviors are...obvious, if you will. A person who has a more co-dependent nature(rescuer, savior, fixer upper, etc), their own unhealthy contributions aren't as obvious. After all, being a martyr is kind of glorified. It appears utterly selfless, therefore "good". There are very, very few truly selfless acts in this world. There is a motive, agenda. "What's in it for me?", even if what's in it is simply feeling needed...super(wo)man...hero...you get my drift. Humans are inherently selfish, and I don't mean that in the creepy, narcissistic way(though, sometimes). Just the nature of the beast.

Perhaps it may be time to reevaluate what strength is...Not necessarily redefine it, hey, you can't go on believing one thing your whole life and change it over night...But challenge it a little.


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:03 pm 
Quote:
Those have been my thoughts, and that’s why I’m here – not to hurt the one I love. I want to learn all I can about this so as to help her. She deserves it. You all do… We love you.. and only wish it could be taken as that – the deepest of caring. But truly, it’s like walking on eggshells … and I can see it in her eyes.. making a determination as how to respond to just about everything ..as I’m thinking, ‘hold it together, hold it together, don’t lose it, not over this.’


Forgot to quote this as Outside's excerpt, as to not cause any confusion.


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:09 am 
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Raeni: “That adult, romantic love is not parallel with unconditional parental love(which I can say I was definitely looking for - It was not realistic).

That says a lot. With two older brothers my GF often eludes to the fact she was ignored by her father, and mother. It often appears she’s testing me for the ‘unconditional parental love’ you describe. That would actually make sense; as knowing ‘whatever’ you did as a child, your parent/s would still love you, they just had to. But she’s not finding that in me. Behavior counts, and there’s no excuse for abuse, even to see if I’ll unconditionally ‘take it.’

Now I feel I’ve learned something, how do I convey it to her..? Actually, I just responded to an e from her going over some things I’d sent earlier today [now yesterday]. I think most would have been impressed with my response. I asked about and suggested counseling, in what I feel was a non-threatening way. …I even considered posting my send here, but probably shouldn’t.

As mentioned, I’m ‘off for the summer,’ so need to get a handle on this while I can …thus have been quick to answer, everyone. - And I’ve had no response from my serious e-mail.

Enough babbling...

On the contrary, thank you for opening up

It's my belief that healthy does not stick around for unhealthy. That it takes two to dance a dysfunctional tango. BPD behaviors are...obvious, if you will. A person who has a more co-dependent nature(rescuer, savior, fixer upper, etc), their own unhealthy contributions aren't as obvious. After all, being a martyr is kind of glorified. It appears utterly selfless, therefore "good". There are very, very few truly selfless acts in this world. There is a motive, agenda. "What's in it for me?", even if what's in it is simply feeling needed...super(wo)man...hero...you get my drift. Humans are inherently selfish, and I don't mean that in the creepy, narcissistic way(though, sometimes). Just the nature of the beast.

Where I find myself: a natural nurturer, the oldest of four siblings and having felt responsible for them. I’m now with the youngest of three, and feeling responsible ‘for her?’ …actually feeling like ‘I can do this,’ when maybe I can’t. As mentioned elsewhere, the behavior I’m witnessing takes me back to youth, definitely more reckless times. There’s an allure to that.

I’m in love, for what it’s worth, encompassing all the mixed-up emotions that accompany it. And there’s nothing noble about it. Like shit – it happens.

I also care for the core person. Though ‘high functioning’ in public, I’ve seen the real person. Damaged, yes - without worth, no. I was literally given an opportunity earlyer in life with regard to my current home. Most, cuz they told me, would have sold the inheritance, I didn’t. I did the work and injected the love that’s turned it into a magnificent place, new home and all. I’m a worker, trained well. Granted, I want to see progress – but am not afraid of getting down and dirty with my eyes on the prize. What’s to say my mate has simply never found the same? That she doesn’t deserve the effort … that she and I cannot become an amazing pair..? That’s where my head’s at.

