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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to Disarm a Borderline, Part I

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If you are an adult in a relationship with another adult, either through blood or through a romantic liaison, who fits the description of a patient diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD), then you already know that you have your hands full.  A New York Times blog post about BPD drew 470 rather contentious comments (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/16/understanding-borderline-personality-disorder/?apage=1#comments) from people who were dealing with BPD relatives and other people who themselves have the disorder.  Although I am in neither category (hopefully), I wrote a few posts myself. 

I wrote about some of the ideas that I describe below.  A couple of people who said they were dealing with BPD parents did not like what I wrote, but showed that they had adopted some of the very behavior they were complaining about in their parents, as evidenced by their responses to me (more on why this might happen shortly).  I was being nice, so I didn't point that out to them.

Some people say that the only way that you will surely survive a relationship with someone with BPD is by cutting all contact with the "toxic" individual.  Some therapists even say this.

If you are in a romantic relationship with a person with BPD, that might indeed be the best course.  Has the relationship already been going on for quite a while?  You won't like hearing this, but this means you: you need to ask yourself why you are attracted to such a difficult person in the first place.  Please don't give me the usual crap like, "I didn't know what (he or she) was like that at first, but now I'm involved and I can't get out.  (He or she) was so charming at the beginning of the relationship!" 

Puh -leeeze!  You are like the wife who insists her husband is not having an affair while she looks for the stain remover to get the lipstick off her husband's shirt collar. Sorry, but most people run at the first sign of BPD behavior.  It is not subtle, and one does not often have to wait very long before one first sees it.

Well, you might object, the person threatens suicide if I tell them I'm going to leave them!  So, let me get this straight.  You're planning to sacrifice your whole life because someone might stab themselves in the heart in front of you and then quickly hand the knife to you before they die so your fingerprints are all over it?  If you feel so responsible for other people that you respond to this kind of threat by caving in to it, please, get some therapy.

When it comes to parents with BPD, however, the strategy of divorcing one's family, while better than remaining in a toxic relationship with them, creates other problems.  First of all, it's kind of lonely to have no family.  You will be faced with a cavernous hole in your life. 

Second, you came from them.  If they are monsters, what does that make you?  You undoubtedly share at least some of their toxic behaviors whether you like to admit to it or not, because one can not grow up in a toxic household without adapting to it in ways that are both problematic themselves and very hard to stop later on in other social contexts. 

Especially with your own children.  Attachment studies clearly show that the best predictor of one's relationship with one's children is......one's relationship with one's parents or other primary caretakers.  Some people from abusive households wisely decide not to have children for fear that they, too, might become abusive.  But is that what you really want to do?

Besides, you cannot completely divorce yourself from your family, because you carry them around with you in your head. Literally. We in the biz call these mental representations schemas.

Your choices are not just limited to these two:
1) To either to continue to be mistreated, or
2) to cut off all contact with your family.

A third choice is to change the nature of your relationship with your parents so that you are not being mistreated but are still in contact with them.  Impossible, you say?  I disagree.  While you do not have the power to "fix" your parents, you do have the power to fix your relationship with them.  If you change your approach to them in a consistent manner, that will force them to change their approach to you. 

However, there is a big problem that you will face in doing this: since you have been in a relationship with them your whole life, they have developed a whole repertoire of behaviors, include recruiting other family members, to give you the powerful message, "You're wrong.  Go back to responding the way you used to."  If one strategy does not work, no worry.  There are plenty more where that came from. Scary to be sure, but not insurmountable if  you can enlist a therapist who knows something about the family dynamics in people with BPD.

Therapists like myself who work primarily with patients with BPD, regardless of their "school" of psychotherapy or their theoretical ideas about the causes and cures for the condition, all have independently developed some ways of getting BPD patients to be more cooperative with them.  (That is, cooperative just with the the therapist. Unfortunately, not with anyone else). We seem to have all come up with these little tricks of the trade independently, yet they are all very similar, as I described in a paper called, "Techniques for Reducing Therapy-Interfering Behavior in Patients with Borderline Personality Disorders: Similarities in Four Diverse Treatment Paradigms" (Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research 1997; 6:25-35). 

Marsha Linehan of DBT fame, Otto Kernberg of psychoanalysis fame, Lorna Smith Benjamin of interpersonal therapy fame, and myself (with my not-at-all famous treatment paradigm called Unified Therapy) all do pretty much the same things at the beginning of treatment.  (We then start to diverge considerably).  These strategies are survival skills for us.  Therapists used to come up to me all the time and ask me how I could stand to work with several patients with BPD at the same time, but it really is not a big problem if you know the "tricks."  I had to devise them a long time ago because I built up a private practice by taking referrals of these patients whom no one else wanted to treat.

