Does your girlfriend suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder?

Dating a Woman with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Women who suffer frоm BPD (Bоrdеrlinе Personality Diѕоrdеr) can profoundly effесt the quality of their significant others lives. One minute everything is fine and the next you fееl аѕ if уоu are walking on eggshells. You never know how she will react to a situation or уоu; will it be with love… or аngеr? Being with her can make you fееl hеlрlеѕѕ and unable to cope. At times you may want to end it, but at the same time you may feel addicted to her. Usually the relationship is an intense one.

It is thought that more than six million реорlе in the U.S. have Borderline Personality Diѕоrdеr and that thеѕе реорlе grеаtlу affect the livеѕ of at least 30 million оthеrѕ. There is some controversy how many women might have BPD compared to men. Old studies say its 75/25, newer studies say its 53/47. The ratio of my caseload is about 75/25, which is why I am writing this article.

What is Borderline Pеrѕоnаlitу Diѕоrdеr (BPD)?

“Borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life. It includes a pattern of unstable intense relationships, distorted self-image, extreme emotions and impulsiveness.

With borderline personality disorder, you have an intense fear of abandonment or instability, and you may have difficulty tolerating being alone. Yet inappropriate anger, impulsiveness and frequent mood swings may push others away, even though you want to have loving and lasting relationships.”

By Mayo Clinic Staff

 

The reason why men get trapped in rеlаtiоnѕhiрѕ with women who have borderline реrѕоnаlitу disorder is because of their ability to make you feel special and alive. Their intensity is infectious almost like a drug. At the beginning you will probably want to be with her all the time. You may say to yourself I think I found my soul-mate after a very short amount of time. Many times the sexual chemistry is overwhelming. They also may get you to fееl sorry for them and can make you feel that only you can save them. Then they may pull the rug out from under you. You can be feeling greater than ever you have met the love of your life, then she suddenly pushes you away. When she pulls away you may feel a very painful withdrawal, all you want is to get her back in your life. Then all of a sudden she comes back and you feel you are with that incredible person again. Unfortunately, the cycle usually will start all over again. This will effect your self-esteem and you may find yourself obsessing about her all the time.

 

Here are some red flags that your girlfriend may have BPD (borderline personality diѕоrdеr.)

  • Dоеѕ she immediately ореn up tо you about abuse in her раѕt?
  • Dоеѕ ѕhе trаѕh her еx-bоуfriеnd or ex-husband even bеfоrе уоu hardly get tо know her? Dоеѕ ѕhе ѕееm tо go on and on аbоut her еx and how he ruined her life?
  • Dоеѕ ѕhе have an intense bad rеlаtiоnѕhiр with her parents? Especially with her mother.
  • Is ѕhе always ѕауing bad things аbоut her раrеntѕ tо you? Does she blame her parents for all of her problems?
  • Does she seem to want tо move the rеlаtiоnѕhiр forward at a very quick pace? Maybe showing an intеrеѕt in moving in with you very early in the relationship?
  • Has she suffered or is currently suffering from an eating disorder?
  • Dоеѕ ѕhе have temper tantrums in front of уоu and others?
  • Dоеѕ ѕhе start horrible уеlling fights with уоu and when you try tо lеаvе she bеgѕ for уоu tо stay?
  • Has she bought you extravagant gifts early in the relationship?
  • Is she willing tо еxрlоrе risky ѕеxuаl behaviors?
  • Dоеѕ ѕhе аbuѕе drugs or аlсоhоl?
  • Does ѕhе ѕееm very quick to fall in love with уоu and almost view уоu аѕ her knight in shining аrmоr?
  • Does she have a difficult time being friends with оthеr women?
  • Does she have a lot of associates she calls friends?
  • Is she always busy?
  • Dоеѕ it lооk like a lot of bad things kеер hарреning tо her? Thrown out by her boyfriend, trouble with finаnсеѕ, trouble maintaining a job, еtс?
  • Dоеѕ ѕhе ѕееm to have very compelling excuses and rеаѕоning that explains why these bad things have happened tо her (example, her еx-bоуfriеnd made her run up her сrеdit саrd debts, and that’s why her credit is bad)

If she has one or even two of these traits, it’s probably alright. But if its more than that, it is probably something to look into.

You also may want to check out another list from Boomerang Love

 

How to Cope with the Woman with BPD

Dating a woman with borderline реrѕоnаlitу disorder is exhausting and соnfuѕing. This is because they lасk a ѕеnѕе of who thеу are. One minute she might think of hеrѕеlf as a rеаl реrѕоn and the next minute think of herself аѕ evil and flawed. Thoughts аbоut other реорlе fluctuate rарidlу, as well. She might want to trust others, but at the ѕаmе time, she dоеѕn’t think other реорlе are trustworthy. All of this confusion саn lеаvе her fееling empty, sad, and hollow inside.