The person loves me, that must count for something. And is compassion keeping me trapped? I’ve never weighed the worth but have followed my heart, and it leads me back to her. If ever it doesn’t, l hope I’ve the strength to move on. And there’s likely a limit, I’ve just not reached it yet. Actually, I’m attempting to dodge it! With her help, I still think we can make it. If I determine it’s hopeless, or – if I’m ever betrayed, it will end.

Atheist, I’m not ‘down here’ scoring points. Self Actualized, I’ve nothing to prove. I lead with my chin and am what’s known as a ‘counter-puncher.’ I can handle pain, but don’t like it.

Don’t know what category if any I fit into, and don’t care. I’m doing my homework and dealing with my responsibilities while experiencing an aspect of human behavior I’ve not knowingly dealt with before …with no deviant or malevolent motives ~ at least that I’m aware of. …just working toward that book we could all write near the end of life -- that should have been read nearer its beginning!

Actually, I feel I’m moving quite fast, and if anything, fear making a mistake; it has been just over a year. And if considerate treatment of another human being is considered ‘a mistake,’ I’m fine with erroring on the side of compassion.

I understand your concerns and appreciate working through them – as best I can, in my own way.


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:32 am 
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Outside wrote:
I want to learn all I can about this so as to help her. She deserves it. You all do… We love you.. and only wish it could be taken as that – the deepest of caring.


Thank you for saying that. It means a lot. It means so much that I had to quote that and thank you for that. :D

Anyway, it seems like you're doing a lot of self-search, which is good. I'm positive 'something good' WILL come out of this. I've learned a lot just by reading this thread alone.

Keep us posted on how she responded to the suggestion for counseling. Keep trying to communicate in a positive and healthy way with her. Try to validate her feelings, I think that would allow her to focus on the issues rather than her hurt.


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:39 am 
I offer you what I offer myself, and I challenge and question myself often. As the saying goes, take what you can use and chuck the rest!

I agree with nadnewrule - Validation is important. More recently I did volunteer work for a crisis line. It was stressed over and over that when people are in the throes of an emotional crisis, it's not advice we're after giving - It's validation. It's being heard and acknowledged. Not being agreed or disagreed with - Just knowing someone else is hearing our feelings, our story. It whittles away at the defenses and tends to shift the focus. I agree that she would likely be more receptive. It's a chance worth taking, anyhow!

Quote:
Try to validate her feelings, I think that would allow her to focus on the issues rather than her hurt.


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:25 pm 
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Hey folks… I’m back ...and it appears to be over, but I thought I’d let you read some of the correspondence. The following is an e-mail I’d sent August 15, it was my attempt to discuss or allow my gf to discuss her condition. I’ll let you know what happened later. [I’ll also edit various personal references and attempt to explain some statements and references]:

Hey, we could argue for hours over who started what, but I've come to realize, as you've attempted to let me know - this is not me. I wish it were, then I could deal with it. As is, it's up to you. Your actions appear calculated to determine how far to push me away. After spending days giving my all for you, you use any opportunity available to distance me. It's as if you purposefully pick a fight then get pissed if I dare 'fight back.'

[after helping her move (using my truck and fuel) all day she hollered to the top of her lungs as a vacuum cleaner supposedly fell on her foot. One of three she’s saved, describing how she ‘beats them up’ when she’s angry]

And don't dwell on the petty circumstances such as the loud outburst with the vacuum cleaner (though I've never burst out over such pain), that's not the issue. The issue is you then treating me with suspicion because I dared describe the damage you inflicted on my hearing. Had any of [My school’s] 850 kids did the same - I'd have marched them to the office!

It appears you expected a pattern of degeneration from that point, a purposeful distancing (hey - for the record - this is me writing, taking time from my life to put this out to you - so don't feel you've got to match it) ..distancing from me for the rest of the evening. You expect the worse, then make it happen. I was ready to ride to your mother's with you, to say my "goodbye and good night." Your behavior made clear you didn't want me along and left.