As I mentioned, it is much harder for someone who is already enmeshed with a relative with BPD than it is for a therapist who has just met a patient with BPD.  One reason is the aforementioned repertoire of behaviors they have designed over many year specifically with you (the enmeshee) in mind.  They know all of your weaknesses and exactly how to take advantage of them.   Second, as a therapist, I do not have to deal directly with a bunch of interfering relatives like the enmeshee does.

The third reason has to do with something behaviorists call a variable intermittent reinforcement schedule.  This schedule is why slot machines in casinos are so successful.  You never know when the damn thing is going to pay off, and it pays off just often enough, so you keep pulling the lever until you lose your shirt.

I should mention that, as John Rosemond is fond of saying, people are not lab rats that blindly respond to rewards and punishments. However, if a person has a goal, and their behavior helps them to reach it, reinforcement schedules kick into play. It is not the person being "rewarded," but the behavior. It is not rewarding to have people hate you.

The goals of the worst of the behavior exhibited by people with BPD, for reasons I will not discuss here, is to cause in their targets one of three reactions.  The first two of these invariably lead to the third.  The three reactions they shoot for in their targets are a sense of anxious helplessness, a sense of anxious guilt, and overt hostility. 

The great big secret, however, is that folks with BPD are often highly ambivalent about getting these reactions.  They will try like hell to get them - and believe me, they are real professionals at it - but they secretly wish to fail. (How do I know this?  Experience.  But I can not prove it - because there is literally no way to set up an "empirical" experiment that would fill the bill - so readers can call this highly speculative if they wish).

If the persons with BPD succeeds at getting one of three reactions, they will continue to draw for it.  Pull out all the stops in order to get them, in fact.  If they fail at getting the reactions, however, they will suddenly become more conciliatory.  However, because of the variable reinforcement schedule, if they only occasionally succeed in getting one of the reactions with a person with whom they have already been interacting for a long time, they will keep trying much longer. 

Therefore, if you already have a history with them, and they have a track record of making you react in any or all of the three ways, their behavior will get much worse before it gets better.  If you can not keep your cool and occasionally react the wrong way, it becomes even harder to get the BPD's to change their behavior toward you than if you react the wrong way all the time!

In later posts, I will share with readers the therapist's tricks for avoiding "rewarding" the bad behavior of persons with BPD, but most people who are already enmeshed with a BPD family member will find it nearly impossible to employ them successfully without the help of a therapist who understands the family dynamics of those who suffer with the BPD traits, and who can prepare them for your "adversary's" formidable defenses.  I will start in an upcoming post with what not to do.

20 comments:

  1. FunctionalAnonBPDJuly 8, 2011 at 6:27 AM

    "If they are monsters"

    I carry the guilt and shame of actions I can not undo. I work every day to be a person who would never do such things again. I live in fear of getting sick again or reverting.

    and still BPDs are monsters

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    1. '...and still BPDs are monsters...'

      And there is it, typical BPD behavior, where the finish line is self pity.

      If you have guilt and shame over actions you cannot undo, then make your amends and do not feel sorry for yourself.

      We all have to live with the things we do in life and if you have harmed people, your sympathy should go to them, not yourself.

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    2. The stigma sticks even when the symptoms subside. Low-self efficacy + the impact of external and internal stigma = a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      Emotional regulation disorder suits the disorder much better. The maladaptive behaviours are coping mechanisms secondary to the primary problem of regulating extreme emotions. Treat the primary problem (emotional regulation) with CBT and medications if needed. Provide a coping mechanism tool kit a la DBT. Treat the secondary behaviours (coping mechanisms for the emotional dysregulation) with CBT and guided talk-therapy,etc. Reinforce that the label is not who the BPD patient is. Identify the traits but give the patients the autonomy of identifying these traits themselves.

      BPDs are individuals who share common traits. Not every BPD will have the exhibit the exact same traits nor to the exact same degree.

      It does hurt to be called "typical" and criticized for having "self-pity". It compounds the problem of feeling helpless which only fuels the "manipulative" behaviour.

      The most effective treatment I have received by far was by a psychiatrist and psychologist who abandoned referring to BPD in treatment and focused on the behaviours and cognitive patterns. In therapy we discuss day-to-day problems and my psychologist prompts the discussion in a way that allows for reflection on behaviours, triggers, and allows me to devise solutions.