The best way tо cope is tо try tо understand what BPD is and how it is effecting you. Learn аѕ much аѕ уоu саn about BPD, its ѕуmрtоmѕ and what a sufferer of BPD gоеѕ through. Mоѕt imроrtаntlу, take care of yourself first and do not take it personally.  A qualified therapist can help you understand what is going on. They can also help you see if you can set boundaries and reduce the drama.  A good therapist should be able to give you some strategies on how to try to change the dynamic of the relationship. Remember you can only do so much since she has to work with you. If it appears it is not changing, do some deep soul searching and ask yourself will I ever get what I need out of this relationship?

As you can see there is no winning with someone with BPD. It will always be an intense push-pull. One day you may feel you have it figured out and the next day you are back where you started from. Will the drama ever stop? Unfortunately, many times these relationships cannot be salvaged.

 

Usually these relationships will end in one of two ways. The most common is she will just kill you off. All of a sudden she won’t talk to you, it’s like the relationship never happened. Almost as if you never existed. She may block your phone, make you feel like a bad person just because you want closure. Other times if you try to end it, they will not let go and create drama. Sometimes they may even stalk you. Usually it is not an easy ending.

 

 

 

How to Stop Hurting When You Have a Narcissistic Parent

How to Stop Hurting When You Have a Narcissistic Parent

Published on PsychCentral

narcissistic parent

“If I accept that I can never have a real relationship with my father, it feels like I don’t have a father. If I accept that, am I still a son?”

Jack’s Story:

Jack is a 45-year-old architect, recently married for the first time. He came to therapy to deal with long-standing feelings of depression. His wife, ten years younger than Jack, wanted to start a family. Jack had spent years keeping a cool and cordial distance from his critical father. Now, as his wife pressed him to become a father himself, he felt flooded by sadness and insecurity. Could he be a good father? What if he messed it up?

Having done much reading, Jack came into therapy with the understanding that his father had many characteristics of a narcissistic personality disorder. Even as an adult, Jack could no right. Jack’s father constantly criticized his life choices, even his thoughts and feelings. Only his father’s way of seeing things was right.

Although Jack learned to expect that his father would react to perceived slights with complete rage, this behavior never became easier for him to bear. Still, part of him continued to hope that things would change. He hoped that some day he could have a “real” relationship with his father that would help him feel better about himself.

How to Feel Better

Jack gradually learned ideas that helped him cope with his painful feelings about his relationship with his father. He also learned that he could have these feelings and move forward in his life.

The following ideas helped him and they can help you, too. They are based on concepts from Buddhist meditation practices and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). The good news is you don’t have to a Buddhist, expert meditator, or be in DBT to greatly benefit from these ideas.

1. DIALECTICAL: means two ideas can be true at the same time. Life is full of opposites that exist together.

We can can feel better when we acknowledge what is AND that change can still occur. We can learn to cope with two opposite ideas.

2. ACCEPTANCE: means that we suffer when we hold onto things we can’t change.

We can accept things, without approving of them, and find new ways to live. When we accept painful realities, we can begin to problem solve.

Here is an especially important point:

Acceptance is more than than today’s ubiquitous phrase: “It is what it is.” This seems to imply: “Whatever. Just deal with it.”

Acceptance does not mean approving of, condoning, or forgiving a situation.

For Jack, this meant that accepting that a father with a narcissistic personality will not change. This is very painful; he will never have the kind of father-son relationship he craves and deserves. At the same time, Jack can move forward in his life. He can learn ways to deal with these painful feelings and have the life he wants (marriage, fatherhood, feeling good).

3. MINDFULNESS: helps us notice our feelings, but not be overwhelmed by them.

There are many ways to practice mindfulness. For example, when Jack felt hit by feelings of grief or fear, it helped him to imagine these feelings flowing out of him like waves roll out of the ocean.

After Jack learned about dialectics, acceptance, and mindfulness, he continued to have negative thoughts about himself and his future. This is normal. Our minds are like Gorilla Glue — they do not want to let go. Jack practiced noticing his self-critical, pessimistic thoughts and letting them go, without beating himself up for it. Sometimes he had to do this many times throughout day. It helped to remind himself that acceptance does not equal liking or even forgiving. It just meant that he was learning to cope and change.

The more Jack practiced Acceptance and Change, the more optimistic he felt. He began to feel that his sense of worth was separate from his relationship with his father. He could make his own choices.

Sangoiri/Bigstock

Why People Care More About Pets Than Other Humans

We love our pets. Two thirds of Americans live with an animal, and according to a 2011 Harris poll, 90 percent of pet owners think of their dogs and cats as members of the family. These relationships have benefits. For example, in a survey by the American Animal Hospital Association, 40 percent of married female dog owners reported they received more emotional support from their pet than from their husband or their kids. The pet products industry calls this “the humanization of pets.” One of my colleagues recently spent $12,000 on cancer treatments for her best friend Asha, a Labrador retriever.

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Does Experiencing Therapy Make A Better Therapist?

It seems intuitive. Psychologically adjusted clinicians should provide better psychotherapy.