You've long described 'how you once were.' How were you, were you ever diagnosed with anything, and did you seek treatment? Seriously. This is not a jab or dig at you, though you'll likely take it as such. Your behavior fits some patterns and I wonder if you're aware of them? Please be straight with me; as mentioned, my question here is not to hurt but to help.


[never a response… neither by e-mail or in person, so I assumed it was too touchy a subject]

I am and hope to continue to be here for you, but it continues to be difficult. I want a real relationship, one that grows. What I’m experiencing is fits and starts - then back to square one. I once told you, 'come with me if you want to live.' I meant that. It's apparent you've not found anyone else capable or willing to get through this with you. I am willing - don't throw me away. But I've a heavy and full life, and though I want you in it, it had better start working better than it has. You deserve love, and I want to give you mine, but this push-pull stuff is taking a serious toll.

The 'couples counseling' did not come close to the crux of 'our' situation, it will require individual counseling to work toward recovery. I hope this is familiar to you; though it's new terrain for me. If you've had counseling before, let me know how it went. If not, we may need to look into it. Actually, I feel communicating 'this way' is wonderful, it doesn't require an instant response on anyone's part and allows for a more thoughtful response all around. I realize poking this out on your [Droid] device is tedious, but as mentioned, you don't have to. Hey - don't use your work e-mail.


[father – daughter info..]

I am planning on being up there with you Friday night, if not sooner. I love you, but there's a 'practical aspect' to that love I need to seriously take into consideration. You're safe around me, if that's ever a concern. I generally love our time together, but refuse to constantly walk on eggshells. Neither of us should.

…OK - enough of this, it's too damn hot! Call if you'd like, or take some time to consider what 'I've said.' See you later ~ [me]”


…Response? Zilch ~ Yes, we spent a wonderful time watching a mutual friends home …like a B&B in the rurals. As mentioned near the beginning of this thread, there may be some ‘triggers’ in my post. Sorry – but if any of you with BPD are interested in what those of us in love with you are thinking and feeling – this is for you. And, I’m willing to read any respncse. My following post will be the e-mail I received around 9 weeks ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:46 pm 
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After a loving Saturday evening at my place… and loving texts the following day… this arrived on Monday night:

“With Love & Gratitude” […isn’t that special ~ ]

“Hey there ~
I would first like to express my appreciation for what you have brought to my life in this last year and four months (give or take) ~
I am grateful, and will never forget our good times.

What I attempted to convey to you Friday evening is this ~
I have noticed that this relationship is drifting apart.
I am done.
Truly ~ We tried.

I realize we have "unfinished business" to discuss:
I owe you money…

…I now have removed you from my account,
and you need to call […] to assume your number back.

I really don't know what else "to say" ~~~ we tried.
As you had stated in an email not too long ago "I'm tired of being hurt"


wow, that easy… See why it’s tuff on us? …she did send me a substantial check, in fact, a couple, but I’ve not contacted her since. I know I’m not the first, and doubt the last, but I do know I’d have stuck it out. I was in love with the entire package, bpd and all. I like the edge, and have walked it most of my life. But I could always see it, distinguish how far I was from it, and never fall off. She sees it, walks toward it …and steps off … testing the love of others as to who and how fast someone dives after her. This time, she's free-falling.

Six months ago I called it off, she agreed. Feeling I’d acted hasty, I contacted her. She insisted on ‘couples counseling.’ I was reluctant, though complied (may be repeating myself here, sorry). Waste of time; she worked on her act of playing sweet as I explained my confused state. By the 5th of six sessions, I’d figured it out. The Therapist either had no idea, or decided it was a keg of worms she didn’t want to open. Either way, I was not impressed. We parted the T with her asking to be invited to our wedding…

…well, I don’t expect any answers, and have continued to do my homework. Wish we were off to be married … but months ago I knew that wouldn’t be. I’d kept backing away from her, with the feeling, “OK, I can only be this close.” Then something else would happen and I’d take another step back. Hell, I eventually figured we wouldn’t even be able to live together, but was willing to 'be there.'