      I sincerely wish more psychologists and psychiatrists were like this. I am a person. I am not a diagnosis.

      I know my situation is very different from many BPDs and I have improved drastically over the past years. I was unofficially DX at 15 and it impacted how medical and psychiatric professionals treated me. I started making progress when my former psychologist moved away and I was set up with a new psychiatrist and psychologist with this line of thinking. My former psychologist made me listen to mindfulness tapes during our sessions which was not helpful. I told my current psychologist that this was not effective and I wasn't learning anything. I need to learn how I work (self-identify emotional and behavioural patterns) in order to know how to cope better.

      I am prone to bias because of my personal experience of what has been most effective in treatment and I understand that what works for me may not be applicable with others. I am a higher functioning BPD with ADHD, recurring PTSD symptoms, anxiety, depression and a chronic pelvic pain/hormonal disorder (stage IV endometriosis which I was actually misdiagnosed and dismissed by my GP because she suggested my symptoms were psychosomatic and part of my BPD. The delayed diagnosis very well may have contributed to the progression to the most advanced stage of the disease) However I think it is safe to generalize when I say that the stigma associated with BPD impedes treatment by both unconscious and conscious biases in both the patient and therapist.

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  2. hello, i am a 19 year old with BPD. i stumbled upon this after searching the internet for ways to control myself when i realize i'm acting incorrectly, irrationally, or generally out of control. after reading this, i make much more sense to myself, but please realize that there are BPD patients out there that do everything in their power not to be a statistic.

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  3. My answer Dave, is you haven't lived with them and seen what they really do. You work with them a few hours a week. Your perspective is limited. I can bet that they downplay what they do to you. I had a family member with BPD try to kill their own daughter. Do you suggest some family healing? I certainly don't.

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    1. Anonymous,

      You mean like the one who tried to kill me after I told her I was going to discharge her from a hospital? (that was before I knew how to deal with them). Or perhaps you mean the one who brought a gun to my office and shot herself to death in front of me?

      Actually, I can usually tell when they are downplaying what they do. And I also have interviewed many family members and listened to tapes of conversations of adults with their parents when their parents did not know they were being recorded - illegal in some states but not illegal for me to listen to.

      If they are abusing their own children I have to report them to the authorities - and have.

      Being empathic means trying to understand why they do what they do; it does not mean condoning bad behavior - that is sympathy. If they are doing bad things, sympathy can not be empathic, because they know that what they have done is bad, and they know you know, so the "empathy" would be an obvious lie.

      BTW, I do not believe in the "bad seed" theory of evil.

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    2. And yes I would recommend family healing in that case - but only with a chaperone present at all time.

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  4. Therapist attitudes about persons with this illness are a huge part of the stigma. I've never tried to make anyone feel helpless, guilty or hostile deliberately. Nor do I sit around scheming about hurting or manipulating anyone (which is another stereotype of BPD).

    We are the furthest thing from people with anti-social personality disorder. If anything, I've been told I am too overly compassionate for my own good. We don't try to hurt people on purpose. Most of us are in mental hell and agony. We understand pain all too well. Why would we want to inflict it on someone else?

    I have PTSD from severe childhood abuse, and think the name of this disorder should be changed to Complex PTSD or anything but "Borderline", some ridiculous, inaccurate remnant of Freud. The reactions we have, can most of the time be traced back to abuse.

    We are constantly demonized on the Internet as vindictive, manipulative vermon no one should want to live with or marry, but, as your blog infers -- if someone in your family has BPD, and you're stuck with them, you might want to learn how to put up with them.

    We are unique individuals--not a diagnosis. Labels create stereotypes that can make therapists myopic. The best thing that has ever happened for us, is that Marsha Linehan "came out" about being borderline. The fact that you understand what I mean by saying she "came out" is proof of the harmful stigma that has been developed around this diagnosis.

    It was a big thing to admit she had the disorder that makes you an unwanted client for most therapists. The people trained to deal with the worst of the worst behavior will turn you away, because your very personality -- the essence of who you are -- is so horrific compared to the rest of accepted society.

    Sometimes I wish I never knew this about myself. The diagnosis has harmed my self-esteem irreparably. Knowing that most people, even therapists, makes me want to die.

    If any of this makes you feel guilty or hostile, that is not because I somehow wanted to make you feel that way.