Aside from the stressors of their own daily life, therapists face the emotional struggles and traumas of their clients on a daily basis. To meet these challenges effectively and to avoid burnout, therapists need to maintain a high degree of self-awareness and personal wellbeing.

So how does experiencing therapy help clinicians with their work?

British psychotherapist Drew Coster says that personal psychotherapy has helped him broaden his repertoire of techniques and taught him to focus on achieving his clients’ goals instead of focusing on a prescriptive model of treatment. Similarly, Chicago psychologist Gerald Stein has explained that going through therapy can help clinicians identify problems in their treatment approach based on their personal experiences.

Studies have also shown that the therapist’s wellbeing affects the quality of the relationship developed with the client. The clinician-client relationship is often referred to as the therapeutic alliance and it is related to better therapy outcome regardless of the therapist’s specific style or school of thought.

Psychologists Leslie Greenberg of York University and Shari Geller of the University of Toronto, authors of the Therapeutic Presence: A Mindful Approach to Effective Therapy, argue that therapist self-care builds the foundation for developing a good therapeutic relationship with the client. Only through personal balance and stability can clinicians be fully present, attentive, and helpful during sessions.

Self-care can take many forms and can include going through therapy. For practitioners, experiencing their own therapy helps promote self-awareness and personal growth. And it allows them to address private issues and biases that would otherwise hinder progress in their clients. Becoming aware of one’s strengths and limitations can help therapists determine what clients to take on and when to refer clients to other therapists.

Traditional psychoanalysis is the only therapeutic orientation that requires the therapist-in-training to actually go through the therapy process. Self-reflection and exploration are key components of humanistic and experiential therapies. And while cognitive and behavioural approaches do not emphasize personal development on the part of practitioners, mounting evidence for the importance of solid therapeutic alliances may be shifting this tradition.

Psychiatrist Steven Reidford, argues: “At the most commonsense level, a therapist who knows what it is like to be a patient may be more empathic, and may anticipate unstated feelings more readily than a therapist without this first-hand knowledge.”

Reidford cites the requirement for practitioners of psychoanalysis to undergo therapy, explaining that the Freudian concepts of emotional transference and countertransference between patients and therapists are readily applicable to other therapeutic styles like CBT. Instead of relying on theory and patient-report data, he suggests experiencing the phenomena firsthand. He explains that therapists’ primary tool is their emotional sensitivity, which can be honed by attending psychotherapy and getting familiar with one’s own feelings and biases. He also notes that being in therapy de-stigmatizes the process and can help therapists see their patients as individuals instead of maladies.

Experiencing therapy may be helpful from a simpler, more practical standpoint. Associate professor James Bennett-Levy of the University of Sydney found in a recent study that students learning the cognitive therapy approach found personal therapy helpful in enhancing their understanding of the theory and process of treatment. They also found it helpful in gaining a better understanding of their role as a therapist, developing greater empathy, and gaining a better understanding of themselves.

Personal counselling also allows the therapist to experience what it feels like to be the client. Clinicians in Bennett-Levy’s study stated that personally experiencing the treatment process, beyond reading about it or conducting it, provided a deeper understanding of the models and techniques they were studying.

It is important to keep in mind that this research was based on the therapists’ self-evaluations. Are these benefits reflected in psychotherapy outcomes for clients?

Most research on therapy for therapists has focused on self-evaluations of the positive and negative effects. While clinicians purport to gain insight and professional skills by attending therapy, little research exists measuring the specific impacts of therapy for therapists on client satisfaction. Nevertheless, as with anyone, therapy can help clinicians gain self-awareness and empathy, which may otherwise wane as a result of life stress.

-Essi Numminen, Contributing Writer

5 Signs You’re Overscheduled

Mindbody Green


Do you ever wonder why some dreams come true faster than others? Why is it so hard to achieve that really big goal, yet you make others happen quickly without much notice? Manifesting your desires  Read

There is a fine line between not doing enough and doing too much in any given day. How do you know if you’re over-scheduling yourself into a total stress ball? Some say the clearest indicator is that you’re short-tempered. Do you find yourself getting angry with people for no reason? This is a common reaction to the stress of doing too much, which in turn can cause you to get hyper-emotional about everything and nothing.

Here’s an example. You race off to a meeting at a restaurant. You sit down and are immediately assaulted by the sound of a baby crying at the next table. You demand that the waiter talk to the baby’s parent. Why are you being so high-strung about this situation? Your reaction might not be a response to the baby’s crying but to the fact that you’re stressed-out in general.

Here are a few other clues that you’re turbo-loading your schedule in an unhealthy way:

1. You’re constantly screaming at people.

If you’re becoming a rageaholic, try some mindful breathing exercises. Another tip I like is to try to get rid of nonobligatory appointments and replace them with something relaxing.

For instance, if you feel you really don’t need to be part of your sixth school bake sale of the year, but you would be more than willing to volunteer to accompany your child’s class on a school trip spent wandering around a museum, make the change. You’ll thank yourself later.