Yup, “come vith me if you vant to live” (Terminator 2 I believe). As in – ‘take my hand, put your trust in me and I’ll make sure we survive.’ I would have, too. Wish I could spend a day in her head… seems I could never get, or stay close enough. …am I rambling..? I’d give all I have to take this shit out of the human equation, but there’s only so much of me. And, I couldn’t even help one person… I’ve been in some serious pain over this. Have seen a woman friend, but nothing intimate, we know my heart’s still elsewhere. And I have to wonder, was there a ‘strategy’ in bringing me in close, actually having texted my deepening love for her the very day she cut me off..?

Hope my ordeal is in some way helpful. As described above, we don’t want to hurt you, we love you …but you have to let us :|


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:23 am 
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There are many with bpd who do NOT have supportive family and friends. Your SO is fortunate that she has some one willing to navigate the stormy seas of mental illness with her.

dagwood


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:25 pm 
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I have read this entire thread and allowed myself to sit with the distress it has given me. Obviously your relationship is now over with your SO, but I just wanted to say this...

I think it might be beneficial for you to learn some healthy communication skills. I can understand you may have been frustrated by your SO, but you still chose to explore that in an unproductive way.

Your email was passive aggressive, instead of being direct.

It was condescending (ie. saying what you would have done if it were your children who had behaved the same way). The most important thing for me is to be treated as an adult--- otherwise it's easier to regress to child-like behavior and tantrums.

I'm confused as to why you felt the need to send an email instead of having an adult conversation.

I would have found your email distressing and threatening, in fact, they were the feelings I have recognized after reading your entire thread.

I question what you believe when you say "loving" and "we do love you, etc - you all deserve that, etc). It's almost as though our disorder lumps us into a different class of human, as though we are a different race entirely.

You focus a lot on her behavior - as someone mentioned, and my therapist had taught me - it doesn't matter what people do - it matters what you allow them to do.

You should consider why you were prepared to allow her behavior without setting any boundaries to protect yourself.

My partner and I have been together for almost 3 years, and I'm well aware that he has some issues of his own with emotional regulation and empathy.

We are learning together but if he had sent me an email like that, my logical mind would have locked in at a high level and very calculatedly removed you from my life.

I'm taking responsibility for the huge reaction your thread had put in me and I hope I have been as logical as I can. My view was that you came here for a bpders view, but I got the sense you came here for validation of your own behavior which I don't think I'm able or willing to provide.


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:07 pm 
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J/A "Blues" what I read, and yes - it triggered me

My email was definitely off-the-cuff, I noticed that, too... But I was at my wit's end over her behavior, and she live/d too far away for an easy visit. But no response, neither in person or return email? It also seems that somewhere in the middle of passive (if caring and considerate and not wanting to hurt) and aggressive (after having been hurt) lies "direct."

"The most important thing for me is to be treated as an adult--- otherwise it's easier to regress to child-like behavior and tantrums."

Thank you, this is, or has been new terrain. But maybe that's 'not' the rescuer in me, maybe that's the 'we're both grownups' and that's the same way I'd speak to anyone. And do, with 'my kids,' never speaking down to them.

"I'm confused as to why you felt the need to send an email instead of having an adult conversation."

Been there, done that. It was interesting how she'd always insist on a 'face-to-face' discussion, "like adults." Though it appeared to me as an opportunity to read/ judge my feelings - then react inappropriately, or not at all. As mentioned, we live a ways apart (and I'd just spent several days with her) though such in person discussions were generally unproductive and drama prone. Directly discussing BPD felt too serious and I definitely feared her reaction.

"I would have found your email distressing and threatening, in fact, they were the feelings I have recognized after reading your entire thread."

And I'd have found it a welcome oppertunity to clear the air.

One 'problem' with our online communication was the fact she hated pecking out an email response on her 'smart phone' (and the 'dumb phone' didn't understand English very well). Or, that was her excuse for never putting her thoughts into 'writing.' It's strange how every text or e-mail I sent was scrutinized and picked apart until something ugly was detected. Countless texts where treated the same. I've come to feel a decision had been made and only needed to be implemented. That's OK, but the frustration of silence may speak volumes.