    It is your interpretation and your reaction. I am what I am. I don't try to "make" anyone feel any way. I don't have the mental energy to manipulate anyone. It takes every ounce of energy I have to keep living one more day, knowing that the world hates me for what I am.

    You should own your own feelings and reactions. I'm always being told to own mine.

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      Thanks for writing in. You bring up several extremely important issues, and you may be surprised to learn that I agree with most of what you say.

      It's almost impossible to write about the disorder without offending someone.

      Even though I specialize in treating patients with BPD in therapy, in a sense I really don't believe in it. It's not a mental illness like most psychiatrists believe these days, but a complex psychological problem - and trauma and/or certain dysfunctional family patterns are at its core.

      The "diagnosis" is just shorthand for me, although it is also true that many therapists use such labels in the very stupid way that you are concerned about. But please don't tar all of us with the same brush.

      The name is indeed a ridiculous anachronism - an adjective, now without a noun. But we are kind stuck with it.

      People who meet criteria for the disorder are very diverse just as you point out - there are over 200 different ways just to meet 5,6,7,8, or all 9 of the criteria. So naturally any generalization I make may not apply to you or any other specific patient. But generalizations do provide a therapist with a first draft of an hypotheses about a patient and his or her family dynamics, which later changes with additional information. So generalizations do serve a purpose as long as one does not take them TOO seriously.

      There is indeed a stigma attached to patients who meet the description of BPD with mental health professionals, and a lot of therapists and psychiatrists won't deal with them, unfortunately. Personally, I love working with them, at least most of the time.

      It is also true that patients with BPD are highly compassionate people. So compassionate, in fact, that they sacrifice their own happiness for the needs they perceive in their families. And I absolutely agree with you that all of them (not just most) are in mental hell/agony.

      However, it is also true that they often make people very uncomfortable, and many of them have eventually admitted to me that they do it on purpose. (I could tell you stories that would curl your hair). They do this not because they are sociopaths or because they are trying to hurt anyone. In fact, what they are usually doing is drawing hatred onto themselves. They're good at it.

      Being compassionate and difficult at the same time is not contradictory, because it's not an either-or situation. People with BPD did not become aversive for a lot of therapists by accident.

      You are also right that no one can "make" anyone feel anything, but certain provocations have a very high likelihood of evoking certain reactions from other people. If someone keeps kicking you in the shin, for instance, chances are good that you will get angry at them.

      Understanding why a patient would do such a thing allows me to feel empathy, not hatred.

      I really am sorry if that does not come across in my posts. I've been criticized because sometimes I even use dark humor to make a point and to cut the tension. (The last thing patients need is a therapist who is as unhappy as they are).

      I sincerely hope you find the kind of help that you need to feel better about yourself.

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    2. Uh, it is possible to comment without offending. You just choose not to.

      In my experience, doctors, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, crisis teams, and psychologists actually intensify anger, hoplessness, worthlessness. In fact for me, they brought developed anger in me that I never had in my entire life and I am in my 40s.

      Before seeing any of the above mentioned, I just had depression. When they realised it was treatment resistant they decided to label me as BPD and since I never had any of the traits in my life until they got stuck into me, I fail to see the accuracy of the diagnosis. Typical how so-called professionals are unable to treat people so they blame the patient as being difficult and therefore BPD instead of owning up to their own inadequacies.

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    3. I'm really sorry that you were the victim of this sort of mislabeling and incompetent help- it is far too common.

      I have to try to undo this kind of damage to patients all the time in my practice. You should see the crazy combinations of drugs I have to take people off of, and the number of people who get a diagnosis for which they do not even meet the commonly accepted criteria (flawed as they sometimes are).

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    4. '...knowing that the world hates me for what I am...'

      The 'world' does not hate you for what you are, but people might hate you for what you do. Big difference.

      Your thoughts are not the problem, as we all have bad thoughts, it is your actions that are the problem, and it is much easier to change your actions than your thoughts.

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  5. Have there been studies done to confirm these observations, that people with BPD DESIRE to make others uncomfortable? I do not desire to do that at all, and have not ever had thoughts like that. I don't get off on making others unhappy. What would be the point?

    The kind of help I need, is for people in the profession to stop demonizing us. Perhaps write a blog about how we might have some redeeming qualities.

    If anything, I try very hard not to offend anyone and live in constant fear of doing saying the wrong thing, lest I be ostracized further or inadvertently offend someone. The two others I know with BPD also try very hard to fit in socially and not step on toes.

    Making statements based on a few cases does not constitute empirical support. It does sounds like a rationalization for prejudice against a category of people you hate.