2. You’re always feeling tired and slightly sick.

Remember that stress plays upon your health, so constant headaches, stomachaches, and even that nervous, jittery feeling are signs that you’re overdoing it with your schedule.

3. You’re always late.

Maybe that’s your thing — always being late. And your friends even laugh about it: “That Tom, he’s never on time. You can count on him being late.” The truth is, if you’re always late, you’re probably trying to do too much. Take out a few variables and you might be on time.

4. You’re a clutter king or queen.

Are there piles of stuff cascading all over your kitchen counter or desk? Maybe you don’t have a real filing system but are so busy that you just toss everything from bills to catalogs to that college reunion notice on top of the mountain of clutter.

If you’re too busy to run your own life, it’s time to stage an intervention. Hire a clutter expert or spend a long Saturday organizing and throwing out and shredding what you don’t need. Set aside a day each week to keep it all organized, or fit in a half hour at work to do the same with your desk.

5. You can’t remember the last time you smiled.

If you’re just trudging through your day trying to get it all done without much success … well, that’s no way to live. If you can’t remember the last time you smiled or had a bit of fun, then it’s time to examine your schedule and weed out what’s not necessary.

Remember that life is short. You don’t always want to spend time doing things out of obligation — such as watching your neighbor’s kids for the tenth time.

Adapted from Soothe by Jim Brickman. Copyright (c) 2015 by Jim Brickman. By permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Understanding Hyperfocus in ADHD

From PsycCentral By Helen Nieves

A symptom of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the inability to focus at a task for a long period of time. Being distracted is also another common symptom of ADHD, where the individual finds difficulty in maintaining attention to a specific task.

However, when I work with children diagnosed with ADHD, I often hear the parents tell me that their child can play video games for hours and get immersed in the game without anyone breaking their attention. But when it comes to completing their homework, it takes them forever to complete one simple assignment.

Although many parents are aware of the symptoms of ADHD, they sometimes overlook a less common symptom, which is the child’s ability to absorb themselves and have an intense focus and concentration in tasks that are stimulating. This is called hyperfocus.

“ADHD is not necessarily a deficit of attention, but rather a problem with regulating one’s attention span,” wrote Eloise Porter in ADHD and Hyperfocus (www.healthline.com, 2012). Individuals who have ADHD find it difficult to focus on activities that are not stimulating or that are boring, but can spend hours focusing and concentrating on playing video games, sports, or activities that interest them.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hyperfocus

Hyperfocus can have its advantages and disadvantages. I often explain to parents that being in a hyperfocused state can have its pros and cons. If not used properly, hyperfocus can lead to failure to take care of other commitments. Children may hyperfocus on unproductive tasks which can lead to setbacks and failure in school.

Usually, people go into a hyperfocused state when a stressful situation arises. This can happen when a child needs to prepare for a test or to write a paper. It is important for parents to realize and be aware when their child becomes hyperfocused in order to prevent this state from happening, and to use relaxation techniques to help them de-stress and help them set and finish their goals.

On the flip side, if used effectively, hyperfocus can be an advantage, such as when individuals set their mind on a goal they want to achieve and work until it is attained. I often tell parents about famous actors and artists diagnosed with ADHD, including Adam Levine, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, who directed their hyperfocus toward their craft which allowed them to perfect their talent. Besides, if it wasn’t for the ability of many scientists, writers, and artists diagnosed with ADHD to focus on what they’re doing for hours, we wouldn’t have some of technologies today.

How to Cope with Hyperfocus

Parents tell me that it is difficult to get their child out of a hyperfocused state. It takes a lot of awareness and forcing a child to get “unstuck.” Most children, however, are not aware of when they go into this state, and most will not rationalize or stop to de-stress themselves in order to break the pattern.

Here are some suggestions I tell parents to help their child cope with hyperfocus and to set their mind on a goal:

  1. Create a schedule for activities that you know your child will tend to hyperfocus on. If your child hyperfocuses while watching television or playing video games, do not allow them to engage in this activity before homework. Restrict time spent watching television or playing video games if you know your child will “zone” you and the world out.
  2. Help your child find activities that are built on social interaction and remove them from isolated time. If a child is isolated, they are more prone to find activities that they will hyperfocus on.
  3. Try using a signal to refocus their attention. Tapping them on the shoulder or using a bell can help to refocus their attention. Unless something or someone interrupts the child, hours can drift by.
  4. Use timers and alarms so your child is cognizant of how much time has passed since they started the activity.
  5. Help set breaks in between activities that your child may hyperfocus on. Set milestones on activities and have your child stop each time he reaches one. For example, if a child is playing a video game and wins a level, ask your child to stop the game and help you with a productive activity.
  6. Turn off the television or computer to get your child’s attention.
  7. Find ways to make your child’s homework more stimulating. If your child does not want to complete an assignment or study for a test, make it fun. Instead of memorizing information for a science test, have the child draw the information they need to learn, use hands on activities to convey the information that they need for the test, or make a game out of it.
  8. Use activities that your child enjoys as rewards for the tasks he does not find enjoyable. For example, if your child likes to draw, have him do five English questions, and then spend five minutes drawing (make sure you set a timer), and then do another five questions.
  9. If you see your child is stressing out, do some fun relaxation techniques to help them de-stress.