...and I've a rich complement of friends that feel the opposite of you regarding "distressing and threatening." Serious, wholesome, committed and caring jump to mind...

"I question what you believe when you say "loving" and "we do love you, etc - you all deserve that, etc). It's almost as though our disorder lumps us into a different class of human, as though we are a different race entirely."

(answering as I read) A "disorder" has identifiable characteristics. I can now identify those characteristics, and love/ed someone with them. If she's different than you, fine. If she's part of a larger community (and they have significant other's), those are the SO's I'm speaking of ... those of 'us' willing to give (nearly) everything to our mates.

"You focus a lot on her behavior - as someone mentioned, and my therapist had taught me - it doesn't matter what people do - it matters what you allow them to do."

- What people do does matter, especially when their behavior changes before your eyes and adversely effects your relationship. You fall in love, you commit, and at some point, you're invested. But if the loving behavior you fell for disappears, you want it back. Now forced to construct and enforce limits of acceptable behavior you'd never experienced... it felt like the end. For many, it is. So, you walk on eggshells, cuz your SO's not always like that, just sometimes, and often for un-known reasons.

It's easy to kill a relationship, if you want to.

Noticed these, "you to learn," "Your email," "you felt," "You focus," "You should," "you were"

Very accusatory. This is my fault? Believe me - I'd wandered the streets feeling just that - that there must be something I've done and/or can do. What I've learned? It's beyond me. There is absolutely nothing I could have done. In fact, the latest I've discerned is, not only could I not have been a better mate, her fear of losing me likely caused her to break it off before the loss, accept her pain by falling back on a well cultivated collection of friends ...while I'm left alone in the deep woods...

"You should consider why you were prepared to allow her behavior without setting any boundaries to protect yourself."

I've heard that, too. I wasn't "prepared," it ripped me up. How could someone be so loving and eventually so hostile? If the following links, it's the most accurate (if triggering) description I've found - http://www.bpdfamily.com/bpdresources/nk_a101.htm Yes, boundaries become necessary, though initially no boundaries were crossed, but slowly encroached upon. But by that time, you're in love! So what made me a target to begin with? ...likely that same non-aggressive pacifistic behavior alluded to above.

"My partner and I have been together for almost 3 years, and I'm well aware that he has some issues of his own with emotional regulation and empathy."

Three years solid, or off-time (like us), between make-ups and recycles? If you're saying nobodie's perfect, likely not - though I've sure met some successful folks that could likely attribute much of that to not being afflicted by the array of disorders much of humanity deals with. Likely including myself ...did I mention some PTSD from a tough childhood..?

I'm happy for both of you. Everyone deserves love. I'm not here to bemoan her or tout my (perceived) virtues - I'm here to learn, and have. I still tear up perusing these pages ...what's up with that? I appreciate corrective criticism but feel your 'suggestions' have been more aggressive than anything I've written. I wasn't what my SO expected. Suggested we meet through mutual friends, I appear to be a 'different' animal than others she's been with. I've a good temper, bending far before snapping ...and am very tolerant (special ed material).

"We are learning together but if he had sent me an email like that, my logical mind would have locked in at a high level and very calculatedly removed you from my life."

But what if you'd earned it? What if your behavior had led him on for months (and months), hiding your 'issues' until he least expected them - then demeaning he comply, or hit the road? And once he'd hit the road, is that what you'd really wanted? What I'm defending is anyone's right to snap - if sufficiently pressured. But I know what you're saying - and agree... It's painful to read and appears accusatory and harsh. Maybe it is was something I could only say from afar... But something had to be said - though I feared that 'something' would have sounded so much worse. Keep in mind, 'we' fall for you, if 'we're' not familiar with the game, and so much is at stake ~ it's hard to say which way we'll break?

I've also read lots from angry non's... and can relate. But if they didn't care, they wouldn't still be posting. Had I known what I do now, much different. In the dark from inception... how fair is that - to anyone?