    I prayed and prayed for 18 years as a child for the future, for the suffering to end, to get out of there, and when I finally did, I was slapped with a demeaning label to cause further pain and suffering. To make me feel humiliated as a person, to stereotype me as a horrible person.

    When will the psychiatric profession stand up and do something for people with BPD? When will they argue for a change of the name? When will dialectical therapy be paid for by insurance?

    These are issues for the profession to consider. The reason these problems will never be addressed is simple: hate. We are a category of people that is hated and prejudged as having no redeeming value.

    For the sake of all of us, please re-examine how you refer to us in a global forum.

    First, do no harm.

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      I did not say that patients with BPD really WANT to make others uncomfortable; they are just playing a role. If they weren't, it wouldn't be so easy to get them to stop the provocations once a therapist knows the tricks of the trade (and all theorists of every stripe use variants of the same tricks, including Marsha Linehan).

      In fact, secretly BPD patients hope beyond hope that they will FAIL at making others uncomfortable. My post about the spoiler role explains in general terms why they do all this - http://davidmallenmd.blogspot.com/2011/02/dysfunctional-family-roles-part-i.html.

      My ideas are not based on just a few cases but on hundreds, since I watch videos of psychiatry and psychology trainees doing therapy as well as having dealt with patients with this disorder myself for 37 years.

      Until we figure out a way to read people's minds, this is not the sort of observation that is amenable to "empirical research." By the way, while there are some studies which are suggestive that parts of Marsha Linehan's theories about the origin of BPD might be on the right track, there are NO studies which directly confirm it (and the treatment outcome studies only show that DBT is good for reducing at most two symptoms of the disorder. Not good enough, in my estimation).

      There is no way I can convince you that I don't view these patients are horrible people. Believe it or don't.

      I don't know about where you are, but in most places insurance will pay for DBT. Just like with all therapy, however, it does not pay very well. I agree with you that psychiatrists, along with psychologists, social workers, and LMFT's, have all done a lousy job of advocating for psychotherapy for their patients in need - not just patients with borderline personality traits.

      I can't control how people might interpret what I say, but avoiding frank discussions and exchanges of ideas for fear that somebody somewhere will misunderstand what is being said would be very counterproductive. Sorry.

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    2. BORDERLINE's - listen up: We get it, okay? WE GET IT. It's not fucking rocket surgery. We HEAR what you are telling us. We KNOW that you are suffering. We UNDERSTAND why you act the way you do. The same can be said of pedophiles and serial killers but society still holds them accountable, right? Don't you?

      Now, that is not to say that you are pedophiles or serial killers but like them, you get your needs met at the expense of others and like them, you are vilified not because of your DISORDER but because of your BEHAVIOR.

      SO - that being said, what you must accept is the fact that we do not need to hear ONE more explanation about what you are going through. Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, what we need for you to do now is OWN your own problem, ACCEPT responsibility for your actions, ACKNOWLEDGE the damage that you cause you and everyone involved with you and take an ACTIVE role in getting yourselves under control. Period.

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    3. Exactly. The issue with Borderlines is that nothing, I mean NOTHING, is ever their fault. No matter what harm they cause others, it is ALWAYS because someone else *made* them do it, which is an excuse no one over five years old would ever tell themselves, much less believe.

      We all like to feel sorry for ourselves at times and we all justify and rationalize our behavior, but this goes way beyond that. Most Borderlines have no lasting friendships and yet it is never something they could have done to cause the break, absolutely never. It is always the other person's fault that they finally had enough of the screaming, the public spectacle, the endless phone calls, the guilt trips...the Borderline is a bully and a professional victim ALL the time, as they believe they are never, ever wrong about any thing they have done and they never apologize.

      Aside from that this is simply an unattractive quality in a human being, as we are *all* wrong sometimes and we all need to apologize sometimes, feeling like a victim leaves you no place to go. No way to change. And people finally give up and walk away, leaving the Borderline with the self-fulfilling prophecy of 'I knew they would leave me someday, see I was right all along'.

      Borderlines do not get abandoned by people in their lives, they push everyone away. And since abandonment is their worst fear, they are, in fact, their worst enemy and they themselves have created the hell that they most fear.

      But try telling that to Borderline, if you like abuse.