Hyperfocus can be a gift if used constructively on things we want our kids to focus on, such as schoolwork. Managing hyperfocus is important in managing ADHD, and learning the right tools and techniques to help them move in a positive direction is key.

 

 

Living with an Alcoholic

From PsycCentral By Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT

Living with an addict can be a living hell: unpredictable and dangerous, yet sometimes exciting and romantic. We never know when we’ll be blamed or accused. We can’t dependably plan social events.

As the addict becomes more irresponsible, we pick up the slack and do more, often becoming the sole functioning parent or even the sole provider. We’re unable to lean on our partner for comfort or support. Meanwhile, we rescue him or her from disasters, medical emergencies, accidents, or jail, make excuses for no-shows at work and family gatherings, and patch up damaged property, relationships, and self-inflicted mishaps. We may also endure financial hardship, criminality, domestic violence, or infidelity due to the addict’s behavior.

We worry, feel angry, afraid, and alone. We hide our private lives from friends, co-workers, and even family to cover up the problems created by addiction or alcoholism. Our shame isn’t warranted; nonetheless, we feel responsible for the addict’s actions. Our self-esteem deteriorates from the addict’s lies, verbal abuse, and blame. Our sense of safety and trust erodes as our isolation and despair grow. Many of the feelings partners experience are the same, regardless of the type of addiction.

Alcoholism is considered a disease. Like other addiction, it’s a compulsion that worsens over time. Alcoholics drink to ease their emotional pain and emptiness. Some try to control their drinking and may be able to stop for a while, but once alcohol dependency takes hold, most find it impossible to drink like nonalcoholics. When they try to curb their drinking, they eventually end up drinking more than they intend despite their best efforts not to.

No matter what they say, they aren’t drinking because of you, nor because they’re immoral or lack willpower. They drink because they have a disease and an addiction. They deny this reality and rationalize or blame their drinking on anything or anyone else. Denial is the hallmark of addiction.

Drinking is considered an “alcohol use disorder.” There is a pattern of use causing impairment or distress manifested by at least two of the following signs within a year, when the person:

  • Drinks alcohol in greater amounts or for a longer period than was intended.
  • Has a persistent desire or has made failed attempts to reduce or control drinking.
  • Spends great time in activities to obtain or use alcohol or to recover from its effects.
  • Has a strong desire to drink alcohol.
  • Fails to meet obligations at work, school, or home due to recurrent drinking.
  • Drinks despite the recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or worsened as a result.
  • Stops or reduces important activities due to drinking.
  • Drinks when it’s physically hazardous to do so.
  • Drinks despite a recurrent physical or psychological problem caused or worsened as a result.
  • Develops tolerance (needs increased amounts to achieve desired effect).
  • Has withdrawal symptoms from disuse, such as tremor, insomnia, nausea, anxiety, agitation.

Alcoholism is a family disease. It’s said that at least five other people experience the effects of each drinker’s alcoholism, coined “secondhand drinking” by Lisa Frederiksen. We try to control the situation, the drinking, and the alcoholic. If you live with an alcoholic, you’re affected most, and children severely suffer because of their vulnerability and lack of maturity, especially if their mother or both parents are addicts.

It’s painful to helplessly watch someone we love slowly destroy him- or herself, our hopes and dreams, and our family. We feel frustrated and resentful from repeatedly believing the addict’s broken promises and from trying to control an uncontrollable situation. This is our denial.

In time, we become as obsessed with the alcoholic as he or she is with alcohol. We may look for him or her in bars, count his or her drinks, pour out booze, or search for bottles. As it says in Al-Anon’s Understanding Ourselves, “All our thinking becomes directed at what the alcoholic is doing or not doing and how to get the drinker to stop drinking.” Without help, our codependency follows the same downward trajectory of alcoholism.

There is hope, and there is help for the addict and for codependent family members. The first step is to learn as much as you can about alcoholism and codependency. Many of the things we do to help an addict or alcoholic are counterproductive and actually can make things worse.

Listen to the experience, strength, and hope of others in recovery. Al-Anon Family Groups can help. The below list is reprinted with their permission. You will learn:

  • Not to suffer because of the actions or reactions of other people.
  • Not to allow ourselves to be used or abused by others in the interest of another’s recovery.
  • Not to do for others what they can do for themselves.
  • Not to manipulate situations so others will eat, go to bed, get up, pay bills, not drink, or behave as we see fit.
  • Not to cover up for another’s mistakes or misdeeds.
  • Not to create a crisis.
  • Not to prevent a crisis if it is in the natural course of events.