So you'd better hang on to that guy! As mentioned, I've read a lot from the 'nons' (non bpd SO's), and wow - I'm humbled by their brilliance and commitment. If I may ~ you pick well. And though I feel so sorry for the afflicted, it appears to take more than most have to keep a healthy relationship alive.

"My view was that you came here for a bpders view, but I got the sense you came here for validation of your own behavior which I don't think I'm able or willing to provide."

What you witnessed in this thread was a real-time description of quickly fading hopes, dreams, and eventually a relationship. As I set limits, they were recognized and broken. When I held firm, they were 'held against me.' When I had been apologized to for the third time (and yet again softly accepted), I think that was too much. After viewing her reaction to the most basic of boundaries, it was beyond obvious that describing what I knew of BPD would have been terminal.


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2012 11:25 pm 
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...it was a tightrope - and still may be! After three months apart, we re-united this last weekend. ...I'd reluctantly sat down next to her in the only chair open among our large group of friends -- and both later agreed that the first sentences we exchanged felt as though not an hour had passed between us... She emailed me about our 'chat' and I responded that our next one had to be much more serious. She agreed, then boldly came to visit.

I described how I'd discovered bpd and how she fit the profile/s. She claimed to be unfamiliar with it, gave a derogatory comment about me now being a Doctor, then said she refuses to accept being labeled. High functioning - here we go. She promised to research it, and we went from there.

Sound promising?

But we've changed, and have both moved on, and I suspect, gained even more appreciation for each other. I've never stopped loving her ...and these months of 'researching' bpd have been with her in mind, of course. Now - how can I help her? And no - no more ...accusatory e's... just straight and loving from me - in person.

It was surreal listening to our exchange of how this time apart effected us ...and though ample time to move on, neither did. She claims I'm the deepest love of her life, and I believe her. I had a long marriage ...decades.. but easily rank her as closer.

BPD? Bring it on! Is it really there..? I guess we'll all have to take my word on that, or not. I'd like to keep this thread alive. And if I've F'ed up - it's part of the journey. Stay tuned


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:18 am 
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I don't mean to come across as aggressive and I'm not going to quote parts of your email because I am guilty of over analysing things and my recovery focus means I am trying not to do so much of that.

Suffice to say, you must understand - we are a forum of people WITH what can be a debilitating disorder, and some of the things you have said take away some of the safety we feel here. This is a place for reflection, support and understanding. You have brought with you the other side of the fence. If you look around here you will realise we all are hurting because we are hurting other people in our life - but the hallmark of our disorder is "I hate you, don't leave me". We are terrified of being abandoned and are unable to regulate our emotions or deal with stress in a productive way.

Your posts reinforce our worst fears about ourselves and that can be very dangerous for someone with BPD. I basically walk around with a tape inside my head saying I'm not good enough and I don't deserve love. Your posts hilight the things I say and do which I try so hard not to.

It's incredibly hard living with a disorder like this - but I am fully committed to my recovery.

A part of me told myself not to post back to your message in the first place, but it triggered such an emotional reaction in me and I wanted you to know how she may have felt when she was at the receiving end.

It's no good asking a Non-BPD what THEY thought of your dialogue. To someone who has a good grasp on their emotions, I'm sure it may have been very caring, etc. To me - someone WITH BPD. I found it really hard to read. I would have picked at every word because it would have cut me to the core. In fact, it pretty much did and it wasn't even directed to me.

I am learning that empathy on both sides is the only way to encourage a good relationship with my partner. My therapist recommended we blank ourselves out and use the "shoe on the other foot" method of relating to each other. We have to practice all the time and sometimes we just end up arguing - but all good things take time.