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    4. SteveinLA (so as to distinguish myself from all other other anonymous') I gotta second the prior 2 posts above me. I am "stuck" with a Borderline, (mother of my child) and as such I am on the constant prowl for info that can give me insight on how to better manage my situation. I am new to this site and I find David's analysis to be quite refreshing. To me, his "humor" is straightforward and obvious. That aside, I have read many a many responses from BDP's and every single solitary one of them are just like the morons at the top of this thread - complaining how all the therapists are out to get them and that they are victims of stereotyping. Listen Dip sh*ts, stereotypes are stereotypes because they are true. The stereotype that crime happens in bad neighborhoods, is because....crime DOES happen in bad neighborhoods. I have yet to come across the stereotype that people who walk alone in urban neighborhoods always meet interesting and exciting new friends. If you are the exception, blame your fellow Borderlines - they are the ones screwing up the grade curve - NOT the therapist. BDP's incessant blame shifting, and circular argument of victimization is simply more proof that BDP is practically untreatable. You "..fail to see the accuracy of the diagnosis?? Listen A-hole, then why the f***k are you reading Blogs on severe behavioral problems?? Why are you not busy leading your normal, productive life and sharing intimate moments with all your friends and family??? The therapists is the one that needs to "own up to their own inadequacies?? No, A-hole - YOU do. Your recovery is not contingent on the rest of society getting their sh*t together first. The fact that some therapist comes across like some d-bag does not invalidate the fact that you are still a complete emotional f-up. You dont get a pass just 'cause some therapist or book used the "wrong" verb to describe your behavior. You are fuc*ing drowning, and all you want to do is complain that the person telling you to grab the rope is yelling at you too loud. Don't like being "demonized"??? Then just start acting like a fuc*ing normal person and stop making life hell for everyone. Oh wait...you cant do that, you say??? You feel so empty inside...??? You need help??? Clearly is this is the fault of all the Dr's and nurses and therapists in this country, for they are all intensifying the anger in the room. Funny though, how all the demonizing laser beams shooting out of the heads of every therapist in the country only seem to hit BDP'ers in the face and miss all the normal people. Amazing how all the stereotyping and hatred shooting out of the mouths of therapists have no effect on the behavior of "normal people" YET diabolically cripple the behaviors of all the helpless people who conveniently also got "labeled" as a BDP'er. Tragic. Seriously, either come to terms with your deficits and strive for your OWN recovery, or spare the rest of us your fuc*ing chaos. I have directions to the cliff you can jump off of. (Is it a wee bit obvious that I have some anger issues and a lack of patience regarding BDP'ers. Hope I didn't offend anyone.)

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  6. Hi Anonymous and Dr. Allen,

    Great dialogue! Both perspectives that you've introduced makes the issue more palatable; sorry it's at the expense of the two of you. Hope you both see the benefits of sharing your knowledge and insights.

    <3

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  7. Don't know if you still check these comments, but I just want to say I have BPD and I completely agree with you. It's easy to misinterpret some of it as being offensive but it actually is incredibly empathetic. As for those comments, no, BPD people don't consciously WANT to hurt anyone in any way. But when I get emotional I act exactly as you describe, as that's what my brain tells me to do to feel better. It's very strange. But yes, I try to get those reactions and secretly wish to fail. I cannot emphasize enough how much I agree with that whole section. =) I'll definitely be reading more of your stuff!

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  8. I'm not sure what camp I'm in. There's a woman I care about who defintely has BPD. I've known her for nine years, and I love her to bits.

    When it's great, it's great. But the silent treatment is finally making me want to walk. We've both walked away from eachother before, but now I feel like I've taken all I can take - if she doesn't want to speak to me, I'm not gonna sit there and accept the cold shoulder anymore.

    The 'new guy'(s) in her life, while never lasting as long, never seem to have to work as hard as I do with her -- and they get her body and her mind (it appears so, anyway).

    Just recently, she went from texting me excitedly near every morning to talk -- like it was when we first met -- to crying about her ex-fiance of a few years NC-ing her (she left him).

    Even as I comforted her as she cried, she made a dig about the worth of our relationship (I'm her ex) compared to hers with the ex-fiance. She basically said that despite everything and all the years we've known each other, I don't mean as much as some guy she hastily got engaged to.

    I took offense at that. So now, I'm currently being ignored.

    I've fed her, bought her necessities, forgiven her BS, and loved her like no other for nine solid years. Yet that means nothing.

    I could die tonight, and trust me, she wouldn't care - even if I'm one of the only two long-term people in her life who care.

    Do they cause pain purposefully? I don't think they do all the time. Sometimes they do, though, and I've had her admit it to me and had others tell me what she's said about me in the past - all lined with conscious malicious intent.

    That's the real.

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