 

©Darlene Lancer 2014

Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder

By Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT From PsychCentral

 

couple upset woman man 7Caring about someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD) tosses you on a roller coaster ride from being loved and lauded to abandoned and bashed. Having BPD is no picnic, either. You live in unbearable psychic pain most of the time on the border between reality and psychosis. Your illness distorts your perceptions, causing antagonistic behavior and making the world a perilous place. The pain and terror of abandonment and feeling unwanted can be so great that suicide feels like a better choice.

If you like drama, excitement, and intensity, enjoy the ride, because things will never be calm. Following a passionate beginning, expect a stormy relationship that includes accusations and anger, jealousy, bullying, control, and breakups due to the insecurity of the person with BPD.

Nothing is gray or gradual. For people with BPD, things are black and white. They have the quintessential Jekyll and Hyde personality. They fluctuate dramatically between idealizing and devaluing you and may suddenly and sporadically shift throughout the day. You never know what or whom to expect.

Their intense, labile emotions elevate you when they’re in good spirits and crush you when they’re not. You’re a prince or a jerk, a princess or a witch. If you’re on the outs with them, all their bad feelings get projected onto you. They can be vindictive and punish you with words, silence, or other manipulations, which can be very destructive to your self-esteem. Unlike bipolar disorder, their moods shift quickly and aren’t a departure from their normal self. What you see is their norm.

Their emotions, behavior, and unstable relationships, including work history, reflect a fragile, shame-based self-image. This is often marked by sudden shifts, sometimes to the extent that they feel nonexistent. It is made worse when they’re alone. Thus, they’re dependent on others and may frequently seek advice from several people about the same question on the same day. They’re desperate to be loved and cared for, yet are hypervigilant for any real or imagined signs of rejection or abandonment.

For them, trust is always an issue, often leading to distortions of reality and paranoia. You’re seen as either for or against them and must take their side. Don’t dare to defend their enemy or try to justify or explain any slight they claim to have experienced. They may try to bait you into anger, then falsely accuse you of rejecting them, make you doubt reality and your sanity, or even brainwash you as emotional manipulation. It is not unusual for them to cut off friends and relatives who they feel have betrayed them.

They react to their profound fears of abandonment with needy and clingy behavior or anger and fury that reflect their own skewed reality and self-image. On the other hand, they equally fear the romantic merger they try to create, because they’re afraid of being dominated or swallowed up by too much intimacy. In a close relationship, they must walk a tightrope to balance the fear of being alone or of being too close. To do so, they try to control with commands or manipulation, including flattery and seduction. Whereas narcissists enjoy being understood, too much understanding frightens the borderline.

Generally, borderlines are codependent, and find another codependent to merge with and to help them. They seek someone to provide stability and balance their changeable emotions. A codependent or narcissist who acts self-sufficient and controls his or her feelings can provide a perfect match. The borderline’s partner vicariously comes alive through the melodrama provided by BPD.

The person with BPD may appear to be the underdog in the relationship, while his or her partner is the steady, needless and caretaking top dog. In fact, both are codependent and it’s hard for either of them to leave. They each exercise control in different ways.

The non-BPD may do it through caretaking. A codependent who also yearns for love and fears abandonment can become the perfect caretaker for someone with BPD (whom they sense won’t leave). The codependent is easily seduced and carried away by romance and the person with BPD’s extreme openness and vulnerability. Passion and intense emotions are enlivening to the person without BPD, who finds being alone depressing or experiences healthy people as boring.

Codependents already have low self-esteem and poor boundaries, so they placate, accommodate, and apologize when attacked in order to maintain the emotional connection in the relationship. In the process, they give over more and more control to the borderline and further seal their low self-esteem and the couple’s codependency.

Borderlines need boundaries. Setting a boundary can sometimes snap them out of their delusional thinking. Calling their bluff also is helpful. Both strategies require that you build his or her self-esteem, learn to be assertive, and derive outside emotional support. Giving in to them and giving them control does not make them feel more safe, but the opposite. See also my blog on manipulation.

BPD affects women more than men and about two percent of the U.S. population. BPD usually is diagnosed in young adulthood when there has been a pattern of impulsivity and instability in relationships, self-image, and emotions. They may use alcohol, food, or drugs or other addiction to try to self-medicate their pain, but it only exacerbates it.

To diagnose BPD, at least five of the following symptoms must be enduring and present in a variety of areas:

  1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
  2. Unstable and intense personal relationships, marked by alternating idealization and devaluation.
  3. Persistently unstable sense of self.
  4. Risky, potentially self-damaging impulsivity in at least two areas (e.g., substance abuse, reckless behavior, sex, spending)
  5. Recurrent self-mutilation or suicidal threats or behavior. (This doesn’t qualify for nos. 1 or 4.) Around eight to 10 percent actually commit suicide.
  6. Mood swings (e.g. depressed, irritable, or anxious) mood, not lasting more than a few days.
  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness.
  8. Frequent, intense, inappropriate temper or anger.
  9. Transient, stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms.

The cause of BPD is not clearly known, but often there has been neglect, abandonment, or abuse in childhood and possibly genetic factors. People who have a first-degree relative with BPD are five times more likely to develop BPD themselves. Research has shown brain changes in the ability to regulate emotions. For more, read here and here.