Sometimes - I can't think about how I FEEL, I have to think about how HE FEELS. How my partner feels. How I would feel if I had received the same treatment. He also has to do the same thing. Since we have been doing that, our relationship has improved tenfold. We've been happy, and communicative. BUT I can still be surly, and take things personally - be hyper sensitive, etc. I am working through that. But a diagnosis - a label, with something that holds so much stigma is very hard to take. I truly hope your partner gets the help she needs and you both learn to communicate effectively with each other. There must be a lot of love there, but I did realise you suffered from PTSD from your childhood and it seems as though that may still be an unopened wound. It's not such a bad thing to start your own recovery too :)

Through committment to each other and desire for self awareness, you may have some more clarity on the situation.

It's not an easy road - BPD - it's murky, scary, painful and sometimes just dam plain hard. BUT we are beautiful people who think and feel deeply. We love with so much intensity that it can be all-consuming. We are worthy of love, time, effort. BUT we shouldn't be coddled or babied. We need to take responsibility and be held accountable - but with patience....

Ahhh it can be messy. My mood just changed three times whilst writing that if it's any indication.

PHEW


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 Post subject: Re: Outside looking in
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:28 pm 
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The biggest red flag I saw in your post was that you try to take all her life stressors away. The issue with that is -- it's not real.

It's essential that she learn to deal with stress instead of having someone else eliminate it. In the early stages, she will need extra support, and I won't lie -- until she realizes she has some problems to work through, and starts to get help, she will more than likely blame you for the relationships short comings.

When I got back with my partner, I lost a lot of "friends". I realize now its best to keep some things private, especially in a bpd relationship.

However, to the ones who did stick by me, I explained it like this. In my bpd world, there are two realities: the one inside my head (the bpd), and the one that is really happening.

When I'm in scary bpd land, things are tainted. People are unfair, harsh and cruel one minute, and the next they are an idol; placed on a pedestal with me down below looking up.

When I step out from that shadow and look at what is really going on, I'm able to discern where my faults lie and where his faults begin. It's tricky sometimes because I think I'm being rational but really I'm so colored in my perceptions.

Outside, I wonder if showing her this forum is the right thing. When I was first diagnosed, I wanted to know everything I could. I would have truly appreciated if my partner wanted to soak up that knowledge too - but his argument was that he had loved me this far, and a label didn't change that. He believes that knowledge can be dangerous- that it can make it worse.

If she hasn't stepped outside bpd land and realized she needs help, your words might fall on deaf ears - but if she is anything like me, she will probably go through a depressed state. That's the time to gently ask her if maybe she'd like to talk about it with a gp. That's what happened with me. They put me on some meds and it didn't help so I was referred to a psychiatrist. But I was willing, because I was depressed and suicidal. My life wAs at stake- and if I'm honest, I hadn't really ever lived. I wanted to fight for that happiness- that richness.

She might be scared. I was, but I was quietly hopeful that this meant a second chance. It's not uncommon for us bpd'rs to have experienced significant trauma in our lives and that's where some of our emotional dysfunction can come from --- old patterns which saved us from pain as children but do not serve us in adulthood. Be prepared if those skeletons come out - they are painful to confront.

I can't tell you exactly how she will be. While there are certain criteria which define our disorder; the criteria does NOT define who we are as people. We each have our own personalities, journeys, coping mechanisms and functioning levels. My biggest trigger is relationships. Those high times, I'm flying. The low times; I'm dying.

When she is ready, and you will know when that is, broach it delicately. Maybe say that you've noticed there are some things in your relationship which need some fine tuning. Tell her that you understand how she must feel but in order for your love to blossom and flourish, you each need to address the concerns. Tell her what your concerns are. Don't diagnose - that's for her and a doctor to do.

Be aware, that if she is diagnosed and she comes here for support, she may recognize herself in your posts and feel betrayed. Best to be upfront about that when the time is right.

Remember, you are welcome here. It's admirable that you want to help her, and support her. I highly recommend reading the tools on this site. They are useful not just for people with bpd but also for people who struggle with emotions and communication/ anger/ anxiety.

I love it here. It's my haven, and we all are supportive of each other. Be positive - it's like that old adage, " love conquers all"... Even bpd, but SELF love is the most important of all and that's why your boundaries are crucial for both of you.


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