Unlike narcissists, who often avoid therapy, borderlines usually welcome it; however, before recent treatment innovations, its effectiveness had been questioned. Use of medication and DBT, CBT, and some other modalities have proven helpful. Borderlines need structure, and a combination of knowing that they’re cared about and firm boundaries communicated calmly.

©Darlene Lancer, LMFT

 

We’ve talked for hours online. Now we’re going to meet …

The Guardian

I have met Peter. We spent an afternoon and evening together and there’s a lot to tell. First, I must own up to the ratcheting. In the days before meeting, we ratcheted up the communications to an unprecedented, addictive level. I’d get a text saying “I’ve been thinking about you all day” and could reply that I’d been the same, because it was true: thinking, and composing emails and questions, and answers to questions. We were spending every evening talking on screen. But we still hadn’t spoken.

Two days before the date he texted that he wanted to hear my voice. I’d avoided the phone, feeling that it was an extra audition that I might fail, and was nervous all day, watching the clock, but needn’t have been. We talked for over two hours, and afterwards he texted that he seemed to be falling in love, though how was that possible? It couldn’t be real, this attachment, he said, but it felt real, and this was all new territory and he didn’t quite know how to navigate it. I confessed that I felt just the same.

Now, in the cold light of day, it’s easy to diagnose at least some of the trouble (though other bits remain mysterious). Things accelerated way too fast; we were both accelerators, and it got seriously out of hand. Not sexually. We didn’t talk about sex, not once, but we were both madly romantic and fervent. Some days I got 20 messages, many of them beginning “Hey beautiful”. This bothered me because I’m not beautiful. “Striking” is the best compliment I’ve ever had, from someone other than an idiot online. (Once, devastatingly, someone called me “a handsome woman”, an incident best forgotten).

Here’s all you need to know about how crazily out of hand things got before the date. (And I know, I know, before you harangue me on Twitter – I’m admitting to crazy). When he didn’t reply to a text one afternoon and then didn’t react to a follow-up one asking if all was well, I messaged saying “It’s been four hours since I heard from you and I’m getting withdrawal symptoms. Is that weird?”

Of course it was weird. It was more than that. It was mentally dysfunctional. I’d sit at the computer, trying to work, and really I’d be waiting. I’d smile at the mobile when another of the questions arrived that we continued to ask one another. “Do you like Victorian novels?” “Do you ever make bread?” “Do you have any phobias?”
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In two short weeks, my whole life had become Peter-oriented. All the usual things – house chores, phone calls, admin, arrangements, seeing friends, the ordinary obligations, and yes, doing work I was contracted to do – began to feel difficult, even unimportant. I put things off. A period of romantic mania had taken hold of me. I was actually in an altered state. It was all-consuming. I was constantly, tiresomely upbeat and full of energy. This is it, I thought, this is all it takes to be happy: a constant flow of love and attention, given and received. I told myself it didn’t have to come to an end, this flow. I found myself wondering if we’d always text each other these little endearments, even when we lived together. But this was somebody I hadn’t even met yet.

I joined him after his meeting, outside a bistro, and our eyes met as I was threading my way through other pedestrians. I’d gone to a lot of effort; a mid-calf black dress with fat-clamping panels had been purchased and new black boots, and I’d had my hair done. But his face registered disappointment that he struggled to hide. His appearance surprised me too. He was broader, greyer and looked older than I was expecting. He looked weary and anxious. I’d assumed there’d be a romantic first contact, a kiss that would set the tone for the day – it felt like we’d already had a lengthy build-up to that – but the hug he offered was formal. I stepped back and looked into his eyes. His cool blue eyes looked back. I looped an arm around his neck and kissed him on the mouth, a closed-lip kiss, though not a great-aunt-at-Christmas kiss.

He seemed surprised; he pulled away. We were five minutes into an itinerary, involving lunch, strolling, drinks, theatre and dinner, and it already felt like a disaster.

It was a disaster. Things were going to get worse.

15 Life Lessons Learned From Primatologist Jane Goodall

From Life Hack.org by BY JEANNETTE DOZIER

In the world of biology, Jane Goodall is one of the biggest rockstars, drawing huge crowds and attention everywhere she goes. Having dedicated her life to the study of chimpanzees and crusading to save our planet, Goodall’s work is full of passion and meaning. Here are a few lessons we can learn from her.

Make time to read

Though she often has little time to spare, Goodall always reads a few chapters of a book every night. She credits reading Tarzan and the Apes to putting her on her path to explore Africa. Reading was also responsible for one of her greatest opportunities: when she met Louis Leakey she impressed him with her vast knowledge of Africa-knowledge she had obtained solely from books.

Value your family

Goodall frequently travels with her family and cites her mother as one of her biggest inspirations. As a child growing up she was always exploring and asking questions. Instead of scolding her or trying to suppress her curiosity, her mother encouraged Goodall, something she says is the reason why she was able to be so successful.

Don’t let school get in the way of your education

Goodall went from secretary school straight to getting her doctorate degree. Leakey famously told her that she couldn’t waste the time getting an undergraduate degree; she had to go straight to the top of academics. That had to be intimidating for a young girl back then with no training other than as a secretary, with most of her knowledge being self taught. But under her supervisor’s guidance she excelled and went on to change the science world forever.

Treasure this earth

Goodall is a famous activist for wildlife preservation. She has seen firsthand what is being done to this earth and she uses her position to mitigate it. Goodall has written several books about our planet’s decline as well as ways that we can restore it. She even started a group Roots and Shoots, an international community action based program, to help teach children about what is going on and how they can help.

Leave a legacy

Roots and Shoots is just a part of the greater Jane Goodall Institute. The JGI is a nonprofit founded by Jane Goodall that empowers others to make a difference in this world. The institute focuses on preservation, alleviating poverty, increasing education and sustainable living. Through the JGI and programs like Roots and Shoots, the legacy of Jane Goodall will live on and help to make the world a better place.

 

Practice compassion

Goodall has seen her share of horrific practices and treatment of chimpanzees and other species. She dedicated her life to studying and helping these creatures but focused her charity only on animals. One day on a flight over Gombe National Park she saw the abject poverty the people there lived in. She realized then that until a person could feed their families they wouldn’t care about saving animals and that it was irrational to ask starving men to stop poaching when it was their only way of making money. She has since extended her charities to helping humanity and eradicating poverty.

 

Don’t just theorize, act

Goodall is not just theory and talk, she is about action. Her institute is at the forefront of bringing the inhumane treatment of animals to the public’s attention. Her most recent crusade is urging aquariums around the world to phase out the practice of keeping beluga whales and dolphins in captivity.

Persistence pays off

Goodall’s work in Tanzania was arduous and slow, getting familiar with chimpanzees to let her get close enough to observe them before collecting the data and defending her methodology. But eventually her persistence payed off and entire scientific volumes have been written about her discoveries. She even discovered that chimpanzees used modified tools — a trait beforehand only given to distinguish humans.

There are many teachers in life

Not all of Goodall’s learning was from books or academics. She gives credit to a dog named Rusty and the chimpanzees she worked with for teaching her compassion and that animals can have unique personalities too. Goodall gave her chimpanzees names and wrote their personalities down as scientific notes! She believes that science must become more empathetic or we will miss crucial elements of what we are studying.

 

Your comfort zone is just a suggestion

The average chimpanzee is 3-5 times stronger than an average human. Picture a young Jane Goodall, no protection, no weapons, sitting just a few feet from foraging chimps — now that’s getting out of your comfort zone! She was in very real danger, enduring charges by the males, as well as the elements and diseases of Africa including Malaria and African sleeping sickness. Goodall proves that only by getting out of our comfort zone can we achieve greatness.

 

Age does not define you

Jane Goodall is almost 81 years old yet she travels more than 300 days a year. She marches in protests, she speaks at schools and conferences, and she is personally involved in her institute all at an age well past retirement. Her strong sense of purpose and determination enables her to do things most never dream of at an age that most don’t think they’ll ever reach.

You can get more done together

Goodall is famous for saying that the best way to deal with your enemy is to make them your friend. She has met with heads of the logging industry, petroleum and even lab scientists to listen and exchange ideas and from those meetings real change has occurred. She has recently partnered with Google to bring views of Gombe National Park to every computer screen on earth in an effort to raise awareness of the plight of chimpanzees around the world. She also partners with several local groups in Africa and starts Roots and Shoots programs to get more people involved.

 

Technology can connect us and teach us

Along with her partnership with Google, Goodall also uses online platforms like Twitter and YouTube to raise awareness and spread her message. The JGI releases animal videos that go viral; the more they are shared the more people cannot ignore their messages and the faster change happens.

Sometimes luck plays a huge role

While Goodall is an incredibly hard worker with legendary determination, luck did play a role in her career. Her mother encouraged her to go to secretary school. She was then chosen to be the secretary for Louis Leakey, a famous scientist and explorer. She impressed Leakey so much that he mentored her and encouraged her to get her PhD and continue her research. Without this chain of events, who knows what Goodall’s life would have led to?

Never give up hope

The most important message Goodall gives is to never, never, never give up hope. Hope is the one thing that keeps her going, the main reason she founded the JGI. She has hope in mankind and in the future. She believes that the combined efforts of the human brain, the indomitable human spirit, the resiliency of nature and the determination of young people can and will bring this planet back and stop the extinction of species and the decimation of the wild

 

I had the honor of meeting Dr. Goodall when she came to speak at Georgia State University. What struck me at first was how frail she seemed, she is almost 81 after all. But from the moment she opened her mouth and gave out a loud female chimpanzee greeting call I knew she was a force to be reckoned with. Her life gives us many lessons about love, compassion, determination, change, and truly living. But the main message to take away is to never give up hope.